An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Shupu 鼠璞

Aug 28, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

Shupu 鼠璞 "Shibboleth", also called Daishi shupu 戴氏鼠璞, is a "brush-notes"-style book (biji 筆記) written duirng the Song period 宋 (960-1279) by Dai Zhi 戴埴 (jinshi degree 1238), courtesy name Zhongpei 仲培. He hailed from Taoyuan 桃源 (in today's Hunan province), and must have lived in the late decades of the Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279), as can be seen from some paragraphs in his book.

The short book Shupu is concerned with personalities mentioned in the Confucian Classics and in historiographical writings, particularly in a comparison of similiarities and differences between persons from the past and the present. The name of the book is derived from an ancient story in which the Marquis of Ying 應侯 points at the dialect word pu 璞 that in the state of Zheng 鄭 has the meaning of "jade which has not been worked pure", while in the tongue of Zhou 周 it meant "fresh-dressed rats which have not yet been preserved" (transl. Crump).

The whole book is divided into 98 paragraphs that are elaborated in a very scholarly way. Some of Dai Zhi's conclusions are very outstanding in the intellectual context. He is one of the few scholars who stress the importance of Xunzi 荀子 (313-238 BCE) for the development of Confucianism, as equal to the much more venerated Mengzi 孟子 (385-304 or 372-289 BCE). He explains Peng Zu's 彭祖 "art of the bedchamber", the secret strategies of Qi Taigong 齊太公 and Su Shi's 蘇軾 (1037-1101) criticism of King Wu of Zhou 周武王, and furthermore quotes from the book Gaozi lingxing 高子靈星. On the other hand, the author also makes some mistakes like in a quotation from the Guiguzi 鬼谷子 that is not to be found in that book, and exhibits irrational belief when stating that a footprint of a unicorn was the sign of an age of decline.

The Shupu is part of the series Baichuan xuehai 百川學海, Gezhi congshu 格致叢書, Siku quanshu 四庫全書, Tang-Song congshu 唐宋叢書, Xuejin taoyuan 學津討原, Siming congshu 四明叢書, Shuofu 說郛, Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編 and Xu zhibuzuzhai congshu 續知不足齋叢書.

Chen Zhichun 陳志椿 (1996). "Shupu 鼠璞", in Jiang Zuyi 蔣祖怡, Chen Zhichun 陳志椿, eds. Zhongguo shihua cidian 中國詩話辭典 (Beijing: Beijing chubanshe), 362.
Ding Ying 丁瑩 (2020a). "Dai Zhi Shupu wenxue jiazhi chuyi 戴埴《鼠璞》文學價值芻議", Gujin wenchuang 今古文創, 2020 (18): 26-27.
Ding Ying 丁瑩 (2020b). "Qianxi Dai Zhi Shupu de shiliao jiazhi 淺析戴埴《鼠璞》的史料價值", Gujin wenchuang 今古文創, 2020 (24): 45-46.
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Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1994). Zhonghua gu wenxian da cidan 中華古文獻大辭典, Vol. Wenxue 文學卷 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 718.
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Yuan Xingpei 袁行霈, Hou Zhongyi 侯忠義, eds. (1981). Zhongguo wenyan xiaoshuo shumu中國文言小說書目 (Beijng: Beijing daxue chubanshe), 185.
Zheng Yunbo 鄭雲波, ed. (1992). Zhongguo gudai xiaoshuo cidian 中國古代小說辭典 (Nanjing: Nanjing daxue chubanshe), 430.