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Chinese Literature
Shezhou yanpu 歙州硯譜 "Notes on Inkslabs from Shezhou"


The Shezhou yanpu 歙州硯譜 "Notes on Inkslabs from Shezhou" is a book on ink stones written by Tang Ji 唐積 during the Song period 宋 (960-1279). Of Tang Ji it is only known that he was secretary of the Heir Apparent (taizi zhongshe 太子中舍) and later magistrate (zhixian 知縣) of Wuyuan 婺源. The name of the author is not mentioned in the oldest surviving prints of the book, but at the end of the text, the date of compilation is given as 1066. In Chen Zhensun's 陳振孫 bibliography Zhizhai shulu jieti 直齋書錄解題 Tang Ji is mentioned, and the same date as in the oldest copies. The short text focuses on the ink stones produced in the city of Shezhou 歙州 (modern Xiuning 休寧, Anhui). It is divided into ten chapters explaining how stones are detected, cut of of their place of origin, processed and rated, but also, which types of inkstones were common, and of what problems the natural material might suffer. The mechanical work is described quite detailed and the text therefore an importance source for handicrafts in ancient China. In the Zhizhai shulu jieti the text is called Sheyan tupu 歙硯圖譜, and the calligrapher Mi Fu 米芾 called the book Yanzhou yantu 歙州硯圖, which demonstrates that the original text also included illustrations. Another prove of this is the commentary to the book in the collectaneum Baichuan xuehai 百川學海, where the publisher Zuo Gui 左圭 says there were so much illustrations in the text that he left them out for the publication of the Baichuan xuehai. The Shezhou yanpu is also to be found in the collectanea Shuofu 說郛, Xuejin taoyuan 學津討原, Siku quanshu 四庫全書 and Meishu congshu 美術叢書.

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. 1852.

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December 13, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail