章表 – Chinese philosophy and culture

zhāngbiǎo 章表

Memorial of Gratitude or Petition

古代文体名称,是臣下感谢皇帝恩宠或向皇帝有所请求的文书。“章”用于谢恩,“表”用于陈请。两者从文体上说差别不大。南朝刘勰(465?—520)在《文心雕龙》中对写作章表提出的理想标准是:表意明确而不肤浅,陈述与分析既精练又充实,合乎礼仪规范和文字规范。

This is an ancient style of official communication, through which a high-ranking official expressed his gratitude or presented a petition to the emperor. Zhang, or memorial of gratitude, and biao, or memorial of petition, differed little in style. Liu Xie (465?-520) of the Southern Dynasties observed in his literary critique The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons that an ideal piece of writing should convey its essential message in a clear and in-depth way, state or analyze a case succinctly and thoroughly, and obey rules of ritual propriety and standards of writing.

引例 Citations:

◎秦初定制,改书曰奏。汉定礼仪,则有四品:一曰章,二曰奏,三曰表,四曰议。章以谢恩,奏以按劾,表以陈请,议以执异。(刘勰《文心雕龙·章表》)

(秦初设定制度,将上书改称上奏。汉朝设定礼制,将上书分为章、奏、表、议四种,“章”用于谢恩,“奏”用于检举弹劾,“表”用于陈述请求,“议”用于提出不同看法。)

It was officially decided at the beginning of the Qin Dynasty that a letter to the emperor should be renamed as a “memorial to the throne.” In the Han Dynasty, this form of writing was divided into four sub-types by the court: zhang, memorial of gratitude, zou, memorial of impeachment, biao, memorial of petition, and yi, memorial of dissent. (Liu Xie: The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons)

◎原夫章表之为用也,所以对扬王庭,昭明心曲。既其身文,且亦国华。章以造阙,风矩应明;表以致禁,骨采宜耀。循名课实,以文为本者也。(刘勰《文心雕龙·章表》)

(推究章表本来的功用,在于回报和颂扬朝廷恩德,表明内心衷曲。既要体现自身的修养,也要显示国家的荣耀。章表是要送到朝廷的,风格和规范都要显明,骨力和文采都应出色。按照章表的名称来考察其实质,要以文采鲜明为其要旨。)

Memorials of gratitude or petition are intended to express gratitude to and extol the imperial court for the love and care it has shown to its subjects, or to present one’s true feelings. Such memorials should both demonstrate the authors’ self-cultivation and honor the empire. As these memorials are to be submitted to the court, they should be well-structured and eloquent in style. A memorial of gratitude or of petition should be explicit in wording. (Liu Xie: The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons)

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