Qing poetry

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Landscape with Poems from An Album the Three Perfections, by Jiang Shijie Brooklyn Museum - Landscape and Poems from an Album the Three Perfections - Jiang Shijie.jpg
Landscape with Poems from An Album the Three Perfections , by Jiang Shijie

Qing poetry refers to the poetry of or typical of the Qing dynasty (1644–1911). [1] Classical Chinese poetry continued to be the major poetic form of the Qing dynasty, during which the debates, trends and widespread literacy of the Ming period began to flourish once again after a transitional period during which the Qing dynasty had established its dominance. Also, popular versions of Classical Chinese poetry were transmitted through Qing dynasty anthologies, such as the collections of Tang poetry known as the Quantangshi and the Three Hundred Tang Poems . The poetry of the Qing Dynasty has an ongoing and growing body of scholarly literature associated with its study. Both the poetry of the Ming dynasty and the poetry of the Qing dynasty are studied for poetry associated with Chinese opera, the developmental trends of Classical Chinese poetry and the transition to the more vernacular type of Modern Chinese poetry, as well as poetry by women in Chinese culture.



The Qing dynasty was the last imperial dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1911 with a brief restoration, in 1917. The Qing Dynasty was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China. The dynasty was founded by the Manchu Aisin Gioro clan in contemporary Northeastern China, under the rule of Nurhaci, a former vassal of the Ming emperors. By 1635, Nurhaci's son Hong Taiji could claim they constituted a single and united Manchu people and eventually they seized control of Beijing and overthrew Li Zicheng's short-lived Shun Dynasty, completing their conquest of China around 1683 under the Kangxi Emperor. Over the course of its reign, the Qing integration with Chinese culture included the continuation of Chinese literature and Classical Chinese poetry. The imperial examinations continued and Han civil servants administered the empire alongside Manchu ones.

Poets and poetry

Lotus Flower Breaking the Surface by Yun Shouping Lotus Flower Breaking the Surface by Yun Shouping.jpg
Lotus Flower Breaking the Surface by Yun Shouping

Classical Chinese poetry continued to be the major poetic form of the Qing Dynasty. This was also a time of related literary developments, such as the collections of Tang poetry, under the Kangxi Emperor. The debates, trends and widespread literacy of the Ming period began to flourish once again after a transitional period during which the Qing Dynasty had established its dominance. The "Three Masters of Jiangdong" wrote during the Ming-Qing transition. They were Gong Dingzi, Wu Weiye, Qian Qianyi, who were influential in reviving the ci (song lyric) style. [2]

In addition to those identified primarily as poets, such as Wang Shizhen, Nara Singde (Nalan Xingdei), and Zhao Yi, many figures known for their contributions in other fields wrote memorable poetry, such as the philosopher Gu Yanwu. [3] The fresh poetic voice of Yuan Mei has won wide appeal, as have the long narrative poems by Wu Jiaji. [4]

Kunqu opera matured and led toward the later Chinese opera tradition of drama, poetry and music combined. The painter-poet tradition thrived with exemplars such as Yun Shouping. [5] The challenge for researchers grew as even more people became poets and even more poems were preserved, including (with Yuan Mei's encouragement) more poetry by women. [6] In 1980 fine shi poems by the famed Qing novelist Liu E were published for the first time, illustrating the potential to continue finding sunken treasure in the vast body of surviving Qing poetry. [7]


Much of the modern popular versions of Classical Chinese poetry were transmitted through Qing Dynasty anthologies, such as the Quantangshi and the Three Hundred Tang Poems .

See also


  1. Davis, lxxi
  2. Zhang Hongsheng, "Gong Dingzi and the Courtesan Gu Mei: Their Romance and the Revival of the Song Lyric in the Ming-Qing Transition", in Hsiang Lectures on Chinese Poetry, Volume 2, Grace S. Fong, editor. (Montreal: Center for East Asian Research, McGill University, 2002).
  3. Owen "Qing Classical Poetry and Song Lyric" pp. 1129-1143
  4. Chaves 1986, pp. 9-11
  5. Chaves 1986, p. 388
  6. Cai 2008, pp. 359-360
  7. Chaves 1986, p. 466

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Chinese poetry literary tradition of China

Chinese poetry is poetry written, spoken, or chanted in the Chinese language. While this last term comprises Classical Chinese, Standard Chinese, Mandarin Chinese, Yue Chinese, and other historical and vernacular forms of the language, its poetry generally falls into one of two primary types, Classical Chinese poetry and Modern Chinese poetry.

Classical Chinese poetry

Classical Chinese poetry is traditional Chinese poetry written in Classical Chinese and typified by certain traditional forms, or modes; traditional genres; and connections with particular historical periods, such as the poetry of the Tang Dynasty. Its existence was documented at least as early as the publication of the Classic of Poetry. Various combinations of forms and genres exist. Many or most of these were developed by the end of the Tang Dynasty, in 907 CE.

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is a type of lyric poetry in the tradition of Classical Chinese poetry. use a set of poetic meters derived from a base set of certain patterns, in fixed-rhythm, fixed-tone, and variable line-length formal types, or model examples. The rhythmic and tonal pattern of the ci are based upon certain, definitive musical song tunes. They are also known as Changduanju and Shiyu.

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Tang poetry refers to poetry written in or around the time of or in the characteristic style of China's Tang dynasty, and/or follows a certain style, often considered as the Golden Age of Chinese poetry. The Quantangshi includes over 48,900 poems written by over 2,200 authors. During the Tang dynasty, poetry continued to be an important part of social life at all levels of society. Scholars were required to master poetry for the civil service exams, but the art was theoretically available to everyone. This led to a large record of poetry and poets, a partial record of which survives today. Two of the most famous poets of the period were Li Bai and Du Fu. Tang poetry has had an ongoing influence on world literature in modern times.

<i>Quan Tangshi</i>

Quan Tangshi, commissioned in 1705 at the direction and published under the name of the Qing dynasty Kangxi Emperor, is the largest collection of Tang poetry, containing some 49,000 lyric poems by more than twenty-two hundred poets. The Quan Tangshi is the major reservoir of surviving Tang dynasty poems, from which the pre-eminent shorter anthology, Three Hundred Tang Poems, is largely drawn.

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Sun Zhu (1711–1778) was a Qing scholar. He was also known as Hengtang Tuishi and was the original compiler and editor of the anthology Three Hundred Tang Poems, a popular compilation of Tang poetry, partly designed as a study aid for students. An enduring classic, Sun Zhu's version has often been reprinted, often in revised or re-edited editions.

Ming poetry Poetry written in Ming Dynasty

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Gong Dingzi (龔鼎孶) (1615–1673) was a Chinese poet and politician. He was a famous author and Classical Chinese poet. He was also a government official serving under the Ming Chongzhen Emperor, the short-lived Dashun regime of peasant-rebel Li Zicheng, and then the Manchu-lead Qing dynasty. Along with Wu Weiye and Qian Qianyi, Gong Dingzi was famous as one of the Three Masters of Jiangdong.

Wu Weiye writer (1609-1671)

Wu Weiye was a Chinese poet and politician. He was a poet in Classical Chinese poetry. He lived during the difficult times of the Ming-Qing transition. Along with Gong Dingzi and Qian Qianyi, Wu Weiye was famous as one of the Three Masters of Jiangdong. Wu Weiye was known for writing in the ci poetry form as well as writing about current events in both the regular ci and the seven-syllable long form, the gexing.

The Three Masters of Jiangdong were a group of Chinese literati who lived and wrote during the Ming-Qing transition. They were Gong Dingzi, Wu Weiye, Qian Qianyi. They are partly famous for reviving the Ci (poetry) style of Classical Chinese poetry.

Jonathan Chaves

Jonathan Chaves, B.A. Brooklyn College, 1965; M.A. Columbia University, 1966; PhD Columbia University, 1971, is Professor of Chinese Language and Literature at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He is a translator of classic Chinese poetry.

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Gu Mei, better known by her art name Gu Hengbo, also known as Xu Mei and Xu Zhizhu after her marriage, was a Chinese courtesan, poet and painter. She received the title "Lady (furen)" from the early Qing court, and often addressed as "Lady Hengbo" in Qing writings.

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