封禅 – Chinese philosophy and culture

fēngshàn 封禅

Sacrificial Ceremony / An Ode to Sacrificial Ceremony

主要含义有二:其一,指古代帝王登上泰山,祭拜天地以报告成功、感谢天降祥瑞,同时刻石记功、向天下宣示受命于天的一种大典。其中在泰山顶上筑土为坛行祭天礼叫“封”,在梁父或云云等小山上辟除场地行祭地礼叫“禅”。传说中三皇五帝、禹、汤、周武王等都举行了封禅,秦以后只有秦始皇(前259—前210)、汉武帝(前156年—前87)、汉光武帝(前5—公元57)等在泰山举行封禅大典。其二,指封禅文,是古代劝告帝王封禅或记录封禅大典、歌颂功德的一种文体。由西汉司马相如(前179?—前118?)创制。南朝刘勰(465?—520)指出,封禅文作为一个时代的典章,体制庄重宏大、气势壮阔,应当纪事可靠、说理清晰、文辞典雅。为了歌颂帝王的伟大和天地的神奇,封禅文作者要从浩瀚典籍中选用古雅而不晦涩的词语,或者采用新颖而不肤浅的词语,要竭尽想象力和夸饰之能事。封禅文后来演变为庆典致辞以及记录各类庆典活动的文章。遵循刘勰提出的要求写作,庆典文章可以体现一个单位、地区乃至国家的精神与气度,而优秀的庆典致辞或记录庆典的诗文,也有可能成为代表时代水准的大手笔。

This term has two meanings. One is a grand sacrificial ceremony held in ancient times by an emperor after ascending to the top of Mount Taishan to pay tribute to heaven and earth, announce his achievements, thank gods for having brought him and his people good fortune, and inscribe his achievements on a huge stone. He performed this ceremony to declare to the world that his power was bestowed by Heaven. A heaven-worshipping ceremony was held on an earthen terrace on the top of Mount Taishan. An earth-worshipping ceremony was held on a clearing on the Liangfu or the Yunyun Hill near Mount Taishan. According to legend, the Three Sovereigns and the Five Emperors, hero Yu who brought floods under control, King Tang of the Shang Dynasty, King Wu of the Zhou Dynasty all held such ceremonies during their reigns. After the founding of the Qin Dynasty, only the First Emperor of Qin (259-210 BC), Emperor Wu of the Western Han Dynasty (156-87 BC), and Emperor Guangwu of the Eastern Han Dynasty (5 BC- AD 57) held such ceremonies on Mount Taishan.

The other meaning of this term is an ode composed to urge the emperor to hold such a sacrificial ceremony or to record its actual process if a sacrificial ceremony was held to extol his achievements. Such an ode was first written by Sima Xiangru (179?-118 BC) of the Western Han Dynasty. Liu Xie (465?-520) of the Southern Dynasties held that the ode, as a declaration of royal achievement in its era, should be solemn, grand, factual, eloquent and graceful. To extol an emperor’s greatness and the miraculous power of heaven and earth, the author should select old yet lucid words from the classics, or use new words rich in implication. He should give free rein to his imagination. Sacrificial odes later became standard commemorative speeches. Liu Xie’s requirements, when observed, may help boost the image or morale of a company, a governmental or cultural institution, a region or even the whole country. Good ceremonial speeches, poems or essays can become representative writings of a particular era.

引例 Citations:

◎伏惟相如《封禅》,靡而不典;扬雄《美新》,典而亡实,然皆游扬后世,垂为旧式。(班固《典引》)

(我想到司马相如的《封禅》,细密而不够典雅;扬雄的《剧秦美新》,典雅而不够切实。不过它们都传扬于后世,成为典范。)

Sima Xiangru’s “The Sacrificial Ceremony” is well-structured yet not sufficiently graceful. Yang Xiong’s “The Tyrannical Qin and the Benevolent New Regime” is graceful yet not sufficiently factual. However, both of these writings have been passed down for generations as classics. (Ban Gu: A Commentary on Sacrificial Ceremonies)

◎兹文为用,盖一代之典章也。构位之始,宜明大体:树骨于训典之区,选言于宏富之路,使意古而不晦于深,文今而不坠于浅,义吐光芒,辞成廉锷,则为伟矣。(刘勰《文心雕龙·封禅》)

(封禅这种文体的意义,堪称一个时代的典章。在构思文章之始,应当先把握它的基本要领:要学习《尚书》中的训典来建立文章的骨干,要从宏伟富丽的作品中选择文辞,使文意古雅而不深奥,用语新颖而不浮浅,内容绽放光彩,文辞展露锋芒,就可称得上伟大作品了。)

An ode to sacrificial ceremony is representative of an era. Before committing one’s thought to paper, one should grasp its essence. He should draw upon the tenets of The Book of History to develop the basic structure of the writing and the terms from the masterpieces of old times to enrich the expressions, thus making his writing refined yet understandable, novel yet not superficial. If an ode to sacrificial ceremony is appealing in content and grand in style, it will be truly a great work. (Liu Xie: The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons)

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