First page of the book
|Country||Zhou Dynasty, China|
|Subject||History of the Spring and Autumn period|
|Published||No later than 389 BC|
|Literal meaning||Zuo Tradition|
Zuo Zhuan (Wade-Giles: Tso Chuan; Chinese: 左傳), variously translated as the Chronicle of Zuo, Commentary of Zuo, or Zuo Tradition, is among the earliest Chinese works of narrative history, covering the period from 722 to 468 BC. It is one of the most important sources for understanding the history of the Spring and Autumn period (Chunqiu). Together with the Gongyang Zhuan and Guliang Zhuan, the work forms one of the surviving Three Commentaries on the Spring and Autumn Annals.
Zuo Zhuan is traditionally attributed to Zuo Qiuming, as a commentary to the Spring and Autumn Annals. Most notable modern scholars of this book such as Yang Bojun hold that the work was compiled during the Warring States period, with a compilation date not later than 389 BC.
Liang Qichao further proposed from internal and comparative textual analyses that the extant editions of Zuo Zhuan and Guoyu derive from a pre-Liu Xiang edition of "Guoyu" that originally had passages from the two. The neatly delineated, chronologically complementary distribution of accounts between the two was to him evidence that Liu Xiang extracted historical accounts parallel to those in the Annals to compile what was to be called the Zuo Zhuan; accounts lacking a Chunqiu parallel were left in Guoyu in the original format under chapters by state; hence the name, organization, and text of the Guoyu 國語, or Discourse of States, that we have today.
With its vivid and concise language, Zuo Zhuan is also a gem of classical Chinese prose. This work and the Shiji or Records of the Grand Historian, were regarded as the ultimate models by many generations of prose stylists in ancient China.
Zuo Zhuan follows the sequence of 12 dukes of the State of Lu, starting in the first year of Duke Yin of Lu and finishing in the 27th year of Duke Ai of Lu. Altogether, the 18,000 character work records the history of the various vassal states of the Zhou Dynasty over a period of 254 years.
|Ruler of the State of Lu||Reign
|Period of Coverage|
|隱公||Duke Yin of Lu (鲁隐公)||11||722 – 712 BC|
|桓公||Duke Huan of Lu (鲁桓公)||18||711 – 694 BC|
|庄公||Duke Zhuang of Lu (鲁庄公)||32||693 – 662 BC|
|闵公||Duke Min of Lu (鲁闵公)||2||661 – 660 BC|
|僖公||Duke Xi of Lu (鲁僖公)||33||659 – 627 BC|
|文公||Duke Wen of Lu (鲁文公)||18||626 – 609 BC|
|宣公||Duke Xuan of Lu (鲁宣公)||18||608 – 591 BC|
|成公||Duke Cheng of Lu (鲁成公)||18||590 – 573 BC|
|襄公||Duke Xiang of Lu (鲁襄公)||31||572 – 542 BC|
|昭公||Duke Zhao of Lu (鲁昭公)||32||541 – 510 BC|
|定公||Duke Ding of Lu (鲁定公)||15||509 – 495 BC|
|哀公||Duke Ai of Lu (鲁哀公)||27||494 – 468 BC|
Note: Zuo Zhuan contains an appendix starting in the fourth year of the reign of Duke Dao of Lu (463 BC).
- Legge, James (1872). The Ch'un Ts'ew, with the Tso Chuen. The Chinese Classics V. London: Trübner.
- Yang Bojun (1990). Chunqiu Zuozhuan Zhu [Annotated Chunqiu Zuozhuan]. Beijing: Zhonghua Shuju. ISBN 7-101-00262-5.
- Burton Watson (1989). The Tso chuan : selections from China's oldest narrative history. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-06714-3.
|Chinese Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- Chunqiu Zuozhuan Bilingual text of Zuo Zhuan with side-by-side Chinese original and Legge's English translation
- Zuo Zhuan Fully searchable text (Chinese)
- The Zuozhuan Digital Concordance, by St. John Page and Isabel García Hidalgo. The English data is based on Legge's translation, with missing sections not covered by Legge translated by Page and added to cover the full text.