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Approches critiques de la mythologie chinoise

 | 
Charles Le Blanc
, 
Rémi Mathieu

Between Legend and History

Notes on Cheng Tang

Riccardo Fracasso

Texte intégral

湯曰 吾甚武
號曰武王
殷本紀

1The key-role played as founder of a glorious dynasty, temporal remoteness, and the lack of reliable documents, have granted Cheng Tang 成湯 a high-ranking position in the realms of legend and moral literature, but have at the same time undermined the very bases of his historicity.

2In such conditions, any attempt aiming at digging out the historical core hidden by centuries of layering of more or less canonical traditions is fatally bound to be a troublesome undertaking. It implies on one side the careful unfolding of a tangled skein of multifaceted literary fragments embedded in a wide variety of texts (ranging from the earliest sections of the classics to Tang and Song encyclopaedias); on the other, the processing of an increasing number of archaelogical finds, excavation reports and academic essays. The gap between the two fields of enquiry is only partially bridged by a limited corpus of palaeographic inscriptions, too late and technical to supply any valuable biographical information, but good enough to perceive the relevance of the role assigned to Cheng Tang in the pyramidal structure of the late Shang pantheon. The possibility of discovering more ancient documents is suggested by the lexical richness and the high degree of linguistic evolution displayed during the Anyang 安陽 phase, that presuppose a long gestation, but our hopes in this sense are, as usually happens, in the hands of archaeologists.

3In spite of all these problems and limitations, close analysis of the available sources may nonetheless be a captivating scholarly exercise, as the following concise reconstruction will hopefully show.

Genealogy

  • 1 Eldest daughter of the Lord of Song (You Song 有娀), according to Lienü zhuan (Biographies of Eminent (...)
  • 2 A detailed, and often puzzling, history of the clan and of its late ramification has been traced by (...)
  • 3 The descent of the Dark Bird is mentioned in the “Shang song” 商頌 section of Shijing (Classic of Poe (...)

4According to traditional sources, Tang’s clan descended from the mythical ancestor Xie , miraculously begot by a consort of Di Ku 帝嚳 named Jian Di 簡狄,1 who had become pregnant after swallowing the egg of a mysterious ‘Dark Bird’ (Xuan Niao 玄鳥). Having helped Da Yu 大禹 in regulating the overflown waters, Xie, founder of the royal Zi Clan,2 served with brilliant results under Shun and was therefore rewarded with the feud of Shang3, from which the future dynasty was bound to derive its name.

5To pay homage to his portentous birth, he was posthumously remembered as ‘Dark King’ (Xuan Wang 玄王); his distinguished deeds are thus synthesized in one of the ancestral hymns preserved in the Book of Odes:

  • 4 Shijing, “Shang song” 商頌 (ode 304: “Chang fa” 長發; I, p. 626; Legge, 1871, p. 639; Karlgren, 1950, p (...)

The Dark King steadfastly swayed:
Charged with a small state, he was fully successful,
Charged with a large state, he was fully successful;
He followed the Rules of Propriety without transgression,
And then saw that they were widely adopted.
4

  • 5 Xun zi XVIII-25, p. 11 “When fourteen generations had passed, then there was Tian Yi, who was Tang (...)
  • 6 See S 515c-d (47 inscriptions; period I: 2; II: 15; III: 4; IV: 8; V: 18); Yao Xiaosui and Xiao Din (...)

6After fourteen generations the lordship was finally granted to Tang, last pre-dynastic lord and first king of Shang.5 Apart from the names, very little information may be gathered about Tang’s parents. His father, son of Zhu Ren 主壬, is known only through the sacrificial title Zhu Gui 主癸, safely identified with the Shi Gui 示癸 of oracle-bone inscriptions.6

  • 7 Jian baiqi guan yue 見白氣貫月. See Qianfu lun (Discussions of the Hermit) VIII-34, p. 470-471 (“Wu De z (...)
  • 8 See infra, p. 164-165.

7Much later sources say that his mother’s name was Fu Du 扶都 and that she became pregnant after perceiving the passage of white vapours through the lunar disc.7 The birth of the royal child took place in a day marked by the cyclical character yi , accordingly used in posthumous titles such as Da Yi or Tian Yi.8

Chronology

  • 9 Quoted in Shiji jijie 史記集解 (Collected Commentaries on the Shiji, Shiji, III, p. 14; MH, t. I, p. 18 (...)
  • 10 The unreliability of the statement is well remarked by Takigawa (Shiji, III, p. 14).
  • 11 See Chang Kwang-chih, 1980, p. 15-19.

8Tradition places Tang’s reign between the years 1766/65 and 1753/51 B.C., turning him into a possible contemporary of Hammurabi (XVIIIth c. B.C.); a late fragment by Huangfu Mi 皇甫謐 (A.D. 215-282) states that he was Lord of Shang for seventeen years, “acted as Son-of-Heaven for thirteen years, and died at the age of one hundred”,9 thus pushing back the date of his birth around 1850 and suggesting an ascent to the throne at the rather spectacular, and hardly believable, age of eighty-seven.10 As a matter of fact, no evidence can be produced in favour of these datings,11 and Tang’s actual placement in time is still far from being pinpointed.

  • 12 See Xu Xusheng, 1959; Tan Qixiang, 1982, map 13.
  • 13 Zou Heng, 1978; Zheng Jiexiang, 1983; Erligang dates are from Keightley, 1983, p. 525.
  • 14 Keightley, 1983, p. 525. On the question of Xia and Early Shang, see Zou Heng, 1980, p. 95-293; Cha (...)
  • 15 Pankenier, 1981-82, p. 21.
  • 16 Keightley, 1983, p. 524-525: “A count backward from Wu Ting 武丁 (ca. 1200-1181) brings us to circa 1 (...)

9From the archaeological point of view, the problem is strictly linked with another vexata quaestio, i.e. the exact location of Bo , eighth seat of the House of Shang and first dynastic capital. Chinese scholars have variously identified the town with the site of Erlitou 二里頭 (near Yanshi 偃師, nine km. west of Luoyang 洛陽, dated 2300-1300 B.C.)12, and, successively, with the Erligang 二里岡 site in Zhengzhou 鄭州, Henan (dated 1713-1433 B.C.).13 The formulation of the second hypothesis — that coincided with an increasing tendency to identify some of the Erlitou phases, first regarded as ‘proto-Shang’, with the Xia14 — gave also way to short chronologies and thus turned Tang into a possible contemporary of Hatshepsut (XVth c. B.C.) and Thutmosis III (r. 2504-1450 B.C.). In the early 80s, basing himself on astronomical evidence, D. W. Pankenier has placed the date of Tang’s dynastic founding in 1554 B.C. ;15 shortly after, basing himself on oracle-bone genealogies and on average reign lengths, D. N. Keightley has gone even further by tentatively pushing Tang’s reign in the final years of the Zhengzhou occupation (ca. 1460-1441 B.C.)16.

  • 17 On the ‘Small Town’ (xiaocheng 小城), see Kaogu, 1999, no 2, p. 1-40; on the excavation of the ‘large (...)
  • 18 The main contribution on Xia and Early Shang is the collection of fourty-one articles edited by Li (...)
  • 19 The situation is well illustrated by the following resumé (Kaogu, 2000, no 7, p. 10): “The ‘large a (...)

10The last decade has been marked by new archaeological discoveries in the Yanshi area17 and by a considerable enrichment of scientific literature,18 but the solution of the thorniest questions seems still far from being seized.19

Names

  • 20 ZSJN, I, p. 13a (TPYL, LXXXIII, p. 4a) says that Tang had ‘seven names’ (qi ming 七名; 七命). The same (...)

11The available sources style Tang with a considerable number of names and titles:20

A. Palaeographic Sources

1. Tang 唐 (Xian 咸)

4. Cheng Tang 成唐

2. Cheng 成

4a. Wu Tang 武唐

3. Da Yi 大乙

B. Literary Sources

5. Li 履

14. Tian Yi 天乙 (Tian Yi Tang 天乙湯)

6. Tian Yi Li 天乙履

15. Di Yi 帝乙

7. Tang 湯

16. Lie Zu 烈祖

8. Cheng Tang 成湯

17. Gao Zu 高祖

9. Shang Tang 商湯

18. Gao Hou 高后

10. Yin Tang 殷湯

19. Shen Hou 神后

11. Cheng Shang 成商

20. Hei Di Zi Li 黑帝子履

12. Wu Tang 武湯

21. Hei Di Tang 黑帝湯

13. Wu Wang 武王

  • 21 The graph has been also transliterated as Xian ; see S, 349; LZ, II, p. 738-739; GL, III, p. 2414- (...)
  • 22 See infra p. 186. According to Fang Shuxin (1986, p. 70; cf. GL, I, p. 868), Tang was also named Wu (...)
  • 23 The late variant Tian Yi (14) is found in Xun zi XVIII-25, p. 11 (“Cheng xiang” 成相; Knoblock, vol. (...)
  • 24 See Shaughnessy, 1991, p. 101. “…inscription H11:1 probably dates to just before the conquest”; a s (...)
  • 25 Qi Hou bozhong 齊侯鎛鐘 (or Shu Yi zhong 叔夷鐘). See Guo Moruo, 1935, I, p. 28, II, p. 242, III, p. 202-2 (...)

12The earliest jiagu inscriptions, dating from period I, mention the founder of the dynasty with the styles Cheng21 and Tang (1-2), that progressively fell out of use during the following periods and were finally superseded by the posthumous title Da Yi (3),22 derived from the date of his birth;23 the coupling of Cheng and Tang (4) seems to be an early Zhou innovation, as shown by a famous shell fragment excavated in 1977 at Fengchucun 鳳雛村 (Shaanxi) and probably dating from the times of Wen Wang 文王 (period V; early XIth c. B.C.).24 The substitution of the original style (1) with the homophonous graph (7) was by no means a sudden event, and must rather be viewed as the result of a complex and largely obscure process that lasted for centuries, as evidenced by the appearance of (4) on a late Chunqiu bell dating from the reign of Qi Jian Wang 齊簡王 (585-571 B.C.).25

  • 26 Martial ability is even more stressed by the styles Wu Tang and Wu Wang (12-13), used in the Shang (...)
  • 27 Shijing, ode 142 (“Chen Feng” 陳風, Fang you quechao 防有鵲巢; I, p. 378; Legge, 1871, p. 211: ‘middle pa (...)
  • 28 SW, IIa.21b; see also GSR, 700a-b. “*d’âng/d’âng/ t’ang: ‘great’ (Chouli)”; Zhou Fagao, 1975, vol. (...)
  • 29 See Jianshou 2.12 (Wang Guowei, 1917, p. 7; Yan Yiping, 1980, p. 31-33); Liu Qiyu, 1989, p. 471; GL (...)
  • 30 SW XIa. 31r. GSR, 720z: “*t’âng/t’âng/t’ang: ‘hot liquid’ (Lunyu)”. See also Zhou Fagao, 1975, vol. (...)
  • 31 In this case the graph is usually doubled and is to be read shang; GSR, 720z: “*śiang/śiang/shang: (...)
  • 32 A possible link with solar myths is suggested in Shanhai jing [hereafter SHJ], IX, p. 3b (“Haiwai d (...)
  • 33 The graph appears for the first time in the Shang ancestral hymns (Shijing, “Shang song”) and in th (...)

13Whereas Cheng (2) was certainly chosen to celebrate the successful military campaign against Xia Jie 夏桀,26 the two Tang styles (1, 7) seem to have been adopted to convey wider ideas, such as ‘greatness’ and ‘splendour’. According to Shijing and Erya, tang (1) indicated ‘the path leading from the gate to the hall of a temple’ (miao zhonglu 廟中路)27; Xu Shen 許慎 (c. 55-c. 149 A.D.) explains tang (1) as ‘great speech’ (dayan 大言)28, and mentions a doubtful guwen variant representing a sort of missing link between the two graphs.29 Besides indicating ‘hot waters’(reshui 熱水),30 tang (7) is also used to convey the idea of ‘amply-flowing’,31 easily associable with ‘greatness’; the concept of ‘splendour’ is further suggested by the graphic affinity with yang (,).32 The process that led to its final adoption certainly started during the Western Zhou period, but any hope of being more precise is bound to be frustrated by the controversial dating of the earliest available sources.33

  • 34 Mo zi IV-16, p. 163 (“Jian’ai” 兼愛, xia ; Sun Yirang, 1894, vol. I, p. 112). Being one of the so-ca (...)
  • 35 Lunyu, XX-1, p. 3 (Legge, 1893, p. 350; Cheng Shude, 1943, vol. II, p. 1169-1175; Gong Yingde, 1970 (...)

14The personal name Li (5), which must be regarded as a late creation, is first mentioned in Mozi34 and in the last chapter of Lunyu.35

Physical Aspect

15No early representation of Tang has so far been identified, and the physical descriptions supplied by literary sources are obviously vitiated by a marked tendency to exaggerate details and to add more or less portentous traits in order to stress his outstanding character.

  • 36 I, p. 80 (Neipian, jian shang 內篇諫上); the translation follows Wu Zeyu’s glosses (1962, vol. I, p. 81 (...)

16The most accurate portrayal is found in Yanzi chunqiu:36

  • 37 All the later sources agree on a height of 9 chi, hardly convertible into a reliable metric measure (...)
  • 38 Tang zhi xi er chang, yan yi ran 湯質皙而長顏以髯. YWLJ, XVII, p. 311, quotes a significant variant: “Ta (...)
  • 39 Rui shang feng xia 銳上豐下; see also Lunheng, III, p. 901 (銳上而豐下). DWSJ, 18 (TPYL, LXXXIII, p. 1b) inv (...)

Tang had a fair complexion and was very tall.37 He wore a beard.38 He had narrow forehead and broad chin,39 bold demeanour and an imperious voice.

17The whole description is conceived to mark a sharp contrast with his master and minister Yi Yin 伊尹, thus depicted in the same passage:

  • 40 Cf. Lunheng, XXI-63, III, p. 900-901; BWZ, VIII, p. 2b; Yuan Ke, 1979, p. 390-391. According to Xun (...)

Yi Yin had a swarthy complexion and was short in stature. He had thick hair and wore a beard. He had a broad forehead and narrow chin. He kept his back bent, and always spoke in a low voice.40

  • 41 Xun zi III-5, p. 4-5 (Knoblock, 1988-94, vol. I, p. 204: “Yu was lame and Tang was paralyzed”). In (...)
  • 42 Lunheng III-11 (“Guxiang” 骨相), I, p. 110: “Tang’s arms had double elbows (zaizhou 再肘)”. Two elbows (...)

18In other sources the portrait is enriched by striking and symbolic features, such as hemiplegy (pian )41 or ‘multiple elbows’.42

Family

  • 43 Jiaguwen: Bi Bing 妣丙; see S, 539 (32 inscriptions); LZ, III, p. 1435 (31); GL, IV, p. 3557, n. 3630 (...)

19The main source on Tang’s wife43 is the concise, idyllic, and highly unreliable, biographical sketch included in Lienü zhuan 列女傳:

  • 44 The variant You Xin 有莘 (You Shen 有櫬) is found in Mengzi, V A 7, p. 2 (Wan Zhang 萬章; II, p. 2738; Le (...)
  • 45 The omission of the name of the first-born in the current version seems due to textual corruption, (...)
  • 46 Jiu Pin 九嬪; see Hucker, 1985, p. 1314: “Generic term for palace women ranking below principal wives (...)
  • 47 Lienü zhuan, I, 3b (“Mu yi” 母儀); Wang Zhaoyuan, 1812, p. 5-6; O’Hara, 1945, p. 21-22; Araki, 1969, (...)

You Xin 有莘, spouse of Tang, came from the house of the Lords of Xin.44 Yin Tang married her and granted her the rank of royal consort (fei ). The woman gave birth to [Tai Ding,] Zhong Ren and Wai Bing,45 and distinguished herself educating them and favouring the full growth of their abilities. She controlled the Nine Concubines46 and kept order in the harem, banning jealousy and rebellion, and supporting till death the king’s undertakings. As the superior men say: ‘If the wife is enlightened, order will ensue’ (Fei ming er you xu 妃明而有序).47

  • 48 Mengzi, V A 6, p. 5 (“Wan Zhang” 萬章; II, p. 2738; Legge, 1895, p. 360): “After the demise of T’ang, (...)
  • 49 Shiji, III, p. 14-15; Li Shoulin, 1976, p. 31-38.

20Basing himself on Mencius’ authority,48 Sima Qian states that Tang had three sons,49 but only two of them can be safely identified in jiagu inscriptions:

  • 50 See MH, t. I, p. 187-188, n. 6: “L’édition de 1596 et le She ki louen wen écrivent ‘trois années’. (...)

Tang passed away. The crown prince Tai Ding 太丁 died before ascending the throne. His place was taken by his younger brother Wai Bing 外丙; he acted as Di for three years [var. ‘two years’],50 and then died. The youngest brother Zhong Ren 中壬 succeeded him as Di, and died after four years. Yi Yin put on the throne Tai Jia 太甲, son of Tai Ding and grandson of Cheng Tang.

  • 51 See S, 518-519 (105 inscriptions); LZ, III, p. 1382-1383 (128); Zhao Cheng, 1988, p. 22.
  • 52 See S 520 (27); LZ, III, p. 1387-1388 (32); Zhao Cheng, 1988, p. 22; GL, IV, p. 3526, n. 3568.
  • 53 The identification with Nan Ren 南壬, suggested by Dong Zuobin and Yu Xingwu, is seriously hindered b (...)
  • 54 See Chen Mengjia, 1956, p. 373-379; GL, IV, p. 3526, n. 3566.
  • 55 According to this reconstruction, started by Dong Zuobin and continued by Chen Mengjia, the throne (...)

21In jiagu inscriptions, the first-born and the second son are named Da Ding 大丁51 and Bu Bing 卜丙 (or Zu Bing 祖丙)52, while Zhong Ren’s name is never mentioned.53 The relevance of the cult payed to Da Ding is in sharp contrast with his supposed premature death, and shows on the contrary that he must have actually reigned;54 close study of sacrificial schedules has also questioned the reliability of traditional succession lists, suggesting the possibility that Tai Jia directly succeeded his father on the throne.55

Deeds

  • 56 See Watson, 1958, p. 5-7; Wu Hung, 1989, 163-164 (quoted infra, note 67). The concept is well formu (...)

22The feats that committed Tang to history and legend are nothing else but variants of universal themes related to the perpetual struggle between good and evil; old and new; light and darkness. As often happens in this kind of contexts, the fascinating literary plot in which the two opponents face each other and meet their respective fates tends to be so highly idealized and ethically polarized as to give the impression of being reflected by distorting mirrors; rather than real persons, they are moral clichés placed at the two ends of the descending line traced in traditional historiography to represent the course of dynastic cycles.56

  • 57 Meng zi, II A 3 (“Gongsun Chou” 公孫丑; II, p. 2689; Legge, 1895, p. 196): “T’ang did it with only sev (...)
  • 58 See supra, note 26. According to Meng zi III B 5, p. 4 (“Teng Wen Gong” 滕文公; II, p. 2712; Legge, 18 (...)
  • 59 See Meng zi III B 5, p. 4 (“Teng Wen Gong”; II, p. 2712; Legge, 1895, p. 273): “When T’ang began hi (...)
  • 60 LSCQ, X-5, p. 560-563 (“Yiyong” 異用); Kamenarović, 1998, p. 159-160; Knoblock and Riegel, 2000, p. 2 (...)

23The Shang front is headed by an aged and still vigorous leader, supported by a faithful and wise consort and by the best minister at hand; his feud is only seventy li across,57 but his authority, being based not only on unquestionable military valour58 but also and especially on moral conduct, quickly wins universal support.59 His generosity is not restricted to the people, but reaches any living creature, as illustrated by a famous lesson imparted to greedy hunters:60

  • 61 The states were thirty according to a quotation preserved in Wenxuan zhu (Commentary on the Wenxuan(...)
  • 62 A very similar version is found in Xinshu (New Historical Documents) VII, p. 6a (“Yu cheng pian” 諭誠 (...)

Tang once saw someone erecting a four-sided net and pronouncing the following invocation: ‘May all that descends from the sky, come out of the earth, and arrive from the four directions be caught in our net!’ Tang said: ‘Alas! It will be filled up! Who, if not Jie, would dare to do so?’ He then removed three sides and taught a new invocation: ‘In ancient times only spiders and weevils made webs (zhumao zuo ganggu 作綱罟); today men have finally learnt how to weave. If you want to go to the left, go to the left! If you prefer the right, go to the right! If you want to fly high, fly high! If you want to sneak underneath, sneak underneath! I will catch only the unruly (fanming 犯命)!’When this became known in the states south of the Han, the people said: ‘Tang’s Virtue extends to birds and beasts!’ Forty states submitted themselves.61 Those who use four-sided nets are not sure to catch anything; Tang removed three sides and thus caught forty states in his net. That was not simply a matter of trapping birds.62

  • 63 See Mo zi, V-19, p. 193, 195-196; Sun Yirang, 1894, vol. I, p. 134, 136-137 (“Feigong, xia” 非攻下): “ (...)

24Tang hates sheer violence and brutality; he decides to take arms against the tyrant only after being granted the Heavenly Mandate, and out of the natural repulsion that springs up in the heart of any superior man facing the unbearable triumph of depravity and vice; he is a punisher acting to restore proper order, and is therefore fully justified.63

  • 64 The exact location of the last Xia capital, Zhenxin 斟鄩, is unknown; on its possible identification (...)
  • 65 According to traditional chronologies, Fa ascended the throne in 1837 B.C and Jie succeeded him in (...)

25On the throne of Xia64 seats Jie , son of Fa , a long-lived65 and bloodthirsty tyrant devoted to all that is condemned by Tang. Huainan zi depicts him as endowed with an extraordinary strength:

  • 66 Tuiyi daxi 推移大犧; the characters and respective variants are elsewhere used as names of two of Jie’s (...)
  • 67 HNZ, IX, p. 7b (“Zhushu xun” 主術訓; Zhang Shuangdi, 1997, vol. 1, p. 912, 918); Le Blanc and Mathieu, (...)

He could break antlers, straighten a hook, or twist metal objects; he could budge a huge sacrificial victim,66 kill alligators in the water, and attack bears with bare hands.67

  • 68 According to Guoyu, I, p. 255 (“Jinyu” 晉語, I), the woman, also named Mo Xi 末嬉 or Mei Xi 妹喜/妹嬉, was (...)
  • 69 On Jie’s deeds and misdeeds, see Lienü zhuan, VII. 1a-b (Wang Zhaoyuan, 1812, p. 125-126; O’Hara, 1 (...)
  • 70 Lienü zhuan, VII, p. 1a: “Long Feng 龍逢 admonished him and said: ‘The prince who ignores the Way wil (...)
  • 71 Shiji, II, p. 48 (MH, t. I, p. 170, n. 1): “He summoned Tang, and then imprisoned him in Xia Tai [S (...)

26He acts under the bad influence of a dissolute concubine named Mo Xi 末喜,68 who likes to strut at court wearing cap and sword; the palace is filled with beautiful women, dancers and singers, dwarves and jestlers; nocturnal orgies are regularly held on the shores of an artificial lake filled with wine and big enough to contain boats; thousands of guests are forced to kneel down and to drink like buffaloes, sometimes drowning themselves only to provoke Mo Xi’s laughter.69 Virtuous ministers who dare to criticize their behaviour are immediately jailed and put to death.70 The list of Jie’s prisoners included for a while also Tang himself, who was detained in Xiatai 夏臺 and subsequently freed, probably out of public pressure or after paying a ransom.71

  • 72 According to Meng zi VI B 6 (“Gaozi” 告子; II, p. 2757; Legge, 1895, p. 433), Yi Yin “went five times (...)

27On his return, Tang was more and more worried by the situation, and ordered Yi Yin to reach the Xia capital and to act as spy at court; to add credibility to the defection, he personally wounded Yi Yin with an arrow. After three years, the minister went back and submitted a detailed report on the most recent love affairs of the king and on the pitiful conditions of his subjects. On hearing this, Tang swore with him to destroy Xia. The crucial information that convinced Tang to make his decision was obtained from Mo Xi during a second and shorter stay of Yi Yin at court:72

  • 73 The facts here summed up are extensively related and philologically analyzed in LSCQ, XV-1, p. 843- (...)

Mo Xi told him: “The Son-of-Heaven dreamt of two suns placed to the west and to the east, and fighting against each other. The western sun won, and the eastern sun was defeated.73

  • 74 The alleged text of his speech is given in one of the oldest chapters of Shujing (“Tang shi” 湯誓; I, (...)

28The time has come. Before starting the march, Tang harangues his troops with solemn words74 and then moves against the tyrant. Heaven sends down an important messenger, and confirms his support with a last portent:

  • 75 Mo zi, V-19, p. 196 (“Feigong”, xia, tr. Y. P. Mei, The Ethical and Political Works of Motse, Londo (...)

A shen came and announced: ‘The Virtue of Xia has been heavily disturbed. Go and destroy them. I will personally see that necessary support is granted to you in this situation. This is the mandate conferred upon me by Heaven.’ Heaven ordered [Zhu] Rong 祝融 to strike with fire the north-western corner of the city of Xia.75

  • 76 On the location of Mingtiao (Shanxi), see Shiji, II, p. 49 (MH, t. I, p. 170, n. 3), III, p. 10; Hu (...)
  • 77 The most famous ally was the Kunwu 昆吾 tribe, destroyed before marching against Jie; see Shiji, III, (...)
  • 78 ZSJN, I, p. 12b: “They captured Jie at the Jiao Door 焦門”; HNZ, IX, p. 7b (Zhang Shuangdi, 1997, vol (...)
  • 79 Guoyu, IV, p. 182 (“Lu yu” 魯語, I): “Jie fled to Nanchao 南巢”; ZSJN I, p. 12b: “[Tang] banished him i (...)
  • 80 According to Shiji, III, p. 12, “Once back in Bo, Tang wrote the Proclamation of Tang”; the homonym (...)
  • 81 See HNZ, XIX, p. 2b (“Xiuwu xun” 脩務訓; Zhang Shuangdi, 1997, vol. II, p. 1939, 1946; Le Blanc and Ma (...)

29The two armies faced each other near Mingtiao 鳴條, and there fought what can reasonably be considered as the first great battle of the Bronze Age.76 The unavoidable defeat and rout of the Xia army and of its allies77 culminated with the capture of the overthrown tyrant,78 who apparently escaped death together with Moxi and died with her in exile.79 After his accession to the throne, formally proclaimed with another famous speech,80 Tang adopted an enlightened and merciful stance, and did everything in his power to benefit and reassure his weary subjects.81

30This notwithstanding, Heaven did not grant him an easy start, and tried him sorely with a severe and prolonged drought, which, instead of leading him astray, prompted him to accomplish the noblest of all deeds:

  • 82 LSCQ, IX-2, p. 479, 481-483 (“Shunmin” 順民); cf. Kamenarović, 1998, p. 138; Knoblock and Riegel, 200 (...)

In ancient times, Tang destroyed Xia and ruled the Tianxia. Heaven caused a great drought that allowed no harvesting for five years. Tang personally prayed at Sanglin 桑林, and said: “If I, the One Man, am culpable, the blame must not fall upon the moltitudes. If the moltitudes are culpable, let the blame fall upon me, the One Man. May Shang Di 上帝 not order his ghosts and spirits to harm the people simply because of my obtuseness.’ He had his hair cut, rubbed his hands clean, and offered his own body as sacrificial victim. He invoked Shang Di’s blessing, and the people greatly rejoiced. Then a heavy rain fell.82

  • 83 On the controversies concerning the line of succession, see supra p. 172. According to Sima Qian, Y (...)

31In terms of traditional chronology, when the drought ended, Tang had already reached the venerable age of ninety-three or ninety-four, but from that moment on he could at last devote himself to government and live in peace the remaining years with his always-beloved people.83

Ancestral Cult

32After so many literary digressions, it seems now appropriate to go back to palaeography and enrich the puzzle with some notes on the massive corpus of more than five hundred jiagu inscriptions documenting various aspects of Tang’s cult during the Anyang phase.

  • 84 See supra p. 164.
  • 85 On the ‘Old School’ and ‘New School’ (Xin Pai 新派), see Dong Zuobin, 1945, pt. I, 1, p. 1-2; 1964, p (...)
  • 86 Cf. Lefeuvre, 1985, fr. CF B10, p. 41, 327, and 227: “Pendant le règne de Wu Ting, l’appellation T’ (...)
  • 87 According to S, 515d, Da Yi is never mentioned in period I (第一期用例); LZ, III, p. 1378 quotes thirty (...)
  • 88 Pyromancy was once performed during period I to see if Cheng was to be held responsible for a bad d (...)
  • 89 A rain-invocation involving two of Tang’s sons is found in Yicun 986/Heji 32385 (Yicun 256+ Jiabian(...)
  • 90 Jade offerings are mentioned only in a couple of parallel charges of period I (shell); see Bingbian(...)

33As previously noticed, oracular texts designate the dynastic founder by three different styles;84 the respective usage and ratio will be better appreciated with the aid of the tables below. As evidenced by these figures, the use of Cheng was apparently restricted to the ‘Old School’ (Jiu Pai 舊派; periods I/IV),85 whereas Tang, widely employed under Wu Ding, remained in use also during period II and, possibly, in the first years of period III;86 in the earliest inscriptions the specific requests and the expected role of Cheng/Tang are usually left unspecified. Da Yi appeared in period II,87 during which it coexisted with Tang, and finally took over in the last three periods; his name was invoked to obtain generic assistance in peace or war; protection from curses and ominous dreams;88 rain, and rich harvest.89 Ritual activities covered a wide typological range, including solemn reports and simple invocations, offerings of meats or jade,90 wine libations, and more or less massive sacrifices involving human and animal victims.

  • 91 Figures in round brackets indicate highly damaged inscriptions consisting of one single character ( (...)

Table 1 — Subdivision by period of the inscriptions listed in S 515-7.91

Table 1 — Subdivision by period of the inscriptions listed in S 515-7.91
  • 92 The 80 percent of the supplementary inscriptions listed in LZ come from the site of Xiatun Nandi 小屯 (...)

Table 2 — Subdivision by period of the inscriptions listed in LZ III. 1374-1382 (datings by Yao Xiaosui and Xiao Ding).92

Table 2 — Subdivision by period of the inscriptions listed in LZ III. 1374-1382 (datings by Yao Xiaosui and Xiao Ding).92

* See fig. 2c: Qianbian, V, 10, p. 6/Heji 39465 (bone); the fragment is damaged and shows a doubtful simplified variant of Cheng followed by the graph yi ; see S, 348d; LZ, II, p. 938; GL, III, p. 2412-2413, n. 2440. On the yi sacrifice, see S, 257-259; LZ, II, p. 720-724; Zhao Cheng, 1988, p. 249-250; GL, III, p. 1903-1907, n. 1948; Lefeuvre, 1997, p. 234, 374: “As a verb, it means to perform a sacrifice directed at the same time to several ancestors but occasionally directed to one ancestor.” The pictograph, representing a gown with long sleeves (长袖), was first explained as ‘joint sacrifice’ / heji 合祭 by Wang Guowei, who also considered it as an equivalent of yin (“Yinli zhengwen 殷禮徵文, 1927; quoted in GL, III, p. 1903). Evidence for this identification is found in the Dafeng dun 大豐敦 (see Zhao Yingshan, 1983, p. 11-24; Rong Geng, 1941, p. 344; Yang Shuda, 1959, p. 162-163, 258-259) and in a couple of late philological glosses by Gao You 高誘 (LSCQ, XV-1, p. 844, 853, n. 33; “Shenda” 慎大), and Zheng Xuan 鄭玄 (Zhongyong 中庸 XVIII, p. 2; cf. Legge, 1893, p. 400-401): “People from Qi adopt the same pronunciation for yin and yi (齊人言殷聲以衣)”; according to Zhao Yingshan (p. 13), the Dafeng dun was cast for Zhou Wu Wang 周武王 four years before the overthrowing of the last Shang king. A yi sacrifice addressed to Tang is found in Houbian II, 39 p. 4/Jingjin 3232/Heji 22746 (fig. 1d; period IIa; Zu Geng 祖庚; shell).

  • 93 Close analysis of each technical term cannot obviously be undertaken here; on Shang rites and cerem (...)
  • 94 Di Yi 帝乙 and Di Xin 帝辛 actually reintroduced a use inaugurated in period II. On the yong sacrifice (...)

34The inscriptions mention scores of different ritual performances, but the real nature of many of them can hardly be defined.93. The Cheng/Tang clusters (period I) mention more than twenty rites and ceremonies, and more than thirty are mentioned in the Da Yi clusters of periods III/IV, but only ten are shared. Period II, that saw the rise of the ‘New School’ (Xin Pai) and a consequent reduction in the number of rituals (eight), could thus be viewed as a sort of descending curve between the two peaks reached by the more ‘creative’ followers of the rival faction. In period V, the drastic ritual standardization enacted by the last two kings affected also the cult payed to the dynastic founder, regularly worshipped only with a yong sacrifice preceded by the bin ritual.94

  • 95 See Hu Houxuan, 1939; Yan Yiping, 1970; Zhang Bingquan, 1988, p. 401-404; GL, II, p. 1504-1517, n. (...)
  • 96 The shooting of victims is unmistakably indicated by the pictograph of a pierced through hog, very (...)
  • 97 Numerical patterns are extensively analyzed in Zhang Bingquan, 1968, p. 181-217; 1988, p. 389-397.

35Animals, usually penned cattle (lao )95 occasionally substituted by rams or hogs and frequently coupled with human beings, were usually slaughtered and quartered (to be subsequently exposed or burnt on a sacrificial pyre) or shot at with bow and arrows;96 they could be offered in single units or in groups of two, three, five and related multiples (10, 15, 30).97

  • 98 On these sacrifices, see Zhao Cheng, 1988, p. 231, 238-9, 245. Technical terms are listed in Huang (...)
  • 99 The inscriptions mention some fifty-nine human sacrifices; eighteen were offered to Cheng/Tang in p (...)
  • 100 Zhang Bingquan, 1968, p. 217-231; 1988, p. 397-400; Huang Zhanyue, 1990, p. 69. On the human remain (...)

36Human beings (usually Qiang slaves) were beheaded (fa ) or slaughtered (yong ; sui ) and their flesh was then exposed and offered (you ).98 Human sacrifices, addressed to Cheng and Tang as well as to Da Yi, were apparently not performed in period V, and marked a dramatic increase during periods III/IV.99 The number of victims, varied according to time and ritual, and followed the pattern used with animals (1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 15, 30); fixed patterns were followed also in double sacrifices involving animals and human beings (1+2; 2+2, 3+3; 5+5; 5+10; 20+10; 30+10; 30+30).100 The largest number of victims offered on one single occasion is found in the following inscription:

禦自唐 大甲 大丁 祖乙 百羌百牢

  • 101 Xubian I, 10, p. 7/Yicun 873/Heji 300 (fig. 2b; period I; shell). The yu ritual was an exorcism per (...)

Divinatory charge: the yu ritual will start from Tang and will be extended to Da Jia, Da Ding and Zu Yi; it will involve one hundred qiang and one hundred sacrificial rams (lao).101

37It would be obviously interesting to know more about this dramatic divination, but the events that inspired it, as well as the fate of the victims, remain unfortunately unknown.

  • 102 Dated to period Vb (Di Xin 帝辛); see supra, note 24.

38One of the late-Shang/early-Zhou fragments excavated in 1977 at Fengchucun 風雛村, commonly known as ‘H11:1’,102 has revealed the possibility that the dynastic founder was worshipped not only by the Shang kings but also by the lords of Zhou:

  • 103 Fig. 2d; tr. by E. L. Shaughnessy, 1991, p. 101 (cf. Shaughnessy, 1985-87, p. 156); the inscription (...)

On guisi (day 30), performing the yi ritual at the temple of the cultured and martial Di Yi 文武帝乙, divining: ‘The king will sacrifice to Cheng Tang 成唐, performing a caldron-sacrifice and exorcism of the surrendered two women. He will perform the yi ritual with the blood of three rams and three sows; would that it be correct’.103

  • 104 New crucial evidence for the knowledge of Shang divinatory activities outside the Yinxu area has be (...)
  • 105 Zhou sacrificial fragments have been the object of an interesting forum hosted by Early China (no 1 (...)

39Together with H: 11:82, H11:84 and H11:112, the inscription belongs to a controversial group currently named ‘sacrificial jiagu inscriptions unearthed at Zhouyuan’ (周原出土廟祭甲骨), and variously regarded as Zhou artefacts evidencing the existence of an extra-lineage cult in the Qishan 岐山 area or as late-Shang documents imported from Yinxu.104 The debate has been going on with occasional peaks for some fifteen years, but the ‘pro-Zhou’ and ‘pro-Shang’ factions are still facing each other on the field of advanced research, waiting for the long-wished arrival of some conclusive evidence to reinforce one of the fronts.105

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Houbian: Luo Zhenyu 羅振玉, Yinxu shuqi houbian 殷虛書契後編, Shanghai, Cang sheng ming zhi da xue, 1916. Comm. by Ikeda Suetoshi 池田末利, Inkyo shokei kōhen shakubun kō 殷墟書契後編釋文稿, Hiroshima, Hiroshima Daigaku Bungakubu Chūgoku Tetsugaku Kenkyūshitsu, 1964.

Jiabian: Dong Zuobin 董作賓, Xiaotun di erben: Yinxu wenzi jiabian 小屯第二本殷虛文字甲編 Nanking, 1948. Comm. by Qu Wanli 屈萬里, Xiaotun di erben: Yinxu wenzi jiabian kaoshi 小屯第二本殷虛文字甲編考釋, Taipei, 1960.

Jianshou: Ji Fotuo 姬佛陀, Jianshoutang suocang Yinxu wenzi 戩壽堂所藏殷虛文字, Shanghai, 1917. Comm. by Wang Guowei, 1917; Yan Yiping 嚴一萍, Jianshoutang suocang Yinxu wenzi kaoshi 戩壽堂所藏殷虛文字考釋, Taipei, Shangwu yinshuguan, 1980.

Jingjin: Hu Houxuan 胡厚宣, Zhanhou Jingjin xinhuo jiaguji 戰後京津新獲甲骨集, Shanghai, Qunlian chubanshe, 1954.

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Notes

1 Eldest daughter of the Lord of Song (You Song 有娀), according to Lienü zhuan (Biographies of Eminent Women) I. 2b (“Mu yi” 母儀); see Shiji (Historical Records) III, p. 2 (tr. É. Chavannes, Mémoires historiques [hereafter MH] t. I, p. 173); Huainan zi [hereafter HNZ] IV, p. 13a (“Dixing xun” 地形訓; Major, 1993, p. 196, 200; Zhang Shuangdi, 1997, vol. I, p. 474, 492; Le Blanc and Mathieu, 2003, p. 180) mentions the variant Jian Di 簡翟.

2 A detailed, and often puzzling, history of the clan and of its late ramification has been traced by He Guangyue, 1994; on Shang lineages and kinship systems, see Chang Kwang-chih, 1980, p. 165 ff. ; Zhao Lin, 1982, p. 31-52.

3 The descent of the Dark Bird is mentioned in the “Shang song” 商頌 section of Shijing (Classic of Poetry) (ode 303: “Xuanniao”; I, p. 622-623; Legge, 1871, p. 636; Karlgren, 1950, p. 263). The main source on Xie’s birth and life is Shiji, III, p. 2-3 (MH I, p. 173-174), that inspired Jian Di’s ‘biography’ in Lienü zhuan, I, p. 2b-3a (Wang Zhaoyuan, 1812, p. 4). See also Lü shi chunqiu (Master Lü’s Springs and Autumns) [hereafter LSCQ], VI-3,. p. 335 (Kamenarović, 1998, p. 102-103; Knoblock and Riegel, 2000, p. 121-122); Li sao “Encountering Sorrow”, 119 (Hawkes, 1959, p. 30; You Guoen, 1980, p. 321-324), Tianwen, “Heavenly Questions” 107-108 (Hawkes, 1959, p. 52; You Guoen, 1982, p. 302-305); Granet, 1926, p. 449, 468; Chen Mengjia, 1936, p. 490-491; Karlgren, 1946, p. 211-216, 256-257, Chang Kwang-chih, 1980, p. 3-4; Yuan Ke, 1985, p. 264; Allan, 1991, p. 38-41, 54-55; Birrell, 1993, p. 255-256; He Guangyue, 1994, p. 1-9; Chang Kwang-chih, 1995, p. 70-71. On the totemic role assigned to the bird-ancestor, see Hu Houxuan, 1964 and 1977; Chang Kwang-chih, 1980, p. 345-346; Allan, 1991, p. 46, 54; He Guangyue, 1994, p. 9-16. On the possible identification with Kui, see Cao Dingyun, 1997. On the feud of Shang, see Zou Heng, 1980, p. 216-218; Chang Kwang-chih, 1995.

4 Shijing, “Shang song” 商頌 (ode 304: “Chang fa” 長發; I, p. 626; Legge, 1871, p. 639; Karlgren, 1950, p. 264-265); Legge translates the last verse in a different way (“Wherever he inspected [the people], they responded [to his instructions]”), and curiously declares it vain “to inquire why he is styled the dark king”. Xie is styled Xuan Wang also in Guoyu (Discourses of the States), IV, p. 174 (“Luyu” 魯語 I) and in Xun zi XVIII-25, p. 10-11 (“Cheng xiang” 成相; Knoblock, 1988-1994, t. III, p. 181). See also Shiji III, p. 3 (MH, t. I, p. 174-175): “Xie flourished under Tang (Yao), Yu (Shun) and Da Yu; his achievements became famous among the Hundred Clans, that could live in peace.” According to Xun zi XVIII-25, p. 10, “Xie acted as ‘minister of education’ (situ 司徒); the people learnt to respect parents and brothers, and honoured those who had Power (De ).”; cf. Knoblock, op. cit., p. 180; a similar statement is found in Guoyu IV, p. 166. According to the detailed list of ministers supplied in Shuoyuan (Garden of Sayings), I, p. 12 (“Jun Dao” 君道), “in Yao’s time, Shun acted as ‘minister of education’, and Xie acted as ‘minister of war’ (sima 司馬).”

5 Xun zi XVIII-25, p. 11 “When fourteen generations had passed, then there was Tian Yi, who was Tang the Successful.” On predynastic lords, see Yu Xingwu, GL, IV, p. 3509-3520; Chen Mengjia, 1936, p. 487-508; 1956, p. 333-361; Shima, 1958, p. 52-78; Chang Kwang-chih, 1980, p. 5-6, 9; Zhao Cheng, 1988, p. 6-21; He Guangyue, 1994, p. 1-36.

6 See S 515c-d (47 inscriptions; period I: 2; II: 15; III: 4; IV: 8; V: 18); Yao Xiaosui and Xiao Ding, LZ, III, p. 1373-1374 (39; I: 5; II: 14; III: 1; IV: 7; V: 12); Zhao Cheng, 1988, p. 21; Yu Xingwu, GL, IV, p. 3520, n. 3562.

7 Jian baiqi guan yue 見白氣貫月. See Qianfu lun (Discussions of the Hermit) VIII-34, p. 470-471 (“Wu De zhi” 五德志); Diwang shiji [hereafter DWSJ] (Annals of the Emperors and Kings) XVIII; Zhushu jinian [hereafter ZSJN] (Bamboo Annals) I, p. 13b; “Hetu” 河圖 in Yiwen leiju [hereafter YWLJ] (Literary Writings Grouped According to Categories) X, p. 184 and Taiping yulan [hereafter TPYL] (Imperial Encyclopaedia of the Taiping Era) LXXXIII, p. 2b; Shi hanshenwu 詩含神霧 (Mystical Nimbus of the Poetry [Classic]) in TPYL LXXXIII, p. 2b; infra, note 35.

8 See infra, p. 164-165.

9 Quoted in Shiji jijie 史記集解 (Collected Commentaries on the Shiji, Shiji, III, p. 14; MH, t. I, p. 187). The same source, quoting a fragment from the lost encyclopaedia Huanglan 皇覽 (Imperial Survey; 220-222 A. D.), locates his supposed burial mound near Boxian 亳縣 (Jiyin 濟陰 prefecture; Henan/Shandong): “The mound (zhong ) is square, and each side is ten steps in breadth and seven feet in height; it has a flat top, and stands on levelled ground. In the first year of the Jianping 建平 era [6 B.C.], under Han Ai Di 漢哀帝 [7-1 B.C.], an official from the ministry of works named Yu Changqing 御長卿 went on an inspection tour and passed by ‘Tang’ s mound’. As Liu Xiang 劉向 [79-8 B.C.] once said: ‘There is no burial place of Yin Tang’.” Two different mounds located near Bocheng 薄城 and Yanshi 偃師 (Henan) are mentioned in Shiji zhengyi 史記正義 (The Correct Meaning of the Shiji) (ibid.; after Kuodi zhi 括地志 Treatise on Conquered Lands). See also Han Shi neizhuan 韓詩內傳 (Inner Commentaries on the Han Edition of the Poems) (TPYL, LXXXIII, p. 3b): “Tang was Son-of-Heaven for thirteen years and died at the age of one hundred. He was buried in Zheng , in today’s Fufeng 扶風 commandery [Shaanxi].”

10 The unreliability of the statement is well remarked by Takigawa (Shiji, III, p. 14).

11 See Chang Kwang-chih, 1980, p. 15-19.

12 See Xu Xusheng, 1959; Tan Qixiang, 1982, map 13.

13 Zou Heng, 1978; Zheng Jiexiang, 1983; Erligang dates are from Keightley, 1983, p. 525.

14 Keightley, 1983, p. 525. On the question of Xia and Early Shang, see Zou Heng, 1980, p. 95-293; Chang Kwang-chih, 1983, p. 503-513; Wang Yuzhe et al., 1985. On the possible identification of Erligang with Ao /Xiao , that became capital under the tenth king Zhong Ding 仲丁, see Tang Lan, 1973; Tan Qixiang, 1982, map 14; Fitzgerald Huber, 1988, p. 53-55. On Du Bo 杜亳, Nan Bo 南亳, Bei Bo 北亳 and Xi Bo 西亳, see MH, t. I. 176, n. 3; Zou Heng, 1980; He Guangyue, 1994, p. 45-49. On the ‘One Bo’ and ‘Two Bo’ theories, see Fitzgerald Huber, 1988, p. 54; on Xi Bo, see Li Xueqin and Zhang Shutian, 1996, p. 38-41; the most recent contribution on Bo is Xu Zhaofeng, 1999; Wang Lishi, 2003; Du Jinpeng, 2005.

15 Pankenier, 1981-82, p. 21.

16 Keightley, 1983, p. 524-525: “A count backward from Wu Ting 武丁 (ca. 1200-1181) brings us to circa 1460-1441 B. C. for the reign of T’ang. […] This suggests […] that T’ang may have founded the Shang dynasty as the main Cheng-chou occupation was ending; it suggests the possibility, in short, that Cheng-chou should not be regarded as a Middle Shang capital, but as a major urban complex of an earlier group, possibly the Hsia. I advance this only as a hypothesis and to pose a question.” According to Nivison (1983, p. 562), the foundation of the dynasty took place in 1575 B.C. ; the date of ca. 1500 B. C. is suggested in Shaughnessy, 1991, p. 7.

17 On the ‘Small Town’ (xiaocheng 小城), see Kaogu, 1999, no 2, p. 1-40; on the excavation of the ‘large ash-trench’ (dahuigou 大灰溝), see Kaogu, 2000, no 7, p. 10-12; infra, note 19.

18 The main contribution on Xia and Early Shang is the collection of fourty-one articles edited by Li Xueqin and Zhang Shutian, 1996; see also Thorpe, 1991; Wang Xun, 1997; Yuan Guangkuo, 1998; Zhao Zhiquan, 1999 and 2000. On the single/dual origin of Xia and Shang, see Zheng Guang, 2000; on the earliest Xia culture, see Zou Heng, 1999; Zhao Zhiquan, 2003.

19 The situation is well illustrated by the following resumé (Kaogu, 2000, no 7, p. 10): “The ‘large ash-trench’ is a trench-shaped remain stretching from west to east in the north of the palace city of the Shang city in Yanshi, and measuring 110 m. in length and 14 m. in width. Its excavation in 1996-97 revealed a series of cultural layers with ideal stratigraphic evidence and plentiful objects. The discovery laid a solid foundation for the periodization of the remains in the Shang Yanshi city, providing a three-phase seven-subphases chronological frame for the early Shang vestiges in the city, with the first and second phases represented by the main deposits in the trench. Furthermore, it affords reliable material to the study of the Xia and Shang cultures and their chronology, enriching our knowledge of the early Shang culture represented by the Erligang remains, substantiating the contents between the Erligang period and the Erlitou culture, and advancing the research on the turn from the Xia to the Shang dynasties and the demarcation between their cultures.” More recent data are supplied in Du Jinpeng, 2003; Du Jinpeng and Wang Xuerong, 2004; Yang Yubin, 2004.

20 ZSJN, I, p. 13a (TPYL, LXXXIII, p. 4a) says that Tang had ‘seven names’ (qi ming 七名; 七命). The same statement is found in the guben version; see Fang Shiming and Wang Xiuling, 1981, p. 21: “The Xing wang 興王 chapter of Jinlouzi 金樓子, ([compiled by Liang Yuan Di 梁元帝, 552-554; fragmentarily preserved in Yongle dadian 永樂大典] (The Encyclopaedic Dictionary of the Yongle Era) says: ‘[Cheng Tang] had seven styles (qi hao 七號): 1. Xingsheng (‘Progenitor’); 2. Li Zhang 履長; 3. Jidu 瘠肚 (‘Lean Belly’); 4. Tian Cheng 天成; 5. Tian Yi 天乙; 6. Di Jia 地甲; 7. Cheng Tang 成湯’. Some of these styles come from the apocypha, and are not very reliable.” The following twenty-one names can actually be subdivided into seven main categories: I. Tang (1, 7); II. Cheng (2); III. Yi-group (3, 6, 14, 15); IV. Li-group (5, 6, 20); V. Double names (x + Tang, x + Cheng; 4, 8-12); VI. Generic titles (13, 16-19); VII. Hei Di-group (20-21).

21 The graph has been also transliterated as Xian ; see S, 349; LZ, II, p. 738-739; GL, III, p. 2414-2420, n. 2443; Keightley, 1978, p. 204, 207, note a; Lefeuvre, 1985, p. 138, 216-218, 316-317; Allan, 1991, p. 45.

22 See infra p. 186. According to Fang Shuxin (1986, p. 70; cf. GL, I, p. 868), Tang was also named Wu Tang (4a), but his hypothesis is supported only by two jiagu fragments from periods II/III (fig. 1c: Tieyun 67, p. 4/Jingjin 3729/Heji 26770, per. II, shell; fig. 2a: Xubian I, 7, p. 6/Heji 27151, per. III, bone; see S, 87; LZ, I, p. 336); on the doubtful identification with Gaozu Yi 高祖乙, see Zhao Cheng, 1988, p. 22. The title Da Yi appears also on a late Shang bronze vessel (其卣二 Bi? qi you II; period V: ca. 1100-1050 B.C.); see Yu Xingwu, 1957, rubbing 274.3; Shen Baochun, 1983, p. 538-542; Wu Zhenfeng, 1987, p. 8.

23 The late variant Tian Yi (14) is found in Xun zi XVIII-25, p. 11 (“Cheng xiang” 成相; Knoblock, vol. III, p. 181), ZSJN, II, p. 13a (coupled with Li/5), and Shiji, III, p. 4; DWSJ, 18 adds: “The style Tian Yi indicates Cheng Tang 成湯, also known as Di Yi 帝乙”. In the “Shang song” section of Shijing (ode 302; I, p. 621-622; Legge, 1871, p. 634) he is named Lie Zu (16); in the “Pan Geng” 盤庚 chapter of Shujing (Classic of Historical Documents) he is named Shen Hou, Gao Hou, and Gao Zu (17-19).

24 See Shaughnessy, 1991, p. 101. “…inscription H11:1 probably dates to just before the conquest”; a similar dating (period Vb) is suggested in Wang Yuxin, 1984, p. 239, table 3; 1989, p. 397-408; 1999, p. 299, table 13. For a translation of H11:1, see infra, note 105.

25 Qi Hou bozhong 齊侯鎛鐘 (or Shu Yi zhong 叔夷鐘). See Guo Moruo, 1935, I, p. 28, II, p. 242, III, p. 202-208; Yang Shuda, 1959, p. 46-52. (1) appears also in Bowu zhi, (Treatise on the Myriad Things), VI, p. 1b, and in a Guizang 歸藏 fragment preserved in TPYL, LXXXII, p. 12a.

26 Martial ability is even more stressed by the styles Wu Tang and Wu Wang (12-13), used in the Shang ancestral hymns (Shujing, “Shang song”, ode 304); on the adoption of the second (13) soon after launching the final campaign, see Shiji, III, p. 10 (MH, t. I, p. 184): “Tang said: ‘I have a deeply martial nature; I will [therefore] be named ‘Warrior King’ (Wu shen wu, haoyue Wu Wang 吾甚武號曰武王)’.” In later sources, such as Zuo zhuan (The Zuo Commentary; Duke Zhao 昭公, year IV; II, p. 2035), LSCQ and HNZ, the style Cheng Tang (8) is sometimes substituted by Shang Tang (9) and Yin Tang (10); see also Qianfu lun, VIII-34, p. 470-471, “Wu De zhi” 五德志 (Treatise on the Five Powers): “He called himself Tang; the people called him Yin (Shen hao Tang; shi hao Yin 身號湯世號殷)”. On graph (2), see GSR, 818a-d: “*d’iĕng/źiäng/ ch’eng: to achieve, complete; completed, perfect; peace-making (Shi).”; Zhou Fagao, 1975, vol. XV, p. 8025-8032 (n. 1849); Zhou Fagao, 1981, vol. VI, p. 3592-3596; GL, IV, p. 3520-3521.

27 Shijing, ode 142 (“Chen Feng” 陳風, Fang you quechao 防有鵲巢; I, p. 378; Legge, 1871, p. 211: ‘middle path of the temple’; Karlgren, 1950, p. 90: ‘temple path’); Erya, “Shigong” 釋宮, II, p. 2598; see also Yan Yiping, 1964.

28 SW, IIa.21b; see also GSR, 700a-b. “*d’âng/d’âng/ t’ang: ‘great’ (Chouli)”; Zhou Fagao, 1975, vol. II, p. 676-677 (n. 0123); Gao Ming, 1980, p. 397; GL, IV, p. 3521-3525, n. 3565.

29 See Jianshou 2.12 (Wang Guowei, 1917, p. 7; Yan Yiping, 1980, p. 31-33); Liu Qiyu, 1989, p. 471; GL, IV, p. 3521.

30 SW XIa. 31r. GSR, 720z: “*t’âng/t’âng/t’ang: ‘hot liquid’ (Lunyu)”. See also Zhou Fagao, 1975, vol. XII, p. 6346 (n. 1432); Zhou Fagao, 1981, vol. V, p. 2904.

31 In this case the graph is usually doubled and is to be read shang; GSR, 720z: “*śiang/śiang/shang: ‘amply-flowing’ (sc. a river) (Shi)”; see Shijing, ode 262 (“Da Ya”, “Jiang Han” 江漢; I, p. 507; Legge, 1871, p. 552: ‘large flowed’; Karlgren, 1950, p. 233: ‘voluminous’, ‘large-flowing’), see also Shujing, “Yao dian” 堯典 (I, p. 122; Qu Wanli, 1983, p. 14; Legge, 1865, p. 24): “Destructive in their overflow are the waters of the inundation” (Shangshang hongshui fangge 湯湯洪水方割)”. It appears with a similar meaning (‘numerous’) in one of the Stone Drums of Qin (Shigu wen 石鼓文, Lingyu 靈雨); see Mattos, 1988, p. 254: ‘Chang Ch’ iao in his Ku-wen-yüan commentary says that graph 7a should be read like shang (<*sthjang) and that it means ‘numerous in appearance’ 眾多貌”.

32 A possible link with solar myths is suggested in Shanhai jing [hereafter SHJ], IX, p. 3b (“Haiwai dongjing” 海外東經; Yuan Ke, 1980, p. 260-262; Mathieu, 1983, p. 438-442; Fracasso, 1996, p. 156): “Below lays the Valley of Tang/Yang (湯谷; 暘谷). In its upper reaches stands the Fusang 扶桑 tree, the place where the Ten Suns are bathed. It is north of the Black-teeth (Heichi 黑齒). In the middle of the [hot] waters there is a huge tree; nine suns stay on the lower branches, and one is placed on top.” See also SHJ, XIV, p. 5a-b (“Dahuang dongjing” 大荒東經; Yuan Ke, 1980, p. 354-355; Mathieu, 1983, p. 539-541; Fracasso, 1996, p. 200); HNZ, III. 18a-b (“Tianwen xun” 天文訓; Major, 1993, p. 102-104; Wang Shuangdi, 1997, vol. I, p. 318 and 334-335); Le Blanc and Mathieu, 2003, p. 124; Mori, 1979, p. 39-41; Allan, 1991, p. 27-28, 45.

33 The graph appears for the first time in the Shang ancestral hymns (Shijing, “Shang song”) and in the “Tang shi” 湯誓 chapter of Shujing (see infra, note 74) that “is considered by many scholars to be the earliest document in the text and, thus, the earliest document in Chinese history” (Shaughnessy, 1993, p. 378). In the Shi Tang Fu ding 師湯父鼎 inscription, it appears as name of a Western Zhou officer; the bronze vessel is classified as ‘Zhou I’ (1027-ca. 900 B.C.) by Karlgren (1964, p. 8) and as ‘middle [Western] Zhou’ by Gao Ming, 1980, p. 473; according to Guo Moruo (1935, vol. I, p. 2, fig. 8, and p. 70; vol. III, p. 70-71), the Shi Tang Fu ding was probably cast after the death of Mu Wang (second half of the Xth century B.C.); see also Tang Lan, 1986, p 424 and 446-447. Wu Zhenfeng, (1987, p. 198) places Tang Fu in the last phase of the Middle Western Zhou period (Xi Zhou zhongqi houduan 西周中期後段).

34 Mo zi IV-16, p. 163 (“Jian’ai” 兼愛, xia ; Sun Yirang, 1894, vol. I, p. 112). Being one of the so-called ‘core chapters’, the third version of the “Jian’ai” chapter, regarded by A. C. Graham as an expression of the ‘compromising’ tendency (1989, p. 36), was probably compiled around the middle of the IV century B.C. ; see also Graham, 1993, p. 337-338.

35 Lunyu, XX-1, p. 3 (Legge, 1893, p. 350; Cheng Shude, 1943, vol. II, p. 1169-1175; Gong Yingde, 1970, p. 134). The mixed style Tian Yi Li (6) appears in ZSJN, II, p. 13a. Qianfu lun, VIII-34,, p. 470-471 (“Wude zhi” 五德志) mentions the complex style Hei Di Zi Li (‘Black Emperor Zi Li’; 20); Hetu 河圖 (TPYL, LXXXIII, p. 2b) mentions the variant Hei Di Tang (‘Black Emperor Tang’; 21). On Hei Di, see Yuan Ke, 1985, p. 71, 384-385; in the apocrypha, the ‘Black Emperor’ title was granted also to Zhuan Xu, who was born after a similar portent (Hetu, quoted in Chuxue ji [hereafter CXJ] (Notebook for Beginning Students) IX, p. 202): “The Yaoguang 瑤光 star became reddish and passed trough the moon (guan yue 貫月); Nü Shu 女樞 was thus made pregnant in the Youfang 幽房 palace, and in due time gave birth to Hei Di Zhuan Xu 黑帝顓須”; cf. supra, note 7; DWSJ, 7-8. Yaoguang indicates one of the stars of the Great Bear (η Benetnash; see Needham, 1959, p. 232-233). On the origins of the character Li (5), used in Western Zhou jinwen to indicate the survey of borderlines, see Qiu Xigui, 1991.

36 I, p. 80 (Neipian, jian shang 內篇諫上); the translation follows Wu Zeyu’s glosses (1962, vol. I, p. 81). See also Lunheng XXI-63 (“Siwei” 死偽), III, p. 900-901; BWZ, VIII, p. 2b; DWSJ, 18 (YWLJ, XII, p. 222; TPYL, LXXXIII, p. 2a-b); Yuan Ke, 1979, p. 396-397.

37 All the later sources agree on a height of 9 chi, hardly convertible into a reliable metric measure and derived from Mengzi, VI B 2, p. 2 (“Gaozi” 告子; II, p. 2755; Legge, 1895, p. 424: “I have heard that king Wen was ten cubits high, and T’ang nine”). On the ancient chi, see Ju Zhai, 1957; Reifler, 1970-71; Yang Meili, 1986; the adoption as pre-Han standard of the measure of 22/23 cm. leads to a height of about two meters. A less unusual height of 8.1 or 7 chi is found in a fragment of Luoshu lingzhunting 雒書靈准聽 (TPYL, LXXXIII, p. 2b; CXJ, IX, p. 202). Xi is explained as ‘fair complexion’ (ren se bai 人色白) in SW, VIIb, p. 57v. Imaginary portraits of Tang are found in Li Yiyuan and Duan Zhi, 1977, p. 182-183; Hong Anquan, 1983, p. 124.

38 Tang zhi xi er chang, yan yi ran 湯質皙而長顏以髯. YWLJ, XVII, p. 311, quotes a significant variant: “Tang had an elongated head, and wore a beard (ranbin) (湯長頭而髯鬢); in Lunheng, III, p. 900, changtou 長頭 becomes changyi 長頤 (‘elongated chin’). See also Bowu zhi, VIII, p. 2a: “Tang had a fair complexion and thick hair” (Tang xirong, duo fa 湯皙容多髮).

39 Rui shang feng xia 銳上豐下; see also Lunheng, III, p. 901 (銳上而豐下). DWSJ, 18 (TPYL, LXXXIII, p. 1b) inverts the sentence (豐下銳上) and adds that Tang had callosities (pian ) on his fingers.

40 Cf. Lunheng, XXI-63, III, p. 900-901; BWZ, VIII, p. 2b; Yuan Ke, 1979, p. 390-391. According to Xun zi III-5, p. 4 (“Feixiang”, Knoblock, t. I, p. 204), “Yi Yin had neither beard nor eyebrows”. On Yi Yin, see infra, note 52. His double role is well synthesized by Mencius (Meng zi II B 2, p. 8; “Gongsun Chou” 公孫丑; II, p. 2694; Legge, 1895, p. 214): “This was the behaviour of Tang to Yi Yin: he first learnt from him, and then took him into his service.” Cf. LSCQ, IV-3, p. 204, 208-209 (“Zun Shi” 尊師; cf. Kamerarović, 1998, p. 74; Knoblock and Riegel, 2000, p. 122): “Tang studied under his humble servant [Yi Yin] (Tang shi xiaochen 湯師小臣)”. The names of three different masters or royal preceptors are quoted in Zhuangzi, XXV, p. 885 (Watson, 1968, p. 283): “T’ang got hold of the groom and guardsman [siyu menyin 司御門尹] Deng Heng 登恆, and had him be his tutor [wei zhi fu zhi 為之傅之]. He followed him and treated him as a teacher [cong shi 從師], but was not confined by him; so he could follow along to completion.”; Han Shi waizhuan 韓詩外傳 (Outer Commentaries on the Han Edition of the Poems) V, p. 225 (Hightower, 1952, p. 185): “Tang studied under (xue hu 學乎) Dai Zixiang 貸子相 (or Dai Huxiang 貸乎相”); Xinxu V, p. 153 (“Zashi” 雜事, V): “Tang studied under (xue hu 學乎) Weizi Bo 威子伯 (or Chengzi Bo 成子伯).”

41 Xun zi III-5, p. 4-5 (Knoblock, 1988-94, vol. I, p. 204: “Yu was lame and Tang was paralyzed”). In both cases the disability was conceived as a direct consequence of their strenuous commitment (Shizi, I, p. 16b), and therefore exhalted in moral terms; see Hong Anquan, 1983, p. 123. On the symbolic implications of hemiplegia, see Granet, 1926, p. 326, 455, 467, 502, 551-554, 565-567. Mori, 1979, p. 44: “Tang is a solar spirit (Taiyang shen 太陽神), and the character pian does not mean that he was half-paralysed. The sun sinks down at night and rises at dawn, endlessly dying and returning to life; this is the real meaning of Tang’s ‘hemiplegia’.”

42 Lunheng III-11 (“Guxiang” 骨相), I, p. 110: “Tang’s arms had double elbows (zaizhou 再肘)”. Two elbows (er zhou 二肘) are mentioned also in Qianfu lun, VIII-34, p. 470-471 (“Wude zhi” 五德志); Luoshu lingzhunting 雒書靈准聽 and Chunqiu yuanmingbao 春秋元命包 (TPYL, LXXXIII, p. 2b: “Tang’s arms had two elbows; this is what is called Shen Gang 神剛/‘Divine Firmness’”); triple elbows are found in Baihu tongyi, VII, p. 281 (“Yibiao” 異表); ‘four elbows’ are mentioned in DWSJ, 18 (TPYL, LXXXIII, p. 2a) and in other apocryphal fragments (Chunqiu yuanmingbao 春秋元命包 in YWLJ, XII, p. 220; see also Lunheng, III, p. 110): “Tang’s arms had four elbows; this is what is called Shen Zhou 神肘 (‘Divine Elbow’). It symbolizes the movements of the moon, bringing comfort to the Four Quarters.”). The exact meaning of this weird anatomical detail is unclear; to strengthen his positions on solar mythology, Mori (1979, p. 41) suggests a possible link of triple elbows with the motif of the three-legged bird. To add a final touch, Luoshu lingzhunting 雒書靈准聽 (TPYL, LXXXIII, p. 2b) says that Tang had also two ‘connected protuberances between the eyebrows’ (lian zhuting 連珠庭; in CXJ, IX, p. 202 the passage is quoted omitting the character lian.

43 Jiaguwen: Bi Bing 妣丙; see S, 539 (32 inscriptions); LZ, III, p. 1435 (31); GL, IV, p. 3557, n. 3630; Zhao Cheng, 1988, p. 44.

44 The variant You Xin 有莘 (You Shen 有櫬) is found in Mengzi, V A 7, p. 2 (Wan Zhang 萬章; II, p. 2738; Legge, 1895, p. 362-363), in Tianwen, 121-122 (Hawkes, 1959, p. 53; You Guoen, 1982, p. 347-354) and in Shiji, III, p. 6; on its location, see MH, t. I, p. 178 (“sous-préfecture actuelle de Tch’en-lieou 陳留, préfecture de K’ai-fong, province de Honan”). LSCQ, XIV-2, p. 739 (“Ben wei” 本味; cf. Kamenarović, 1998, p. 216-217; Knoblock and Riegel, 2000, p. 307) quotes the variant You Shen 有侁 and explains the marriage in a rather utilitarian way: “When Tang heard of Yi Yin, he sent messengers to Shen in order to invite him, but the Lord of Shen refused to let him go. Yi Yin desired to meet the King, and Tang therefore asked for a wife. The Lord of Shen was delighted, and put Yi Yin at the head of the bridal cortège.” The same source adds a different version derived from Meng zi (V A 7), according to which Yi Yin was a worthy farmer who repeatedly refused Tang’s invitations; cf. also Shiji, III, p. 6 (MH, t. I, p. 178). On Yi Yin’s birth and early deeds, see Granet, 1926, p. 416-434; Akatsuka, 1977, p. 353-358; Yuan Ke, 1979, p. 390-395; Xu Xichen, 1989, p. 40-41; Zheng Huisheng, 1989, p. 1-10; Allan, 1991, p. 43-45; Birrell, 1993, p. 128-129, 195-196.

45 The omission of the name of the first-born in the current version seems due to textual corruption, as shown by this yiwen 佚文 (TPYL, CXXXV, p. 11a): “She gave birth to three sons named Tai Ding, Wai Bing, and Zhong Ren 仲壬, and successfully educated them. Tai Ding died prematurely, and his high position was in turn taken by Bing and Ren.”.

46 Jiu Pin 九嬪; see Hucker, 1985, p. 1314: “Generic term for palace women ranking below principal wives (furen) and consorts (fei).” The existence of harems during the Yinxu phase is well documented by jiagu inscriptions; see Zhao Lin, 1982, p. 1 ff.: “During the Shang dynasty, kings had large households. Our sources indicate that more than fifty women were married to the Shang king Wu-ting (ca. 1300-1242 B.C.)…”

47 Lienü zhuan, I, 3b (“Mu yi” 母儀); Wang Zhaoyuan, 1812, p. 5-6; O’Hara, 1945, p. 21-22; Araki, 1969, p. 23-25; Huang Qingquan, 1996, p. 18-19.

48 Mengzi, V A 6, p. 5 (“Wan Zhang” 萬章; II, p. 2738; Legge, 1895, p. 360): “After the demise of T’ang, T’ai-ting [Tai Ding] having died before he could be appointed sovereign, Wai-ping [Wai Bing] reigned for two years, and Chung-zan [Zhong Ren] four.”

49 Shiji, III, p. 14-15; Li Shoulin, 1976, p. 31-38.

50 See MH, t. I, p. 187-188, n. 6: “L’édition de 1596 et le She ki louen wen écrivent ‘trois années’. La leçon ‘deux années’ est celle de l’édition de 1747; elle est d’accord avec un passage de Mencius et avec le Tchou chou ki nien.” The passage found in ZSJN, I, p. 14a-b indicates the personal names of the youngest sons: “Wai Bing; personal name: Sheng . First year, yihai [12th ]: The King has ascended the throne, fixing his residence in Bo; the appointment of Yi Yin as prime minister has been confirmed. Second year: [The King] passed away. //Zhong Ren; personal name: Yong . First year, dingchou [14th]: The King has ascended the throne, fixing his residence in Bo; the appointment of Yi Yin as prime minister has been confirmed. Fourth year: [The King] passed away.”

51 See S, 518-519 (105 inscriptions); LZ, III, p. 1382-1383 (128); Zhao Cheng, 1988, p. 22.

52 See S 520 (27); LZ, III, p. 1387-1388 (32); Zhao Cheng, 1988, p. 22; GL, IV, p. 3526, n. 3568.

53 The identification with Nan Ren 南壬, suggested by Dong Zuobin and Yu Xingwu, is seriously hindered by the fact that his name is a hapax oromenon appearing in a severely damaged inscription (Qian I, 45, p. 4/Heji 24977; period II, shell; S, 414; LZ, III, p. 1388; GL, IV, p. 3526, n. 3569); see Dong Zuobin, 1933, p. 332-333; Zhou Hongxiang, 1958, p. 80-81; Dong Zuobin, 1964, p. 75, table I; Huang Ranwei, 1967, p. 93; Keightley, 1978, p. 204 and 207, note f; Fang Shiming and Wang Xiuling, 1981, p. 22.

54 See Chen Mengjia, 1956, p. 373-379; GL, IV, p. 3526, n. 3566.

55 According to this reconstruction, started by Dong Zuobin and continued by Chen Mengjia, the throne was first given to Tai Jia and temporarily taken by his paternal uncles when he was exiled by Yi Yin. See Dong Zuobin, 1945, t. I, p. 3, 3-4; Chen Mengjia, 1956, p. 373-379; Fang Shiming and Wang Xiuling, 1981, p. 21-25; Zheng Huisheng, 1989, p. 14-18; the question is carefully reconsidered in Chang Yuzhi, 1989.

56 See Watson, 1958, p. 5-7; Wu Hung, 1989, 163-164 (quoted infra, note 67). The concept is well formulated in Chunqiu fanlu XII-52, p. 349 (“Nuanyu changduo” 暖燠常多): “In the world, Jie was nothing but a destroyer and a robber (canzei); Tang showed to the world the full blooming of Virtue (sheng De) (天下之殘賊也。湯天下之盛德也).” On binary patterns, see Allan, 1981, p. 77-101; the whole story is daringly explained in terms of solar mythology by Mori, 1979, p. 42 ff. ; the overthrow of Xia and the founding of Shang are analyzed from the point of view of marxist evolutionary theories in Peng Bangtong, 1988, p. 65-72.

57 Meng zi, II A 3 (“Gongsun Chou” 公孫丑; II, p. 2689; Legge, 1895, p. 196): “T’ang did it with only seventy li, and king Wu with only a hundred.”; Zhanguo ce (Intrigues of the Warring States), XXX. 1590 (vol. III; Yan , II, p. 2; Crump, 1979, p. 268, n. 222): “T’ang began with the region of Bo and King Wu with the town of Hao — neither of them more than one hundred li — which each used to gain the empire”; Han Fei zi, IV-14, p 250 (“Jianjie shichen” 姦劫弒臣): “Tang took Yi Yin with him, and starting from a territory of one hundred li reached the position of Son-of-Heaven.”

58 See supra, note 26. According to Meng zi III B 5, p. 4 (“Teng Wen Gong” 滕文公; II, p. 2712; Legge, 1895, p. 273), Tang lead eleven major expeditions (zheng ); ZSJN, II, p. 13a (Fang Shiming and Wang Xiuling, 1981, p. 21) and DWSJ, 18 (TPYL, LXXXIII, p. 2a) speak of ‘nine’ and of ‘twenty-seven’ expeditions, respectively; the first was directed against the lord of Ge (Ge Bo 葛伯); see Meng zi III B 5, p. 1-3 (II, p. 2712; Legge, 1895, p. 271-272): “When T’ang dwelt in Po, he adjoined to the state of Ko [Ge], the chief of which was living in a dissolute state and neglecting his proper sacrifices. T’ang sent messengers to inquire why he did not sacrifice. He replied: ‘I have no means of supplying the necessary victims.’ On this, T’ang caused oxen and sheep to be sent to him, but he ate them, and still continued not to sacrifice. T’ang again sent messengers to ask him the same question as before, when he replied: ‘I have no means of obtaining the necessary millet.’ On this, T’ang sent the mass of the people of Po to go and till the ground for him, while the old and feeble carried their food to them. The chief of Ko led his people to intercept those who were thus charged with wine, cooked rice, millet, and paddy, and took their stores from them, while they killed those who refused to give them up. There was a boy who had some millet and flesh for the labourers, who was thus slain and robbed. What is said in the Book of Documents, ‘The chief of Ko behaved as an enemy to the provision-carriers’ [Shujing, “Zhong Hui zhi gao” 仲虺之誥; I, p. 161; Legge, 1865, p. 180], has reference to this. Because of his murder of this boy, T’ang proceeded to punish him. All within the four seas said: ‘It is not because he desires the riches of the kingdom, but to avenge a common man and woman’.” According to Zuo zhuan, Duke Ding 定公, year I (II, p. 2131; Legge, p. 472, 474), Zhong Hui 仲虺 “was minister of the Leftto T’ang”; according to Du Yu’s commentary the rank of minister of the right was held by Yi Yin.

59 See Meng zi III B 5, p. 4 (“Teng Wen Gong”; II, p. 2712; Legge, 1895, p. 273): “When T’ang began his work of executing justice, he commenced with Ko, and though he made eleven punitive expeditions, he had not an enemy in the kingdom. When he pursued his work in the east, the rude tribes in the west murmured. So did those on the north, when he was engaged in the south. Their cry was: ‘Why does he make us last?’ Thus, the people’s longing for him was like the longing for rain in a time of great drought. The frequenters of the markets stopped not. Those engaged in weeding in the fields made no change in their operations. While he punished their rulers, he consoled the people. His progress was like the falling of opportune rain, and the people were delighted. It is said in the Book of Documents: ‘When our prince comes, we may escape from the punishments under which we suffer’.”; cf. Shujing, “Zhong Hui zhi gao” 仲虺之誥 (I, p. 161; Legge, 1865, p. 180-181). “The work of punishment began with Ko. When it went on in the east, the wild tribes of the west murmured; when it went on in the south, those of the north murmured. […] To whatever people he went, they congratulated one another in their chambers, saying: ‘We have waited for our prince; our prince is come, and we revive’.” See also DWSJ, 18-19 (TPYL, LXXXIII, p. 2a): “[Tang] had the Power of Wisdom (sheng de 聖德). If one of the feudal lords acted against justice, he attacked the state, punished the wicked lord, and consoled the people. The Tianxia uninanimously rejoyced. Therefore, when Tang directed the army eastward, the Western Yi 西夷 were filled with grief, and when he moved southward, the Northern Di 北狄 complained and said: ‘Why putting us after?’ Altogether, he led twenty-seven expeditions, and in this way his Virtue was made known among the feudal lords.”

60 LSCQ, X-5, p. 560-563 (“Yiyong” 異用); Kamenarović, 1998, p. 159-160; Knoblock and Riegel, 2000, p. 237.

61 The states were thirty according to a quotation preserved in Wenxuan zhu (Commentary on the Wenxuan [Anthology of Literary Writings]), III, p. 25a (Dongjing fu 東京賦). Chang Kwang-chih (1980, p. 10) speaks of ‘thirty-six states’, but without specifying the source.

62 A very similar version is found in Xinshu (New Historical Documents) VII, p. 6a (“Yu cheng pian” 諭誠篇; see also VI, p. 4a (“Li pian” 禮篇) and Xinxu, V, p. 155-156 (“Zashi” 雜事, V); see also Shiji, III, p. 8-9: “During a tour, Tang saw a four-sided hunting net stretched out in the country, and heard the following invocation: ‘May anything coming from the four directions be caught in our net!’ Tang said: ‘Alas! It will be filled up!’ He then removed three sides of the net and pronounced a new invocation: ‘If you want to go to the left, go to the left! If you prefer the right, go to the right! May the unruly (bu yongming 不用命) be caught in this net! [MH, t. I, p. 180: “Que ceux qui en ont assez de la vie entrent dans mon filet.”] The feudal lords heard of this and said: ‘Supreme indeed is the Virtue of Tang. It extends to birds and beasts’.”

63 See Mo zi, V-19, p. 193, 195-196; Sun Yirang, 1894, vol. I, p. 134, 136-137 (“Feigong, xia” 非攻下): “What [Tang and Wu] did was not what we call ‘attack’ (gong ), but rather a ‘punishment’ (zhu )”; “As far as Xia Jie is concerned, [we know that] Heaven issued proper decrees: sun and moon rised out of time; cold and hot came irregularly; the five grains withered and died; ghosts howled around the country, and cranes shriecked for ten nights and more. Heaven then summoned Tang in the Biao palace 鑣宮, and bestowed on him the Great Mandate of Xia. Only then dared Tang to lead his troops beyond the borders of Xia.” See also Meng zi, I B 8 (“Liang Hui Wang” 梁惠王; II, p. 2679-2680; Legge, 1895, p. 167): “King Xuan of Qi asked: ‘Is it the case that T’ ang banished Chieh and King Wu smote Chòu?’‘According to the records, it is.’ ‘Is it admissible for a vassal to murder his lord?’ ‘One who robs benevolence you call a robber, one who robs the right you call a wrecker, and a man who robs and wrecks you call an outlaw. I have heard that he punished the outlaw Chòu, I have not heard that he murdered his lord’.” (tr. Graham, 1989, p. 116).

64 The exact location of the last Xia capital, Zhenxin 斟鄩, is unknown; on its possible identification with the Yanshi site (supra, p. 166), see Li Xueqin and Zhang Shutian, 1996, p. 81-102, 109-118; see also Tan Qixiang, 1982, map 9-10.

65 According to traditional chronologies, Fa ascended the throne in 1837 B.C and Jie succeeded him in 1818, reigning for more than fifty years. On the justified suspects raised by the personal name Li Gui 履癸, attributed to Jie in Shiji, II, p. 48, see MH, t. I, p. 169, note 3. “ce nom… est assez suspect…[et] paraît être formé du nom de T’ang [Li] suivi de celui de son père. D’ailleurs il serait assez singulier que Kié 桀 fût le seul de tous les souverains de la dynastie Hia dont le nom se terminât par un des dix caractères cycliques…”. The official titles Di Gui 帝癸 and Gui appear in ZSJN, I, p. 11b-12a.

66 Tuiyi daxi 推移大犧; the characters and respective variants are elsewhere used as names of two of Jie’s retainers; see infra, note 76; Mo zi, VIII-31, p. 295-297 (“Ming gui, xia” 明鬼下; Sun Yirang, 1894, vol. I, p. 221-222): “Tui Chi 推哆 and Da Xi 大戲 could tear apart a water-buffalo or a tiger alive.”. See also LSCQ, VIII-3, p. 441 (“Jianxuan” 簡選); Yanzi chunqiu (Master Yan’s Springs and Autumns), I, p. 1 (“Neipian”, jian shang 內篇諫上); Zhang Shuangdi, 1997, vol. 1, p. 918, n. 22.

67 HNZ, IX, p. 7b (“Zhushu xun” 主術訓; Zhang Shuangdi, 1997, vol. 1, p. 912, 918); Le Blanc and Mathieu, 2003, p. 376-377; Yuan Ke, 1979, p. 384-385. The earliest portrait of Jie is found on a bas-relief from the Wu Liang shrine; see Birrell, 1993, p. 73, fig. 5d; Wu Hung, 1989, p. 162, fig. 65, and 163-164: “Jie is dressed in an elaborate gown with many layers […] resting on his shoulder is a halberd with a long blade and a curved hook […] Yu and Jie are the only sovereigns of the Three Dynasties portrayed on the Wu Liang Ci. As suggested above, one reason for the omission of the rulers of the Shang and the Zhou lies partly in the limited decorative space, which demands an economical selection of motifs. But a more important factor may be the designer’s profound interest in exploring and exhibiting historical patterns and types rather than simply representing figures and stories. Yu and Jie epitomize two types of rulers, and they symbolize the rise and fall of a dynasty. Yu’s merits and virtues are shared by King Tang and King Wu, the founders of the Shang and Zhou dynasties, respectively; the evil and corruption of Jie were mimicked by King Zhou and King You, the last rulers of the Shang and the Western Zhou. That only Yu and Jie are depicted on the shrine may be seen as an efficient solution to generalize the circular pattern shared by all Three Dynasties”.

68 According to Guoyu, I, p. 255 (“Jinyu” 晉語, I), the woman, also named Mo Xi 末嬉 or Mei Xi 妹喜/妹嬉, was the daughter of the Lord of Shi (You Shi 有施), who used her as a ‘female weapon’ (nürong 女戎) to destroy Xia; the same role was played by Da Ji 妲己 with the last Shang king (Zhòu /Di Xin 帝辛), and by Bao Si 褒姒 with King You of Zhou 周幽王; cf. Shiji, XLIX, p. 2-3 (MH, t. VI, p. 27-28); Lienü zhuan VII, p. 1b-3a (“Niebi” 孽嬖); Xinxu I, p. 7 (“Zashi”, I); Qianfu lun IX-35, p. 494 (“Zhi shixing” 志氏姓). According to Tianwen, 91 (Hawkes, 1959, p. 51; You Guoen, 1982, p. 270-273), Mo Xi came from Mengshan 蒙山.

69 On Jie’s deeds and misdeeds, see Lienü zhuan, VII. 1a-b (Wang Zhaoyuan, 1812, p. 125-126; O’Hara, 1945, p. 186-187; Araki, 1969, p. 289-291; Huang Qingquan, 1996, p. 344-347); Xinxu, VI, p. 198 (“Cishe” 刺奢), VII, p. 214-215 (“Jieshi” 節奢); HSWZ, II, p. 68, IV, p. 149 (Hightower, 1952, p. 60-61, 125-126); Yuan Ke, 1984, p. 415-418; Birrell, 1993, p. 108-110. According to HSWZ, IV, p. 149-150 (Hightower, 1952, p. 125-126), from the top of the hill of dregs created by the filling of the wine-lake one could see for a distance of ten li [Xinshu, VII, p. 214; ‘seven li’].

70 Lienü zhuan, VII, p. 1a: “Long Feng 龍逢 admonished him and said: ‘The prince who ignores the Way will certainly go to ruin.’ Jie replied: ‘Does the sun perish? When that will happen, I will perish with the sun! (日有亡乎。 日亡而我亡)’. He refused to listen to his admonitions, and put him to death for his evil words.”; the killing and dismemberment of Long Feng is mentioned in Han Fei zi I-3, p. 49 (“Nanyan” 難言), XX-52, p. 1119 (“Renzhu” 人主); cf. Xinxu, VII, p. 214-215; HSWZ, IV, p. 149-150 (Hightower, 1952, p. 125-126); BWZ, X, p. 1a. Jie’s reply is derived from Shujing, “Tang shi” 湯誓 (Legge, 1865, p. 175; Qu Wanli, 1983, p. 79; see infra, note 74) and Meng zi, I A 3, p. 4 (“Liang Hui Wang” 梁惠王; II, p. 2666; Legge, 1895, p. 128). In Xinxu, VI, p. 198, a longer version is addressed to Yi Yin. According to Mo zi, VIII-31, p. 295-296 (“Ming gui”, xia; Sun Yirang, 1894, vol. I, p. 221-222), Jie’s victims were counted by ‘millions’ (zhaoyi 兆億), and their corpses filled up ponds and hills.

71 Shiji, II, p. 48 (MH, t. I, p. 170, n. 1): “He summoned Tang, and then imprisoned him in Xia Tai [Shiji suoyin (Critical Commentary on the Shiji): Jun Tai 均臺; see infra].” As easily suggested by the name, the Chongquan 重泉 mentioned in Tianwen 125 was probably a flooded dungeon under the Tower of Xia: “When Tang came out of Ch’ung Ch’üan, what crime had he done?” (Hawkes, 1959, p. 53; You Guoen, 1982, p. 354-358). A late answer to this question is found in DWSJ, 19 (TPYL, LXXXIII, p. 2a): “Seeing that Xia Jie had lost the Way and punished those who dared to admonish him, Tang told the people to wail and mourn. Jie jailed Tang in Xia Tai, but freed him after a while.” The duration of Tang’s detention is never specified in the sources. Bribes are mentioned only in a suspect fragment quoted by Yuan Ke, 1979, p. 396-397; 1984, p. 433, 438 (Taigong jinkui 太公金匱, after Yishi 繹史): “Jie got angry at Tang for having plotted with his minister Zhao Liang 趙梁. He then summoned Tang to jail him in Jun Tai, and threw him in [a dungeon named] Chongquan. When Tang offered a bribe (xing lu 行賂), Jie released him.”

72 According to Meng zi VI B 6 (“Gaozi” 告子; II, p. 2757; Legge, 1895, p. 433), Yi Yin “went five times to Tang, and five times went to Jie”. See also Zhanguo ce, XXX, p. 1590 (vol. III; Yan , II, p. 2; Crump, 1979, p. 535, n. 461): “In ancient times Yi-yin left Hsia and went to Yin. Yin flourished and Hsia perished.”; XVII, p. 837 (vol. II; Chu , IV, p. 9; Crump, 1979, p. 268, n. 222): “Yi-yin twice fled T’ang and went to Chieh, then twice fled Chieh and went to T’ang. As a result the battle of Ming-t’iao was joined and T’ang became the Son of Heaven.”; HSWZ, II, p. 68 (Hightower, 1952, p. 61): “Yiyin realized that the mandate of heaven was about to be withdrawn. […and] made haste without stopping until he came to T’ang, who made him his minister.”. On Yi Yin’s spying, see Xu Xichen, 1989, p. 41-42; Zheng Huisheng, 1989, p. 10-13; the importance of his role as infiltrator is stressed in Sun zi bingfa (Master Sun’s Art of War), XIII, p. 238 (Yong jian 用間), where he is called Yi Zhi 伊摯 (as in Tianwen 106; Hawkes, 1959, p. 52; You Guoen, 1982, p. 299-302); in Shiji, III, p. 6 he is also named A Heng 阿衡.

73 The facts here summed up are extensively related and philologically analyzed in LSCQ, XV-1, p. 843-854 (tr. in Birrell, 1993, p. 257-258; Kamenarović, 1998, p. 246-248; Knoblock and Riegel, 2000, p. 337-342). As the text says, Jie had put aside Mo Xi after becoming infatuated with a couple of beautiful maidens named Wan and Yan (which can be identified with the two kneeling figures portrayed at Jie’s feet in the Wu Liang shrine; see supra, note 65). Their origins are indicated in ZSJN, I, p. 12a (Fang Shiming and Wang Xiuling, 1981, p. 16-18): “14th year: Gui ordered Pian to attack the mountain tribes (shanmin 山民; var. Minshan 岷山/緡山). The mountain tribes sent in two women named Wan and Yan, and the king fell in love with them, though they could not bear children. He had their names carved on precious tiao and hua jades; that on the tiao was Yan, that on the hua was Wan. The king also banished his former concubine Mo Xi near the Luo, in the Yao Tai 瑤臺 of the Qing Palace 傾宮.” According to Zhouli (Rites of Zhou), XLI (“Dongguan” 冬官, “Kaogong ji” 考工記; I, p. 922; Biot, 1851, vol. II, p. 523-524), the characters wan and yan were used for indicating different kinds of gui-sceptres: “Le Kouei rond [wangui 琬圭; cf. SW IA. 24r] a neuf dixièmes de pied. Il porte un cordon de soie. Il sert pour régulariser la vertu. Le Kouei scintillant [yangui 琰圭] a neuf dixièmes de pied. Il est partagé également au compas Il sert pour détruire le mal et pour circuler facilement.” Zheng Xuan 鄭玄 considers wan as an equivalent of yuan (‘round’); according to SW, I A, p. 24b, yan indicates ‘the glittering beauty of a bi’(Bi shangqi meise 璧上起美色). Later fiction turned the dream of the king into an actual portent; see BWZ, X., p. 1a (cf. Birrell, 1993, p. 110): “In the time of Xia Jie, Fei Chang 費昌 went along the Yellow River and saw two suns. The eastern one was bright and rising; the western one sank down and was going to be destroyed with a rumble of sudden thunder. Chang asked Feng Yi 馮夷: ‘Which one represents Yin, and which Xia?’ Feng Yi answered: ‘The western one is Xia; the eastern one is Yin’ On hearing that, Fei Chang joined Yin with all his clan.” As can be easily noticed, the role of the two suns is here inverted. The same source (ibid.; cf. TPYL, LXXXII, p. 13a-b) mentions another heavenly warning ignored by Jie: “In the time of Xia Jie, orgies were held in a palace erected in the middle of a ravine; men and women lived there in promiscuity, and for ten decades [var.: ‘three decades’] the king did not come out to take care of the government. Heaven then raised a great sandstorm; the ravine was filled up in one single evening.” Another fabulous story, concerning a dragon-woman, is found in Shuyi ji, (Collection of Oddities) I, p. 4a: “In the palace of Xia Jie, a woman turned herself into a dragon, and no one dared to approach her. All of a sudden she was once again transformed, becoming a woman of rare beauty. She fed on human flesh, and Jie named her ‘dragon-concubine’ (jiaoqie 蛟妾); she acquainted Jie with lucky events and disasters.”

74 The alleged text of his speech is given in one of the oldest chapters of Shujing (“Tang shi” 湯誓; I, p. 160-161; Qu Wanli, 1983, p. 77-80, Chen Mengjia, 1985, p. 186-193; Zhu Tingxian, 1987, p. 449-452): “The King said: ‘Come, ye moltitudes of the people, listen all to my words. It is not I, the little child [xiao zi 小子], who dare to undertake what may seem to be a rebellious enterprize; but for the many crimes of the sovereign of Hea [Xia] Heaven has given the charge to destroy him. Now, ye moltitudes, you are saying ‘Our prince does not compassionate us, but is calling us away from our husbandry to attack and punish the ruler of Hea’. I have indeed heard these words of you all: but the sovereign of Hea is an offender, and, as I fear God [Shang Di 上帝], I dare not but punish him. Now you are saying ‘What are the crimes of Hea to us?’ The king of Hea does nothing but exhaust the strength of his people, and exercise oppression in the cities of Hea. His people have all become idle in his service, and will not assist him. They are saying ‘When will this sun expire? We will all perish with thee. (時日曷亡予及汝皆亡)’ Such is the course of the sovereign of Hea, and now I [zhen ] must go and punish him. Assist, I pray you, me, the one man [yu yiren 予一人], to carry out the punishment appointed by Heaven. I will greatly reward you. On no account disbelieve me; I will not eat my words. If you do not obey the words which I have spoken to you, I will put your children with you to death; you will find no forgiveness’.” (tr. Legge, 1865, p. 173-176; cf. Shiji, III., p. 9-10; MH, t. I, p. 181-184). On the dating of the chapter, see Shaughnessy, 1993, p. 378 “There are five documents of the Shang shu. Of these, the ‘T’ ang shih’, which is ostensibly the earliest, is generally agreed to date to the Chou period. Although there is no consensus as to when, in that period, it was written, many scholars argue that, since the text justifies the Shang conquest of Hsia, it could have been created by the Zhou founders to justify their own conquest of Shang. This chapter is considered by many scholars to be the earliest document in the text and, thus, the earliest document in Chinese history, pre-dating even the Shang oracle-bone inscriptions.”; see also Li Jianhuan, 1982, p. 15-23; Jiang Shanguo, 1988, p. 203; Liu Qiyu, 1989, p. 471-472.

75 Mo zi, V-19, p. 196 (“Feigong”, xia, tr. Y. P. Mei, The Ethical and Political Works of Motse, London, A. Probsthain, 1929, p. 112); Sun Yirang, 1894, vol. I, p. 137-138.

76 On the location of Mingtiao (Shanxi), see Shiji, II, p. 49 (MH, t. I, p. 170, n. 3), III, p. 10; Huang Qingquan, 1996, p. 345, n. 15. According to ZSJN, I, p. 12b, the battle was fought during a thunderstorm. The real course of events, as well as the exact structure and number of both armies, can hardly be reconstructed in view of the relevant discrepancies exhibited by the sources. See Mo zi, VIII-31, p. 295-296 (“Ming gui”, xia 明鬼下, tr. Mei, p. 171; Sun Yirang, 1894, vol. I, p. 221-222): “With nine chariots and liang , Tang adopted the ‘bird formation’ (niaochen 鳥陳) and ordered a ‘wild-goose manoeuvre’ (yanxing 鴈行)”. The liang was a group of twenty-five infantrymen following each chariot; considering that nine liang correspond to 225 men only, Sun Yirang has suggested to read ‘ninety’ instead of ‘nine’, thus reaching a more reasonable figure of 2250. LSCQ, VIII-3, p. 441, 444-445 (“Jianxuan” 簡選; cf. Kamenarović, 1998, p. 128-129; Knoblock and Riegel, 2000, p. 197): “Yin Tang moved with seventy selected chariots (liangche 良車) and six-thousand fighters devoted to death. On a wuzi 戊子 day (25th), they battled at Cheng , trapped Tui Yi 推移 and Da Xi 大犧, and went up to Mingtiao. From there, they entered the Chao Door 巢門, thus conquering Xia. Jie managed to escape, and Tang acted with great benevolence to assist the black-haired people and counterbalance what Jie had done.”; Shangjun shu (The Book of Lord Shang), IV-17, p. 59 (“Shangxing” 賞刑 (J. J. L. Duyvendak, The Book of Lord Shang, London, Arthur Probsthain, 1928, p. 276, tr. mod.): “Tang fought a battle with Jie in the fields of Mingtiao.”; HNZ, VIII, p. 9a (“Benjing xun” 本經訓; Zhang Shuangdi, 1997, vol. I, p. 838, 846); Le Blanc and Mathieu, 2003, p. 342: “With three-hundred leathercovered chariots (geche 革車), Tang attacked Jie in Nanchao 南巢 [see infra, note 79].”; IX, p. 7b (“Zhushu xun”; Zhang Shuangdi, 1997, vol. I, p. 912, 918-919; Le Blanc and Mathieu, 2003, p. 377): “With three-hundred leather-covered chariots, Tang defeated [Jie] at Mingtiao.”; Shiji, III, p. 10-11 (cf. ZSJN, I, p. 12b): “Jie was defeated in the waste of You Song 有娀, and then fled to Mingtiao. The Xia army was routed. Soon after, Tang attacked Sanzong 三朡, and plundered its treasures.” Lienü zhuan, VII, p. 1b (“Nie bi”): “Tang received the Mandate and attacked him. The battle took place at Mingtiao, but Jie’s troops refused to fight.”

77 The most famous ally was the Kunwu 昆吾 tribe, destroyed before marching against Jie; see Shiji, III, p. 9 (MH, I, p. 180); ZSJN, I, p. 12b. On Kunwu, see SHJ, V, p. 4b, XV, p. 4b, XVI, p. 4a, XVIII, p. 3b; Yuan Ke, 1980, p. 377-378; Mathieu, 1983, p. 253 n. 9, 562 n. 13, 577 n. 6; Fracasso, 1996, p. 75-76 n. 206. Another ally, named Xia Geng 夏耕, is thus described in SHJ, XVI, p. 7a (Yuan Ke, 1980, p. 411-412; Mathieu, 1983, p. 590-591; Birrell, 1993, p. 258; Fracasso, 1996, p. 218-219): “There is a headless man; he is brandishing a halberd and a shield. He is named ‘Corpse of Xia Geng’ (Xia Geng zhi shi 夏耕之尸). In ancient times, Cheng Tang attacked Xia Jie, defeated his army at Zhangshan 章山, and had [Geng beheaded in front of him. Geng stood up, and, without head, ran away from his disaster and went down to Wushan 巫山.” See also Granet, 1926, p. 313-315; Karlgren, 1946, p. 339. According to Shuoyuan, XIII, p. 444 (“Quanmou” 權謀), Jie tried invain to raise the eastern ‘barbarian’ tribes: “Jie was angry, and tried to stir up the armies of the Jiu Yi 九夷, but their troops refused to rise in arms. Yi Yin said: ‘[The conquest] is possible.’ Tang then moved with his army and destroyed the enemy.”

78 ZSJN, I, p. 12b: “They captured Jie at the Jiao Door 焦門”; HNZ, IX, p. 7b (Zhang Shuangdi, 1997, vol. I, p. 912): “[Tang] captured him at the Jiao Door”.

79 Guoyu, IV, p. 182 (“Lu yu” 魯語, I): “Jie fled to Nanchao 南巢”; ZSJN I, p. 12b: “[Tang] banished him in Nanchao”; Lienü zhuan, VII, p. 1b (“Nie bi”): “Jie was banished and put in a boat together with his wicked concubine Mo Xi; they drifted downstream towards the sea, and died on the mountains of Nanchao”; on the location of Nanchao (Anhui), see Guoyu, IV, p. 182; Shuoyuan, XIII, p. 444 (“Quanmou”; “[Tang] exiled Jie among the Nanchao tribes.”), MH, I, p. 170; Araki, 1969, p. 290; Tan Qixiang, 1982, map 11-12. According to HNZ, VIII, p. 9a (“Benjing xun” 本經訓; Zhang Shuangdi, 1997, vol. I, p. 838, 846; Le Blanc and Mathieu, 2003, p. 342), Jie was banished and jailed in Xia Tai 夏臺; see also XIX, p. 2b (“Xiuwu xun” 脩務訓; Zhang Shuangdi, 1997, vol. II, p. 1939-1940, 1946): “[Tang] drew up the troops at Mingtiao, and trapped Jie at Nanchao; to punish his crimes, he then banished him at Lishan 歷山”; Shiji, II, p. 49 (MH, t. I, p. 170): “Jie fled to Mingtiao; soon after he was exiled and died. Once he told his retainers: ‘I regret not having Tang killed in Xia Tai; [it was that mistake that] took me here’.” According to Xun zi, XV-21 (“Jiebi” 解蔽) and ZSJN, I, p. 13b, Jie died on Mount Ting 亭山 (identified by commentators with a peak of the Nanchao area). According to the detailed narrative of Jie’s banishment found in Yi Zhou shu (Lost Fragments of the Zhou shu), IX-66, p. 7a-8a (“Yin zhu” 殷祝; Zhu Youzeng, 1846, p. 145-147), the defeated king went south with five hundred faithful retainers and sought refuge in three territories, but whenever he tried to settle down the people ran away to ask for Tang’s protection; to find a place to live he was thus forced to leave the central plains and reach the very remote area of Nanchao, in the lower course of the Yangtze River.

80 According to Shiji, III, p. 12, “Once back in Bo, Tang wrote the Proclamation of Tang”; the homonymous chapter in Shujing, I, p. 162 (“Tang gao” 湯誥; Legge, 1865, p. 184-190) is spurious; see MH, t. I, p. 185, n. 3: “De l’avis des critiques chinois les plus autorisés, elle n’est qu’une compilation faite à l’epoque des Tsin orientaux (317-420 ap. J.-C.)”. According to Zhuangzi, XXVIII, p. 985-986 (“Rang wang” 讓王; Watson, 1968, p. 320-321), Tang offered the throne to Bian Sui 卞隨 and Wu Guang 務光, two strategists that had been consulted before the final attack, but both refused it; the fact is mentioned also in Xun zi, XVIII-25, p. 11 (“Chengxiang”): “Tian Yi Tang 天乙湯 praised and raised up the right persons, resigning to Bian Sui 卞隨 and raising up Mou Guang .” (cf. A. C. Graham, 1989, p. 295, and 292-299; Knoblock, 1988-1994, t. III, p. 181, n. 72). A more tragic and slandering version is found in Han Fei zi VII-22, p. 417-418 (“Shuolin” 說林): “Having defeated Jie, Tang was afraid people might say that had been done to satisfy his greed, and therefore offered the throne to Wu Guang 務光. Fearing he might accept it, he ordered a retainer to influence him with the following words: ‘Tang has murdered his prince, and by means of this abdication is now trying to pin his bad reputation on you.’ On hearing this, Wu Guang jumped in the Yellow River [and died].” According to Yi Zhoushu, IX-66, p. 7b-8a (“Yin zhu” 殷祝), Tang declared himself willing to abdicate the throne in front of three thousand feudal lords, during a great assembly held in Bo () after the banishing of Jie, but none of those present dared to accept.

81 See HNZ, XIX, p. 2b (“Xiuwu xun” 脩務訓; Zhang Shuangdi, 1997, vol. II, p. 1939, 1946; Le Blanc and Mathieu, 2003, p. 913): “Tang woke up at dawn and lay down late at night, thus developing to the utmost his penetrating intelligence. He reduced taxation and storages to enrich the people. He propagated Virtue and Mercy to help the needy. He mourned the dead, inquired about the sick, and nourished orphans and widows.”

82 LSCQ, IX-2, p. 479, 481-483 (“Shunmin” 順民); cf. Kamenarović, 1998, p. 138; Knoblock and Riegel, 2000, p. 210; Birrell, 1993, p. 86; the episode is carefully analyzed in Allan, 1991, p. 41-46; see also Granet, 1926, p. 450-465; on Shang rain-sacrifices involving the burning or exposing of shamans and other human victims, see Chen Mengjia, 1936, p. 563-566; 1956, p. 602-603; Qiu Xigui, 1983, p. 21-32. The drought lasted for six years according to ZSJN, I, p. 13b-14a: “Years 19th-24th: Great drought. The King prayed at Sanglin.” Other sources speak of seven years and supply different versions of Tang’s self-immolation. The most interesting is found in a yiwen from HNZ quoted by Li Shan 李善 (d. 689) in Wenxuan zhu, XV, p. 11a (“Sixuan fu” 思玄賦): “In the era of T’ang there was a severe drought for seven years, and divination was made for humans to be sacrificed to Heaven. T’ang said. ‘I will make a divination myself, and I will offer myself as a sacrifice on behalf of my people. For is this not what I ought to do?’ Then he ordered an official to prepare a pile of kindling and logs. He cut off his hair and fingernails, purified himself with water, and laid himself on the woodpile in order to be burnt as a sacrifice to Heaven. Just as the fire was taking hold, a great downpour of rain fell.” (tr. Birrell, 1993, p. 86). See also Shi zi, I, p. 16b: “To save [the people from] the drought, Tang climbed on a plain white chariot (suche 素車) drawn by white horses; he was clad in plain cotton garments, adorned only by whitened mao -reeds. He offered himself as sacrificial victim, and prayed in the fields of Sanglin”; according to Zhouli, XXVII (“Chunguan” 春官, “Jinche” 巾車; II, p. 824; tr. Biot, 1851, vol. II, p. 127), the suche was used for mourning rites: “Le second [char de deuil] est le char blanc. Il est abrité des nattes de chanvre. Il a le tapis de peau de chien. Il est garni en blanc”; the adoption of white as dynastic color is recorded in Shiji, III, p. 14 (MH, t. I, p. 187): “T’ang alors changea le mois initial [douzième mois] et le premier jour; il modifia la couleur des vêtements; il mit en honneur Le Blanc. Il tint ses audiences à midi.” A different version is found in Shuoyuan, I, p. 115-116 (“Jun Dao” 君道): “In Tang’s time, a severe drought went on for seven years; the Luo and the large rivers dried up; the heat braised sand and melted stones. Men were then ordered to take a tripod (sanzu ding 三足鼎) and to invoke mountains and streams. They were taught the following invocation: ‘Is the people suffering for an incorrect government? Is this caused by widespread bribery (baoju 苞苴) and slandering (chanfu 讒夫)? Have we built too many sumptuos palaces? Are there too many intrigues in the harem? What caused this total lack of rain?” Before the invocation was entirely pronounced, Heaven sent down a copious downpour of rain.”; cf. DWSJ, 19 (TPYL, LXXXIII, p. 2a; Allan, 1991, p. 41-42). The drought lasted for seven years also according to Xinshu, III, p. 12b (You min 憂民), and IV, p. 11a-b (“Wu xu” 無蓄), and Zhuang zi, XVII, p. 598 (“Qiushui” 秋水; Watson, 1968, p. 186): “In the time of Yu there were floods for nine years out of ten […] in the time of T’ang there were droughts for seven years out of eight.”

83 On the controversies concerning the line of succession, see supra p. 172. According to Sima Qian, Yi Yin played a leading role after Tang’s demise; see Shiji, III, p. 15-16 (MH, t. I, p. 188-189): “L’empereur T’ai-kia [Tai Jia 太甲], après trois années de règne, se montra inintelligent et cruel; il ne suivait pas les principes de T’ang; il avait une conduite perverse; alors I Yn le relégua dans le palais de T’ong [Tonggong 桐宮; five li south-west of Yanshi (Henan), according to Zheng Huisheng, 1989, p. 17; cf. Zhao Zhiquan, 2001, p. 37-40]. La troisieme année, I Yn exerça la régence et gouverna le royaume; il donna aussi audience aux seigneurs. L’empereur T’ai-kia resta dans le palais de T’ong pendant trois années; il se repentit de ses fautes et blâma sa propre conduite.” Cf. Meng zi, V A 6, p. 5 (“Wan Zhang” 萬章; II, p. 2738; Legge, 1895, p. 360-361); Tai Jia’s temporary banishment is mentioned also in Zuo zhuan, duke Xiang 襄公, year XXI; II, p. 1971; Legge, 1872, p. 488, 491. After his death, Yi Yin was granted an eminent rank among the ‘Jiu Chen 舊臣’of the Shang pantheon; on his cult, see S, 365; LZ, II, p. 980-981; GL, III, p. 2539-2540, n. 2555; Chen Mengjia, 1956, p. 361-366; Akatsuka, 1977, p. 358 ff. ; Zhao Cheng 1988, p. 35-36; Zheng Huisheng, 1989, p. 18-20; Xiao Liangqiong, 2001.

84 See supra p. 164.

85 On the ‘Old School’ and ‘New School’ (Xin Pai 新派), see Dong Zuobin, 1945, pt. I, 1, p. 1-2; 1964, p. 89-106; Keightley, 1978, p. 32, 94, 108; Chang Kwang-chih, 1980, p. 184-188; Shaughnessy, 1982-83; Fracasso, 1988, p. 26, 45 (n. 134, 242); Zhang Bingquan, 1988, p. 381-389; Wang Yuxin, 1989, p. 186-214; 1999, p. 149-193.

86 Cf. Lefeuvre, 1985, fr. CF B10, p. 41, 327, and 227: “Pendant le règne de Wu Ting, l’appellation T’ang est souvent donné à Ta Yi, fondateur de la dynastie et figurant au septième rang dans la généalogie de la maison royale. Cette coutume était encore en vigueur sous le règne de Tsu Keng [祖庚; per. IIa]”.

87 According to S, 515d, Da Yi is never mentioned in period I (第一期用例); LZ, III, p. 1378 quotes thirty isncriptions allegedly belonging to Wu Ding’s reign, but twenty-two are by others dated to period IV, five are very damaged, and one could perhaps belong to period III. Only two inscriptions on shell can be safely dated to period I, but they are hardly readable and probably do not mention Da Yi at all (Jingjin 906/Heji 15646/S, 203a, 519d: Da Jia 大甲; Yicun 704/Heji 3068/S, 547a: Fu Yi ).

88 Pyromancy was once performed during period I to see if Cheng was to be held responsible for a bad dream of the king (fig. 1a: Yibian 3991/Heji 17373, shell; 王夢不隹成); LZ, II, p. 939 places the inscription in the Xian -group (see supra, note 21), but Shima’s reading (S, 517a/Cheng) must be preferred. On the graph usually rendered as ‘[bad] dream/nightmare’ (meng ), see Bingbian, vol. I, pt. 2, p. 132-134; GL, IV, p. 3105-3112, n. 3074; according to some authors, it could indicate a disease (probably.‘fever’ / nüe ; SW, VII B, p. 31a).

89 A rain-invocation involving two of Tang’s sons is found in Yicun 986/Heji 32385 (Yicun 256+ Jiabian 2282; Qu Wanli, 1960, p. 484-485, plate 29, n. 87; period IV, bone): “…starting from Shang Jia 上甲, invocations for rain (qiu yu 求雨/ hui yu 回雨) will be addressed to Da Yi, Da Ding, Da Jia, Da Geng 大庚…”; on the graph qiu/hui, see SW, Xb, p. 15b; Zhao Cheng, 1988, p. 238; GL, II, p. 1474-1477 Lefeuvre, 1997, p. 329. Invocations for harvests (qiu nian 求年) are addressed to Da Yi in Jianshou II. 8/Heji 28273 (fig. 1b; period III, bone; cf. Wang Guowei, 1917, p. 6-7).

90 Jade offerings are mentioned only in a couple of parallel charges of period I (shell); see Bingbian 139/317 (Heji 6653), vol. II, part I, p. 202-205.

91 Figures in round brackets indicate highly damaged inscriptions consisting of one single character (…Tang/Cheng…); on the controversial time limits of the five periods, see Dong Zuobin, 1945, pt. I, I, p. 1; Chen Mengjia, 1956, p. 138; Keightley, 1978, p. 92-94, tables 37-38; Fracasso, 1988, p. 41-42. The subdivision is based on handwritten notes by Jean A. Lefeuvre, to whom go the most grateful aknowledgements.

92 The 80 percent of the supplementary inscriptions listed in LZ come from the site of Xiatun Nandi 小屯南地 (‘Locus South’), discovered after the publication of Shima’s concordance (Dec. 1972; 4589 inscribed fragments, mostly scapulas of periods III/IV; see Wang Yuxin and Yang Shengnan, 1999, p. 48).

93 Close analysis of each technical term cannot obviously be undertaken here; on Shang rites and ceremonies, see Chang Tsung-tung, 1970, p. 34 ff. ; Zhang Bingquan, 1988, p. 373-381; Zhao Cheng, 1988, p. 228-253.

94 Di Yi 帝乙 and Di Xin 帝辛 actually reintroduced a use inaugurated in period II. On the yong sacrifice (‘drumming ritual’), and on the bin ritual (‘to perform the ritual of treating as the honoured guest’), see Lefeuvre, 1997, p. 258-259, 409-410; fragments GSNB S179-B180. The bin ritual is mentioned nineteen times in the inscriptions of period II, and twenty-one in those of period V. More than fifty inscriptions, mostly from periods I and III/IV, mention the joint performing of two or three sacrifices at a time.

95 See Hu Houxuan, 1939; Yan Yiping, 1970; Zhang Bingquan, 1988, p. 401-404; GL, II, p. 1504-1517, n. 1548.

96 The shooting of victims is unmistakably indicated by the pictograph of a pierced through hog, very soon identified by Luo Zhenyu as the pristine form of zhi (1927, p. 28b). See Houbian I, 18, p. 5/Tongzuan 534/Heji 1339 (fig. 1e; period I; shell): “Pyromantic crack-making on a day guimao (40th). Bin divined: The Jingfang will honour Ancestor Tang with a zhi sacrifice (癸卯卜。賓貞﹕井方于唐宗彘)”. Another zhi sacrifice to Da Yi is mentioned in Tunnan 4317 (period IVa; Wu Yi ; bone). On the graph zhi, see Sun Yabing and Song Zhenhao, 2004, p. 70-71.

97 Numerical patterns are extensively analyzed in Zhang Bingquan, 1968, p. 181-217; 1988, p. 389-397.

98 On these sacrifices, see Zhao Cheng, 1988, p. 231, 238-9, 245. Technical terms are listed in Huang Zhanyue, 1990, p. 68-73. On the graph Qiang, that could be written in no less than ten different forms, see GL, I, p. 112-126, n. 64.

99 The inscriptions mention some fifty-nine human sacrifices; eighteen were offered to Cheng/Tang in period I (8/10), one to Cheng in period IV (Shiduo I. 412/Heji 32052: thirty qiang and ten lao), and thirty-eight to Da Yi in periods III/IV; the remaining three were offered to Tang in period II, and involved seventy-five victims (Wenlu 260/Heji 22544: fifteen qiang; Yicun I, p. 240 and Xubian 2, 20, p. 6/Heji 22546-7: thirty qiang and thirty lao). Twenty-six of the less damaged fragments mention the killing of more than 350 human beings. Tentative reckonings covering the five periods are given in Huang Zhanyue, 1990, p. 68-69: Period I: 1006 inscriptions/9021 victims (max. 500; av. 8.9); III/IV: 688/3205 (200; 4.6); II: 111/622 (50; 5.6); V: 117/104 (30; 0.8). Adding 70 inscriptions (100 victims) dubiously considered as prior to period I, and attributing a one-unit value to 1145 iscriptions that do not specify the number, he reaches a totale figure of 14,197 human victims. The author has apparently overlooked an inscription of period I mentioning the offering of one thousand men (Bingbian 124; see infra, note 101).

100 Zhang Bingquan, 1968, p. 217-231; 1988, p. 397-400; Huang Zhanyue, 1990, p. 69. On the human remains excavated in the Yinxu area, see Huang Zhanyue, 1990, p. 79-132.

101 Xubian I, 10, p. 7/Yicun 873/Heji 300 (fig. 2b; period I; shell). The yu ritual was an exorcism performed to dispel noxious influences and natural calamities by placing persons, crops, or territories under the patronage of one or more royal ancestors; see Zhao Cheng, 1988, p. 231-232; GL, I, p. 391-406, n. 351. The graph has been identified with yu / yu (Luo Zhenyu, 1927, pt. II, p. 70a; Wang Guowei, 1917, p. 12b); the current simplified transcription has been introduced by Yang Shuda, 1954, p. 17-18. Other rituals involving large offerings are mentioned in Tieyun 176, p. 1 (per. I, shell; 100 qiang), Xubian II, 19, p. 3/Yicun 413/Heji 22543 (I/II, bone: 100 qiang); Xubian II, 16, p. 3/Heji 295 (I, shell: 300 qiang); Bingbian 124.8/Heji 1027 (I, shell: 1000 ren and 1000 niu ); cf. Zhang Bingquan, 1968, p. 224.

102 Dated to period Vb (Di Xin 帝辛); see supra, note 24.

103 Fig. 2d; tr. by E. L. Shaughnessy, 1991, p. 101 (cf. Shaughnessy, 1985-87, p. 156); the inscription is thus translated in Li Xueqin, 1985-87, p. 174: “Guisi (day 30), divining in the temple of Wenwu Di Yi, the king will offer steamed and boiled sacrifices to Cheng Tang, perform yu-sacrifice, employing two women, the ritual items to be used include the blood of three rams and three pigs, this is correct.”. On the graph yi , see Zhan Yinxin, 1986. For a detailed analysis of this rather troublesome inscription, see Wang Yuxin, 1984, p. 40-51, fr. 1, fig. 13; Sun Binlai, 1986; the subject is obviously too wide and controversial to be properly dealt with here. On Zhou inscriptions, see Wang Yuxin, 1984; 1989, p. 373-441; Wang Yuxin and Yang Shengnan, 1999, p. 281-334; Chen, Hou and Chen, 2003. On new findings see Cao Dingyun, 2003; Cao Wei, 2003.

104 New crucial evidence for the knowledge of Shang divinatory activities outside the Yinxu area has been recently offered by an inscribed shell plastron unearthed in the Jinan area (Shandong; Daxinzhuang site, March 2003; 16 inscriptions; 34 characters), thus introduced by Sun Yabing and Sun Zhenhao, 2004, p. 66: “It belongs to the same system as those of the Yin Ruins in the retouching of shells, the shape of circular and sub-elliptic hollows for divination, and the use of positive and negative versions of divining questions. The form and structure of the characters and the syntax of the inscriptions are especially close to those known from Yin Ruins III and IV. But the present shell shows some local features in the extending direction of divining cracks and inscription lines, as well as in the position of ordinal numbers. As the first discovered oracular inscription beyond the Shang Zhengzhou city-site and the Yin Ruins, it can be taken to mark a new starting point in the history of studies of oracle-bones and to represent a new sub-branch of this discipline.

105 Zhou sacrificial fragments have been the object of an interesting forum hosted by Early China (no 11-12, 1985-87, p. 146-194; contributions by E. L. Shaughnessy, Wang Yuxin, Li Xueqin and Fan Yuzhou). On that occasion, Shaughnessy started the argument saying he did “not find it impossible that King Wen would have established in his capital temples to the deceased Shang kings Wen Ding (H11:111), probably his maternal grandfather, and Di Yi, the father of his wife, or that he would have conducted sacrifices there to the Shang ancestors, whose royal blood he certainly shared” (p. 162, cf. p. 190), but, in spite of the impressive amount of sound evidence adduced to support the statement, Wang Yuxin replied: “Not only could the Zhou not have established a Shang temple at Zhou, but neither could King Wen of Zhou have entered the royal temple in the Shang capital, either to sacrifice to the former Shang kings or to conduct divination. I still believe that the oracle bones pertaining to temple-sacrifices unearthed at Zhouyuan must have been produced by the Shang.” An intermediate position was then adopted by Li Xueqin, who tried to solve the question suggesting that the four inscriptions under discussion could “possibly all pertain to a single event, which would be Di Xin’s conferral of appointment on the Earl of Zhoufang […] performed in the ancestral temple of the Shang capital. That King Wen’s own divination official participated in this ritual’s divination would have been very natural. After the conferral of enfeoffment, the diviner took the oracle bone(s) back to Zhou. For this reason, these four oracle bones discovered at Zhouyuan are inscriptions made by the Zhou in the last years of the Shang dynasty” (p. 175-176). The situation outlined in the most recent and detailed analysis of the question (Wang Yuxin and Yang Shengnan, 1999, p. 308-327) is basically the same, and only an unexpected act of will or a much expected archaeological breakthrough (see supra note 104) could guarantee unanimous consensus. It must nonetheless be said that the alleged Shang origin of the controversial fragments is seriously contradicted by close study of calligraphic styles and back-hollows drilling and chiselling techniques; as correctly stated by Fan Yuzhou (1985-87, p. 178), “the structure and arrangement of the inscriptions at Zhouyuan and Yinxu is as different as chalk and cheese”, and this, together with the peculiar square shape of some pyromantic hollows, adds considerable strength to the so-called ‘Zhouren shuo ’and to Shaughnessy’s ‘extra-lineage cult’ theory, which remains at the moment the most reasonable and convincing. Needless to say, the final warlike image does not aim at strictly reflecting the nature of the scholarly debate, but has been chosen simply to grant the last tribute to a great Warrior King.

106 Authors and dates, when known, have been added in square brackets; for the dating of earlier sources, see Loewe, 1993.

107 The original version was traditionally ascribed to Shi Jiao 尸佼, a thinker from Lu who served in the state of Qin under Lord Shang (IV century B.C.); that version was lost before the Tang period; and the surviving fragments belong to late forgeries of uncertain dating. See Zhang Xincheng, 1957, p. 832-834.

108 See Zhang Xincheng, 1957, p. 879-881.

Table des illustrations

Titre Table 1 — Subdivision by period of the inscriptions listed in S 515-7.91
URL http://books.openedition.org/pum/docannexe/image/19063/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 44k
Titre Table 2 — Subdivision by period of the inscriptions listed in LZ III. 1374-1382 (datings by Yao Xiaosui and Xiao Ding).92
Légende * See fig. 2c: Qianbian, V, 10, p. 6/Heji 39465 (bone); the fragment is damaged and shows a doubtful simplified variant of Cheng 成 followed by the graph yi 衣; see S, 348d; LZ, II, p. 938; GL, III, p. 2412-2413, n. 2440. On the yi sacrifice, see S, 257-259; LZ, II, p. 720-724; Zhao Cheng, 1988, p. 249-250; GL, III, p. 1903-1907, n. 1948; Lefeuvre, 1997, p. 234, 374: “As a verb, it means to perform a sacrifice directed at the same time to several ancestors but occasionally directed to one ancestor.” The pictograph, representing a gown with long sleeves (长袖), was first explained as ‘joint sacrifice’ / heji 合祭 by Wang Guowei, who also considered it as an equivalent of yin 殷 (“Yinli zhengwen 殷禮徵文”, 1927; quoted in GL, III, p. 1903). Evidence for this identification is found in the Dafeng dun 大豐敦 (see Zhao Yingshan, 1983, p. 11-24; Rong Geng, 1941, p. 344; Yang Shuda, 1959, p. 162-163, 258-259) and in a couple of late philological glosses by Gao You 高誘 (LSCQ, XV-1, p. 844, 853, n. 33; “Shenda” 慎大), and Zheng Xuan 鄭玄 (Zhongyong 中庸 XVIII, p. 2; cf. Legge, 1893, p. 400-401): “People from Qi adopt the same pronunciation for yin and yi (齊人言殷聲以衣)”; according to Zhao Yingshan (p. 13), the Dafeng dun was cast for Zhou Wu Wang 周武王 four years before the overthrowing of the last Shang king. A yi sacrifice addressed to Tang is found in Houbian II, 39 p. 4/Jingjin 3232/Heji 22746 (fig. 1d; period IIa; Zu Geng 祖庚; shell).
URL http://books.openedition.org/pum/docannexe/image/19063/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 39k

Auteur

Professeur agrégé de chinois classique dans le département d’études est-asiatiques à l’Università Ca’ Foscari de Venise. Ses nombreuses publications sinologiques portent principalement sur la religion, la philosophie, la mythologie, la paléographie et la philologie. Il a publié en 1996 une traduction annotée du Shanhaijing intitulé Libro dei monti e dei mari : cosmografia e mitologia nella Cina antica (Venezia). Son dernier ouvrage est une traduction entièrement annotée et commentée du septième chapitre du célèbre ouvrage de Liu Xiang (~79-~8) sur les femmes de l’Antiquité, intitulé Liu Xiang : Quindici donne perverse. Il settimo libro del Lienü zhuan, 2005).

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