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                        华盛顿&山西五台 帕翠莎·怀特:美中两座纪念碑的故事       ★★★ 【字体:
美中两座纪念碑的故事
作者:(美)帕…    文章来源:美国麻省大学季刊1997年秋季号    点击数:6305    更新时间:2008-6-15    

 

--以及两个国家和两位汉学家之间的友谊

美国麻省大学杂志主编 帕翠莎·怀特 撰文

      任复兴为仪式的参加者带来极大喜悦,尤其是给他们的礼品和图片。这个夏天,当他与其朋友和同事马州(麻省)大学历史教授龙夫威来到我们的办公室时, 向作者赠送了由他主编的中文版《徐继畬与东西方文化交流》,里边有他和龙夫威的论文,工整地签上:“赠给帕翠莎·怀特主编”。

  在这之前几星期的5月15日的风和日丽的下午,在我国首都的华盛顿纪念塔,任先生挎来了一个沉甸甸的尼纶包,其中有一批中国于1995年为纪念徐继畬诞辰二百周年而造的小银纪念币和其他礼品。徐继畬这个历史人物,是龙夫威和他的学术课题。他把这些纪念币及含有明显意义和附合礼仪的纪念币证书,分赠给聚集在纪念塔南边帐蓬里的一小批人:我国几位著名的亚洲学家;三四位年轻学者;一位带着骑士帽的有礼貌的纪念碑女职员;美国国务院中国蒙古事务处处长;龙夫威的朋友和家庭成员;一位注视亚洲问题的记者;以及我们。(当我写这篇文章时,赠给我们的带小套的纪念币,被摆在办公桌上,是限量发行2000枚的第1774号,我们很珍重它。)(译者注,任为参加仪式的美中两国人员购赠了和美国独立战争及建国有关的号码的纪念币章,如1774是乔治·华盛顿开始组织武装力量反抗英国高压政策及第一次大陆会议召开的年代。)

     50岁的任复兴体材结实,稍长的园脸,浓密的黑头发,他有戏剧般的经历。由于文化革命,他的正规教育被过早地结束了,青年时代在一个煤矿度过了八年。(当龙夫威转告了这一背景时,他以温厚的微笑告诉我们:“很黑”。)任现在是记者和学者,是中国西北部的山西省忻州的徐继畬研究会的秘书长。今年,他首次走出中国,在我国度过三个月,主要是在阿默斯特的麻省大学和剑桥的哈佛大学,还到华盛顿、大峡谷和拉斯维加斯,进一步从事其研究,并唤起人们对划时代的人物徐继畬(1795-1873)的注意。

      徐继畬这位学者-政治家,在他的国家承受1839-1842年鸦片战争失败的苦果之后,经过研究出版了中国第一部世界地理著作。如果说中国文明今天仍显示出其特殊性的话,那么在当时因它的复杂、古老而更显得深奥和孤立。即使徐氏那时的管理国家的精英,对欧洲、非洲也只有一个朦胧的观念,更不理会西半球的存在了。徐氏在书中表白,在许多令人惊讶的事物中,他惊奇地知道存在着一个北冰海。

      徐继畬把他的著作定名为《瀛环志略》,这一命名有其深意。“略”是儒家自谦之词,而其书长达十卷。“瀛环”显示了一种不比寻常的方式;徐清楚地看到,欧洲人为了发展贸易而横穿海洋,已经把全球各地联为一体,予以测绘,并且正在进行殖民。当中国文明的影响力相形之下较小的时候,某些问题更值得探索:龙夫威注释到,中国的海上航线,已经历史地变为沿海的,把他们自己局限于亚洲和东非的边沿。

      龙夫威在哈佛大学的学位论文和他的第一部专著《中国测绘世界,徐继畬及其1848年的地理著作》(汉名《徐继畬及其瀛环志略》-译者)的基础上,称颂徐继畬这位非凡的历史人物是“为帝国领导者和学者开创中国现代全球世界观方面的先驱。”目前在华盛顿美利坚大学攻读硕士的张子立小姐,用富于表情的英语表达了任作为徐继畬研究会的代表的特别感想:“在世界伟大建筑之一前参加旨在纪念徐继畬巡抚在开创中美友好方面的先驱作用的仪式,感到非常荣幸。”

  很明显,我们聚集在这个雄伟的大理石方尖碑附近,不仅由于徐早已关注我们的国家,他写道,美国的体制“创古今未有之局”,而且正如任说的,徐还推崇我们的首任总统“乔治·华盛顿是西方最伟大的历史人物。”(特别是作为儒家的信徒),徐从西方获得的开放的品格,使他在此后的政治生活中甚至在本世纪中颇为失宠。但是,他决不会从历史记忆中消失。即使在徐声名狼藉的时期,美国传教士在中国省级官方的合作下,在一块花刚岩石碑上铭刻了他对华盛顿的颂词,赠送给华盛顿纪念塔,上面用汉字刻着徐对一个伟人(任称其为“美国英雄”)的性格描绘。

      接着,我们乘电梯到达纪念塔的顶部,随后沿阶梯下行,看到纪念塔内壁镶嵌着各州、各国赠送的,以及从费城消防署征集至华盛顿特区工会的192方纪念碑板。在200英尺高度,浙江省赠送的碑板镶嵌在西壁上。照相机频频闪耀,大家互相祝贺。这对任来说,是一个高峰时刻,龙也可能不例外。任从北京国家图书馆里发现了龙的专著,并将其译为中文。

      另一个世界的另一座纪念碑,把这两位不顾不同的文化、经历和制度而建立良好友谊的先生联系到一起。任被迷住了,他独来独往,笑逐颜开,态度友好,通过不太流利的英语,即时与周围环境沟通。(龙夫威说,任在麻省大学王子楼过的时光很愉快,当他从杜博依斯图书馆查阅资料时住在那里,并和海地来的一个年轻博士生成了特别好的朋友。)任礼貌地接受了摄影采访,总之,他认真严肃而又兴趣盎然地从事着文化交流。龙的举止相当优雅,无懈可击,他和蔼而礼貌;他是我们遇到的人中最自然地用“阁下”一词者;我猜想,中国人可能欣喜地发现他是个够格的儒者。

      我们介绍的第二座纪念碑,是任与龙负责下于1995年在山西省建立的,从前页他俩照片背景的拓片及本页两幅资料性快照中,我们可以知其大概。这座徐继畬纪念碑树立在五台县他的墓子的前面。与555英尺的纪念华盛顿的尖塔相比,它是小的,但它因其特色而同样威严,并且用更长的时间才完成。华盛顿纪念塔的奠基石于1848年埋下,同年徐出版了他的世界地理著作,36年后纪念塔封顶。徐的纪念碑恰好在他诞生两个世纪之后建成。磨光的碑面,刻有他的姓名、生卒年代等,碑阴分别刻有任和龙用中、英文写的评述他的重要性的碑文。

  碑板的最后几行是:“美利坚合众国马萨诸塞州大学阿默斯特分校 龙夫威 1995”。任对重修徐墓和立碑十分尽心。为了引起我们对他的朋友和同事任先生的即将来访的兴趣,龙夫威今春把这张拓片送到我们办公室并把它展开。“这对我来说是相当有意思的”,龙说:“在中国西北的高原上,这个纪念碑刻着马州大学的名字。”

      (By Patricia Wright, UMass Magazine,Vol.2 No.1,Fall 1997  原载美国马州(麻省)大学杂志1997年秋季号)

A Tale of Two Monuments

...and of amicable relations between two countries and two scholars of China

BY Patricia Wright

 

REN FUXING CLEARLY TAKES GREAT DELIGHT in ceremonies, especially the gift-giving and picture-taking parts of them. When he stopped by our office last summer with his friend and colleague, UMass history professor Fred Drake, he came bearing a gift copy of Xu Jiyu and the International Communication Between East and West, a compendium of essays to which both he and Drake had contributed, charmingly inscribed to "Mrs. Patricia Wright, Editor."

  A few weeks earlier, at the Washington Monument, on a breezy, beautiful May afternoon in our nation's capital, Mr. Ren was lugging a nylon carry-all containing, among other gifts, a suppy of small silver coins struck in China in 1995 to commemorate the bicentenary of Xu Jiyu, the historical figure who has been the object of both Drake's scholarship and his own. These commemorative coins and their accompanying certificates he distributed with evident pleasure and pleasant ceremony to the little group of people gathered under a tent on the south side of the obelisk: several distinguished Asia scholars; three or four junior ones; a gracious young Monument staffer in her mountie hat; the Director of Chinese and Mongolian Affairs for the U.S State Department; friends and family of Fred Drake; a reporter for Asia Watch, and ourselves. (Our coin, which sits on our desk in its little plastic case as we write, is certified as #1774 of 2000, and we treasure it.)

  A compact fifty-year old with a longish buzz-cut of bottle-brush-stiff black hair, Ren Fuxing has a dramatic history. His formal education was brought to a premature end by the Cultural Revolution, and he spent eight years of his young adulthood working in a coal mine. ("Very black," he told us with a good-natured smile as Drake conveyed this background fact.) Pen is now a journalist, scholar, and secretary-general of the Xu Jiyu Research Society in Xinzhou, Shanxi Province, northwest China. He made his first trip outside China this year to spend three months in our country (mostly in Amherst and Cambridge, with side trips to Washington, the Grand Canyon, and Las Vegas) to further his research and to raise awareness of the epochal figure Xu (pronounced Shoo) Jiyu (1795-1873).

  It was the scholar-statesman Xu who, in the aftermath of his country's defeat in the Opium War of 1839-42, researched and published China's first modern geography of the world. As extraordinary as it seems today, the inwardness and isolation of Chinese civilization were then as profound as its sophistication and antiquity. Even the governing elite of Xu's day had only a dim and dismissive conception of Europe and Africa, let alone the western hemisphere. In his book Xu expressed, among other astonishments his surprise at learning of the existence of a frozen northern sea.

  Xu titled his geography A Short History of the Maritime Routes, and the nomenclature is revealing. "Short" is Confucian self-effacement; the book ran to ten volumes. "Maritime routes" is revealing in a different way; Xu saw clearly that it was Europe's questing, ocean-crossing proclivity for trade that had connected, mapped, and was colonizing the world. While Chinese civilization was hardly less imperial in its ambition, something in it was more consolidating than questing: Chinese sea routes, notes Drake, had historically been coastal, confining themselves to the edges of Asia and East Africa.

  Drake based his dissertation at Harvard and his first book, China Charts the World: Hsu Chi-yu and His Geography of 1848, on this extraordinary figure, whom he describes as "China's foremost pioneer in creating a modern, global world view for imperial statesman and scholars.'' Ren, in eloquent remarks read in English in Washington by a young Asian scholar currently at Harvard, spoke of his sense of privilege at representing the Xu Jiyu Society "at one of the world's magnificent structures, to pay tribute to Governor Xu and his support for amicable relations between China and the United States."

  Indeed, we were gathered beside this mammoth marble obelisk precisely because Xu had paid special attention not only to our country - which had, he wrote, "created a new political situation unknown from ancient times down to the present" - but to its first president. Xu, Ren said, "attached great significance to George Washington, whom he regarded as the West's greatest statesman." Xu's openness to the virtues (especially Confucian ones) that he found in the West placed him in official disfavor for much of his later life and much of this century. He never entirely disappeared from historical memory, however; even during the period of his disrepute, American missionaries impressed with his tribute to Washington were able to gain the cooperation of Chinese provincial officials in presenting to the Washington Monument a granite memorial on which was inscribed, in Chinese, Xu's characterization of the man Ren calls "the American hero."

  We would later be taken by elevator to the top of the obelisk and escorted down multiple flights of stairs, past multiple commemorative panels -there are 192 of them, representing states, nations, and organizations from the Philadelphia Fire Department to the W.C.T.U. - to the 200-foot level, where the imposing granite tablet from Zhejian Province is mounted on the west wall. Photos were

snapped, congratulations exchanged. It was a peak moment for Ren and perhaps not much less touching for Drake, whose book Ren discovered in the National Library in Beijing and has translated into Chinese.

  Another monument, a world away, links these two men, such obviously good friends despite differences of culture, experience, and style. Ren is possessed, in person, of a beaming smile and affable manner that instantly bridges the gap created by his limited conversational English. (Drake says Ren adored his time at Prince House at UMass, where he stayed while consulting the collections of the Du Bols Library; he became especially good friends with a young R.A. from Haiti.) In the formality with which Ren presents himself to a camera, however, one senses the seriousness of his interests and of his dedication to cross-cultural exchange. Drake's demeanor is more seamless, his affability more courtly; he uses the word "gentleman" more often and easily than any man we've ever met; one imagines that a Chinese person might find him quite Confucian, in a jovial way.

  This second monument, which Ren and Drake saw raised in Shanxi Province in 1995, we can imagine both from the marvelous rubbing which you see behind them on the preceding page, and from those ubiquitous, moment-recording snapshots. The monument to Xu Jiyu stands in front of his tomb in Wutai. Diminutive in comparison to the 555-foot shaft commemorating Washington, it is equally majestic in its way, and took even longer to accomplish. The cornerstone of the Washington Monument was laid in 1848, the year Xu published his geography, and the capstone thirty-six years later. The monument to Xu was raised exactly two centuries after his death. On the polished face of the monument are inscribed his name, dates, and station; on the reverse, in Chinese and English, is an inscription by Fred Drake describing his significance.

  Indeed the final lines of the panel are "Fred W. Drake, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, United States of America, 1995." It was the rubbing from this panel that Drake brought by our office and unfolded, last spring, in hopes of interesting us in the forthcoming visit of his friend and colleague Mr. Ren, the person most responsible for the restoration Xu's tomb and the raising of a monument.

  "It seems to me quite something.said Drake. "Out there on the steppes of northwest China, this

monument with the name of UMass on it."

FALL 1997.  UMASS MAGAZINE

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