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Maoshi caomu niaoshou chongyu shu 毛詩草木鳥獸蟲魚疏

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The Maoshi caomu niaoshou chongyu shu 毛詩草木鳥獸蟲魚疏 "Commentary to Botanical and Zoological Terms in the Book of Songs" is one of the oldest commentaries to the Confucian Classic Shijing 詩經 "Book of Songs" (also called Maoshi 毛詩), and is specialized on the elucidation of the names of animals and plants mentioned in the songs of this book. It was compiled by the scholar Lu Ji 陸璣, courtesy name Lu Yuanke 陸元恪, who lived in the state of Wu 吳 (222-280) during the Three Kingdoms period 三國 (220-280). He came from Wuxian 吳郡 (modern Suzhou 蘇州, Jiangsu) and was palace cadet in the household of the Heir Apparent (taizi zhongshuzi 太子中庶子) and magistrate (ling 令) of Wucheng 烏程. In the imperial bibliography Jingjizhi 經籍志 in the official dynastic history Suishu 隋書, and in the register of the collection Jingdian shiwen 經典釋文 the author is said to have lived during the Three Kingdoms period, yet the book Shi zhengyi 詩正義 from the Ming period, and in the collectaneum Jindai mishu 津逮秘書, also from the Ming, it is said that Lu Ji lived during the Tang period 唐 (618-907), which is simply wrong. His personal name is sometimes erroneously written 機.
The transmitted version of the book is 2 juan "scrolls" long, but some scholars like Jiao Xun 焦循 believe that part of this text has been added by later persons, and Lü Donglai 呂東萊 points at some quotations from the book that are not identical to the received text. The compilers of the imperial collectaneum Siku quanshu 四庫全書 also support the opinion of a later date of compilation that was based on fragments quoted in the commentaries Shi benyi 詩本義 and Shi zhengyi. Yet the Qing period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Ding Yan 丁晏 stressed that the transmitted text is a perfect original which can be seen in all the quotations that are identical to the received text.
Irrespective of these discussions, Lu Ji's text is very helpful for the identification of the many plants and animals that are mentioned in the songs of the Shiji. Many terms were already outdated during the Three Kingdoms period, or were used only in certain regions of China. Lu Ji's book was therefore used by later commentators, like Chen Qiyuan 陳啟源 for his book Maoshi xigu bian 毛詩稽古編. It describes 48 kinds of herbaceous plants, 31 kinds of trees, 22 types of birds, 7 "beasts" (shou 獸, i.e. non-domestic mammals), 8 kinds of fish and 16 types of "worms" (chong 蟲, i.e. all small and swarming or creeping animals).
The Maoshi caomu niaoshou chongyu shu is to be found in the collectanea Xu baichuan xuehai 續百川學海, Han-Wei congshu 漢魏叢書, Tang-Song congshu 唐宋叢書, Gu jingjie huihan 古經解彙函 and Siku quanshu.

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, p. 652.

September 13, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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