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Qi Jiguang’s Wujing Qishu Zhaiti. A Few Notes On A Synopsis Of The Military Classics

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image of Ming Qing Yanjiu

The famous Ming general Qi Jiguang (1522-1582) is best known for his military treatises, namely the Jixiao xinshu and the Lianbing shiji, while his other writings are much neglected by researchers. This article is an annotated translation and discussion of Qi Jiguang’s Wujing qishu zhaiti (16th cent.) The Wujing qishu zhaiti is a collage of excerpts from the Seven Military Classics (Wujing qishu), which are then re-arranged to form a new text. This new text, which is constructed like a wordgame, can be read as a commentary on the meaning of the military classics and their relative importance to the canon of military texts. In this re-arranged text, new meaning is constructed and new interpretations are suggested. While the history of the reception of the Wujing qishu zhaiti is unknown due to a lack of sources, the text seems to bear traces of discursive confrontations of the time and of a struggle for legitimacy. Qi Jiguang even seems to challenge the established order of the elites by re-enforcing the position of military studies as a serious subject, comparable to civil (Confucian) studies.

Affiliations: 1: * Faculty of East Asian Studies, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany.


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