Zhang Yan
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Zhang Yan
- Qin Shi Xu #12
張巖 1
琴史續 #12 2

The biography of Zhang Yan in Qinshi Xu has only three lines, but there is more information available about him, specifically in Xu Jian's History 6a3, and Rao Zongyi's article on Song dynasty music, in particular in Section 4 and Section 5.

Zhang Yan was a noted scholar who attained his jinshi degree in 1169, 42 years after the fall of the northern Song dynasty. He thus came along about 50 years before the other most famous Southern Song collector of qin tablature, Yang Zuan.

Although Zhang Yan apparently grew up in the south under the Southern Song, his family maintained connections with their old home in the region under Jin control, north of the Yangzi river. His actual native region is unclear, as he is variously described as being from Zhili Hezhou, Daliang, Liyang and Guangling.3 In any case, family connections apparently gave him an excuse to travel north.

After passing the exams Zhang Yan rose in rank to be Grand Master of Splendid Happiness (Xu Jian) and/or Vice Grand Councilor (Rao). He vigorously supported the opinions of Han Tuozhou, who advocated military opposition to the Jin. Thus when Han was assassinated in 1206 Zhang Yan was also dismissed from office.

By that time, however, Zhang Yan had acquired old handbooks which had been heirlooms of the family of Han Tuozhou, as well as market-bought handbooks. He had apparently edited these together into a qin handbook of 15 folios, and prepared this for publication. However, because of the changed political situation he was unable to complete it. Instead he passed on the unpublished materials to his house guest, the famous qin player Guo Chuwang.

Qinshu Daquan has a poem by Zhang Yan's son 張侃 Zhang Kan, see

Folio 18, #57

The original biography in Qinshi Xu is as follows:

Zhang Yan, style name Xiaoweng, was from the directly ruled Hezhou. Song History says he was from Daliang, while the 書錄解題 Book Record Introduction says he was from Liyang. He attained his jinshi degreee in (1169,) the fifth year of the qiandao period. In the 38th year (or when he was 38?) he became a Participant in Determining Government Matters (Canzheng, also translated as Vice Grand Councilor). He used his skills at playing qin to become well-known in society. His writings include 琴操補十五卷調譜四卷 Qin Cao with 15 Folios Appended and Melody Tablature Four Folios.

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. 張巖 Zhang Yan
Bio/1216, from Kaifeng. Jinshi in 1169. His style name was 肖翁 Xiaoweng.

Compare 張炎 Zhang Yan, who was a contemporary of Yang Zuan.

2. The only source given in Qinshi Xu is 和州志 Chronicles of Hezhou.

3. Home region of Zhang Yan
10026.1575, based on Song History, says Zhang Yan was from 大梁 Daliang. The other places mentioned here, 直隸和州 Zhili Hezhou, 歷陽 Liyang and 廣陵 Guangling as well as Daliang itself, could also be places where his family had lived and he never visited, or places he was later associated with. One by one:

In addition, my historical atlas has Daliang as another name for Guangan Jun in Sichuan, about 300 km east of Chengdu.

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