Five Classics‎ > ‎THE BOOK OF RITES‎ > ‎


1. Formerly, when the duke of Kâu gave audience to the feudal princes in their several places. In the Hall of Distinction, the son of Heaven stood with his back to the axe-embroidered screen , and his face towards the south.

2. The three dukes were in front of the steps, in the middle, with their faces to the north, inclining to the east as the most honourable position. The places of the marquises were at the east of the eastern steps, with their faces to the west, inclining to the north as the most honourable position. The lords of the earldoms were at the west of the western steps, with their faces to the east, inclining also and for the same reason to the north. The counts were on the east of the gate, with their faces to the north, inclining to the east as the more honourable position. The barons were on the west of the gate, with their faces to the north, inclining also and for the same reason to the east.

3. The chiefs of the nine Î were outside the eastern door, with their faces to the west, inclining to the north as the position of honour; those of the eight Mân were outside the door on the south, with their faces to the north, inclining for the same reason to the east; those of the six Zung were outside the door on the west, with their faces to the east, inclining for the same reason to the south; and those of the five Tî were outside the door on the north, with their faces to the south, inclining for the same reason to the east.

4. The chiefs of the nine Zhâi were outside the Ying gate, with their faces to the north, inclining to the east as the position of honour for them; those of the four Sâi also came, who had only once in their time to announce their arrival at the court. These were the places of the lords in the Hall of Distinction when they appeared before the duke of Kâu.

5. The Hall of Distinction was so called, because in it the rank of the princes was clearly shown as high or low.

6. Formerly, when Kâu of Yin was throwing the whole kingdom into confusion, he made dried slices of the flesh of the marquis of Kwei, and used them in feasting the princes. On this account the duke of Kâu assisted king Wû in attacking Kâu. When king Wû died, king Khang being young and weak, the duke took the seat of the son of Heaven, and governed the kingdom. During six years he gave audience to all the princes in the Hall of Distinction; instituted ceremonies, made his instruments of music, gave out his standard weights and measures, and there was a grand submission throughout the kingdom.

7. In the seventh year, he resigned the government to king Khang; and he, in consideration of the duke’s services to the kingdom, invested him with the territory about Khü-fû, seven hundred lî square, and sending forth a thousand chariots of war. He also gave charge that the princes of Lû, from generation to generation, should sacrifice to the duke of Kâu with the ceremonies and music proper at a sacrifice by the son of Heaven.

8. Thus it was that the rulers of Lû, in the first month of spring, rode in a grand carriage, displaying the banner, suspended from its bow-like arm, with the twelve streamers, and having the sun and moon emblazoned on it, to sacrifice to God in the suburb of their metropolis, associating Hâu Kî as his assessor in the service;--according to the ceremonies used by the son of Heaven.

9. In the last month of summer, the sixth month, they used the ceremonies of the great sacrifice in sacrificing to the duke of Kâu in the great ancestral temple, employing for the victim to him a white bull. The cups were those with the figure of a victim bull, of an elephant, and of hills and clouds; that for the fragrant spirits was the one with gilt eyes on it. For libations they used the cup of jade with the handle made of a long rank-symbol. The dishes with the offerings were on stands of wood, adorned with jade and carved. The cups for the personator were of jade carved in the same way. There were also the plain cups and those of horn, adorned with round pieces of jade; and for the meat-stands, they used those with four feet and the cross-binders.

10. The singers went up to the hall or stage, and sang the Khing Miâo; in the court below, the pantomimes performed the Hsiang dance, to the accompaniment of the wind instruments. With their red shields and jade-adorned axes, and in their caps with pendants, they danced to the music of the Tâ Wû; in their skin caps, and large white skirts gathered at the waist, and jacket of silk, they danced the Tâ Hsiâ. There were also the Mei, or music of the wild tribes of the East; and the Zan, or music of those of the South. The introduction of these two in the grand temple was to signalise the distinction of Lû all over the kingdom.

11. The ruler, in his dragon-figured robe and cap with pendants, stood at the eastern steps; and his wife, in her head-dress and embroidered robe, stood in her room. The ruler, with shoulder bared, met the victim at the gate; his wife brought in the stands for the dishes. The ministers and Great officers assisted the ruler; their wives assisted his wife. Each one discharged the duty proper to him or her. Any officer who neglected his duty was severely punished; and throughout the kingdom there was a great acknowledgment of, and submission to, the worth of the duke of Kâu.

12. In Lû they offered also the sacrifices of summer, autumn, and winter in the ancestral temple; with those at the altars of the land and grain in spring, and that at the autumnal hunt, going on to the great sacrifice of thanksgiving at the end of the year:--all after the pattern of the sacrifices of the son of Heaven.

13. The grand temple of Lû corresponded to the Hall of Distinction of the son of Heaven, the Khû gate of the marquis’s palace to the Kâo or outer gate of the king’s, and the Kih gate to the Ying. They shook the bell with the wooden clapper in the court as was done in the royal court, in announcing governmental orders.

14. The capitals of the pillars with hills carved on them, and the pond-weed carving on the small pillars above the beams; the second storey and the great beams projecting under the eaves; the polished pillars and the windows opposite to one another; the earthen stand on which the cups, after being used, were placed; the high stand on which the jade tokens were displayed aloft; and the slightly carved screen:--all these were ornaments of the temple of the son of Heaven.

15. The princes of Lû had, as carriages, that of Shun, the lord of Yü, furnished with bells; that of the sovereign of Hsiâ, with its carved front; the Great carriage of wood, or that of Yin; and the carriage adorned with jade, or that of Kâu.

16. They had, as flags or banners, that of Shun, the lord of Yü; the yak’s tail of the sovereign of Hsiâ; the great white flag of Yin; and the corresponding red one of Kâu.

17. They had the white horses of the sovereign of Hsiâ, with their black manes; the white horses of Yin, with their black heads; and the bay horses of Kâu, with red manes. The sovereigns of Hsiâ preferred black victims; those of Yin, white; and those of Kâu, victims which were red and strong.

18. Of jugs for liquor, they had the earthenware jug of the lord of Yü; the jug of Hsiâ, with clouds and hills figured on it; the ko of Yin, with no base, which rested directly on the ground; and the jugs of Kâu, with a victim-bull or an elephant on them.

19. For bowls or cups they had the kân of Hsiâ; the kiâ of Yin; and the kiâ of Kâu.

20. For libations they had the jug of Hsiâ, with a cock on it; the kiâ of Yin; and that of Kâu, with gilt eyes on it.

For ladles they had that of Hsiâ, with the handle ending in a dragon’s head; that of Yin, slightly carved all over; and that of Kâu, with the handle like plaited rushes.

21. They had the earthen drum, with clods for the drumstick and the reed pipe,--producing the music of Î-khî; the pillow-like bundles of chaff, which were struck; the sounding stone of jade; the instruments rubbed or struck, to regulate the commencement and close of the music; the great lute and great cithern; the medium lute and little citherns: the musical instruments of the four dynasties.

22. The temple of the duke of Lû was maintained from generation to generation like that of king Wăn in the capital of Kâu, and the temple of duke Wû in the same way like that of king Wû.

23. They had the hsiang school of the lord of Yü, in connexion with which were kept the stores of sacrificial rice; the hsü school of the sovereign of Hsiâ; the school of Yin, in which the blind were honoured; and the college of Kâu, with its semicircle of water.

24. They had the tripods of Khung and Kwan; the great jade hemisphere; and the tortoise-shell of Fang-fû:--all articles properly belonging to the son of Heaven. They also had the lance of Yüeh; and the great bow,--military weapons of the son of Heaven.

25. They had the drum of Hsiâ supported on four legs; that of Yin supported on a single pillar; the drums of Kâu, pendent from a stand; the peal of bells of Sui; the differently toned khing sonorous stones of Shû; and the organ of Nü-kwâ, with its tongues.

26. They had the music-stand of Hsiâ, with its face-board and posts, on which dragons were carved; that of Yin, with the high-toothed face-board; and that of Kâu, with its round ornaments of jade, and feathers hung from the corners.

27. They had the two tui of the lord of Yü for holding the grain at sacrifices; the four lien of Hsiâ; the six hû of Yin; and the eight kwei of Kâu.

28. They had for stands on which to set forth the flesh of the victims, the khwan of Shun; the küeh of Hsiâ; the kü of Yin; and the room-like stand of Kâu. For the tall supports of the dishes, they used those of Hsiâ of unadorned wood; those of Yin, adorned with jade; and those of Kâu, with feathers carved on them.

29. They had the plain leather knee-covers of Shun; those of Hsiâ, with hills represented on them; those of Yin, with flames; and those of Kâu, with dragons.

30. They used for their sacrificial offerings to the father of Cookery, like the lord of Yü, portions of the head; like the sovereigns of Hsiâ, portions of the heart; as they did under Yin, portions of the liver; and as they did under Kâu, portions of the lungs.

31. They used the bright water preferred by Hsiâ; the unfermented liquor preferred by Yin; and the completed liquor preferred by Kâu.

32. They used the names of the 50 officers of the lord of Yü; of the 100 of the sovereigns of Hsiâ; of the 200 of Yin; and of the 300 of Kâu.

33. At their funerals they used the feathery ornaments of the lord of Yü; the wrappings of white silk about the flag-staffs of the sovereigns of Hsiâ; the flags with their toothed edges of Yin; and the round pieces of jade and plumes Of Kâu.

34. Lû thus used the robes, vessels and officers of all the four dynasties, and so it observed the royal ceremonies. It long transmitted them everywhere. Its rulers and ministers never killed one another, Its rites, music, punishments, laws, governmental proceedings, manners and customs never changed. Throughout the kingdom it was considered the state which exhibited the right ways; and therefore dependence, was placed on it in the matters of ceremonies and music.