Item ID: 10006 Jian ti zi dian 簡體字典 [Dictionary of Simplified Characters]. Geng 容庚 RONG.

Curious Character Simplifications

Jian ti zi dian 簡體字典 [Dictionary of Simplified Characters].

31 leaves. Small 8vo, orig. wrappers (a little frayed), orig. stitching. Beijing: Harvard-Yenching Institute, Yenching University, 1936.

First edition of this classified list of simplified Chinese characters. The reform of the Chinese writing system was an item high on the agenda for reformist and revolutionary intellectuals in early 20th-century China. As Min Houzhuo 閔侯桌 writes in the Preface to our book, “since the abolishment of the imperial civil service examination system [in 1905], there have been a number of improvements in the area of education, and the advocacy of vernacular Chinese writing and simplified characters are two of the major movements among these improvements.”

Rong Geng (1894-1983) was a paleographer. In his book, simplified characters are arranged by the number of strokes in ascending order. First the standard form of a character is listed, followed by its simplification. A reader of Chinese will recognize simplifications that later entered official use in the People’s Republic, but the book in addition contains many curious cursive forms.

The book was distributed by Wenkui tang 文奎堂, a bookstore located by Longfu Temple 隆福寺. This area had been a center for the Beijing book trade since the Qing period.

Very good copy.

Price: $500.00

Item ID: 10006

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