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Taibai Yinjing (Chinese-English)

  • Taibai Yinjing
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Library of Chinese Classics: Taibai Yinjing
By Li Quan
Translated into English by Zhu Shida
Published by Military Science Publishing House, Oct 1, 2007
Library binding book, dimensions 210 x 297 mm, 1 volume, 272 pages
ISBN: 9787802371132

Taibai yinjing is a book on the art of war for generals to improve military stratagems. It was finished in the middle period of Tang Dynasty. It is also a summarization of the experience in quelling the rebellion by An Lushan and Shi Siming. Li Quan, author of the book was indeed wise in criticizing the ills of the times by interpreting the ancient events. He stressed man's role in warfare, and proved his conception with powerful logics. In the meantime, Li Quan raised clear-cut ideas on controlling troops and guiding a war.

This book is the first three volumes (chapters) of the original text edited and translated into modern Chinese by Liu Xianting; translated into English by Zhu Shida, proofread by Liang Liangxing and Yuan Weizhen.

The original text is divided into ten volumes (chapters). The first and second volumes deal with stratagems by wise men, stressing the role of man in warfare.
The author proposes themes that discuss the importance of Yin and Yang, terrain, courage and timidity, the morality for the men of virtues, commanders with wisdom and stratagem, political trickery, the wisdom in knowing the hearts of people, and punishing the strong with political means. Such themes are critiques of metaphysics. He proves his ideas with powerful logics. He puts forth his own ideas on the good military command, the virtue of harmony, the temple council meetings, tactical plots, the love for the soldiers by the commanders, the selection of talents, the encouragement of soldiers, the punishments and rewards, topography, army disposition, battles, the offensive and defensive, military messengers, and examination of talents. The two volumes have the most theoretical approach and can most fully reflect Li Quan's military views. The third volume deals with miscellaneous rituals such as the bronze knife giving ceremony, army deployment, the generals, the combat generals, the field generals, the cavalry generals, the examination of men's physiognomy and the horse, the army oath and strategic passes.

Volume 1 Stratagems by Wise Men (I)
The Heaven Has No Yin and Yang
No Treacherous Terrain
No Courageous or Timid Men
Moral Head of State
The Wealth and Strength of a State
Men of Virtues Encountering Opportunities
Commanders with Wisdom and Stratagem
Political Trickery
The Tactics in Knowing the Hearts of People
Punishing the Strong with Political Means

Volume 2 Stratagems by Wise Men (II)
Good Use of the Army
The Virtue of Harmony
Full Assessments at Pre-war Temple Council Meetings
Tactical Plots
Love for Soldiers as One’s Own Children
Selection of Talents
Encouragement to Soldiers
Punishment and Reward
Topographical Advantages
The Military’s Disposition
On Battles
On the Offensive and Defensive
On the Missionary
On the Examination of Talents

Volume 3 Miscellaneous Rituals (III)
Bronze Knife Giving Ceremony
On Army Deployment
On Generals
On Combat Generals
On Field Generals
On Cavalry Generals
On Physiognomy
The Examination of the Horse
Army Oath
The Treacherous Passes and the Tribes on the Borders

The fourth volume gives an account of the weapons for conquering and defending a city, water-attacking weapons, fire-attacking weapons, water-floating equipment, water battle weapons, weaponry in general and army uniforms.

The fifth volume deals with preparations before a war. It covers the defense of a city, city moats, the shielded crossbow-shooting platforms, beacon towers, horse stations, soft sandy traps, patrols, listening to the earth, safety messenger, drum beating, arrangement of night sentry posts, night pass word, local guide, well water trapping, the loss of the way, mountain search and burning of wild grass, the logistics army in the front followed by the combat army, provocative drumming, reclamation of farmland in peace time, food grain supply and horse fodder, military fund, and banquet music.

The sixth through the tenth volume discuss troop deployment diagrams, prayers and miscellaneous ways of divinations.

It can be clearly observed that the first five volumes are composed of two parts, namely, the theoretical and practical parts. Philosophically speaking, materialism dominates throughout the first fivevolumes. However, the second five volumes run so contrary to the first five ones, indulging ever so much into idealism and superstitions that people would wonder whether it is written by the same person.

Li Quan (712 - 779) lived during the reign of Emperor Xuanzong to Daizong of the Tang Dynasty. His name has never been recorded in the mainstream historical records, but occasionally mentioned in Ji Xian Zhuan, Shen Zian Gan Yu Zhuan, Yun Xi You Yi. The records in these books are not detailed about his life and often contradictory to each other. So, it is hard to know his birthplace and exact records of life. According to the study by Yu Jiaxi et al, Li Quan was a commoner who lived in seclusion in mountains, reading Taoist classics. He wrote Yin Fu Jing Shu and later became a Jiedu Panguan, an assistant to the Governor of Jingnan and finally a Cishi (a prefectural governor with administrative and military authorities) in Dengzhou. (Yu Jiaxi said so by quoting Yun Xi You Yi by a scholar of the Tang Dynasty.) Besides Taibai Yinjing, other military works by Li Quan recorded in the “Records of Arts and Literature” of the New Tang Books, the "Records of Arts and Literature" of the History of the Song Dynasty include Annotated Sunzi's Book of Art of War (in two volumes), Divination of the Five Elements and Stars (single volume), Kun Wai Chun Qiu (in ten volumes), Peng Men Yu Zhang Ge (in two volumes), Jun Lu Zhi Gui (in three volumes). However, most of the works have been lost. He also wrote some philosophical works such as Yin Fu Jing Shu and Yin Fu Xuan Yi. There is no doubt that Li Quan was one of the few scholars who paid attention to military affairs and with significant achievements in the mid-Tang Dynasty period. He was "a philosopher of the Tang Dynasty who had been overlooked for a long time." (Quoted from Ren Jiyu)

版本:第1版,精装,16开,272 页



卷一 人谋上
天无阴阳篇 地无险阻篇 人无勇怯篇 主有道德篇 国有富强篇 贤有遇时篇 将有智谋篇 术有阴谋篇 数有探心篇 政有诛强篇

卷二 人谋下
善师篇 贵和篇 庙胜篇 沉谋篇 了卒篇 选士篇 励士篇 刑赏篇 地势篇 兵形篇 作战篇 攻守篇 行人篇 鉴才篇

卷三 杂仪类
授钺篇 部署篇 将军篇 阵将篇 队将篇 马将篇 鉴人篇 相马篇 誓众军令篇 关塞四夷篇

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