Books can make me happy, but the book I received today thrills me with excitement. I finally received a copy of the ChujianZhouyi, aka the Shanghai Museum manuscript of the Zhouyi (to read more about it see Edward Shaughnessy, A First Reading of the Shanghai Museum Bamboo-Strip Manuscript of the Zhou Yi, forthcoming). It is the oldest (but not complete) copy of the Zhouyi we have today; it is estimated around 300 BC.
In the Spring of 2004 the Chujian Zhouyi was published. Shaughnessy writes about this book:
(…) this third volume is sumptuously produced. It begins with a two-part section of photographs of all the strips: first, half-size full-color photos of all of the strips arranged in what the editors believe was their original order, and then enlarged full-color photos in which each strip occupies a single page. This introductory section is then followed by an 83-page section of transcription and detailed commentary written by Pu Maozuo 濮茅左, a senior curator at the Shanghai Museum. As in earlier volumes, this section begins with a brief overview of the text, including its physical properties, format, general paleographic considerations, and, in this case, the place of the manuscript in the textual history of the Yi jing. This section proper consists of strip-by-strip presentations of the text. Also as in previous volumes, each strip is introduced by yet another photograph, this one full-size and black-and-white (though certain symbols that are red on the original strips seem to have been hand-colored in these photographs). There then comes a detailed description of the physical characteristics of the strip, including especially notation of any breaks and/or rejoinings. Finally comes a phrase-by-phrase discussion of the text on the strip, each of which is followed by how the phrase reads in the silk manuscript of the Yi jing that was discovered thirty years ago at Mawangdui 馬王堆, in Changsha 長沙, Hunan, and also how it reads in the received text. The presentation of the Zhou Yi includes also two appendices. The first, 35 pages long, is a line-by-line comparison of the Shanghai Museum manuscript, the silk manuscript from Mawangdui, and the received text of the Zhou Yi; entries for both the Shanghai Museum and Mawangdui manuscripts include both photos of the original manuscript and also direct kaishu楷書 transcriptions. The second appendix, 10 pages long, is a study of six different black and/or red symbols that are included with each of the hexagram texts of the manuscripts. Publication of the volume was delayed apparently because of a flaw in the coloring of these symbols in the first print-run, necessitating the withdrawal and reprinting of the entire edition. This is a manifestation of the care that has gone into the editing and publication of all of the Shanghai Museum manuscripts. Although this volume, like most paleographic publications, has already met with various types of criticism, mainly from scholars in China, the scholarly world is surely much in the debt of all those who have worked so hard to make these manuscripts available.
The book measures 44 x 30 cm in size, the quality of the paper, printing and binding is excellent, in all, it is a pleasure to look at. I don’t even dare to read it, afraid that I will spoil the pages!
The next few weeks I will examine the book and the manuscript carefully. If I find anything interesting (of course I will) I will let you know.