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Chinese Literature
Shaozi 少子 "The Lesser Master"


The Shaozi 少子 "Lesser Master" is a Daoist treatise compiled by the Southern Qi period 南齊 (479-502) master Zhang Rong 張融, courtesy name Zhang Siguang 張思光. He came from Wujun 吳郡 (modern Suzhou 蘇州, Jiangsu) and was right aide (you zhangshi 右長史) to the Minister of Education (situ 司徒). A biography of Zhang Rong can be found in the official dynastic history Nanqishu 南齊書, where it is said that Zhang Rong did not have a teacher but was nevertheless very clever in discussive arguments. He has written collected works with a length of 10 juan "scrolls" that bore the title of Yuhai 玉海 "Jade ocean" and are unfortunately lost. He has also written a treatise on pitchpipes called Wenlü zixu 問律自序 (or Menlü zixu 門律自序), as well as the 5 juan long Shaozi. This book is mentioned in the imperial bibliography Jingjizhi 經籍志 in the official dynastic history Suishu 隋書, bot not in that of the Jiutangshu 舊唐書 , which shows that it must have gone lost during the Tang period 唐 (618-907). The Qing period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Ma Guohan 馬國翰 collected surviving fragements from the book Hongmingji 弘明集, to which he added further information about Zhang Rong and his philosophy that centered in the discussion between Buddhism and Daoism. It is part of Ma Guohan's collectaneum Yuhan shanfang jiyi shu 玉函山房輯佚書.

Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 2, p. 2307. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.

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September 7, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail