An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Huangshigong sushu 黃石公素書

Jan 29, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Huangshigong sushu 黃石公素書 "Pure book of Master Yellow Stone" is a military treatise attributed to a certain Huangshigong 黃石公 "Master Yellow Stone" from the state of Qin 秦 who is said to have lived during the Zhou period 周 (11th cent.-221 BCE). There is a commentary written by the Song-period 宋 (960-1279) scholar Zhang Shangying 張商英 (1043-1121). The ominous Master Yellow Stone is also credited with the authorship of the military treatise known as Huangshigong sanlüe 黃石公三略.

The Ming-period 明 (1368-1644) scholar Hu Yinglin 胡應麟 rated the Sushu as a forgery of Zhang Shangying. The content seems to be influenced by Daoist and Buddhist thinking, but only to a very superficial degree. Tradition says that the book had been preserved in the tomb library of a the early Han-period 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE) minister Zhang Liang 張良 (d. 186 BCE) and later came upon (his descendant?) Zhang Shangying. The book is divided into six chapters, which give moral advice to the reader and call for frugality and modesty.

The Sushu is included in the series Mianmiaoge Xianqin zhuzi hebian 綿眇閣先秦諸子合編, Han-Wei congshu 漢魏叢書, Ershierzi 二十二子, and Shuofu 說郛. It was published in 1989 with a translation into Modern Chinese by the Junshi kexue Press 軍事科學出版社.

Table 1. Contents of the Huangshigong sushu 黃石公素書
1. 原始章 Yuanshi The origins
2. 正道章 Zhengdao The correct Way
3. 術人之志章 Shuren zhi zhi The will of the skilled man
4. 本德宗道章 Bende zongdao The ancestral way of originary virtue
5. 遵義章 Zunyi Observing righteousness
6. 安禮章 Anli Settling the rituals
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. 2, p. 1616.
Schmidt, Hans-Hermann (2004). "Huangshi gong sushu", in Kristofer Schipper; Franciscus Verellen, eds. The Taoist Canon: A Historical Companion to the Daozang (Chicago; London: University of Chicago Press), Vol. 1, 64-65.
Xu Yong 徐勇 (1999). "Huangshiaong sushu chutan《黄石公素书》初探", Junshi lishi yanjiu 军事历史研究, 1999 (4): 145-147.