Sacred Texts Journals Ssuma Ch'ien


Ssŭma Ch‘ien's Historical Records. Introductory Chapter.

trans. Herbert J. Allen











[LONDON, 1894]

{Reduced to HTML by Christopher M. Weimer, Sept. 2003}

p. 269

ART. X.—Ssŭma Ch‘ien's Historical Records. Introductory Chapter. By HERBERT J. ALLEN, M.R.A.S.



IN support of the theory set forth in the pages of this Journal (Part III. 1890, Art. IX.) that the Chinese classics, supposed to have been brought to light again towards the close of the second century B.C., were probably forged at that time, it would be advisable to give a literal translation of the first few chapters of the Historical Records by the great historian Ssŭma Ch‘ien, written circâ B.C. 91. The introductory chapter is by Ssŭma Chêng (the 'Lesser Ssŭma'), who lived A.D. 720, and made the Records the study of his lifetime. It is usually printed with the Records, and forms an integral part of it.



Preliminary Chapter.

   T‘aihao1 (Great Brilliant), or P‘aohsi, of the surname Fêng (wind), superseding Suijên (fire producer), succeeded Heaven as King.1 His mother, named Huahsü, trod in p. 271 the footprint1 of a giant at Thunder lake, and bore P‘aohsi at Ch‘êngchi. He had a serpent's body,2 a man's head, and the virtue of a sage. 'Looking3 up he contemplated the forms exhibited in the heavens, and looking down he observed the patterns shown on the earth: he observed also around him the ornamental markings of the birds and beasts, and the different suitabilities of the soil. As to what was near he found things for consideration in his own person, and as to the remote in things in general. He first delineated the eight Trigrams4 in order to show fully p. 272 the virtus of the gods, and to classify the qualities of the myriads of things. He worked out a system of recording by tablets in lieu of 'knotted cords,' and marriage rites were then first instituted, a pair of skins being given as wedding presents. 'He made nets to teach men how to snare animals and to fish,' and so he was called Fuhsi (hidden victim). He kept beasts for sacrificial purposes in his kitchen, and so he was called P‘aohsi (kitchen victims). There being a dragon omen, he enrolled dragons among his officers, and they were styled dragon leaders. He made the thirty-five-stringed lute. Ruling under the influence of the element Wood,2 he directed his thoughts to the season of spring; thus the Book of Changes says 'The god came forth from Orient brightness, and made (the year begin with) the first month of spring.' This god was Great Brilliant. His capital was in Ch‘ên. In the East he built a fêng monument on Mount T‘ai.3 Having reigned eleven years he died. p. 273 His posterity in the 'Spring and Autumn' period (721-480 B.C.) were Jênhsü, Hsüchü,1 and Ch‘uanyü, who all, one after the other, bore the surname Fêng.

   Nükua, also of the surname Fêng, had the body of a serpent, the head of a man, and the virtue of a holy man. He came to the throne in the room of Fuhsi, under the title Nühsi. He made no hand-drums, and only fashioned the reed organ; accordingly the Book of Changes does not refer to him, and he had no share in the revolutions of the five elements. Ntikua is said by one author to have also reigned under the influence of the element Wood. Now several generations after Fuhsi, the elements metal, wood, etc., came round in regular rotation, and Nükua being the first to attain special distinction on account of his great merits, and also as one of the three sovereigns, was hurriedly referred to as the 'wood king.' In his last year one of the princes named Kung kung, whose duty it p. 274 was to administer the criminal law, became violent and played the tyrant. He did not rule properly, for he sought by the element water to subdue that of wood. He also fought with Ch‘uyung1 and was not victorious, when, falling into a rage, he butted with his head against the Incomplete mountain, and brought it down. The 'pillar of heaven' was broken and a corner of the earth was wanting. Nükua then fused five-coloured stones to repair heaven, cut off the feet of a tortoise2 to establish the four extremities of earth, collected the ashes of burnt reeds to stop the inundation, and so rescued the land of Chichow. After this the earth was at rest, the heaven made whole and the old things were unchanged. Nükua died, and Shênnung began his reign.

   The blazing god, Shênnung, was of the Chiang family. His mother, named Nutêng, was Yukua's daughter and Shaotien's wife. Influenced by a sacred dragon, she brought forth the blazing god with a man's body and an ox's head.3 He grew up on the banks of the Chiang river, whence he derived his surname. As he ruled by the influence of the element fire, he was called 'blazing god,' and named his officers by the help of fire. "He4 cut down trees to make agricultural implements, bending timber into the shape of plough handles and spades, and taught the people the art of husbandry. As he was the first to p. 275 give lessons in agriculture he was styled 'divine husbandman.' Then sacrifices were offered at the close of the year, and red thongs used for garlanding1 plants and trees. He was the first to taste the different herbs, and the first to make use of them for medicinal purposes. He also made the five-stringed lute." He taught people how to hold mid-day markets, when they bartered their wares and retired, everyone having got what he wanted. He reduplicated the eight Trigrams, and thus obtained sixty-four symbols. He first of all had his capital at Ch‘en, and then dwelt at Ch‘üfou. After reigning 120 years he died, and was buried at Ch‘angsha. Shênnung originally came from Liehshan (burning mountain), so Tso (ch‘iu ming) speaks of the son of the burning mountain called 'Pillar,' and also Lishan (whetstone mountain). The book of rites says: this was the individual of the whetstone mount who was in possession of the empire. Shênnung took for his consort the daughter of 'Rushing water,' named T‘ingpa, who bore a son, the Emperor Ai (alas), who had a son, Emperor K‘o (conqueror), who had a son, Emperor Yü-wang (elm net). There were altogether eight generations, lasting 530 years, after which Hsien-yüan arose. His descendants were Choufu, Kanhsü, Hsilu, Ch‘ichi, I-hsiang, and Shenlu, who were all of the Chiang tribe, and princes, or else one of the presidents of the four mountains. Under the Chou dynasty a great prince, the chief of Shen, was a loyal minister of the king, and Hsülieh, of the Ch‘i State, was the leader of the princes of the Middle Kingdom. Now the bounties conferred by the holy men were great and extensive, so their reigns were glorious and long, and their progeny numerous. According to one author the three p. 276 sovereigns were the sovereign of Heaven, the sovereign of Earth, and the sovereign of Man. From the beginning of creation the relations between prince and subject were carefully worked out, and as the accounts cannot be entirely rejected, they are appended hereto. When heaven and earth were first set up, there were twelve sovereigns of heaven, who lived in retirement, in a state of inaction, converts from the busy world, kings ruling under the influence of the element Wood. The period began with these 12 brothers Shêti, who reigned 18,000 years each. The 11 sovereigns of Earth, kings ruling under the influence of the element fire were 11 persons, from 'Bear's Ear' and 'Dragon gate' mountains, who also reigned 18,000 years each. The 9 sovereigns of Man,1 who rode in cloud chariots drawn by 6 winged creatures, came from 'Valley mouth,' and were 9 brothers, who each held sway over one of the 9 provinces, and built cities and towns. They reigned for 150 periods, that is for 45,600 years. After the sovereigns of Man came the Five dragons, Suijên, Tat‘ing, Pohuang, Chung yang, Chuan-hsü, Li-liu, Lilien, Hêhsü, Ts‘unlu, Huntun, Haoying, Yuch‘ao,2 Chujang, Kot‘ien, Yink‘ang, and Wu-huai, for these are the styles of the imperial dynasties after the age of the three sovereigns, but there being no record in the chronological lists, we cannot tell the names of the kings, the lengths of their reigns, or the localities of their capitals. In a poem of Han's it is stated that in ancient days over 10,000 persons erected fêng monuments on Mount T‘ai, and hollowed out ground for altars on Liangfu. Confucius observes on this that he does not know all these persons, and Kuan Iwu says that 72 persons built fêng monuments on Mount T‘ai, of whom he3 knew 12. Now the first of these was Wuhuai, but p. 277 before Wuhuai, and after the sovereign of Heaven, the chronology covers such a vast period of time that one cannot enumerate all the emperors and kings. At any rate the old books are lost, and one cannot argue it out beforehand, yet we should never say that there were no such emperors or kings. So the 'Spring and Autumn' classic has it recorded that from the creation to the capture of the Lin1 (B.C. 481) 3,276,000 years,2 divided into ten epochs, have elapsed, or 370,600 years (according to some authors). The first epoch was called that of the 9 chiefs, the 2nd the Five dragons, the 3rd Shêti (Jupiter), the 4th Holo, the 5th Lient‘ung. the 6th Hsüming, the 7th Hsiufei, the 8th Huit‘i, the 9th Shênt‘ung, and the 10th Liuchi. Now it was arranged in the time of Huangti that the Liuchi should be added to the other 9 epochs. The above is inserted here by way of supplementing the record.

p. 278



CHAPTER I.—Original Record of the Five Gods.

   Huangti1 (Yellow god) was the son of Shaotien. His surname was Kungsun, and his prename Hsienyüan. Born a genius he could speak when a baby, as a boy he was quick and smart, as a youth simple and earnest, and when grown up intelligent. In the time of Hsienyüan, Shênnung2 became enfeebled. The princes made raids on each other and harassed the people, but Shênnung could not chastise them, so Hsienyüan exercised himself in the use of weapons of war, so as to be able to punish irregularities. The princes all came and did homage, but Ch‘ihyu3 (stupid criminal), the fiercest of all, could not be subdued. 'Blazing god' (i.e. Shênnung) would oppress the princes, so they turned to Hsienyüan, who practised virtue, marshalled his men, controlled the five elements, cultivated the five kinds of grain, pacified the nations, and went over all parts of his country. Training black bears, grizzly bears, foxes, panthers, lynxes, and tigers, he, with their aid, fought with 'Blazing god' in p. 279 the desert of Panch‘uan, and, after three battles, realised his wishes. Ch‘ihyu was a rebel, who did not obey the Emperor's command, so Huangti, levying an army of the princes, fought against Ch‘ihyu, captured, and slew him in the desert of Cholu. The princes all agreed that Hsienyüan should be the Emperor in place of Shênnung, under the title Huangti. Those in the empire who would not submit, Huangti pursued and chastised, and when they were subdued he left them. He made cuttings in hills, opened roads, and was never at rest. Eastward his empire extended to the sea, Ball hill,1 and the ancestral T‘ai mountain; westward to 'Hollow cave'2 and Cock's-head hills; southward to the Yangtze river and Hsiunghsiang hill; while in the north he drove out the Hsünyu. He made a treaty on Kettle hill, and built a city on the slopes of Cholu. He was constantly changing his residence, while his troops formed an encampment about him. He ordered his officers to be named after cloud omens. He appointed a chief and deputy superintendent over international affairs, and the various states being at peace, he worshipped the demons and spirits of the hills and streams with the fêng and shan ceremonies in numbers. He obtained a valuable tripod,3 and made calculations of future events, appointing 'Chief of the winds,' 'Strength-governor,' 'Everfirst,' and 'Great Swan,' to direct the people to act in accordance with the celestial and terrestrial p. 280 arrangements, the dark and bright prognostications, the disputations on life and death, the planting of the crops, plants, and trees in their seasons, and the transformations of birds, beasts, insects, and moths. He also prepared a record of the movements of the sun, moon, and stars; the flow of the tides; and the properties of clay, stones, metals, and gems. He devoted much careful attention to these things, and his observation was applied to ascertaining how fire, water, wood, and other elements could be used economically. There was an auspicious omen of the earth's energy, and he was therefore called 'Yellow god.' Huangti had twenty-five sons, of whom fourteen received surnames. He lived at Hsienyüan hill, and married a woman of 'Western range' land called Leitsu, who was his principal wife, and bore him two sons, both of whose descendants held Imperial sway. The eldest, named Hsüanhsiao, or Chingyang, dwelt on the Chiang stream, and the other, who was named Ch‘angyi, dwelt on the Jo stream. Ch‘angyi married a woman from the Shu hills (Szŭch‘uan) named Changp‘u, who bore him a son, Kaoyang, who possessed the virtue of a saint. Huangti died, and was buried at Ch‘iaoshan, and his grandson, Ch‘angyi's son Kaoyang, came to the throne under the title Emperor Ch‘uanhsü.

   Emperor Ch‘uanhsü, or Kaoyang, was Huangti's grandson and Ch‘angyi's son. Calm and unfathomable in his designs, and thoroughly versed in all matters, he exercised his talents in cultivating the ground; he recorded in their seasons the movements of the heavenly bodies, relied on spiritual influences in framing laws, taught reform by controlling the passion nature, and sacrificed with purity and sincerity. Northward his rule extended to 'Dark mound,' southward to Annam, westward to the moving sands, and eastward to 'Coiling tree.'1 of animate and inanimate things, of spirits p. 281 great and small, of those on whom the sun and moon shone, all were equally subject to him. Emperor Ch‘uanhsü had a son, Chiungchan. Ch‘uanhsü died, and Hsüanhsiao's grandson Kaohsin came to the throne under the title of Emperor Ku.

   Emperor Ku, or Kaohsin was Huangti's great grandson, his father being Chiaochi, whose father was Hsüanhsiao, whose father was Huangti. Neither Hsüanhsiao, nor Chiaochi came to the throne, but Kaohsin did hold Imperial sway. Kaohsin was a clansman of Ch‘uanhsü. Being born a genius he spoke from babyhood. He distributed his benefits everywhere, regardless of self. Intelligent enough to understand things afar off, and clever enough to search into minutiæ, he followed Heaven's laws, and knew the people's needs. Humane yet dignified, kind yet truthful; he practised self-culture and all men submitted to him. He secured the revenue of the land, and spent it economically. He governed and instructed all his subjects, and they profited by the instruction. He made a calendar of the days and months past as well as future. He knew all about spirits, and worshipped them respectfully. His appearance was elegant, and his virtue eminent. His movements were well-timed, and his dress gentlemanly. Emperor Ku was thoroughly impartial all over his empire. There was no one on whom the sun and moon shone, or on whom the rain and wind blew, who was not devoted to him. Emperor Ku married a daughter of Ch‘enfêng, who bore a son named 'The highly meritorious.' He also married a daughter of Ch‘ütz‘ŭ, who bore a son Chih. Emperor Ku died, and Chih reigned in his stead. Chih reigned badly and died, and his brother 'The highly meritorious one' reigned under the title of Emperor Yao.

   Emperor Yao was highly meritorious. His benevolence was like that of heaven, and his wisdom that of a god; when approached he was genial as the sun, and was looked out for as clouds in dry weather. He was rich without being proud, and esteemed yet not lax. He wore a yellow hat and plain silk dress, and drove a red car p. 282 drawn by white horses.1 "He was able to display his supereminent virtue, by bringing into close alliance the nine degrees of kindred, and they being rendered harmonious, he forthwith regulated the people, and his people having become enlightened, the various states were at peace. He then commanded Hsi and Ho in reverent accordance with their observations of the wide heavens to record in a calendar the laws affecting the sun, moon, stars, and zodiacal spaces, and respectfully to communicate to the people the seasons (adapted for labour). He also commanded Hsi's younger brother to reside at Yüyi, called the bright valley, so as to hail with respect the rising sun, and arrange the labours of the spring; and the day being of medium length, and the culminating star (the central one of the) 'Bird' quarter of the heavens, he was to determine midspring, when the people begin to disperse, and birds and beasts to breed and copulate. He further commanded Hsi's third brother to reside at the southern frontier to arrange the transformations of summer, and respectfully observe the extreme limit (of the shadow), and the day being at its longest, and the star in the zenith that called 'Fire,' he was to fix the exact period of midsummer, when the people are most widely dispersed, birds moult, and beasts change their coats. He further commanded Ho's younger brother to reside in the west at a place called Dark Valley to respectfully convoy the setting sun, and arrange the completing labours of the autumn, and the night being of medium length, and the p. 283 culminating star Hsü (β in Aquarius) to determine mid-autumn, when people begin to feel comfortable, and birds and beasts look smooth and glossy. He further commanded Ho's third brother to reside in the northern region in what was called the sombre capital, to examine the hidden things, and the day being at its shortest, and the culminating star Mao (ε in Pleiades) to determine midwinter, when people get into cosy corners, and the coats of birds and beasts are downy and thick. The year consisted of 366 days, an intercalary month being added to adjust the four seasons. Authentic directions were given to the various officers, and their several labours commenced. Yao said, 'Who can obediently manage these matters?' Fangch‘i said, 'There is your adopted son Tanchu,1 who is developing his intelligence.' Yao said, 'Oh! he is unscrupulous and wicked; I cannot employ him.' He said again, 'Who will do it?' Huantou said, 'The minister of works, who is generally popular, and has displayed merit, could be employed.' Yao said, 'The minister of works is talkative; if he is employed, his depravities, although he is apparently respectful, would overspread the heavens, he will not do.' He said further, 'Alas! O president of the four mountains, the waters of the flood rise up to heaven, and in their vast expanse encompass the mountains, and overtop the hills; the common people are troubled about it. Is there a capable man whom I could set to deal with the matter?' They all said, 'Kun might do it.' Yao said, 'Kun disobeys orders, and ruins his companions. He will not do.' The President said, 'Ah! well! try him, and if he is found useless, have done with him.'" Whereupon Yao adopting his suggestion, employed Kun "for nine years, but his work was not completed. Yao said, 'Alas! O president of the four mountains, I have been on the throne seventy years; you are able to carry out the decrees, do you occupy my throne.' The president replied, 'My moral qualities are p. 284 of such a low order that I should disgrace the Imperial throne.' Yao said, 'You must all recommend one of your esteemed relations, or even an obscure stranger.' All the courtiers said to Yao, 'There is an unmarried man of the lower orders called Shun of Yü.' Yao said, 'Yes, I have heard of him, what is he like?' The president said, 'He is the son of a blind man; his father was unprincipled, his mother insincere, and his brother arrogant, but he managed by his dutiful conduct to be reconciled to them, so they have gradually improved, and not been extremely wicked.' 'Shall I try him?' said Yao. He then married his two daughters to Shun, and watched his behaviour towards them. Shun sent the two women down to the north of the Kuei river," and treated them with the ceremony due to them as his wives. Yao praised Shun, and told him1 "carefully to show the harmony of the five human relationships, and when they could be obeyed," they became universal among the various officials, who "at the proper times arranged the visitors at the four gates in the right order, and when the visitors at the four gates were submissive," the princes and strangers from distant regions became one and all respectful. "Yao sent Shun into the hills and forests among rivers and swamps, but although fierce winds and thunderstorms prevailed, Shun did not miss his way." Yao then taking Shun to be a holy man, called him and "said, 'For three years your deliberations have been excellent, and I have found that your words can be carried into practice. You shall ascend the Imperial throne.' Shun yielded in favour of some one more virtuous than himself, and was unhappy, but on the first day of the first month Shun accepted Yao's resignation in the temple of the accomplished ancestor," who was Yao's great ancestor. "So the Emperor Yao being old ordered that Shun should be associated with him in the government of the Empire."2 In order to observe p. 285 Heaven's decrees, Shun thereupon "examined the gem-adorned armillary sphere, and the jade transverse, so as to adjust the position of the 'Seven Directors.' He then offered a special sacrifice to the Supreme Ruler, sacrificed purely to the six honoured ones,1 looked with devotion to the hills and rivers, and worshipped with distinctive rites the hosts of spirits. He called in the five tokens, chose a lucky month and day, gave audience to the president of the four mountains, and all the governors, returning the tokens in due course. In the second month of every year he went eastward on a tour of inspection, and on reaching T‘aitsung he presented a burnt-offering, and sacrificed in order to the hills and rivers. He then gave audience to the chieftains of the East, putting in accord their seasons and months, and rectifying the days. He rendered uniform the standard tubes, the measures of length and capacity, and the scales; and regulated the five kinds of ceremonies. The five gems, the three kinds of silks, the two living animals, and one dead one were brought as presents to the audience, but the five implements were returned at the conclusion. In the fifth month he went to the south, in the eighth month to the west, and in the eleventh month northward on his tours of inspection; in each case observing the same ceremonies as before, and on his return he went to the temple of the ancestral tablets, and offered up a single ox. Every five years there was one tour of inspection, and four audiences of the princes at court, when they presented a full verbal report, which was intelligently tested by their works, and chariots and robes given according to their deserts. Shun instituted the division of the Empire into twelve provinces, and deepened the rivers. He gave delineations of the statutory punishments, enacting banishment as a mitigation of the five chief punishments, the whip being employed for public officers, the stick in schools, and a money penalty p. 286 being inflicted for redeemable crimes. Inadvertent offences, and those caused by misfortune were to be pardoned, and those who offended presumptuously or repeatedly were to be punished with death. 'Be reverent, be reverent' (said he), 'and in the administration of the law be tranquil.'" Huantou1 approached, and spoke about the minister of works. 'I cannot even give him a trial as a workman,' said Yao, 'for he is really profligate.' The president of the four mountains recommended Kun as the proper person to look after the deluge. Yao regarded it as impracticable, but the president vehemently requested that he might be tried, so the trial was made, but without good results. Of old the people had felt that it was undesirable that the three Miao tribes in the districts of Chiang Huai, and Ching should so often rise in rebellion; so Shun on his return spoke to the emperor requesting that "the minister of works might be banished to the ridge of Yu" to reform the Northern Ti tribes, "that Huantou might be detained on mount Tsung," to reform the Southern barbarians, that "the chief of the three Miao tribes might be removed to Sanwei (three cliffs)" to reform the Western Jung people, and that "Kun might be imprisoned for life on Mount Yu" to reform the Eastern barbarians. "These four criminals being thus dealt with, universal submission prevailed throughout the empire," Yao had sat on the throne seventy years, when he secured Shun's services for twenty years;2 "then, being old, he p. 287 directed that Shun should be associated with him in the government of the empire, and presented him to Heaven." Yao had abdicated the throne "twenty-eight years when he died, and the people mourned for him as for a parent, no music being played for three years throughout the empire," for which reason he was remembered. Yao knew that his son "Tanchu was a worthless fellow," who was not fit to reign, and so the authority was conferred on Shun. As it was conferred on Shun, the empire got the advantage and Tanchu was injured. If it had been conferred on Tanchu, the empire would have been injured, and Tanchu gained the advantage. Yao said, 'We certainly cannot cause the empire to suffer loss, and the advantage go to an individual.' In the end the empire was given over to Shun. "After the death of Yao, when the three years' mourning was over, Shun gave way to Tanchu, and retired to the south of the southern river. When the princes went to an audience at court, they did not present themselves before Tanchu, but before Shun; litigants did not go before Tanchu, but Shun; and the singers did not sing in praise of Tanchu, but of Shun. Shun said, 'It is from Heaven.' Afterwards he went to the capital, sat on the Imperial throne,"1 and was styled Emperor Shun.

   Shun of Yü was named Ch‘unghua (double splendour); Ch‘unghua's father was Kusou; Kusou's father was Ch‘iaoniu (bridge cow); Ch‘iaoniu's father was Chümang2; Chümang's father was Chingkang; Chingkang's father was Ch‘iungchan; Ch‘iungchan's father was Emperor Ch‘uanhsü; Ch‘uanhsü's father was Ch‘angyi. From him to Shun we have seven generations. From Ch‘iungchan to Emperor p. 288 Shun they were all insignificant common people. Shun's father, Kusou, was blind, and his mother having died, Kusou married again and had a son, Hsiang, who was arrogant. Kusou loved his second wife, and frequently tried to kill Shun, who avoided him; when he made slight mistakes he was punished, yet he obediently served his father, stepmother, and brother, and was day by day generous, careful, and never negligent. Shun was a native of Ch‘ichou, ploughed on Li mountain, fished in Thunder lake, made pots on the bank of the river, fashioned various articles at Shouch‘iu, and went now and then to Fuhsia. Shun's father, Kusou, was unprincipled, his mother insincere, and his brother, Hsiang, arrogant. They all tried to kill Shun, who was obedient, and never by chance failed in his duty as a son, or his fraternal love. Though they tried to kill him they did not succeed, and when they sought him he got out of the way. When Shun was twenty years old he was noted for his filial piety, and when he was thirty the Emperor Yao asked if he was fit to reign. The presidents united in bringing Shun of Yü forward as an able man, so Yao gave him his two daughters in marriage in order to observe his conduct at home, and bade his nine sons put him in charge of a post so as to note his behaviour abroad. Shun lived within the bend of the Kuei river, and was especially careful. Yao's two daughters did not dare, on account of their rank, to be proud, but waited on Shun's relations, and were constant in their wifely duties, while Yao's nine sons became more and more generous. When Shun ploughed on Li mountain, the inhabitants yielded the boundaries; when he fished in Thunder lake, the men on the lake yielded to him the best place; and when he made pots on the bank of the river, his vessels had no holes or flaws in them. If he dwelt in a place for a year he formed an assemblage, in two years it became a town, and in three a metropolis. Yao gave Shun clothes made of fine grass-cloth, and a lute, and built him a granary and shed for his oxen and sheep. Kusou again tried to kill Shun by making him go up and plaster the roof of the granary, p. 289 while he set fire to it from below, but Shun, protecting himself from the fire with a couple of bamboo hats, came down and escaped with his life. Kusou after this told Shun to dig a well, which he did, making a secret tunnel at the side to get out at. When Shun had gone right in, Kusou and Hsiang filled up the well with earth, but Shun came out by the secret passage.1 Kusou and Hsiang rejoiced, thinking that Shun was dead, and Hsiang said, 'The plot was mine, but I will go shares with my father and mother; I will take Shun's wives, Yao's two daughters, and the lute as my share, while the oxen, sheep, granary and shed shall belong to my parents.' He remained, however, in Shun's house playing on the lute, and when Shun went thither Hsiang, startled and not well-pleased to see him, said, 'I was just thinking of you, and getting very anxious.' 'Quite so,' said Shun, 'and so you possessed yourself of all these things.' Shun again served Kusou, loved his brother, and was still more careful in his conduct. Yao thereupon tested Shun as to the five cardinal rules, and the various officers were under control.2 "In former days the Emperor Kaoyang had eight talented sons;" the world benefited by them, and "they were called the eight benevolent ones. The Emperor Kaohsin had also eight talented sons, and men called them the eight virtuous ones. Of these sixteen men after ages have acknowledged the excellence, and not let their names fall to the ground. In the time of Yao he was not able to raise them to office, but Shun raised the eight benevolent ones to office, and made them superintend the land department and direct all matters, arranging them according to their seasons. He also raised the right virtuous ones to office, employing them to spread throughout the country a knowledge of the duties p. 290 pertaining to the five social relationships, for fathers became just, mothers loving, elder brothers sociable, younger ones respectful, and children dutiful; within the empire there was peace, and beyond it submission. In ancient days the Emperor Hung (Huangti) had a son devoid of ability, who shut himself off from duty, and was a villain in secret, delighting in the practice of the worst vices, and all men called him Chaos. (The Emperor) Shaohao had a descendant devoid of ability, who overthrew good faith, hated loyalty, extolled specious and evil talk, and all the people called him Monster. Ch‘uanhsü had a son devoid of ability, who would receive no instruction and acknowledge no good words, and all the people called him Block. These three men everyone was distressed about until the time of Yao, but Yao could not send them away. Chinyün had a son devoid of ability, who was greedy in eating and drinking, and pursued wealth blindly. All the people called him Glutton, hated and compared him to the three other wicked men. Shun received visitors at the four gates, but banished these four wicked ones to the four borders of the empire to manage hobgoblins;" and those at the four gates rightly said "there were no wicked men among them." Shun "went to the great plains at the foot of the mountains, and, amid violent wind, thunder, and rain, did not go astray." Yao then knew that Shun was fit to accept the empire, and "being old, caused Shun to be associated with him in the government," and when he went on a tour of inspection Shun was promoted and employed in the administration of affairs for twenty years; and Yao having directed that he should be associated in the government, he was so associated for eight years. Yao died, and "when the three years' mourning was over, Shun yielded to Tanchu," but the people of the empire turned to Shun. Now Yü, Kaoyao, Hsieh, Houch‘i, Poyi, K‘uei, Lung, Ch‘iu Yi, and P‘êngtsu were all from the time of Yao promoted to office, but had not separate appointments. "Shun having then proceeded to the temple of the accomplished ancestor, deliberated with the president of the four mountains, threw p. 291 open the four gates, and was in direct communication with officers in all four quarters of the empire, who were eyes and ears to him. He ordered the twelve governors" to talk of the Emperor's virtue, "to be kind to the virtuous, and keep the artful at a distance, so that the barbarians of the south might lead on one another to be submissive. He said to the president of the four mountains, 'Is there anyone who can vigorously display his merits, aud beautify Yao's undertakings, and whom I can make prime minister?' They all said, 'There is Baron Yü, the superintendent of works,'" he can beautify the Emperor's labours. "Shun said, 'Ah! yes, Yü, you have put in order the water and the land, but in this matter you must exert yourself.' Yü did obeisance with his head to the ground, while declining in favour of Millet, Hsieh, or Kaoyao. Shun said, 'Yes; but do you go and set about it.' Shun said, 'Ch‘i, the black-haired people begin to be famished. Do you, Prince Millet, sow in their seasons the various kinds of grain.' He also said, 'Hsieh, the people do not love one another, and the five orders of relationship are not observed. You, as minister of instruction, must carefully diffuse abroad those five lessons of duty, but do so with gentleness.' He also said, 'Kaoyao, the southern barbarians are disturbing the summer region, while robbers, murderers, villains, and traitors abound. Do you, as minister of crime, exercise repression by use of the five kinds of punishment—for the infliction of which there are three appointed places—and the five banishments with their several places of detention, and the three degrees of distance. Be intelligent and you will inspire confidence.' Shun said, 'Who can direct the workmen?' They all said 'Ch‘ui can do it'; so he made Ch‘ui minister of works. Shun said, 'Who can superintend my uplands and lowlands, pastures and woods, birds and beasts?' They all said, 'Yi is the man'; so Yi was made imperial forester. Yi did obeisance with his head to the ground, and declined in favour of the officials Fir, Tiger, Black Bear, and Grizzly Bear. Shun said, 'Go and act harmoniously.'" Fir, Tiger, Black Bear, and Grizzly Bear p. 292 were accordingly his assistants. "Shun said, 'Ah! president of the four mountains, is there anyone who can superintend the three ceremonies?' They all said, 'Baron Yi is the man.' Shun said, 'Ah! Baron Yi, I will make you arranger of the ancestral temple. Day and night be careful, be upright, be pure.' Baron Yi declined in favour of K‘uei or Lung, but Shun said, 'Let it be so,' and made K‘uei director of music and teacher of youth. 'Be straightforward' (he added) 'and yet mild; lenient and yet stern; firm, yet not tyrannical; impetuous, yet not arrogant. Poetry gives expression to the thought, and singing is the prolonged utterance of that expression. Notes accompany that utterance, and are harmonized themselves by the pitch-pipes. The eight kinds of instruments can be adjusted, so that one shall not take from or interfere with another, and spirits and men are thereby brought into harmony.' K‘uei said, 'Oh! I smite the stone; I tap the stone, and the various animals lead on one another to dance.' Shun said, 'Lung, I dread slanderous speakers and injurious deceivers, who agitate and alarm my people. I appoint you minister of communication. Day and night you will issue and receive my orders, but be truthful.' Shun said, 'Ah! you twenty and two men, be reverent, and you will aid in their proper seasons the undertakings of heaven.' Every three years there was an examination of merits, and after three examinations there were degradations and promotions both far and near. The people's labours generally prospered, while the people of the three Miao tribes were divided and defeated." These twenty-two all completed their labours. Kaoyao was chief minister of crime, and the people were all subservient and obtained his genuine services. Poyi was director of ceremonies, and both upper and lower classes were retiring. Ch‘ui was head workman, and the various kinds of work were successfully accomplished. Yi was head forester, and hills and swamps were brought under cultivation. Ch‘i was director of agriculture, and the various crops ripened in their seasons. Hsieh was minister of instruction, and the people were friendly p. 293 together. Lung superintended the foreign department, and men from afar arrived. The twelve governors did their duty, and the people of the nine provinces did not dare to rebel. But Yü's labours consisted in making great cuttings through the nine hills, making thoroughfares through the nine swamps, deepening the nine rivers, and regulating the nine provinces, each of which by their officials sent tribute, and did not lose their rightful dues. In a square of 5000 li he reached the wild domain.1 To the south he governed Annam; on the north he reduced the western Jung tribes, Hsichih, Chüsou,1 and the Ch‘iang of Ti; on the north the hill Jung tribes and the Hsichên; and on the east the tall island barbarians. All within the four seas were grateful for Emperor Shun's labours; and Yü then "performed the nine tunes,"2 and the result was that strange creatures and "phœnixes flew to and fro."2 Men of illustrious virtue in the empire began from the days of Emperor Shun of Yü. When Shun was twenty years of age he was noted for his filial piety, at thirty Yao raised him to office, at fifty he assisted in the administration of Imperial affairs, when he was fifty-eight Yao died, and when he was sixty-one he sat on the Imperial throne in Yao's stead. After he had occupied the Imperial throne thirty-nine years, he went on a hunting expedition to the south, died in the desert of Ts‘angwu, and was buried at a place called Lingling (broken hillocks) in the Chiuyi range in Chiangnan province. After Shun had come to the throne, and was flying the Imperial flag, he went to pay a visit to his father, Chüsou, and addressed him in a grave and respectful manner,3 as a son should do. He raised his brother Hsiang to the rank of prince. Shun's son Shang-chün was also degenerate, so that Shun, being prepared, recommended Yü to the notice of Heaven, and seventeen years later he died. When the three years' mourning was over, Yü also yielded to Shun's son just as Shun had yielded p. 294 to Yao's son, but the princes gave their allegiance to Yü, and he thereupon came to the Imperial throne. Yao's son Tanchu, and Shun's son Shangchün, both held territory so that they might be enabled to perform sacrifices to their ancestors; they paid the due observances, such as religious ceremonies and music, and they went to the audiences as the Emperor's guests. The Emperor did not dare, without due notification from his ministers, to act on his own responsibility. From Huangti to Shun and Yü all the sovereigns had the same surname, but different dynastic appellations, and so displayed their illustrious virtue. So Huangti was called Yuhsiung (possessor of bears); Emperor Ch‘uanhsü was Kaoyang; Emperor Ku was Kaohsin; Emperor Yao, Taot‘ang; Emperor Shun was Yuyü (possessor of foresters); and Emperor Yü was Hsiahou (prince of Hsia); and he had also the name Ssŭ (sister-in-law); Hsieh had the family name of Shang with the personal name Tzŭ (son); and Ch‘i had the family name Chou with the personal name Chi (queen).

   The historian has to remark on this as follows:1 Most scholars say that the five gods are deserving of honour, but the Book of History only refers to Yao, and those who come after him, while the book of the 'hundred families' speaks of the Yellow god. The style of the latter work is not, however, very refined, and the officials and gentry hardly ever refer to it. Confucius handed down these works, viz. 'Tsai yü's questions,' the 'virtues of the five gods,' and 'the genealogies and names of the gods,' but the literati doubt that they have been so handed down. I have travelled westward as far as 'hollow cave' hill, northward beyond Cholu, eastward I have crossed the sea, while p. 295 southward I have floated on rafts along the Yangtzŭ and Huai rivers, and all the elders whom I met again and again talked of the places where the Yellow god, Yao, and Shun dwelt, and how very different their customs and teachings were. In short, those who are attached to the ancient literature must be familiar with their sayings. I have looked at the 'Spring and Autumn' classic, and the 'Narratives of the States,' which make the 'virtues of the five gods' and the 'genealogies and names of the gods' very clear. I have inspected these works, but not thoroughly examined them, and the portions I have quoted are none of them unimportant. There are defects in the book, and occasionally the views of others may be noted. Scholars should not think too deeply over the book, but take the general drift of it, when it can hardly be called superficial. There are a few investigations into doctrine, which I have discussed in the concrete, and then selected some of the more elegant sentences for quotation. Thus I have compiled the first chapter of the 'Original Records.'


[To be continued.]

Journals Ssuma Ch'ien


p. 269

   1 In other legends contained in the Lushih of Lopi, Fuhsi (by which name this worthy is best known) is said to have been born after a gestation of twelve years, and he is also said to have become king when he was twelve years old. We see also below that he reigned eleven years. Of course the historian had the planet Jupiter in his mind when he invented this fabulous Emperor. The expression 'succeeded Heaven as King,' becomes more intelligible after reference to the late Canon McClatchie's remarks in the Appendix to his translation of the Yi King (pp. 407-411), where he points out that "the full title of the highest deity known to the Chinese is 'luminous Heaven, the Supreme Emperor,' who is worshipped in Peking under his triplication, 'Heaven, Earth, and Man,' which three are but one Ch‘i, or Air, whose title is 'Shangti or the Supreme Monad.' This deity is sacrificed to under the title T‘ai hao or Fuhsi. Fuhsi, in his human character is the son of Chien, or Heaven, while in his deified character he is Heaven himself." It is plain that there was a confusion between the father and son in this worship p. 270 (which he maintains was nothing but a phase of phallic worship), though he 'is in reality the same person viewed under a somewhat different aspect' (Faber, Orig. Idol. p. 22). "The great monad is declared to be both male and female, and the great father and mother of all things. Chien, or Heaven, being the head of a gigantic deity, we have a clear connection established between the Shangti of Confucius, and the Bel of ancient Babylon, who 'was the recognized head of the Babylonian pantheon,' and therefore properly identified by the Greeks with their Zeus or Jupiter" (Rawlinson, Herod. i. p. 246). In the Zendavesta (Yaçna, i. 34) Ahuramazda signified the planet Jupiter, who predided over six subordinate genii, five of whom were the same as the five Chinese elements. The planet was called the year-star from the analogy of the twelve lunar revolutions of the year, Jupiter revolving round the sun in eleven years and 318 days, or nearly twelve years. It is noticeable that Fuhsi is stated to have had a 'serpent's body,' as showing the acquaintance of the historian with Hindoo chronology. Fergusson (Chinese Researches, p. 247) gives a comparative table of the Hindoo Nakshattras with their assignment to the twelve Hindoo months in the order as stated in Burgess' Translation of the Surya Siddhanta; and the twelve Chinese animal cycle names derived from the Hsü or mansions in the order as stated by Perny. He observes that the Hindoos omitted the twenty-second of the Nakshattras in the order of twenty-eight, when they reduced the number by one, and the Chinese system is reckoned with only twenty-seven Hsü, or the fourteenth Hsü is here omitted to make the parallel between it and the Hindoo system. The chief point insisted on here to illustrate the comparison, is, that as the first Hindoo month Karttika represents Jupiter, and the first Chrnese che and the first name of the twelve animal cycle represent the serpent and Jupiter also, the serpent is assigned the first place in the Chinese series, which has been assigned by the Hindoos to Karttika. This would a identify Karttika with Shêtiko, which is the first name of Ssŭma Ch‘ien's cycle. The serpent again was a phallic symbol. Cox (Myth. of Aryan Nations) says the symbol of the phallus suggested the form of the serpent, which thus became the symbol of life and healing, so that this is the key to both tree and serpent worship. The latter worship began among the Ethiopians, and spread to the Egyptians and Akkadians, who, it has been proved, were the ancestors of the Chinese. India was a great country for the worship of Nagas, a class of serpent demons, having human faces with serpent-like lower extremities, who lived in one of the lower regions below the earth called Patala. This description very closely resembles that given by our historian of Fuhsi. When Buddism was introduced into Ceylon and Burma, it was grafted on serpent and Naga worship, with which, as well as with the worship of numerous Hindu gods, it continues to be adulterated in the present day. The fifth day of the moon in Sawan is a great fête in Nagpur, where pictures of snakes in all positions are sold as valentines (Williams' Buddhism, 220). Looking at the serpent under a different aspect, we find that Brown, in his 'Great Dionysiak Myth,' says that the serpent had six principal points of connection with Dionysos, one of which was connected with fertilizing moisture. Nature-worship is a prominent feature in all eastern religions, and we can understand that when the thunderbolt of Indra flashed, and the annual return of the rains brought life to the parched earth, the primitive Hindus were overwhelmed with joy and thanksgiving. Turning to Chinese authors we find that, according to the Yi King, the symbol Chên ### (thunder), corresponding to the third of the four primary developments of the creative influence, is synonymous with lung, a serpent-like monster, and, in conformity with this dictum, the powers and functions of nature governed by the forces thus indicated, such as the East, spring, etc., are ranked under the symbol ch‘ing lung (azure dragon), which also designates the eastern quadrant of the uranosphere. The Shuowên dictionary (A.D. 200) states that of the 360 species of scaly reptiles, the dragon is the chief; it wields the power of transformation, and the gift of rendering itself visible or invisible at pleasure. In the spring it ascends to the skies, and in autumn it buries itself in the watery depths. The watery principle of the atmosphere is pre-eminently associated with the lung. The dragon, as chief p. 271 among the beings divinely constituted is also peculiarly symbolical of all that pertains to the Emperor, whose throne is entitled the dragon-seat, and whose face is described as the dragon-countenance (Mayers' Manual, i. 451). Now the first of the seven constellations of the Eastern quadrant, named the Horn (α and ζ of Virgo) on the head of the azure dragon is said to be 'the chief of the productive energies of spring.' According to another Chinese author 'the horn constellation is the head of the azure dragon. When it appears the birds and beasts shoot out their horns, and the plants break from their coverings. It is the lord of the metamorphoses of creation.' In the first month of spring—February—according to the Book of Rites, plants and trees shoot out their buds. The dragon was said to cover itself in the mud in the autumnal equinox, and to awake in spring; thus announcing by its awakening the return of nature's energies, it became naturally the symbol of the productive force of moisture, that is of spring, when by means of genial rains and storms all nature renewed itself (Schlegel, Uran. Chin. p. 53).

p. 271

   1 With this 'footprint of giant' we must compare the honour paid to the sacred S’ripâda, or footprint of Buddha in India, Siam, Burmah, etc., and the passage would show how imbued the historian is with Buddhist sentiments. We find similar miraculous conceptions throughout the Classics, e.g. the ancestress of the Chow dynasty conceived after treading in the toe-print of a god (L. C. iv. V. 465). Mr. Clement Allen says that the ode in which this story is related is 'the only one in the whole classsic of poetry which he can acknowledge to be a solar myth,' although he is not sure that Houchi, whose birth is here described, had a real existence.

   2 See note on p. 269.

   3 Here follows a quotation from part 2, chapter 2 of book iii. of the Book of Changes, called 'Confucius' Commentary.'

   4 The eight Trigrams, said to have been developed by Fuhsi from a drawing or plan revealed to him on the back of a dragon-horse, are specially referred to in the Book of Changes, and are named as follows: Heaven, or male principle; thunder; water; mountains; earth, or female principle; wind; fire; and dew, or watery exhalations. These eight are reducible to two, the male and female principles, and they again to an ultimate unity or Supreme God. A ceaseless process of revolution is held to be at work, in the course of which the various elements or properties of nature, indicated by the diagrams, mutually extinguish and give birth to one another, thus producing the phenomena of existence (Mayers' Manual, ii. p. 241). I cannot help suspecting that the original drawing was a representation of the Linga, and when we read in the commentary of Confucius "that the River gave forth the plan, and the Lo gave forth the scroll," we must understand that the delineation of the object in question was first seen in the Lo country, brought there, doubtless, from India, where its worship is so prevalent.

p. 272

   1 Knotted cords were used for recording events among the Peruvians and other branches of the Accadian stock. The chiefs of the ancient Tungus gave warrant to their commands by means of carved sticks, and the Mau tribes in China are said to have used them in making agreements (Watters' Essays, p. 120).

   2 The five planets with their corresponding elements, etc., which revolve in rotation, each dynasty being supposed to be under the influence of one or the other, are as follows:

Venusmetalwhiteautumnwestfine weather

The worship of the sun, moon, and planets was, doubtless, brought from Chaldæa, where, according to Sir H. Rawlinson, the temple of the seven spheres, built about 1100 B.C., was dedicated to the seven planets, and coloured with the colours attributed to them by the Sabæan astrologers, but which are not the same colours as those ascribed to them by the Chinese (Chalmers' Origin of the Chinese, p. 24).

   3 Mount T‘ai, to the north of the town of T‘aian in Shantung province, has the epithet of 'honorable' attached to it, being the most famous of the mountains of China, and burnt sacrifices are offered at the T‘ai altar to Heaven by the Emperor of China in the second month of every year. Hills were frequently chosen for adoration in sun worship as being nearer to the deity, and so in China the Emperor goes to the East, that being the quarter whence everything is said to originate, as Ssŭma piao says. It would be interesting to trace what the first ceremony of the 'fêng' was, for, of course, this one is not really historical. "In the 3rd month of the Yuanfêng year (110 B.C.) the Emperor ordained that a stone should be set up on Mount T‘ai, and that (a libation) should be poured out. In the 4th month of the year, His Majesty p. 273 went to Mount Liangfu, and offered sacrifice to the lord of the soil. On the day I mao he ordered the literary men, and the fur-cap-wearing gentry among his attendants, to kill a bull by shooting it with arrows. He then performed the fêng ceremony on Mount T‘ai, at the foot of the hill to the East, following the ceremonial styled kiao, in honour of the great Unity. He set up a fêng monument twelve feet wide and nine feet high, and below it were lodged the royal genealogical tablets covered with secret writing. The ceremony being over, the Son of Heaven, accompanied solely by the young prince who assisted him in mounting his chariot, ascended Mount T‘ai, and again performed the ceremony of the fêng, the view thereof being interdicted to all. The next day he descended by the shady path. On the ping chên day he performed the shan ceremony on Mount Sujan, at the foot of Mount T‘ai on the north-east side, the observances being similar to those performed on sacrificing to Queen Earth. The Son of Heaven on all occasions personally prostrated himself before the altar, his vestments being yellow, and music being always played. . . . It was officially stated that inasmuch as the previous period (beginning 116 B.C.) was styled 'original tripod' in consequence of a valuable tripod having been exhumed, so this year should bear the style 'original fêng monument.'" The primitive form of the character 'fêng' represented the 'top of a trident above the soil,' and its first meaning seems to have been to heap up earth for an altar (Legge's Cl. III. ii. 1, 10). It also signifies a fief, or territory over which a prince is lord; great; wealthy; to seal up; a title of nobility. The shan ceremony was often performed at the same time as that of the fêng. Shan, according to the T‘ung chien kang mu, means to clear away the earth and sacrifice, or to level ground for an altar (cf. L. C. III. v. 6, 4). From the foregoing it seems certain that the fêng ceremony was the erection of a stone in the shape of the phallus, while shan meant to hollow out earth in the shape of the yoni.

p. 273

   1 Hsüchü and Ch‘uan yu were names of towns in Shantung province, the former being an old name for Tungpingchow, and the latter being a name for Mêngyin, a district town in Yichow department (Playfair's Cities, 7717; 4859).

p. 274

   1 Ch‘uyung, also called Ch‘ungli, was the god of Fire (Mayers' Manual, i. 87.121).

   2 'Cutting off the feet of a tortoise to set up the four corners of the earth' is something like the Hindoo notion of the world being supported on the back of an elephant standing on a tortoise. One of Vishnu's incarnations was the tortoise, whose back formed a pivot for Mount Mandara (William's Hinduism, p. 105).

   3 Fire and ox were both representatives of the male energy. The Greeks made their Taurine Bacchus, or bull with a human face, to express both sexes (Knight's Worship of Priapus, p. 34). The Chinese Yang and Yin theory is the exact counterpart of the doctrine of the Magi with their principles of good and evil, the former represented by light and the latter by darkness, The sect of the Magians was revived by Zoroaster in about the thirty-sixth year of Darius, and he introduced one supreme god who created both first causes, and out of these everything else. He also directed worship, first to the sun as the most perfect fire, and then to their sacred fires (Fishes, Flowers, and Fire-worship, p. 96).

   4 The following few lines are a quotation from 'Confucius' Commentary to the Yi King' as it is called.

p. 275

   1 Binding-trees with garlands is part of the old tree-worship, the tree being also a phallic emblem. Our May-day is similar to the festival of Bhavani celebrated by the Hindoos, who erect a pole, adorn it with garlands, and then worship the powers of nature. Sir W. Ouseley says 'as votive offerings, or as tokens of veneration, wreaths, fillets, and chaplets or garlands were often suspended from the sacred branches. . . . Statius records avow, promising that a hundred virgins of Calydon, who ministered at the altars, should fasten to the consecrated tree, chaplets, white and purple interwoven (Cultus Arborum, p. 30).

p. 276

   1 Fergusson (op. cit.) points out that the nine brothers, sovereigns of man, closely resemble the nine sons of the Indian sovereign, Acnydrouven, who reigned each over one portion of the nine regions into which the earth was divided.

   2 Huntun and Yuch‘ao are names for the years B.C. 93 and 101 respectively (L. C. iii. proleg. iii. app.).

   3 The other names after Wuhuai are said to be Fuhsi, Shênnung, the Fire Emperor, the Yellow Emperor, Ch‘uanhsü, Tiku, Yao, Shun, Yü, T‘ang, p. 277 and Ch‘eng, son of King Wu and nephew of Chowkung. Kuan Iwu, or Kuanchung, is stated to have been minister of Ch‘i 686 B.C. (Mayer's Manual, 293). Dr. Edkins says that the myth of these seventy-two emperors was invented for the purpose of flattering the Emperor Ch‘in Shĭ huang and glorifying the T‘ai mountain. He says that religious romance began about B.C. 400 (cf. China Review, xiii. p. 407).

p. 277

   1 The capture of the Lin or Ch‘ilin, which has been identified with the giraffe, is said to have happened two years before Confucius died.

   2 If the principle of the Babylonian antediluvian period be identified as Mr. Oppert states with the scripture period of 1656 years, owing to their analogous division by 72, the period of 3,276,000 years is similarly connected with the chronology of the ten antediluvian patriarchs of the Bible by it being also divisible by 72—3,276,000 ÷ 72 = 45,500 (Fergusson, op. cit. p. 86).

p. 278

   1 In the annals of the Bamboo books we find these further details about this fabulous monarch, viz., that Huangti's mother Fupao saw a great flash of lightning surrounding the star Chu (α Dubhe) of the great bear constellation, whereupon she became pregnant, and gave birth to Huangti after twenty-four months gestation at the hillock of Shou (Shantung province). He was called prince of Yuhsiung state, and the second son of the prince of Shaotien. The term Yuhsiung is frequently used by the historian to designate a country as well as a personage, e.g. the records of King Wên, of the Chou dynasty, and the state of Ch‘u records. M. Lacouperie gives 2332 B.C. as the rectified date of the first year of Huangti, the ordinary date according to the common scheme being 2697, while 2388 B.C. is the date in the Bamboo annals. In the Tsoch‘uan this Emperor is also given the name of Hung. The Yuhsiung state is, according to a commentator, Hsinchêng district in the prefecture of K‘aifêng, Honan province. For remarks on the names Shaotien and Hsienyüan vide my article entitled 'Chinese Antiquity' in Vol. XXII. for 1890 of this Journal.

   2 According to Huangfumi it was not Shênnung himself, who is here referred to, but his descendant Yuwang. Under the usual chronological scheme Shênnung reigned from B.C. 2737 to 2698.

   3 Ch‘ihyu is, according to a collection of legends, said to have been the chief of a band of eighty-one brothers, who had bodies of beasts with foreheads of iron, spoke like men, ate dust, made weapons of war, and oppressed the people; so Huangti ordered Yinglung to attack Ch‘ihyu, who calling on the chief of the winds and the master of the rain for aid, a great storm arose. Huangti then sent the daughter of heaven, Pa (god of drought), to check the great rain caused by the enemy, and Ch‘ihyu was taken and slain at Cholu, now Pao-anchow.

p. 279

   1 Ball hill is on the south-east coast of Shantung, near the old town of Langye.

   2 'Hollow cave' is said to have been the name of a hill in Kansu province, where Huangti studied philosophy from a supernatural being called Kuang-chêngtzŭ, the essence of his teaching being as follows: "See nothing, hear nothing, let your spirit be wrapped in contemplation, and your body will assume its right form. Attain absolute repose and absolute purity, do not weary yourself, nor injure your vital powers, and you will live for ever. If the eye becomes incapable of seeing, the ear of hearing, and the mind of thinking, the body will never die. Ponder on inward thoughts and shut out external influences, for much learning is a curse." These are, of course, simply Buddhist doctrines.

   3 We are reminded of three historical events, which must have been present to Ssŭma's mind when he wrote this account, viz. the discovery of a large tripod in the year B.C. 113, the inauguration of the fêng and shan sacrifices in the year B.C. 110, and the adjustment of the calendar B.C. 104. The first two were considered to be of sufficient importance to justify the six-year periods, 'Original tripod' period, and 'Original fêng' altar period to be named after them respectively. It is noticeable that the historian makes everyone of the 'Five gods' busy himself in framing a calendar, a work on which the historian was himself engaged in the year B.C. 104.

p. 280

   1 A native commentator observes "The beyond sea classic says 'In the Eastern sea there is an island called Tuso, on which there grows a large peach tree which twists and coils about for 3000 li. To the north-east there is a door called the spirit-door, where the myriad spirits dwell. The god of heaven sends a holy being called Yülei, who keeps these spirits in check, and if any of them work harm to men, they are bound with reed withes, shot with arrows made from the peach-tree, and thrown to the tigers who eat them.'"

p. 282

   1 Here follows the whole of the first chapter of the Book of History, called 'Canon of Yao,' with the exception of the first paragraph, and a few words at the end. It is not quoted word for word, however, simpler words being occasionally employed, the meaning being retained. Dr. Legge translates the opening passage thus (L. C. III. 17): "He was able to make the able and virtuous distinguished, and thence proceeded to the love of the nine classes of his kindred, who all became harmonious. He also regulated and polished the people of his domain, who all became brightly intelligent. Finally, he united and harmonized the myriad states of the empire." In the great learning, however (Comm. i. 4), Dr. Legge translates: "He was able to make illustrious his lofty virtue;" and this we are told in the same classic is to be carried out by the following process: (1) investigation of things, (2) completion of knowledge, (3) making the thoughts sincere, (4) rectification of the heart, (5) self-cultivation, (6) regulation of the family, (7) ordering the state, and (8) tranquillization of the empire.

p. 283

   1 Tanchu means red cinnabar, which was the basis of the mystical compounds by which the alchemists of our historian's days pretended to be able to produce gold, and confer the gift of immortality.

p. 284

   1 Here follows the second chapter of the Book of History, styled 'Canon of Shun,' quoted in its entirety, except the first paragraph. A few sentences are interspersed here and there, which have the effect of bringing out the meaning.

   2 A sentence interpolated from Mencius V. i. iv. 1.

p. 285

   1 It is doubtful who the six honoured ones are. Some commentators maintain that they are the seasons, cold and heat, the sun, the moon, the stars, and drought.

p. 286

   1 A few sentences, which are almost a repetition of the observations about the superintendent of works and Kun as controller of the flood, are here interpolated.

   2 An interpolated sentence. Dr. Legge (L. C. III. p. 40) says: "It seems to me that every unprejudiced reader of the classic must understand this as meaning twenty-eight years, reckoning from Shun's accession to the administration of affairs, mentioned page 4, so that Yao's death would occur in the hundredth year of his reign, B.C. 2257. The matter is complicated, however, by what related in the Historical Records, that Yao, getting Shun in the seventieth year of his reign, employed him for twenty years, and only then resigned to him the administration, dying himself eight years after. This account would make Yao's reign extend over ninety-eight years. The conclusion we draw from the classic is all against this view." The commentators are at variance on the point, Huang Fumi, a celebrated scholar, who lived 216-218 A.D., says that Yao reigned alone ninety years, and was 'associated with Shun in the government' twenty-eight years longer. Some of the interpolated sentences are similar to sentences found in Mencius V.

p. 287

   1 The foregoing seven lines are also from Mencius V. i. v. 7.

   2 This descent of Shun is puzzling, for it would make Shun's great-great-grandfather Yao's contemporary, although Shun married Yao's two daughters. This is an instance of the carelessness of which the historian is frequently guilty. The name of Shun's great-grandfather, Chümang, suggests ### the genius of spring, one of the five spiritual beings who correspond to the five points, although the name is not written with the same characters (Mayers' Manual, ii. 155).

p. 289

   1 These various attempts of the relations of Shun to kill him, and their after behaviour, are also related, although in sligntly different language, in Mencius V. i. II. 3.

   2 Here follows a long extract from the Tsoch‘uan (vi. 18. 9). The Emperor Shaohao, although mentioned here, is not included in the historian's chronological scheme. He is generally placed between Huangti and Ch‘uanhsü (B.C. 2697-2614). After the extract a few sentences are repeated, and the 'Canon of Shun' quotation is then concluded, exeept the last few words.

p. 293

   1 References to passages in 'Tribute of Yü' (L. C. III. pp. 147, 127).

   2 Reference to a passage in 'Yi and Tseih' (L. C. III. 88).

   3 Reference to a passage in 'Counsels of the Great Yü' (L. C. III. 66).

p. 294

   1 In the historian's observation which concludes the chapter, we find a remark to the effect that all the old men he met in his travels spoke to him about Huangti, Yao, and Shun, mentioning where they lived, etc. Most sinologists of the present day are agreed in stating that these worthies were not historical characters, and so if they were emanations from Ssŭma's own brain, he probably tried to persuade the old men that they really did exist, which would account for their repeatedly referring to them. At any rate, one cannot help suspecting that the historian did invent these characters, and also that he is the author of parts of the Book of Mencius.