An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Liuyi gangmu 六藝綱目

Oct 6, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

Liuyi gangmu 六藝綱目 "Guidelines and details of the six arts" is a book on primary education written by the Yuan-period 元 (1279-1368) scholar Shu Tianmin 舒天民, courtesy name Yifeng 埶風, who hailed from Yin 鄞 (near modern Ningbo 寧波, Zhejiang).

His book is a concise description of the chapter on the "six skills" (liuyi 六藝) in which the heir apparent was instructed by the Protector (baoshi 保氏) according to the Confucian Classic Zhouli 周禮 "Rites of the Zhou", with an interlineary commentary that is based on Zheng Xuan's 鄭玄 (127-200) commentary from the Han period 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE).

The text of the Liuyi gangmu is written in four-syllable verses with rhymes that make it easier to memorize the text. The Liuyi gangmu is a compendium on the basic skills and rules of conduct that children have to learn, like "sprinkle water and weep the dust" to fulfill the duty in one's position towards superiors, to learn how to enter and withdraw respectfully in the presence of a senior person, and the fundamentals of mental and physical training, like the five types of rites (wuli 五禮), the "six kinds of music" (liuyue 六樂), the "five styles of archery" (wushe 五射), the "five controls of the chariot" (wuyu 五馭 or 五御), the "six types of characters" (liushu 六書) and the "nine arithmetic skills" (jiushu 九數).

The Liuyi gangmu is included in the series Siku quanshu 四庫全書, Haiyuange congshu 海源閣叢書, Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編 (including a critical commentary) and Siming congshu 四明叢書.

Because it is the only book on primary education (mengxue 蒙學) to be found in the imperial series Siku quanshu 四庫全書, it is placed at the end of the section of lexicography (xiaoxue 小學).

Jiaoyu da cidian bianzuan weiyuanhui 《教育大辭典》編纂委員會, ed. (1991). Jiaoyu da cidian 教育大辭典, Part 8, Zhongguo gudai jiaoyu shi 中國古代教育史 (Shanghai: Shanghai jiaoyu chubanshe), Vol. 1, 213.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 147.
Yang Ruoliu 楊若柳 (2019). "Qianxi Liuyi gangmu de xiezuo tedian ji shidai yiyi 淺析《六藝綱目》的寫作特點及時代意義", Hanzi wenhua 漢字文化, 2019 (4).