Jing ji zhuan gu 經籍籑詁 [Collected Exegetical Glosses on the Classical Corpus].

12 vols. 8vo, orig. wrappers, orig. title slips no longer present, orig. stitching. Shanghai: Wen rui lou 上海文瑞樓, n.d.

An uncommon edition of this reference work for the study of ancient Chinese texts, originally completed in 1798.

The textual corpus with which a late imperial Chinese literatus was expected to be familiar was very substantial. Even individuals who had studied classical Chinese and the canonical texts written in it since childhood had a need for reference works. Our book was compiled to fill this need. It is arranged by sound, according to the rhyme of characters. The number of rhymes is 106, reflecting the common standard for writing poetry. Beneath each rhyme, the book lists, first, all rhyming characters found in the Kangxi emperor’s great poetical thesaurus Peiwen yunfu 佩文韻府 [Storehouse of Rhymes from the (Studio of the) Admiration of Literature], in the order in which they appear there, and, second, other characters found in the pre-Tang textual corpus but not included in the thesaurus. Characters are glossed and their loci classici are marked (Hu, Jianming guji cidian, 192).

Our edition comes with an index, arranged by radical and stroke order, that is advertised as newly compiled and different from the index for beginners sold by commercial publishers at the time.

Ruan Yuan (1764-1849) was a high-ranking Qing official, educator, supporter of scholars, and a great scholar in his own right. Ruan’s “distinction as a scholar and patron of learning has been recognized by both his contemporaries and modern scholars. His name is mentioned in almost all the works on Qing history or Chinese classics because of the wide range of his research and publications. More than eighty titles of his publications are extant, and a number of these are still being reprinted at the start of the twenty-first century” (Wei, Ruan Yuan, 1).

The publisher of our edition, Wenrui lou [Pavilion Where Literature Is Auspicious], was founded in Shanghai in 1880. It ceased operations in 1937, which is a terminus ante quem for our book. The printing — using lithography — was carried out by Hongzhang shuju 鴻章書局 [Vastness of Literature Publishing House].

Fine set, preserved in two hantao. Our edition is quite rare. In WorldCat, we find only a copy held at Guangzhou Library (965182402).

❧ Wei, Betty Peh-T’i. Ruan Yuan, 1764-1849: The Life and Work of a Major Scholar-Official in Nineteenth-Century China before the Opium War. Hong Kong University Press, 2006.

Price: $1,500.00

Item ID: 9921

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