An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Guweishu 古微書

May 28. 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Guweishu 古微書 "Ancient apocryphal texts" is a collection of ancient apocryphal classics compiled during the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) by Sun Jue 孫瑴 (also written Sun Jue 孫玨, 1585-1643), courtesy name Zishuang 子雙. About his life not much is known.

His collection with a length of 36 juan is of great importance for the study of Han-period 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE) Confucianism. Besides the two larger and orthodox traditions of the old-text and the new-text schools, there was the tradition of apocryphal texts that interpreted the Confucian Classics as revelations of Heaven's will. These texts therefore concentrate on omina and portents.

Apart from books about the proper Classics (Shangshu 尚書, Chunqiu 春秋, Yijing 易經, Liji 禮記, Yue 樂, Shijing 詩經, Lunyu 論語 and Xiaojing 孝經), the apocryphal corpus also includes texts about the "River Chart" Hetu 河圖 and the "Scripture from the River Luo" Luoshu 洛書.

During the Sui period 隋 (581-618), the apocryphal tradition was forbidden by law, and many texts went lost thereafter. It was only during the Song period 宋 (960-1279) that Neo-Confucian scholars again became interested in these texts because cosmological speculations - important in Neo-Confucianism philosophy - played a crucial role in the apocryphal texts. In the course of time a lot of apocryphal texts came to light, so that Sun Jue was able to compile this considerably large collection.

He divided the corpus apocryphal texts into four parts, namely Fenwei 焚微 "Burnt apocryphals" (early texts that survived the imperial order of the First Emperor of Qin 秦始皇帝 to destroy "unnecessary" texts), Xianwei 線微 "Thread apocryphals" (commentaries written between the Han and Jin 晉 periods), Quewei 闕微 "Gate-tower apocryphals" (written in oldest times), and Shanwei 刪微 "Abridged apocryphals". Of Sun's collection Guweishu, only the last category has survived.

Sun Jue's sources were quotations in the standard commentaries to the Thirteen Classics, the Shisanjing zhushu 十三經注疏, quotations in the treatises of the official dynastic histories, as well as the encyclopaedias Taiping yulan 太平御覽, Yuhai 玉海 and the history books Tongdian 通典, Tongzhi 通志 and Wenxian tongkao 文獻通考.

These quotations differ widely in length and it is difficult to establish an order among them. Each chapter includes a short introduction into the theme, and each fragment is shortly commented because the obscure statements of this type of writings is not easy to understand. Although the apocryphal texts of ancient China are thus only surviving in short quotations, Sun Jue's collection is of greatest help to at least have an impression about the philosophy and the worldview of these writings.

Yet Sun Jue also made some clear mistakes (like the interpretation of the chapter Hongfan wuxing zhuan 洪範五行傳 in the book Shangshu dazhuan 尚書大傳 as an apocryphal writing by Yu the Great 大禹), and he also omitted some important fragments to be found in the texts Kaiyuan zhanjing 開元占經 or Wuxing dayi 五行大義. Yet the greatest shortcoming of Sun Jue's collection is that he did not indicate his sources, which makes it nearly impossible to trace a lot of quotations in the original texts.

The Guweishu was printed during the Chongzhen reign-period 崇禎 (1628-1644), and there is also a manuscript version produced during the Qing period.

Table 1. The series Guweishu 古微書
(Ming) 孫瑴 Sun Jue (comp.)
Mohai jinhu 墨海金壺 edition
書名, length in juan Title
尚書緯 Shangshu wei
尚書考靈曜 二卷 Shangshu kaoling yao
尚書帝命驗 一卷 Shangshu diming yan
尚書五行傳 Shangshu wuxing zhuan
尚書璇璣鈐 Shangshu xuanji qian
尚書刑德放 Shangshu xingde fang
尚書運期授 Shangshu yunqi shou
尚書帝驗期 以上合一卷 Shangshu diyan qi
尚書中候 Shangshu zhonghou
中候握河紀 Zhonghou wohe ji
中候考河命 Zhonghou kaohe ming
中候摘洛戒 Zhonghou zhailuo jie
中候雜篇 Zhonghou zapian
中候運行 Zhonghou yunxing
中候洛予命 Zhonghou luoyu ming
中候擿洛戒 Zhonghou tiluo jie
中候義明 Zhonghou yiming
中候敕省圖 Zhonghou chisheng tu
中候稷起 Zhonghou jiqi
中候準讖哲 Zhonghou zhunchen zhe
(附)洪範緯 以上合一卷 app. Hongfan wei
春秋緯 Chunqiu wei
春秋元命包 二卷 Chunqiu yuanming bao
春秋演孔圖 Chunqiu yankong tu
春秋合誠圖 以上合一卷 Chunqiu hecheng tu
春秋文耀鉤 Chunqiu wenyao gou
春秋運斗樞 以上合一卷 Chunqiu yundou shu
春秋感精符 Chunqiu ganjing fu
春秋考異郵 以上合一卷 Chunqiu kaoyi you
春秋潛潭巴 Chunqiu qiantan ba
春秋說題辭 以上合一卷 Chunqiu shuoti ci
春秋漢含孳 Chunqiu Hanhan zi
春秋佐助期 Chunqiu zuozhu qi
春秋保乾圖 Chunqiu baoqian tu
春秋握誠圖 Chunqiu wocheng tu
春秋內事 以上合一卷 Chunqiu neishi
春秋命歷序 一卷 Chunqiu mingli xu
易緯 Yi wei
易通卦驗 Yi tonggua yan
易坤靈圖 Yi kunling tu
易稽覽圖 以上合二卷 Yi xilan tu
易河圖數 Yi hetu shu
易筮類謀 Yi wulei mou
易九厄讖 Yi jiuwei chen
易雜緯 Yi zawei
易辨終備 Yi bianzhong bei
易萌氣樞 Yi mengqi shu
易中孚傳 Yi zhongfu zhuan
易運期 Yi yunqi
易通統圖 Yi tongtong tu
易通經元圖 以上合一卷 Yi tongjing yuantu
禮緯 Li wei
禮含文嘉 一卷 Li hanwen jia
禮稽命徵 一卷 Li ximing zheng
禮斗威儀 一卷 Li douwei yi
樂緯 Yue wei
樂葉圖徵 一卷 Yue yetu zheng
樂動聲儀 一卷 Yue dongsheng yi
樂稽耀嘉 一卷 Yue xiyao jia
詩緯 Shi wei
詩含神霧 一卷 Shi hanshen wu
詩推度災 Shi tuidu zai
詩泛歷樞 以上合一卷 Shi fanli shu
論語緯 Lunyu wei
論語比考讖 Lunyu bikao chen
論語撰考讖 以上合一卷 Lunyu xuankao chen
論語摘輔象 Lunyu zhaifu xiang
論語摘衰聖 Lunyi zhaishuai sheng
論語陰嬉讖 以上合一卷 Lunyu yinxi chen
孝經緯 Xiaojing wei
孝經援神契 三卷 Xiaojing yuanshen qi
孝經鉤命決 Xiaojing gouming jue
孝經中契 Xiaojing zhongqi
孝經右契 Xiaojing youqi
孝經左契 Xiaojing zuoqi
孝經威嬉拒 以上合一卷 Xiaojing weixu ju
孝經內事圖 一卷 Xiaojing neishi tu
河圖緯 Hetu wei
河圖括地象 Hetu kuodi xiang
河圖始開圖 Hetu shikai tu
河圖絳象 以上合一卷 Hetu jiangxiang
河圖稽耀鉤 Hetu jiyao gou
河圖帝覽嬉 Hetu dilan xi
河圖挺佐輔 Hetu tingzuo fu
河圖握矩記 Hetu woju ji
河圖雜緯篇 Hetu zawei bian
河圖祕徵 Hetu mizheng
河圖帝通紀 Hetu ditong ji
河圖著命 Hetu zhuming
河圖真紀鉤 Hetu zhenji gou
河圖要元篇 Hetu yaoyuan pian
河圖考靈曜 Hetu kaoling yao
河圖提劉篇 Hetu tiliu pian
河圖稽命徵 Hetu ximing zheng
河圖會昌符 以上合一卷 Hetu huichang fu
河圖玉版 Hetu yuban
龍魚河圖 以上合一卷 Longyu hetu
洛書緯 Luoshu wei
洛書靈准聽 一卷 Luoshu lingzhun ting
洛書甄曜度 Luoshu zhenyao du
洛書摘六辟 Luoshu zhailiu bi
洛書錄運法 Luoshu luyun fa
河洛讖 Heluo chen
孔子河洛讖 Kongzi He Luo chen
錄運期讖 Lu yunyi chen
甄曜度讖 以上合一卷 Zhen yaodu chen
Li Meixun 李梅訓 (2003). "Guweishu banben yuanliu shulüe 《古微書》版本源流述略", Wenxian 文獻, 2003 (10).
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰, ed. (1996), Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 1, 465.
Shanghai tushuguan 上海圖書館, ed. (1982). Zhongguo congshu zonglu 中國叢書綜錄 (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe), Vol. 1, 160-162.
Wan Li 萬里, ed. (2006). Hu-Xiang wenhua da cidian 湖湘文化大辭典 (Changsha: Hunan renmin chubanshe), Vol. 1, 341.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 185.