Five Classics‎ > ‎THE I-LI‎ > ‎



I. Sending Return Presents of Animals, Dead and Livings to the Commissioner. 

(a) The Prince orders a minister dressed in the red leather cap, 1 and suit to take five sets of slaughtered and living animals to the commissioner. 

(b) The chief of suite asks the minister's business, and the commissioner in dress clothes formally declines. 

(c) The attendants then go in to the temple in the guest's quarters and set them out. 

(d) The slaughtered animals raw and cooked are first set out. 

(e) There is one set of cooked animals in nine tripods, placed in front of the west steps, with three extra tripods in line with the inner corner of the steps, and all facing east, and graded from the north, the highest up being abreast the stone tablet in the court. 2 From the north in line southward are laid out the ox, sheep, pig, fish, dried game, intestines and stomach in one tripod, then flesh, fresh fish, and freshly dried meat. The poles and covers of the boilers are also set, and the stew of the beef, pork, and mutton accompany in the other tripods the flesh of the animals. 

(f) For the uncooked meat there are two sets of animals in two lines of seven tripods each, there being 


neither fresh fish nor fresh dried meat. These are laid in front of the east steps, facing west, and stretch out southwards, like the cooked meats, in two lines of tripods. 

(g) Up in the hall eight wooden stands are set to the west of the room door, laid out westward in pairs, graded from the east. The pickled vegetables come first, and south of them the pickled hash, the order being reversed for the second pair, and so to the end. 

(h) Following these come eight round tortoise-topped holders, that to the north containing glutinous millet, with panelled millet to the south of it, the order being reversed for each succeeding row. 

(i) Six tureens succeed these, containing the broths of the ox, with, on its west, those of the sheep and the pig in succession. In the second line the beef broth is to the south of the pork broth, and to the east of that the broths of the mutton and pork in succession. 

(j) A pair of square tortoise-topped holders succeed these with the spiked millet in the northern one, and rice in the other. 

(k) Eight vases are set at the foot of the west inner wall, graded from the north in pairs, stretching southward. 

(l) Six wooden holders are laid in the west side room under the west wall, and graded from the north. On the west of the first line are the pickled vegetables, and to the east the pickled hash. In the next row they are reversed, and again for the third. These are followed to the south by six round-topped holders, with glutinous millet in the east one and the panelled in the west, the order alternating through the subsequent rows. Then come four tureens of broth. First the beef broth, with mutton broth on the south of it. Then pork broth to the east of the mutton broth, and beef 


broth to the north of that again. These are followed again by a pair of square holders, that on the west having spiked millet in it, while the eastern holds rice. All these are in pairs, and are laid out from the north southwards. By the north wall are laid six vases, graded from the west in pairs, and set from west to east. 

(m) The courses of meats on the eastern side are after the same fashion. Those on the west are graded from the north. The vases are laid graded from the east and ranged westward. 

(n) A hundred jars of pickled hash-^ are laid out on either side of the tablet, ten in a row, the wet hash being on the east side. 

(o) Two sets of live beasts are ranged to the w^est of the door, and graded from the east. They consist of an ox, with a sheep and a pig in succession, to the west of it, and to the west of the pig again an ox, a sheep, and a pig. 

(p) Then there are one hundred baskets of grain, each holding half a hu, laid in the centre of the court, ten in each cross row, and graded from the north. These are in two rows each of glutinous millet, spiked millet, and rice, and four rows of panelled millet. 

(q) Outside the door are thirty loads of grain, each containing one ping and five su. These are set out to the east of the door in three rows, stretching westward. The grain in ear is in thirty loads, each of three ch'a, placed to the west of the door, and ranging westward. 

(r) The firewood and fodder are in quantities twice as great as the grain in ear. 

(s) The commissioner dons the skin cap suit, and, meeting the great officer outside the outer door of his quarters, bows twice, the great officer not bowing in reply. 


(t) Then they salute and enter, and when they come to the door of the temple the commissioner salutes and enters first. 

(u) The great officer takes up a bundle of silks in his two hands and enters, and with three salutes they advance together. 

(v) When they come to the steps they yield precedence to one another, and the great officer first goes up one of the western steps. 

(w) The commissioner, following him, goes up the east steps to the hall, and stands facing north to hear what commands the great officer may bring. 

(x) The great officer communicates his instructions facing east, and the commissioner goes down and kowtows twice to the west of the steps. He bows in the same fashion when accepting the living animals. 

(y) The great officer declines the honour of the obeisance,* and the commissioner ascends and completes his reverence. 

(z) Then the commissioner receives the present of silk to the west of the centre of the hall and facing north. 

(aa) The great officer goes down and out, the com- missioner descending and handing the present to his servant. 

(bb) Then he goes out to meet the great officer, who formally declines, but eventually accepts, and, entering, salutes. They yield precedence as before, and the commissioner going up the steps, the great officer follows and ascends to the hall. 

(cc) For the things laid in the court they set out a team of four horses. 

(dd) The commissioner descends from the hall and hands the bundle of brocade to his servant^ while the great officer remains where he is. 


(ee) Then the commissioner takes a present of silks 5 in both his hands and faces west, the great officer facing east. He hands the present over, and the great officer, replying suitably, goes under the second rafter, and, facing north, kowtows twice. 

(ff) Then the great officer receives the gift between the pillars, facing south. 6 He withdraws, and, facing east, stands at attention. The commissioner kowtows twice, inviting him to accept the present. 

(gg) Then the great officer goes down, and, taking the left horse, leads off the team, the commissioner accompanying him to the outside of the outer door and bowing twice. 

(hh) On the morrow the commissioner makes obeisance outside the door of the palace in thanks for the present of the animals slaughtered and living, two kowtows for each kind, 

2. Sending a Return Present of Animals, Slaughtered and Living, for the Chief of Suite. 

(a) Three sets of animals, slaughtered and living, are sent to the chief of suite. 

(b) One set cooked is laid on the west side in seven tripods, with three tripods of dainties. The uncooked set are laid on the east in seven tripods. 

(c) There are six sets of viands laid in the hall. 

(d) And the same number are provided in the west side-room. 

(e) But the baskets of grain and the jars of pickles are as for the commissioner. 

(f) There is one set of living animals, and the grain and rice in ear set outside the door are regulated in their quantity by the sets of slaughtered animals, ten 


loads to a set. The firewood and fodder are twice as much as the grain in ear, but the things laid out and the fashion in which they are displayed are as in the case of the commissioner. 

(g) An inferior great officer is told off to assume the red leather cap and suit and present the rolls of silk, and the chief of suite, similarly dressed, receives them. 

(h) The reward given to those who bring presents is a pair of horses and a bundle of brocade. 

3. Sending Living Animals for the Officers of the Suite. 

(a) The four ordinary officers of the suite get altogether one great set of living animals and one hundred baskets of grain, which are set outside the door. 

(b) The assistant steward in dress clothes leads the ox and hands it over. 

(c) The officers of the suite, in dress clothes, face north, and, kowtowing twice, receive the animals. 

(d) No present is given to the messengers. 

4, Asking after the Health of the Ministers. 

(a) The commissioner, in dress clothes, asks after the health of the ministers. 

(b) He is received in the ancestral temple of the minister. 

(c) An under great officer acts as usher. 

(d) The usher goes out and asks the commissioner's business. The great officer, in dress clothes, meets the commissioner outside the outer door and bows twice, the commissioner bowing in reply. Then they salute, and the great officer goes in first. At each door and turn they salute, and when they reach the 


gate of the temple the great officer salutes and enters first. 

(e) Then the usher asks for instructions from the minister. 

(f) The things laid in the court are then set out : four deer skins. The commissioner then enters, carrying in his hands rolls of silk. They salute three times, and advance together until they come to the foot of the steps, where they yield precedence as usual. 

(g) Then the commissioner goes up one step, and the great officer follows, and, going up to the hall, faces north to hear the instructions of the com- missioner's lord. These the commissioner communicates, facing east, and the great officer descends, and at the west of the steps proceeds to kowtow twice; but on the commissioner declining, ascends and completes his obeisance. He receives the gift to the west of the centre of the hall, facing north, and descends and goes out, the great officer descending and handing the present to his servant. 

(h) No present in return is given to the commissioner. 

5. The Commissioner has a Private Interview. 

(a) The usher goes out and asks the commissioner's business, and when the commissioner sees him, the presents he gives are similar to those he gave when asking for a private interview. 

(b) The commissioner lifts the gift with his two hands, and the things to be laid in the court follow him. 

(c) He enters by the right of the door, and the great officer declines the honour. 

(d) Then the commissioner goes to the left, inside the door. 


(e) The things laid in the court are then set out, and there is the saluting and yielding as before, the great officer going up one step, and the commissioner following. 

(f) Then the great officer faces west, and the com- missioner opens the subject of the private interview. 

(g) The great officer replies, and, facing north, bows twice under the second rafter. He receives the gifts between the pillars and facing south. Then he with- draws, and, facing west, stands. 

(h) The commissioner, under the second rafter, bows twice, asking him to accept the gift, and then descends and goes out, the great officer also descending and handing the gift to his servant. 

6. The Chief of Suite has a Private Interview. 

(a) The usher goes out and asks his business, and the chief of the suite goes to the interview alone. The presents are as when he had the private interview, and two other members of the suite assist by carrying the presents and the skins. 

(b) They enter by the right of the door, and, laying down the presents, bow twice. 

(c) The great officer declines, and the usher gives back the presents. 

(d) The things laid in the court are then set out, members of the suite bringing in the presents, and the great officer bowing and yielding precedence as before. 

(e) Then the officer of the suite goes up the steps, and the great officer receives the presents with two bows. 

(f) The officer then descends and bows, the great officer descending and declining the honour, after which he ascends, and, bowing twice, invites him to receive the present. 


7. All the Members of the Suite have a Private Interview. 

(a) The usher comes out and asks their business, and they give presents as when asking for the per- mission to pay a private visit. Entering by the right of the door, they lay down the presents, and all bow twice together. The great officer declines, and the guests descend and go out in the reverse order of their entering. 

(b) Then the usher takes the principal present, and, going out, formally asks the visitors to take it back ; but they decline. 

(c) The great officer replies with two bows, and the usher, holding the chief present, stands in the centre of the doorway to assist in the ceremony, the officers of the suite all drawing to one side. A servant then receives the gift from the usher in the middle of the hall, and three of the officers sit, and, taking the rest of the gifts, follow him. 

8. The Commissioner Withdraws. 

(a) The usher goes out to ask his business, and when the commissioner goes out, the great officer escorts him outside the outer door and bows twice, the commissioner not looking round. 

(h) Then the usher withdraws, and the great officer bows in acknowledgment of the goodness of the usher in submitting to the dishonour of assuming the office. 

9. Asking after any Inferior Great Officer Who has been sent on a Mission to the Other State. 

(a) If any of the inferior great officers happen to have been sent on a mission to the commissioner's 


State, a present is given to him by the commissioner. 

(b) The chief of the suite, in dress clothes, and followed by three of the suite, goes to ask after the inferior great officer, and he uses the ceremonial a minister would use in receiving a present, the subsequent interview being conducted like the interview of the commissioner with the minister. 

10. Receiving the Minister's Visit of Inquiry by Deputy. 

If the commissioner be not received by the great officer himself for some reason,' 7 the Prince sends a great officer, whose office corresponds to that of the commissioner, to receive the gifts on the great officer's behalf, using the ceremonial that, if he were the great officer concerned, he would use in receiving the present, and not bowing in return. 

11. The Prince's Lady Makes a Return Present to the Commissioner and His Suite. 

(a) When it is evening the Prince's lady sends an inferior great officer in red leather cap and suit to make return presents. 

(b) Up in the commissioner's hall splint and wooden holders are set in pairs, to the east of the door, graded from the west, and lined out to the east. 

(c) Vases are set in pairs along the east inner wall, graded from the north, and laid out southward. They hold clear rice, glutinous millet, and spiked millet wines, 8 two vases of each. 

(d) The great officer presents rolls of silk, and these the commissioner receives with the ceremony used in


accepting the slain animals, giving the bearer a team of horses and rolls of brocade. 

(e) The chief of suite receives four splint and four wooden holders and four vases. He accepts them with the ceremonial used by the commissioner, giving the bearer a pair of horses and rolls of brocade. 

(f) On the morrow the commissioner and his suite bow at the palace for the courtesy they have experienced. 

12. The Great Officers Send Live Animals to the Commissioner and His Suite. 

(a) The great officers send a great set of live animals to the commissioner, and eight baskets of grain. 

(h) The commissioner meets them outside the door and bows twice. A servant leads the ox and hands it over, the commissioner kowtowing twice and receiving it. When the servant withdraws, the commissioner bows twice in bidding him farewell. 

(c) The chief of suite is treated in like fashion. 

(d) For the rest of the suite there is a small set of animals for each, and six baskets of grain. Each sheep is led and presented by an ordinary officer. 

13. The Different Entertainments 9 and Gifts. 

(a) The Prince entertains the commissioner to one dinner and two feasts. 

(b) No limit is set to the banquets, eatings of game, and tasting of delicacies of the season. 

(c) On the morrow the commissioner and his suite pay their respects at the palace. 

(d) The chief of suite has only one dinner and one feast. 


14. Giving the Banquet and Feast by Deputy. 

(a) If perchance the Prince does not himself preside at the dinner, he sends the great officer, whose office corresponds to that of the commissioner, in dress clothes to give the dinner. He gives accompanying presents as when the slaughtered animals are given, and no return present is given to the officer. 

(b) In giving the banquet the drinking presents are given in the same way. 

15. The Great Officer's Banquet and Dinner. 

(a) The great officer gives one feast and one dinner to the commissioner, and a dinner or a feast to the chief of suite. 

(b) If the great officer cannot attend the banquet in person, the Prince sends another great officer equal in office with drinking-gifts. When it is a dinner he takes accompanying gifts with him. 

16. Returning the Jade Symbol and Making the Parting Gift. 

(a) The Prince sends a minister in the red leather cap and suit to give back the symbol at the com- missioner's quarters. 

(b) The commissioner, in the same dress and with his coat drawn together,!'^' meets him outside the outer door, and, without bowing, leads him in. 

(c) The great officer ascends by the western steps and goes round the western pillar. 

(d) Then the commissioner, standing between the stone tablet and the hall, 11 listens to the instructions the great officer conveys. 


(e) Then, ascending the western steps, he comes round to the left of the great officer, faces south, receives the symbol, and, drawing back, stands with his back to the right-hand chamber. 

(f) The great officer goes down to the centre of the court and so out, and the commissioner leaves his place within the tablet, and standing, facing east, gives the symbol to the chief of suite, to the east of the eastern steps. 

(g) Then the chief of suite goes out to ask the business of the great officer, and the commissioner meets him, the great officer handing back the half symbol as he did the whole symbol before. 

(h) Then the commissioner allows his coat to fall back, 12 and meeting the great officer, makes him a present of skeins of silk thread. 

(i) The present given in returning the symbol is rolls of silk and a set of skins, the ceremonial used in giving this being the same as that employed when the symbol itself is returned. 

(j) Then the great officer goes away, the com- missioner not bowing as he says farewell to him. 

17. The Prince Pays a Visit to the Commissioner at His Quarters. 

(a) When the Prince visits the commissioner in his quarters. 

(b) The commissioner remains in retirement. 

(c) And his chief of suite goes out and receives the commands of the Prince. 

(d) In order to acknowledge the gifts to himself and to his lady, and the inquiry for the great officers, and to bid farewell to the commissioner, the Prince bows twice for each item. 


(e) When he retires, the commissioner follows him, and goes to the palace to ask for instructions. 

(f) The Prince declines the honour, and the com- missioner withdraws. 

18. The Commissioner Returns Thanks for All His Presents. 

The commissioner goes to the palace and bows thrice in acknowledgment of the set of skins he receives as the last of his presents, and he is met and his thanks received. 

19. The Parting Presents. 

(a) Then the commissioner sets off and lodges in the suburb. 

(b) The Prince then sends a minister with a farewell gift similar to that given at the private visit. 

(c) It is received outside the door of the quarters in the same fashion as was the present to recompense the toils of the way, and no present is given to the messenger. 

(d) An inferior great officer is sent to give a farewell present to the chief of suite in the same fashion, and ordinary officers to give presents to the rest of the suite, as when the presents were given at the private interview. 

(e) A great officer makes his own parting present in person as in the presentation at the interview, and no present is given to him. The parting present to the chief of suite is made in the same fashion, and a messenger is sent to make the parting presents to the rest of the suite also as at the interview. 

(f) An ordinary officer is sent to conduct the mission to the frontier. 



To face p. 225. 

20. The Return of the Commissioner, and His Report. 

(a) On his return to his own State, when he reaches the suburbs, the commissioner sends for permission to make his report. 

(b) Then he puts on his dress clothes and sets his unfurled banner in place in his chariot. 

(c) And after a ceremony of supplication 13 he enters. 

(d) Thereafter he enters the palace gate and lays out in the audience hall the presents received, graded from the west. The public and private gifts to the commissioner are all displayed, and also those of the chief of suite. 

(e) With each of the bundles of silk are laid the things set out in the court when these were presented, the skins being on the left. 

(f) The Prince stands facing south. 

(g) And the ministers bring forward the com- missioner, who, carrying his symbol of authority with the wrapper open and hanging down, faces north, the chief of suite holding the half symbol with the wrap- ping folded round it and standing on the commissioner's left. 

(h) The commissioner then makes his report as follows : " In accordance with my Prince's instructions, I have executed my mission to the Prince of such and such a State. He received the jade and gifts in such and such a temple^* with two bows. Then when he received the presents he also bowed twice." 

(i) The steward, coming from the left side of the Prince, receives the jade symbol. 

(j) The half symbol is received from the chief of suite and his report heard in the same fashion. 

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(k) He also takes the accompanying gift of silk and announces : " The Prince of such and such a State sent his honour So-and-so to give me this." He then hands it to the steward. 

(l) The presents that accompany the return of the jade symbol are handed over in the same fashion. 

(m) And the commissioner holds the present first given, when going through the whole list of gifts. 

(n) The Prince replies : " So. You are a right good ambassador." 

(o) The commissioner then passes the gift over to the chief of his suite and kowtows twice, the Prince replying with two bows. 

(p) The private gifts are not reported. 

(q) Then the Prince expresses his sympathy with them on the toils of the way, and gives them a cup of comfort. They kowtow twice, the Prince responding with two bows. 

(r) If in addition other things have been presented to him, the commissioner says : " These are the gifts of the Prince; does my Prince wish to take them?" 

(s) The chief of suite, with empty hands, intimates the Prince's gifts to him with the same ceremonial as the commissioner used. 

(t) When the Prince expresses sympathy with him on his toils, he kowtows twice, the Prince replying with two bows. The same formalities are observed with the rest of the suite. 

(w) Then the Prince sends the steward with a present of silk to the commissioner, who kowtows twice in acknowledging it. 

(v) When he sends presents to the suite they kowtow twice in accepting them., 

(w) And after that they withdraw.


(x) The suite in a body conduct the commissioner to his door, and as they withdraw they salute. 

(y) The commissioner bows to them in acknowledgment of their condescension in acting as his suite. 

21. A Present Laid at the Door and a Cup at the Shrine, 

(a) Then they lay down a present of silk at the door 15 as a thank-offering to the spirit of the way. 

(b) Then they go to the shrine. 16 The mat and body-rest for the spirit are laid in the room, and relishes are served. 

(c) A goblet of wine is laid to the south of the relishes. 

(d) A mat is laid at the east steps, and relishes are served there. 

(e) Wine is offered thrice to the commissioner and his suite. 

(f) One man raises the cup. 

(g) The followers of the commissioner are also offered wine. 

(h) And when the wine has gone its rounds they depart.