An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Lishu gangmu 禮書綱目

Sep 13, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

Lishu gangmu 禮書綱目 "Outlines and details of the ritual books" is a treatise on the ritual classics of the Confucian Canon compiled by Jiang Yong 江永 (1681-1762). The title imitates the name of Zhu Xi's 朱熹 (1130-1200) book Tongjian gangmu 通鑑綱目, a philosophical interpretation of Sima Guang's 司馬光 (1019-1086) universal history Zizhi tongjian 資治通鑑.

Zhu Xi, the great Neo-Confucian philosopher, had written a comprehensive explanation on the ritual classic Yili 儀禮 and its older commentaries, Yili jingzhuan tongjie 儀禮經傳通解. This book had not been completed and was revised several times, but only Jiang Yong undertook the task to finish a large commentary on the ritual classic. The idea of the "outlines and details" was also based on the structure of the Classic Zhouli 周禮, but Jiang Yong's book covers all three ritual classics (Yili, Zhouli and Liji 禮記), as well as the topic of ritual music.

For the book of 85 juan the author has critically investigated 48 books that provide detailed information on issues only touched superficially in the classical texs. In his compilation Jiang Yong respected the original text and arrangement of the Classics more than Zhu Xi's draft, in which some paragraphs had been rearranged according to the content. As Jiang's text is in some places more logically structured and much more detailed than Zhu Xi's book it is a very helpful text for the study of Confucian rituals. Several prints of the Lishu gangmu were produced during the 19th century.

It is found in the collectanea Siku quanshu 四庫全書 and Guangya shuju congshu 廣雅書局叢書.

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, 234.