Mǎ Jùn 馬鈞 [Déhéng 德衡]
Dù Kuí appellation Gōngliáng was a Hénán man. For his knowledge of music he became Ceremonial Music Cadet; Zhōngpíng Fifth Year  for illness he left office. The Provinces and Prefectures and the Excellency over the Masses with gifts sought to recruit him, but as the time was in chaos he fled to Jīng Province. Jīng Province Governor Liú Biǎo ordered him to with Mèng Yào compose Ceremonial Music in accord with Hàn’s Ruler, the music was prepared, and [Liú] Biǎo wished to in court observe it. Kuí remonstrated: “Now one with General’s title having music in accord to Heaven’s Son, and in the hall playing it, this cannot be!” [Liú] Biǎo accepted his words and stopped. Later [Liú] Biǎo’s son [Liú] Cóng surrendered to Tàizǔ, and Tàizǔ appointed Kuí as Military Planner Libationer, advising on Grand Music affairs, and therefore ordered him to begin a system of Ceremonial Music.
Kuí was good with bell tuning, his hearing discernment surpassed others, strings and flutes and the eight instruments, there was none he was not able with, only singing and dancing was not his strong suit. At the time Scattered Cadet Dèng Jìng and Yǐn Qí were good with singing Ceremonial Music, Song Master Yǐn Hú was able to sing the Ancestral Temples and Suburb Sacrifices songs, Dance Master Féng Sù and Fú Yǎng knew the former dynasties’ various dances, Kuí overall commanded research and selection, distantly he verified the various classics, nearby he selected stories, teaching and practicing, preparing and making musical instruments. The carrying on and restoring of the former dynasties’ ancient music, all from Kuí began.
During Huángchū [220-226], he became Grand Music Director, and Harmony Tuning Commandant. Hàn Cast Bell Worker Chái Yù was skilled and had ingenuity, and of the formed instruments, many were by him made, and he also was by the time’s nobility well known. Kuí ordered [Chái] Yù to cast bronze bells, and their sound tones voiceless and voiced were often not following principle, and he repeatedly destroyed and remade them. [Chái] Yù deeply resented this, and Kuí’s unvoiced and voiced [sounds] were arbitrary, and heavily resisted and opposed Kuí. Kuí and [Chái] Yù reported each other to Tàizǔ, and Tàizǔ fetched their cast bells, mixed and then tested them, and therefore afterward knew that Kuí was proficient and [Chái] Yù was rash, and therefore punished [Chái] Yù and his various assistants, and all became horse caretakers.
Wén-dì favored and cared for [Chái] Yù, and also once ordered Kuí with Zuǒ Yuàn and others to among guests play flutes and drums and zithers, Kuí had displeased appearance, and because of this the Emperor in thought was displeased. Later because of another matter he arrested Kuí, sending [Zuǒ] Yuàn and others to learn from him, Kuí himself said his practices were of Ceremonial [Music], serving as official had foundations, intentions yet were dissatisfied, and therefore he was dismissed and died.
His disciples Hénán’s Shào Dēng, Zhāng Tài, and Sāng Fù, each reached Grand Music Assistant, Xiàpī’s Chén Háng reached Managing [Music] Standards Internal Cadet General. From Zuǒ Yánnián and others, though they were wonderful with sound, all were good with Zhèng music [a new style], in their enjoyment of the ancient and preservation of standard [music] none could match Kuí. (1)
- (1) At the time there was Fúfēng’s Mǎ Jūn, his skill and thinking exceptional.
- Fù Xuán’s preface said of him:
- “Mister Mǎ was the realm Under Heaven’s famed ingenuity, when young he traveled carefree, not himself aware of his ingenuity. At that time, his speech did not reach ingenuity, so how could he say he knew? He became an Academic Scholar and lived in poverty, and therefore thought of silk drawloom modifications, and without speaking everyone knew of his ingenuity. Old silk drawlooms of fifty heddles had fifty treadles, sixty heddles had sixty treadles. The Mister worried this wasted labor and time, and therefore all changed it to twelve treadles. Their unique patterns were different and changed, following emotion and constructing, like on its own taking form, yīn and yáng without end, these wheel builders in their answers could not even speak to explain it, and also could not explain after examining it.
- The Mister became Giving Affairs Central, and with Regular Attendant Gāotáng Lóng and Valorous Cavalry General Qín Lǎng debated at Court, their conversation reached the Pointing South Chariot [mechanical compass], the two sirs believed the ancients had no Pointing South Chariot, and the records’ reports were false. The mister said: “The ancients had it, but did not yet consider it and that is all, how distant it was!” The two sirs smiled at him and said: “Your name is Jūn appellation Déhéng. Jūn is a model for tools, and Héng is how things are decided as light or heavy; if heavy and light have no standards then none are not models!” The Mister said: “Vain debate and empty words, are not as good as testing if it is easily imitated.” Therefore the two sirs then reported this to Míng-dì, and he gave Imperial Order to the Mister to make it, and the Pointing South Chariot was completed. This was the first unique thing, that also could not be explained, and from this the realm Under Heaven admired his ingenuity.
- He resided in the capital, inside the city walls was land, that could be a garden, but unfortunately there was no water to irrigate it, and therefore he made an Upturned Cart, ordered boys to turn it, and irrigating water itself overflowed, one side entering and one side exiting, its ingenuity was a hundred times better than the norm. This was the second unique thing.
- After this someone presented up a Hundred [puppet] Theater, able to set up but unable to move. The Emperor asked about this to the Mister: “Can they be made to move or not?” He answered: “They can be movable.” The Emperor said: “Can its ingenuity be increased or not?” He answer: “It can be increased.” He received Imperial Order to make it. With a great tree he engraved and formed, having it shaped like a wheel, on flat ground set it, underneath using water to move it. He set up images of women musicians and dancers, so that the wooden people struck drums and blew flutes; he made mountains, and had wooden people bounce balls and toss swords, climb rope and turn upside down, going out and entering unrestrained; the Hundred Offices administrative bureaus, beating grindstones and fighting roosters, changing machines of a hundred forms. This was his third unique thing.
- The Mister saw Zhūgě Liàng’s repeating crossbow, and said: “Ingenuity is ingenuity, but it is not completely perfect,” saying it could be improved five fold. He also worried that for Shooting Stone Carts, if the enemies beside their towers hung wet cowhide, then [stones] striking them would fall, and the stones could not be repeatedly loaded and fired. He wished to make a wheel, hanging large stones of several tens, having a machine move wheels constantly, and then have broken stones fly and strike the enemy city, to continuously like lightning arrive. He tested it with wheels hanging concave tiles of several tens, and it flew several hundred bù.
- There was Péi-zǐ, who was a superior scholar of the state, elite in observation and reasoning, who heard of and mocked him. Therefore he criticized the Mister, but the Mister’s mouth yielded and did not answer. Péi-zǐ himself believed his criticisms had obtained their essentials, and continued speaking without end. Fù-zǐ said to Péi-zǐ: “Your strength is speaking, your weakness is ingenuity. Mǎ’s strength is ingenuity, his weakness is speaking. Using your strength, to strike another’s weakness, then he cannot but yield. Using your weakness, to criticize another’s strength, then there will certainly be things you do not understand. Ingenuity is the world Under Heaven’s profound matter, and has those not understanding but criticizing it without end, this mutual striking and prodding, is certainly already biased. Heart opposing on the inside, mouth submitting on the outside, this is why Mǎ does not answer.”
- Fù-zǐ met the Marquis of Ānxiāng, and spoke of his discussion with Péi-zǐ, and the Marquis of Ānxiāng also with Péi-zǐ was the same.
- Fù-zǐ said: “The sagely man in considering forms consider everything, in selecting men does not use one estimate: there is by spirit selecting them, there is by speech selecting them, there is by matters selecting them. By spirit selecting them, is not speaking but with sincere heart first attaining; this is the virtue and conduct of Yán Yuān’s orderly relationships. By speech selecting them, is by adaptive debating right and wrong; this is the speech of Zǎiwǒ and Zǐgōng. By matters selecting them, is like the governing matters of Rǎn Yǒu and Jì Lù, the literary scholarship of Zǐyóu and Zǐxià [note: all these men were disciples of Kǒng-zǐ]. Although the sagely man’s enlightenment is thorough in everything, if there is employment, certainly there is testing, and therefore they tested Rǎn [Yǒu] and Jì [Lù] in governance, and tested [Zǐ]yóu and [Zǐ]xià in scholarship. [Zǐ]yóu and [Zǐ]xià were like this, so all the more for those lower than that! Why? Baseless speaking of things and reason, it cannot speak completely, in applying it in affairs, speaking of it is difficult to be complete but testing it is easy to know. Now what Mǎ wishes to make, is the state’s elite tools, the army’s critical use. With the cost of ten xún of wood, the labor of two men’s strength, and without much time then right and wrong is decided. For matters difficult to test and easy to examine yet frivolously using words to restrain another’s different abilities, this is like using one’s own wisdom to appoint the matters of the world Under Heaven; not changing its principles to restrain things difficult to complete, this is how many things fail. What Mǎ makes, follows changes and obtains the correct, then what was previously said was not all correct. This not all correct, and therefore not using them, is not how the world’s ingenuity is produced. If sympathizers are mutually envious, colleagues mutually harming, then the people between cannot escape. Therefore the superior gentleman does not use men to harm men, certainly uses tests to judge standards; abolishing judging standards and not using them, this is beautiful jade falsely accused as common stone, and why Jīng’s Hé held unpolished gem and wept for it.”
- Therefore the Marquis of Ānxiāng understood, and therefore spoke of it to the Marquis of Wǔ’ān, the Marquis of Wǔ’ān neglected it, and it was not tested in the end. This was already an easy to test affair, and also Mǎ’s reputation for ingenuity was already determined, yet it was neglected and not examined, so all the more for the secluded and remote talents, and unknown unpolished gems! Later superior gentlemen must reflect on this! Mister Mǎ’s ingenuity, even the ancient’s Gōngshūbān, Mò Dí, Wáng Ěr, or the more recent Hàn times’ Zhāng Píngzǐ, could not surpass. Gōngshūbān and Mò Dí both saw employment in their times, and therefore benefited the world. Although [Zhāng] Píngzǐ was an Attendant Internal, although Mister Mǎ was a Giving Affairs Bureau Central, both did not manage craft offices, and their ingenuity had no benefit for the world. Using men not by their talents, hearing worthies and not testing their affairs, can be very much despised.
- Péi-zǐ is Péi Xiù, the Marquis of Ānxiāng is Cāo Xī, the Marquis of Wǔ’ān is Cáo Shuǎng.