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Buxuxian Qinpu
Qin Handbook of the Strolling-in-Emptiness Immortal 1
ca. 1556
First page of the complete edition 2        
Although the edition of this handbook in Qinqu Jicheng has only Folios Five and Six of the original six folios, there are complete editions available in Taiwan and, apparently, Japan.3 Of the 53 melodies in the complete edition, two are the earliest known versions:

This handbook is mentioned by Van Gulik.

by Zha Fuxi4
from Qinqu Jicheng, Vol. 3
Beijing, Zhonghua Shuju Chuban Faxing,5 1982

(This handbook), in the collection of the Music Research Department of the Art Research Institute,6 is a Ming print; an incomplete edition with only Folios Five and Six, altogether 15 pieces. (The complete edition has 53 pieces, none with lyrics.7)

According what is recorded in Yuguzhai Kao Cunqinpu, 8 this book was compiled in 1556 by Gu Yijiang,9 the whole book having nine folios. The Catalogue of the Naikaku Bunko (Library of the Cabinet) in Japan records the same information.10

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Qin Handbook of the Strolling-in-Emptiness Immortal (步虛僊琴譜 Buxuxian Qinpu)
16621.81 步虛人 buxuren: a Daoist. .82-.84 have other Daoist terms. In various parts of the handbook itself it is also called simply 步虛僊譜 Buxuxian Pu.

Was it also called 步虛堂琴譜 Buxutang Qinpu? This is the title used in Lore of the Chinese Lute, by R. H. Van Gulik (Tokyo, Tuttle, 1940). "Chinese Literature on the Lute," p. 184. It is also compiled by Gu Yijiang in nine folios, with prefaces and an afterword by the same four people who wrote prefaces for the edition of Buxuxian Qinpu in Taiwan. The four are:

  1. 孫承恩 Sun Cheng'en (dated 1551; Bio/789: 1485 - 1565, from 松江 Songjiang, between Suzhou and Shanghai;
     noted calligrapher and painter; see also 明詩綜 Mingshizong, ch.74),
  2. 王挺 Wang Ting (undated; prob. not Bio/111: end of Ming, early Qing)
  3. 陳中州,號亢愓子 Chen Zhongzhou, nickname Kangtizi (1559; Bio/1365, from 青田 Qingtian, upriver from Wenzhou in S.E. Zhejiang)
  4. 王應侲 Wang Yingzhen (afterword; undated?; Bio/xxx but VG says Mingshizong, ch.51).

Van Gulik (op. cit p.184) adds,

"This handbook, too (previous entry is Shen Qi Mi Pu), is a fine specimen of Ming printing. Though rare, it is sometimes found in Chinese catalogues. Its contents are remarkable because of their originality: a great number of well-known tunes are given, but all were revised by the compiler, who considerably improved (sic.) their musical value. The book bears an outspoken Taoist character."

As with other mid-Ming dynasty handbooks, 31 of the 53 melodies seem to be variants of the same titles found in Shen Qi Mi Pu. However, its versions do not seem to be the same as those outlined in the comparative chart of melodies published in other 16th century handbooks.

2. Image
Copy made at the National Library, Taiwan

3. Complete editions of Buxuxian Qinpu
Zha Fuxi's preface mentions the its listing in the catalogue of the Naikaku Bunko in Tokyo, so presumably there is a copy in that library. There is definitely an edition in the National Libary, Taiwan - its Table of Contents is translated here).

4. 查阜西 Zha Fuxi, edited by 吳釗 Wu Zhao

5. 北京,中華書局出版發行

6. 文化部藝術研究院音樂研究所; is it still at the Music Research Department?

7. Complete editions of Buxuxian Qinpu
The preface later mentions the catalogue of the Naikaku Bunko in Tokyo, so presumably there is a copy in that library. In addition, there is one in the National Libary, Taiwan (see its Table of Contents).

8. Yuguzhai Qinpu is dated 1855. Are they the same?

9. Gu Yijiang 顧挹江
I have not found any biographical references for Gu, whose name means "Mr. Gu Who-bails-out-the-river". From the prefaces it seems that he was in the Jiangnan area, between Nanjing and Suzhou.

10. Naikaku Bunko 內閣文庫

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