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Tangyin bishi 棠陰比事

Mar 22, 2021 © Ulrich Theobald

Tangyin bishi 棠陰比事 "Model cases from under the birchleaf tree" is a collection of exemplary lawsuits complied by Gui Wanrong 桂萬榮 (c. 1200) during the Song 宋 (960-1279) and revised by Wu Ne 吳訥 (1372-1457) during the Ming period 明 (1368-1644). The short book assembles 144 cases and for each example an analysis by the author.

Gui's intention was to care for a wider distribution of precedent cases, and therefore wrote his conclusion in verses, as a help for easier memorizing. Many examples were based on cases found in He Ning's 和凝 (898-955) Yiyuji 疑獄集 and Zheng Ke's 鄭克 (late 12th cent.) Zheyu guijian 折獄龜鑑. The book was printed in 1211, and a reprint was produced in 1234. Wu Ne later eliminated cases that were of no practical help because of the literary distortion of the text, and reduced the text to 80 cases that he arranged according to the length of the text. He also added a further 23 cases (called Tangyin bishi xubian 棠陰比事續編) and attached a supplement of 44 cases (Tangyin bishi bubian 棠陰比事補編).

Wu's version of the Tangyin bishi is included in the series Siku quanshu 四庫全書, Siku congkan xubian 四部叢刊續編 and Siming congshu 四明叢書. The Xubian is to be found separately in the series Xuehai leibian 學海類編 and Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編.

Examples from the Tangyin bishi were translated by Robert Hans van Gulik (1956), T’ang-yin pi-shih: Parallel Cases from under the Pear Tree (Leiden: Brill).

Sources:
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