Click on any word to see more details.《投壺》 The Game of Pitch-Pot
According to the rules for Pitch-pot, the host carries the arrows in both his hands put together; the superintendent of the archery carries in the same way the stand on which the tallies were placed; and an attendant holds in his hand the pot. The host entreats (one of the guests), saying, 'I have here these crooked arrows, and this pot with its wry mouth; but we beg you to amuse yourself with them.' The guest says, 'I have partaken, Sir, of your excellent drink and admirable viands; allow me to decline this further proposal for my pleasure.' The host rejoins, 'It is not worth the while for you to decline these poor arrows and pot; let me earnestly beg you to try them.' The guest repeats his refusal, saying, 'I have partaken (of your entertainment), and you would still further have me enjoy myself;--I venture firmly to decline.' The host again says, "It is not worth the while for you to decline these poor arrows and pot; let me earnestly beg you to try them,' and then the guest says, 'I have firmly declined what you request, but you will not allow me to refuse;--I venture respectfully to obey you.' The guest then bows twice, and signifies that he will receive (the arrows). The host wheels round, saying, 'Let me get out of the way;' and then at the top of the steps on the east, he bows to the guest and gives him the arrows. The guest wheels round, and says, 'Let me get out of the way.'
(The host) having bowed, and received the arrows (for himself), advances to the space between the two pillars. He then retires, and returns to his station, motioning also to the guest to go to his mat (for pitching from). The superintendent of the archery comes forward, and measures the distance of the pot (from the mats), which should be a space of the length of two and a half arrows. He then returns to his station, sets forth the stand for the tallies, and with his face to the east, takes eight counters and stands up. He asks the guest to pitch, saying, 'When the arrow goes straight in, it is reckoned an entry. If you throw a second (without waiting for your opponent to pitch), it is not reckoned.' The victor gives the vanquished a cup to drink; and when the cups of decision have been dispatched, the superintendent begs to set up what he calls 'a horse' for the victor. If he set up one horse, then a second, and finally a third, he begs to congratulate the thrower on the number of his horses. He asks the host to pitch in the same way, and with the same words. He orders the cithern-players to strike up 'The Fox's Head,' with the same interval between (each repetition of the tune), and the director of the music answers, 'Yes.'
When the superintendent announces to them on the left and right that the arrows are all used up, he requests them to pitch again. When an arrow enters, he kneels, and puts down a counter. The partners of the guest are on the right, and those of the host on the left. When they have done pitching, he takes up the counters, and says, 'They have done pitching, both on the left and right; allow me to take the numbers.' He then takes the numbers two by two, and leaves the single counters. After this he takes the single counters, and gives the announcement, saying, "Such and such a side has the better by so many doubles, or naming the number of the singles.' If they are equal, he says, 'Left and right are equal.'
He then orders the cups to be filled, saying, 'Let the cup go round,' and the cup-bearer (of the successful side) replies, 'Yes.' Those who have to drink all kneel, and raising their cups with both hands, say, 'We 'receive what you give us to drink.' The victors (also) kneel and say, 'We beg respectfully to refresh you.' When this cup has gone round, according to rule, (the superintendent) asks leave to exhibit the 'horses' (of the victorious side). Each 'horse' stands for so many counters. (He who has only) one 'horse' gives it to him who has two, to congratulate him (on his superiority). The usage in congratulating (the most successful) is to say, 'Your three "horses" are all here; allow me to congratulate you on their number.' The guests and host all express their assent. The customary cup goes round, and the superintendent asks leave to remove the 'horses.'
The number of the counters varies according to the place in which they kneel (when playing the game). (Each round is with 4 arrows.) (If the game be in) the chamber, there are 5 sets of these; if in the hall, 7; if in the courtyard, 9. The counters are 1 cubit 2 inches long. The neck of the pot is 7 inches long; its belly, 5; and its mouth is 2 1/2 inches in diameter. It contains a peck and 5 pints. It is filled with small beans, to prevent the arrows from leaping out. It is distant from the mats of the players, the length of 2 1/2 arrows. The arrows are made of mulberry wood, or from the zizyphus, without the bark being removed.
In Lu, the young people (taking part in the game) were admonished in these words, 'Do not be rude; do not be haughty; do not stand awry; do not talk about irrelevant matters; for those who stand awry, or speak about irrelevant matters, there is the regular (penal) cap.' A similar admonition in Xie was to this effect - 'Do not be rude; do not be haughty; do not stand awry; do not speak about irrelevant matters. Those who do any of these things must pay the penalty.'
[This appears to be a representation of the progress of a game by means of small circles and squares. The circles indicating blows on a small drum called phi, and the squares blows on the larger drum (gu) - according, we may suppose, to certain events in the game. The 'drum' marks are followed by what are called 'halves' or semis.]
The superintendent of the archery, the overseer of the courtyard, and the capped officers who stood by, all belonged to the party of the guest. The musicians and the boys who acted as attendants, all belonged to the party of the host.
Source: Chinese Text Project http://ctext.org/liji. English translation "Sacred Books of the East, volume 28, part 4: The Li Ki", James Legge, 1885
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