3.6 Learning and the Arts
of the Two Chin and the Southern and Northern Dynasties

Table of Contents
3.6.2 Study of the Classics (經學)

3.6.2 The Study of the Classics (經學 Ching-hsüeh)

The Classics of today that were transmitted by the forty scholars of the Han Dynasty, much was lost or destroyed during the end of the Han and the chaos of the Three Kingdoms. According to the Ching-chieh chih of the Book of Sui (Sui Shu), the study of the schools of poetry, the Poetry of Ch'i (Ch'i-shih) was lost in the Wei, the Poetry of Lu (Lu-shih) was lost in the Western Chin, the Poetry of Han Han-shih) although it still exists there are none who can pass it on, only the Poetry of Mao survives because of the commentaries by Cheng K'ang-ch'eng. For the Shu-ching ( &332147;) there is Ou-yang, the Ta, Hsao, Hsia-hou were all lost during the tumults of Yung-chia. The Ku-wen Shang-shu that was transmitted by Tu Lin, because it was taught by Cheng K'uei, spread by Ma Jung and recorded by Cheng Hsüan it was also able to survive. The Li Ching (禮經) only had the I-li (儀禮), from the Wei-Chin on together with the Li Chi (禮記) and Chou Kuan (周官) were known as the San Li (三禮 Three Rites). Cheng Hsüan spread the teaching of Hsiao Tai (小戴) and also explained the meaning compared to the Ku Li Ching, combining the two schools of old and current to produce the teaching of the Cheng Family. For the I Ching, the school of Liang Ch'iu and the Shih family was lost during the Western Chin, that of the Meng Family and the Ching Family had a text but no teacher, there was only the ancient text of the I Ching of the Fei Family, Ma Jung continued its transmission which was received by Cheng Hsüan with Hsüan composing the I-chu (Commentary on the I). Later during the Wei Dynasty Wang Hsiao and Wang Pi both produced commentaries thus the Fei Family I with the two schools of Wang and Cheng flourished. For the Chün-ch'iu, during the Latter Han the Kung-yang had the Yen Family (嚴氏) and the Yen Family (顏氏) who along with Liang-ku compose three schools, also the Tso Family not yet established in education official. Later Chia K'uei and Fu Ch'ien both produced explanations of the Tso Shih Chün-Ch'iu, and as a result during the Ts'ao-Wei Dynasty the teaching of the Tso Shih flourished. Tu Yü of the Chin Dynasty used officials of the Imperial Court to promote the Tso Shih, with the result that the Tso Shih and the Kung Yang Ku-Liang became part of education, with the Tso Shih Ch'un-ch'iu being emphasized. In addition to the Five Classics, there is the Hsiao Ching and the Lun-yü were part of the common practice of the Wei-Chin period, and also had the commentaries of Cheng Hsüan and Wang Hsiao. (This summary is based on original material from the Sui Chih.)

During the late Han period Cheng Hsüan compiled commentaries on many of the Classics and at the end of the Wei Dynasty Wang Hsiao also composed commentaries for numerous Classics therefore from the Ts'ao-Wei period onward the study of the Classics also had the two schools of Cheng and Wang. By the time of the Western Chin, because Wang Hsiao is the Wai-tsu-fu (grandfather on mother's side) of Ssu-ma Yen, who became the Chin ruler Wu-ti, the state particularly promoted the teachings of Wang, and for a moment Cheng fell from favor and Wang rose, with the result that the Wang teachings became the dominant Southern school. At the time that Tu Yü annotated the Tso Chuan, his grandson T'an whose brother Chi was the Ching-chou Prefect during the Southern Dynasties carried on the enterprise so in the Ching-Chi region the Tu school flourished such that the Tu teachings together with the Wang teachings both became famous. Yüan-ti of the Eastern Chin promoted study of the Classics and established nine Scholars with their notes and commentaries; the Chou-i used the commentaries of Wang Pi, the Shang Shu used K'ung An-kuo, the Tso Chuan used the commentaries of Tu Yü, the Li used the commentaries of Cheng Hsüan, the Shih used the commentaries of Mao Kung. The Ku-wen Shang Shu transmitted by K'ung An-kuo during the Han period had already been lost by the beginning of the Chin Dynasty. During the reign of the Chin ruler Yüan-ti we have the Hsiang-chang Nei-shih, Mei Tse (courtesy name: Chung-chen) offering up the Ku-wen Shang Shu by K'ung An-kuo in fifty-eight volumes (p'ien), missing the one volume titled Shun-tien which could not be procured through the offer of a reward, obtaining the Yao Tien Shun-hui Wu-tien below was divided into the Shun Tien P'ien. Within these 58 volumes were 28 volumes of the Ku-wen Shang Shu, according to findings of the later Ch'ing Dynasty textual researchers (k'ao-chü chia) Yen Ju-ch'ü, Ting Yen and others proved that the ku-wen sections in the Shang Shu presented by Mei Tse were fakes that are now known to the world as the Wei Ku-wen Shang Shu (偽古文尚書 Faux or Counterfeit Old Text Shang Shu).

During the Chin Dynasty there was a great event and that was the discovery of the Chi-chung bamboo books to give this era a unique opportunity to experience its meaning. In the Wu-ti Chi in the Book of Chin (Chin Shu) it states: "In tenth moon of the year Hsien-ning 5 (279 A.D.), Pu Chun a native of Chi-chün dug in the tomb of Wei Hsiang Wang and came upon bamboo slips with over ten-thousand words written in the small seal script which had been stored in a secret chamber." Then in the Lü-li Chih there is "In the year T'ai-k'ang 1 (280 A.D.) of the Emperor Wu-ti a Chi-chün thief discovered the tomb of Wei Hsiang Wang from the Six Kingdoms ..." (NOTE: The Six Kingdoms are the kingdoms annexed by Ch'in during the Warring States period.)