Zhu Changwen
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Zhu Changwen
- Qin Shi Xu #3
朱長文 1
琴史續 #3 2

Zhu Changwen (1041-1098) lived in and expanded his family's beautiful garden in Suzhou, where he had a reputation of as an scholar, a man of virtue and a gracious host.4 To describe this garden Zhu Changwen wrote an essay called "Record of the Joy Garden" (Lepu Ji).5 Based on this essay Zhu Changwen's garden, which included a qin terrace where Zhu himself enjoyed playing, must have been very different from the ones that replaced it during the Qing dynasty, in particular the one that still exists under the name Huanxiu Shanguan.6

Zhu Changwen is discussed in some detail by Robert Harrist in the appendix below as well as by Xu Jian in Qinshi Chubian, Chapter 6c1. As for his Qin History (Qin Shi), he wrote it as a series of biographies of real qin players and supposed qin players. It is organized as six folios, the first five having 146 biographical entries. Most of these entries begin with quotations from a variety of unnamed classical sources; sometimes quotes are added from works by the players themselves. For many of them Zhu added a few brief comments of his own. Folio 6 consists of 12 practical, theoretical and philosophical essays concerning the qin.7

Qinshu Cunmu has a Qin Handbook of Zhe(jiang) Melodies (Zhecao Qinpu), saying it was listed in Jiangyunlou Shumu and might have been compiled by Zhu Changwen. There is no evidence suggesting any part of this survived.8

The original Zhu Changwen biography in Qin Shi Xu begins as follows:9

Zhu Changwen, style name Boyuan, from Suzhou, was a grandson of Zhu Yi. Zhu Yi was deeply into qin, and Zhu Changwen carried on his studies. He thought that in the olden days people had written a lot about calligraphers and painters, and only qin hadn't been done. So he compiled Qin Shi, Six Folios. From ancient times it covered 146 qin experts, plus nine in attachments (see comment). Each one lays out the person's achievements, whatever melodies....

Translation incomplete.

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Sources for Zhu Changwen 朱長文 (see also the appendix)
Bio/556 gives his dates as 1039-1098. See also Zhu Changwen and Qin Shi in Qinshi Chubian, Chapter 6c1. Bio/556 and 14779.290 say 朱長文,吳縣人,字伯原 Zhu Changwen, from Wu county, style name Boyuan, grandson of 朱億 Zhu Yi.... They briefly mentions his reputation then list some of his writings as follows:

六經皆有辯說 (i.e., he also has commentaries on the classics)

In other words, both references mentions only a "Record of the Qin Terrace", with nothing about Qin History.

2. Nine Lines; Sources given as 宋史 Song Shi and 蓴湖漫錄 Chunhu Manlu.

4. Zhu Changwen in Suzhou
See the appendix below. Lepu (樂圃 le pu), the Zhu family garden, was "in the northwest section of Suzhou".

5. Record of the Joy Garden (Lepu Ji Le Pu Ji)
The description in this essay by Zhu Changwen is discussed in the article below. According to the sources mentioned in the next footnote, the garden was rebuilt many times. What survives today is dominated by a rockery built in 1807 CE by rockery master 戈裕良 Ge Yuliang.

6. 環秀山莊 Huánxiù Shānzhuāng
This title is translated as Mountain Villa of Secluded Beauty on the website of the 蘇州刺綉研究所 Suzhou Embroidery Research Institute (English). The address given is 272 Jingde Rd. (景德路), and this institute can be found there on the Google map. The Wiki article on this garden, which identifies it as having belonged to Zhu Changan, translated the title Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty; it says the garden is in the grounds of the Suzhou Embroidery Musuem, presumably attached to the research institute. From the available pictures and a comment on the Suzhou Government website, there is probably nothing left of Zhu Changwen's original garden in the modern version.

7. Qin History (琴史 Qin Shi)
As described in another footnote, at least 11 of the 146 biographical entries concern more than one person: two have two names in the entry title, nine have a second name appended underneath the title name.

Regarding the quotations, when quoting classical texts Zhu may often have been working from memory or from secondary quotations, as they are sometimes different from the quotations as found in what are considered authoritative editions.

8. Qin Handbook of Zhe(jiang) Melodies (浙操琴 Zhecao Qinpu)
Jiangyulou Shumu (絳雲樓書目 42556.81) attributed this work to "朱伯原 Zhu Boyuan". This must be Zhu Changwen: as the compiler of Qinshu Cunmu comments, Boyuan was Zhu Changwen's style name, so "perhaps it was by Zhu Changwen". The source given is 說郛本 Shuo Fu Ben.

9. Original Qin Shi Xu biography of Zhu Changwen
The original Chinese is as follows:

朱長文,字伯原,蘇州吳縣人,億之孫也。億邃於琴,長文傳其學。嘗謂書、畫之事古人猶多編述而琴獨未備,乃選《琴史,六卷》。記自古通琴理者一百四十六人。附見者九人。各臚舉其事蹟、凡操弄沿起制度,損益無不咸具視所作《墨池編》更為勝之。長文始舉進士乙科(? 己亥 is 1059)以病足不肯試吏築室樂圃坊。著書閱古吳人化其賢長吏至莫不先造請謀政所急士大夫過者以不到樂圃為眠恥名動京師召為太學博士遷秘書省正字元符初卒。有文三百卷。

Credited references are 宋史 and 蒓湖漫錄.

Zhu Changwen's garden in Suzhou
Extract copied from the Google Books
online preview
Robert E. Harrist, Jr.: Painting and private life in 11th century China: Mountain Villa by Li Gonglin (李公麟). Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1998, pp. 57-60. (Part of Chapter Three, The Transformed Landscape: Place and Persona in Northern Song Gardens)

A native of Suzhou, Zhu Changwen earned his jinshi degree in 1059 at the unusually young age of twenty and seemed destined for a fine career.(ref) He chose, however, to remain at home for most of his life, a decision made possible by his family's wealth. Although he suffered from a foot ailment that was said to have discouraged him from seeking office, this handicap did not keep him from climbing up an artificial hill in his garden and also provided a convenient excuse for distancing himself from political life during the period of Wang Anshi's ascendancy in the 1070s. Nevertheless, Zhu Changwen's learning and his reputation for virtue brought him considerable fame. Scholar-officials passing through Suzhou hoped to visit his garden and considered failure to secure an invitation a source of shame. It was only in the late 1080s, on the recommendation of Su Shi, that Zhu Changwen was persuaded to take office in Kaifeng, where he became a friend of Li Gonglin.

During the Northern Song, the golden age of garden life in Suzhou still lay several centuries in the future, but this ancient city already could boast a long history of garden building within its walls and in its suburbs. The site of Zhu Changwen's garden had been owned by Qian Yuanliao, the prince of Guanglin under the Wu-Yue Kingdom (907-78). According to Zhu, this prince liked to "build garden groves; therefore he channeled water to make ponds and piled earth to make mountains."(ref) The site of this garden, located in the northwest section of Suzhou, passed through several hands until it was purchased by Zhu's paternal grandmother, Madam Wu, around the year 1045. In this garden, Zhu tells us, his father and uncle had rambled and studied. Later, when the family acquired more land to the west, the garden was enlarged to a total area of over thirty mu.

When Zhu Changwen came of age he had buildings added to the western section of the garden, hoping that these would be occupied by his father during his old age. Just as the buildings were completed, around 1077, his father died, and Zhu took up residence in the garden himself.

In his long essay "Record of the Joy Garden" (Lepu ji) dated 1081, Zhu Changwen acknowledges the achievements of ancient worthies who actively served the world.(ref) He then cites other men, from antiquity down through Tao Qian and Bo Juyi, who, at various times, lived in retirement and devoted themselves to fishing, farming, or gardening. The circumstances of their lives were different, Zhu argues, but their joy (le) was the same. Expanding on the meaning of the word le, Zhu quotes two passages from Confucius: "To take joy [le] in heaven and to know one's fate; thus one has no worries." The second passage from the Analects - about Yanzi living in a rundown lane without his poverty altering his joy [le] - is the same one Sima Guang cites at the opening of his essay on the Garden of Solitary Enjoyment. Zhu Changwen says that it was these implications of the word le that led him to use it for the name of his garden, the Lepu. The word pu means literally "flower bed" or "plot," but it was used frequently, as Zhu used it, to refer to an entire garden. Zhu also took the name Lepu as his hao, and, in his honor, the neighborhood of Suzhou where he lived became known as the Joy Garden ward.

Zhu Changwen's garden was spacious, but it contained only ten buildings. As we have seen, this architectural sparseness was typical of Song gardens. The body of Zhu's essay tells us little, however, about the actual appearance of its sites; what it does clarify are the functions and activities for which the various sites were built:

Although my rooms are lowly and lack ornament, and my rundown kiosks are untiled, the scenic atmosphere is simple and rustic, as if set among cliffs and valleys. This can be admired.

In the garden is a hall of three bays. At its side are wings for housing my family. To the south of this is another hall, also of three bays. I call it Penetrating the Classics. This is where I discuss the Six Arts.(ref) To the east of the Hall for Penetrating the Classics is also the Milin Granary for storing the year's savings. There is a Crane Chamber for raising cranes and the Studio of Childish Innocence for instructing my children. At the northwest corner of the Hall for Penetrating the Classics is a high slope that I named Viewing Mountains Slope. On the slope is the Qin Terrace, and at the western corner there is the Studio for Chanting. These are the places where I strum my qin and compose poems, hence the names. Beneath the Seeing Mountains Slope is a pool....[In its center] is a kiosk called Ink Pool. Here I have gathered the masterpieces of the hundred masters [of calligraphy] and unroll them for my pleasure. On the bank of the pool is a pavilion called Brush Stream. I use its pure [water] to moisten my brush.(ref)

As he continues to map out the garden's sites, Zhu Changwen lists a Fishing Sandbar and three small bridges, one of which, called Western Steps, led to the western section of the garden where Zhu built a small earthen hill called Western Mound and a thatched building called the Flower Garland Meditation Hut, named for the same Buddhist set as the Flower Garland Hall depicted in Li Gonglin's Mountain Villa.

Zhu's essay continues with a description of the various trees and flowers cultivated in his garden and voices his pleasure in sharing these: "With the fruits and products of these plants one can amuse guests and friends and pour wine for relatives." Zhu ends his essay with a comprehensive portrait of his life in the garden:

As to [my life] in this garden, in the morning I read aloud from The Book of Changes of Fuxi and King Wen, and The Spring and Autumn Annals of Confucius. I search out the subtle points of The Book of Songs and The Book of History, and clarify the systems and rules of The Rites and Music. In the evenings I inspect the myriad histories, and go in succession through the hundred masters. I research what was right and wrong of ancient men, and rectify the accurate and inaccurate points in the former histories.

When I am at leisure, I roam about with my staff, climb heights and lean over depths. Flying birds are not frightened, and white cranes lead the way. I wade through shallow flows, wander about in level places. I plant trees and water the garden; in winter I plow, in summer I weed....

Although this garden was left to me by my late father, I have given my utmost to it for a very long time...is it not also worthy of joy? How can I enjoy it alone? The remaining traces of the former residence of Dai Yong [fifth cent.] and the hermitage of Lu Guimeng [d.881] have been preserved to this day. A thousand years from now, people of Wu still will point to this place and say to one another, "This is the former garden of the Zhu family." Recorded on the first day of the twelfth month of the third year of the Yuanfeng regin period [1081].(ref)

Although it is cast in the form of a record of his garden, Zhu Changwen's essay is actually a self=portrait of the writer engaged in the intellectual and aesthetic pursuits that defined his world as a scholar living in retirement. Portraying himself, near the close of the essay, in daily study of classical texts and histories, or instructing his children in the Studio of Childish Innocence, Zhu asserts his commitments to the great enterprise of transmitting Confician learning. Even his granary was named for a school, Milin, said to have been founded in antiquity by the legendary Emperor Yu. Other sites and activities recall the rounds of gardening and leisure followed by Sima Guang in Luoyang. Zhu's Fishing Sandbar, like Sima's Fishing Hut, probably alludes to Yan Guang, whom Zhu mentions at the beginning of his essay. The Viewing Mountains Slope, like the site with a similar name in Sima's garden, or, of course, all the other sites in Chao Buzhi's garden, alludes to the poetry of Tao Qian.(ref)

Other sites in Zhu Changwen's garden, and the activities he pursued there, gave his garden religious, artistic, and aesthetic dimensions that in combination were unique to his own life and interests. The Flower Garland Meditation Hut in the western sector of his garden points to Zhu Changwen's interest in Buddhism. Cranes, which Zhu raised in a special chamber, were popular pets in traditional China, but their presence in his garden evokes associations with Daoist lore or the world of immortals. Other sites were devoted to music and calligraphy. For Zhu Changwen these arts were more than casual scholarly hobbies. The Qin Terrace was a monument to the instrument Zhu made the subject of his History of the Qin (Qinshi). This six-chapter text, completed in 1084, includes a discussion of notable players from the Zhou (ca. 11th cent.-256 B.C.) through the Song dynasty and offers a practical guide to playing the instrument, on which Zhu himself was an expert performer.(ref) The Ink Pool and Brush Stream in Zhu Changwen's garden commemorated his passion for collecting and practicing calligraphy; it was among these garden sites devoted to calligraphy that Zhu composed another scholarly treatise, The Ink Pool Discussions (Mochi bian).(ref) This work comprises Zhu Changwen's own topical essays on philology, brushwork, collecting, epigraphy, and other subjects, as well as his transcriptions of earlier texts that have been transmitted only through his book.

But it is not only as a scholar and aesthete that Zhu Changwen presents himself in his garden. This was also a site in which Zhu fulfilled the roles of filial grandson and son, grateful for his grandmother's foresight in buying the land and eager to provide for his father's retirement. After his father died unexpectedly and Zhu Changwen himself became master of the garden, he devoted one site, the Studio of Childish Innocence, to educating his own children. In addition to members of his family, friends also were invited to enjoy the garden's pleasures, which Zhu, perhaps in a mild rebuke to Sima Guang, specifically refused to keep to himself. A place of security, comfort, and family continuity, the Joy Garden was worthy of its name.

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