Five Classics‎ > ‎THE I-LI‎ > ‎


I. The Appointment of an Overseer. 

(a) The host leaves his mat by the south side, and goes down the steps alone. 

(b) He then constitutes his former assistant overseer, who declines the honour with the usual forms, but eventually agrees to accept it. The host bows in acknowledgment of his complaisance, and the overseer bows in reply. The host then remounts the steps and returns to his mat. 

(c) The overseer washes a goblet, and, going up by the west steps, takes his orders from the host at the head of the east steps. The host says to him : " Ask the guests to seat themselves at their ease." This the overseer communicates to the guests, and they formally decline, but finally agree. 

(d) Then the overseer announces the result to the host, and he, standing at the head of the eastern steps, bows twice, the guests responding with a bow from the west steps. The overseer stands between the pillars and gives his help with the forms of words used in this formality. Then all salute one another and return to their seats. 

(e) Then the overseer fills the goblet, and, going down the west steps, takes his stand in the centre of the court between the two sets of steps, turns his face 



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to the north, sits, and lays down the goblet. He then withdraws, and, lifting his hands in front of his face, stands in a carefully correct attitude. 

(f) Thereafter he goes forward, sits down, takes the goblet, and, without pouring a libation, drinks it off. When he has finished the goblet, he rises, sits down again, lays down the goblet, and bows. He takes the goblet, rises, washes his hands and the goblet, sits down facing north, and lays the goblet in its place between the steps. Then he steps back and stands to the south of the goblet. 

2. Pledging the Guests in Succession. 

(a) The principal guest sits down with his face to the north, and, raising the goblet from the west side of the meat-stand, goes to the top of the eastern steps, and, with his face to the north, pledges the host, who descends from his mat, and takes his place at the east of the guest. 

(b) Then the guest sits down, and, laying down the cup, bows. Taking the cup, he rises, and the host bows in reply. He does not pour a libation, but stands to drink, and, without bowing, finishes the goblet. Nor does he wash the goblet again, but, filling it, faces south-east, and hands it to the host. 

(c) The host bows at the top of the east steps, and the guest draws back a little. The host accepts the goblet, and the guest at the west of the host bows, inviting him to drink. Then, with a salute, the guest returns to his mat. 

(d) The host at the top of the western steps pledges the second guest. He leaves his mat by the south side, and takes his stand at the west of the host, using the ceremonial observed when the principal guest 

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pledges the host ; and the host, with a salute, returns to his mat. 

(e) The overseer then ascends the steps and assists at the pledging, saying : " Will his honour So-and-so accept this pledge?" The one who is to receive the pledge then leaves his mat. 

(f) Whereupon the overseer withdraws and stands at the end of the western inner wall with his face to the east. 

(g) The first receiver of the pledge comes forward by the right of the second guest. 

(h) All the others v;ho accept the pledge come to his left side. 

(i) Their bowing, standing up, and drinking are all according to the rules observed when the host pledges his guest. 

(j) When all is finished, the last to receive the goblet takes it, and, descending the steps, sits down and places it in the cup-basket. Then the overseer descends and returns to his place. 

3. Two Men raise the Goblet. 

(a) The host orders two men to raise goblets to the guests of both orders. These, having washed the goblets, go up the steps and fill them. Then both sit down at the top of the western steps, and, laying down the goblets, bow. They then take the goblets and stand up, and the guests of both orders reply with bows from the ends of their mats. Both of the men then sit and pour a libation, after which they drink off the goblets and rise. Sitting down again, they lay down the goblets and bow ; then take them, stand and bow, the guests of both orders bowing in response from the ends of their mats. 

(b) Going down the steps in reverse order, they 


again wash the goblets, and, reascending, fill them; and both take their stand at the head of the western steps, the guests of both orders bowing to them together. 

(c) Then they both advance and lay down the goblets to the west of the relishes. The guest declines the honour of having the cup presented, but, sitting down, takes it and rises. For the representative guest of the second degree, the goblet is laid to the south of the relishes ; and he sits down, and, taking it, rises and retreats a little. Both the cup-raisers bow together, inviting them to drink, and they retire down the steps. The guests of both orders then raise their respective goblets in the place proper to each. 

4. Removing the Stands. 

(a) The overseer then ascends by the western steps, and goes to take his orders from the host, who says to him : " Invite the guests to sit." But they decline to do so, alleging the presence of the stand as an excuse. 

(b) The host asks permission to remove the stands, and the guests give their consent. 

(c) Thereupon the overseer descends to the front of the steps, and calls on the junior guests to attend their removal. 

(d) Thereafter he goes up and takes his stand at the end of the west inner wall. 

(e) Then the principal guest descends from his mat, and stands facing north, the host doing the same, at the top of the eastern steps. The second guest also leaves his mat, and stands facing north at the top of the western steps. If there be notables present, they also leave their mats, and stand to the east of them with their faces to the south. 


(f) Then the principal guest takes up the stand, and, turning round, hands it to the overseer, who takes it away down the steps, the guest following him. The host, however, anticipates him, and, taking it, turns, and hands it to a junior, who makes to descend the west steps with it, followed by the guest. The host then descends by the east steps. If there be a feudal Duke or great officer present, one of the juniors is sent to receive the stand from him, with the ceremonial used in the case of the guest, the body of guests descending the steps together. 

5. The Putting Off of the Shoes, Going Up to the Hall and Taking Seats. 

After putting off their shoes, they salute, and yield precedence as before, and thereafter ascend the hall and go to their seats. 

6. Unlimited Drinking. 

(a) Then the dainties are served. 

(b) Thereafter drinking is engaged in, no account being taken of the number of cups : 

(c) And music is performed without any restriction of the number or order of the tunes. 1 

7. The Guests Leave. 

(a) As the guests leave, the Kai 2 is played on the drums and bells. 

(b) The host escorts the guests to the outside of the door and bows twice. 

8. The Ceremonial when Notables are Present, 

(a) If any of the invited guests be notables, such as a Duke, a minister, or a great officer, he makes his 


entrance after the single raising of the goblet has taken place. 

(b) The mat is spread for him to the east of the principal guest : for a Duke in three layers, and in two for a great officer. 

(c) A Duke enters as would a great officer — by the left of the door. The host goes down, and so do the principal and second guests, with the body of guests together after them, these returning to their original places to the west of the west steps. The host in person meets the newcomer, and they ascend the steps with the usual formalities, the Duke ascending with the ceremony that a guest would use. When he gets to his place, he asks to be excused the use of one of the mats laid for him, and a man is sent to remove it. 

(d) The ceremony used in the case of a great officer is as for a guest of the second degree. If there be a feudal Duke present, the officer declines the second mat and rolls it up, to the north end of the other, but the host does not send anyone to remove it. But if no Duke be present, the great officer declines the use of the double mat, and the host makes a suitable reply, but does not remove it. 

9. Acknowledging the Bounty and the Condescension. 

(a) On the morrow the guests, dressing as on the day before, go and bow to the host in acknowledgment of his bounty. 

(b) The host also, dressed like the guests, bows to them in acknowledgment of their condescension in attending his entertainment. 

10. Relieving the Overseer of His Duties. 

(a) The host then puts off his dress clothes and resumes his black square-clothes. 


(b) He relieves the overseer of his duties and entertains him. 

(c) There is no guest of the second degree invited, and no animal is slaughtered. 

(d) The dried flesh and hash are served as usual. The dainties are such as they have on hand. They invite any to come who choose to do so, and the announcement is made to the retired officials if desired, but their coming or not depends on their own inclinations. 

(e) The guests of both orders who took part in the former entertainment take no part in this. 

(f) And the "District Music "^ is performed just as the guests call for it. 

10. Twenty-two Notes. 

(1) The Principal and Second Guests. 

(a) In preparation for the district symposium, those who discuss as to the guests to be invited wear dress clothes. 

(b) Because all invited are skilled in ceremonial, neither the bidding nor the apprising is carried out. 

(2) The Mats. The mats spread are of reeds, with a dark silk border. 

(3) The Wine-Holder Covers. 

The covers for the wine-holders are of bean-fibre cloth, and are removed when the guests arrive. 

(4) The Animal Slaughtered. 

The animal slaughtered is a dog, which is cooked to the north-east of the hall. 

(5) The Use of Cups and Goblets. For the wine-offering ceremony a cup is used, but for the rest a goblet. 


(6) The Dried Flesh. The dried flesh served is in five strips, with the piece to be offered laid across on top of them. This is brought out from the left chamber. 

(7) The Place from which the Stands come, and Their Contents. 

(a) The stand for the dog-meat is brought from the east outer wall and is carried up the west steps. 

(b) On the stand for the principal guest are laid the spine, the ribs, the shoulder, and the lung. On the host's stand the spine, ribs, fore-leg, and lung. On the stand for the second guest are the spine, ribs, lower hind-leg, and lung. All the lungs are divided, and all the parts taken from the right side of the carcass. These are served with the underside uppermost. 

(8) Peculations for the Performance of the Ceremonial. 

(a) Those who drink after pouring a libation do not rise without reason. 

(b) Those who sit to drink off the cup bow before finishing it. Those who stand to drink finish off the cup without bowing. 

(c) The goblet is laid down with the left hand, but raised with the right. 

(d) The senior in the body of guests declines the honour of the washing just as the principal guest does. 

(9) The Places of the Body of Guests. 

Those who stand facing east grade from the north, while those who face north grade from the east. 

(10) The Regulation as to the Relishes for the Bandmaster. 

The bandmaster and those who stand along with him are graded by their ages. 


(11) No Unaccompanied Cap. Those who raise the cup to offer wine do it three times, and it is never unaccompanied by relishes. 

(12) The Regulation for the Entrance of the Great Officers. 

The great officers do not enter while the music is being played. 

(13) The Offering of wine to the Musicians and the Organ Players. 

(a) In offering wine to the musicians and organ players the cup is taken from the upper cup-basket, and put into the lower after the offering is finished. 

(b) The cup is offered to the organ players at the top of the western steps. 

(14) Where the Musical Stones are Set. 

The musical stones are set between the stairs, in line with the gutter, and the performers face north when striking them. 

(15) The Rule for Ascending and Descending the Mat. 

Both the host and the second guest ascend their mats from the north side and descend from them by the south. 

(16) The Regulation regarding the Relishes for the Overseer. 

When the overseer has raised the goblet, the relishes are served to him at his place to the north of the goblet. 

(17) The Lesser Ceremonial for the General Pledging. 

(a) At the general pledging there is no washing of the cup. 

(b) And when the cup is not washed, there is no pouring of a libation. 


(18) The Regulation concerning the Entrance of an Ordinary Officer. 

An ordinary officer does not enter after the general pledging has begun. 

(19) The Regulation concerning the Removal of the Meat-Stands. 

Those who receive the stands set before the first or second guest, or the notable v/ho has been present, take them down, and, going out at once, hand them to assistants for conveyance home. The host's stand, on the other hand, is taken away to the east side. 

(20) The Regulation concerning the Playing of the " Kai." 

The bandmaster gives the order for the playing of the Kai, and when the guests reach the steps the musicians strike up. 

(21) Where the Mats for the Notables are Placed. 

If there be a feudal Duke present, then the mat for the great officer is placed to the north of the host, facing west. 

(22) The Host's Assistants. 

(a) The host's assistants take their places facing west, and graded from the north, but take no part in the entertainment. 

(b) But after the general pledging they join in.