Scattered throughout the realm in a great number of provincial courts, Ming imperial clansmen did not wield political or military power. Some among them therefore used their energies to publish books; indeed, the publishing activities of the Ming princes constitute one of many elements of what can be termed “princely culture.” Even though princely imprints formed an insignificant proportion of Ming publications, a large number of them have survived to our day. Based on the examination of approximately 240 such editions, this essay explores the relationships between the princes and the literati who assisted them. It raises questions central to princely publishing: How learned were the princes? What books did they publish? For which audiences and with what objectives? What are the main characteristics of princely publications? Did princes have well-defined publishing strategies? The last section of the essay addresses the heritage of Ming princely publications in the Qing dynasty.
Parts 1 and 2 of this essay were published in East Asian Publishing and Society 1:1 and 1:2. Tables will follow in the next issue.
BarnhartRichardMurckA.FongWen C.‘Streams and Hills under Fresh Snow attributed to Kao K’o-ming’Words and Images: Chinese Poetry Painting and Calligraphy1991New York and PrincetonThe Metropolitan Museum of Art and Princeton University Press223246
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JangScarlettRobinsonDavid‘The Eunuch Agency Directorate of Ceremonial and the Ming Imperial Publishing Enterprise’Culture Courtiers and Competition. The Ming Court (1368-1644)2008Cambridge [Mass.] and LondonHarvard University Press116185
LeungAngela Ki-cheSmithPaul Jakovvon GlahnRichard‘Medical Learning from the Song to the Ming’The Song-Yuan-Ming Transition in Chinese History2003Cambridge [Mass.] and LondonHarvard University Press374398
McDermottJoseph P.BrokawCynthia J.Kai-wingChow‘The Ascendance of the Imprint in China’Printing and Book Culture in Late Imperial China2005Berkeley, Los Angeles, LondonUniversity of California Press55104
MurrayJulia K.WilsonThomas A.‘Various Views of the Sage: Illustrated Narratives of the Life of Confucius’On Sacred Grounds. Culture Society Politics and the Formation of the Cult of Confucius2002Cambridge [Mass.] and LondonHarvard University Press222264
WeidnerMarshaWeidnerMarsha‘Imperial Engagements with Buddhist Art and Architecture: Ming Variations on an Old Theme’Cultural Intersections in Later Chinese Buddhism2001HonoluluUniversity of Hawaii Press117144
In1604he organized in Nanjing a huge literary meeting attended by Zhang Xianyi 張獻翼 and the famous courtesan Ma Xianglan 馬湘蘭. See Qian Qianyi Liechao shiji xiaozhuan 471. The Mingshi introduces him as the “only literatus” among the otherwise brutal scions of the house of Qi (there has in fact been at least one other Zhu Qingsi who left a collection). See MS 116/3574. Of Zhu Qingcai’s writings only a postface to the Zhenshanzhai yinyin 珍善齋印印 a seal album from the Huizhou seal carver Wu Jiong published in the 1610s has been preserved.
See for example Ye DehuiShulin qinghua127; K.T. Wu “Ming Printing and Printers” 238; Chang Bide “Mingfan keshu kao (yi)” 146; Zhongguo banke tulu ce 1 71; Tsien Tsuen-hsuin Paper and Printing 178; Zhang Xiumin Zhongguo yinshua shi 292; Zhao Qian Mingben 28; Zhou Xinhui Zhongguo gudai banke banhua shi lunji 248; etc.
In1546the prince specified that since the blocks had deteriorated he was taking advantage of their restoration (or total or partial recutting) to have the text revised. In 1616 the blocks had disappeared and new ones had to be made from two old copies of the book. The preface adds that half of the blocks were modified.
Details are as follows. In1533an unspecified prince of the house of Zhou reprinted several of Zhu Youdun’s writings under the titles Chengzhai lu 誠齋錄 and Chengzhai xinlu 新錄 (see Xuxiu Siku quanshu 1328:93-652). Zhu Gongrui from the house of Ruichang/Ning reprinted Zhu Quan’s Shenyin 神隱 (see Siku quanshu cunmu congshu zibu 260:1-81). And in 1553 Zhu Chenfang from the house of Yichun/Ning reprinted a collection of several Meihua baiyong 梅花百詠 including that of Zhu Quan (see note 255). I suspect the unspecified prince who reprinted Zhu Youdun in 1533 to be Zhu Angong from the house of Ruyang. Several converging clues exist. First Zhu Angong’s known activities as a publisher coincide in time with date of the reprints (he published the Jishizhu in 1536). Second the quality of the 1533 engraving of Chengzhai lu and Chengzhai xinlu is as crude as that in the Jishizhu and the characters are in the same font-style. Finally the preface to the 1533 reprint is signed by Jingzhai 敬齋 which resembles Jingdezhai 敬德齋 the name of Zhu Angong’s studio (as seen in the signature in the Jishizhu).
One of1597one of 1604 and one of 1613 (there may have been one as early as 1588-89). In each new edition more poems were included. Prose-texts were also appended.
Chia“Publications of the Ming Principalities”45-46.
Chang Bide“Mingfan keshu kao (yi)”150; Chia “The Uses of Print of Ming Dynasty China” 195 n. 33. Similarly Furongshe yin gao the collection of Zhu Duokui’s “literary society” was cut by He Yide 何一德 a Suzhou cutter. It is however impossible to know if the cutting was done in Suzhou (as is likely) or in Nanchang where the prince resided. The same remark can be made for the 1613 augmented edition of Meixuexuan shigao the work of princes of the house of Qin (Xi’an) cut by Nanjing cutters. Canghai pisha ji 滄海披沙集 the collection of a prince of Qinshui/Shen based in Lu’an was cut in Suzhou as well. The writings included in this collection had previously been cut in the prince’s studio Xunxue shuyuan but when the prince decided to put them together he had the cutting done in Suzhou. See the entry in SKQSZM 2479 (it may well be that Suzhou cutters were summoned to Shanxi but since the collection is lost we cannot check on what grounds the entry in SKQSZM was written). Generally speaking it seems that beginning at the end of the sixteenth century and in the early seventeenth century princes had their publications more frequently cut in Jiangnan where thanks to the publishing boom centered in that region the best workers were to be found.
Wang ZhongminZhongguo shanbenshu tiyao282. In his preface prince Zhu Huaijuan states that he found a “fine edition” (jiaben 嘉本) of the text which he ordered to be reprinted (fanke 翻刻). The 1461 edition was augmented and revised by Bao Ning a descendant of the author. The Baos were from Huizhou.
See Zhu Zhan’s own preface (1398) to the Wenzhang leixuan in Siku quanshu cunmu congshu jibu 290:159-60. In 1398 Zhu Zhan had not taken possession of his fief of Ningxia yet but was in Weizhou not very far away. The production of such an anthology in such remote region and so hostile an environment is puzzling. I wonder whether Zhu Zhan had not actually compiled Wenzhang leixuan while still in Nanjing. Indeed questions about the sites of publication for all the publisher-princes among Zhu Yuanzhang’s sons must be raised. See Zhao Qian “Book Publishing by the Princely Household during the Ming Dynasty” 97 (Zhao is convinced that Zhu Zhan compiled and printed his anthology in Ningxia and considers it an outstanding achievement).
See Zhu Yinsu’s preface (1539) to Yunxian ji 雲仙集.
See Cao Lian’s preface (1556) to Zhonglian suigao/wenlüe 種蓮歲稿/文略.
Zhu YizunJingzhiju shihua9. This collection had been printed (see Appendices 2 and 7.3).
See the prince’s preface (1509) and the final note by Zhou Yao (1507) the princely house judge who was responsible for the publication. Zhou’s note further specifies that this new edition was done by collating all the editions (zhuben canhu 諸本參互). Blank spaces were inserted in the text at dubious places or wherever information could not be cross-checked “waiting for those who know to correct.”
In1545Chao Li 晁栗 while serving in the Hanlin Academy as corrector found in the Hanlin or the Grand Secretariat library a copy of Fazang suijin lu by his ancestor Chao Jiong 晁迥 (Chao Li himself was a bibliophile whose collection was catalogued in Chongwentang shumu). He dated it to the Song on the basis of the taboo characters and copied it. Proximity may explain why the prince took up this text: Chao Li was from Kaizhou close to Zhangde seat of the Zhao court. It is impossible to know however whether Chao Li had the manuscript printed earlier by another publisher (the princely edition in this case would be merely a reprint). The only date—1546—that appears on the princely edition is in the note by Chao Li that comes right after all the biographical data on Chao Jiong and explains Chao Li’s work on the text.
See Qian DaxinZhuting xiansheng riji chao12 24; Sun Xingyan Pingjinguan jiancang ji 39 42 43 75-76 76-77; Huang Pilie Huang Pilie shumu tiba 95 141 213-15 312 328-29; Ding Bing Shanben shushi cangshu zhi 171 174-75 210 219 336 344 344-45 357 398-99 420-21 576 615 631 638; Lu Xinyuan Bisonglou cangshu zhi 928:55-56 467 545-51 575 600 and 929:71 (three entries) 636 681; Miao Quansun Yifeng cangshu ji 368 376 377; Ye Dehui Xiyuan dushu zhi 23 65 124-25 143 180 184-85 376-77 386 387 391; Fu Zengxiang Shuangjianlou shanben shumu Shuangjianlou cangshu xuji and Shuangjianlou zhencang miji mulu 8 30 33 156 163 199 201 239 251 420-21 478-79 479 480 481; Zheng Zhenduo Xidi shuba fig. 32 and pp. 109 136. Very often these entries as is known were originally colophons that these bibliophiles inscribed on the books in their possession. Although I have used them in my research I here spare the reader the mass of data that can be drawn from their reading. These data are particular to each princely edition and thus fall more properly within the domain of banbenxue; they deserve a place in a critical bibliography of princely publications.