ChinaKnowledge.de - An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art
About [Location: HOME > Literature > Confucian Classics > Commentaries on the Classics > Lishu < Zhouli, Liji, Yili]


Chinese Literature
Lishu 禮書


The Four Categories of Literature
The Lishu 禮書 "Book of Rites" is a Confucian treatise written by the Song period 宋 (960-1279) scholar Chen Xiangdao 陳祥道 (1053-1093), courtesy name Chen Yongzhi 陳用之. He came from Fuzhou 福州 (modern Fuzhou, Fujian), was a disciple of the thinker and politician Wang Anshi 王安石, and was first collating academician, the rose to the post of professor of the Chamberlain of Ceremonials (taichang boshi 太常博士), and ended his career as a court gentleman manifesting rightness (xuanyilang 宣義郎). Except the Lishu he has written the book Lunyu quanjie 論語全解, an explanation to the Confucian Classic Lunyu 論語 "Confucian Analects". According to the bibliography Zhizhai shulu jieti 直齋書錄解題, the 150 juan "scrolls" long Lishu was finished during the Yuanyou reign 元祐 (1086-1093) and presented to the throne. As a disciple of Wang Anshi, he was of the opinion that there was not only the need for political reform, but also for a new interpretation of the Confucian Classics, independent from the orthodox line of interpretation by the late Eastern Han period 東漢 (25-220 CE) scholar Zheng Xuan 鄭玄. Chen Xiangdao quoted sources like the Zhouli 周禮, Kongzi jiayu 孔子家語, Xunzi 荀子 or Guliang zhuan 穀粱傳 to prove that in ancient times a ruler disposed of seven national shrines (miao 廟), and not only five, as Zheng Xuan had said. He proved that the triennial solitary ancestral offerings by the emperor (dixia 禘祫) and the offerings on the "round hill" (yuanqiu 圓丘) were two different things, and not the same, as Zheng Xuan had believed. With such results, Chen Xiangdao touched new issued and pointed at errors in the traditional interpretations of the ritual classics. His greates merit is that he established a coherent system of interpretation that respected the text of all Classics simulataneously and made use of a vast amount of sources to support his findings. In many cases he also added illustrations and drawings to the text.
The Lishu was printed during the Song period. It is to be found in the collectanea Tongzhitang jingjie 通志堂解經 and the Siku quanshu 四庫全書.


Source: 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, p. 241.

September 13, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
Chinese Literature over time