Shi Jing

"Shi Jing" (Zh-tspw|t=|s=|p=Shī Jīng|w="Shih Ching"), translated variously as the "Classic of Poetry", the "Book of Songs" or the "Book of Odes", is the earliest existing collection of Chinese poems. It comprises 305 poems, some possibly written as early as 1000 BC. It forms part of the Five Classics.

The collection

The collection is divided into three parts according to their genre, namely "feng", "ya" and "song", with the "ya" genre further divided into "small" and "large":

The Confucian tradition holds that the collection, one of the "Wu Jing", or Five Classics, came to what we have today after the editing of Confucius. The collection was officially acknowledged as one of "Five Classics" during the Han Dynasty, and previously in Zhou Dynasty Shi (詩) was one of "Six Classics". Four schools of commentary existed then, namely the Qi (齊), the Lu (魯), the Han (韓), and the Mao (毛) schools. The first two schools did not survive. The Han school only survived partly. The Mao school became the canonical school of "Shi Jing" commentary after the Han Dynasty. As a result, the collection is also sometimes referred to as "Mao Shi" (毛詩). Zheng Xuan's elucidation on the Mao commentary is also canonical. The 305 poems had to be reconstructed from memory by scholars since the previous Qin Dynasty had burned the collection along with other classical texts. (There are, in fact, a total of 308 poem titles that were reconstructed, but the remaining three poems only have titles without any extant text). The earliest surviving edition of "Shi Jing" is a fragmentary one of the Han Dynasty, written on bamboo strips, unearthed at Fuyang.

The poems are written in four-character lines. The airs are in the style of folk songs, although the extent to which they are real folk songs or literary imitations is debated. The odes deal with matters of court and historical subjects, while the hymns blend history, myth and religious material.

The three major literary figures or styles employed in the poems are "fu", "bi" and "xing":


"Summary of groupings of" Shi Jing "poems"

Guo Feng

Guo Feng (zh-tsp|t=|s=|p=Guófēng) "Airs of the States" poems 001-160; 160 total folk songs (or airs)
group char group name poem #s
01 周南 Odes of Zhou & South 001-011
02 召南 Odes of Shao & South 012-025
03 邶風 Odes of Bei 026-044
04 鄘風 Odes of Yong 045-054
05 衛風 Odes of Wei 055-064
06 王風 Odes of Wang 065-074
07 鄭風 Odes of Zheng 075-095
08 齊風 Odes of Qi 096-106
09 魏風 Odes of Wei 107-113
10 唐風 Odes of Tang 114-125
11 秦風 Odes of Qin 126-135
12 陳風 Odes of Chen 136-145
13 檜風 Odes of Kuai 146-149
14 曹風 Odes of Cao 150-153
15 豳風 Odes of Bin 154-160

Xiao Ya

Xiao Ya (zh-cp|c=|p=xiǎoyǎ) "Minor Odes of the Kingdom" poems 161-234; 74 total minor festal songs (or odes) for court
group char group name poem #s
01 鹿鳴 之什 Decade of Lu Ming 161-170
02 白華 之什 Decade of Baihua 170-175
03 彤弓 之什 Decade of Tong Gong 175-185
04 祈父 之什 Decade of Qi Fu 185-195
05 小旻 之什 Decade of Xiao Min 195-205
06 北山 之什 Decade of Bei Shan 205-215
07 桑扈 之什 Decade of Sang Hu 215-225
08 都人士 之什 Decade of Du Ren Shi 225-234

Da Ya

Da Ya (zh-cp|c=|p=dàyǎ) "Major Odes of the Kingdom" poems 235-265; 31 total major festal songs (zh-c|c=) for solemn court ceremonies
group char group name poem #s
01 文王之什 Decade of Wen Wang 235-244
02 生民之什 Decade of Sheng Min 245-254
03 蕩之什 Decade of Dang 255-265


Song (zh-tsp|t=|s=|p=sòng) "Odes of the Temple & Altar" poems 266-305; 40 total praises, hymns, or eulogies sung at spirit sacrifices
group char group name poem #s
01 周頌 Sacrificial Odes of Zhou1 266-296
01a -清廟之什 Decade of Qing Miao 266-275
01b -臣工之什 Decade of Chen Gong 276-285
01c -閔予小子之什 Decade of Min You Xiao Zi 286-296
02 魯頌 Praise Odes of Lu3 297-300
03 商頌 Sacrificial Odes of Shang1 301-305

note: alternative divisions may be topical or chronological (Legges): Song, DaYa, XiaoYa, GuoFeng


* "", in "The Sacred Books of China", translated by James Legge, 1879.
* "The Book of Songs", translated by Arthur Waley, edited with additional translations by Joseph R. Allen, New York: Grove Press, 1996.
* "Book of Poetry", translated by Xu Yuanchong (許淵沖), edited by Jiang Shengzhang (姜勝章), Hunan, China: Hunan chubanshe, 1993.
* "The Classic Anthology Defined by Confucius", translated by Ezra Pound, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1954.
* "The Book of Odes", translated by Bernhard Karlgren, Stockholm: The Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, 1950.

External links

Original Chinese text at Chinese Wikisource () :

* [ Legge's translation of the Shi Jing] at Chinese text initiative
* [ The Book of Odes] in Chinese arrayed with James Legge translation.
* [ Shiijing with Mao prefaces and Zhu Xi commentary] by Harrison Huang
* Hear musical arrangements of the poetry as well some poetry read in traditional mandarin. Music by Colin O'Donohoe (Donohoe)
* [ Legge's translation of the Shi Jing at the Internet Sacred Text Archive.]

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