Two little known Hua-Yi yiyu manuscripts

Ákos Bertalan Apatóczky

Two little known Hua-Yi yiyu manuscripts

(62nd Meeting Friedensau, 2019)

The National Central Library in Taipei conserves two Hua-Yi yiyu manuscripts almost unknown to the academic public. The documents were declaredly copied with the goal to use them as educational material. They are bound in separate booklet format justifying the library’s view considering them independent documents. However, after taking a closer glance at their contents, one will find that their originality is another matter.

Next to the remarkable amount of textual corruption, they are, in spite of the assumed learnedness of the literati who produced them, featuring almost total inattention to the very rules of transcription that are so carefully introduced in the preamble of the Hua-Yi yiyu. The reason for that, as well as for the close resemblance of the two copies lies in the fact that the eventual source of both versions was the Ming-era compilation Guo chao dian gu (國朝典故) ‘Classical quotations of the dynasties’, a 110 scroll volume presenting excerpts of important Ming literary works. No wonder thus that both versions contain only the preamble and the glossary part, and neither of them contains the text part consisting of official documents, which, already the compiler of the Guo chao dian gu did not bother to copy.

One of the manuscripts, as the library informs us, is from the Ming era, while the other from the Qing. The latter bears the title Jingbu — xiao xue lei (經部 — 小學類) “Classics — smaller studies”, and it also reports about the direct source of the title and the text, the famous imperial literary collection, the Siku quanshu 四庫全書 of the Qing. In my paper I will show the specific characteristics of the two documents and their differences from each other as well as from their direct and indirect sources.