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Chinese Literature
Qianjiashi 千家詩 "Poems of One Thousand Writers"


The Qianjiashi 千家詩 "Poems of one thousand writers" is an anthology of poems from the Tang 唐 (618-907), Five Dynasties 五代 (907-960) and Song 宋 (960-1279) periods. The complete title of the collection is Fenmen leizuan Tang-Songshi xian qianjia shixuan 分門纂類唐宋時賢千家詩選 "Selected poems of one thousand excellent authors from the Tang and Song periods, arranged in various categories". It was compiled by the Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279) scholar Liu Kezhuang 劉克莊. Following his scholarly style name, Houcun 後村, the anthology is also called Houcun Qianjiashi 後村千家詩. It is 22 juan "scrolls" long and is divided into 14 chapters.
The Qianjiashi has been revised and newly arranged by Wang Xiang 王相 as Xinjuan wuyan qianjia shi 新鐫五言千家詩, only including 84 poems with five-syllable verses (wuyan shi 五言詩) written by 50 authors. Another extraction has been made by Xie Fangde 謝枋得 who only selected poems with seven-syllable verses (qiyan shi 七言詩). His book is called Chongding qianjiashi 重訂千家詩 or Qiyan qianjiashi 七言千家詩 and was commented by Wang Xiang. It includes 140 poems of more than 80 writers (inlcuding two poems of Ming period 明 [1368-1644] persons). Both books are 2 juan long, the first including short poems (jueju 絕句), the latter regular poems (lüshi 律詩).
Another version of the Qianjiashi also attributed to Xie Fangde, and the most common one, is 4 juan long, each juan corresponding to one chapter. The poems in this version are arranged in the categories five-syllable short poems (wuyan jueju 五言絕句), five-syllable regular poems (wuyan lüshi 五言律詩), seven-syllable short poems (qiyan jueju 七言絕句) and seven-syllable regular poems (qiyan lüshi 七言律詩). The greatest part of the poems has been written by Song period authors. The Qianjiashi has always been used as a textbook for elementary learning. In 1706 the Xie extract was printed by Cao Yin 曹寅, the first part including 85 short poems, the second part 38 regular poems.
Together with the textbooks Sanzijing 三字經 "Three-characters classic" and Baijiaxing 百家姓 "Hundred family names", the Qianjiashi was called the San-Bai-Qian 三百千 "Three-and-hundred-and-thousand".
In 1957 the Donghai yishu press 東海文藝出版社 published an annotated version of this book. The versions of Wang Xiang and Xie Fangde were published in a joint edition by the Hubei renmin press 湖北人民出版社, together with a commentary as Qianjiashi zhu 千家詩注. The Shaanxi renmin press published the Xin Qianjiashi xinshi 新千家詩新釋, and the Gansu renmin press 甘肅人民出版社 published the Qianjiashi zhuxi 千家詩注析 in 1982.
There is a supplement to the common Qianjiashi versions called Xiaoxue Qianjiashi 小學千家詩. It was compiled by a scholar called Qiyun shanren 寄雲山人 "Mountain-dweller dispatching the clouds" or Liangqihaizhai xueren 梁溪海齋學人 "Scholar from the Hermitage of the bridges, creeks and the sea". A great part of the poems have been written by the compiler himself. The poems have a very simple nature and are apparently specially designed for elementary learning.


Sources:
Hu Ying 扈英 (1993). "Qianjiashi 千家詩", in: Zhongguo xiaoxue jiaoxue baike quanshu 中國小學教學百科全書, Yuwen 語文, p. 91. Shenyang: Shenyang chubanshe.
Jiaoyu da cidian bianzuan weiyuanhui 教育大辭典編纂委員會 (1991). Jiaoyu da cidian 教育大辭典, Zhongguo gudai jiaoyu shi 中國古代教育史, vol. 1, p. 218. Shanghai: Shanghai jiaoyu chubanshe.
Li Bingzhong 李秉忠 et al. (1990). Jianming wenshi zhishi cidian 簡明文史知識詞典, p. 582. Xi'an: Shaanxi remin chubanshe.
Xibei shifan xueyuan Zhongwenxi wenyi lilun yanjiushi 西北師範學院中文系文藝理論教研室 (1985). Jianming wenxue zhishi cidian 簡明文學知識辭典, p. 362. Lanzhou: Gansu renmin chubanshe.
Zhongguo baike da cidian bianweihui 中國百科大辭典編委會 (1990). Zhongguo baike da cidian 中國百科大辭典, p. 543. Beijing: Huaxia chubanshe.


Contents of the original Qianjiashi
時令 Shiling The seasons
節候 Jiehou Time
氣候 Qihou Weather
晝夜 Zhouye Day and night
百花 Baihua Flowers
竹林 Zhulin Bushes and trees
天文 Tianwen Astonomy
地理 Dili Geography
宮室 Gongshi Palaces and buildings
器用 Qiyong Tools and objects
音樂 Yinyue Music
禽獸 Qinshou Birds and beasts
昆虫 Kunchong Creeping animals
人品 Renpin Human affairs
Chinese literature according to the four-category system

May 19, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail