Several woodcuts in the text. Ten columns per page, 22 characters per column, textblock: 208 x 155 mm. 80; 69 folding leaves. Two vols. 8vo (273 x 178 mm.), somewhat later wrappers, later block-printed title labels on upper covers, new stitching. [Korea]: colophon dated 1562 (Jiajing 41).
An early and very rare (no copy in WorldCat) Korean edition of the teachings of the Cheng brothers, Hao (1032-85) and Yi (1033-1107), two important philosophers of the Northern Song period; they can be called the true founders of Neo-Confucianism. The Cheng brothers, along with their uncle Zai Zhang, their teacher Dunyi Zhou, and their friend Yong Shao, were the most important thinkers of the Northern Song. “Cheng Yi claimed that he and his brother recovered the Learning of the Way, which had been lost since the time of Mencius in the fourth century B.C. With Cheng Hao’s encouragement, the Mencius quickly became integrated into the intellectual and philosophical mainstream…
“Cheng Yi’s theory of knowledge and comprehension — new to the Confucian tradition — laid the foundation for the many scientific and technological breakthroughs of the Song, and above all influenced the entire School of Principle (lixue) erected by the philosopher Zhu Xi.”–Dieter Kuhn, The Age of Confucian Rule. The Song Transformation of China (Harvard University Press), pp. 101-02.
This book has two prefaces. In the first, the title is Er Cheng cuiyan [Essential Sayings from the Two Cheng (Brothers)]. Written on the occasion of a reprint of the work in 1513 (Zhengde 8), this preface is by Lian Yang (1452-1525), a Ming official. It is followed by the original preface, dated 1166 (Qiandao 2), by Shi Zhang (1133-80).
The colophon is by Hwang Yi, written in 1562.
On the final paste-down endpaper in each volume, an inscription in red ink states that this book comes from the library of Tessai Tomioka (1836-1924), the painter and calligrapher. He was the last major artist in the Bunjinga tradition and one of the first major artists of the Nihonga style. He was educated in classical Chinese philosophy and literature, and his worldview was deeply rooted in Confucianism.
A fine set. Some mostly marginal worming, occasionally touching characters. Minor dampstaining.
❧ With thanks to Prof. Marten Soderblom Saarela of the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica, Taiwan.
Item ID: 8059