“Indispensable Sources for Knowledge…of the Late Yüan Period”

Nan cun chuo geng lu 南村輟耕錄 [Records Written After Stopping the Tillage in Southern Village].

Ten vols. Small folio, orig. wrappers & stitching. [China]: Wujin Tao shi Yi yuan 武進陶氏逸園, 1925.

A fine copy of this collection of “jottings” (biji 筆記) by one of the most prominent writers of the 14th century.

Tao Zongyi (ca. 1316-ca. 1402) managed to live a relatively peaceful life in a century full of violence. Tao might have had a limited official career late in life, after the Ming dynasty had replaced the Mongol Yuan, but it appears that several circumstances prevented him from holding office under the Yuan. Alternatively, the life of teaching and writing that he led might have been his own choosing. The rebellions of the mid-14th century compelled Tao to seek greater safety, which he found in a small town close to present-day Shanghai. His students helped him raise money for buying a house there, which became known as Nancun caotang 南村草堂, “Thatched Hall of the Southern Village,” a name that is reflected in the title of our book.

Our book is “the most important work left by T’ao.” It is “the collection of miscellaneous notes and essays completed in 1366…,30 ch. It includes his study notes on art, literature, science, etc., as well as his recording of current events and modes of life; these have proved to be indispensable sources for knowledge and understanding of the late Yüan period, as shown in such works as Chinese Pictorial Art by R. H. van Gulik and Mediaeval Researches by E. Bretschneider” (Chang and Fang, “T’ao Tsung-i,” 1270).

A cartouche on the last page of our book says that “In the first month of the guihai year [1923], Mr. Tao’s Yiyuan re-carved [the book] based on a good edition. Work was finished in the eleventh month of yichou [1925].” A cartouche at the beginning of the book specifies that the edition traced for this print was a “Yuan edition.” This Mr. Tao was the book collector and businessman Tao Xiang 陶湘 (1871-1940).

The book carries a Preface by Tao Zongyi’s acquaintance Sun Zuo 孫作 (ca. 1340-1424), dated 1366 (Zhizheng bingwu).

Fine set preserved in a hantao.

Price: $2,000.00

Item ID: 10050

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