Cheng Tang 成湯
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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, 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 (, 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.

2. Qin Shi entry 4
4 lines.

3. Cheng Tang image
From 三才圖會 Sancai Tuhui

6. Original text
The original is as follows


Translation above is tentative.


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