(“Book of Odes,” “Classic of Poetry”), an anonymous work of Chinese literature written between the 11th and sixth centuries B.C. The Shih Ching contains 305 songs, which tradition claims were selected by Confucius. It was burned along with other Confucian books in 213 B.C. and was restored to approximate its original form in the second century B.C. The work is included on the list “Mao-shih”; it received the name Shih Ching in the 12th century. The Shih Ching consists of four sections: “Kuo feng” (The Morals of Kingdoms), “Hsiao ya” (Little Odes), “Ta ya” (Big Odes), and “Sung” (Hymns), each of which is actually a separate book with its own themes, emotions, and means of artistic expression, including musical accompaniment.
The songs of “Kuo feng,” which has the greatest literary value of the four sections, focus on man and his relation to nature and his surroundings and the emotional and intellectual world of the farmer, livestock breeder, and hunter. Themes of social protest occur more often in the songs of “Kuo feng” than in the other sections. The lyrical works of the section “Hsiao ya” were written mainly by court poets for various celebrations and extol the virtues and military feats of the rulers. The odes of “Ta ya” are considered models of court poetry. The section “Sung” comprises festive and laudatory songs and religious hymns.
The Shih Ching, reflecting the varied phenomena of China’s spiritual and social life, is an encyclopedia of Chinese antiquity.
PUBLICATIONIn Russian translation:
Shitszin. Moscow, 1957.
REFERENCESFedorenko, N. T. “Shitszin” i ego mesto v kitaiskoi literature. Moscow, 1958.
Literatura drevnego Kitaia: Sb. statei. Moscow, 1969. (Contains bibliography.)
N. T. FEDORENKO