Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 3.djvu/21

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xix
PREFACE.

to eighty-five by Tâi Teh, a scholar of the time, and his eighty-five again to forty-six by a cousin, called Tâi Khăng. Three other books were added to these towards the end of the Han period, forming forty-nine in all, which have come down to us under the title of Lî Kî, or 'the Record of Rites,' and have long constituted by imperial authority one of the five King. An abridgment of this work was translated by M. J. M. Callery, at Turin, in 1853, with the title, 'Lî Kî, ou Memorial des Rites, traduit pour la première fois du Chinois, et accompagné de notes, de commentaires, et du texte original.' Callery's work, however, contains only thirty-six of the forty-nine books of the Lî Kî, and most of those thirty-six in a condensed form. Whether it will be possible to give in these Sacred Books of the East translations of the whole of these Rituals; and if that be not possible, by what principles to be guided in the selection of portions of them: these are questions to be determined after further deliberation. Many passages contain more of the mind of Confucius himself on the sacrificial worship of his country, and the ideas underlying it, than we find elsewhere.

But it must not be forgotten that these ritual books do not throw so valuable a light on the ancient religion of China as the older Shû and Shih. They belong to the period of the Kâu dynasty, and do not go back as contemporaneous records to the dynasties beyond it and the still remoter age of Yao and Shun. The views of Confucius, moreover, as given in them, do not come to us at first hand. They were gathered up by the Han scholars five and six centuries after his death, nor can we be sure that these did not sometimes put ideas of their own into the mouth of the sage, and make additions to the writings which were supposed, correctly or incorrectly, to have come from his immediate disciples.

We owe the fifth and last of the Kings of China to Confucius himself. It is what he called Khun Khiû, or 'the Spring and Autumn,' a very brief chronicle compiled by him of the annals of his native state of Lû for 242 years, from B.C. 722 to 481. But there is not much to be

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