The Relative Order of the Three Books on Ceremonial. — Three classical works in Chinese deal with the subject of Li, or Ceremonial: the 儀禮, I-li; 周禮, Chou-li; and the禮記 Li-chi. The first step in determining the dates of these is to arrange them in order of precedence, for all are related to one another.
It is a simple matter to decide that the Li-chi, or Notes on Ceremonial, is the latest of the three. Its title indicates that it is a collection of material intended to throw light on the ceremonial practices of China as they existed when ceremonial flourished under the Chou dynasty. It supplies illustrative matter from the doings and sayings of Confucius and his contemporaries ; reviews of ceremonial practice under the three great dynasties, Hsia, Yün, and Chou ; philosophical dissertations on the meaning of various ceremonial observances ; and notes proper on ceremonial practice. In the two last classes of comment the existence of the I-li is clearly assumed (vide Legge : Introduction to Books XL. et seq.). The bulk of the work cannot have a date earlier than the decline of the Chou dynasty (400 e.g.). Vide W., p. 5 ; G.L., p. 23 ; Legge, Introduction to Li-chi.
Two works of earlier date remain : the I-li 儀禮, Book of Etiquette and Ceremonial ; and the Chou-li 周禮 Ceremonial of the Chou dynasty. Both are assigned by tradition to Chou Kung, the founder of the dynasty (G.B. 418), who lived in the twelfth century b.c, but in neither case is there any evidence of value to support the ascription. Both works were in existence in some form in the time of Confucius. Of the two the Chou-li, with its great host of officers, and its wide range and extreme elaboration of ceremonial, is the more developed, and must take its place well on in the history of that dynasty, whose character is contrasted with those of the two preceding by the apothegm : “The Hsia dynasty valued loyalty, the Yiin dynasty reality, and the Chou dynasty ornament."
In the offices it mentions, the I-li agrees with the official system of the Chou-li except in a few cases — e.g., the 雍正 is the 允人 of the Chou-li (XXXIV., note (2) ), and the 嗇夫, who was a Hsia dynasty official, still holding office when that part of the I-li was written in which he is referred to (XXL, note (13) ). The literary form of the oldest parts of the I-li is of the terse gnomic order, which finds no parallel in the other work. Points like these are only subsidiary evidence, but they support the impression produced by a comparison of the two works that the I-li is more primitive than the Chou-li, and nearer the source of things. This, as indicated above, refers only to the earlier parts of the work — i.e., those regulating the conduct of an ordinary officer. Chapter II., par. 20.4, is an example of the way in which later elaborations were grafted upon the elemental stock to meet the needs of a society developing its taste for ornamental detail.
Chu Hsi and other commentators regard the work in its present state as a mere fragment.
Title of the Work.— The title I-li 儀禮 did not exist at the beginning of the Han dynasty, and it is probable that, as Chu Hsi surmises, the original title was the 禮經, or a Canon of Ceremonial.* I-li is compounded of two words of different signification — 儀, Etiquette, and 禮, Ceremonial. The value attached to each is seen in the Tso Chuen, X. 5.3, note, in which the value of Li is demonstrated to be altogether higher than that of I, as providing a surer foundation for good government. Li, or Ceremonial, as used in this and other works of the period, was far from being a series of observances empty and unprofitable, such as it degenerated into in later days. It was meant to inculcate that habit of selfcontrol and ordered action which were the expression of a mind fully instructed in the inner meaning of things, and sensitive to every impression of honour and nobility that came to it in its contact v/ith truth of whatever kind. That at least was the ideal.
Transmission of the Text. — In his day Confucius lamented the disappearance of the records and the men to whom he might appeal for confirmation of what he could relate of the ceremonial of the Hsia and Yiin dynasties (C. III., 9.22). This process had long been going on in many departments of Chinese literature, and it is to the Sage's own eftbrts that we owe the survival of so much. The disappearance was due in part to the ravages of time, but in larger measure to
* If this name had been perpetuated the book would have been given the place among the Five Classics which is now held by the Li-chi. The latter work probably owes its honourable position to the amount of authentic material with regard to the life and teachings of Confucius which it contains. In consequence of the elevation of the Li-chi to the status of a classic, the I-li has been relegated to the position of a minor classic.
the deliberate action of the feudal lords who set themselves to destroy every record which told against their claims, and every regulation which marked their conduct as disloyal (M., V. 2.2). Such independent attempts to silence the accusing voices of antiquity were symptoms of a tendency which found its supreme expression in the Burning of the Books by the first Ch'in Emperor, Shih Huang-ti (212 b.c). Chinese scholars attribute to this disaster a magnitude greater than the facts seem to warrant. To judge from the dictum of Confucius above referred to, the fire had not nearly as much material to feed upon as historians assume.
With the rise of the Han dynasty all fear as to the fate of the remnants of ancient Chinese literature passed away. Immediately efforts were made to recover the ancient texts. In the case of the I-li this was recovered in two forms :
The 今文, or modern text (so called), was obtained from the lips of Kao T'ang, 高堂生 (G.B. 963), a scholar of Confucius' native state of Lu, who flourished about 200 b.c. The text he transmitted orally was in seventeen sections, and is known as the 士禮 Ceremonial for an Ordinary Officer. It has been generally assumed that this is the present I-li, but I am inclined to doubt it. The work as it stands cannot be called the 士禮, and I have drawn attention in the various Introductions to those sections which deal with the ceremonial proper to a 士 the elemental constituent in the state economy. This accounts for one half of the work only, the rest of it supporting the contention of Chu Hsi, that from the Han dynasty onwards the ceremonial for the Emperor and the great officers was based upon and
elaborated from the ceremonial for an ordinary officer.
It is not difficult to reconstruct with some show of probability the outlines of Kao T'ang's original text. Sections i, 2, 3, ii, 12, 13, 14, and 15 of the present work certainly belonged to it. The present divisions of the text need not be accepted as final, for they were made by Chu Hsi for the purposes of his book the 儀禮經傳通解 Comparative Commentary on the I-li and its Notes. A division almost identical with this was made by his disciple 楊復. Both men worked upon the text as we now have it, and divided it up into the traditional number of seventeen sections, in some cases, such as Sections XIII and XVII, introducing divisions where none were called for. Dividing the sections according to their subjects, notably in the matter of the different grades of mourning; retaining, as far as relevant, the divisions proposed by Chu Hsi; adding new sections on 奔喪 Hasting to the Obsequies, and 投壺 the Game of Pitch-pot, as suggested by the notes on these subjects in the Li-chi ; and allowing for regulations dealing with the consecration, and the altering of the ancestral temple, necessary parts of the ceremonial to be observed by an officer, the tale of sections would be complete.
Kao T'ang's teachings were handed down through two generations of scholars, whose names 蕭奮 and 孟卿 only survive, and then came Hou Ts'ang 后蒼 (G.B. 670), of the first century b.c, who composed the Records of the Ch'ü Pavilion 曲臺記ft Jf IB in nine chapters.
He in turn passed on the [teaching to the Greater Tai 戴德 (G.B., 1855).His work on Ceremonial,
in eighty-five chapters, was taken in hand by his nephew,* the Lesser Tai 戴聖, and the number of chapters reduced to forty-nine, practically the present Li-Chi.
The third pupil of note who derived his teaching from Hou Ts'ang was Ch'ing P'u, 慶普, of P'ei, 沛, the birthplace of Liu Pang, 劉邦, founder of the Han dynasty. He and the two Tai are regarded as the heads of the three schools of Li teaching. He transmitted his teaching to Ts'ao Ch'ung. 曹允, and his son Ts'ao Pao, 曹褒, and these were the last recipients of the undiluted tradition of Kao T'ang.
Near the beginning of the Han dynasty, the so called 古文, or ancient text, was recovered. It owed its name to the fact that it was committed to writing at an earlier date than that transmitted by Kao T'ang. Two copies are said to have been found although it is not impossible that the story of the recovery has taken two forms, and that one text only came to light at this time. As tradition has it, one was discovered at 淹中, an obscure village in Confucius' native state. The circumstances of the recovery of the other copy are given in more detail. A son of the Emperor Ching (156 b.c.) was made King of Lu in 153, and is known to posterity as 恭 or 共, "Respectful," a title belied by what is re
* Professor Legge's correction (L., Introduction, p. 7, note i) with regard to the relationship of the Lesser Tai to the Greater, is somewhat misleading. Expressed in the looser nomenclature of the Westj the Lesser Tai is certainly the second cousin of the Greater ; but the Chinese, who reckon affinity collaterally, and to whom distance from a common ancester determines the name which the relatives share, regard the Greater Tai and the father of the Lesser Tai as brothers in the second degree, so that the Lesser Tai is in Chinese eyes the nephew, albeit in the second degree, of the Greater.
corded of him. Wishing to enlarge his palace, he gave orders that the house of Confucius, which it adjoined, should be pulled down. In the process of demolition copies of several of the classics were found hidden in a wall, and among them an edition of the I-li in fifty-nine sections, a number corresponding with the number of sections in the work supposed to have been found at 淹中. The works found were in the 篆, or seal character, and so difficult to decipher that the King handed them back to K'ung An-kuo, 孔安國 (G.B. 1038), the then head of Confucius' descendants. They were passed on by him to the celebrated antiquarian and collector of literary remains. King Hsien, 獻 of 河間 , who gave them to his brother the Emperor Wu, by whom they were deposited in the Imperial library. There they lay forgotten during the troubles caused by the death of the Crown Prince and the Empress Wei, 衛 , who put an end to themselves in consequence of an accusation of having bewitched the Emperor (91 B.C.). This copy of the I-li was rediscovered by the great scholar Cheng K'ang-ch'eng, 鄭康成 (G.B. 274), a member of the school of the Lesser Tai. He combined it in his studies with Kao T'ang's version, and as a result eliminated all but seventeen sections corresponding to those in the "modern text." There is no means of showing that his text is identical with that extant today, and seeing that it was founded upon correspondences with Kao T'ang's version, the probabilities are against its being so.
Commentaries. — The most celebrated commentary on the I-li in recent times is the 儀禮經傳通解, a comprehensive exposition of the text of the I-li and
the commentaries on it. This was the work of the orthodox commentator Chu Hsi, 朱熹 (a.d. 1130 - 1200). He traversed the whole range of Li literature, and was the first to introduce a subdivision of the sections. This last work was more thoroughly carried out by his pupil Yang Fu, 楊復 , in order to facilitate the production of his plans of the various stages of each ceremony, which are reproduced in the Imperial edition.
The Imperial edition, the 欽定儀禮義疏, was commanded by the Emperor Ch'ien-lung, of the late Ch'ing dynasty (a.d. 1710-1799), and is a monument of Chinese scholarship. In addition to the introductions general and particular, it provides a critical apparatus of various readings, giving also the sounds of rare characters. Every opinion or comment worth mentioning is included in the conamentary, distributed under seven heads : the accepted meaning, the most reasonable emendations, logical connection, other interpretations, criticisms, antiquities, and general inter- pretation. In addition to these the opinion of the editors on every point is clearly expressed, and they sum up the commentary on every passage.
The present translation and notes have been pre pared with the aid of the Imperial and other editions. I have carefully weighed arguments, and when I have been compelled to differ from, the authorities, it has been mainly upon points in which the editors, held by tradition, and respect for the ancients, have failed to secure that detachment of mind which is necessary if an independent judgment on values is to be arrived at.