An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Shezhou yanpu 歙州硯譜

Dec 13, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

Shezhou yanpu 歙州硯譜 "Notes on inkstones from Shezhou" was written by Tang Ji 唐積 (fl. 1066) during the Song period 宋 (960-1279). Concerning Tang Ji's biography, it is only known that he was secretary of the Heir Apparent (taizi zhongshe 太子中舍) and later magistrate (zhixian 知縣) of the district of Wuyuan 婺源 (today in Jiangxi). No author is indicated in the oldest surviving prints of the book, but at the end of the text, the date of compilation is given as 1066. Chen Zhensun's 陳振孫 (c. 1183-1262) bibliography Zhizhai shulu jieti 直齋書錄解題 is the first source mentioning Tang Ji as the author.

The short text focuses on the ink stones produced in the city of Shezhou 歙州 (modern Xiuning 休寧, Anhui). It is divided into ten chapters explaining how stones were detected, cut of of their place of origin, processed and rated, but also, which types of inkstones were common, and of what shortcomings natural materials might suffer. The mechanical work is described quite detailed and the text is therefore an importance source for handicrafts in ancient China. In the catalogue Zhizhai shulu jieti, the text is called Sheyan tupu 歙硯圖譜 "Illustrated notes on inkstones from Shezhou, and the calligrapher Mi Fu 米芾 (1051-1107) refers to the book as Yanzhou yantu 歙州硯圖 "Illustrations of inkstones from Shezhou", which demonstrates that the original text also included illustrations. Another prove for the illustrated original is a commentary on the book in the series Baichuan xuehai 百川學海, where the compiler and publisher Zuo Gui 左圭 (fl. 1273) says there were so many illustrations in the text that he left them out for the publication of his series.

The Shezhou yanpu is also to be found in the series Shuofu 說郛, Xuejin taoyuan 學津討原, Siku quanshu 四庫全書 and Meishu congshu 美術叢書.

Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰, eds. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 2, 1852.
蜀漢 (221-263)