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Yang Zuan
- Qin Shi Xu #20
楊纘 1
琴史續 #20 2

Xu Jian's History 6a3 and Rao Zongyi's Historical Account of the Qin (see especially Section 5 and Section 6) both have quite a few details on the qin work of Yang Zuan, whom Xu Jian calls Yang Zan.3 Yang Zuan/Zan was apparently born in the early 1200s, about 50 years after the other most important collector of qin tablature, Zhang Yan. He attained high official rank, specifically Chief Minister of Imperial Granaries (Sinong), and had particularly good official connections through a daughter who became a concubine of Zhao Qi (1222 - 1274), the Duzong emperor (r. 1265 - 1274). The Yang family was perhaps from Hezhou in Anhui, not far from Nanjing, but they traced their roots to a family surnamed Hong, from Poyang in northern Jiangxi.4

James Watt, in The Qin and the Chinese Literati, writes that "Yang Zuan was well known to writers on artistic matters including Zhou Mi (1232 - 1298),5 his younger contemporary, who wrote of him in admiration and with affection. It was mainly through Zhou Mi's writings that the legend of Yang Zuan's supreme musical talent has survived." To this Watt adds that Zhao Mengfu "criticised Yang Zuan for regarding the third string in the standard tuning of the qin as the fundamental of the scale (thus depriving the first string of its rightful place). The same criticism was voiced by Song Lian."

To this Rao Zongyi (op. cit.) adds that Zhao apparently ridiculed Yang for stressing only the expression of melodies without paying attention to rhythm, with the result that he had nothing on which to base the composition of the tablature. However, Rao adds that Yuan Jue, a student of 戴表元 Dai Biaoyuan and previously of Xu Tianmin, knew that Yang's tablature was based on that of Zhang Yan and Guo Mian; in his essay 琴述 Qin Narration Yuan Jue cleared Yang from such accusations.

Yang Zuan is said to have collected qin tablature and included it in a Zixiadong Qinpu. The only information there is is that it was listed in the 千頃堂書目 Qianqingtang Shumu.6 Elsewhere it is said that his house guests Xu Tianmin and Mao Minzhong did the work.

His biography in Qinshi Xu begins,7

Yang Zuan, style name Siweng, nicknames Shouzhai and Zixia, was originally from the Hong family of Poyang. The descendents called Yang became Hezhou people (in Anhui, near Nanjing). He rose in official position to be Chief Minister of the Court of the National Granaries. Military commander of Zhedong (around Hangzhou) arranged for his daughter to become Shufei(hou) (a high-ranking imperial concubine). He was then given the extra rank of shaoshi, an imperial middle rank personal tutor....

More to be added. 8

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. 楊瓚 Yang Zan or 楊纘 Yang Zuan
No explanation is given for the differences in writing his given name. The Qinshi Xu biography lists his names as Yang Zuan, style name 嗣翁 Siweng, nickname 守齋 Shouzhai and 紫霞 Zixia, and adds that he was originally from the 洪 Hong family of 鄱陽 Poyang.

15489.839/2 has 楊瓚 Yang Zan, saying only that he was a 宋人 man of the Song dynasty, 度宗淑妃父 father of a concubine of the Duzong emperor; style name 繼翁 Jiweng, nickname 守齋 Shouzhai. 官列卿 He was in charge of the (nine) great ministers of state. 能畫墨竹 Could paint, ink bamboo. 好博雅 He was erudit and 善琴 a specialist on qin.

Bio/859 has 楊纘 Yang Zuan. It says he was 開封人 from Kaifeng, a grandson of 楊次山 Yang Cishan (no bio); the rest of the entry is basically the same as above.

2. 10 lines. Sources listed are
直隸和州志 Zhili Hezhou Zhi,
齊東野話 Jidong Yehua,
佩楚軒客談 Pei chu xuanke Tan,
千頃堂書目 Qianqingtang Shumu,
蓴湖漫錄 Chunhu Manlu.

3. 楊瓚 Yang Zan; see footnote above: Xu Jian uses this as the main writing.

4. The Qinshi Xu biography gives as a reference 直隸和州 Zhili Hezhou. 23685.203 直隸 Zhili says it means 直屬 "directly subordinate to" as well as being an ancient name for Hebei province. It is a long entry, but it does not mention any connection with the Hezhou in Anhui. Another source says the family was from Kaifeng.

5. 周密 Zhou Mi
Zhou Mi (1232 - 1298; Bio/1527), style name 公謹 Gongjin, nickname 早窗 Zaochuang, was "poet, chronicler, calligrapher and lover of antiques." (ICTCL, p.325) from a prominent family of Jinan (Shandong). In his adult life he lived in Hangzhou. Tong Kin-woon's Qin Fu, pp.1696-9, has selections from two writings by Zhou Mi:

  1. 雲煙過眼錄 Yunyan Guoyan Lu (mostly from 卷下 last folio)
  2. 志雅堂雜鈔 Zhiyatang Zachao (more qin, including one named Shuangzhong).

Although both discuss qins and qin matters, they do not seem to include Zhou Mi's praise of Yang Zuan, or the account of a qin of Jin emperor Zhanzong being buried with him, then dug up 18 years later undamaged.

6. Book Index of the 1000 Qing Hall (千頃堂書目 Qianqingtang Shumu)
See details.

7. Original Chinese text
The original Chinese is as follows:



Sources given are: 直隸和州志,齊東野語,佩楚軒客談,千頃堂書目,蒓湖漫錄

Translation incomplete.



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