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Chinese Literature
Shupu 鼠璞 "Shibboleth"


The Shupu 鼠璞 "Shibboleth", also called Daishi shupu 戴氏鼠璞, is a biji 筆記 "brush notes" book written by the Song period 宋 (960-1279) scholar Dai Zhi 戴埴, courtesy name Dai Zhongpei 戴仲培. He came from Taoyuan 桃源 (modern Taoyuan, Hunan), and must have lived in the late decades of the Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279), as can be seen from some paragraphs in his book. The short book Shupu is concerned with personalities mentioned in the Confucian Classics and in historiographical writings, particularly in a comparison of similiaries and differences between persons from the past and the present. The name of the book is derived from an ancient story in which the Marquis of Ying 應侯 points at the dialect word pu 璞 that in the state of Zheng 鄭 has the meaning of "jade which has not been worked pure", while in the tongue of Zhou 周 it meant "fresh-dressed rats which have not yet been preserved" (transl. Crump). The whole book is divided into 98 paragraphs that are elaborated in a very scholarly way. Some of Dai Zhi's conclusions are very outstanding in the intellectual context. He is one of the few scholars who stress the importance of Xunzi 荀子 for the development of Confucianism, as equal to the much more venerated Mengzi 孟子. He explains Peng Zu's 彭祖 "art of the bedchamber", the secret strategies of Qi Taigong 齊太公 and Su Shi's 蘇軾 criticism of King Wu of Zhou 周武王, and furthermore quotes from the book Gaozi lingxing 高子靈星. On the other side, the author also makes some mistakes like in a quotation from the Guiguzi 鬼谷子 that is not to be found in this book, and exhibits irrational belief when stating that a footprint of a unicorn was the sign of an age of decline.
The Shupu is part of the collectanea Baichuan xuehai 百川學海, Gezhi congshu 格致叢書, Siku quanshu 四庫全書, Tang-Song congshu 唐宋叢書, Xuejin taoyuan 學津討原, Siming congshu 四明叢書, Shuofu 說郛, Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編 and Xu zhibuzuzhai congshu 續知不足齋叢書.


Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe, vol. 2, p. 1923.
Chinese literature according to the four-category system

August 28, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail