An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Yugong tushuo 禹貢圖說

Dec 21, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

Yugong tushuo 禹貢圖說 "Illustrated maps on the Tribute of Yu" is the title of several books commenting on the chapter Yugong 禹貢 "The Tribute of Yu" in the Confucian Classic Shangshu 尚書.

The oldest book with this title was written by Zheng Xiao 鄭曉 (1499-1566, courtesy name Zhifu 窒甫). Zheng left a rich treasury of writings, including commentaries on Confucian books, poems, and reports about his military campaigns. His collected writings are called Zheng Duanjian wenji 鄭端簡文集.

The short Yugong tushuo is divided into two parts, namely the maps and texts commenting on them. There is a general map providing an overview of rivers, and 30 detailed maps. The commenting text includes the original text of the chapter Yugong. The Qing period scholar Hu Wei 胡渭 (1633-1714) later wrote an additional commentary, Yugong zhuizhi 禹貢錐指, in order to amend some errors in Zheng Xiao's text printed in 1594. Today the Shanghai Library 上海圖書館 owns an original copy.

The next book of this title was written by Ma Junliang 馬俊良 (jinshi degree 1761, courtesy name Qianshan 嵰山) during the mid-Qing period. In his preface Ma explains that he collected all available commentaries on the chapter Yugong and, with his ‘small knowledge’ decided to draw maps. Ma announces that he would use a number of historiographical writings and the so-called “Masters and philosophers” as his sources and find out additional information about the geography of the Shangshu chapter Yugong, yet the book itself does in fact not offer much information on the maps. It might be that it was never really finished, and the maps drafted, but not fully commented on. Another explanation for the discrepancy between the announcement in the preface and what the text shows might be that the transmitted version is only part of Ma’s work, while the commentaries were to be found in his book Yugong zhu jiedu 禹貢注節讀. Ma mainly quotes from the commentaries of the Han period master Ma Rong 馬融 (79 – 176) and explains that Emperor Shun 舜 once separated the province of Bingzhou 并州 (approx. modern Shanxi) from that of the large northern province of Jizhou 冀州 (approx. Hebei), but also says that Bingzhou was separated from the country of Yan 燕 (Hebei) because the government seat was too far away from that of Qi 齊 (Shandong). At the same time Qi was divided into Qi proper and the province of Yingzhou 營州. Ma Junliang thus comes to a total number of twelve provinces, as in the Shangshu chapter Shundian 舜典 “The Canon of Shun”, while the text of the Yugong only knows nine. Such contradictions prevail throughout the book. Ma Junliang’s Yugong tushuo was printed in 1789. Tan Yun 譚澐 (fl. 1784) wrote a paragraph-and-sentence commentary of 4 juan (zhangju 章句) called Yugong zhangju 禹貢章句. This commentary served as an explanation of his short book Yugong tushuo. The zhangju commentary begins with a general map of the mountains and rivers of the nine provinces (Jiuzhou shanchuan zongtu 九州山川總圖) as described in the Yugong, a map of the “twelve provinces” (Yaodian shierzhou tu 舜典十二州圖) as described in the chapter Yaodian, a map of the nine great rivers (Jiuhetu 九河圖) and the rivers and canals that existed during the Han period (Liang-Han hequ tu 兩漢河渠圖). All maps are described in detail in the following part of the book. Tan Yun quotes extensively from older writings, particularly Hu Wei’s Yugong zhuizhi, and also adds his own findings or interpretations. Unfortunately he relies too much on Hu’s statements that are often not quite correct. Tan Yun’s two books were published in 1859. The last book of this title was written by Zhou Zhihan 周之翰 (1826 – 1887, also called Chailiang 儕亮, courtesy name Xiping 西屏). Unlike its predecessors Zhou’s 4 juan long Yugong tushuo was not based on older books, but is the result of his own research. At least, he discusses contradictions in geographical statements of the book ↑Mengzi 孟子 to the Yugong. Each of the four juan is headed by a preface, written by important scholars of the time, like He Shaoji 何紹基 (1799 – 1873), Xu Congshu 徐從樞 (dates unknown), Tang Jie 唐傑 (dates unknown), Mao Guorui 毛國瑞 (dates unknown) or Yuan Zhang 袁章 (dates unknown). Each ‘province’ is described in a dozen paragraphs or more, with a focus on mountains and rivers. The book demonstrates that most other researchers on the chapter Yugong had left out many places that were to be found in China during the nineteenth century and treated the geography of the Yugong according to the situation as it was believed to have been during the Zhou period. Unfortunately Zhou’s book includes no maps. His Yugong tushuo was printed in 1865. Yang Maojian 楊懋建 (juren degree 1832, courtesy name Zhangsheng 掌生), wrote a 2-juan-long book with the title Yugong xin tushuo 禹貢新圖說. It begins with a preface by Chen Li 陳澧 (1810 – 1882), who explains that it was written to enable all students to comprehend both the past and the present from the chapter Yugong. Chen also criticizes Cheng Taizhi 程泰之, who included reports in his book Yugong tu 禹貢圖 (or Yugong shanchuan tu 禹貢山川圖) about foreign countries into his interpretation of the Yugong. In fact, Yang’s book is not really concerned with present matters and does not fulfil the promise made in the preface. It even deals with topics that have nothing to do with the Yugong chapter at all. The text appeared in Guangzhou in 1867.

禹貢新圖說 地理圖說。清楊懋建撰。二卷。懋建字掌生,廣東嘉應(今梅縣)人。道光舉人。少受知于阮文達,有學聲。楊氏嘗主講書院,欲使學者因禹貢一篇而通知古今,于道光間撰成是書。約十四萬字。卷端有陳澧序,楊懋建自撰圖說敘錄。書分禹貢新圖說提要、羲和宅四方圖總說、堯典羲仲宅嵎夷圖說、羲叔宅南交圖說、和仲宅西圖說、和叔宅朔方圖說、九州分合圖總說、黃帝唐堯九州圖說、虞舜肇十二州圖說等四十一篇,為圖三十八楊氏多識清代諸書文章,自認以其時學說闡發《禹貢》標為新說,然所說多失考,出臆斷者甚多。其提要將南北美洲,西洋白人等數十國稱為紅毛國,不知與禹貢何關。另其周禮職方九州圖說謂但詳瓊州,臺灣從略,甚誤。至其解釋漢代胡人祭天神皆回教,尤為失考。有同治六年(1867)刻本。

Editions in reprint series:

Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰, ed. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 1, 125, 159, 161, 162.
Wang Zhaoming 王兆明, Fu Langyun 傅朗雲, ed. (1991). Zhonghua gu wenxian da cidian 中華古文獻大辭典, Dili 地理卷 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 264, 266.