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Zhoushi 籀史

Oct 6, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

Zhoushi 籀史 "History of the large seal script" is a treatise on Chinese characters written by the Song-period 宋 (960-1279) scholar Zhai Qinian 翟耆年 (mid-12th cent.), courtesy name Boshou 伯壽, style Huanghe shanren 黃鶴山人.

He was a son of the painter, writer, and collector Zhai Ruwen 翟汝文 (1076-1141) and compiled a catalogue of the book collection of Wang Ruzao 汪如藻.

The Zhoushi must have been written in the early 12th century. It had originally a length of 2 juan, but was lost except one fascicle of a copy that was owned by teh collector Cao Rong 曹溶 (1613-1685). Attempts by Wang Shizhen 王士禎 (1634-1711) failed to reconstruct the second fascicle.

Zhai's book is a treatise about the ancient large seal script (zhouwen 籀文) that was often seen in bronze and stone inscriptions the collection of which became fashionable during the Song period. It records characters and phrases explains these and is so the first book specialized on this topic. Xue Shanggong's 薛尚功 (fl. 1144) book Lidai zhongding yiqi kuanzhi fatie 歷代鍾鼎彝器款識法帖 was based on this research and has a much wider space, but is not as detailed as Zhai Xinian's book.

The Zhoushi is included in the series Siku quanshu 四庫全書, Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編 and Jingyuan congshu 靜園叢書.

Sources:
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, p. 1503.