Fayan (book)

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AuthorYang Xiong
Original title法言
LanguageClassical Chinese
Publication date
c. AD 9
Literal meaningModel Sayings

The Fayan, also known in English as the Model Sayings or Exemplary Figures, is an ancient Chinese text by the Han dynasty writer and poet Yang Xiong that was completed around AD 9. It comprises a collection of dialogues and aphorisms in which Yang gives responses to a wide variety of questions relating to philosophy, politics, literature, ethics, and scholarship.[1]


The text of the Fayan is divided into 13 chapters. It is presented in the form of dialogues between Yang and an anonymous interlocutor who asks him questions, to which Yang responds with terse, authoritative pronouncements that rely more on wit and puns than on logical exposition.[2] The style is deliberately[1] modeled on the Analects of Confucius[3] and was intended to counter the ideas of the "syncretic" philosophical school, which Yang believed was contrary to the orthodox teachings of Confucianism and the ancient Chinese sages.[1]


  • Suzuki, Yoshikazu (1972), 《法言》 [Model Sayings], Tokyo: Meitoku Shuppansha. (in Japanese)
  • Von Zach, Erwin (1939), "Yang Hsiungs Fa-yen (Worte Strenger Ermahnung) [Yang Xiong's Fa-yen (Words of Strict Admonition)]", Sinologische Beitrage, Vol. IV, Pt. 1, Batavia. (in German)
  • Yang, Xiong; Nylan, Nylan (2013), Exemplary Figures: Fayan 法言, Seattle: University of Washington Press.
  • Yang, Xiong; Bullock, Jeffrey S (2011), Yang Xiong, Philosophy of the Fa Yan: A Confucian Hermit in the Han Imperial Court, Mountain Mind Press.



  1. ^ a b c Knechtges (2010), p. 213.
  2. ^ Knechtges (1993), p. 100.
  3. ^ Knechtges (2010), p. 100.

Works cited[edit]

  • Knechtges, David R. (1993). "Fa yen 法言". Early Chinese Texts: A Bibliographical Guide. Berkeley: Society for the Study of Early China; Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California Berkeley. pp. 100–104. ISBN 1-55729-043-1.
  • ——— (2010). "Fa yan 法言". Ancient and Early Medieval Chinese Literature: A Reference Guide, Part One. Leiden: Brill. pp. 213–217. ISBN 978-90-04-19127-3.

External Links[edit]