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Chinese Literature
Mingxianji 名賢集

The Four Categories of Literature
The Mingxianji 名賢集 "Collection of Writings of Famous Worthies" is a textbook for elementary education compiled by an unknown author from the Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279). It consists of three parts, the first written in four-syllable verses, the second in five-syllables verses, and the last in seven-syllable phrases, all in rhymes. The texts recites the works from ancient writers and thinkers, but transformed in poetic language. Most themes of the book are of Confucian content, but there are also Daoist and Buddhist ideas included, and many stories circulating among the population. The largest part of the text admonishes the reader to be cautious and to live a life of moral integrity, and often quotes from generally known proverbs and popular sayings, like "those who do not plan carefully in the future, will have trouble tomorrow" (ren wu yuan lü, bi you jin you 人無遠慮,必有近憂), or "nobody will care for poor people just living on the market place, but a rich man living deep in the mountains will have numerous visitors" (pin ju nao shi wu ren wen, fu zai shen shan you yuan qin 贫居鬧市無人問,富在深山有遠親), or "use your money as long as you live, because there will be nothing for you when you are dead" (you qian bian shi yong, si hou yi chang kong 有錢便使用,死後一場空). The book is in many parts identical to the Zengguang xishi xianwen 增廣昔時賢文 (today known as Zengguang xianwen 增廣賢文). During the Qing period 清 (1644-1911) both texts were widely circulating and were referred to as Zengweng-Xianwen 增文賢文.

Sources: Jiaoyu da cidian bianzuan weiyuanhui 教育大辭典編纂委員會 (ed. 1991), Jiaoyu da cidian 教育大辭典, Vol. 8, Zhongguo gudai jiaoyu shi 中國古代教育史 (Shanghai: Shanghai jiaoyu chubanshe), Vol. 1, p. 215. ● Wang Wenbao 王文寶 (1997), "Mingxianji 名賢集", in Men Gui 門巋, Zhang Yanjin 張燕瑾 (ed.), Zhonghua guocui da cidian 中華國粹大辭典 (Hong Kong: Guoji wenhua chuban gongsi), p. 284.

September 14, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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