Qin Zhong (Dream of the Red Chamber)

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Qin Zhong (Chinese :秦鐘; pinyin :Qín Zhōng) is a secondary character in Cao Xueqin's classic 18th century Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber . He is Qin Keqing's younger brother and Jia Baoyu's best friend and schoolmate, who is extremely handsome.

Qin Zhong is around 12 when he first meets Baoyu and only survives for a few years. His elder sister is Qin Keqing, Baoyu's nephew Jia Rong's wife, and so he is technically a generation younger than Baoyu. Both he and Qin Keqing are the adopted children of Qin Ye (秦業). The two boys get along marvelously well and decide to enroll in the Jia clan's school together and become study-mates. He becomes Baoyu's best friend and perhaps lover, mocked by schoolmates for their closeness. [1]

Qin Zhong and the little novice bhikkhuni Zhineng (智能, "Intelligent", called "Sapientia" in the Hawkes translation), who grew up visiting the Jia household, eventually fall in love. Zhineng absconds from the Water-Moon Priory and makes her way into the city to find Qin Zhong, but is chased away at the door by his father. After giving Qin Zhong a severe beating, Qin Ye succumbs to anger and shock. Qin Zhong, already just recovering from illness, dies from a combination of the severe beating, and overwhelming grief and remorse. [2]


  1. The Story of the Stone, Vol I The Golden Days, translated by David Hawkes, pp. 206-209, 300. See also Jonathan Spence, "Ch'ing," in K.C. Chang, ed., Food in Chinese Culture (Yale University Press, 1977), p. 279.
  2. The Story of the Stone, Vol I pp. 320-323.

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