ChinaKnowledge.de - An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art
About [Location: HOME > Literature > Four Categories > Historiography > Geography > Yugong tushuo < Yugong]


Chinese Literature
Yugong tushuo 禹貢圖說


The Four Categories of Literature
Yugong tushuo 禹貢圖說 "Illustrated Maps to the Tribute of Yu" is the title of several books commen ting on the chapter Yugong 禹貢 "The Tribute of Yu" in the Confucian Classic Shangshu 尚書.
The oldest book with this title was written during the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) by Zheng Xiao 鄭曉 (1499-1566), courtesy name Zheng Zhifu 鄭窒甫, style Danquanweng 淡泉翁, posthumous title Zheng Duanjiangong 鄭端簡公. He came from Haiyan 海鹽, Zhejiang, and was a secretary in a ministry (zhushi 主事), and was then promoted to Vice Minister of the Court of the Imperial Stud (taipu cheng 太僕丞), was then made Chamberlain for Ceremonials (taichang qing 太常卿) in Nanjing, later Right Vice Minister of Justice (xingbu you shilang 刑部右侍郎), then of War, and concurrently Vice Censor-in-Chief (fu duyushi 副都御史), and finally Director-General of Grain Transport (zongdu caoyun 總督漕運). Because Zheng Xiao had great successes in the suppression of pirat attacks the was rewarded with the position of Left Vice Minister of Personnel (libu zuo shilang 吏部左侍郎) and was then made Minister of Personnel (libu shangshu 吏部尚書) in Nanjing. He crowned his career with the titles of Right Censor-in-Chief (you duyushi 右都御史) and Minister of Justice (xingbu shangshu 刑部尚書). He was posthumously rewarded with the title of Junior Guardian of the Heir Apparent (taizi shaobao 太子少保). Zheng Xiao has left a rich treasury of writings, including commentaries on Confucian books, poems, and reports about his military campaigns. His collected writings are called Duanjian wenji 端簡文集.
The short Yugong tushuo is divided into two parts, namely the maps, and texts commenting on them. There is a general map providing an overview of rivers, and 30 detailed maps. The commenting text includes the original text of the chapter Yugong. The Qing period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Hu Wei 胡渭 later wrote an additional commentary, the Yugong zhuizhi 禹貢錐指, to amend some errors in Zheng Xiao's text. The latter was printed in 1594. Today the Shanghai Library 上海圖書館 owns an original copy.
The next book of this title was written by Ma Junliang 馬俊良 during the mid-Qing period. In his preface Ma explains that he collected all available commentaries to the chapter Yugong and, with his "small knowledge" decided to draw maps. Ma announces that he would use of a lot of sources historiographic writings and the so-called "masters and philosophers" to find out additional information about the geography of the Shangshu chapter Yugong, yet the book itself does in fact not offer much information to the maps. It might be that the book was never really finished and the maps drafted, but not fully commented on. Another explanation for the discrepancy between the statement in the preface and the appearance of the text might be that the transmitted version is only part of Ma's work, while the commentaries were to be found in his book Yugong zhu jiedu 禹貢注節讀. Ma mainly quotes from the commentaries of the Han period 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE) master Ma Rong 馬融 and explains that Emperor Shun 舜 once split off the province of Bingzhou 幷州 (approx. modern Shanxi) from that of the large northern province of Jizhou 冀州 (approx. Hebei), but also says that Bingzhou was splitt off from the country of Yan 燕 (Hebei) because the residence of this country was too far away from that of Qi 齊 (Shandong). At the same time Qi was divided into Qi proper and the province of Yingzhou 營州. Ma Junliang so comes to a total number of twelve provinces, like in the Shangshu chapter Shundian 舜典 "The Canon of Shun", while the text of the Yugong only knows nine. Such contradictions prevail throughout the book. Ma Junliang's Yugong tushuo was printed in 1789.
Tan Yun 譚澐 wrote a 4 juan long paragraph-and-sentence commentary (zhangju 章句) called Yugong zhangju 禹貢章句. This commentary was to be used as an explanation of his short book Yugong tushuo. The zhangju commentary begins with a general map of the mountains and rivers of the nine provinces (Jiuzhou shanchuan zongtu 九州山川總圖) as described in the Yugong, a map of the "twelve provinces" (Yaodian shierzhou tu 舜典十二州圖) as described in the chapter Yaodian, a map of the nine great rivers (Jiuhetu 九河圖) and the rivers and canals during the Han period (Liang-Han hequ tu 兩漢河渠圖). All maps are described in detail in the following part of the book. Tan Yun quotes extensively from older writings, particularly Hu Wei's Yugong zhuizhi, and also adds his own findings or interpretations. Unfortunately he too much relies on Hu's statements that are often not quite correct. Tan Yun's two books were published in 1859.
The last book of this title was written by Zhou Zhihan 周之翰, courtesy name Zhou Huiting 周翽廷. He came from Guangji 廣濟, Hubei. Unlike the other texts with this title, Zhou's 4 juan long Yugong tushuo was not based on older books, but is the result of his own research. At least, he discusses contratictions in geographical statements of the book Mengzi 孟子 to the Yugong. Each of the four juan is headed by a preface, written by important scholars of the time, like He Shaoji 何紹基, Xu Congshu 徐從樞, Tang Jie 唐杰, Mao Guorui 毛國瑞 or Yuan Zhang 袁章. Each "province" is described in a dozen paragraphs or more, with a focus on mountains and rivers. The book demonstrates that most other researchers on the chapter Yugong left out many places that were to be found in China during the nineteenth century and treated the geography of the Yugong according to the situation as it was believed to have been during the Zhou period 周 (11th cent.-221 BCE). Unfortunately Zhou's book does not include any maps. His Yugong tushuo was printed in 1865.
Yang Maojian 楊懋建, courtesy name Yang Zhangsheng 楊掌生, wrote a book with the title Yugong xin tushuo 禹貢新圖說. The 2 juan long book begins with a preface written by Chen Li 陳澧 who explains that the book was written to enable all students to comprehend both the past and the present from the chapter Yugong. Chen also criticizes Cheng Taizhi 程泰之 who included reports in his book Yugong tu 禹貢圖 (or Yugong shanchuan tu 禹貢山川圖) about foreign countries into his interpretation of the Yugong. In fact, Yang's book is not really concerned with present matters and does not fulfil the promise made in the preface. It even speaks about things that have nothing to do with the Yugong chapter at all. The text appeared in 1867 in Guangzhou.


Source: 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. 1, pp. 125, 159, 161, 162.

December 21, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
Chinese Literature over time