An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Zihuazi 子華子

Feb 1, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Zihuazi 子華子 "Master Zihua" is collection of miscellaneous philosophical thoughts attributed to a certain Cheng Ben 程本 (4th cent.), also called Chengzi 程子 "Master Cheng", from the Zhou period 周 (11th cent.-221 BCE). Not much is known about Cheng Ben. He served Marquis Zhao of the state of Han 韓昭侯 (r. 358-333).

A book of the title Zihuazi must have existed at that time but was already lost during the Han period 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE). There was, nevertheless, a quite long book called Zihuazi in circulation during the Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279). The scholar Chao Gongwu 晁公武 already rated it as a forgery, an assumption approved by the early 20th century scholar Gu Jiegang 顧頡剛 according to contradicting statements about the lifetime of Cheng Ben. The latter is said to have come from the state of Jin 晉 and was the teacher of Daoist Master Guiguzi 鬼谷子. The received version of the Zihuazi is 2 juan "scrolls" long.

The Zihuazi is, inspite of being a forgery, included in the series Miaomiaoge congshu 綿眇閣叢書, Bieliuzi quanshu 别六子全書, Zihui 子彙, Mohai jinhu 墨海金壺, Zhencong bielu 珍叢别錄, Ershierzi 二十二子, Wuzi 五子 (a print from the Hongzhi reign 弘治, 1488-1505, and one from the Jiajing reign 嘉靖, 1522-1566), Zishu baizhong 子書百種, the Daoist Canon Daozang 道藏, and the imperial reprint series Siku quanshu 四庫全書.

Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰, eds. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 2, 1876.