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- Qin Shi #11
- Further under Confucian Qin Themes
琴史 #11 2
upper: "A true image of Confucius" 3
lower: Confucius playing the qin 4
In old surviving handbooks as well as in the active repertoire there are quite a few further pieces associated with, if not directly attributed to, Confucius. My own focus is on the earliest versions of those melodies that survive from Ming dynasty tablature;10 there are in addition a few new titles from Qing tablature.11
The rather long entry in Qin Shi about Confucius mentions at least three of these melodies (Yi Lan Cao, Jiang Gui Cao12 and Guishan Cao), plus You Lan (YFSJ p.840) and Wen Wang Cao (which Seng ascribes to Shi Xiang).
Qinshu Cunmu, Folio 16 quotes six stories about Confucius and the qin from a book called The Household Sayings of Confucius (Kongzi Jiayu).13
The story of Confucius studying qin with Shi Xiangzi is not told here, but with the biography of the latter (#32). Qin illustration 6 in Taiyin Daquanji claims to be a depiction of his Confucian Style [仲尼 Zhongni] qin.)
The Qin Shi biography of Confucius begins,14
Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)
Kongzi 孔子 (551 - 479 BCE)
See also in Wikipedia, as well as the comments below.
"孔子真影 True image of Confucius" (see also below)
Confucius playing qin
From 孔子聖蹟圖，河北美術出版社，1996 (Sagely Relics of Confucius, Hebei Fine Arts Publishing), an illustrated book of the life of Confucius originally published ca. 1930 but copying old images. There have been many such popular illustrations showing Confucius playing qin. Some are listed here.
The particular illustration above is an extract from "晝息鼓琴 Daytime leisure playing the qin" The full image shows 閩子 Minzi and 曾子 Zengzi listening.
Book of Songs: Confucius' 詩經 Shi Jing
Also called Classic of Poetry or Book of Odes, it has 305 poems. The best known English translation is by Arthur Waley. There are qin settings for its lyrics in several handbooks. The poems mention the qin in 8 poems, usually together with se. These could be instrument types rather than specific instruments.
Historical information on Confucius
As pointed out by Annping Chin (Wiki) in her Confucius, A Life of Thought and Politics (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008), the closest we have to actual historical details of the life of Confucius come from two classical texts most closely associated with him:
For online versions of the original text of these two sources see the Chinese Text Project,
The Analects and Chun Qiu Zuo Zhuan.
Early references to Confucius and qin
As for the earliest sources on Confucius (see previous footnote), The Analects mentions only a 瑟 se (translated by Legge as "lute") while Zuo Zhuan seems to have 11 references to 琴 qin. None of these has him playing one.
Qinshu Daquan, Folio 16, includes many early references to "qin", including the references from the Book of Songs, said to have been compiled by Confucius. However, as discussed under Origins of the Qin, it is not certain just whether at that time the characters 琴 qin and 瑟 se referred to the instruments we now know by those names. The earliest historical evidence for the long zither with seven silk strings that came to be known as "qin" dates from only the 3rd century CE. That information, though, does suggest it had been in existence in that form for quite some time.
Tradition of images showing Confucius with a qin
It is not certain when this began. This website includes a number of them, mostly linked here.
12 melodies commonly attributed to Confucius
The listing here comes from the Song dynasty list of qin melodies compiled by Seng Juyue. The 12 melodies attributed to Confucius are #24 - #35). The titles are:
As shown by the links, there are actual melodies associated with at least five of these titles
Surviving melodies associated with Confucius
See under Confucian qin themes.
Qing dynasty melodies associated with Confucius
See Later melodies on the theme of Confucius under Confucian Qin Themes.
Jiang Gui Cao: also called 陬操 Zou Cao 42622.10
Confucius' Household Sayings (孔子家語 Kongzi Jiayu)
This is a collection of stories attributed to Confucius, but most of them are thought to have originated at a later date. The earliest surviving compilation is by 王肅 Wang Su (195 - 256), who is thought to have added some of them himself. This book is quoted variously on this site: see especially the "six selections from four books" given in Qinshu Daquan Folio 16 #13.
I have an annotated Chinese edition with unnumbered chapters, published by 山東文藝出版社 1994. It presumably has been re-arranged: the titles do not correspond with the list of its 44 chapters online at the China Knowledge website, which translates the title as The School Sayings of Confucius.
The complete Chinese entry is as follows:
Punctuation mostly from Wang Mengshu and site.douban.com.
The original was not separated into paragraphs.
Return to QSCB, or to the Guqin ToC.