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Lüshi chunqiu 吕氏春秋 "Spring and Autumn of Master Lü"

The Lüshi chunqiu 吕氏春秋 “Spring and Autumn of Master Lü” is a collection of treatises on cosmological matters from the late Warring States period 战国 (5th cent.-221 BCE). It is said to have been compiled by the numerous retainers of Lü Buwei 吕不韦, counselor-in-chief of the state of Qin 秦. Retainers of nobles during that time were often men of higher education who represented a philosophical school or school of thinkers. They were used not only to entertain their master but also to provide him with useful knowledge or advice in daily politics. There is also the title ofLülan 吕览 “Lü’s examinations”.

The Lüshi chunqiu consists of 8 chapters of examinations (lan 览), 6 chapters of discourses (lun 论), and 16 chapters of almanachs (ji 纪), in 160 parts. In ancient bibliographies it is normally listed among themiscellaneous masters (zajia 杂家), although it contains also Confucian andDaoist thought as well as theories of the nominalists (mingjia 名家),legalists, Mohists, agronomists and the Yin-Yang thinkers. Although theLüshi chunqiu has been compiled by the hands of many authors the final redaction must have been in the hands of an excellent team, as the whole composition is very consistent and integrative. It covers a vast range of topics, beginning with the seasons, the corresponding phenology and the integrative correlation of all appearances in the universe, and treating all different matters in state and society, economy, military, and behaviour. It thus serves as a handbook for a person in a high position to better understand the correlations of all things on earth. The language of theLüshi chunqiu is very vivid, especially by the use of parables and allegories and the many semi-historical stories reported.


 Ji The Almanacs
1. 孟春纪 Mengchun The first month of spring
2. 仲春纪 Zhongchun The second month of spring
3. 季春纪 Jichun The third month of spring
4. 孟夏纪 Mengxia The first month of summer
5. 仲夏纪 Zhongxia The second month of summer
6. 季夏纪 Jixia The third month of summer
7. 孟秋纪 Mengqiu The first month of autumn
8. 仲秋纪 Zhongqiu The second month of autumn
9. 季秋纪 Jiqiu The third month of autumn
10. 孟冬纪 Mengdong The first month of winter
11. 仲冬纪 Zhongdong The second month of winter
12. 季冬纪 Jidong The third month of winter
 Lan The Examinations
1.(13.) 有始览 Youshi The beginning
2.(14.) 孝行览 Xiaoxing Filial conduct
3.(15.) 慎大览 Shenda Being careful when [the state] is large
4.(16.) 先识览 Xianshi Foreknowledge
5.(17.) 审分览 Shenfen On examining divisions [of responsibility]
6.(18.) 审应览 Shenying Examining responses
7.(19.) 离俗览 Lisu Departing from conventional [conduct]
8.(20.) 恃君览 Shijun Relying on rulers
 Lun The Discourses
1.(21.) 开春论 Kaichun The opening of spring
2.(22.) 慎行论 Shenxing Being cautious in one’s conduct
3.(23.) 贵直论 Guizhi Valuing straight [talk]
4.(24.) 不苟论 Bugou Nothing indecorous
5.(25.) 似顺论 Sishun Apparent accord
6.(26.) 士容论 Shirong The comportment of the scholar-knight

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