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Chinese Literature
Taibaiyin jing 太白陰經 "The Classic of the Bright White Yin [Star]"


The Taibaiyin jing 太白陰經 "Classic of the Bright White Yin [Star]" is a military treatise written by the Tang period 唐 (618-907) military governor Li Quan 李筌. The whole title of the book is Shenji zhidi taibaiyin jing 神機制敵太白陰經 "Classic of the Bright White Yin Star about checking the enemy by divine surprise". The book is 10 juan "scrolls" long.
Although the title suggests that supernatural forces are involved, the Taibaiyin jing says clearly that the outcome of a battle depends heavily on a good planning by the commander, and that the bravery of the troops depends on the right use of punishment and reward. Victory also depends on the conduct of government. Only when a ruler is benevolent in the Confucian sense his state will be wealthy, and the troops will be willing to fight for their lord. The general has to attract competent advisors and has to make use of natural conditions during war. His army has to be the active player, while the enemy has to be forced to do what the own advantage commands. The Taibaiyin jing provides a lot of information on military conduct, weapons and tools for a war of attack and for defense, military camps, battle arrays, official communication, the care for men and horses, the observation of the environment and the weather, and some mantic aspects correlated to cosmology. It is a résumé of information already provided by earlier writers, but in some points, new details are described. The Taibaiyin jing is therefore often quoted in the Tang period encylopedia Tongdian 通典.
The Taibaiyin jing is included in the collectaneum Mohai jinhu 墨海金壺, which reproduces a Song period 宋 (960-1279) manuscript.


Source: Zhang Lie 张烈 (1989). "Taibaiyin jing 太白陰經", in: Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Junshi 軍事, vol. 2, p. 981. Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe.

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November 19, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail