Qianjiashi 千家诗 “Poems of One Thousand Writers”

The Qianjiashi 千家诗 “Poems of one thousand writers” is an anthology of poems from the Tang 唐 (618-907), Five Dynasties五代 (907-960) and Song 宋 (960-1279) periods. The complete title of the collection is Fenmen leizuan Tang-Songshi xian qianjia shixuan 分门纂类唐宋时贤千家诗选 “Selected poems of one thousand excellent authors from the Tang and Song periods, arranged in various categories”. It was compiled by the Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279) scholar Liu Kezhuang 刘克庄. Following his scholarly style name, Houcun 后村, the anthology is also called Houcun Qianjiashi 后村千家诗. It is 22 juan “scrolls” long and is divided into 14 chapters.

The Qianjiashi has been revised and newly arranged by Wang Xiang 王相 as Xinjuan wuyan qianjia shi 新镌五言千家诗, only including 84 poems with five-syllable verses (wuyan shi 五言诗) written by 50 authors. Another extraction has been made by Xie Fangde 谢枋得 who only selected poems with seven-syllable verses (qiyan shi 七言诗). His book is called Chongding qianjiashi 重订千家诗 or Qiyan qianjiashi 七言千家诗 and was commented by Wang Xiang. It includes 140 poems of more than 80 writers (inlcuding two poems of Ming period 明 [1368-1644] persons). Both books are 2 juan long, the first including short poems (jueju 绝句), the latter regular poems (lüshi 律诗).

Another version of the Qianjiashi also attributed to Xie Fangde, and the most common one, is 4 juan long, each juancorresponding to one chapter. The poems in this version are arranged in the categories five-syllable short poems (wuyan jueju 五言绝句), five-syllable regular poems (wuyan lüshi 五言律诗), seven-syllable short poems (qiyan jueju 七言绝句) and seven-syllable regular poems (qiyan lüshi 七言律诗). The greatest part of the poems has been written by Song period authors. The Qianjiashi has always been used as a textbook for elementary learning. In 1706 the Xie extract was printed by Cao Yin 曹寅, the first part including 85 short poems, the second part 38 regular poems.


Together with the textbooks Sanzijing 三字经 “Three-characters classic” and Baijiaxing 百家姓 “Hundred family names”, theQianjiashi was called the San-Bai-Qian 三百千 “Three-and-hundred-and-thousand”.

There is a supplement to the common Qianjiashi versions called Xiaoxue Qianjiashi 小学千家诗. It was compiled by a scholar called Qiyun shanren 寄云山人 “Mountain-dweller dispatching the clouds” or Liangqihaizhai xueren 梁溪海斋学人 “Scholar from the Hermitage of the bridges, creeks and the sea”. A great part of the poems have been written by the compiler himself. The poems have a very simple nature and are apparently specially designed for elementary learning.


Contents of the original Qianjiashi

时令 Shiling The seasons
节候 Jiehou Time
气候 Qihou Weather
昼夜 Zhouye Day and night
百花 Baihua Flowers
竹林 Zhulin Bushes and trees
天文 Tianwen Astonomy
地理 Dili Geography
宫室 Gongshi Palaces and buildings
器用 Qiyong Tools and objects
音乐 Yinyue Music
禽兽 Qinshou Birds and beasts
昆虫 Kunchong Creeping animals
人品 Renpin Human affairs

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