An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Kong Anguo 孔安國

Sep 12, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Kong Anguo 孔安國, courtesy name Ziguo 子國, was a philosopher and commentator to the Confucian Classics living during the late second century BCE. He was a descendant of Confucius and was one of the first commentors at all and is famous for his study of the Old-Text Shangshu 古文尚書.

Kong Anguo was Grand Master of Remonstrance (jian dafu 諫大夫) during the reign of Emperor Wu 漢武帝 (r. 141-87 BCE). His old-text version of the Shangshu was discovered in the wall of Confucius' mansion when Prince Gong of Lu 魯共王 had destructed a building of the Kong complex in order to enlarge his own palace. The workmen discovered hidden in the wall the Shangshu, Liji 禮記, Lunyu 論語 and Xiaojing 孝經, all written in ancient Seal Script characters 小篆.

In comparison to the text of the Shangshu as transmitted by Fu Sheng 伏勝 (the so-called new character text written in modern Chancery Script 隸書), the newly detected version included 16 chapters more. Kong Anguo presented this version to the throne, but because there was a disturbance at the court because of sorcery, his version was not acknowledged as teachable in the National University (taixue 太學).

Kong Anguo's commentary Shangshu Kongshi zhuan 尚書孔氏傳 is lost. During the Eastern Jin period 東晉 (317-420), a certain Mei Ze 梅賾 submitted an old-text Shangshu to the throne, but later scholars doubted that Mei's book corresponded to Kong Anguo's version.

Pang Pu 龐樸, ed. (1997). Zhongguo ruxue 中國儒學 (Shanghai: Dongfang chuban zhongxin), Vol. 2, 42.