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The Book of Rites 《禮記》

《檀弓上》 Tan Gong I

》 Tan Gong I

At the mourning rites for Gong-yi Zhong-zi, Tan Gong (was there), wearing the mourning cincture for the head, Zhong-zi had passed over his grandson, and appointed one of his (younger) sons as his successor (and head of the family). Tan Gong said (to himself), 'How is this? I never heard of such a thing;' and he hurried to Zi-fu Bo-zi at the right of the door, and said, ' How is it that Zhong-zi passed over his grandson, and made a (younger) son his successor?' Bo-zi replied, 'Zhong-zi perhaps has done in this, like others, according to the way of antiquity. Anciently, king Wen passed over his eldest son Yi-kao, and appointed king Wu; and the count of Wei passed over his grandson Tu, and made Yan, his (own) younger brother, his successor. Zhong-zi perhaps did also in this according to the way of antiquity.' Zi-you asked Confucius (about the matter), and he said, 'Nay, (the rule is to) appoint the grandson.'

In serving his father, (a son) should conceal (his faults), and not openly or strongly remonstrate with him about them; should in every possible way wait on and nourish him, without being tied to definite rules; should serve him laboriously till his death, and then complete the mourning for him for three' years. In serving his ruler, (a minister), should remonstrate with him openly and strongly (about his faults), and make no concealment (of them); should in every possible way wait on and nourish him, but according to definite rules; should serve him laboriously till his death, and should then wear mourning for him according to rule for three years. In serving his master, (a learner) should have nothing to do with openly reproving him or with concealing (his faults); should in every possible way wait upon and serve him, without being tied to definite rules; should serve him laboriously till his death, and mourn for him in heart for three years.

Ji Wu-zi had built a house, at the bottom of the western steps of which was the grave of the Du family. (The head of that) asked leave to bury (some member of his house) in it, and leave was granted to him to do so. (Accordingly) he entered the house (with the coffin), but did not dare to wail (in the usual fashion). Wu-zi said to him, 'To bury in the same grave was not the way of antiquity. It was begun by the duke of Zhou, and has not been changed since. I have granted you the great thing, and why should I not grant the less?' (With this) he ordered him to wail.

When Zi-shang's mother died, and he did not perform any mourning rites for her, the disciples of (his father) Zi-si asked him, saying, 'Did your predecessor, the superior man, observe mourning for his divorced mother?' 'Yes,' was the reply. (And the disciples went on), 'Why do you not make Bai also observe the mourning rites (for his mother)?' Zi-si said, 'My progenitor, a superior man, never failed in pursuing the right path. When a generous course was possible, he took it and behaved generously; and when it was proper to restrain his generosity, he restrained it. But how can I attain to that? While she was my wife, she was Bai's mother; but when she ceased to be my wife, she was no longer his mother.' It was in this way that the Kong family came not to observe mourning for a divorced mother; the practice began from Zi-si.


Confucius said, 'When (the mourner) bows to (the visitor), and then lays his forehead to the ground, this shows the predominance of courtesy. When he lays his forehead to the ground, and then bows (to his visitor), this shows the extreme degree of his sorrow. In the three years' mourning, I follow the extreme (demonstration).'


When Confucius had succeeded in burying (his mother) in the same grave (with his father) at Fang, he said, 'I have heard that the ancients made graves (only), and raised no mound over them. But I am a man, who will be (travelling) east, west, south, and north. I cannot do without something by which I can remember (the place).' On this, he (resolved to) raise a mound (over the grave) four feet high.
He then first returned, leaving the disciples behind. A great rain came on; and when they rejoined him, he asked them what had made them so late. 'The earth slipped,' they said, 'from the grave at Fang.' They told him this thrice without his giving them any answer. He then wept freely, and said, 'I have heard that the ancients did not need to repair their graves.'

Confucius was wailing for Zi-lu in his courtyard. When any came to condole with him, he bowed to them. When the wailing was over, he made the messenger come in, and asked him all about (Zi-lu's death). 'They have made him into pickle,' said the messenger; and forthwith Confucius ordered the pickle (in the house) to be thrown away.

Zeng-zi said, 'When the grass is old on the grave of a friend, we no (longer) wall for him.'

Zi-si said, 'On the third day of mourning, when the body is put into the coffin, (a son) should exercise sincerity and good faith in regard to everything that is placed with it, so that there shall be no occasion for repentance. In the third month when the body is interred, he should do the same in regard to everything that is placed with the coffin in the grave, and for the same reason. Three years are considered as the extreme limit of mourning; but though (his parents) are out of sight, a son does not forget them. Hence a superior man will have a lifelong grief, but not one morning's trouble (from without); and thus on the anniversary of a parent's death, he does not listen to music.'

Confucius, being quite young when he was left fatherless, did not know (his father's) grave. (Afterwards) he had (his mother's) body coffined in the street of Wu-fu. Those who saw it all thought that it was to be interred there, so carefully was (everything done), but it was (only) the coffining. By inquiring of the mother of Man-fu of Zou, he succeeded in burying it in the same grave (with his father) at Fang.

When there are mourning rites in the neighbourhood, one should not accompany his pestle with his voice. When there is a body shrouded and coffined in his village, one should not sing in the lanes. For a mourning cap the ends of the ties should not hang down.

(In the time of Shun) of Yu they used earthenware coffins; under the sovereigns of Xia, they surrounded these with an enclosure of bricks. The people of Yin used wooden coffins, the outer and inner. They of Zhou added the surrounding curtains and the feathery ornaments. The people of Zhou buried those who died between 16 and 19 in the coffins of Yin; those who died between 12 and 15 or between 8 and 11 in the brick enclosures of Xia; and those who died (still younger), for whom no mourning is worn, in the earthenware enclosures of the time of the lord of Yu.

Under the sovereigns of Xia they preferred what was black. On great occasions (of mourning), for preparing the body and putting it into the coffin, they used the dusk; for the business of war, they used black horses in their chariots; and the victims which they used were black. Under the Yin dynasty they preferred what was white. On occasions of mourning, for coffining the body, they used the midday; for the business of war they used white horses; and their victims were white. Under the Zhou dynasty they preferred what was red. On occasions of mourning, they coffined the body at sunrise; for the business of war they used red horses, with black manes and tails; and their victims were red.

When the mother of duke Mu of Lu died, he sent to ask Zeng-zi what (ceremonies) he should observe. Zeng-zi said, 'I have heard from my father that the sorrow declared in the weeping and wailing, the feelings expressed in the robe of sackcloth with even or with frayed edges, and the food of rice made thick or in congee, extend from the son of Heaven to all. But the tent-like covering (for the coffin) is of (linen) cloth in Wei, and of silk in Lu.'

Duke Xian of Jin, intending to put to death his heir-son Shen-sheng, another son, Chong-er, said to the latter, 'Why should you not tell what is in your mind to the duke?' The heir-son said, 'I cannot do so. The ruler is happy with the lady Ji of Li. I should (only) wound his heart.' 'Then,' continued the other, 'Why not go away?' The heir son replied, 'I cannot do so. The ruler says that I wish to murder him. Is there any state where the (sacredness) of a father is not recognised? Where should I go to obviate this charge?' (At the same time) he sent a man to take leave (for him) of Hu Tu, with the message, 'I was wrong in not thinking (more) of your words, my old friend, and that neglect is occasioning my death. Though I do not presume to grudge dying, yet our ruler is old, and his (favourite) son is (quite) young. Many difficulties are threatening the state, and you, old Sir, do not come forth (from your retirement), and consult for (the good of) our ruler. If you will come forth and do this, I will die (with the feeling that I) have received a (great) favour from you.' He (then) bowed twice, laying his head to the ground, after which he died (by his own hand). On this account he became (known in history as)'the Reverential Heir-son'.'

There was a man of Lu, who, after performing in the morning the ceremony which introduced the 25th month of his mourning, began to sing in the evening. Zi-lu laughed at him, (but) the Master said, 'You, will you never have done with your finding fault with people? The mourning for three years is indeed long.' When Zi-lu went out, the Master said, 'Would he still have had to wait long? In another month (he might have sung, and) it would have been well.'

Duke Zhuang of Lu fought a battle with the men of Song at Sheng-qiu. Xian Ben-fu was driving, and Bu Guo was spearman on the right. The horses got frightened, and the carriage was broken, so that the duke fell down. They handed the strap of a relief chariot (that drove up) to him, when he said, 'I did not consult the tortoise-shell (about the movement).' Xiun Ben-fu said, 'On no other occasion did such a disaster occur; that it has occurred to-day is owing to my want of courage. Forthwith he died (in the fight). When the groom was bathing the horses, a random arrow was found (in one of them), sticking in the flesh under the flank; and (on learning this), the duke said, 'It was not his fault; and he conferred on him an honorary name. The practice of giving such names to (ordinary) officers began from this.

Zeng-zi was lying in his chamber very ill. Yue-zheng Zi-chun was sitting by the side of the couch; Zeng Yuan and Zeng Shen were sitting at (their father's) feet; and there was a lad sitting in a corner holding a torch, who said, 'How beautifully coloured and bright! Is it not the mat of a Great officer?' Zi-chun (tried to) stop him, but Zeng-zi had heard him, and in a tone of alarm called him, when he repeated what he had said. 'Yes,' said Zeng-zi, 'it was the gift of Ji-sun, and I have not been able to change it. Get up, Yuan, and change the mat.' Zang Yuan said, 'Your illness is extreme. It cannot now be changed. If you happily survive till the morning, I will ask your leave and reverently change it! Zeng-zi said, 'Your love of me is not equal to his. A superior man loves another on grounds of virtue; a little man's love of another is seen in his indulgence of him. What do I seek for? I want for nothing but to die in the correct way.' They then raised him up, and changed the mat. When he was replaced on the new one, before he could compose himself, he expired.

When (a father) has just died, (the son) should appear quite overcome, and as if he were at his wits' end; when the corpse has been put into the coffin, he should cast quick and sorrowful glances around, as if he were seeking for something and could not find it; when the interment has taken place, he should look alarmed and. restless, as if he were looking for some one who does not arrive; at the end of the first year's mourning, he should look sad and disappointed; and at the end of the second year's, he should have a vague and unreliant look.

The practice in Zhu-lou of calling the (spirits of the dead) back with arrows took its rise from the battle of Sheng-xing. That in Lu of the women making their visits of condolence (simply) with a band of sackcloth round their hair took its rise from the defeat at Yi-tai.

At the mourning for her mother-in-law, the Master instructed (his niece), the wife of Nan-gong Jiang, about the way in which she should tie up her hair with sackcloth, saying, 'Do not make it very high, nor very broad. Have the hair-pin of hazel-wood, and the hair-knots (hanging down) eight inches.'

Meng Xian-zi, after the service which ended the mourning rites, had his instruments of music hung on their stands,. but did not use them; and when he might have approached the inmates of his harem, he did not enter it. The Master said, 'Xian-zi is a degree above other men.'

Confucius, after the service at the close of the one year's mourning, in five days more (began to) handle his lute, but brought no perfect sounds from it; in ten days he played on the organ and sang to it.

You-zi, it appears, after the service of the same period of mourning, wore shoes of (white) silk, and had ribbons of (white) silk for his cap-strings.

There are three deaths on which no condolence should be offered: from cowardice; from being crushed (through heedlessness); and from drowning.

When Zi-lu might have ended his mourning for his eldest sister, he still did not do so. Confucius said to him, 'Why do you not leave off your mourning?' He replied, 'I have but few brothers, and I cannot bear to do so.' Confucius said, 'When the ancient kings framed their rules, (they might have said that) they could not bear (to cease mourning) even for (ordinary) men on the roads.' When Zi-lu heard this, he forthwith left off his mourning.

Tai-gong was invested with his state, (and had his capital) in Ying-qiu; but for five generations (his descendants, the marquises of Qi) were all taken back and buried in Zhou. A superior man has said, 'For music, we use that of him from whom we sprang; in ceremonies, we do not forget him to whom we trace our root.' The ancients had a saying, that a fox, when dying, adjusts its head in the direction of the mound (where it was whelped); manifesting thereby (how it shares in the feeling of) humanity.

When the mother of Bo-Yu died, he kept on wailing for her after the year. Confucius heard him, and said, 'Who is it that is thus wailing?' The disciples said, 'It is Li.' The Master said, 'Ah! (such a demonstration) is excessive.' When Bo-Yu heard it, he forthwith gave up wailing.

Shun was buried in the wilderness of Cang-wu, and it would thus appear that the three ladies of his harem were not buried in the same grave with him. Ji Wu-zi said, 'Burying (husband and wife) in the same grave appears to have originated with the duke of Zhou.'

At the mourning rites for Zeng-zi, his body was washed in the cook-room.

During the mourning for nine months one should suspend his (musical) studies. Some one has said, 'It is permissible during that time to croon over the words (of the pieces).'

When Zi-zhang was ill, he called (his son), Shen-xiang, and addressed him, saying, 'We speak of the end of a superior man, and of the death of a small man. I am to-day, perhaps, drawing near to my end (as a superior man).'

Zeng-zi said, 'May not what remains in the cupboard suffice to set down (as the offerings) by (the corpse of) one who has just died?'

Zeng-zi said, 'Not to have places (for wailing) in cases of the five months' mourning is a rule which sprang from the ways in small lanes.' When Zi-si wailed for his sister-in-law, he made such places, and his wife took the lead in the stamping. When Shen-xiang wailed for Yan-si, he also did the same.

Anciently, (all) caps were (made) with the seams going up and down them; now the (mourning cap) is made with the seams going round. Hence to have the mourning cap different from that worn on felicitous occasions is not the way of antiquity.

Zeng-zi said to Zi-si, 'Ji, when I was engaged in the mourning for my parents, no water or other liquid entered my mouth for seven days.' Zi-si said, 'With regard to the rules of ceremony framed by the ancient kings, those who would go beyond them should stoop down to them, and those who do not reach them should stand on tip-toe to do so. Hence, when a superior man is engaged in mourning for his parents, no water or other liquid enters his mouth for three days, and with the aid of his staff he is still able to rise.'

Zeng-zi said, 'If, in cases coming under the five months' mourning, none be worn when the death is not heard of till after the lapse of that time, then when brethren are far apart there would be no wearing of mourning for them at all; and would this be right?'

On the mourning rites for Bo-gao, before the messenger from Confucius could arrive, Ran-zi had taken it on him, as his substitute, to present a parcel of silks and a team of four horses. Confucius said, 'Strange! He has only made me fail in showing my sincerity in the case of Bo-gao.'

Bo-gao died in Wei, and news of the event was sent to Confucius. He said, 'Where shall I wail for him? For brethren, I wail in the ancestral temple; for a friend of my father, outside the gate of the temple; for a teacher, in my chamber; for a friend, outside the door of the chamber; for an acquaintance, in the open country, (some distance off). (To wail) in the open country would in this case be too slight (an expression of grief), and to do so in the bed-chamber would be too great a one. But it was by Ci that he was introduced to me. I will wail for him in Ci's.' Accordingly he ordered Zi-gong to act as presiding mourner on the occasion, saying to him, 'Bow to those who come because you have a wailing in your house, but do not bow to those who come (simply) because they knew Bo-gao.'

Zeng-zi said, 'When one during his mourning rites falls ill, and has to eat meat and drink spirits, there must be added the strengthening flavours from vegetables and trees;' meaning thereby ginger and cinnamon.

When Zi-xia was mourning for his son, he lost his eyesight. Zeng-zi went to condole with him, and said, 'I have heard that when a friend loses his eyesight, we should wail for him.' Thereupon he wailed, and Zi-xia also wailed, and said, 'O Heaven, and I have no guilt!' Zeng-zi was angry, and said, 'Shang, how can you say that you have no guilt? I and you served the Master between the Zhu and the Si'; and (after his death) you retired, and grew old in the neighbourhood of the Western He, where you made the people compare you with the Master. This was one offence. When you mourned for your parents, you did so in such a way that the people heard nothing of it. This was a second offence. When you mourned for your son, you did it in such a way that you have lost your eyesight. This is a third offence. And how do you say that you have no guilt?' Zi-xia threw down his staff, and bowed, saying, 'I was wrong, I was wrong. It is a long time since I left the herd, and lived apart here.'

When a man stops during the daytime in his inner (chamber), it is allowable to come and ask about his illness. When he stops outside during the night, it is allowable to come and condole with him. Hence a superior man, except for some great cause, does not pass the night outside (his chamber); and unless he is carrying out a fast or is ill, he does not day and night stop inside.

When Gao Zi-gao was engaged with the mourning for his parents, his tears flowed (silently) like blood for three years, and he never (laughed) so as to show his teeth. Superior men considered that he did a difficult thing.

It is better not to wear mourning at all than not to have it of the proper materials and fashion. When wearing the sackcloth with the edges even (for a mother), one should not sit unevenly or to one side, nor should he do any toilsome labour, (even) in the nine months' mourning.

When Confucius went to Wei, he found the mourning rites going on for a man with whom he had formerly lodged. Entering the house, he wailed for him bitterly; and when he came out, he told Zi-gong to take out the outside horses of his carriage, and present them as his gift. Zi-gong said, 'At the mourning for any of your disciples, you have never taken out those horses (for such a purpose); is it not excessive to do so for a man with whom you (merely) lodged?' The Master said, 'I entered a little ago, and wailed for him; and I found (the mourner) so dissolved in grief that my tears flowed (with his). I should hate it, if those tears were not (properly) followed. Do it, my child.'

When Confucius was in Wei, there was (a son) following his (father's) coffin to the grave. After Confucius had looked at him, he said, 'How admirably did he manage this mourning rite! He is fit to be a pattern. Remember it, my little children.' Zi-gong said, 'What did you, Master, see in him so admirable?' 'He went,' was the reply, 'as if he were full of eager affection. He came back (looking) as if he were in doubt.' 'Would it not have been better, if he had come back hastily, to present the offering of repose?' The Master said, 'Remember it, my children. I have not been able to attain to it.'

At the mourning rites for Yan Yuan, some of the flesh of the sacrifice at the end of (? two) years was sent to Confucius, who went out and received it, On re-entering he played on his lute, and afterwards ate it.

Confucius was standing (once) with his disciples, having his hands joined across his breast, and the right hand uppermost. They also all placed their right hands uppermost. He said to them, 'You do so from your wish to imitate me, but I place my hands so, because I am mourning for an elder sister.' On this they all placed their left hands uppermost (according to the usual fashion).

Confucius rose early (one day), and with his hands behind him, and trailing his staff, moved slowly about near the door, singing, "The great mountain must crumble; The strong beam must break; The wise man must wither away like a plant.' Having thus sung, he entered and sat down opposite the door. Zi-gong had heard him, and said, 'If the great mountain crumble, to what shall I look up? If the strong beam break, (on what shall I lean)? If the wise man wither like a plant, whom, shall I imitate? The Master, I am afraid, is going to be ill.' He then hastened into the house. The Master said, Ci, what makes you so late? Under the sovereigns of Xia, the body was dressed and coffined at the top of the steps on the east, so that it was where the deceased used to go up (as master of the house). The people of Yin performed the same ceremony between the two pillars, so that the steps for the host were on one side of the corpse, and those for the guest on the other. The people of Zhou perform it at the top of the western steps, treating the deceased as if he were a guest. I am a man (descended from the house) of Yin, and last night I dreamt that I was sitting with the offerings to the dead by my side between the two pillars. Intelligent kings do not arise; and what one under heaven s able to take me as his Master? I apprehend I am about to die.' With this he took to his bed, was ill for seven days, and died.

At the mourning rites for Confucius, the disciples were in perplexity as to what dress they should wear. Zi-gong said, 'Formerly, when the Master was mourning for Yan Yuan, he acted in other respects as if he were mourning for a son, but wore no mourning dress. He did the same in the case of Zi-lu. Let us mourn for the Master, as if we were mourning for a father, but wear no mourning dress.'

At the mourning for Confucius, Gong-xi Chi made the ornaments of commemoration. As the adornments of the coffin, there were the wall-like curtains, the fan-like screens, and the cords at its sides, after the manner of Zhou. There were the flags with their toothed edges, after the manner of Yin; and there were the flag-staffs bound with white silk, and long streamers pendent from them, after the manner of Xia.

At the mourning for Zi-zhang, Gong-ming made the ornaments of commemoration. There was a tent-like pall, made of plain silk of a carnation colour, with clusters of ants at the four corners, (as if he had been) an officer of Yin.

Zi-xia asked Confucius, saying, 'How should (a son) conduct himself with reference to the man who has killed his father or mother?' The Master said, 'He should sleep on straw, with his shield for a pillow; he should not take office; he must be determined not to live with the slayer under the same heaven. If he meet with him in the market-place or the court, he should not have to go back for his weapon, but (instantly) fight with him.' 'Allow me to ask,' said (the other), 'how one should do with reference to the man who has slain his brother?' 'He may take office,' was the reply, 'but not in the same state with the slayer; if he be sent on a mission by his ruler's orders, though he may then meet with the man, he should not fight with him.' 'And how should one do,' continued Zi-xia, 'in the case of a man who has slain one of his paternal cousins?' Confucius said, 'He should not take the lead (in the avenging). If he whom it chiefly concerns is able to do that, he should support him from behind, with his weapon in his hand.'

At the mourning rites for Confucius, his disciples all wore their head-bands of sackcloth, when they went out. For one of their own number, they wore them in the house (when condoling), but not when they went out.

Keeping (the ground about) their graves clear of grass was not a practice of antiquity.

Zi-lu said, 'I heard the Master say that in the rites of mourning, exceeding grief with deficient rites is better than little demonstration of grief with superabounding rites; and that in those of sacrifice, exceeding reverence with deficient rites is better than an excess of rites with but little reverence.'

Zeng-zi having gone on a visit of condolence to Fu-Xia, the chief mourner had already presented the sacrifice of departure, and removed the offerings. He caused the bier, however, to be pushed back to its former place, and made the women come down (again), after which (the visitor) went through his ceremony. The disciples who accompanied Zeng-zi asked him if this proceeding were according to rule, and he said, 'The sacrifice at starting is an unimportant matter, And why might he not bring (the bier) back, and 'let it rest (for a while)?' The disciples further asked the same question of Zi-you, who said, 'The rice and precious shell are put into the mouth of the corpse under the window (of the western chamber); the slighter dressing is done inside the door, and the more complete one at (the top of) the eastern steps; the coffining takes place at the guests' place; the sacrifice at starting in the courtyard; and the interment at the grave. The proceedings go on in this way to what is more remote, and hence in the details of mourning there is a constant advance and no receding.' When Zeng-zi heard of this reply, he said, 'This is a much better account than I gave of the going forth to offer the sacrifice of departure.'

Zeng-zi went an a visit of condolence, wearing his fur robe over the silk one, while Zi-you went, wearing the silk one over his fur. Zeng-zi, pointing to him, and calling the attention of others, said, 'That man has the reputation of being well versed in ceremonies, how is it that he comes to condole with his silk robe displayed over his fur one?' (By-and-by), when the chief mourner had finished the slighter dressing of the corpse, he bared his breast and tied up his hair with sackcloth, on which Zi-you hastened out, and (soon) came back, wearing his fur robe over the silk, and with a girdle of sackcloth. Zeng-zi on this said, 'I was wrong, I was wrong. That man was right.'

When Zi-xia was introduced (to the Master) after he had put off the mourning (for his parents), a lute was given to him. He tried to tune it, but could hardly do so; he touched it, but brought no melody from it. He rose up and said, 'I have not yet forgotten my grief. The ancient kings framed the rules of ceremony, and I dare not go beyond them?' When a lute was given to Zi-zhang in the same circumstances, he tried to tune it, and easily did so; he touched it, and brought melody from it. He rose up and said, 'The ancient kings framed the rules of ceremony, and I do not dare not to come up to them.'

At the mourning rites for Hui-zi, who had been minister of Crime, Zi-you (went to condole), wearing for him a robe of sackcloth, and a headband made of the product of the male plant. Wen-zi (the brother of Hui-zi), wishing to decline the honour, said, 'You condescended to be the associate of my younger brother, and now further condescend to wear this mourning; I venture to decline the honour.' Zi-you said, 'It is in, rule;' on which Wen-zi returned and continued his wailing. Zi-you then hastened and took his place among the officers (of the family); but Wen-zi also declined this honour, and said, 'You condescended to be the associate of my younger brother, and now further condescend to wear for him this mourning, and to come and take part in the mourning rites I venture to decline the honour.' Zi-you said, 'I beg firmly to request you to allow me (to remain here).' Wen-zi then returned, and supporting the rightful son to take his position with his face to the south, said, 'You condescended to be the associate of my younger brother, and now you further condescend to wear this mourning for him, and to come and take part in the rites; dare Hu but return to his (proper) place?' Zi-you on this hastened to take his position among the guests'.

At the mourning rites for the general Wen-zi, when the first year's mourning was at an end, there came a man from Yue on a visit of condolence. The chief mourner, wearing the long robe (assumed on the completion of the first year's mourning), and the cap worn before that, wailed for him in the ancestral temple, with the tears running from his eyes and the rheum from his nose. Zi-you saw it, and said, 'The son of the general Wen is not far from being (a master of ceremonies). In his observances at this time, for which there is no special rule, his proceeding is correct.'

The giving of the name in childhood, of the designation at the capping, of the title of elder uncle or younger uncle at fifty, and of the honorary title after death, was the practice of the Zhou dynasty.

The wearing of the sackcloth head-bands and girdles, to express the real (feeling of the heart); the digging a hole in the middle of the apartment (over which) to wash (the corpse); taking down the (tiles of the) furnace, and placing them at the feet (of it); and at the interment pulling down (part of the wall on the west of the door of) the ancestral temple, so as to pass by the upper side (of the altar to the spirit) of the way, and issue by the great gate - these were the practices of the Yin dynasty, and the learners (in the school of Confucius) followed them.

When the mother of Zi-liu died, (his younger brother) Zi-shi asked for the means (to provide what was necessary for the mourning rites). Zi-liu said, 'How shall we get them?' 'Let us sell (the concubines), the mothers of our half-brothers,' said the other. 'How can we sell the mothers of other men to bury our mother?' was the reply; 'that cannot be done.' After the burial, Zi-shi wished to take what remained of the money and other things contributed towards their expenses, to provide sacrificial vessels; but Zi-liu said, 'Neither can that be done. I have heard that a superior man will not enrich his family by means of his mourning. Let us distribute it among the poor of our brethren.'

A superior man said, 'He who has given counsel to another about his army should die with it when it is defeated. He who has given counsel about the country or its capital should perish with it when it comes into peril.'

Gong-shu Wen-zi ascended the mound of Xia, with, Qu Bo-Yu following him. Wen-zi said, 'How pleasant is this mound! I should like to be buried here when I die.' Qu Bo-Yu said, 'You may find pleasure in such a thought, but allow me (to go home) before (you say any more about it)

There was a man of Bian who wept like a child on the death of his mother. Confucius said, 'This is grief indeed, but it would be difficult to continue it. Now the rules of ceremony require to be handed down, and to be perpetuated. Hence the wailing and leaping are subject to fixed regulations.'

When the mother of Shu-sun Wu-shu died, and the slighter dressing had been completed, the bearers went out at the door (of the apartment) with the corpse. When he had himself gone out at the door, he bared his arms, throwing down also his cap, and binding his hair with sackcloth, Zi-you said (in derision), 'He knows the rules!'

(When a ruler was ill), the high chamberlain supported him on the right, and the assigner of positions at audiences did so on the left. When he died these two officers lifted (the corpse).

There are the husband of a maternal cousin and the wife of a maternal uncle; that these two should wear mourning for each other has not been said by any superior man. Some one says, 'If they have eaten together from the same fireplace, the three months' mourning should be worn.'

It is desirable that affairs of mourning should be gone about with urgency, and festive affairs in a leisurely way. Hence, though affairs of mourning require urgency, they should not go beyond the prescribed rules; and though festive affairs may be delayed, they should not be transacted negligently. Hurry therefore (in the former) becomes rudeness, and too much ease (in the latter) shows a small man. The superior man will conduct himself in them as they severally require.

A superior man is ashamed to prepare (beforehand) all that he may require in discharging his mourning rites. What can be made in one or two days, he does not prepare (beforehand). The mourning worn for the son of a brother should be the same as for one's own son: the object being to bring him still nearer to one's self. An elder brother's wife and his younger brother do not wear mourning for each other: the object being to maintain the distance between them. Slight mourning is worn for an aunt, and an elder or younger sister, (when they have been married); the reason being that there are those who received them from us, and will render to them the full measure of observance. When (the Master) was eating by the side of one who had mourning rites in hand, he never ate to the full.

Zeng-zi was standing with (another) visitor by the side of the door (of their house of entertainment), when a companion (of the other) came hurrying out. 'Where are you going?' said Zeng-zi; and the man replied, 'My father is dead, and I am going to wail for him in the lane.' 'Return to your apartment,' was the reply, 'and wail for him there.' (The man did so), and Zeng-zi made him a visit of condolence, standing with his face to the north.

Confucius said, 'In dealing with the dead, if we treat them as if they were entirely dead, that would show a want of affection, and should not be done; or, if we treat them as if they were entirely alive, that would show a want of wisdom, and should not be done. On this account the vessels of bamboo (used in connexion with the burial of the dead) are not fit for actual use; those of earthenware cannot be used to wash in; those of wood are incapable of being carved; the lutes are strung, but not evenly; the pandean pipes are complete, but not in tune; the bells and musical stones are there, but they have no stands. They are called vessels to the eye of fancy; that is, (the dead) are thus treated as if they were spiritual intelligences.'

You-zi asked Zeng-zi if he had ever questioned the Master about (an officer's) losing his place. 'I heard from him,' was the reply, 'that the officer in such a case should wish to become poor quickly, (just as) we should wish to decay away quickly when we have died.' You-zi said, 'These are not the words of a superior man.' 'I heard them from the Master,' returned Zeng-zi. You-zi repeated that they were not the words of a superior man, and the other affirmed that both he and Zi-you had heard them. 'Yes, yes,' said You-zi, 'but the Master must have spoken them with a special reference.'

Zeng-zi reported You-zi's words to Zi-you, who said, 'How very like his words are to those of the Master! Formerly, when the Master was staying in Song, he saw that Huan, the minister of War, had been for three years having a stone coffin made for himself without its being finished, and said, "What extravagance! It would be better that when dead he should quickly decay away." It was with reference to Hwan, the minister of War, that he said, "We should wish to decay away quickly when we die." When Nan-gong Jing-shu returned (to the state), he made it a point to carry his treasures with him in his carriage when he went to court, on which the Master said, "Such an amount of property! It would have been better for him, when he lost his office, to make haste to become poor." It was with reference to Nan-gong Jing-shu that he said that we should work to become poor quickly, when we have lost office."'

Zeng-zi reported these words of Zi-you to You-zi, who said, 'Yes, I did say that these were not the words of the Master.' When the other asked him how he knew it, he said, 'The Master made an ordinance in Zhong-Du that the inner coffin should be four inches thick, and the outer five. By this I knew that he did not wish that the dead should decay away quickly. And formerly, when he had lost the office of minister of Crime in Lu, and was about to go to Jing, he first sent Zi-xia there, and afterwards Ran You. By this, I knew that he did not wish to become poor quickly.'

When Zhuang-zi of Chen died, announcement of the event was sent to Lu. They did not want to wail for him there, but duke Mu called Xian-zi, and consulted him. He said, 'In old times, no messages from Great officers, not even such as were accompanied by a bundle of pieces of dried meat, went out beyond the boundaries of their states. Though it had been wished to wail for them, how could it have been done? Nowadays the Great officers share in the measures of government throughout the middle states. Though it may be wished not to wail for one, how can it be avoided? I have heard, moreover, that there are two grounds for the wailing; one from love, and one from fear.' The duke said, 'Very well; but how is the thing to be managed in this case?' Xian-zi said, 'I would ask you to wail for him in the temple of (a family of) a different surname;' and hereon the duke and he wailed for Zhuang-zi in (the temple of) the Xian family.

Zhong Xian said to Zeng-zi, 'Under the sovereigns of the Xia dynasty, they used (at burials) the vessels which were such only to the eye of fancy, intimating to the people that (the dead) had no knowledge. Under the Yin they used the (ordinary) sacrificial vessels, intimating to the people that (the dead) had knowledge. Under the Zhou we use both, intimating to the people that the thing is doubtful.' Zeng-zi replied, 'It is not so! It is not so! What are vessels (only) to the eye of fancy are for the shades (of the departed); the vessels of sacrifice are those of men; how should those ancients have treated their parents as if they were dead?'

An elder brother of Gong-shu Mu, by the same mother but a different father, having died, he asked Zi-you (whether he should go into mourning for him), and was answered, 'Perhaps you should do so for the period of nine months.' A brother, similarly related to Di Yi, having died, he consulted Zi-xia in the same way, and was answered, 'I have not heard anything about it before, but the people of Lu wear the one year's mourning in such a case.' Di Yi did so, and the present practice of wearing that mourning arose from his question'.

When Zi-si's mother died in Wei, Liu Ruo said to him, 'You, Sir, are the descendant of a sage. From all quarters they look to you for an example in ceremonies; let me advise you to be careful in the matter.' Zi-si said, 'Of what have I to be careful? I have heard that when there are certain ceremonies to be observed, and he has not the necessary means for them, a superior man does not observe them', and that neither does he do so, when there are the ceremonies, and he has the means, but the time is not suitable; of what have I to be careful?'

Xian-zi Suo said, 'I have heard that the ancients made no diminution (in the degrees of mourning on any other ground); but mourned for every one above and below them according to his relationship. Thus Wen, the earl of Teng, wore the year's mourning for Meng-hu, who was his uncle, and the same for Meng Pi, whose uncle he was.'

Hou Mu said, 'I heard Xian-zi say about the rites of mourning, that (a son) should certainly think deeply and long about them all, and that (for instance) in buying the coffin he should see that, inside and outside, it be (equally) well completed. When I die, let it be so also with me.'

Zeng-zi said, 'Until the corpse has its ornaments put on it, they curtain off the hall; and after the slighter dressing the curtain is removed.' Gong-liang-zi said, 'Husband and wife are at first all in confusion, and therefore the hall is curtained off. After the slighter dressing, the curtain is removed.'

With regard to the offerings to the dead at the time of the slighter dressing, Zi-you said that they should be placed on the east (of the corpse). Zeng-zi said, 'They should be placed on the west, on the mat there at the time of the dressing.' The placing the offerings on the west at the time of the slighter dressing was an error of the later times of Lu.

Xuan-zi said, 'To have the mourning robe of coarse dolichos cloth, and the lower garment of fine linen with a wide texture, was not (the way of) antiquity.'

When Zi-pu died, the wailers called out his name Mie. Zi-gao said, 'So rude and uncultivated are they!' On this they changed their style.

At the mourning rites for the mother of Du Qiao no one was employed in the house to assist (the son in the ceremonies), which was accounted a careless omission.

The Master said, 'As soon as a death occurs, (the members of the family) should change their lambskin furs and dark-coloured caps, though they may do nothing more.' The Master did not pay a visit of condolence in these articles of dress.

Zi-you asked about the articles to be provided for the mourning rites, and the Master said, 'They should be according to the means of the family.' Zi-you urged, 'How can a family that has means and one that has not have things done in the same way?' The master replied, 'Where there are means, let there be no exceeding the prescribed rites. If there be a want of means, let the body be lightly covered from head to foot, and forthwith buried, the coffin being simply let down by means of ropes. Who in such a case will blame the procedure?'

Ben, superintendent of officers' registries, informed Zi-you of his wish to dress his dead on the couch. 'You may,' said Zi-you. When Xian-zi heard of this, he said, 'How arrogant is the old gentleman! He takes it on himself to allow men in what is the proper rule.'

At the burial of his wife, duke Xiang of Song placed (in the grave) a hundred jars of vinegar and pickles. Zeng-zi said, 'They are called "vessels only to the eye of fancy," and yet he filled them!'

After the mourning rites for Meng Xian-zi, the chief minister of his family made his subordinates return their money-offerings to all the donors. The Master said that such a thing was allowable.

About the reading of the list of the material contributions (towards the service of a funeral), Zeng-zi said, 'It is not an ancient practice; it is a second announcement (to the departed)!'

When Cheng-zi Gao was lying ill, Qing went in to see him, and asked his (parting) commands, saying, 'Your disease, Sir, is severe. If it should go on to be the great illness, what are we to do?' Zi-gao said, 'I have heard that in life we should be of use to others, and in death should do them no harm. Although I may have been of no use to others during my life, shall I do them any harm by my death? When I am dead, choose a piece of barren ground, and bury me there.'

Zi-xia asked the Master (how one should deport himself) during the mourning for the ruler's mother or wife, (and the reply was), 'In sitting and stopping with others, in his conversation, and when eating and drinking, he should appear to be at ease.

When a stranger-visitor arrived, and had nowhere to lodge, the Master would say, 'While he is alive, let him lodge with me. Should he die, I will see to his coffining.'

Guo-zi gao said, 'Burying means hiding away; and that hiding (of the body) is from a wish that men should not see it. Hence there are the clothes sufficient for an elegant covering; the coffin all round about the clothes; the shell all round about the coffin; and the earth all round about the shell. And shall we farther raise a mound over the grave and plant it with trees?'

At the mourning for Confucius, there came a man from Yan to see (what was done), and lodged at Zi-xia's. Zi-xia said to him, 'If it had been for the sage's conducting a burial, (there would have been something worthy to see); but what is there to see in our burying of the sage? Formerly the Master made some remarks to me, saying, "I have seen some mounds made like a raised hall; others like a dyke on a river's bank; others like the roof of a large house; and others in the shape of an axe-head." We have followed the axe-shape, making what is called the horse-mane mound. In one day we thrice shifted the frame-boards, and completed the mound. I hope we have carried out the wish of the Master.'

Women (in mourning) do not (change) the girdle made of dolichos fibre.

When new offerings (of grain or fruits) are presented (beside the body in the coffin), they should be (abundant), like the offerings on the first day of the moon.

When the interment has taken place, everyone should make a change in his mourning dress.

The gutters of the tent-like frame over the coffin should be like the double gutters of a house.

When a ruler succeeds to his state, he makes his coffin, and thereafter varnishes it once a year, keeping it deposited away.

Calling the departed back; plugging the teeth open; keeping the feet straight; filling the mouth; dressing the corpse; and curtaining the hall: these things are set about together.

The uncles and elder cousins give their charges to those who are to communicate the death (to friends). The (soul of a deceased) ruler is called back in his smaller chambers, and the large chamber; in the smaller ancestral temples and in the great one: and at the gate leading to the court of the external audience, and in the suburbs all round.

Why do they leave the offerings of the mourning rites uncovered? May they do so with the flesh of sacrifice?

When the coffining has taken place, in ten days after, provision should be made for the materials (for the shell), and for the vessels to the eye of fancy.

The morning offerings should be set forth (beside the body) at sunrise; the evening when the sun is about to set.

In mourning for a parent, there is no restriction to (set) times for wailing. If one be sent on a mission, he must announce his return (to the spirits of his departed).

After the twelfth month of mourning, the (inner) garment should be of white silk, with a yellow lining, and having the collar and the edges of the cuffs of a light purple. The waist-band should be of dolichos cloth; the shoes of hempen string, without the usual ornaments at the points; and the ear-plugs of horn. The lining of the deer's-fur (for winter) should be made broader and with longer cuffs, and a robe of thin silk may be worn over it.

When (a parent's) corpse has been coffined, if the son hear of mourning going on for a cousin at a distance, he must go (to condole), though the relationship would only require the three months' mourning. If the mourning be for a neighbour, who is not a relative, he does not go. At (the mourning) for an acquaintance, he must pay visits of condolence to all his brethren, though they might not have lived with him.

The coffin of the son of Heaven is fourfold. The hides of a water-buffalo and a rhinoceros, overlapping each other, (form the first), three inches in thickness. Then there is a coffin of yi wood, and there are two of the Rottlera. The four are all complete enclosures. The bands for the (composite) coffin are (five); two straight, and three cross; with a double wedge under each band (where it is on the edge). The shell is of cypress wood, in pieces six cubits long, from the trunk near the root.

When the son of Heaven is wailing for a feudal prince, he wears the bird's-(head) cap, a headband of sackcloth, and black robes. Some one says, 'He employs an officer to wail for him.' While so engaged, he has no music at his meals.

When the son of Heaven is put into his coffin it is surrounded with boards plastered over, and (rests on the hearse), on whose shafts are painted dragons, so as to form a (kind of) shell. Then over the coffin is placed a pall with the axe-heads figured on it. This being done, it forms a plastered house. Such is the rule for (the coffining of) the son of Heaven.

It is only at the mourning rites for the son of Heaven that the feudal princes are arranged for the wailing according to their different surnames.

Duke Ai of Lu eulogised Kong Qiu in the words, 'Heaven has not left the old man, and there is no one to assist me in my place. Oh! Alas! Ni-fu!'

When a state had lost a large tract of territory with its cities, the highest and other ministers, and the Great and other officers, all wailed in the grand ancestral temple, in mourning caps, for three days; and the ruler (for the same time) had no full meal with music. Some one says, 'The ruler has his full meals and music, but wails at the altar to the spirit of the land.'

Confucius disliked those who wailed in the open fields.

(A son) who has not been in office should not presume to give away anything belonging to the family. If he should have to do so, he ought to have the order of his father or elder brother for the act.

When the (ordinary) officers are all entered, then (the chief mourner and all the others) fall to their leaping, morning and evening.

After the service on the conclusion of the twenty-fourth month of mourning, the plain white cap is assumed. In that month the service on leaving off mourning is performed, and after another month (the mourners) may take to their music.

The ruler may confer on any officer the small curtain (as a pall for his father's coffin)

Source: Chinese Text Project English translation "Sacred Books of the East, volume 28, part 4: The Li Ki", James Legge, 1885

Vocabulary Analysis

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