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Chinese Literature
Dinglu 鼎錄 "On Tripods"


The Dinglu 鼎錄 "On tripods" is a description of ancient bronze vessels collected or investigated by the Chen period 陳 (557-589; in former time soften thought to be a Liang period 梁, 502-557, person) writer Yu Li 虞荔. Yu Li, courtesy name Yu Shanpo 虞山披, came from Yuyao 余姚 (modern Yuxiao, Zhejiang). His dates of life are not clear. He served as a scribe in the imperial secretariat during the Liang period and was appointed palace cadet of the heir apparent (taizi zhongshuzi 太子中庶子) by Emperor Wen 陳文帝 (r. 559-566) of the Chen dynasty. The emperor ordered him to compiled a lot of books. Yu Li's mother died during the disturbances of Hou Jing's 侯景 rebellion, and he mourned for her for the rest of his life and never accepted an office again. His book Dinglu is a description of tripod bronze vessels cast by emperors and high ministers of former times, beginning with the age of the mythical Yellow Emperor 黃帝 and down to the times of Emperor Xuan 陳宣帝 (r. 569-582) of the Chen dynasty. The short book includes the descriptions of 49 vessels, the background of their production, their shape, the material, the name of the vessels, and the inscription (content and writings style). For some vessels, it is indicated where they were stored. The oldest vessel cast by a non-ruler was that of Jiang Taigong 姜太公 (bettern known as Lü Shang 呂尚 or Qi Taigong 齊太公), the newest was made by the Eastern Jin period 東晉 (317-420) calligrapher Wang Xizhi 王羲之. There are in total 29 tripods made by private persons. For those vessels, the information provided is much shorter and in most cases reduced to the name and title of the owner. The authenticity of a lot of passages in this book is of doubtful origin, and it appears to have altered by later persons, probably as a result of bad copies. The bibliography Junzhai dushu zhi 郡齋讀書志 by the Song period 宋 (960-1279) scholar Chao Gongwu 晁公武 lists a book Dinglu by a certain Wu Xie 吳協 which seems to be an error. The Dinglu is included in the collectanea Han-Wei congshu 漢魏叢書, Miji congkan 秘笈叢刊, Qunfang qingwan 群芳清玩, Longwei mishu 龍威秘書, Sishijia xiaoshuo 四十家小說 and Siku quanshu 四庫全書.

Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 2, p. 1851. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.

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August 30, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail