Page:Sun Tzu on The art of war.djvu/33

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
xxxi
Introduction

the benefit of posterity. Thus it came about that Wei Wu was the first to write a commentary on it.[1]

As we have already seen, there is no reasonable ground to suppose that Ts‘ao Kung tampered with the text. But the text itself is often so obscure, and the number of editions which appeared from that time onward so great, especially during the T‘ang and Sung dynasties, that it would be surprising if numerous corruptions had not managed to creep in. Towards the middle of the Sung period, by which time all the chief commentaries on Sun Tzŭ were in existence, a certain 吉天保 Chi T‘ien-pao published a work in 15 chüan entitled 十家孫子會注 “Sun Tzŭ with the collected commentaries of ten writers.”[2] There was another text, with variant readings put forward by Chu Fu of 大興 Ta-hsing,[3] which also had supporters among the scholars of that period; but in the Ming editions, Sun Hsing-yen tells us, these readings were for some reason or other no longer put into circulation.[4] Thus, until the end of the 18th century, the text in sole possession of the field was one derived from Chi T‘ien-pao’s edition, although no actual copy of that important work was known to have surrived. That, therefore, is the text of Sun Tzŭ which appears in the War section of the great Imperial encyclopaedia printed in 1726, the 古今圖書集成 Ku Chin T‘u Shu Chi Ch‘êng. Another copy at my disposal of what is practically the same text, with slight variations, is that contained in the 周秦十一子 “Eleven philosophers of the Chou and Ch‘in dynasties”


  1. 秦漢已來用兵皆用其法而或祕其書不肯注以傳世魏武始爲之注.
  2. See 宋藝文志.
  3. Alluded to on p. xvii, note 3.
  4. Loc. cit.: 葢宋人又從大興朱氏處見明人刻本餘則世無傳者.