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Xu Li
- Qin Shi Xu #18
徐理 1
琴史續 #18 2
  徐理琴統圖 Diagrams from Xu Li's Qin System3      
Xu Li was from Nanxi in Fujian province, hence his "qin system" is sometimes called "Nanxi Qin Tong".4

According to Xu Jian's History, Chapter 6a3, at least three works can be attributed to Xu Li:

  1. Zhong Lü (Bell Pitches)5
  2. Qin Tong (Qin Rules), 1 folio
        originally published together with,
    Wai Pian Xu (Extra Publication Contued), 1 folio?;
        has sample image at right.6
  3. Aoyin Yupu (Mysterious Sounds Jade Handbook).7

In addition, Rao Zongyi, Section 7 mentions:

Lü Jian (Inspection of Tones)8

In QSCB, Chapter 6c5 Xu Jian discusses what Qinlü Fawei had to say about Xu Li's writings. And in Chapter 6a3 he says that Xu Li's Qin Tong so influenced Wang Zhi that he named his qin handbook Xilutang Qintong (1525).

Xilutang Qintong is said to begin (after introductory comments by Wang Zhi himself) with the entirety of, or extensive quotes from, Xu Li's Qin Tong. However, this is difficult to confirm because, to my knowledge, the original work did not survive, and Wang Zhi does not mention this title. The essay said to begin Qin Tong is actually called Zhui Gu (Pian).9 Thus the outline in Xilutang Qintong is,

However, the text there is rather different from other texts describing Xu Li's writing (e.g., in Qinlü Fawei). And whereas Xilutang Qintong does have numerous references to a Qin Tong, I have not yet found in it any direct mention of the name Xu Li.10

The original entry about Xu Li in Qin Shi Xu begins as follows:

Xu Li was from Nanxi. He was fond of qin from youth. He studied the essentials of musical sound and mathematics, then after 20 years he put this information into a book called 鐘律 Zhong Lü. In 1255 he presented this to the Lizong emperor (r. 1225 - 1265), attaining favor.11 Then 50 years later he devoted himself to making this work for the qin, writing Qin Tong in one folio....

More needs to be added.

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Xu Li 徐理 (from 南溪 Nanxi in Fujian, hence Nanxi was a nickname)
Xu Li seems to have been quite a well known music expert in the 13th century: see See Xu Jian, Outline History, 6a3 And Rao Zongyi, Section 7. In addition to the discussion of his system in Qinlü Fawei he is also mentioned by Zhang Yan (詞源), Yuan Jue (琴述) and Yu Yan.

10363.369 and Bio/1936 both refer only to a different person named Xu Li (a Ming dynasty military official from Henan who died in 1406).

2. 5 lines; sources given are:

However, apart from in Xilutang Qintong I have not found reference to Zhui Gu Pian.

3. Image: 徐理琴統圖 Diagrams from Xu Li's Qin System
Copied from Xilutang Qintong, QQJC, III/30. I do not understand Xu Li's system.

4. Nanxi Qin System (南溪琴統 Nanxi Qin Tong)
See QSCB, 6a3 as well as Qin Rules (or Qin System), below.

5. Bell Tones (鐘律 Zhong Lü); also called 鐘律書 Zhonglü Shu (Belltones Book)
The comment in the Qinshi Xu biography that Xu Li worked on this for over 20 years (see also Xu Jian) suggests this was his major work, but I have not yet found further information about it.

6. Qin Rules, 1 folio (琴統一卷 Qin Tong, yi juan)
    Extra Publication, continued (外篇敘 Wai Pian Xu)
Outlined in the
Xilutang Qintong Table of Contents, QQJC, III/9-37 or 9-47? There is confusion here because XLTQT III/37-47 has another 外篇一卷 Wai Pian, 1 folio. Qinshu Cunmu #112 does not seem to clarify.

7. Mysterious Sounds Jade Handbook (奧音玉譜 Aoyin Yupu)
Discussed by Chen Minzi in Qinlü Fawei?

8. Inspection of Tones (律鑒 Lü Jian)
Rao is quoting 袁桷 Yuan Jue.

10. See the beginning of the Xilutang Qintong Table of Contents

9. QSCM entry (#112) on Qin Tong

Qinshu Cunmu records Qin Tong as only a 舊鈔本 "old handcopied volume". It has an introduction then the two excerpts, copied here more clearly than elsewhere.

11. 得叨恩科給年五十後一意治琴... (?) En ke refers to a special civil service examination.

Return to QSCB, or to the Guqin ToC.