|N.B. The following source refers to a Zhang "Jie" but the character, dates and other name information indicate Zhang Kai. No OCLC record for this title by this author.|
JapSin I, 167
Siti qianzi wen 四體千字文.
Standard and grass script by Zhang Jie [sic.] 張楷 (1670–1744), seal (篆) and clerk (隸) style characters by Xu Dachun 徐大椿 (1693–1771).
Chinese bamboo paper in one volume.
No date or place of publication.
The cover bears an Italian and a Latin inscription: “Alla libreria de’ Signori convit | tori del Colegio di Voghera . . . | il P. Celestino Spelta min. Réf. in Cina miss(ionar)iõ ap(osto)lico | dona. Paganus. Liber classicus 1000 caracterum = ABC. Sine valore.”There are four columns in each half folio with eight characters in each column in the above mentioned four styles. The upper middle of each folio gives the title of the book with the number of the folio marked below.
This book was printed probably in the Daoguang period (1821–1850), cf. Jap-Sin I, 168–169. It was a gift from Father Celestino Spelta to the library of the boarding students at the College of Voghera in Italy (see next number). Father Spelta was a Franciscan who worked in the Chinese mission for many years. Later (ca. 1860) he became bishop of Ganzhou 贛州 (Jiangxi).
Zhang Jie [sic.] (zi 瞻式, hao 蒿亭) belonged to the Blue Banner of the Manchu army. He obtained his juren degree during the Kangxi reign. He had been viceroy of Jiangxi, Shaanxi, and Anhui. He was known for his good administration. He later became the President of the Ministry of Revenue (戶部); cf. PCC, juan 29.
Xu Dachun or Daye 大業 (zi 靈胎, hao 迴溪) was a native of Wujiang 吳江 (Jiangsu). He studied for some time in the Imperial Academy, but did not compete in the official examinations. He was widely interested in many branches of studies, particularly in medicine. In his late years his fame as a physician spread throughout the country and several times he was summoned by imperial order to the capital. He died there on his last trip. He wrote a number of treatises on medicine which gave him a place among the important physicians of the Qing dynasty; cf. ECCP 1:322–324; PCC, juan 147; Yuan Mei 袁枚 (1716–1798), Xiaocang shanfang quanji 小倉山房全集, juan 34.
The Qianzi wen (The Thousand Character Classic) is said to have been compiled from the calligraphy of Wang Xizhi 王羲之 (303–361) by Zhou Xingsi 周興嗣 of the Liang dynasty (502–556). It is a composition containing exactly one thousand different characters, arranged four to a line, each sentence being complete in itself but generally having no connection with the next. The book had been widely used since the Sui dynasty (581–618). It was the second book learned by the Chinese in the old days, the first being the Sanzi jing 三字經 (The Three Character Classic), composed probably by Wang Yinglin 王應麟 (1223–1296) in the Sung dynasty. Since the Liang dynasty, there had been different Qianzi wen, composed by different authors but with the same title; the best known, however, is that attributed to Zhou Xingsi (cf. Jap-Sin I, 58 A 2).
The Qianzi wen has been translated into English in several editions: by Samuel Kidd (Malacca, 1831), by W. H. Medhurst (Batavia, 1835), by Benjamin Jenkins (Shanghai, 1860), by E. J. Eitel (Hong Kong, 1893) and by E. C. Bridgman (Chinese Repository, vol. 4, pp. 229–243). It was translated into French by Stanislas Julien (Paris, 1864) and into German by J. Hoffmann (Leyden, 1840), whose translation was based on the Dutch translation by P. F. von Siebold.
Cf. Paul Pelliot, “Le Ts’ien tsieu wen ou ‘Livre des mille mots’” in T’oung Pao XXIV (1926), pp. 179–214, 293; J.P. Abel Rémusat, Essai sur la langue et la littérature chinoise (Paris, 1811); Zhao Yi 趙翼 (1724–1814), Gaiyu congkao 陔餘叢考, juan 22 (Shanghai, 1957), pp. 436–437.
Source: Albert Chan, S.J., Chinese Books and Documents in the Jesuit Archives in Rome, pp. 223-224.