Qinshu Daquan Folio 1: 16 Essays
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Introducing the Qin
Qinshu Daquan Folio 1 (V/20-28) 1

16 Essays introducing the qin

  1. 白虎通 Baihu Tong (or Bohu Tong) (V/20)
    Comprensive Discussions in the White Tiger Hall
    Written by 班固 Ban Gu (32 - 92 CE)

    The qin signifies restraint.2 Restrain the heterodox to bring order to people's thoughts.

  2. 琴操 Qin Cao (V/20)
    Seems to refer to the
    Qin Cao by 蔡邕 Cai Yong (133 - 192)

    Fuxi made a qin in order to cultivate moral character, regulate disposition, and return to a natural state.

  3. 淮南子 Huainanzi (V/20)
    Liu An (d. 122 BCE)

    The Shen Nong clan made the first qin.

  4. 爾雅疏 Erya Shu (V/20)
    疏 Running commentary on the 爾雅 Er Ya (20199.17), "an ancient Chinese lexicographic work, apparently a collection of early glosses and explanation on words appearing in Zhou texts." (ICTCL, p.315, which adds that the traditional attributions are variously to
    Zhou Gong, Confucius and Zixia, but that it is probably 3rd or 2nd c. BCE).


    Here Erya Shu cites 廣雅 Guang Ya (9693.225), a lexicographic work attributed to 魏張挕 Zhang Die of the Wei dynasty (220-265). It is a compilation of glosses that had been found in earlier texts.

  5. 太史公 Taishi Gong (V/20-1)
    Taishi Gong (the Grand Historian, or the Grand Astrologer) was 司馬遷 Sima Qian (ca.145 - c.85 BCE). This extract is the last section of Annal 24 of his Shi Ji, on music. It comes directly after the passage on Shi Kuang from Annal 24 included at
    Folio 16, #8.


  6. 風俗通 Fengsu Tong (V/21)
    An extended passage translated in its entirety in Van Gulik, Lore, pp.72-3.
    (The same passage in Qinyuan Yaolu has a different ending.)

    Fengsu Tong says: Shi Ben respectfully gives the opinion that Shen Nong created the qin. Yue Shu says, Shun played a five string qin, sang the Southern Wind lyrics, and all under heaven was orderly.

  7. 樂書 Yue Shu (V/21-22)
    Yue Shu is the name of Annal 24 of the Shi Ji (see #5 above) but there are numerous other early works with this name. I have not yet located the source of the two long passages here:

    1. 樂書曰﹕形而上者謂之道。形而下者謂之器.....

    2. 傾(?)天地之和莫如樂。窮樂之趣莫如琴。蓋八音以絲為君....

  8. 琴瑟論 Qin Se Lun (V/22)
    21570.72xxx (qin se: no book, no lun)

    Li Shi Yue Shu has almost the same quote but refers to the source as 琴瑟上論 Qin Se Shang Lun. It begins,


  9. 樂志論 Yuezhi Lun (V/22-3)
    15829.88xxx (yue zhi: no book, no lun)


  10. 大晟樂書 Dasheng Yueshu (V/23-5)
    By 劉昺
    Liu Bing (Song dynasty; see in Qinshu Bielu, #72).
    5960.1128xxx (大晟詞 music during 1068-78)

    Dasheng Yueshu: Great is the qin for making music. Its structure is careful/detailed, so its righteousness is deep. Its sounds are beautiful so its effects are great....

  11. 崔尊度,琴箋 Cui Zundu, Qin Jian (V/25)
    Cui Zundu (954 - 1020); the following is also included with his Qin Shi biography.


  12. 琴德論 Qin De Lun (Discussion of Qin Virtue; V/26)
    21570.89 琴德﹕為琴所寓之德性 qin virtue: the virtuous nature that lies within the qin; quotes
    Baihu Tong and Xi Kang's Qin Fu


  13. 琴史 Qin Shi (V/26-7)
    This is the same as the ninth section in
    Folio 6 of Zhu Changwen's Qin Shi.


  14. 琴史,序 Qin Shi, Xu (V/27)
    The first 2/3rds of this quotes the first 2/3rds of Zhu Changwen's preface to his Qin Shi. However, it skips to something that looks like 曾旼 cengmin (14627.xxx) 序琴史 Preface to Qin Shi, something I have not located.

    • 曾旼序琴史曰﹕先儒有言八音以絲為君,絲以琴為君。予嘗求.... (論琴德).

  15. 振古琴苑,序 Zhen Gu Qin Yuan, Xu (V/27-8)
    "Received from Antiquity Qin Extracts" (12407.14 zhen gu only) is
    #145 in Qinshu Cunmu, but there is no information other than that it is listed in the Luzhutang Shumu.
    Another section is in Folio 16, #63


  16. 路史,論琴 Lu Shi, Lun Qin (V/28)
    Lu Shi, by 羅泌 Luo Mi (or Bi; prob. 13th c.; has biographies from pre-history)


Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Further information in the Preface. (V/....) refers to page numbers in Vol. V of Qinqu Jicheng. (Return)

2. "The qin signifies restraint" 琴者禁也
Van Gulik, Lore, p. 42, translates the commentary on this famous saying not from Baihu Tong but from 風俗通義 Fengsu Tongyi (a longer passage, quoted above, is also translated by Van Gulik). His translation here is as follows (he does not include the Chinese original):

Qin means restraining. With this instrument licentiousness and falsehood are restrained, and the human hand is rectified.

Van Gulik goes on to say that the phrase "qin means restraint" is the basis for the Confucian teaching that the qin is an instrument for "nourishing the heart" (養心 yang xin). He then translates a passage from Mencius (Book VII, 35) commenting on this.

To nourish the heart there is nothing better than to make the desires few. Here is a man whose desires are few - in some things he may not be able to keep his heart, but they will be few. Here is a man whose desires are many - in some things he may be able to keep his heart, but they will be few.

"Thus," (adds Van Gulik), "the qin, through its capacity for restraining human passions, was a suitable instrument for everyone desiring to become the ideal statesman and ruler of the Confucianist school of thought, the Superior Man, the 君子 junzi."

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