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Qinshu Daquan
Great Collection of Qin Writings 1
Compiled by Jiang Keqian 2

Qinqu Jicheng. Vol V 3
by Zha Fuxi (1962); revised by Wu Zhao 4

In the collection of the Music Research Department of the Literature and Arts Research Academy of the Ministry of Culture,5 printed in Ming dynasty in 22 folios, this is a specialized book of qin essays compiled by Jiang Keqian of the Ming dynasty. The whole book largely consists of historical material concerning the guqin (including many old poems). At the front is a preface dated 1590 by Xiao Daheng6 and Jiang Keqian's own preface. After the preface is a table of contents.7 At the end is an afterword by Zhao Pengcheng.8 Folios 1 to 20 all discuss the qin; only folios 21 and 22 have qin tablature. In front of the tablature is an appended introduction by Jiang; in all 62 melodies are included.

This number of ancient qin books included here is quite large. Included are some that are very rarely seen, such as almost all of the Qinlü Fawei of the Yuan dynasty's Chen Minzi;9 also the finger technique (explanation) materials of such people as Zhao Yeli10 and Chen Zhuo11 of the Tang dynasty and Cheng Yujian12 and Yang Zuyun 13 of the Song dynasty; the record of guqin string methods from Qinyuan Ji;14 and so forth. These are all indispensible materials for research into the art of guqin.

According to Jiang Keqian's own preface, his great grandfather was "a qin fanatic who examined old documents and when he came across some which concerned qin he copied them out by hand; he was going to print these but in the end was unable to." (Jiang Keqian himself) as well as his grandfather and father "also subsequently enlarged this operation, looking though all the handbooks and using their own salaries to hire workmen to collect wood (to make woodblocks) and print them." (Jiang Keqian's) great grandfather was the father of the Jiajing (1522-67) emperor's mother, and these so-called "old documents" perhaps included materials from inside the imperial court.15

Coming to the qin tablature, they were only an appendix with 62 melodies. But these tablatures were all obtained from old collections of that day, and one cannot look at 62 pieces all taken from earlier handbooks and underestimate their value.

The table of contents for a "Yongle (1403 -1425) Qin Book Collection"16 as recorded in the Qinqing Tang Book Index is the same as (the table of contents) in the present book, but the "Yongle Qin Book Collection" was a hand copy and it wasn't a product of the Wanli period (1573 - 1620); probably it was a forgery by a Ming dynasty bookstore.

The Qinshu Daquan in the collection of the Music Research Department is a "cotton paper" well-printed Wanli edition, but it is missing all of folios 6 and 9 as well as the first page of folio 7 and page 37 of folio 15. The Tianjin People's Library and the Shanghai Library each have an edition. Although the paper is not of such high quality, they were in cloth slipcases. This edition used a photocopy of the Music Reseach Bureau's edition supplemented by copies of the missing pages taken from the edition in the Tianjin People's Library.

May, 1962, Zha Fuxi
Revised for this edition by Wu Zhao

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. 21570.xxx

2. 蔣克謙 Jiang Keqian 32570.xxx; Bio/xxx. The individual folios indicate he was from 金臺 Jintai (41049.911 Golden Terrace; .912 金臺夕照 a Stars Shining Golden Terrace in Beijing.) At the front of each folio is the name of the person who revised Jiang's work for publication.

3. Published by 中華書局出版社 Zhonghua Shuju at the 上海書店 printing house, 1980 (?)

4. Originally by 查阜西 Zha Fuxi, revised by 吳鉊 Wu Zhao

5. Original was in 文化部藝術研究院音樂研究所; still there?

6. 蕭大亨 Xiao Daheng (1532 - 1612)
Bio/2106: from 泰安 Tai An (below Mount Tai) in Shandong. 進士 Metropolitan graduate and government official with connections to 潞王 the Prince of Lu (presumably the father of Lu Wang).

7. QQJC, pp. 5-18.

8. 趙鵬程 Zhao Pengcheng (Bio/xxx)

9. 陳敏子 Chen Minzi (Bio/xxx); 琴律發微 Qinlü Fawei is in Folio 2 (QQJC, V, p.37). QSCM #146 is 琴律微發 Qinlü Weifa, but it says only that it is listed in the 菉竹堂書目 Luzhutang Shumu.

10. 趙耶利 Zhao Yeli, p.149?

11. 陳拙 Chen Zhuo (also 陳居士 Master Chen?), see p.160.

12. 成玉澗 (jian written 石+間) Cheng Yujian; in Folio 8 (p.155); see also Folio 10 (p.204)

13. 楊祖雲 Yang Zuyun, Folio 8 (p.253).

14. Qinyuan Ji

15. Old documents from the imperial court
For more details see the Cambridge History of China Vol.7, #1, p.440ff.

Zhu Jianshen, the Chenghua emperor (1447-1464-1487), was succeeded by his eldest surviving son Zhu Youtang, the Hongzhi emperor (1470-1487-1505). Zhu Houzhao (1491-1521), Zhu Youtang's only son by an empress, succeeded him as Zhengde emperor from 1505-21, but he died childless. Succession then passed to Zhu Houzong, the Jiajing emperor (1507-1521-1567), a grandson of the Chenghua emperor: Zhu Houzong's father, Zhu Youyuan, was the fourth son of the Chenghua emperor.

Zhu Youyuan (1476-1519), prince in An-lu (modern Wuhan), was fond of literary pursuits, as was his son, whom he often took on visits to Beijing. (This would have been around the time Zhu Youyuan's older brother's son was Zhengde emperor.) Zhu Youyuan married the daughter, nee Jiang (1477-1538), of an officer in the Beijing guard; this officer would have been the great-grandfather of Jiang Keqian.

When Zhu Houzong became emperor in 1521 at the age of 15, one of his first struggles was to legitimize his rule by giving his own family (his mother Empress Jiang in particular) supremacy over the family of the deceased emperor. Before this it is difficult to imagine the exact sort of access the senior Jiang would have had to imperial documents in Beijing; if still alive he would have been fairly old by the time his daughter, then 45, came to Beijing as mother of the emperor. But her brother and her brother's son (Jiang Keqian's father) presumably had good access, at least throughout the Jiajing reign.

Given the importance of this handbook and Jiang Keqian's imperial relations it is surprising that there seems to be no biography. If his great-grandfather was the father of Empress Jiang (born 1477) one can speculate that Jiang himself may have been born around 1520.

16 永樂琴書集成 Yongle Qinshu Jicheng

Return to the annotated handbook list or to the Guqin ToC.