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Introduction

with the earliest editions then available. Fortunately, two versions of Sun Tzŭ, even older than the newly discovered work, were still extant, one buried in the T‘ung Tien, Tu Yu’s great treatise on the Constitution, the other similarly enshrined in the T‘ai P‘ing Yü Lan encyclopaedia. In both the complete text is to be found, though split up into fragments, intermixed with other matter, and scattered piecemeal over a number of different sections. Considering that the Yü Lan takes us back to the year 983, and the T‘ung Tien about 200 years further still, to the middle of the T‘ang dynasty, the value of these early transcripts of Sun Tzŭ can hardly be overestimated. Yet the idea of utilising them does not seem to have occurred to anyone until Sun Hsing-yen, acting under Government instructions, undertook a thorough recension of the text. This is his own account: —

Because of the numerous mistakes in the text of Sun Tzŭ which his editors had handed down, the Government ordered that the ancient edition [of Chi T‘ien-pao] should be used, and that the text should be revised and corrected throughout. It happened that Wu Nien-hu, the Governor Pi Kua, and Hsi, a graduate of the second degree, had all devoted themselves to this study, probably surpassing me therein. Accordingly, I have had the whole work cut on blocks as a text-book for military men.[1]

The three individuals here referred to had evidently been occupied on the text of Sun Tzŭ prior to Sun Hsing-yen’s commission, but we are left in doubt as to the work they really accomplished. At any rate, the new edition, when ultimately produced, appeared in the names of Sun Hsing-yen and only one co-editor, 吳人驥 Wu Jên-chi. They took the “original text” as their basis, and by careful comparison with the older versions, as well as the extant commentaries and other sources of information such as


  1. 國家令甲以孫子校士所傳本或多錯謬當用古本是正其文適吳念湖太守畢恬溪孝廉皆爲此學所得或過于予遂刋一編以課武士.