Anthology of Works by Master Hui-an

Tags: National Palace Museum | rare books | Sung dynasty

Sung Dynasty (960-1279)
25 x 15 cm (print: 19 x 12.5 cm) 
Chu Hsi (1130-1200), Sung dynasty
Southern Sung Fukien imprint of the Shun-hsi period (1174-1189)

Master Hui-an was a pseudonym of the Sung exegete and writer Chu Hsi (style name Yüan-hui [or Chung-hui]; sobriquets Hui-weng, Tun-weng, and Ts’ang-chou ping-sou). Chu was born in Nan-p'ing county, Fukien province, and died in Ts’ang-chou. His ancestral home was Wu-yüan county, Kiangsi province. Chu incorporated the ideas of the "Loyang School" founded by the Ch'eng brothers, Ch'eng I and Ch'eng Hao. He also drew from the philosophy of the metaphysicians Chou Tun-i, Chang Tsai, and Shao Yung, and he was influenced by Buddhist and Taoist thought as well. These intellectual currents were synthesized by Chu into the Southern Sung "Fukien School" and an integral system known as "Chu Hsi Thought," which form a comprehensive expression of Sung metaphysics. For this contribution, Chu is considered one of the most important and influential figures in the development of Chinese metaphysics.

This Sung edition of the “Anthology of Works by Master Hui-an” includes the official Chekiang edition published during the reign of Emperor Ning-tsung (1195-1223) as compiled by a Mr. Ch'ü of Ch’ang-shu County in the “Catalog of Works in the Collection of the Iron Zither and Bronze Sword Tower”. All one hundred chapters were edited by Chu Hsi's third son, Chu Tsai. At the start of the Yüan dynasty, the official Chekiang edition of the Ning-tsung reign was preserved at the West Lake Academy in Hangchow. In the Ming dynasty, they were restored and reprinted. The “Records of Books in the Pi Sung Tower Collection” and the “Catalog of Rare Books at the National Central Library” records the Fukien Chien-an Academy edition published in 1265 under Emperor Tu-tsung of the Sung. This work includes the original 100 volumes edited by Chu as well as 11 sequel volumes edited by Wang Sui and 10 collected volumes edited by Yü Shih-lu. In 1532, under the Chia-ching Emperor in the Ming dynasty, the Surveillance Commissioner of Fukien ordered the Chu Hsi anthology to be reprinted based on the Fukien edition and collated against the Chekiang edition. This work is the most widely used edition today. The edition preserved in the collection of the National Palace Museum was published during Chu Hsi's lifetime, and it thus predates the later editions described here. Considerable variation exists between this edition and the subsequently revised Fukien and Chekiang versions in terms of the verse recorded. The earlier work contains several poems omitted in the latter two editions. It is printed, moreover, in careful and neat typeface. Mentioned only in the “T'ien-lu lin-lang hsü-mu (Additional Catalog of the T'ien-lu lin-lang)”, it is one of only a rare few extant works from its period and an invaluable historical document. This edition was preserved by a Mr. Mao of Ch’ang-shu county in the former collection of the Chi-ku Pavilion. It later passed through many hands before entering the palace collection, where it was stored in the Chao-jen Hall.

In 1922, the last Ch'ing emperor P’u-i assumed the name of his younger brother P’u-chieh and the anthology was removed from the palace collection. It was later acquired in Shanghai by Shen Chung-t'ao, a native of Shan-yin county, Shansi province. Mr. Shen secretly held the anthology for several decades before donating it to the National Palace Museum Collection, allowing it to become known to the world.

Text and images are provided by National Palace Museum