Xu Shen
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Xu Shen
- 徐和仲 Xu Hezhong: Qin Shi Xu #74
徐詵 1
琴史續 #74 2

Xu Shen was the proper name of Xu Hezhong, who was born and apparently lived his whole life in Siming, a rural district west of Ningbo.3 His father Xu Xiaoshan had been sent there from Hangzhou as an official.

Xu Shen is discussed in QSCB and Rao for his prominence in the Xumen Orthodox Tradition. The lineage apparently was as follows:

Xu Tianmin; Xu Shen's great grandfather, the famous Hangzhou qin master
Xu Qiushan, Xu Tianmin's son
Xu Xiaoshan, the father of Xu Hezhong.
Xu Shen himself

The rather complex essay here in Qinshi Xu discusses various people associated with the Xu tradition of qin play. However, it does not discuss characteristics of this tradition, in particular making no comparisons with the Jiang tradition.4 It also makes no mention of Meixuowo,5 apparently the name of a handbook edited by Xu Shen but probably never printed. Had it survived it would have provided very interesting comparisons to Shen Qi Mi Pu (1425), compiled just a few years later, while Xu Shen was perhaps still alive.

The essay does say that Xu Shen created Wen Wang Si Shun. This title is generally associated with a melody surviving under various titles beginning with the qin melody (with lyrics added) Si Shun published in >1505 and the qin song (different lyrics but similar melody) Wen Wang Qu of 1511. In Wugang Qinpu, which directly connects several melodies to the Xu tradition, it is called Wen Wang Cao and there is no comment about Xu; Wen Wang Si Shi is given as an alternate title. None of the three early handbooks that specifically uses the title Wen Wang Si Shun mentions Xu Hezhong or the Xu tradition; see Faming Qinpu (1530), Fengxuan Xuanpin (1539) and Taiyin Chuanxi (1551).

In addition to Xu Shen there are:

徐宇 Xu Yu (see also in Rao, Section 9)
- nickname 雪汀 Xueting or 雪江 Xuejiang (i.e., Xu Tianmin?)

徐夢吉 Xu Mengji (i.e., Xu Xiaoshan)
- see also in Rao, Section 9

薛生 Xue Sheng

王禮 Wang Li

金應龍 Jin Yinglong

吳以介 Wu Yijie


Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Xu Shen references (See also in Rao, Section 9)
徐詵, Bio/xxx, but see Hsu Wenying, The Ku-Ch'in, p. 225, which quotes "the Index" saying he was a native of Ningbo who served as a supervisor during 1403-25, that he originated the Zhe school of qin, and that he wrote a 梅雪窩刪潤琴譜 Plum Snow Nest Revised Qin Tablature (see Meixuewo). She adds that "Records of Zhejing" say he was the leading player of his time, and that his great-grandfather was Xu Yu.

2. 12 lines; includes five other people; only source stated: 鄞縣志 Annals of Yin county (around Ningbo).

3. 四明 Siming is the name of some hills west of Ningbo. Often Xu Hezhong is said to be from Ningbo itself. Presumably this means 寧波府 Ningbo district, not Ningbo city itself.

4. The preface to Fengxuan Xuanpin by Zhu Houjiao says there were two types of melodies in those days. The 浙操徐門 Zhe melodies of the Xu tradition and the 江操劉門 Jiang melodies of the Liu tradition. Xu Jian's History, Chapter Seven discusses the Xu tradition in some detail, contrasting it with the Jiang tradition, the most famous master of which was 劉鴻 Liu Hong of 松江 Songjiang.

梅雪窩刪潤琴譜 Meixuewo Shanrun Qinpu (Plum Snow Nest Revised Qin Tablature)
Meixuewo was presumably a nickname of either Xu Shen himself or of his study. Qinshu Cunmu #163 confuses the name of this handbook, calling it Xuewo Shanrun Qinpu. It adds no signficant details, and the only other mention I have found so far is in connection with the melody Yu Ge. See also QSCB, Chapter 7.A.1

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