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The Book of Rites 禮記

《明堂位》 The Places in the Hall of Distinction

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》 The Places in the Hall of Distinction

Formerly, when the duke of Zhou gave audience to the feudal princes in their several places in the Hall of Distinction, the son of Heaven stood with his back to the axe-embroidered screen, and his face towards the south. The three dukes were in front of the steps, in the middle, with their faces to the north, inclining to the east as the most honourable position. The places of the marquises were at the east of the eastern steps, with their faces to the west, inclining to the north as the most honourable position. The lords of the earldoms were at the west of the western steps, with their faces to the east, inclining also and for the same reason to the north. The counts were on the east of the gate, with their faces to the north, inclining to the east as the more honourable position. The barons were on the west of the gate, with their faces to the north, inclining also and for the same reason to the east. The chiefs of the nine Yi were outside the eastern door, with their faces to the west, inclining to the north as the position of honour; those of the eight Rong were outside the door on the south, with their faces to the north, inclining for the same reason to the cast; those of the six Zung were outside the door on the west, with their faces to the east, inclining for the same reason to the south; and those of the five Di were outside the door on the north, with their faces to the south, inclining for the same reason to the east. The chiefs of the nine Cai were outside the Ying gate, with their faces to the north, inclining to the east as the position of honour for them; those of the four Sai (also) came, who had only once in their time to announce their arrival (at the court). These were the places of the lords in the Hall of Distinction (when they appeared before) the duke of Zhou. The Hall of Distinction was so called, because in it the rank of the princes was clearly shown as high or low.

Formerly, when Zhou of Yin was throwing the whole kingdom into confusion, he made dried slices of (the flesh of) the marquis of Gui, and used them in feasting the princes. On this account the duke of Zhou assisted king Wu in attacking Zhou. When king Wu died, king Cheng being young and weak, the duke took the seat of the son of Heaven, and governed the kingdom. During six years he gave audience to all the princes in the Hall of Distinction; instituted ceremonies, made his instruments of music, gave out his (standard) weights and measures, and there was a grand submission throughout the kingdom. In the seventh year, he resigned the government to king Cheng; and he, in consideration of the duke's services to the kingdom, invested him with (the territory about) Qu-fu, seven hundred li square, and sending forth a thousand chariots of war. He (also) gave charge that (the princes of) Lu, from generation to generation, should sacrifice to the duke of Zhou with the ceremonies and music proper at a sacrifice by the son of Heaven.

Thus it was that the rulers of Lu, in the first month of spring, rode in a grand carriage, displaying the banner, suspended from its bow-like arm, with the twelve streamers, and having the sun and moon emblazoned on it, to sacrifice to God in the suburb of their metropolis, associating Hou Ji as his assessor in the service - according to the ceremonies used by the son of Heaven.

In the last month of summer, the sixth month, they used the ceremonies of the great sacrifice in sacrificing to the duke of Zhou in the great ancestral temple, employing for the victim to him a white bull. The cups were those with the figure of a victim bull, of an elephant, and of hills and clouds; that for the fragrant spirits was the one with gilt eyes on it. For libations they used the cup of jade with the handle made of a long rank-symbol. The dishes with the offerings were on stands of wood, adorned with jade and carved. The cups for the personator were of jade carved in the same way. There were also the plain cups and those of horn, adorned with round pieces of jade; and for the meat-stands, they used those with four feet and the cross-binders. (The singers) went up to the hall (or stage), and sang the Qing Miao; (in the court) below, (the pantomimes) performed the Xiang dance, to the accompaniment of the wind instruments. With their red shields and jade-adorned axes, and in their caps with pendants, they danced to the music of the Da Wu; in their skin caps, and large white skirts gathered at the waist, and jacket of silk, they danced the Da Xia. There (were also) the Mei, or music of the wild tribes of the East; and the Ren, or music of those of the South. The introduction of these two in the grand temple was to signalise the distinction of Lu all over the kingdom.

The ruler, in his dragon-figured robe and cap with pendants, stood at the eastern steps; and his wife, in her head-dress and embroidered robe, stood in her room. The ruler, with shoulder bared, met the victim at the gate; his wife brought in the stands for the dishes. The ministers and Great officers assisted the ruler; their wives assisted his wife. Each one discharged the duty proper to him or her. Any officer who neglected his duty was severely punished; and throughout the kingdom there was a great acknowledgment of, and submission to, (the worth of the duke of Zhou).

(In Lu) they offered (also) the sacrifices of summer, autumn, and winter (in the ancestral temple); with those at the altars of the land and grain in spring, and that at the autumnal hunt, going on to the great sacrifice of thanksgiving at the end of the year - all (after the pattern of) the sacrifices of the son of Heaven.

The grand temple (of Lu) corresponded to the Hall of Distinction of the son of Heaven, the Ku gate of the (marquis's palace) to the Gao (or outer) gate of the king's, and the Zhi gate to the Ying.

They shook the bell with the wooden clapper in the court as was done in the royal court, in announcing governmental orders.

The capitals of the pillars with hills carved on them, and the pond-weed carving on the small pillars above the beams; the second storey and the great beams projecting under the eaves; the polished pillars and the windows opposite to one another; the earthen stand on which the cups, after being used, were placed; the high stand on which the jade tokens were displayed aloft; and the slightly carved screen - all these were ornaments of the temple of the son of Heaven.

(The princes of Lu) had, as carriages, that of (Shun), the lord of Yu, furnished with bells; that of the sovereign of Xia, with its carved front; the Great carriage (of wood), or that of Yin; and the carriage (adorned with jade), or that of Zhou.

They had, as flags or banners, that of (Shun), the lord of Yu; the yak's tail of the sovereign of Xia; the great white flag of Yin; and the corresponding red one of Zhou.

They had the white horses of the sovereign of Xia, with their black manes; the white horses of Yin, with their black heads; and the bay horses of Zhou, with red manes.

The sovereigns of Xia preferred black victims; those of Yin, white; and those of Zhou, victims which were red and strong.

Of jugs for liquor, they had the earthenware jug of the lord of Yu; the jug of Xia, with clouds and hills figured on it; the ko of Yin, with no base, which rested directly on the ground; and the jugs of Zhou, with a victim-bull or an elephant on them.

For bowls or cups they had the zhan of Xia; the jia of Yin; and the jia of Zhou.

For libations they had the jug of Xia, with a cock on it; the jia of Yin; and that of Zhou, with gilt eyes on it.

For ladles they had that of Xia, with the handle ending in a dragon's head; that of Yin, slightly carved all over; and that of Zhou, with the handle like plaited rushes.

They had the earthen drum, with clods for the drumstick and the reed pipe, producing the music of Yi-zhi; the pillow-like bundles of chaff, which were struck; the sounding stone of jade; the instruments rubbed or struck, (to regulate the commencement and close of the music); the great lute and great cithern; the medium lute and little citherns: the musical instruments of the four dynasties.

The temple of the duke of Lu was maintained from generation to generation like that of (king) Wen (in the capital of Zhou), and the temple of duke Wu in the same way like that of (king) Wu.

They had the xiang (school) of the lord of Yu, in connexion with which were kept the stores of (sacrificial) rice; the xu school of the sovereign of Xia; the school of Yin, in which the blind were honoured; and the college of Zhou, with its semicircle of water.

They had the tripods of Chong and Guan; the great jade hemisphere; and the tortoise-shell of Feng-fu - all articles (properly) belonging to the son of Heaven. They (also) had the lance of Yue; and the great bow - military weapons of the son of Heaven.

They had the drum of Xia supported on four legs; that of Yin supported on a single pillar; the drums of Zhou, pendent from a stand; the peal of bells of Sui; the differently toned qing (sonorous stones) of Shu; and the organ of nu-wa, with its tongues.

They had the music-stand of Xia, with its face-board and posts, on which dragons were carved; that of Yin, with the high-toothed face-board; and that of Zhou, with its round ornaments of jade, and feathers (hung from the corners).

They had the two dui of the lord of Yu (for holding the grain at sacrifices); the four lian of Xia; the six hu of Yin; and the eight gui of Zhou.

They had for stands (on which to set forth the flesh of the victims), the kuan of Shun; the gui of Xia; the ju of Yin; and the room-like stand of Zhou.

For the tall supports of the dishes, they used those of Xia of unadorned wood; those of Yin, adorned with jade; and those of Zhou, with feathers carved on them.

They had the plain leather knee-covers of Shun; those of Xia, with hills represented on them; those of Yin, with flames; and those of Zhou, with dragons.

They used for their sacrificial offerings (to the father of Cookery), like the lord of Yu, (portions of) the head; like the sovereigns of Xia, (portions of) the heart; as they did under Yin, (portions of) the liver; and as they did under Zhou, (portions of) the lungs.

They used the bright water preferred by Xia; the unfermented liquor preferred by Yin; and the completed liquor preferred by Zhou.

They used (the names) of the 50 officers of the lord of Yu; of the 100 of thc sovereigns of Xia; of the 200 of Yin; and of the 300 Of Zhou.

(At their funerals) they used the feathery ornaments of the lord of Yu; the wrappings of white silk (about the flag-staffs) of the sovereigns of Xia; (the flags) with their toothed edges of Yin; and the round pieces of jade and plumes Of Zhou.

Lu (thus) used the robes, vessels and officers of all the four dynasties, and so it observed the royal ceremonies. It long transmitted them everywhere. Its rulers and ministers never killed one another, Its rites, music, punishments, laws, governmental proceedings, manners and customs never changed. Throughout the kingdom it was considered the state which exhibited the right ways; and therefore dependence was placed on it in the matters of ceremonies and music.

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

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