An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Jiang Yong 江永

Mar 27, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

Jiang Yong 江永 (1681-1762), courtesy name Shenxiu 慎修, was a Confucian scholar of the high Qing period 清 (1644-1911) and a representative of the Anhui School of textual critique. He hailed from a family in Wuyuan 婺源, Jiangxi, and was always interested in reading and learning. Studying day and night, he specialized in the Confucian Classics in the shape of the commentary collection Shisanjing zhushu 十三經注疏, and began making text-critical comments to it. With this expertise he was finally offered the post of *classicist revisioner (mingjing xingxiu 明經行修), but he declined, and never occupied a post in the bureaucracy.

His studies in the ritual classics resulted in the book Zhouli yiyi juyao 周禮疑義舉要, where he makes use of Zheng Xuan's 鄭玄 (127-200) old commentary and added new findings. Especially his comments on the chapter Kaogongji 考工記 in the ritual classic Zhouli 周禮 about craftsmanship are especially detailed and valuable. In imitation of Zhu Xi's 朱熹 (1130-1200) Yili jingzhuan tongshi 儀禮經傳通解, Jiang Yong wrote the commentary Lijing gangmu 禮經綱目, as a general outline and detailed analysis of the three ritual classics.

Standing in the tradition of the philological analysis of ancient texts, he critically investigated Gu Yanwu's 顧炎武 (1613-1682) contributions in this field, and compiled his phonetic analysis Guyun biaozhun 古韻標準 on the standard phonetics of ancient China (what he called Shiyun 詩音 "sounds of the Shijing"). This study is mainly based on the early Zhou period 周 (11th cent.-221 BCE) text Shijing 詩經 "Book of Songs", but adds the pronunciation of the late Zhou period (buyun 補韻 "additional sounds"), and that of the Tang period 唐 (618-907) as guyun 古音 "ancient sounds". Jiang Yong was particularly impressed by Western mathematics and used it to check the calculations by the astronomer and mathematician Yang Wending 梅文鼎 (1633-1721).

Jiang Yong's interest in the Neo-Confucian master Zhu Xi differs from the general trend of his time to discard this speculative philosophy. He wrote a commentary to one of Zhu Xi's books, the Jinsilu jizhu 近思錄集注. Although Jiang Yong did not teach in a public academy, he attracted hundreds of disciples, among them famous philosophers like Dai Zhen 戴震 (1723-1777), Cheng Yaotian 程瑤田 (1725-1814) or Jin Bang 金榜 (1735-1801).

Apart from the above-mentioned writings Jiang Yong authored the books Liji xunyi zeyan 禮記訓義擇言, Shenyi kaowu 深衣考誤, Yili shi gong pu cengzhu 儀禮釋宮譜增注, Yili shili 儀禮釋例, Lülü chanwei 律呂闡微, Chunqiu dili kaoshi 春秋地理考實, Xiangdang tukao 鄉黨圖考 (all related to the Confucian Classics), the essay collection Dushu suibi 讀書隨筆 (also known as Qunjing buyi 群經補義), the studies on phonetics Sisheng qieyun biao 四聲切韻表, Yinxue bianzheng 音學辨微, and the studies on astronomy and the calendar Tuibu fajie 推步法解, Qizheng yan 七政衍, Jin-shui erxing fawei 金水二星發微, Dongzhi quandu 冬至權度, Hengqizhu 恒氣注, Libian 曆辨, Suishi xiaochang bian 歲實消長辨, Lixue bulun 曆學補論 and Zhong-Xi hefa nicao 中西合法擬草.

Pang Pu 龐樸, ed. (1997). Zhongguo ruxue 中國儒學 (Shanghai: Dongfang chuban zhongxin), Vol. 2, 224.