T of C 
Qin as
Qin in
/ Song
Analysis History Ideo-
Personal email me search me
Qin bios     Dun Shi Cao 首頁
Xu You
- Qin Shi #12
許由 1
琴史 #12 2
  "許由墓 Grave of Xu You"3                      
Xu You is said to have been a recluse who lived "before 2200 BCE" on the south side of the Songshan mountain range midway between Loyang and Zhengzhou, specifically at 陽城槐里 Huaili in Yang Cheng, today's 登封 Dengfeng County in Henan. Today he is commemorated in that region, and memorialized by numerous pictures showing him washing out his ears after being offered the throne by then-emperor Yao. There are ancient records of important personages visiting his grave, perhaps on the top of Mount Ji, but the actual location of such a grave is, of course, not known.4

By some accounts Xu You was a recluse in 沛澤 Peize when Yao came to offer him the throne, so Xu You fled to an area on the north bank of the 穎水 Ying River, below 箕山 Jishan (Mount Ji), also said to be in Dengfeng county.5 Xu You supposedly wrote the qin melody 箕山操 Jishan Cao (see under Dun Shi Cao) to describe the story told here of his turning down Yao's offer to hand over the country to him. In some versions Yao came to Mount Ji, in others Xu You flees there after the offer. The earliest accounts tell of him washing out his ears because of the offense to them.

The entry for Xu You in Qin Shi says,6

At the time of Yao, Xu You was a recluse. Of old it was said, Yao formerly granted the rule of the earth to Xu You, but Xu You wouldn't take it; in fact, he was ashamed of this, (so) he ran off and hid in Mount Ji; as a result Jishan Cao has been transmitted. Today on the mountain top there is still a mound; (the Han dynasty historian) Sima Qian was of the opinion that this was the place; he said it was not completely seen in the six arts (propriety, music, archery, charioteering, writing and mathematics). Although speakers transmitted it with honor (?), how can we ignore this? The good civilian sages of old certainly included those who didn't use the earth to change their happiness. Yangzi (Yang Xiong, 53 BCE - 18 CE) said (Xu) You's pursuits were not of this world; this is believable. Whatever name of a qin piece was carried on to later generations perhaps he himself made it, or perhaps later people transmitted and sang it.

The complete original text is below.

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. 許由 Xu You (Wiki)

2. Qin Shi entry 9
4 lines.

3. Xu You's grave at 箕山 Mount Ji (expand; more images, including a Xu You Temple)
Here copied from henan.3158.cn, where it is said to be at 在中原腹地的登封市東華鎮箕山之巔,至今尚存四千多年前的許由墓(冢).

4. Location of the grave and memorials
This is not yet clear to me.

5. Location of Jishan
Also not certain.

6. Account of Xu You in Qin Shi
The original Chinese text is as follows


Translation above is incomplete.


Return to QSCB, or to the Guqin ToC.