Gu wen sheng xi 古文聲系 [The Ancient Script Arranged by Sound].

Four vols. 8vo, orig. wrappers, orig. title slips, orig. stitching. Beijing: Lai xun ge shu dian 來薰閣書店, 1935.

First edition of this paleographic Chinese dictionary arranged on phonological principles. The study of the oldest forms of the Chinese writing system and its phonology made great advances in the Qing period. At the turn of the 20th century, the antiquity of the script was greatly increased when the so-called oracle bones were discovered. These bones carried divinatory inscriptions in an archaic script. Our book presents ancient forms of Chinese characters, arranging them by rhyme. Each character is followed by a gloss providing information on its structure and meaning.

The book contains an index where characters can be looked up in stroke order. There are several Prefaces, including by the paleographers Yu Xingwu 于省吾 (1896-1984) and Tang Lan 唐蘭 (1901-79).

Sun Haibo (1909-72) was an academic and specialist in the oracle bone script. He taught at numerous institutions during his career and assembled a considerable book and art collection, which he donated to what is now He’nan University (Zhang, Qunxing canlan, 326-27).

Laixun ge bookstore, which published our book, started out as a rare-book dealer in Beijing’s antique market district Liuli chang. Yoshikawa Kōjirō 吉川幸次郎 (1904-80), the famous Japanese scholar of Chinese literature, has vividly described the store and its owner, Chen Jichuan 陳濟川 (b. 1906), whom he visited frequently in 1928-31 (Yoshikawa in Qiu, Jiu shi shu fang, 23-26). The store, founded in the 19th century, had been run by Chen’s family (Ma, Yidai zongshi Wei Jiangong, 326).

Fine and fresh set, preserved in a hantao.

❧ Qiu He 秋禾, ed. Jiu shi shu fang 旧时书坊. Beijing: Sanlian shudian, 2012.

Price: $1,000.00

Item ID: 9922

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