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Chinese Literature
Wubian 武編 "The Book of Warfare"


The Wubian 武編 "Book of warfare" is a military treatise written by the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) scholar Tang Shunzhi 唐順之(1507-1560). Tang has written a lot of books on a vast range of topics, from astronomy and mathematics to prognostication and military, as well as commentaries to historical periods. The Wubian is 10 juan "scrolls" long, in older editions 12 juan, and is divided into two parts. It covers many aspects of warfare, from battle arrays and fighing techniques to the description of firearms and their use. The chapters follow the arrangement of the Song period 宋 (960-1279) military encyclopedia Wujing zongyao 武經總要, and the text quotes many sources from history, like the famous strategist books Sunzi 孫子, Simafa 司馬法 and Li Wengong wendui 李衛公問對, as well as memorials submitted to the throne. In the second part, the author used examples from history to demonstrate how to achieve success in military campaigns, like Emperor Gaozu's 漢高祖 (r. 206-195 BCE) defeat of the rebel Qing Bu 黥布 at the beginning of the Han period 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE), Liu Yao's 劉曜 conquest of Luoyang during the Sixteen States period 十六國 (300~430), Jing Hou's 侯景 rebellion during the Liang period 梁 (502-557), or Cao Li's 曹利 campaigns during the Northern Song period 北宋 (960-1126).
There is a print by the Manshan Studio 曼山館 from 1618, of which several copies are preserved. The Beijing Library 北京圖書館 owns a moveable character print from the Qing period 清 (1644-1911).


Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 2, p. 1624. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.

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January 29, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail