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Chinese Works : Yu zhi Sheng-jing fu, Han-i araha Mukden-i fu bithe

Chinese Works

<p style='text-align: justify;'>On 26 August 1743, in the eighth year of his reign, the 32-year old Qianlong Emperor set out from his palace in Peking to visit for the first time the homeland of his Manchu ancestors, the north-east provinces of China (otherwise known as Manchuria). The visit was to last for 107 days and so impressed the Emperor that he felt moved to commemorate it by composing an ode in the traditional Chinese form known as <i>fu</i> 赋.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The <i>Ode to Mukden</i> (the capital of the region, now called Shenyang 沈阳) was published in the Chinese and Manchu languages; the first edition, dated 1743, contains very detailed annotations (by a group of scholar-officials headed by the eminent statesman Ortai) giving references to the many allusions to Chinese classical literature with which the text is interlarded. The <i>Ode</i> itself, comprising seven stanzas of 14 verses each (a total of 98 verses), exactly parallel in the Chinese and Manchu versions, is preceded by a very long preface which takes the form of an elaborate panegyric describing the Manchu homeland, its landscape, flora and fauna, and spiritual significance.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'> The work was printed by xylography (from carved wooden printing blocks) by the imperial printing establishment Wu-ying dian 武英殿 [1] and [2]. The bamboo-fibre paper (<i>zhu zhi</i> 竹纸) being somewhat acidic has darkened and become brittle over the years. The Chinese version is printed in two colours (<i>zhu mo tao yin ben</i> 朱墨套印本): the text in black, with a red overlay comprising punctuation marks (small circles) and fine quadrilaterals around the titles of sources quoted in the annotation. On folios <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(52);return false;'>25b (image 52)</a> and <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(98);return false;'>48b (image 98)</a> the register between the two blocks is not quite perfect, and an impression of part of the overprinted red block can be seen in the top left-hand corner of the frame. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'> The text falls into four sections: (1) an introduction (images <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(3);return false;'>3-5</a> in the Chinese text and <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(129);return false;'>129-132</a> in the Manchu text); (2) the preface (<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(5);return false;'>5-105</a> Chinese, <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(132);return false;'>132-257</a> Manchu); (3) the <i>Ode</i> proper (<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(106);return false;'>106-119</a> Chinese, <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(257);return false;'>257-275</a> Manchu); (4) a postface by the editors (<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(121);return false;'>121-127</a> Chinese, <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(277);return false;'>277-288</a> Manchu). </p><p style='text-align: justify;'> Other copies of the Manchu text which resemble that in CUL inasmuch as they have <i>fu</i> rather than <i>fujurun</i> in the Manchu title are in the Toyo Bunko, Tokyo [3] and the National Library of China, Beijing. The latter is overprinted in red with the Chinese text [4]; this overprinting is absent in the CUL copy, which also shows significant textual divergences both from this edition and from the <i>textus receptus</i> as found in the various published transcriptions and translations, particularly in the introduction, preface and the <i>Ode</i> proper. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'> The <i>Ode</i> was brought to the attention of European readers as early as 1770, when a rather bombastic and periphrastic translation by the French Jesuit missionary Joseph-Marie Amiot (alias Amyot) was published in Paris [5]. This was followed by translations into French in 1828 [6] and 1884 [7] and Italian [8]. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'><b>References</b></p><p style='text-align: justify;'> [1] 故宫博物院图书馆、辽宁省图书馆编著, 清代内府刻书目录解题, 北京, 1995, pp. 426-427<br /> [2] 翁连溪编著, 清代内府刻书图录, 北京, 2004, p. 168<br /> [3] N. Poppe, <i>Catalogue of the Manchu-Mongol section of the Toyo Bunko</i>, Tokyo, 1964, No. 511<br /> [4] 黄润华主编, 国家图书馆藏满文文献图录, 北京, 2010, pp. 162-163<br /> [5] J.-M. Amiot (or Amyot), <i>Éloge de la Ville de Moukden et de ses environs; poème composé par Kien-long, Empereur de la Chine & de la Tartarie, actuellement régnant</i>, Paris, 1770<br /> [6] J. Klaproth, <i>Chrestomathie mandchou, ou receuil de textes mandchou</i>, Paris, 1828, pp. 63-99 (text), 235-273 (translation)<br /> [7] C. Harlez, <i>Manuel de la langue mandchoue</i>, Paris, 1884, pp. 134-138<br /> [8] G. Stary '"L'Ode di Mukden" dell'imperatore Ch'ien-lung: nuovi spunti per un'analisi della tecnica versificatoria mancese', <i>Cina</i>, No. 17 (1981), pp. 235-251<br /></p>

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