Item ID: 9589 Guang xu fang yan 廣續方言 [Expansion and Sequel to “Regional Words”]. Xianjia 程先甲 CHENG.

A Lexicon Printed in Wooden Movable Type

Guang xu fang yan 廣續方言 [Expansion and Sequel to “Regional Words”]

Printed by wooden movable type. 36; 30 folding leaves. Two vols. 8vo, orig. wrappers, orig. stitching. [China]: 1897.

Around 1 CE, Yang Xiong showcased the linguistic variety of China in The Imperial Light Carriage Emissary Explaining Discursively the Regional Words in Different States through the Ages (Youxuan shizhe juedai yushi bieguo fangyan 輶軒使者絕代語釋別國方言), commonly referred to Regional Words, or Fangyan 方言. This book recorded expressions from different Sinitic languages or dialects, and is also “the oldest known Chinese documentation on languages other than Chinese” (Bottéro, “Ancient China,” 57). With a rise in interest in the philological scholarship of the Han dynasty, under which Yang Xiong 揚雄 (53 BCE-18 CE) lived, several sequels to Fangyan were compiled in the 18th and 19th centuries. Cheng Xianjia’s (1871-1932) book is one of these sequels. It lists regional expressions gathered from a variety of ancient and medieval sources, glosses them, and cites his sources.

Cheng’s book is divided into categories, including herbs, trees, insects, fish, quadrupeds, and birds, and also contains kinship terminology. A few Indic terms are included, but all words are written exclusively in Chinese characters. The book has a colophon by Zhu Kongzhang 朱孔彰.

Cheng was a writer and official, serving both under the Qing dynasty and in the Republic. His writings include a rhapsody (fu 賦) on his hometown of Nanjing and works on trigonometry and ancient Egypt (Han, “Cheng Xianjia jiqi Xuanya,” 9).

Our book was printed in wooden movable type, with the back of the title-page stating explicitly that it was “set in type” (paiyin 排印) in 1897. See also WorldCat 35218455.

Fine set.


Bottéro, Françoise. “Ancient China.” In The Cambridge World History of Lexicography. Edited by John Considine. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019.

Han Geping 韩格平. “Cheng Xianjia jiqi Xuanya” 程先甲及其《选雅》. Guji zhengli yanjiu xuekan 1994, no. 1.

Price: $1,250.00

Item ID: 9589

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