Ssu-ma Kuang

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Ssu-ma Kuang

(so͞o-mä kwäng), 1018–86, Chinese statesman and historian of the Northern Sung dynasty. He edited the monumental Tzu-chih t'ung-chien [the comprehensive mirror for aid in government], a chronicle of Chinese history from 403 B.C. to A.D. 959. The title indicates the belief that history can serve the present as a mirror of the past so that rulers can avoid the same mistakes. The 12th cent. philosopher Chu HsiChu Hsi
, 1130–1200, Chinese philosopher of Neo-Confucianism. While borrowing heavily from Buddhism, his new metaphysics reinvigorated Confucianism. According to Chu Hsi, the normative principle of human nature is pure and good.
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 abridged and reworked the materials. Ssu-ma Kuang was a member (with Ou-yang Hsiu and Su Tung-p'oSu Tung-p'o
, 1036–1101, Chinese poet. He was also called Su Shih. Born in present-day Sichuan prov., he was one of a literary family. Su occupied many official posts, rising to president of the board of rites (which regulated imperial ceremonies and worship).
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) of the conservative bureaucratic party that successfully opposed the reforms of Wang An-shihWang An-shih
, 1021–86, Chinese Sung dynasty statesman. As a chief councilor (1069–74, 1075–76) he directed sweeping administrative and fiscal reforms that drew strong conservative opposition.
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Ssu-Ma Kuang


Born 1017 or 1019; died 1086. Chinese historian.

The son of a high-ranking functionary, Ssu-ma Kuang was a member of the Hanlin Academy and worked as a censor, historiographer, and governmental adviser. A conservative, he opposed the reforms of Wang An-shih. Ssu-ma Kuang’s major historical work was Tzu chih t’ung-chien (The Comprehensive Mirror for Aid in Government), which encompassed the period from 403 B.C. to A.D. 959; it was compiled in collaboration with Liu Pin, Liu Shu, and Fan Tsu-yu.

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This book was in all likelihood based on notes about court events taken by Sima Guang (1019-86) in the late eleventh century (Sima, 11th c.
He submitted a memorial denying any link between this work and Sima Guang and asked that the book be banned and the printing blocks burned.
In particular, Yang looks at Sima Guang and Shao Yong, both of whom maintained gardens in Luoyang.