|Gu Zhouli 古周禮 [JapSin I-8]|
JapSin I, 8
Gu Zhouli 古周禮.
Manuscript, twenty-two folios, written in the standard script in fairly good calligraphy. Bamboo paper in one ce. 21 x 15 cm.
The Latin inscription on the title page reads: “Textus originalis libri cheu-li seu Rituum Imperii cheu.”The text is divided into five sections: 天官冢宰第一地官司徒第二春官宗伯第三夏官司馬第四秋官司寇第五. These five sections are given as the work of Liu Xiang (77–76 B.C.): 漢劉向條目. The sixth, the 冬官考工記第六, is attributed to Liu Xiang’s son Liu Xin (52–23 B.C.), who supplemented the original part which is said to have been missing: 漢劉歆補闕. Pronunciations and explanations of meaning are given on the margins and side by side to the text. The marginal notes frequently bear the name Mingqing 明卿 as their author. This, as we know, is the hao 號 of Chen Renxi 陳仁錫 (1579–1634), a government official and scholar of the late Ming period.
The Zhou Li, known also as Zhou Guan 周官 “Offices of Zhou” or Zhou Guan Jing “Canonical offices of Zhou,” was actually a description of the constitution of the Zhou dynastic government. It has practically nothing to do with rites, as the title suggests. It was composed of six neatly organized sections, each dealing with a major component of the Zhou dynastic government: the Office of Heaven 天官, or the Prime Ministry; the Office of Earth 地官, or the Office of Education and Social Welfare; the Office of Spring 春官, or Office of Rites and Ceremonies and Protocol; the Office of Summer 夏官, or the Department of Defense and Security; the Office of Autumn 秋官, or the Department of Justice and Punishment; and the Office of Winter 冬官, or the Department of Public Works and Economic Production. In its present form, the last chapter is missing and replaced by a curious document entitled Kao gong ji 考工記 or “A Record of Researches on Manufacture.”
The Zhou Li has been translated by William Raymond, The Ceremonial Usage of the Chinese (Chow lé), (Gingell, London, 1852) and Edouard Biot, Le Tcheou-li ou rites des Tcheou (Paris, 1851/Peking, 1939).
For another version, see Jap-Sin I, 34/37, 4/1–4/2 (Zhouli zuanzhu).
Source: Albert Chan, SJ, Chinese Books and Documents in the Jesuit Archives in Rome, pp. 6-7.