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Shi Cao
- Qin Shi Bu #16
師曹 1
琴史補 #16 2

Shi Cao (Master Cao) is said to have been a qin maker as well as player. There is more information on him with
qin illustration 15 in Taiyin Daquanji, said to be his qin called 鳳嗉 Feng Su (Phoenix Crop).

Some prefaces to the beginners' melody Caoman Yin say it was written by Shi Cao; this is not related here.3

Also not in Qin Shi Bu is a story about Shi Cao in the Shi Ji, Annal 37, Hereditary House of Wei. Here it says that in the 13th year of Duke Xian of Wei (556 BCE) the duke ordered Shi Cao to teach palace concubines to play the qin. The concubines were not very good so Shi Cao flogged them. The concubines used their position to disparage Cao to the Duke, so the duke flogged Cao with 300 lashes. (In the end) ....Cao used this with 孫林父 Sun Linfu (文子 Wenzi)4 to 攻 attack (verbally) Duke Xian. (This is related below.)

That story is continued in the Zuo Zhuan, Duke Xiang, 14th year (555 BCE). The Zuo Zhuan passage tells of Shi Cao teaching the qin to the favorite concubines of 衛獻公 Duke Xian of Wei; it then describes an occasion on which Shi Cao sang a song called Qiao Yan (Clever Words5).

The original Qin Shi essay is as follows.

Shi Cao (9129.xxx) was a man of 衛 Wei who made a qin called Phoenix Crop. On top were fastened two round cicadas. He wrote 39 preludes (引 yin) and fixed 67 seven melodies (調 diao). He used the qin for an audience with 靈公 Duke Ling (of Wei, r. 534 - 493). Whenever he played immortals would come.

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1 Xu Jian discusses him in his Outline History, Chapter 1. A. (p.3) (Return)

2 3 lines for him and for 師開 Shi Kai. The sources given for both of them are the Ming dynasty compendium 廣博物志 Guangbowu Zhi and the book called 晏子 Yanzi (see below).

Yanzi 晏子
Yanzi (14213.1/1) was the nickname of .66 晏嬰 Yan Ying, d.493 BCE. He was an official in 齊 Qi famous for thrifty habits. Qinshu Cunmu
Folio 16, #31 quotes him from Han Shi Waizhuan.

Yanzi is also 14212.1/2 the name of a book, also called .3 晏子春秋 Yanzi Chunqiu, in 8 Folio. The actual compiler is unknown.

3 操縵引 Caoman Yin (Return)

4 孫林父 Sun Linfu
Sun Linfu, style name 文子 Wenzi, was a high official at the court of 魏獻公 Duke Xian of Wei (r. 476 - 559 and 547 to his death in 544). The story of Sun Linfu not listening to the qin se again is mentioned in Kongzi Jiayu as well as Zuo Zhuan

5 巧言 Qiao Yan is the name of 詩經 Shi Jing, Mao#198. (Return)

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