Item ID: 8809 [J:] Shoroku tanshun [Thought-Provoking Bookworms in the Bamboo Trunk Full of Books]. Jiweng LI, Can, XIAO, Jiru CHEN.
[J:] Shoroku tanshun [Thought-Provoking Bookworms in the Bamboo Trunk Full of Books].

Chinese Bookworms in the Bamboo Trunk Full of Books

[J:] Shoroku tanshun [Thought-Provoking Bookworms in the Bamboo Trunk Full of Books].

42; 32 folding leaves. Two vols. 8vo, orig. semi-stiff wrappers (rubbed), orig. block-printed title labels on upper covers (both labels partly defective), new stitching. Kyoto: Takemura Shinbei, 1698.

First edition to be printed in Japan of this collection of Chinese literary texts, with the Preface of Isshiki Tokei (or Maeda Tokei, 1673-1744), the Kyoto Confucian scholar who served the Yamashiro yodo fiefdom lord Noriyuki Ishikawa. The book is printed in kanbun with reading marks. It is rare, with no copy in WorldCat (we did find a copy in the Nagoya Tsurumai Library).

The texts are:

1. LI Jiweng (or Kuangyi). Zi xia lu [Records [or Collection] to Fill One’s Spare Time]. Li’s given name is often written as Kuangyi, and there is no scholarly consensus on which form is correct. Zhang Guye assumes that the correct form is Kuangwen, which allows him to argue that this Li Kuangwen is the eponymous son of Grand Councilor Li Yijian (756-822 CE), a high official in the Tang government. Kuangyi would have been born sometime after 806 CE (early in the Yuanhe reign period). He had an official career in and authored several works of history before passing away sometime in the 880s or 890s.

The text Zixia lu or Zixia ji is a collection of “jottings” (biji), a scholarly genre in which the author collects anecdotes or presents the results of various investigations. Li’s collection largely consists of examinations of historical facts and events. It also contains information on foodstuffs, tea utensils, musical instruments, and clothing, which provides a window onto Tang-period society. The text was repeatedly printed in the late imperial period as part of various collections, and was included in the Qianlong emperor’s manuscript library, The Complete Writings of the Four Treasuries.

2. XIAO Can (or Sen). Xi tong lu [Records of Penetrating Study]. Tao Zongyi (ca. 1316-ca. 1402) gives the author’s name as Xiao Sen. This is a very little-studied collection of jottings, on which we cannot find any scholarship. Excerpts from Xitong lu are included in Shuofu [Purlieus of Exposition] by Tao Zongyi. An introductory note to that book says that it was completed in 1223 (the guiwei year of the Jiading reign period of the Southern Song).

3. CHEN Jiru. Qun sui lu [Record of Assembled Fragments]. Chen Jiru (1558-1639) was one of the great late-Ming arbiters of culture and taste, and the impact of his innovations can still be traced in present-day China. In late Ming, when culture and taste enjoyed a social prestige beyond their usual standing, Chen’s influence appears even greater than it may have otherwise. “Most of the writings of [the author] exemplify the philosophy of the late Ming period which was dominated by the desire to enjoy life…His short essays, letters and poems had a charm of their own.”– Hummel, ed., Eminent Chinese of the Ch’ing Period (1644-1912), Vol. I, pp. 83-84.

Qunsui lu is a collection of notes on the origins of various things, foreign objects, rituals and customs, and examinations of expressions or turns of phrase. Some of the notes present stories and legends.

Nice set. Minor worming, occasionally touching text. Some of the worming has been carefully repaired.

❧ Zhang Guye, “Zixia ji zuozhe Li Kuangwen de shilü yu zhushu” [“The Writings and Official Career of Li Kuangwen, author of Zixia ji”] in Wenxian (2000), No. 4, pp. 101-05. With thanks to Prof. Marten Soderblom Saarela of the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica, Taiwan.

Price: $7,500.00

Item ID: 8809

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