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Shizhoupian 史籀篇

Jan 9, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Shizhoupian 史籀篇 "The scribe's characters" is a said to be China's oldest character dictionary. There is a commentary written during the Republican period (1911-1949) by Wang Guowei 王國維 (1877-1927), Shizhoupian shuzheng 史籀篇疏證.

The imperial bibliography Yiwen zhi 藝文志 in the official dynastic history Hanshu 漢書 says, the Shizhoupian was 15-chapters long. It was allegedly compiled during the reign of King Xuan 周宣王 (r. 827-782 BCE) of the Zhou dynasty 周 (11th cent.-221 BCE) and survived the "literary inquisition" of the First Emperor of Qin 秦始皇 (r. 246-210 BCE), hidden in the walls of the mansion of the Kong family 孔, descendants of Confucius.

For a long time, the characters 史籀 were interpreted as the name of the compiler, a certain Shi Zhou or "Scribe Zhou". The word zhou 籀 is used to designate an old-style script usually translated as "large seal script" (zhouwen 籀文 or dazhuan 大篆).

Wang Guowei found out that the characters of the Shizhoupian correspond to those common in the region of Shaanxi in the west, and it must have been compiled during the end of the Warring States period 戰國 (5th cent.-221 BCE) in the state of Qin 秦.

The Shizhoupian is only perserved in fragments, of which a collection is inclued in the series Guangcang xuequn congshu 廣倉學宭叢書 and Wang Guowei's literary remains, Wang Zhongquegong yishu 王忠愨公遺書.

Sources:
He Qinggu 何清谷 (1994). "Shizhoupian chutan 《史籀篇》初探", Shaanxi Shida xuebao (Zhexue shehui kexue ban) 陝西師大學報(哲學社會科學版), 1994 (3).
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, 205.
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰, ed. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 1, 750.
Pan Yukun 潘玉坤 (2002). "Shizhoupian niandai kao 《史籀篇》年代考", Hangzhou Shifan Xueyuan xuebao (Shehui kexue ban) 杭州師範學院學報(社會科學版), 2002 (4).
Qi Qiusheng 齊秋生, Xu Xuebiao 徐學標 (2005). "Shizhoupian wenti kao 《史籀篇》文体考", Yuyan yanjiu 語言研究, 2005 (9).
Yuan Mingren 袁明仁 et al., ed. (1992). Sanqin lishi wenhua cidian 三秦歷史文化辭典 (Xi'an: Shaanxi renmin jiaoyu chubanshe), 704.
Zhou Fazeng 周發增, Chen Longtao 陳隆濤, Qi Jixiang 齊吉祥, ed. (1998). Zhongguo gudai zhengzhi zhidu shi cidian 中國古代政治制度史辭典 (Beijing: Shoudu shifan daxue chubanshe), 429.