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Chinese Literature
Qinshu daquan 琴書大全 "The Complete Book on the Zither"


The Qinshu daquan 琴書大全 "The Complete Book on the Zither" is a book on the small zither (qin 琴) written by the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) scholar Jiang Keqian 蔣克謙, courtesy name Jiang Guoguang 蔣國光. He came from Xuzhou 徐州, Zhili, and was a distant relative to the imperial house. He was an excellent player of the zither himself, but also mastered calligraphy and painting. The book had been begun by his great- grandfather, the father of Empress Zhengde 正德皇后, and had been finished in 1521, yet Jiang Keqian's father added new material to this collection about the manufacturing of the zither, tunes, tuning, poems and songs. Jiang Keqian continued this work and finished his book in 1590.
The text is 22 juan "scrolls" long, the first 20 of which including theoretical discussions on this music instrument, while the last two include 62 scores for playing the zither. The greatest merit of the Qinshu daquan is that all quotes texts are critically annotated. The material is very rich and includes a lot of sources not found elsewhere, particularly book on the zither from the Tang period 唐 (618-907) like Chen Zhuo's 陳拙 Qinshu 琴書, Li Mian's 李勉 Qinhui ziyi 琴徽字議 and Wang Dali's 王大力 Qinsheng lütu 琴聲律圖, the Song period 宋 (960-1279) like Tian Zizhi’s 田紫芝 Taigu yiyin 太古遺音, Tang Zuyun's 楊祖雲 Qinyuan xuzhi 琴苑須知, the book Zhengu qinyuan 振古琴苑, the monk Juyue's 居月 Qinzhi 琴制, Miao Zi's 苗滋 Qinde fayuan 琴德發源, Cheng Yujian's 成玉{石+間} Zhizhang 指張, Qinlun 琴論 and Ziyang qinshu 紫陽琴書, the book Qinyi 琴議 by the master Shanyang Yefu 山陽野夫, and the preface to Master Miao's 苗氏 Qinpu 琴譜, or the Yuan period 元 (1279-1368) texts Xiawai qinpu xu 霞外琴譜序 by Hu Changru 胡長孺 and Qinlü fawei 琴律發微 by Chen Minzi 陳敏子. The last book is almost quoted full.
The Qinshu daquan is a very rare text. Ming period print are to be found in the Music Research Institute of the Chinese National Academy of Arts 中國藝術研究院音樂研究所, the Tianjin Library 天津圖書館 and the Shanghai Library 上海圖書館. These version has been reproduced by the Zhonghua shuju press 中華書局. The bibliography Qianqingtang shumu 千頃堂書目 lists a text called Yongle qinshu jicheng 永樂琴書集成 that seems to have been identical with Jiang Keqian's book. A copy of this text, found in Taiwan, is a forgery, as the scholar Cha Fuxi 查阜西 believes.


Source: Wu Zhao 吳釗 (1989). "Qinshu daquan 琴書大全", in: Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Yinyue wudao 音樂•舞蹈, Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe, p. 531.
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November 22, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail