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- Qin Shi #14
箕子 1
琴史 #14 2

In addition to the qin melodies here associated with Jizi, the melody Si Gui Yin has also been attributed to him, but without further explanation.

Jizi (Viscount of Ji), like Weizi (Viscount of Wei), was a relative the last ruler of the Yin (i.e., Shang) dynasty, Zhou Xin.4 Zhou Xin is always portrayed as corrupt and depraved. Zhou Xin's music is said to have been equally depraved,5 as was his concubine, named Daji.6

The account in Shi Ji, Annal 3, says briefly that in protest against Zhou Xin the Viscount of Ji acted crazily and was thrown in prison.7

Shi Ji, Annal 38,8 gives more detail, suggesting (as here) that he had criticized the corruption directly, adding that he later "lived as a hermit and 鼓琴以自悲 often plucked a zither to take pity on himself. For these reasons [the music he played] was called 'The Lament of the Viscount of Ji'." 9 No melody of this title survives in old tablature.

Yuefu Shiji, Folio 57, #12 (p. 829) has a "Jizi Cao, also called Intonation of Jizi,"10 with prefaces and lyrics as follows.

Melody of Jizi, by Jizi of Yin

(郭茂倩曰: Guo Maoqian said:)

Also called Intonation of Jizi

《史記》曰 Shi Ji (Annal 38 [p.1609]) said,


《古今樂錄》曰:Gujin Yuelu said,

During the time of Zhou Xin, Jizi acted as though he was drunk....

《琴集》曰:Qin Ji said,

Jizi Yin was created by the Viscount of Ji himself.

(Lyrics by) Viscount Ji of Yin


Shi Ji, Annal 38 (pp. 1620/1), also says Jizi wrote a Sprouting Wheat Ears Lyrics; it then quotes them.11

The original biography in Qin Shi is as follows:12

Jizi was a relative of Zhou Xin, the last Yin emperor. The Records of the Grand Historian say, .... (Mentions Jizi Cao.)

Incomplete. There does not seem to be any extant setting for qin of these lyrics.

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. 箕子 Jizi references
26722.3 箕子 Jizi: 商紂諸父,名胥餘。....Only reference: 史記,三 Shi Ji, 3

2. 10 lines

4. 紂辛 Zhou Xin (12th c. BCE)
Zhou Xin (Wiki), the last ruler of the 殷 Yin (商 Shang) dynasty, is famous for his debauchery and corruption. He is often called simply Zhou, not to be confused with the 周 Zhou of Zhou dynasty. Zhou Xin's biography is in Chapter 3 (Yin dynasty) of the Shi Ji (GSR, I, pp. 49 - 52). The Yin dynasty is said to have had seven capital cities, the major one being 殷 Yin itself, now a World Heritage Site called The Ruins of Yin (殷墟 Yin Xu; see Wiki).

On the advice of 崇侯虎 Marquis Hu of Chong (8330.52; mentioned also by Mozi, see Mozi Bei Ge), Zhou Xin imprisoned the virtuous Lord of the West (Wen Wang; see Juyou Cao). Honorable advisers subsequently left him, including his relatives Jizi and Weizi as well as Lü Shang (see Shi Xian). In the end Zhou Xin was defeated by Wu Wang, leading to the establishment of the Zhou dynasty.

5. Corrupt music of Zhou Xin
The corrupt music of Zhou Xin is often mentioned, including in the biographies of Shi Kuang, Shi Yan and King Zhuang of Chu. The Music Annals of the Shi Ji compare this music to the correct music of emperor Shun; see under Nan Xun Ge.

6. Da Ji 妲己
Also called Su Daji 蘇妲己, she was a concubine of Zhou Xin who is said to have encouraged his debauchery. In the novel 封神演義 Feng Shen Yanyi she tries to seduce 伯邑考 Bo Yi Kao (also written Bo Yikao and Boyi Kao; son of 姬昌 Ji Chang, i.e., Wen Wang) by having him teach her to play qin.

7. Shi Ji, Chapter #3 (Knechtges, I, p.51), has only a brief account. Details are in Chapter 38.

8. 史記卷三十八 Shi Ji Annal 38
宋微子世家 pp.1607-1634 (GSR V/I: The Viscount of Wei and [the Prince of] Song, Hereditary House 8, pp. 267-295)

The Viscount of Ji (Jizi) is mentioned in GSR V.I. on pp. 42, 43, 132, 269 (see below), 271, 276, 290, 291 (poem about Ji), 293 and 319.

Page 269 (p.1609 of the Chinese edition) has the passage relevant to Jizi playing qin. It is translated in GSR V.I. as follows (romanization changed):

The Viscount of Ji was a relative of Zhou. When Zhou first made ivory chopsticks, the Viscount of Ji sighed, saying, "[Since] he makes ivory chopsticks, he will certainly make [jade] cups; [Since] he makes [jade] cups, he will certainly long for the precious and rare things from afar and use them. The increasing [extravagance in] carriages and horses, palaces and halls, will begin from this, and he will never be saved. When Zhou was given to debauchery, the Viscount of Ji tried to admonish him, but he would not listen. Someone said, "You can leave for this." The Viscount of Ji replied, "As a vassal, if I leave just because I tried to admonish my lord and he would not listen, it would be displaying the wrongdoings of my lord and trying to ingratiate myself with the people. I cannot bear to do it." Then, letting his hair down, he pretended to be mad and became a slave. Later he lived as a hermit and often plucked a zither to take pity on himself. For these reasons [the music he played] was called 'The Lament of the Viscount of Ji'."

The Chinese edition p.1620-1 also has the lyrics to the Sprouting Wheat Ears Song. This and its introduction are translated in GSR V.I. as follows (pp. 276-7, romanization again changed):

Afterward, when the Viscount of Ji went to pay homage to Zhou, he passed by the ruins [of the capital] of the former Yin. Moved by the fact that the palaces and houses had been destroyed and millets and sticky millets grew there, the Viscount of Ji was sorrowed by it. He wanted to cry, but [thought that] it would not be proper; he wanted to weep quietly, but it would be considered being like a woman. Thus he composed the poem, "Wheat Sprouting Ears," to sing of it.

His poem says,

"Wheats sprouting up ears, how sharp are their awns;
      millets and sticky millets grow, how green and lush they are!
The mischievous boy, why are not you dear to me?"

The 'mischievous boy' was King Zhou [of Yin]. When the people of Yin heard it, all shed tears over it.

There seem to be no surviving qin settings for this title or these lyrics.

9. 箕子操 Jizi Cao (Jizi's Melody)
26722.4 箕子操 quotes YFSJ and Shi Ji, Annal 38. Qin Shi mentions the melody but does not include the lyrics. Qin Cao has only the unrelated 箕山操 Mount Ji Melody.

10. 箕子吟 Jizi Yin. 26722.xxx.

11. Sprouting Wheat Ears Song (麥秀歌 Mai Xiu Ge)
48695.34 麥秀歌 Mai Xiu Ge says it is also called Mourning Yin Melody, then quotes the Shi Ji (pp. 1620/1) passage, including the lyrics, which are as follows:


Translated above.

Mourning Yin melody (傷殷操 Shang Yin Cao)
1083.71 傷殷操 Shang Yin Cao also says it is the same as Mai Xiu Ge, but it attributes it to

12. Original Qin Shi entry for Jizi
The original text is as follows,


Not yet translated. The text here was copied from www.yueqiziliao.com, which adds some explanation.


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