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Cheng Tang
- Qin Shi #4
成湯 1
琴史 #4 2
  Cheng Tang, Conqueror of the Xia 3              
Cheng Tang (ca. 18th c. BCE) was also known as Tang the Conqueror (see Shi Ji #3; GSR I, p.41ff). He overthrew the last Xia ruler, the evil 桀癸 Jie Gui, and established the 商 Shang dynasty. However, he claimed legitimacy through a supposed direct ancestral line from 契 Xie, a son of 帝嚳 Emperor Ku, one of the earliest legendary emperors.

The entry here associates Cheng Tang with melodies called Instructions on Hunting (訓畋操 Xun Tian Cao, 36079.xxx) and Drained Fields Melody (畎畝操 Quan Mu Cao, 22265.5xxx). These can be found in some qin melody title lists but no music survives for either one. Song dynasty lists also attribute to him a 訓田操 Xun Tian Cao (36079.xxx), adding that it concerns military affairs. In addition, Yi Yin and Cheng Tang are sometimes connected to the melody Geng Ge.

The original entry in Qin Shi is tentatively translated as follows:6

Cheng Tang inherited the right to his position through Xie. Encountering the disorders of the Xia dynasty he nurtured benevolence and carried out righteousness in order to lead all the feudal princes. Once when out in the countryside he saw that someone had extended (bird-catching) nets on all four sides, and was praying, "From the four corners of the earth may the (birds) come into my nets." Tang said, "Aiya! This will exhaust them." He then removed the nets from three sides. If old it is said there is (a qin melody called) Instructions on Hunting Melody (訓畋操 Xun Tian Cao) connected to this story. Perhaps the one called Drained Fields Melody (畎畝操 Quan Mu Cao) has to do with Tang asking 伊尹 Yi Yin to Drain the Fields.

The complete original text is below.

 
Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. 成湯 Cheng Tang (Wiki)
11820.180 has the image at top.
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2. Qin Shi entry 4
4 lines.
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3. Cheng Tang image
From 三才圖會 Sancai Tuhui
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6. Original text
The original is as follows

成湯承契之基,逢夏之亂,修仁行義以率諸侯。嘗出野見張綱四面祝曰:自天下四面皆入吾綱。湯曰:嘻,盡之矣。乃去其三面。舊云有訓畋操。其謂此乎?或曰畎畝操也。蓋湯聘伊尹於畎畝而作也。

Translation above is tentative.
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