YAJIMA Akiko (Keio University): A Comparative Study of the Image of a Bird Singing at Night in Chinese and Japanese Literature
How did early Chinese people describe birds singing at night in their literature? How has that image been transmitted? I examine this question through a comparison with Japanese literature, taking the owl as an example. In China, it was considered ominous to hear birds and beasts crying at night. The owl in particular was described as an evil and unfilial bird and served as a metaphor for an evil and unfilial person. While Japan has been strongly influenced by Chinese culture, and the same image of the owl appears frequently in Japanese literature as in Chinese, some later narratives regard the owl as a funny bird. The image of this bird as described in Chinese text has not changed throughout history, yet it changed in Japan. How did this difference arise? This could be due to the fact that authoritative texts remained authoritative, in addition to differences in natural environment and lifestyle. However, did the image that the Chinese actually have of this bird remain the same in real life? The few doubts about the traditional image that remains in the literature are key to resolving this question.


Chiara Bocci (Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany): A Chinese “Nemean Lion”? The jiqu 狤: A Curious Philological / Zoological case
In works of the Tang dynasty, a curious compound word appears for the first time in the history of Chinese literature: ji qu. These two characters form the name of an animal, which impresses for an overly cruel destiny, which contradicts the meaning of the phonetic elements (ji 吉 and qu 屈), literally “The one which bows at good luck”. Written sources tell us, in fact, a completely different story. The first sources that narrate its deeds are the Jin Dynasty’s Baopuzi 抱朴子by Ge Hong 葛洪 and the Hainei shizhou ji 海内十洲記 (“Records of the Ten Island-Continents Inside the Seas”, probably a Six-Dynasties product), where the quadruped has a different name: “beast revived by the wind” (fengsheng shou 風生獸). For its wondrous features, it seems to belong to that category of mythical creatures, which includes the fenghuang 鳳凰 or the qilin 麒麟. Its main characteristic is an iron-like skin, impenetrable to all sorts of weapons (spears or knives), which reminds of the Nemean lion of ancient Greek mythology.
Only by beating it with a club and breaking its bones, can hunters kill it. Moreover, the animal is able to come back to life thanks to the revitalizing force of the wind. Around the Six-Dynasties period, the so-called fengmu 風母 (lit. “mother of wind”) appears too. The lost Jiaozhou ji 交州記 (“Records of Jiaozhou”) by Liu Xinqi 劉欣期 (4th — 5th cent.) describes it, echoing the Baopuzi and the Hainei shizhou ji: the animal can be killed only by hard beating and it resuscitates with the wind. The Yiwen leiju 藝文類聚 (624) quotes this passage. Some sources, such as the dictionary Yupian 玉篇 (first composed in the 6th cent.) write fengmu with the dog radical too. Later on, during the Tang dynasty, another animal related to the wind appears: the fengli 風狸/貍 or “wind-li / wind-wildcat”. The features of the fengli are much more realistic, it resembles a small ape, and its urine can cure diseases of the wind (such as epilepsy, madness or even leper). The pharmacologist Chen Cangqi 陳藏器 (8th cent.) describes the fengli as a small arboreal mammal from the region South of Yongzhou 邕州 (in Guangxi), which people keep in captivity to harvest its milky white urine. Whilst it can hardly be believed that a fengsheng shou was ever observed in real life, the fengli seems a plausible living being; maybe Chen Cangqi even observed it directly. A few decades later, with the Tongdian 通典 (“Comprehensive Institutions”, 801), the old description by Baopuzi reemerges, to be attributed to the jiqu: a monster devouring humans! Another fifty years later, the philologist Duan Chengshi 段成式 probably uses the Tongdian to compile parts of his Youyang zazu 酉陽雜俎 (“Miscellaneous Records from Youyang”, ca. 850) but describes the jiqu as a frankincense (xunlu xiang 熏陸香)-eating animal. The same author dedicates a separate entry to the fengli in another chapter, with a description that reminds initially of Chen Cangqi’s words, to switch to the extraordinary, transforming the small arboreal mammal into a kind of wizard, which thrives by means of magic and hides away from humans. Later on, in encyclopedic works such as the Taiping yulan 太平御覽 (983), these different descriptions merge, to refer to the same animal. Li Shizhen 李時珍 (16th cent.) lists all different names (fengli, fengsheng shou, fengmu, pinghou 平猴 and jiqu) as synonyms. During my presentation, I will go through the main sources for fengsheng shou, fengli, and jiqu with a philological approach, trying to reconstruct the literary and linguistic “career” of a truly fascinating animal. Looking at this particular case, can also stimulate a discussion about the development of Chinese language in the so-called Chinese Middle Ages, and possible foreign contributions to the emergence of new words.

Federico Valenti (University of Sassari Ph.D.): “To Explain Beasts and Their Needs”: A Summary on Mammal Taxonomy in the Shi Shou 釋獸 Chapter of the Erya 爾雅
The early Chinese synonymicon Erya 爾雅 (Approaching Elegance; third century BCE) has been almost unanimously acknowledged as an influential model of what a lexicon should be in the Chinese literary tradition (South Coblin 2017, Bottéro 2017). Among its taxonomically organized chapters, Shi Shou 釋獸
(“Glosses on beasts”) is a terse compendium of some terms related to mammals that were considered part of the “official nomenclature” in a period where the unification of the Chinese language was fundamental to develop and organise a unified and cohesive Empire. By analysing the Shi Shou, it is possible not only to understand part of the richness of Classical Chinese zoological terminology, but also to discover some peculiar taxonomical strategies that were used to organise the vast compendium of animal nouns. A special focus will be put on the last mysterious line of the chapter, where the term xu 須 is introduced, a character that usually means ‘needs’ or ‘necessities’, but whose meaning in relation to animals in this text seems vague.
Mengzi 2A2 consists of Master Meng’s answers to questions put to him by a follower named Gongsun Chou. The first few of these replies relate to bu dong xin, “unmoved heart,”—i.e., mental quietude and equanimity in the face of humiliation or disappointment as well as excitement or promise—and to yang yong, “nurturing fortitude,” the first of several methods Mengzi identifies for achieving an “unmoved heart.” Mengzi attributes to his old rival, Gaozi, a sixteen-word “maxim” and adds to it a filigree of glosses and highly abbreviated explanations meant to justify why he labels the second part of Gaozi’s maxim an acceptable means for achieving an unmoved heart. In responding to subsequent questions, Mengzi introduces and explains yang haoran zhi qi, “nurturing the flood-like ethers,” and zhi yan, “recognizing (the defects in) words,” two pillars of his own self-cultivation method. Mengzi’s elaborations on how to cultivate the ethers show that he believed they would “fill the space between Heaven and Earth” because his passions dwelled together with propriety in a state of conjugal harmony. 
I first presented a paper on Mengzi 2A2 at Harvard in the summer of 1976 and subsequently published it in 1980. The present paper is not simply a revision of that effort but rather a thorough reconsideration of its arguments and conclusions. The length of the passage, but even more so its obscure subject, technical vocabulary, rhetorical complexities, elliptical syntax, and resonances for those within the Ruist tradition account for Mengzi 2A2 having generated more discussion in the traditional exegeses and commentaries than other Mengzi passages. The earliest surviving commentary was composed by Zhao Qi (d. 201 ce). The most important of the lengthy treatments is the commentary of Zhu Xi (1130-1200), the Mengzi jizhu, first published in 1190, read together with the lessons on Mengzi 2A2 Zhu Xi provided his disciples and followers toward the end of his life that are preserved in the Zhuzi yulei.
The interpretations and other aspects of the approach to and reception of Mengzi 2A2 by Zhao Qi and Zhu Xi are major subjects of analysis treated in the present study. They are supplemented by consideration of the writings of late Ming and early Qing dynasty authorities, many of whom refute or criticize various points in Zhu Xi’s interpretations. Also important are the detailed lexical notes and other research materials compiled by Jiao Xun (1763-1820) in his Mengzi zhengyi, in a sense a capstone of the Qing dynasty philological approach to the text. Interwoven with the explanations of these earlier commentators are my own attempts to engage with Mengzi’s thought and the often-unique difficulties of understanding the terminology he used in formulating his answers to Gongsun Chou’s questions. While this involves applying the philological tools necessary to any reading of early Chinese literature, my purpose here is not so much to provide a close reading of Mengzi 2A2 but rather to create an interpretation of the text that will encourage readers to explore more deeply its difficulties and complexities. The last word on the text will never be written.