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Chinese Literature
Moshi 墨史 "A History of Ink-Makers"


The Moshi 墨史 "A History of Ink-Makers" is a book of ink-makers written by the Yuan period 元 (1279-1368) scholar Lu You 陸友, courtesy name Lu Youren 陸友仁 or Lu Zhaizhi 陸宅之, style Yanbei sheng 研北生. He came from Pingjiang 平江 near modern Suzhou 蘇州, Jiangsu, from a textile trader's family. Lu You was excellent in calligraphy but also mastered shi style poems 詩, and was therefore admired by Ke Jiusi 柯九思, an erudite (boshi 博士) in the Kuizhang Hall 奎章閣, and Yu Ji 虞集, an attendant academician (shishu xueshi 侍書學士). Both recommended him to Emperor Wenzong 元文宗 (r. 1328; 1329-1331), but Lu You was never given an office. Except the Moshi he had also written the book Yanshi 硯史 on inkstones and a text on seals called Yinshi 印史. His collected poems were called Qijuxuan gao 杞菊軒稿. Except the Moshi and the biji 筆記 "brush notes" style text Yanbei zazhi 研北雜志, all writings of Lu You are lost.
The 3 juan "scrolls" long Moshi is a collection of all important earlier writings on the production of ink. The text is written chronologically and focuces on 25 master of ink-production from the Three Kingdoms period 三國 (220-280) on, like Li Yangbing 李陽冰 (who is also known as an editor of the Han period dictionary Shuowen jiezi) from the Tang period 唐 (618-907), Chai Xun 柴殉 from the Song period 宋 (960-1279), Liu Fa 劉法 and Yang Wenxiu 楊文秀 from the Jin empire 金 (1115-1234), and even foreign masters of ink-making from Goryeo 高麗 (Korea), the Khitan empire 契丹 of Liao 遼 (907-1125), or the Western Territories 西域. Lu You undertook a critical revision of his sources, to that the Moshi is not only a document on the mastery of the manufacturing of ink, but also a reliable historiographical source with many biographies.
The Moshi is to be found in the collectanea Zhibuzuzhai congshu 知不足齋叢書 and Siku quanshu 四庫全書, and was also printed by Xiang Yaoshi 項葯師, Liu Maosheng 劉泖生 and is included in the collection Minqiuji 敏求記.


Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe, vol. 2, p. 1855.
Chinese literature according to the four-category system

December 13, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail