Page:Sun Tzu on The art of war.djvu/38

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xxxvi
Introduction

pression, they are scarcely intelligible and stand no less in need of a commentary than the text itself.[1] As we have seen, Ts‘ao Kung is the reputed author of the 新書, a book on war in 100,000 odd words, now lost, but mentioned in the 魏志.[2]

2. 孟氏 Mêng Shih. The commentary which has come down to us under this name is comparatively meagre, and nothing about the author is known. Even his personal name has not been recorded. Chi T‘ien-pao’s edition places him after Chia Lin, and 鼂公武 Ch‘ao Kung-wu also assigns him to the T‘ang dynasty,[3] but this is obviously a mistake, as his work is mentioned in the 隋書經籍志. In Sun Hsing-yen’s preface, he appears as Mêng Shih of the Liang dynasty [502—557]. Others would identify him with 孟康 Mêng K‘ang of the 3rd century. In the 宋史藝文志, [4] he is named last of the 五家 “Five Commentators,” the others being Wei Wu Ti, Tu Mu, Ch‘ên Hao and Chia Lin.

3. 李筌 Li Ch‘üan of the 8th century was a well-known writer on military tactics. His 太白陰經 has been in constant use down to the present day. The 通志 mentions 閫外春秋 (lives of famous generals from the Chou to the T‘ang dynasty) as written by him.[5] He is also generally supposed to be the real author of the popular Taoist tract, the 陰符經. According to Ch‘ao Kung-wu and the T‘ien-i-ko catalogue,[6] he followed the 太乙遁甲 text of Sun Tzŭ, which differs considerably from those


  1. Cf. 天一閣藏書總目 Catalogue of the library of the Fan family at Ningpo, 子部, fol. 12 v°: 其註多隱辭引而不發 “His commentary is frequently obscure; it furnishes a clue, but does not fully develop the meaning.”
  2. See 玉海, ch. 141 ad init.
  3. Wên Hsien T‘ung K‘ao, ch. 221, f. 9 v°.
  4. Ch. 207, f. 5 r°
  5. It is interesting to note that M. Pelliot has recently discovered chapters 1, 4 and 5 of this lost work in the “Grottos of the Thousand Buddhas.” See B. E. F. E. O, t. VIII, nos. 3—4, p. 525.
  6. Loc. cit.