De Sha Bushell Biography & Facts
Menggu Ziyun (Chinese: 蒙古字韻, "Rimes in Mongol Script") is a 14th-century rime dictionary of Chinese as written in the 'Phags-pa script that was used during the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368). The only surviving examplar of this dictionary is an 18th-century manuscript copy that belonged to Stephen Wootton Bushell (1844–1908), and is now held at the British Library (Or. 6972). As the only known example of a 'Phags-pa script dictionary of Chinese, it is important both as an aid for interpreting Yuan dynasty texts and inscriptions written in Chinese using the 'Phags-pa script, and as a source for the reconstructed pronunciation of Old Mandarin.
The British Library manuscript
The British Library manuscript was acquired by the antiquarian and art historian S. W. Bushell when he worked as a physician at the British Legation in Beijing, China from 1868 to 1900, probably in 1872 during a trip to Inner Mongolia and the ruins of Shangdu, the fabled summer capital of the Yuan emperors then known as "Xanadu" in English. In April 1909, a year after his death, Bushell's widow, Florence Bushell, sold the manuscript to the British Museum in London, and it is now held by the British Library (shelfmark Or. 6972).The manuscript is written on thin, brown paper which has been mounted on white backing paper and bound in two traditional stitched volumes, each 24.7 × 17.3 cm. Each folio of the manuscript is 22.5 × 28.8 cm in size, folded in half as is normal in stitch-bound volumes. The text is written in vertical columns running from left to right across the page, which is the opposite of traditional Chinese books, but follows the layout of Mongolian script and 'Phags-pa texts. The first volume comprises an unnumbered title folio and 33 numbered folios, and the second volume comprises an unnumbered title folio and 31 numbered folios, of which page 30b and 31a are blank except for the volume and page numbers. The missing section covers the rimes in -a and -e, as well as the first part of the appended Taboo Characters section, which Junast and Yang Naisi have calculated should actually take up three full folios (i.e. the second volume of the original edition would have comprised 33 folios).The manuscript does not indicate when and by whom it was copied, and there are no ownership seals. However, on the basis of tabooed characters of Qing dynasty emperors, the manuscript has been dated to the Qianlong era (1736–1795). The manuscript may be a second or third hand copy of an original Yuan dynasty edition, made by someone who did not necessarily understand the 'Phags-pa script, and so the 'Phags-pa letters are often poorly written or corrupted, and there are many transcription errors such as missing, misplaced and incorrectly written Chinese characters.
Authorship and editions
Based on its format, the British Library manuscript of Menggu Ziyun is thought to be a copy of an earlier printed edition. Although no extant printed editions are known, one mid 19th century writer, Luo Yizhi 羅以智, mentions that he had seen a Yuan dynasty printed edition of the dictionary. Other Qing dynasty (1644–1912) writers mention having seen manuscript copies of the text, but the British Library manuscript is now the only known copy.The British Library manuscript includes two prefaces in Chinese dated 1308, one by Liu Geng 劉更 and one by Zhu Zongwen 朱宗文 (Mongolian name Bayan) of Xin'an 信安 (modern Changshan County in Zhejiang). The prefaces both indicate that this edition of the dictionary was composed by Zhu Zongwen, but that it is a revised edition based on a collation of several editions that were in circulation at the time, including one edition published in Hubei and one edition published in Eastern Zhejiang. The original 'Phags-pa dictionary that is ancestral to the 1308 edition was probably compiled by imperial order soon after the 'Phags-pa script was devised in about 1269, intended for use in teaching the new script to Chinese officials.Two late 13th century books which may be related to Menggu Ziyun are recorded in Yuan dynasty sources, one called Měnggǔ Yùnlüè 蒙古韻略 ("Summary of the Mongol Rimes") and one called Měnggǔ Yùnlèi 蒙古韻類 ("Mongol Rime Categories") that was compiled by Li Hongdao 李宏道. Although neither work is extant, it has been conjectured that they could be primary sources used by Zhu Zongwen in compiling his edition, or possibly even earlier editions of Menggu Ziyun published under a different title. A preface for Měnggǔ Yùnlèi that has survived, and it indicates that it used a system of 15 rime classes and 32 initials, which is very similar to the system used in Menggu Ziyun.
The book is written in Chinese using a mixture of Chinese characters and 'Phags-pa transcription, with section titles and rime class headings given in both scripts. Only the two prefaces and the appended list of taboo characters are written entirely in Chinese characters. The title of the book in 'Phags-pa script (ꡏꡡꡃ ꡣꡡꡙ ꡐꡜꡞ ꡝꡧꡞꡋ mong xol tshi ʼwin) is anomalous in that it does not exactly transcribe the corresponding Chinese characters (Měnggǔ Zìyùn 蒙古字韻) as mong xol is not a transcription of the Chinese characters 蒙古 (měnggǔ, meaning 'Mongol'), but is a direct phonetic representation of the Mongolian word ᠮᠣᠩᠭᠣᠯ mongɣol 'Mongol'.The book comprises the following sections:
Preface in Chinese written by Liu Geng 劉更 and dated 1308
Preface in Chinese written by Zhu Zongwen 朱宗文 and dated 1308
Table of errors in earlier editions of Menggu Ziyun that are corrected in this edition
Diagram illustrating the pronunciation of 'Phags-pa letters (incomplete in the extant manuscript)
Table of the thirty-six initial sounds of Chinese in the 'Phags-pa script
Table of seal script forms of 'Phags-pa letters
Table of the fifteen Chinese rime classes under which the entries are ordered
The main text of the dictionary
Appendix listing taboo characters, derived from the Decrees and Regulations of Yuan dynasty (元典章)The main text comprises 813 entries ordered by rime class and initial sound. Three folios covering some 37 syllables with -a and -e rimes are missing in the extant manuscript, and so it is thought that the original text would have comprised about 850 entries in total. Each entry consists of a syllable written in 'Phags-pa script at the top, below which are a list of Chinese characters representable by this 'Phags-pa syllable, ordered according to the four traditional Chinese tones ("level", "rising", "falling" and "entering"). The 'Phags-pa script does not indicate tonal differences so Chinese characters with the same pronunciation but different tones are represented using the same 'Phags-pa syllable. A total of 9118 Chinese characters are given under the surviving 813 entries, although as Chinese characters may have more than one pronunciation, some characters .... Discover the De Sha Bushell popular books. Find the top 100 most popular De Sha Bushell books.