Sacred Books of the East/Volume 27/The Lî Kî/Chapter 3
Brief Notices of the different Books which make up the Collection.
Book I. Khü Lî.
This first Book in the collection is also the longest, and has been divided because of its length into two Books. In this translation, however, it appears only as one Book in two Sections, which again are subdivided, after the Khien-lung editors, into five Parts and three Parts respectively.
The name Khü Lî is taken from the first two characters in the first paragraph, and the first sentence, "The Khü Lî says," extends over all that follows to the end of the Book. P. Callery, indeed, puts only the first paragraph within inverted commas, as if it alone were from the Khü Lî, and the rest of the Book were by a different hand. He translates the title by "Rites Divers," and to his first sentence, "Le Recueil des rites divers dit," appends the following note:—"This work, that for a very long time has been lost, was, so far as appears, one of those collections of proverbs and maxims with which philosophy has commenced among nearly all peoples. Although the author does not say so, it is probable that this chapter and the next contain an analysis of that ancient collection, for the great unconnectedness which we find in it agrees well with the variety indicated by the title Khü Lî." My own inference from the text, however, is what I have stated above, that the Book is a transcript of the Khü Lî, and not merely a condensation of its contents, or a redaction of them by a different author.
It is not easy to translate the title satisfactorily. According to Kǎng Hsüan (or Kǎng Khang-khǎng), the earliest of all the great commentators on the Lî Kî, 'The Book is named Khü Lî, because it contains matters relating to all the five ceremonial categories. What is said in it about sacrifices belongs to the "auspicious ceremonies;" about the rites of mourning, and the loss or abandonment of one's state, to the "inauspicious;" about the payment of tributory dues and appearances at the royal court to "the rites of hospitality;" about weapons, chariots, and banners, "to those of war;" and about serving elders, reverencing the aged, giving offerings or presents, and the marriage of daughters, to the "festive ceremonies."' On this view the title would mean "Rules belonging to the different classes of ceremonies," or, more concisely, the "Rites Divers" of Callery; and Mr. Wylie has called the Book "The Universal Ritual."
But this rendering of the title does not suit the proper force of the character Khü, which is the symbol of "being bent or crooked," and is used, with substantival meaning, for what is small and appears irregularly. Mention is made in Book XXVIII, ii, 23, of "him who cultivates the shoots of goodness in his nature," those "shoots" being expressed by this character Khü; and in a note on the passage there I have quoted the words of the commentator Pâi Lü:—"Put a stone on a bamboo shoot, or where the shoot would show itself, and it will travel round the stone, and come out crookedly at its side." Thus Khü is employed for what is exhibited partially or in a small degree. Even Kǎng Hsüan on that passage explains it by "very small matters;" and the two ablest in my opinion of all the Chinese critics and commentators, Kû Hsî and Wû Khǎng (of the Yüan dynasty, A.D. 1249-1333), take our title to mean "The minuter forms and smaller points of ceremony." P. Zottoli is not to be blamed for following them, and styling the Book—"Minutiores Ritus." Still even this does not satisfy my own mind. Great rites are mentioned in the treatise as well as small ones. Principles of ceremony are enunciated as well as details. The contents are marked indeed by the "unconnectedness" which Callery mentions; but a translator cannot help that. The Book may not be as to method all that we could wish, but we must make the best we can of it as it stands; and I have ventured to call it "A Summary of the Rules of Ceremony." It occupies very properly the place at the beginning of the collection, and is a good introduction to the treatises that follow.
Among the Lt books in Lift Hsin's Catalogue of the Imperial Library of Han, is a Treatise in nine chapters (phien), compiled by Hâu Зhang, and called Khü Thâi Kî, or "Record made in the Khü Tower." The Khü Tower was the name of an educational building, where scholars met in the time of the emperor Hsüan to discuss questions about ceremonies and other matters connected with the ancient literature, and Hâu Зhang (mentioned in the preceding chapter) kept a record of their proceedings. I should like to think that our Khü Lî is a portion of that Khü Thâi Kî, and am sorry not to be able to adduce Chinese authorities who take the same view. It would relieve us of the difficulty of accounting for the use of Khü in the title.
Book II. Than Kung.
The name Than Kung given to this Book is taken from the first paragraph in it, where the gentleman so denominated appears attending the mourning rites for an officer of the state of Lû. Nowhere else in the Treatise, however, is there any mention of him, or reference to him. There can be no reason but this, for calling it after him, that his surname and name occur at the commencement of it. He was a native, it is understood, of Lû; but nothing more is known of him.
The Than Kung, like the Khü Lî, is divided into two Books, which appear in this translation as two Sections of one Book. Each Section is subdivided into three Parts. The whole is chiefly occupied with the observances of the mourning rites. It is valuable because of the information which it gives about them, and the views prevailing at the time on the subject of death. It contains also many historical incidents about Confucius and others, which we are glad to possess. Some of the commentators, and especially the Khien-lung editors, reject many of them as legendary and fabulous. The whole Book is reduced to very small compass in the expurgated editions of the Lî Kî. We are glad, however, to have the incidents such as they. are. Who would not be sorry to want the account of Confucius' death, which is given in I, ii, 29? We seem, moreover, to understand him better from accounts which the Book contains of his intercourse with his disciples, and of their mourning for him.
Зze-yû an eminent member of his school, appears in the first paragraph much to his credit, and similarly afterwards on several occasions; and this has made the Khien- lung editors throw out the suggestion that the Book was compiled by his disciples. It may have been so.
Book III. Wang Kih.
According to Lû Kih (died A.D. 192) the Wang Kih, or "Royal Regulations," was made by the Great Scholars of the time of the emperor Wǎn (B.C. 179-157), on the requisition of that sovereign. It professes to give the regulations of the early kings on the classes of the feudal nobles and officers and their emoluments, on their sacrifices, and their care for the aged. The emperor ordered it to be compiled after the death of Kiâ Î, a Great scholar and highly esteemed by the sovereign, which event must have taken place about B.C. 170, when Kiâ was only thirty-three. The Book is said to have contained, when it first appeared, an account of the royal progresses and of the altars and ceremonies of investiture, of which we do not now find any trace. Parts of it are taken from Mencius, from the Shû, and from the Commentaries of Kung-yang and Зo on the Khun Kiû; other parts again are not easily reconciled with those authorities. The Khien-lung editors deliver their judgment on it to the following effect: When it was made, the Î Lî must have appeared, but not the Kâu Lî. Hence the Banquet and Missions appear among the "Six Subjects of Teaching," and no mention is made of the minister of Religion, as one of the six great ministers, nor is anything said of the minister of War's management of the army. On a general view of it, many subjects are evidently based on Mencius, and whole paragraphs are borrowed from him. Nothing is said of the peculiar position of the son of Heaven, because in the Han dynasty, succeeding immediately to that of Khin, the emperor was to be distinguished from, and not named along with, the feudal princes. In what is said about the reports of the Income and fixing the Expenditure, only the Grand ministers of Instruction, War, and Works are mentioned, because these were the three ducal ministers of the Han dynasty, and the ancient arrangements were represented so as to suit what had come into existence. That nothing is said about altars and investitures arose from Wan's having disregarded in that matter the advice of Hsin-yüan Phing. It only shows how much the information of the compilers exceeded that of Shû-sun Thung and Sze-mâ Hsiang-zû. The Book was received into the collection of the Lî Kî, because it was made at no great distance from antiquity. It is foolish in later scholars to weigh and measure every paragraph of it by its agreement or disagreement with Mencius and the Kâu Lî.
This account of the Wang Kih must commend itself to unprejudiced readers. To myself, the most interesting thing in the Book is the information to be gathered from it about the existence of schools in the earliest times. We see at the very commencement of history in China a rudimentary education, out of which has come by gradual development the system of examinations of the present day.
Book IV. Yüeh Ling.
The Yüeh Ling, or "Proceedings of Government in the different Months," appears in the Khien-lung edition of the Lî Kî in six Sections; but it has seemed to me more in harmony with the nature of the Book and more useful for the student to arrange it in four Sections, and each Section in three Parts, a Section thus comprehending a season of the year, and every month having a part to itself. There is also a short supplementary Section in the middle of the year, at the end of the sixth month, rendered necessary by the Tâoist lines on which the different portions are put together.
Зhâi Yung (A.D. 133-192) and Wang Sû, somewhat later (in our third century), held that the Book was the work of the duke of Kâu, and must be assigned to the eleventh or twelfth century (B.C. But this view of its antiquity may be said to be universally given up. Even Kǎng Hsüan saw in the second century that it was a compilation from the Khun Khiû of Lü Pû-wei, still foolishly said by many Chinese writers to have been the real father of the founder of the Khin dynasty, and who died in (B.C. 237. Lû Teh-ming, writing in our seventh century, said, "The Yüeh Ling was originally part of Lü's Khun Khiû, from which some one subsequently compiled this Memoir." The Khien-lung editors unhesitatingly affirm this origin of the Yüeh Ling; as indeed no one, who has compared it with the work ascribed to Lü, can have any doubts on the matter. Of that work, Mayers says that "it is a collection of quasi-historical notices, and, although nominally Lü's production, really compiled under his direction by an assemblage of scholars," Mayers adds, that on the completion of the work, Lü Pû-wei suspended 1000 pieces of gold at the gate of his palace, which he offered as a reward to any one who could suggest an improvement of it by adding or expunging a single character.
Such was the origin of the Yüeh Ling. We do not know who compiled it from the Khun Khiû of Lü, but it was first received into the Lî Kî by Mâ Yung. It can be explained only by noting the Khin peculiarities in the names of titles and other things. It is in itself full of interest, throwing light on the ancient ways and religious views, and showing how the latter more especially came to be corrupted by the intrusion among them of Tâoistic elements.
The Book has sometimes been called "A Calendar of the Months of Kâu." Callery translates the name Yüeh Ling by "Attributs des Mois." My own translation of it is after Kǎng Hsüan, who says, "The Book is called Yüeh Ling, because it records the proceedings of Government in the twelve months of the year."
Book V. 𝖅ǎng-𝖟ze Wǎn.
This Book is named from the first three characters in it, meaning "The Questions of 𝖅ǎng-𝖟ze." Most of the different paragraphs or chapters in the two Sections of it commence in the same way. It is not found at all in the expurgated editions of the classic.
𝖅ǎng-𝖟ze, or Mr. 𝖅ǎng, about fifty years younger than Confucius, was one of the chief disciples of his school, perhaps the ablest among them. He was distinguished for his filial piety, and straightforward, honest simplicity. There is an interesting account of his death in Book II, i, Part i, 18. In the department of Liû Hsin's Catalogue, which contains "Works of the Literati," there are entered "18 Treatises (phien) of 𝖅ǎng-𝖟ze" but without any further specification of them. Ten of those treatises, or fragments of them, are found in the Lî of the Greater Tâi, but this Book is not among them, nor have I seen it anywhere ascribed to him as the writer of it. It must have been compiled, however, from memoranda left by him or some of his intimate disciples. The names of only two other disciples of the Master occur in it—those of 𝖅ze-yû and 𝖅ze-hsiâ. The reference to the disciples of the former in Section ii, 19, must be a note by the final compiler. The mention of Lâo-𝖟ze or Lâo Tan, and his views also, in Section ii, 32, 24, 38, strikes us as remarkable.
If it were necessary to devise a name for the Book, I should propose—"Questions of Casuistry on the subject of Ceremonial Rites." 𝖅ǎng-𝖟ze propounds difficulties that have struck him on various points of ceremony, especially in connexion with the rites of mourning; and Confucius replies to them ingeniously and with much fertility. Some of the questions and answers, however, are but so much trifling. Khung Ying-tâ says that only 𝖅ǎng-𝖟ze could have proposed the questions, and only Confucius have furnished the answers. He applies to the Book the description of the Yî in the third of the Appendixes to that classic, i, 40, as "Speaking of the most complex phenomena under the sky, and having nothing in it to awaken dislike, and of the subtlest movements under the sky, and having nothing in it to produce confusion."
Book VI. Wǎn Wang Shih-𝖟ze.
No hint is given, nothing has been suggested, as to who was the compiler of this Book, which the Khien-lung editors publish in two Sections. Its name is taken from the first clause of the first paragraph, which treats of king Wǎn, the founder of the Kâu dynasty, as he demeaned himself in his youth, when he was Shih-𝖟ze, or son and heir of his father. This is followed by a similar account of his son, who became king Wû; and in paragraph 3 the writer goes on to the duke of Kâu's training of king Khǎng, the young son of Wû. In the last paragraph of the second Section, the subject of king Wǎn as prince is resumed.
But the real subject-matter of the Book lies between those portions, and treats of three things.
First; Section i, paragraph 5 to the end, treats of the education and training of the eldest sons of the king and feudal princes, and of the young men of brightest promise throughout the kingdom, chosen to study with these. We learn much from it as to the educational institutions and methods of ancient times.
Second; in Section ii, paragraphs 1 to 15, we have the duties of the Shû-Зze, the head of an official Section, belonging to the department of the premier, whose special business was with the direction of the young noblemen of the royal and feudal courts in all matters belonging to their instruction.
Third; from paragraph 17 to 23 of Section ii, we have an account of the various ceremonies or observances in the king's feasting and cherishing of the aged, and of his care that a similar course should be pursued by all the princes in their states.
Book VII. Lî Yun.
Lî Yun means, literally, "The Conveyance of Rites." P. Callery translates the name, not unsuccessfully, by "Phases du Cérémonial;" but I prefer my own longer rendering of it, because it gives the reader a better idea of the contents of the Book. Kǎng Hsüan said it was called the Conveyance of Rites, because it records how the five Tîs and three Kings made their several changes in them, and how the Yin and the Yang, or the twofold movement and operation of nature, produced them by their revolutions. The whole is difficult and deep; and no other portion of the collection has tasked the ablest commentators more. The Khien-lung editors say that we have in the Book a grand expression of the importance of ceremonial usages, and that, if we are on our guard against a small Tâoistic element in it, it is pure and without a flaw. That depraving element, they think, was introduced by the smaller Tâi, who ignorantly thought he could make the Treatise appear to have a higher character by surreptitiously mixing it up with the fancies of Lâo and Kwang. But the Tâoistic admixture is larger than they are willing to allow.
Some have attributed the Book to 𝖅ze-yû, who appears, in the first of its Sections, three times by his surname and name of Yen Yen, as the questioner of Confucius, and thereby giving occasion to the exposition of the sage's views; others attribute it to his disciples. The second Section commences with an utterance of Confucius without the prompting of any interlocutor; and perhaps the compiler meant that all the rest of the Treatise should be received as giving not only the Master's ideas, but also his words. Whoever made the Book as we now have it, it is one of the most valuable in the whole work. Hwang Kǎn (in the end of the Sung dynasty) says of it, that notwithstanding the appearance, here and there, of Tâoistic elements, it contains many admirable passages, and he instances what is said about creation or the processes of nature, in iii, 2; about government, in ii, 18; about man, in iii, i, 7; and about ceremonial usages, in iv, 6.
But the Tâoistic element runs through the whole Book, as it does through Book IV. There is an attempt to sew the fancies about numbers, colours, elements, and other things on to the common-sense and morality of Confucianism. But nevertheless, the Treatise bears important testimony to the sense of religion as the first and chief element of ceremonies, and to its existence in the very earliesttimes.
Book VIII. Lî Khî.
Book VII, it was said, has been attributed to 𝖅ze-yû. I have not seen this ascribed to any one; but it is certainly a sequel to the other, and may be considered as having proceeded from the same author. The more the two are studied together, the more likely will this appear.
Callery has not attempted to translate the title, and says that the two characters composing it give the sense of "Utensils of Rites," and have no plausible relation with the scope of«the Book in which there is no question in any way of the material employed either in sacrifices or in other ceremonies; and he contends, therefore, that they should not be translated, but simply be considered as sounds.
But the rendering which I have given is in accordance with an acknowledged usage of the second character, Khî We read in the Confucian Analects, V, 3:—'𝖅ze-kung asked, "What do you say of me?" The Master answered, "You are a vessel" "What vessel?" "A sacrificial vessel of jade."' The object of the Book is to show how ceremonial usages or rites go to form "the vessel of honour", "the superior man," who is equal to the most difficult and important services. Kǎng Hsüan saw this clearly, and said, "The Book was named Lî Khî" because it records how ceremonies cause men to become perfect vessels." "The former Book shows the evolution of Rites; this shows the use of them:"—such was the dictum in A.D. 1113 of Fang Küeh, a commentator often quoted by Khǎn Hâo and by the Khien-lung editors.Throughout the Book it is mostly religious rites that are spoken of; especially as culminating in the worship of God. And nothing is more fully brought out than that all rites are valueless without truth and reverence.
Book IX. Kiâo Theh Sǎng.
The name of the Book is made up of the three characters with which it commences, just as the Hebrew name for the Book of Genesis in our Sacred Scriptures is Beraishith (בְּרֵאשִׁית). From the meaning, however, of Kiâo Theh Sǎng the reader is led to suppose that he will find the Treatise occupied principally with an account of the great Border Sacrifice. But it is not so.
The main subject of the Book is sacrifice generally; and how that which is most valuable in it is the reverence and sincerity of the worshipper, finding its exhibition in the simplicity of his observances. In the preceding Book different conditions have been mentioned which are of special value in sacrifice and other ceremonies. Among them is the paucity of things (Section i, paragraph 8); and this consideration is most forcibly illustrated by "the Single Victim" employed in the Border Sacrifice, the greatest of all ceremonies. At the same time various abuses of the ancient sincerity and simplicity are exposed and deplored.
The ceremonies of capping and marriage are dealt with in the third Section; and we are thankful for the information about them which it supplies. In the end the writer returns to the subject of sacrifices; and differences in the different dynasties, from the time of Shun downwards, in the celebration of them are pointed out.
The Khien-lung editors say that this Book was originally one with the last, and "was separated from it by some later hand." I had come to the same conclusion before I noticed their judgment. Books VII, VIII, and IX must have formed, I think, at first one Treatise.
Book X. Nêi 𝖅eh.
The title of this book, meaning "The Pattern of the Family," rendered by Callery, "Réglements Intérieurs," approximates to a description of its contents more than most of the titles in the Lî Kî. It is not taken, moreover, from any part of the text near the commencement or elsewhere. It is difficult to understand why so little of it is retained in the expurgated editions, hardly more than a page of P. Callery's work being sufficient for it.
Kǎng Hsüan says:—'The Book takes its name of Nêi Зeh, because it records the rules for sons and daughters in serving their parents, and for sons and their wives in serving her parents-in-law in the family-home. Among the other Treatises of the Lî Kî it may be considered as giving the Rules for Children. And because the observances of the harem are worthy of imitation, it is called Nêi Зeh, "the Pattern of the Interior." ' Kû Hsî says, that "it is a Book which was taught to the people in the ancient schools, an ancient Classic or Sacred Text."
Because the name of Зǎng-Зze and a sentence from him occur, the Khien-lung editors are inclined to ascribe the authorship to his disciples; but the premiss is too narrow to support such a conclusion.
The position of the wife, as described in Section i, will appear to western readers very deplorable. Much in this part of the Treatise partakes of the exaggeration that is characteristic of Chinese views of the virtue of filial piety.
The account in Section ii of the attention paid to the aged, and the nourishing of them, is interesting, but goes, as the thing itself did, too much into details. What is it to us at the present time how they made the fry, the bake, the delicacy, and the other dishes to tempt the palate and maintain the strength? The observances in the relation of husband and wife, on the birth of a child, and the education and duties of the young of both sexes, which the Section goes on to detail, however, are not wanting in attraction.
Book XI. Yü Зâo.
The name of the Book, Yü Зâo, is taken from the first clause of the first paragraph. The two characters denote the pendants of the royal cap worn on great occasions, and on which beads of jade were strung. There were twelve of those pendants hanging down, before and behind, from the ends of the square or rectangular top of the cap, as in the cardinal cap which is the crest of Christ Church, Oxford. But we read nothing more of this cap or its pendants after the first paragraph; and the contents of all the three Sections of the Book are so various, that it is impossible to give an account of them in small compass.
Kâng Hsüan said that the Book was named Yü Зâo, because it recorded the dresses and caps worn by the son of Heaven; but it is not confined to the king, but introduces rulers also and officers generally. It treats also of other matters besides dress, which it would be difficult to speak of in so many categories. Much, moreover, of the second Section seems to consist of disjecta membra, and the paragraphs are differently arranged by different editors. Here and there the careful reader will meet with sentiments and sentences that will remain in his memory, as in reading Book I; but he will only carry away a vague impression of the Book as a whole.
Book XII. Ming Thang Wei.
Readers will turn to this Book, as I did many years ago, expecting to find in it a full description of the Ming Thang, generally called by sinologists, "The Brilliant Hall," and "The Hall of Light;" but they will find that the subject-matter is very different. I have here translated the name by "the Hall of Distinction," according to the meaning of it given in paragraph 5, taking "distinction" in the sense of separation or discrimination.
The Treatise commences with, but does not fairly describe, the great scene in the life of the duke of Kâu, when as regent of the kingdom, he received all the feudal lords and the chiefs of the barbarous tribes at the capital, on occasion of a grand audience or durbar. The duke was the ancestor of the lords or marquises of the state of Lû,—part of the present province of Shan-tung. He was himself, indeed, invested with that fief by his nephew, king Khǎng, though, remaining for reasons of state at the royal court, he never took possession of it in person, but sent his son Po-Khin to do so in his room. Because of his great services in the establishment and consolidation of the new dynasty, however, various privileges were conferred on the rulers of Lû above the lords of other states. These are much exaggerated in the Book; and after the sixth paragraph, we hear no more of the Hall of Distinction. All that follows is occupied with the peculiar privileges said to have been claimed, and antiques reported to have been possessed, by the marquises of Lû. What is said has no historical value, and the whole Book is excluded from the expurgated editions.
The Khien-lung editors say that its author must have been an ignorant and vainglorious scholar of Lû in the end of the Kâu dynasty. Some have imagined that it was handed on, with additions of his own, by Mâ Yung to Kǎng Hsüan; but the latter says nothing about the other in his brief prefatory note.
The Hall of Distinction was a royal structure. Part of it was used as a temple, at the sacrifices in which peculiar honour was done to king Wăn (The Shih, IV, i, 7). It was also used for purposes of audience, as on the occasion referred to in this Book; and governmental regulations were promulgated from it (Mencius, I, ii, 5). To this third use of it would belong the various references to it in Book IV of this collection.
The principal Hall was in the capital; but there were smaller ones with the same name at the four points where the kings halted in their tours of inspection to receive the feudal lords of the different quarters of the kingdom. It was one of these which Mencius had in his mind in the passage referred to above.
In the 67th Book of the Lî of the Greater Tâi there is a description of the building and its various parts; and among the "Books of Kâu" said to have been found in A.D. 279 in the grave of king Hsiang of Wei, the 55th chapter has the title of Ming Thang, but it is little more than a rifacimento of the first four paragraphs of this Book of the Lî Kî.
In Morrison's Chinese Dictionary, vol. i, p. 51 a, there is a ground-plan of the Hall according to a common representation of it by Chinese authorities.
Book XIII. Sang Fû Hsiâo Kî.
This "Record of Smaller Points in connexion with the Dress of Mourning," is the first of the many treatises in our collection, devoted expressly to the subject of the mourning rites, and especially of the dress worn by the mourners, according to the degree of their relationship. The expurgated editions do not give any part of it; and it is difficult—I may say impossible—to trace any general plan on which the compiler, who is unknown, put the different portions of it together. Occasionally two or three paragraphs follow one another on the same subject, and I have kept them together after the example of Khung Ying-tâ; but the different notices are put down as if at random, just as they occurred to the writer.
Kû Hsî says that Зze-hsiâ made a supplementary treatise to the nth Book of the Î Lî, and that we have here an explanation of many points in that Book. It is so; and yet we may not be justified in concluding that this is a remnant of the production of Зze-hsiâ.
Book XIV. Tâ Kwan.
This Book, "the Great Treatise," has been compared to the Hsî Зhze, the longest and most important of the Appendixes to the Yî King, which is also styled Tâ Kwan.
It is short, however, as compared with that other; nor is it easy to understand, the subjects with which it deals being so different in the conceptions of Chinese and western minds. "It treats," said Khǎn Hsiang-tâo (early in the Sung dynasty), "of the greatest sacrifice,—that offered by the sovereign to all his ancestors; of the greatest instance of filial piety,—that of carrying back to his forefathers the title gained by the sacrificer; of the greatest principle in the regulation of the family,—that expressed by the arrangement of the names of its members according to their relations to one another; and of the course of humanity as the greatest illustration of propriety and righteousness. On account of this it is called The Great Treatise."
From this summary of its contents the importance of the Book will be seen. We know nothing either of its author or of the date of its compilation.
Book XV. Shâo Î.
The Shâo Î, or "Smaller Rules of Conduct," is akin to much of the first Book in our collection, "the Summary of the Rules of Ceremony." Shâo means "few," and often "few in years," or "young;" and hence some have thought that the subject of the Book is "Rules for the Young." So Callery, who gives for the title, "Règles de Conduite des Jeunes Gens."
But the contents cannot be so restricted; and since the time of Kǎng Hsüan, shâo has been taken by most Chinese commentators as equivalent to hsiâo, which occurs in the title of Book XIII. The difference between the two Chinese characters is not so great as that between these alphabetic exhibitions of their names. Lû Teh-ming says, "Shâo is here equivalent to hsiâo;" and Kǎng says, that the Book is named Shâo Î "because it records the small rules of demeanour at interviews and in bringing in the provisions for a feast." But the observances described are very various, and enable us to form a life-like picture of manners in those early days.
According to Kû Hsî, the Book was intended to be a branch of the smaller learning, or lessons for youth; but was extended to a variety of subjects in daily life and the intercourses of society. When and by whom it was compiled is not known.
Book XVI. Hsio Kî.
The Hsio Kî, or "Record of Studies," is a treatise of very considerable interest and importance. Khǎng-𝖟ze, whom Kû Hsî was accustomed to call his "Master," considered it to be, after Books XXVIII and XXXIX, the Kung Yung and Tâ Hsio, the most correct and orthodox Book in the Lî Kî.
The Khien-lung editors say that in paragraphs 4 and 5 we have the institutions of the ancient kings for purposes of education; in 6 to 19, the laws for teachers; and in what follows, those for learners. The summary is on the whole correct, but the compiler (who is unknown) did not always keep his subjects distinct. In the three commencing paragraphs the importance of education to the moral well-being of the people is strikingly exhibited. The whole displays an amount of observation and a maturity of reflection on the subject, which cannot but be deemed remarkable. The information about ancient schools and higher institutions may be found in the earlier Books, but we are glad to have this repetition of it.
Book XVII. Yo Kî.
The Yo Kî, or "Record of Music," will be found to have more interest for general readers than most of the other Books of the Lî. Khǎng-𝖟ze speaks of it in terms similar to those quoted from him in the preceding notice about the Hsio Kî. That, so far as correctness and orthodoxy are concerned, is next to the Kung Yung and Tâ Hsio; this is near to them. Its introduction into our collection is ascribed to Mâ Yung.
The old documents on music that had been recovered during the earlier Han dynasty, appear in Liû Hsin's Catalogue after those of the Lî, amounting in all to 165 phien, distributed in six collections. The first of these was the Yo Kî, in 23 phien; the second, the Kî of Wang Yu, in 24 phien. Khung Ying-tâ, deriving his information from a note in Hsin's Catalogue and other sources, sums up what he has to say about this Book in the following way:—On the rise of the Han dynasty, the treatises of former times on music, as well as the practice of the art, were in a state of special dilapidation. In the time of the emperor Wû, his brother Teh, with the help of many scholars, copied out all that remained on the subject of music, and made a Yo Kî, or "Record of Music," in 24 phien or books, which Wang Yü presented to the court in the time of the emperor Khǎng (B.C. 32-7); but it was afterwards hardly heard of. When Liû Hsiang (died B.C. 9) examined the books in the Imperial library, he found a "Record of Music" in 23 phien, different from that which Wang Yü had presented. Our present Yo Kî contains eleven of those phien, arranged with the names of their subjects. The other twelve are lost, though their names remain.
Most of the present text is found in Sze-mâ Khien's Monograph on Music; and as he was so long before Liû Hsiang (Khien died between B.C. 90 and 80), the Khien- lung editors suppose that it is one of the portions of Khien's work, supplied by Khû Shâo-sun, who was a contemporary of Hsiang.
Kû Hsî had a great admiration of many passages in the Yo Kî, and finds in them the germs of the views on the constitution of humanity, and on the action and interaction of principle and passion, reason and force, in the economy of what we call Providence, on which he delighted to dwell in his philosophical speculations. We expect from the title, as Hwang Kan-hsing (Ming dynasty) says, that music will be the chief subject of the Treatise, but everywhere we find ceremonial usages spoken of equally and in their relation to it; for, according to the view of the author, the framework of society is built on the truth underlying ceremonies, and music is the necessary expression of satisfaction in the resulting beauty and harmony.
Book XVIII. Зâ Kî.
Book XVII is given nearly complete in the expurgated edition translated by Callery, while the 18th or "Miscellaneous Records," happily rendered by him by the one French word "Mélanges," is reduced to about a third of its length in the Chinese text. Notwithstanding its name of "Miscellanies," the greater part is occupied with the observances of the Mourning Rites. Interesting questions concerning them are discussed, and information is given on customs which we do not find in such detail elsewhere, —such, for instance, as those relating to the gifts of grave-clothes and other things for the burial of the dead. Towards the end other customs, besides those of the mourning rites, are introduced. It would be a mistake, however, to suppose that this is done to justify the name of Miscellaneous Records given to the whole. It is a peculiarity of many of the other Books that the writer, or writers, seem to get weary of confining themselves to one subject or even to a few subjects, and introduce entries of quite a different nature for no reason that we can discover but their arbitrary pleasure.
The correctness and integrity of many paragraphs have been justly called in question. The authority of the Book does not rank high. It must be classed in this respect with the Than Kung.
Book XIX. Sang Tâ Kî.
Book XIII deals with smaller points in connexion with the dress of mourning; Book XVIII, with miscellaneous points in mourning; and this Book with the greater points, especially with the two dressings of the dead, the coffining, and the burial. Beginning with the preparations for death in the case of a ruler, a Great officer, or an ordinary officer, it goes methodically over all the observances at and after death, until the burial has taken place. It takes us into the palace, the mansion, and the smaller official residence, and shows us what was done at the different steps that intervened between death and the committing of the coffin to the grave. Some of the observances differ in minor points from details in those other Books, and in the Than Kung or Book II; but taking them all together, we get from them a wonderfully minute account of all the rites of mourning in ancient China. Wû Khǎng says, "This Book relates the greater rules observed in each event which it mentions." It was not intended to supplement the information elsewhere given about smaller details; and hence it is named "The Greater Record of Mourning Rites."
Book XX. Kî Fâ.
Kî Fâ, so named from the first two characters in the Book, and meaning "Laws or Rules of Sacrifices," is the first of three treatises, all on the subject of sacrifices, that come together at this part of the collection of the Lî. They were not, perhaps, the production of the same hand; but the writer of this one evidently had before him the 17th article in the first Part of the Narratives connected with the state of L£l, which form the second Section of "the Narratives of the States." That article contains an exposition of the subject of sacrifices by a Ken Khin, in deprecation of a sacrifice ordered by Зang Wǎn-kang, who had been for about fifty years one of the ministers of Lû. Bang died in B.C. 617.
Difficulties attach to some of the historical statements in the Book, which cannot be cleared up from our want of sufficient documents. The whole consists of two Parts, —paragraphs 1-8, and paragraph 9. All the former is excluded from the expurgated editions; but in it, as well as in the other, the sacrifices are mainly those to departed worthies. There is no idea of deprecation in them; much less of atonement. They are expressions of gratitude, and commemorative of men whose laws and achievements were beneficial to their own times, and helped on the progress of civilisation, so that they would be beneficial also to all ages.
In the conclusion, the sacrifices to the sun, moon, and other parts of nature appear; and it is said that they were instituted because the action of those bodies contributed to promote the comfort and agency of men. So far those sacrifices were a species of nature-worship; but the question arises whether they were not really offered to the spirits under whose guardianship those objects operated.
Book XXI. Kî Î.
The Kî Î, or "The Meaning of Sacrifices," "Sens des Sacrifices" in Callery, embraces a wider extent of subjects than the last Book. It treats first of the sacrifices to Heaven, and to the sun and moon in connexion with it, as well as of those in the ancestral temple, though the latter are the principal subject. The writer, whoever he was, goes fully into the preparations of the sacrificer, and the spirit of reverence in which the services should be conducted.
No idea of deprecation or expiation is expressed as belonging to the sacrifices. It is said, indeed, in Section i, 18, that the sacrifice in the suburb of the capital was the great expression of gratitude to Heaven.
In Section ii other subjects besides sacrifice are treated of. It commences with a remarkable conversation between Confucius and his disciple Зâi Wo, on the constitution of man, as comprehending both the Kwei and Shǎn, the former name denoting the animal soul, which, with the bones and flesh, "moulders below and becomes the dust of the fields;" while the latter denotes the intelligent soul or spirit, which issues forth at death, and is displayed on high in a condition of glorious brightness.
The ploughing of the special fields by the king and rulers of states, and the regulations for the nourishment of silkworms and the preparation of silk by their wives, are set forth, both operations being to provide the sacrificial grain and robes. After this we have the views of Зǎng-jze and one of his disciples on filial piety, which subject again passes into the submission of the younger brother to the elder, and the respect to be paid generally by juniors to their elders.
Book XXII. Kî Thung.
The "Summary Account of Sacrifices" is the last and longest, and, it may be added, the most interesting, of the treatises, specially on that subject. We find nothing in it, any more than in the others, of the idea of propitiation; but it gives many details of the purposes which the institution of sacrifices served in the Chinese state. The old commentators took the character Thung in the sense of "Root" or "Origin," and hence some English sinologists have named the book "The Origin of Sacrifices," and P. Zottoli gives for the title "Sacrificii Principium." Callery calls it, better, "Généralités sur les Sacrifices." The very able commentator Khǎn Hsiang- tâo compares the Treatise to "the large rope which controls the meshes of a net," saying, that it commences with sacrifice as coming from the feeling of the heart, and ends with the display of its influence in the conduct of government.
The concluding paragraph shows that it was written while the state of Lû still had an existence; and if the whole Book proceeded from the same hand, it must have been composed some time after the death of Confucius and before the extinction of Lû, which was consummated by Khû in B.C. 248. I think we may refer it to the fourth century B.C.
The doctrine of Filial Piety occupies a prominent place in it. Paragraph 13 and the ten that follow, on the connexion between sacrifice and the ten relationships of men, are specially instructive. The author writes forcibly and often subtilely; and can hardly do himself justice in the expression of his ideas. What he says on the subject of Inscriptions towards the conclusion is interesting. He was a true Lû man, and his views on the sacrifices of his state are contrary to the standard of Chinese orthodoxy about them.
Book XXIII. King Kieh.
King Kieh has been translated "Explanations of the Classics," and Callery gives for the title "Sens Général des Livres Canoniques." A slight attention to the few paragraphs which compose the Book, however, will satisfy the reader that these translations of the name are incorrect. No explanation is attempted of passages in the different King. The true meaning of King Kieh was given by Hwang Khan in A.D. 538. "Kieh," he says, 'is to be taken in the sense of "separation" or "division;" and the Treatise describes the difference between the subjects dealt with in the different King.'
The Book, though ingenious, is not entitled to much attention. The first two paragraphs, assigned to Confucius, could not have come from him. They assume that there were six King; but that enumeration of the ancient writings originated with the scholars of the Han dynasty. And among the six is the Khun Khiû, the work of Confucius himself, which he compiled only a year or two before his death. It was for posterity, and not for him, to raise it to the rank of a King, and place it on the same level with the Shû, the Shih, and the Yî. It may be doubted, moreover, if there were ever a Yo King, or "Classic of Music." Treatises on music, no doubt, existed under the Kâu dynasty, but it does not appear that there was any collection of them made till the attempts that have been referred to in the introductory notice to Book XVII.Who the ingenious, but uncritical, compiler of the King Kieh was is unknown.
Book XXIV. Âi Kung Wân.
"Questions of Duke Âi" is a translation of the three characters with which the Book commences, and which mean there "Duke Âi asked;" and the title is so far descriptive of the contents of the Book,—two conversations on ceremonies and the practice of government between the marquis Зiang of Lû, posthumously called duke Âi, and Confucius. The sage died in the sixteenth year of Зiang's marquisate. As an old minister of the state, after he had retired from public life, he had a right of entrance to the court, which, we know, he sometimes exercised. He may have conversed with the marquis on the subjects discussed in this Treatise; but whether he held the particular conversations here related can only be determined by the consideration of their style and matter. I am myself disposed to question their genuineness.
There are other recensions of the Treatise. It forms the third of the Books in the current editions of "the Lî of the Greater Tâi," purporting to be the forty-first of those which were in his larger collection; and is the same as in our Lî Kî, with hardly a variation. The second conversation, again, appears as the fourth article in the collection called the "Narratives of the School," but with considerable and important variations, under the title of Tâ Hwǎn, "The Grand Marriage." The first conversation is found also in the same collection, as part of the sixth article, called Wǎn Lî, or "Questions about Ceremonies." There are also variations in it; but the questioner in both articles is duke Âi.
The most remarkable passages of the Book are some paragraphs of the second conversation towards its conclusion. P. Callery translates Thien Tâo, "the Way of Heaven," in paragraph 16, by "La Vérité Céleste," and says in a note that Confucius speaks of this Tâo in a way not unlike Lâo-jze in the Tâo Teh King, adding that "these two fathers of Chinese philosophy had on this mysterious Being ideas nearly similar." But a close examination of the passage, which is itself remarkable, shows that this resemblance between it and passages of the Tâoist classic does not exist. See my concluding note on the Book. If there were a Tâoist semblance in the phraseology, it would make us refer the composition of the Treatise to the time of Khin or the early days of Han, when Tâoism had taken a place in the national literature which it had not had under the dynasty of Kâu.
Book XXV. Kung-nî Yen Kü.
The title of this Book is taken from the four characters with which it commences. Confucius has returned from his attendance at the court of Lû, and is at home in his own house. Three of his disciples are sitting by him, and his conversation with them flows on till it has reached the subject of ceremonial usages. In reply to their questions, he discourses on it at length, diverging also to the subjects of music and the practice of government in connexion with ceremonies, in a familiar and practical manner.
He appears in the title by his designation, or name as married, Kung-nî, which we find also two or three times in Book XXVIII, which is received as the composition of his grandson Khung Kî, or Зze-sze. This Treatise, however, is much shorter than that, and inferior to it.The commentator Wang of Shih-liang, often quoted by Khǎn Hâo, says, that though this Treatise has a beginning and end, the style and ideas are so disjected and loose, that many of the utterances attributed to Confucius cannot be accepted as really his.
Book XXVI. Khung-𝖟ze Hsien Kü.
The title of this Book is akin to that of the last, the characters of that leading us to think of Confucius as having returned from court to "his ease," and those of this suggesting nothing of his immediate antecedents, but simply saying that he was "at home and at leisure." Instead of being called, as there, by his designation, he appears here as Khung-𝖟ze, "the philosopher Khung," or "Mr. Khung."
The Book also relates a conversation, but only one disciple is present, and to him the Master discourses on the description of a sovereign as "the parent of the people," and on the virtue of the founders of the three dynasties of Hsiâ, Shang, and Kâu, illustrating his views by quotations from the Book of Poetry. His language is sometimes strange and startling, while the ideas underlying it are subtle and ingenious. And the poetical quotations are inapplicable to the subjects in connexion with which they are introduced. If the commentator Wang could not adopt the speeches attributed to Confucius in the last Book as really his, much less can we receive those in this as such.
From their internal analogies in form and sentiment, I suppose that the two Books were made by the same writer; but I have met with no guess even as to who he was.
Book XXVII. Fang Kî.
"The Dykes," which is the meaning of the title of this Book, is suggestive of its subject-matter. We have in it the rules or usages of ceremony presented to us under the figure of dykes, dams, or barriers; defensive structures made to secure what is inside them from escaping or dispersion, and to defend it against inundation or other injurious assault and invasion from without. The character, called fang, is used for the most part with verbal force, "acting as a dyke or barrier;" and it would often be difficult to say whether the writer was thinking of the particular institution or usage spoken of as fulfilling the purpose of defence against peril from within, or violence from without.
The illustrations are numerous, and they are all given as if they came from the lips of Confucius himself; but we cannot suppose that they were really from him. They are not in his style, and the reasonings are occasionally unworthy of him. Many paragraphs carry on their front a protest against our receiving them as really his. Nevertheless, the Book, though sometimes tedious, is on the whole interesting, and we like the idea of looking on the usages as "dykes." We do not know to whom we are indebted for it. One of the famous brothers Khǎng of the Sung dynasty has said:—'We do not know who wrote the Treatise. Since we find such expressions in it as "The Lun Yü says," it is plainly not to be ascribed to Confucius. Passages in the Han scholars, Kiâ Î and Tung Kung-shû, are to the same effect as what we find here; and perhaps this memoir was their production.'
Book XXVIII. Kung Yung.
The Kung Yung would be pronounced, I think, by Chinese scholars to be the most valuable of all the Treatises in the Lî Kî; and from an early time it asserted a position peculiar to itself. Its place in the general collection of Ritual Treatises was acknowledged by Mâ Yung and his disciple Kǎng Hsüan; but in Liû Hsin's Catalogue of the Lî Books, we find an entry of "Observations on the Kung Yung, in two phien;" so early was the work thought to be deserving of special treatment by itself. In the records of the Sui dynasty (A.D. 589-617), in the Catalogue of its Imperial library, there are the names of three other special works upon it, one of them by the emperor Wû (A.D. 502- 549) of the Liang dynasty.
Later on, under the Sung dynasty, the Kung Yung, the Tâ Hsio, or "Great Learning," which is also a portion of the Lî Kî the Confucian Analects, or the Lun Yü, and the works of Mencius, were classed together as "The Four Books," which have since that time formed so important a division of Chinese literature; and "the Kung Yung, in chapters and sentences, with a digest of commentaries on it," was published by Kû Hsî early in A.D. 1189. About 125 years afterwards, the fourth emperor of the Yüan dynasty enacted that Kû's edition and views should be the text-book of the classic at the literary examinations. From that time merely the name of the Kung Yung was retained in editions of the Lî Kî, until the appearance of the Imperial edition of the whole collection in the Khien-lung period of the present dynasty. There the text is given in two Sections according to the old division of it, with the ancient commentaries from the edition of "The Thirteen King" of the Thang dynasty, followed at the end of each paragraph by the Commentary of Kû.
The authorship of the Kung Yung is ascribed to Khung Kî, better known as Зze-sze, the grandson of Confucius. There is no statement to this effect, indeed, in the work itself; but the tradition need not be called in question. It certainly existed in the Khung family. The Book must have been written in the fifth century B.C., some time, I suppose, between 450 and 400. Since A.D. 1267, the author has had a place in the temples of Confucius as one of "The Four Assessors," with the title of "The Philosopher Зze-sze, transmitter of the Sage." I have seen his tomb-mound in the Confucian cemetery, outside the city of Khü-fû in Shan-tung, in front of those of his father and grandfather. There is a statue of him on it, bearing the inscription, "Duke (or Prince) of the State of Î."
It is not easy to translate the name of the Treatise, Kung Yung. It has been represented by "Juste Milieu;" "Medium Constans vel Sempiternum;" "L'Invariable Milieu;" "The Constant Medium;" "The Golden Medium;" "The True Medium;" and otherwise. I called it, in 1861, "The Doctrine of the Mean," which I have now changed for "The State of Equilibrium and Harmony," the reasons for which will be found in the notes on the first chapter of the present version. I do not here enter on an exhibition of the scope and value of the Book. It gives the best account that we have of the Confucian philosophy and morals, and will amply repay careful study, and hold its place not only in China, but in the wider sphere beyond it. The writer had an exaggerated conception of the sage; but he deserves well of his own country and of the world.
Book XXIX. Piâo Kî.
The character called Piâo is the symbol for the outer garments, and is used to indicate whatever is external in opposition to what is internal; the outside of things, what serves to mark them out and call attention to them. Hence comes its use in the sense which it bears in the title of this Book, for what serves as an example or model. Callery renders that title by "Mémoire sur l'Exemple;" Wylie, by "The Exemplar Record."
Piâo is also used for the gnomon of a dial; and the Khien-lung editors fix on this application of the character in explaining the name of the Book. "Piâo," they say, "is the gnomon of a dial, by which the movement of the sun is measured; it rises up in the centre, and all round is regulated by it. The Fang Kî shows men what they ought to be on their guard against; the Piâo Kî, what they should take as their pattern." Then they add—"Of patterns there is none so honourable as benevolence (or humanity proper), and to aid that there is righteousness, while, to complete it, there is sincerity or good faith, and reverence is that by which the quest for humanity is pursued." This second sentence may be considered a summary of the contents of the Book, which they conclude by saying, they have divided into eight chapters after the example of the scholar Hwang; meaning, I suppose, Hwang Khan, who has been already mentioned as having published his work on our classic in A.D. 538.
That division into eight chapters lies on the face of the Treatise. We have eight paragraphs commencing with the characters which I have rendered by "These were the words of the Master;" and these are followed by a number of others, more or fewer as the case may be, in which the words of the Master ("The Master said") are adduced to substantiate what has been stated in that introductory passage. The arrangement is uniform, excepting in one instance to which I have called attention in a note, and suitably divides the whole into eight chapters.
But no one supposes that "the words of the Master" are really those of Confucius, or were used by him in the connexion which is here given to them. They were invented by the author of the Treatise, or applied by him, to suit his own purpose; and scholars object to many of them as contrary to the sentiments of the sage, and betraying a tendency to the views of Tâoism. This appears, most strikingly perhaps, in the fifth chapter. On the statement, for instance, in paragraph 32, that the methods of Yin and Kâu were not equal to the correction of the errors produced by those of Shun and Hsîa, the Khien-lung editors say:—"How could these words have come from the mouth of the Master? The disciples of Lâo-Зze despised forms and prized the unadorned simplicity, commended what was ancient, and condemned all that was of their own time. In the beginning of the Han dynasty, the principles of Hwang and Lâo were widely circulated; students lost themselves in the stream of what they heard, could not decide upon its erroneousness, and ascribed it to the Master. Such cases were numerous, and even in several paragraphs of the Lî Yun (Book VII) we seem to have some of them. What we find there was the utterance, probably, of some disciple of Lâo-Зze."
No one, so far as I have noticed, has ventured to assign the authorship of this Book on example. I would identify him, myself, with the Kung-sun Nî-Зze, to whom the next is ascribed.
Book XXX. Зze Î.
It is a disappointment to the reader, when he finds after reading the title of this Book, that it has nothing to do with the Black Robes of which he expects it to bean account. That phrase occurs in the second paragraph, in a note to which its origin is explained; but the other name Hsiang Po, which is found in the same paragraph, might with equal appropriateness, or rather inappropriateness, have been adopted for the Treatise.
It is really of the same nature as the preceding, and contains twenty-four paragraphs, all attributed to "the Master," and each of which may be considered to afford a pattern for rulers and their people. It ought to form one Book with XXIX under the title of "Pattern Lessons." I have pointed out in the notes some instances of the agreement in their style and phraseology, and the intelligent reader who consults the translation with reference to the Chinese text will discover more. Lû Teh-ming (early in the Thang dynasty) tells us, on the authority of Liû Hsien, that the Зze Î was made by a Kung-sun Nî-Зze. Liû Hsien was a distinguished scholar of the early Sung dynasty, and died about A.D. 500; but on what evidence he assigned the authorship of the Book to Kung-sun Nî-Зze does not, in the present state of our knowledge, appear. The name of that individual is found twice in Lift Hsin's Catalogfue, as belonging to the learned school, and among "the Miscellaneous writers," with a note that he was "a disciple of the seventy disciples of the Master." The first entry about him precedes that about Mencius, so that he must be referred to the closing period of the Kâu dynasty, the third century B.C. He may, therefore, have been the author of "The Black Robes," and of the preceding Book as well, giving his own views, but attributing them, after the fashion of the time, to Confucius; but, as the commentator Fǎng Î (? Ming dynasty) observes:—"Many passages in the Book are made to resemble the sayings of a sage; but the style is not good and the meaning is inferior."
Book XXXI. Pǎn Sang.
This Book refers to a special case in connexion with the mourning rites, that of an individual who has been prevented, from taking part with the other relatives in the usual observances at the proper time. It might be that he was absent from the state, charged by his ruler with public business, or he might be in the same state but at a distance, and so occupied that he bad been unable to take part in the mourning services.
But they were too sacred to be entirely neglected, and we have here the rules applicable to such a case, in a variety of circumstances and different degrees of consanguinity. Some other matter, more or less analogous, is introduced towards the end.
We have seen how the first of the "Three Rituals" recovered in the Han dynasty was seventeen Books that now form the Î Lî. Kǎng Hsüan supposed that the Pǎn Sang had been another Book of that collection, and was afterwards obtained from the tablets found in the village of Yen-kung in Lû. It has been decided, however, that the style determines it to be from another hand than the Î Lî.
Here it is, and we have only to make the best of it that we can, without knowing who wrote it or when it came to light. The Khien-lung editors say:—"Anciently, in cases of mourning for a year or shorter period even, officers left their charges and hurried to the rites. In consequence of the inconvenience arising from this, it was enacted that officers should leave their charge only on the death of a parent. It was found difficult, however, to enforce this. The rule is that a charge cannot be left, without leave asked and obtained."
Book XXXII. Wǎn Sang.
The Wǎn Sang, or "Questions about Mourning Rites," is a short Treatise, which derives its name from inquiries about the dressing of the corpse, the putting off the cap and replacing it by the cincture, and the use of the staff in mourning. Along with those inquiries there are accounts of some of the rites, condensed and imperfect. The Book should be read in connexion with the other Books of a similar character, especially XIII.
Much cannot be said in favour of the style, or of the satisfactoriness of the replies to the questions that are propounded. The principal idea indeed in the mind of the author, whoever he was, was that the rites were the outcome of the natural feelings of men, and that mourning was a manifestation of filial piety. The most remarkable passage is that with which the Treatise concludes, that the use of the staff was not to be sought in any revelation from heaven or earth, but was simply from the good son's filial affection. The way in which the sentiment is expressed has often brought to my mind the question of the Apostle Paul about faith, in Romans x. 6-8.
Book XXXIII. Fû Wǎn.
Like the last two Books and the two that follow, the Fû Wǎn is omitted in the expurgated editions. It is still shorter than the Wǎn Sang, and treats also of the mourn- ing rites, and specially of the dress in it, and changes in it, which naturally gave rise to questioning.
The writer, or compiler, often quotes from what he calls the Kwan, a name which has sometimes been translated by "Tradition." But the Chinese term, standing alone, may mean what is transmitted by writings, as well as what is handed down by oral communication. It is used several times in Mencius in the sense of "Record" and "Records." I have called it here "The Directory of Mourning." Wù Khǎng says rightly that the Book is of the same character as XIII; that the mourning rites were so many, and some of them so peculiar, that collisions between different rites must have been of frequent occurrence. The Fû Wǎn takes up several such cases and tells us how they were met satisfactorily, or, as we may think, unsatisfactorily.
Book XXXIV. Kien Kwan.
The Kien Kwan is a Treatise on subsidiary points in the mourning rites. It is not easy to render the name happily in English. I have met with it as "The Intermediate Record." Kwan is the character spoken of in the preceding notice; Kien is the symbol for the space between two things, suggesting the idea of distinction or difference. Kǎng Hsüan says that "the name has reference to the distinctions suitably made in mourning, according as it was lighter or more important."
However we translate or explain the name, we find the Book occupied with the manifestations of grief in the bearing of the mourners; in the modulation of their voices; in their eating and drinking; in their places; in the texture of their dress; and in the various changes which were made in it till it was finally put off. Some points in it are difficult to understand at this distance of time, and while we are still imperfectly acquainted with the mourning usages of the people at the present day.
Book XXXV. San Nien Wǎn.
The "Questions about the Mourning for three years" is occupied principally with the mourning for parents for that period, but it touches on all the other periods of mourning as well, explaining why one period differs in its duration from the others.
Mourning, it is said, is the outcome of the relative feeling proper to man; the materials of the dress, the duration of the rites, and other forms are from the ancient sages and legislators, to regulate and direct the expression of the feeling.
What is said in paragraph 4 about the mourning of birds and beasts is interesting, but fantastical. Though the mourning for a parent is said to last for three years, the western reader is not to suppose that it continues to the end of that time, but simply that it extends into the third year. Virtually it terminates with the twenty-fifth month, and positively with the twenty-seventh. It is the eastern mode in speaking of time to say that it lasts for three years. Similarly, I have often been told that a child, evidently not more than six months, was two years old, when a little cross-questioning has brought out the fact that it had been born towards the end of the previous year, that it had lived in two years, and was, therefore, spoken of as two years old.
Book XXXVI. Shǎn Î.
The Shǎn Î is what we should expect from the name, a description of the dress so-called. It was the garment of undress, worn by all classes of the people, from the highest to the lowest, when they were at home and at ease. What distinguished it from other dresses was that in those the jacket or upper garment was in one piece, and the skirt or lower garment in another, whereas in this they were joined together, so that it could be put on and off with ease.
In the Khien-lung edition of the Lî Kî, chapter 29, second collection of Plates, there are pictures of the Shǎn Î, taken from Kû Hsî's "Rules for the Family," but they do not correspond with the description here. More accurate plates are to be found in a monograph on the subject by Yung Kiang, a senior licentiate of the present dynasty, which forms the 251st chapter in the "Explanations of the Classics under the Imperial dynasty of Khing." The proper meaning of Shǎn Î is "The Deep Dress;" but the garment was also called "The Long Dress," which suits our nomenclature better; and "The Inner Dress," when it was worn under another.
The reasons assigned for fashioning it after the description in paragraphs 3 and 4 are of course fanciful; but M. Callery is too severe on the unknown author, when he says:—"On est tenté de rire en voyant les rapprochements que l'auteur cherche à établir entre la forme de cet habit et les principes les plus abstraits de la morale. Je suis porté à croire que toutes ces allégories ont été imaginées après coup; car si elles avaient dirigé la coupe primitive du Shǎn Î, il faudrait dire que les ateliers des anciens tailleurs de la Chine étaient des écoles de mysticisme."
Book XXXVII. Thâu Hû.
The Thâu Hû, or "Pitching into a Jar," gives the description of a game, played anciently, and probably at the present day also, at festal entertainments. It was a kind of archery, with darts instead of arrows, and the hand instead of a bow; "the smallest," as King says, "of all the games of archery," and yet lessons for the practice of virtue and for judging of character might be learned from it. It is interesting to us, however, simply as a game for amusement, and a sufficient idea of it may be gained from this Book.
Two might play at it, or any number. The host and guest in the text are the representatives of two sides or parties. It was a contest at pitching darts into the mouth of a pot or vase, placed at a short distance from the players, —too short a distance, it appears to us. There was nothing peculiar in the form of the vase of which we have an account in paragraph 10. We are surprised to read the description of it in the late Dr. Williams' Syllabic Dictionary, under the character for Hû:—"One ancient kind (of vase) was made with tubes on each side of the mouth, and a common game, called Thâu Hû, was to pitch reeds into the three orifices." This would have been a different jar, and the game would have been different from that here described, and more difficult.
The style of the Treatise is like that of the Î Lî, in the account of the contests of archery in Books VIII-XI, to which we have to refer to make out the meaning of several of the phrases.
The Book should end with paragraph 10. The three paragraphs that follow seem to have been jotted down by the compiler from some memoranda that he found, that nothing might be lost which would throw light on the game.
Then follows a paragraph, which may be pronounced unintelligible. The whole Book is excluded from the expurgated editions.
Book XXXVIII. Zû Hsing.
The Zû Hsing, or "Conduct of the Scholar," professes to be a discourse delivered to duke Âi of Lû on the character and style of life by which scholars, or men claiming to possess literary acquirements, ought to be, and were in a measure, distinguished. Even so far back, such a class of men there was in China. They had certain peculiarities of dress, some of which are alluded to in Odes of the Shih. The duke, however, had not been accustomed to think highly of them; and struck by something in the dress of Confucius, he asks him if he wore the garb of a scholar. The sage disclaims this; and being questioned further as to the conduct of the scholar, he proceeds to dilate on that at great length, and with a remarkable magnificence of thought and diction. He pourtrayed to his ruler a man sans peur et sans reproche, strong in principle, of cultivated intelligence, and animated by the most generous, patriotic, and benevolent spirit. We are told in the conclusion that the effect on duke Âi was good and great. It made him a better man, and also made him think more highly of the class of scholars than he had done. The effect of the Book on many of the literati must have been great in the ages that have intervened, and must still be so.
But did such a conversation really take place between the marquis of Lû and the sage? The general opinion of Chinese scholars is that it did not do so. Lü Tâ-lin (of the eleventh century, and a contemporary of the brothers Khǎng), as quoted by the Khien-lung editors, while cordially approving the sentiments, thinks the style too grandiloquent to allow of our ascribing it to Confucius. Another commentator of the Sung period, one of the Lîs, holds that the language is that of some ambitious scholar of the period of the Warring States, who wished to stir up the members of his order to a style of action worthy of it. P. Callery appends to his translation the following note:—"In general, the maxims of this chapter are sufficiently profound to justify us in ascribing them to Confucius, in preference to so many other passages which the author of this work places to the credit of the great philosopher. We find nevertheless in it some ideas of which the really authentic works of Confuciusdo not offer any trace."
Book XXXIX. Tâ Hsio.
Like the Kung Yung (XXVIII), the Tâ Hsio has long been published separately from the other Books of the Lî Kî, and is now the first of the well-known "Four Books." As it appears in this translation, we follow the arrangement of the text given by the Khien-lung editors from that in the Thirteen King published by Khung Ying-tâ, who himself simply followed Kǎng Hsüan. Early in the Sung dynasty the brothers Khǎng occupied themselves with the Treatise; and thinking that errors had crept into the order of the paragraphs, and that portions were missing, made various alterations and additions. Kû Hsî entered into their labours, and, as he thought, improved on them. It is now current in the Four Books, as he published it in 1189, and the difference between his arrangement and the oldest one may be seen by comparing the translation in the first volume of my Chinese Classics and that in the present publication. Despite the difference of arrangement, the substance of the work is the same.
There can be no doubt that the Tâ Hsio is a genuine monument of the Confucian teaching, and gives us a sufficient idea of the methods and subjects in the great or higher schools of antiquity. The enthusiasm of M. Pauthier is not to be blamed when he says:—"It is evident that the aim of the Chinese philosopher is to exhibit the duties of political government as the perfecting of self and the practice of virtue by all men."
Pauthier adopts fully the view of Kû, that the first chapter is a genuine relic of Confucius himself, for which view there really is no evidence. And he thinks also that all that follows should be attributed to the disciple, Зǎng-Зze, which is contrary to the evidence which the Treatise itself supplies.
If it were necessary to assign an author for the work, I should adopt the opinion of Kiâ Kwei (A.D. 30-101), and assign it to Khung Kî, the grandson of Confucius, and author of the Kung Yung. "When Khung Kî," said Kiâ, "was still alive, and in straits, in Sung, being afraid that the lessons of the former sage (or sages) would become obscure, and the principles of the ancient Tîs and Kings fall to the ground, he made the Tâ Hsio as the warp of them, and the Kung Yung as the woof." This would seem to have been the opinion of scholars in that early time, and the only difficulty in admitting it is that Kâng Hsüan does not mention it. Notwithstanding his silence, the conviction that Khung Kî wrote both treatises has become very strong in my mind. There is that agreement in the matter, method, and style of the two, which almost demands for them a common authorship.
Book XL. Kwan Î.
A fuller account of the ceremony of capping is obtained from portions of the ninth and other Books, where it comes in only incidentally, than from this Book in which we might expect from the title to find all the details of it brought together. But the object of the unknown writer was to glorify the rite as the great occasion when a youth stepped from his immaturity into all the privileges and responsibilities of a man, and to explain some of the usages by which it had been sought from the earliest times to mark its importance. This intention is indicated by the second character in the title called Î, which we have met with only once before in the name of a Book,—in Kî Î, "the Meaning of Sacrifices," the title of XXI. It is employed in the titles of this and the five Books that follow, and always with the same force of "meaning," "signification," "ideas underlying the ceremony." Callery renders correctly Kwan Î by "Signification de la Prise du Chapeau Viril."
The Chinese cap of manhood always suggests the toga virilis of the Romans; but there was a difference between the institutions of the two peoples. The age for assuming the toga was fourteen; that for receiving the cap was twenty. The capped Chinese was still young, but he had grown to man's estate; the gowned Roman might have reached puberty, but he was little more than a boy. Until the student fully understands the object of the Treatise, the paragraphs seem intricate and heavy, and the work of translation is difficult.
Book XLI. Hwân Î.
After capping comes in natural order the ceremony of marriage; and we are glad to have, in the first portion of this Book, so full an account of the objects contemplated in marriage, the way in which the ceremony was gone about, and the subsequent proceedings by which the union was declared to be established.
The writer made much use of the chapters on marriage in the Î Lî. Nothing is said of the age at which it was the rule for a young man to marry; and this, we have seen, is put down, in other parts of this collection, as thirty. The same age is mentioned in the Kâu Lî, XIII, 55, on the duties of the marriage-contractor. But marriage, we may assume from the case of Confucius himself, actually took place earlier in ancient times, as it does now. The Зze, or name of maturity, which was given at the capping, is commonly said to be the name taken at marriage, as in Morrison's Dictionary, I, i, page 627.
The duties set forth in the Book, however, are not those of the young husband, but those of the wife, all comprised in the general virtue of "obedience." After the tenth paragraph, the author leaves the subject of marriage, and speaks of the different establishments of the king and queen and of their functions. So far what is said on these topics bears on marriage as it sets forth, mystically, that union as analogous to the relations of heaven and earth, the sun and moon, and the masculine and feminine energies of nature; and the response made by these to the conduct of the humanparties in their wedded union.
Book XLII. Hsiang Yin Kiû Î.
Hsiang was anciently the name for the largest territorial division of the state. Under the dominion of Kâu, from the hamlet of five families, through the lü, the jû, the tang, and the kâu, we rise to the hsiang, nominally containing 12,500 families, and presided over by a "Great officer." The royal domain contained six hsiang, and a feudal state three.
In more than one of these territorial divisions, there were festive meetings at regular intervals, all said to be for the purpose of "drinking." There was feasting at them too, but the viands bore a small proportion to the liquor, called by the name of Kiû, which has generally been translated wine, though the grape had nothing to do with it, and whether it was distilled or merely fermented is a disputed point.
The festivity described in this Book was at the true Hsiang meeting, celebrated once in three years, under the superintendence of "the Great officer" himself, when, in the principal school or college of the district, he assembled the gentlemen of accomplishments and virtue, and feasted them. His object was to select, especially from among the young men, those who were most likely to prove useful to the government in various departments of service. There was in the celebration the germ of the competitive examinations which have been for so long a characteristic feature of the Chinese nation.
The writer had before him the sixth and seventh Books of the Î Lî on the same subject, or their equivalents. He brings out five things accomplished by the ceremony, all of a moral and social nature; but in trying to explain the arrangements, he becomes allegorical or mystical, and sometimes absurd.
Book XLIII. Shê Î.
There were various games or competitions of archery; at the royal court, at the feudal courts, at the meetings in the country districts which form the subject of the last Book, and probably others of a less public and distinguished character. We have references in this Book to at least one of the archery trials at the royal court; to that at the feudal courts; and to one presided over by Confucius himself, of which it is difficult to assign the occasion. The object of the author is to show the attention paid to archery in ancient times, and how it was endeavoured to make it subservient to moral and educational purposes.
He had before him the accounts of the archery for officers in Books VIII, IX, and X of the Î Lî; but he allows himself more scope, in his observations on them, than the authors of the two preceding Books, and explains several practices in his own way,—unsatisfactorily, as I have pointed out in my notes.
Book XLIV. Yen Î.
The Yen Î, or "Meaning of the Banquet," is a fragment of only five paragraphs, which, moreover, are inartistically put together, the first having no connexion with the others. The Book should begin with paragraph 2, commencing:—"The meaning of the Banquet at the feudal courts was this." It was of this banquet that the compiler intended to give his readers an idea.
The greatest of all the ancient banquets was that which immediately followed the sacrifices in the ancestral temple, given to all the kindred of the same surname as the ruler, and to which there are several references in the Shih King. Thang San-jhâi (Ming dynasty) specifies four other occasions for the banquet besides this:—It might be given by a feudal prince, without any special occasion,—like that described in the second of the Praise Songs of Lû; or to a high dignitary or Great officer, who had been engaged in the royal service,—like that in the Minor Odes of the Kingdom, iii, 3; or when a high dignitary returned from a friendly mission,—like that also in the Minor Odes, i, 2; or when an officer came from one state to another on a friendly mission. Many other occasions, however, can be imagined on which public banquets were appropriate and might be given. The usages at them would, for the most part, be of the same nature.
The eleventh and twelfth chapters of the Î Lî are occupied with the ceremony of the banquet. The author of this Treatise quotes passages here and there from them, and appends his own explanation of their educational significance. Two lessons, he says, were especially illustrated in them:—the right relations to be maintained between superiors and inferiors, and the distinction between the noble and the mean.
Book XLV. Phing Î.
The subject of the Phing Î is the interchange of missions between the ancient feudal states. It was a rule of the kingdom that those states should by such interchange maintain a good understanding with one another, as a means of preventing both internal disturbances and aggression from without. P. Callery gives for the title:—"Signification (du Rite) des Visites." I have met with it rendered in English by "The Theory of Embassies;" but the Phing was not an embassy on any great state occasion, nor was it requisite that it should be sent at stated intervals. It could not be long neglected between two states without risk to the good fellowship between them, but events might at any time occur in any one state which would call forth such an expression of friendly sympathy from others.
A mission occasioned a very considerable expenditure to the receiving state, and the author, with amusing ingenuity, explains this as a device to teach the princes and their peoples to care little for such outlay in comparison with the maintenance of the custom and its ceremonies.
Those visits are treated with all the necessary details in the Î Lî, Books XV-XVIII; and though the extracts from them are not many, we get from the author a sufficiently intelligible account of the nature of the missions and the way in which they were carried through. In paragraph 11, however, he turns to another subject, and writes at some length about archery, while the concluding paragraphs (12 and 13) give a conversation between Confucius and his disciple Зze-kung on the reasons why jade is thought so much of. The three paragraphs have no connexion with those that precede on the subject of the missions; and the question arises—Whence were they derived? The previous paragraphs, taken from or based on the Î Lî, are found in one of the surviving Treatises of the larger collection of the Greater Tâi, the thirty-sixth Book, called Khâo-sze, in consequence of which the Khien-lung editors suggest that these concluding paragraphs were an addition made by his relative, Tâi Shǎng. It may have been so, but we should not thereby be impressed with a high idea of the skill or judgment with which Shǎng executed his work.
Book XLVI. Sang Fû Sze Kih.
This Book, with which the collection of the Lî Kî concludes, is an attempt to explain the usages of the mourning rites, and especially of the dress, wherein they agree, and wherein they differ, by referring them to the four constituents of man's nature,—love, righteousness, the sentiment of propriety, and knowledge, in harmony with the operations of heaven and earth in the course of nature. We do not know who was the author of it, but the Khien-lung editors contend that it could not have been in the original compilation of the Smaller Tâi, and owes its place in the collection to Kăng Hsüan.
The greater part of it is found in the thirty-ninth, or last but one, of the Books still current as the Lî of the Greater Tâi; and another part in the "Narratives of the School," the third article in the sixth chapter of that collection, the compilation of which in its present form is attributed to Wang Sû in the first half of our third century. But this second fragment must have existed previously, else Kǎng himself could not have seen it. The argument of those editors, therefore, that some scholar, later than the Smaller Tâi, must have incorporated it with what we find in the Greater Tâi, adding a beginning and ending of his own, so as to form a Book like one of those of Tâi Shǎng, and that Kǎng thought it worth his while to preserve it as the last portion of Shǎng's collection,—this argument is inconclusive. The fragment may originally have formed part of Tâi Teh's thirty-ninth Book or of some other, and the whole of this Book have been arranged, as we now have it by Shǎng himself, working, as he is reported to have done, on the compilation or digest of his cousin. However this be, the views in the Book are certainly ingenious and deserve to be read with care.
A few lines in Callery's work are sufficient to translate all of the Book which is admitted into the expurgated editions.
- See the 54th Book of the Biographies in the History of the Second Han Dynasty.
- In B.C. 164. See the Mirror of History on that year.
- 新垣乎. A Tâoistic charlatan, honoured and followed for a few years by the emperor Wân; put to death in B.C. 163.
- 叔孫通. A scholar of Khin; was a counsellor afterwards of the first and second emperors of Han.
- 司馬相如. An officer and author. Died B.C. 126.
- 呂不韋; 呂氏春秋.
- Mayers' Chinese Reader's Manual, p. 146. The 1000 pieces of gold suspended at Lü's gate are probably only a variation of what has been related in the preceding chapter of what was done by king Hsien of Ho-kien towards the recovery of the missing Book of the Kâu Kwan.
- 曾子; his name was (Shǎn, 參), and that which he received in his maturity, 𝖅ze-yü (子輿)
- 子遊 and 子夏.
- 禮 器.
- 少 and 小.
- 褚少孫 see Wylie's Notes, p. 14.