Newly Compiled Illustrated Four-Word Glossary

新編對相四言
Xīnbiān duìxiāng sìyán
Newly Compiled Illustrated Four-Word Glossary
Primer 01 B

This is a very interesting text and set of illustrations, dating back to 1500ish at least. I’ve seen it described as possibly the earliest illustrated primer. (Personally I feel a bit skeptical about that. Read as earliest printed one, maybe?) There is a scan at archive.org, but I wanted it to be in more convenient form, so I rearranged the whole thing, transcribed, and annotated it. There are a couple of gaps and very likely some errors. To be honest, I came up against my limitations in knowledge and research abilities fairly quickly. (Turns out Mongolian headwear is a surprisingly complex subject.) Still, I like to think it’s a decent effort overall.

Pictures with pinyin & translation
Slidshow with pinyin & translation (requires javascript)
Transcription with pinyin & translation
Links

新編對相四言

天雲雷雨日月斗星
江山水石路井墻城
竹荷梅栁瓜姜蔔菜
荻草花棕牛羊犬馬
鵝鴨鷄猪魚龍鰕鱔
龜鱉蛇蟲鼠鵲鴉鷹
蜂蝶蛾虱虎豹獅象
猴兔猿鹿樓臺屋廟
觀寺橋亭門牕碓磨
𢊍竈堦廳檯床梯凳
爐櫃簾屏紙墨筆硯
書畫棋琴秤尺斗桶
椀楪壷瓶盞托匙筯
斧鏟銼釘鋸鑿鉗戟
刀箭槌碪旗鎗弓弩
釵鐶錢針梳笓鏡剪
籃䉪梭筬筻罩筐笛
鐃鈸錚鈴鍾鼓板笏
笙簫樂磬寳鐵金銀
衣衫鞋襪裩袴裙襖
枕簟冠巾劔鈎鎌釣
鎻索枷繩鞍鞭轡鐙
舡舵車輪犁耙鍬钁
杓甑鍋盆眼耳鼻舌
手脚身眉頭鬚口指
牙髮拳齒面骨蹄角
士農工商儒釋道人
跋跎髙矮肥㾪方圓
剃刀摘鑷燈檠交椅罣罳涼傘水盆轎子
籐箱衣籠水履舂臼米篩簸箕簔衣斗笠
弓袋箭靫氊帽幔笠氊韈油靴擣砧砑石
拄杖担竿墨斗曲尺飯臿甑箄筅箒搊桶
笊籬筲箕砂鉢擂槌銅銚錫鏇火筯合子
芒槌葫蘆筯筒果合手帕袈裟抱肚護膝
編絛答護一撒脚綳三穿鈔袋骰子筭盤
筭子染坊茶坊酒店核桃榧子龍眼荔枝
雞頭菱角石榴蓮房青梨木瓜亮隔欄干
雞栖牛欄羊牢猪圈石菊山茶牡丹芙蓉
糞斗苕箒

新刋對相四言終


I have this notion that there is something under the surface of the text, a hidden structure or symbolism or I-don’t-know-what. Can’t really back that idea up with much besides intuition, so maybe it’s just me being silly. Although I did notice that it consists of 39 lines (columns) with 388  characters altogether. Probably a stretch to call that hidden symbolism, but it’s something.

On a slightly less vague and handwavey matter, if anyone happens to know whether this text fits the criteria of some particular poetic form, I’d be interested to learn about that. And naturally, if you notice any mistakes or can clear up any gaps, it would be awesome if you could comment.


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