An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Mao Jin 毛晉

May 6, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Mao Jin 毛晉 (1599-1659), original name Mao Fengbao 毛鳳苞, courtesy name Mao Zijiu 毛子九 or Mao Zijin 毛子晉, style Qianzai 潛在, Yunhu 隱湖, or Dusu jushi 篤素居士, was a late Ming period 明 (1368-1644) book collector and publisher. He came from Changshu 常熟, Jiangsu, and was the owner of the library of the Lüjun Pavilion 綠君亭 that was also called Shimei Hall 世美堂 and later renamed to Jigu Hall 汲古閣.
Mao Jn published his first book in the age of 19 sui and chose editing as his main profession after he had failed in the provincial examination in 1627. In the following years he published prints of the Thirteen Classics with two layers of commentaries (Shisanjing zhushu 十三經注疏), the seventeen official dynastic histories Shiqishi 十七史, Li Shan's 李善 commentary to the anthology Wenxuan (Wenxuan Li zhu 文選李注), collected writings of Han 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE) to Southern Dynasties 南朝 (420~589) period writers (Han-Wei-Liuchao baisan mingjia ji 漢魏六朝百三名家集), Song period 宋 (960-1279) poems (Song mingjia ci 宋名家詞) and Ming period theatre plays (Liushi zhong qu 六十種曲). He was able to purchase part of Hu Zhenheng's 胡震亨 series Mice huihan 秘冊彙函 that he reorganised and published as Jindai mishu 津逮秘書. In 1641 he published the series Jishancang 徑山藏 that includes more than 200 books. After the demise of the Ming dynasty his editing work became scarce. The Jigu Hall continued publishing for many decades. Mao Jin's books were of a high printing quality and achieved a wide circulation. They therefore served as basic texts for a lot of Qing period 清 (1644-1911) editions. It is estimated that he published around 800 or more different titles. In 1842 two catalogues of his books were compiled, the Jiguge jiaoke shumu 汲古閣校刻書目 and the Jiguge keshu mulu 汲古閣刻書目錄, yet it must be assumed that these bibliographies are not complete. They were compiled by Mao Jin's son Mao Yi 毛扆 when the latter sold off the books of his father.
His love for books was so great that Mao Jin publicly announced that he purchased books at favourable prices. For a Song print he paid 200 cash a page, and for Song manuscripts 40 cash.
He so collected a lot of rare Song and Yuan period 元 (1279-1368) prints and manuscripts. These were accurately registered in his library and often republished in facsimile editions, famous as Maochao 毛鈔 "Mao's handwritten copies". Especially noteworthy is his reproduction of a Song period print of the dictionary Shuowen jiezi 說文解字.
The more than 840,000 juan "scrolls" of books in his library were stored in the Jigu Hall and the Mugeng Hall 目耕樓 in bookshelfs numbered according to the Celestial Stems and Terrestrial Branches. The Jigu Hall is divided into three wings and nine rooms and also housed the printing shop. It is known that at times he employed several hundred craftsmen. Mao Jin allowed many scholars consulting the books of his library. Those books that survived the ages were acquired and published in 1900 by the collector Huang Pilie 黃丕烈.
Mao Jin has also written a lot of books, among these the Maoshi caomu niaoshou chongyu shu guangyao 毛詩草木鳥獸蟲魚疏廣要 (also called Maoshi Lu shu guangyao 毛詩陸疏廣要), Sumi zhilin 蘇米志林, Yewaishi 野外詩 (collected poems), Yinhu shanzhi 隱湖山志, Haiyu gujin wenyuan 海虞古今文苑, Ciyuan yinghua 詞苑英華, Maoshi mingwu kao 毛詩名物考, Songci xuan 宋詞選, Yuxiang zaji 虞鄉雜記, Mingshi jishi 明詩紀事, Seng Hongxiu ji 僧宏秀集 and Yinxiu ji 隱秀集. The latter were republished during the Republican period in the series Yushan congke 虞山叢刻. Mao Jin's notes on various writings (tiba 題跋還) were republished in 1957 by Pan Jingzheng 潘景鄭 as Jiguge shuba 汲古閣書跋.

Han Dacheng 韓大成 (1992). "Jiguge 汲古閣", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, part Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 1, 423.
Kong Yi 孔毅 (1993). "Mao Jin 毛晉", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, part Tushuguanxue qingbaoxue dang'anxue 圖書館學•情報學•檔案學 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), 263.
Li Yu'an 李玉安, Chen Chuanyi 陳傳藝, eds. (1989). Zhongguo cangshujia cidian 中國藏書家辭典 (Wuhan: Hubei jiaoyu chubanshe), 158.
Xu Mou 徐謀 (1990). "Mao Jin 毛晉", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, part Xinwen chuban 新聞•出版 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), 206.