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Chinese Literature
Kaigubian 考古編 "Investigations into Antiquity"


The Kaigubian 考古編 "Investigations into antiquity" is a collection of historiographical essays written by the Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279) scholar Cheng Dachang 程大昌 (1123-1195). In the 10 juan "scrolls" long Kaogubian Cheng Dachang mainly discusses errors and contradictions in the Confucian Classics and historiographic books. His text-critical investigations are very detailed and done with care. He points out errors in a lot of commentaries and writings from all ages, from the philosopher Xunzi 荀子 (who writes Zigong 子弓 instead of Zhonggong 仲弓), the history Hanshu 漢書 (where the district of Bijing 比景 should be written Beijing 北景), to the institutional history Tangliudian 唐六典 (that neglects important information on court music provided by the writer Bai Juyi 白居易 in his poetry collection Yuefushi 樂府詩). He also shows that the First Emperor of Qin 秦始皇帝 (r. 246-210 BCE) was not the first to carve stone inscriptions and that the Zhou dynasty 周 (11th cent.-221 BCE) continued to use the calendar of the Xia dynasty 夏 (17th-15th cent. BCE) although the first month was shifted to a month earlier. Yet there are also disputable chapters, like that on the songs of the Shijing 詩經, in which Cheng Dachang only speaks of genres and not of the different states in which the ancient songs were popular.
The Kaogubian is included in the collectanea Xuejin taoyuan 學津討原, Ruxue jingwu 儒學警悟, Siku quanshu 四庫全書, Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編, Hanhai 函海 and Jiangshi juzhenban congshu 江氏聚珍版叢書.


Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 2, p. 1919. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.

Chinese literature according to the four-category system

November 7, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail