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Gushiji 古詩紀

May 19, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Gushiji 古詩紀 "Assorted ancient poems" is a collection of old poems compiled during the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) by Feng Weine 馮惟訥 (1513-1572), courtesy name Ruyan 汝言, style Shaozhou 少洲. He hailed from Linqu 臨朐, Shandong, and obtained his jinshi degree in 1538. Feng served for a long period as left provincial administration commissioner (zuo buzhengshi 左布政使) of Jiangxi, but his highest office was that of Chief Minister of the Court of Imperial Entertainments (guangluqing 光祿卿). He was known as a benevolent person. Feng Weine and his brothers Feng Weijian 馮惟健 (1501-1553) and Feng Weimin 馮惟敏 (1511-1578) were all famous poets in the region of Shandong. Weine has written the books Fengya guangyi 風雅廣逸, Chuci pangzhu 楚詞旁注, Xuanshi yuezhu 選詩約注, Wenxian tongkao zuanyao 文獻通考纂要 and Dulü shanzhu 杜律刪注. His collected poems are called Feng Guanglu shiji 馮光祿詩集.

The collection Gushiji has a length of 156 juan and is divided into four parts, namely a first collection (前集) with a length of 10 juan and including "surviving old poems" (guyishi 古逸詩), a "proper" collection (Zhengjijuan that includes poems from the Han 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE) to the Sui 隋 (581-618) period, an "outer" collection (Waiji 外集) with only 4 juan of length that include poems from stories of immortals and ghosts, and a "separate" collection (Bieji 別集) of 12 juan of critique on poetry.

The Gushji is China's oldest collection specialized on pre-Tang 唐 (618-907) shi 詩-style poetry. The time frame covered is relatively long, and the variation of poems very broad, yet there are also many inconsistencies and errors. Feng Shu 馮舒 (1593-1649) has therefore written a kind of corrective commentary, Shiji kuangmiu 詩紀匡謬. In spite of these shortcomings, the Gushiji is a quite comprehensive compilation and includes all important shi-style poems from ancient times until the year 600. The Gushiji therefore served as a model for later, similar compilations like Zang Maoxun's 臧懋循 (1550-1620) Gushisuo 古詩所, Zhang Zhixiang's 張之象 (1496-1577) Gushi leiyuan 古詩類苑 or Mei Dingzuo's 梅鼎祚 (1549-1615) Badai shicheng 八代詩乘.

Not all of these collections have the same level of quality as the Gushiji. The Gushisuo by Zang Maoxun, for instance, claims to be a supplement to Feng Weine's book, but the poems are arranged in a very confuse manner. Zhang Zhixiang's book is a kind of encyclopaedic collection in which the poems are arranged according to thematic criteria. Mei Dingzuo's book finally is rich in poems of the Han and Wei 曹魏 (220-265) periods, but neglects the later ages. Later collections like Zhang Pu's 張溥 (1602-1641) Han-Wei-Liuchao baisan jia ji 漢魏六朝百三家集 or Ding Fubao's 丁福保 (1874-1952) Quan Han-Sanguo-Jin-Nanbeichao shi 全漢三國晉南北朝詩 used the Gushiji as a very important source of ancient poems.

The oldest print of the Gushiji was produced by Zhen Jing 甄敬 (jinshi degree 1553) from Taiyuan 太原, Shanxi, and reprinted in 1558 by Wu Wan 吳琯 (jinshi degree 1571) in an edition of 56 juan of length. The Gushiji is included in the imperial series Siku quanshu 四庫全書 and the Zhibuzuzhai congshu 知不足齋叢書.

Sources:
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Chen, Jing (2017). "Reinventing the Pre-Tang Tradition: Compiling and Publishing Pre-Tang Poetry Anthologies in Sixteenth-Century China", Journal of Chinese Literature and Culture, 4 (1): 91-128.
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