Textual Components / Zhang Ju (Annotation Work)
This term has two meanings. First, it means words, sentences, paragraphs, or an entire text. In his literary critique, The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons, Liu Xie (465?-520) of the Southern Dynasties discussed the general principles and rules governing the wording, syntax, paragraphs arrangement and text composition in writing. While stressing the importance of writing for a worthy goal, he also called for meticulous depiction in terms of wording and textual composition. This provided a source of inspiration to writers of later generations to improve grammar, practice literary criticism and launch theoretical discussions on writing. Second, this term also means an ancient annotative work showing how to divide a text into paragraphs and analyze syntax. Such works discuss paragraph arrangement in the Confucian classics, explain the meanings of words and expressions, and offer a general interpretation of the text. Typical examples are Annotations on The Odes of Chu by Wang Yi of the Eastern Han Dynasty, as well as Annotations on The Great Learning and Annotations on The Doctrine of the Mean by Zhu Xi (1130-1200) of the Southern Song Dynasty.
If one can only recite words and sentences taught by the teacher, what he has learned is of little value in handling matters in real life. (Yan Zhitui: Admonitions for the Yan Clan)
When writing, one starts with words and sentences; then he proceeds to build paragraphs, until a full text is composed. To make a piece of writing a good one, one should see that each paragraph is without flaws; to make each paragraph clear and well-organized, one should ensure that each sentence has no flaws; to make each sentence refreshing and beautiful, one should make careful use of each word or expression. It is just like when the roots of a tree are shaken, all the branches and leaves will tremble. Once this rule is observed, it will be easy to compose a good piece of writing. (Liu Xie: The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons)