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Qu Bingyun (1767-1810) : one member of Yuan Mei’s female disciple group 2003

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QU BINGYUN (1767-1810): ONE M E M B E R OF Y U A N MEI'S F E M A L E DISCIPLE G R O U P by LIUXI M E N G B. A. People's University of China, Beijing, 1982 M. A. State University of New York at Oswego, 1996 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE D E G R E E OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES Department of Asian Studies We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA January 2003 © Liuxi Meng, 2003 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date DE-6 (2/88) A B S T R A C T Qu Bingyun ^ $f (1767-1810) took the leading role in a famous group of female poet in eighteenth-century China known as "The Female Disciples of Yuan Mei." This study explores the development and accomplishments of Qu as a poet and examines her unique poetry with special attention to her dynamic interrelation and interaction with her contemporaries. This dissertation begins with an introduction to the primary source for this research, the socio-cultural background of eighteenth-century China in which women's literature developed. Chapter II describes the connection between Qu's poetic engagement and her family's background, and Chapter III gives an account of her family's poetry circles and her relationships with them. The interaction between Qu and other members of Yuan Mei's female disciple group in her region re/shaped her poetic concepts, allowed her to advance to the level of an expert poet, and gained her recognition. Chapter IV deals with the interaction between Qu and other members of her group, and Chapter V examines the reading of and comments on Qu's poetry by her group. Qu's poetry is primarily family-oriented, revealing her domestic life and her social networks. Chapter VI views her poetic worlds in the framework of interrelations and interactions within the family and society, and the last chapter sums up the implications of her accomplishments as a poet and evaluates her creations in the contexts of Chinese literature and women's literature. Qu honoured women's experience as the source of autonomous art and her poetry opens up the world of a gentry woman's private life and feelings to an extent had not seen much before in classical Chinese poetry. Qu, together with her female contemporaries, broadened the scope of Chinese literature by bringing new themes to it and introducing a genial style of poetry. Qu also constantly sought connections with other people, and it was during the course of interaction with them that her poetic career developed. This experience of hers sheds light on the large increase in the number of women writers in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century China: women joining together with women to write poetry. ii TABLE OF C O N T E N T S Abstract ii Table, of Contents iii List of Figures iv Abbreviations v Portrait of Qu Bingyun vi Chronology vii Acknowledgments viii Chapter I Introduction 1 1.1 Qu Bingyun's Works and Their Commentaries 2 1.2 Socio-Cultural Background 6 1.3 Yuan Mei's Promotion of Literary Education for Women 19 1.4 Assumptions, Approaches and Objectives 28 Chapter II Family and Poetic Background 34 2.1 Brilliant Lineage and Childhood Education 36 2.2 A Virtuous Housewife 43 2.3 A Well-known Poet from the Mount Yu Region 55 Chapter III Domestic Poetry Circles 59 3.1 The Zhao Family Poetry Circle 59 3.2 The Qu Family Poetry Circle 74 Chapter IV Becoming a Member of Yuan Mei's Female Disciple Group 84 4.1 Yuan Mei's Teaching of Poetry to Gentry Women 84 4.2 Qu Bingyun's Association with Yuan Mei and His Followers 98 Chapter V Within a Feminist Discourse Community: Interactions Through Critical Comments 120 5.1 Yuan Mei's Comments 122 5.2 The Comments of Xi Peilan, Gui Maoyi and Bao Yin 138 5. 3 Qu Bingyun's Critical Opinions 153 Chapter VI Poetry 161 6.1 A Gentry Woman's Domestic Life: Poems on Family Life and'Home-Based Nature' 161 6. 2 A Gentry Woman's Social Network: Poems on Her Relations with Others 183 Chapter VII Conclusion 203 7.1 Qu Bingyun's Becoming a Poet and Its Implications 203 7.2 Qu Bingyun and Chinese Women's Literature 206 7.3 Qu Bingyun and Chinese Literature 217 Appendix A Table of Yuan Mei's Female Disciples 221 Works Cited 228 iii LIST OF FIGURES 1. The lower Yangzi River region in the Ming-Qing period. 35 2. Qu Bingyun's genealogy 37 3. Members of Qu Bingyun's Domestic Poetry Circles 60 4. "Painting Thirteen Female Disciples Asking Yuan Mei for Advice at Lake Tower," its continuation and their colophons. 101 -4 5. Comments of Yuan Mei, Xi Peilan, Gui Maoyi and Bao Yin on Qu Bingyun's poems 121 iv ABBREVIATIONS BY Yuan Mei, Suiyuan shihua buyi CD Yuan Mei, Xiaocang shanfang Chidu NS Yuan Mei comp., Suiyuan nudizi shixuan R G C Z Zheng Zhongxiang, Pang Hongwen et al comp., Chongxiu Chang Zhao hezhi S G Yuan Mei, Yuan Taishi gao. SH Yuan Mei, Suiyuan shihua S J Yuan Mei, Xiaocangshanfang shiji SY Yuan Mei comp., Suiyuan bashi shouyan TZJ Sun Yuanxiang, Tianzhen'ge ji WAIJ Yuan Mei, Xiaocangshanfang waiji W J Yuan Mei, Xiaocangshanfang wenji XT Yuan Mei comp., Xutongrenji Y M Q J Wang Yingzhi et al, comp., Yuan Mei quanji Y S Jiang Dunfu, Suiyuan yishi YY Yuan Mei, Duwaiyuyan Y Y J Qu Bingyun, Yunyulou ji v Q u B i n g y u n ( 1 7 6 7 - 1 8 1 0 ) vi C H R O N O L O G Y 1767—born in Changshu, Jiangsu province. 1769— 2 years old; mother died. 1770— 3 years old; father died. 1773—6 years old; education begun by grandfather. 1785—18 years old; married. 1794—27 years old; became Yuan Mei's disciple. 1796—29 years old; poems were included in Yuan Mei's Selected Poems by My Female Disciples. 1798—31 years old; had become famous for her poetry in the Mount Yu region. 1810—43 years old; died of liver disease; one year after death, Collection from the Jade-Collecting Tower 3 L H M (Yunyulou ji) printed. vii A C K N O W L E G E M E N T S I would like to acknowledge my gratitude to my supervisory committee Professors Jerry D. Schmidt, Daniel L. Overmyer and Joshua S. Mostow. My research supervisor, Professor Schmidt, encouraged me to become involved in this study and to conduct a survey as a start. His suggested changes and translations as well as corrections have not only improved this dissertation but also will surely benefit my future research. Professor Overmyer provided many critical opinions and insightful comments. Professor Mostow opened up a new field for me by introducing me to women's studies, resulting in fresh and interesting viewpoints. I would also like to express my thanks to Professors Ellen Widmer of Wesleyan University, Susan Mann of University of California at Davis, Kang-i Sun Chang of Yale University, Paul Ropp of Clark University, Charlotte Furth of University of California, Los Angles, Dorothy Ko of Rutgers University, and Haun Saussy of Stanford University, who provided their insights or useful information for my research by responding to the questions in the survey I conducted in June 1999. Also, I benefited from a panel formed by Professors Susan Mann, Ellen Widmer, Grace Fong of McGill University and myself for the Association for Asian Studies 2002 annual meeting in Washington D. C. to discuss women's discourse communities in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century China, after which I received Professor Mann's comments on my paper at length, helping me to rethink some issues pertaining to this dissertation. Finally, I greatly appreciated A Reader's Report on this dissertation by my External Examiner for the final oral examination, Professor Kang-i Sun Chang. This report is comprehensive and insightful. The highly pertinent questions asked in it are stimulating and will broaden the scope of my research in the field of Chinese women's literature. viii Chapter I Introduction Qu Bingyun j g J | £ f (1767-1810, courtesy name Wanxian 5 B f[i(, sobriquet Xielan tj& M and nickname [Xiaoming / J \ ^ ] Zhanqing f f ft) took the leading role in a famous group of female poets in eighteenth-century China known as "The Female Disciples of Yuan Mei (1716-1798)" M tit l£ W> ? ("Yuan Mei Nudizi"). This study of Qu Bingyun explores the development and accomplishments of Qu as a poet and examines her unique poetry with special attention to her dynamic interrelation and interaction with her contemporaries. The interrelations between Qu Bingyun and others played an important role in her engagement in the study of poetry and in her development as a poet. Qu Bingyun, her fellow disciples in the Mount Yu JH |i| region, and their mentor, Yuan Mei, formed a feminist discourse community which explored women-related poetic issues, a significant activity of which was reading and commenting on Qu's poetry. During the interactions with these able poets, Qu advanced to the level of an expert poet and gained recognition in the Mount Yu region and beyond. Qu Bingyun's poetry is primarily family-oriented, revealing her domestic life and her social networks. It opens up the world of a gentry woman's private life and feelings to an extent had not seen much earlier in classical Chinese poetry, and it is natural and genial; the poet mostly writes with the persona of a real woman speaking to other real individuals. Also, Qu's poetry was derived from the environment of eighteenth-century women's literature, in which women started to become self-aware. Qu, however, was different from her female contemporaries in many ways. Compared with the "man-like" women writers who tried to participate in public affairs and wrote about men's concerns, she valued the female experience. Qu largely freed herself from Confucian orthodoxy while the majority of her female contemporaries conformed to it. Different from the radicals of Yuan Mei's female group, who were eager to challenge men's authority and sometimes wrote poems in a voice unidentified by gender, Qu honoured women's experience as the source of an autonomous art and concentrated on developing feminine features in literature. 1 Contrary to traditional v iews, Q u Bingyun and her female contemporar ies played a substantial role in the later development of C h i n e s e literature, broadening its scope by introducing new themes, new language and new styles. They a lso made a specia l contribution to c lass ica l C h i n e s e poetry by introducing a genial and practical style of poetry. Q u a lso constantly sought connect ions with other people, and during the course of her interactions with them she establ ished herself as an expert poet. 1.1 Qu Bingyun's Works and Their Commentaries The primary source for this research is Qu Bingyun's Collection from the Jade- Collecting Tower? publ ished in 1811, which contains a col lect ion of five hundred twenty- eight (528) shi poems and ci poems composed by Q u Bingyun during her adulthood. It a lso includes three hundred forty-nine (349) passages of commentary on its contents by the author's contemporar ies. This col lection was not widely known following its publication, which has resulted in a paucity of research on Q u . In 1795/6, Y u a n Mei first se lected Q u Bingyun's poems for a poetry col lection by his thirteen female d isc ip les . 2 Severa l months later, he included her works in another poetry col lection containing poems by twenty-eight of his female discip les. Unfortunately, no copies of the first select ion have been found so far, while the existant version of the second select ion, known as the Selected Poems by Yuan Mei's Female Disciples MMtC^^WM (Suiyuan nudizi shixuan),3 is missing Q u Bingyun's works a long with those of eight other poets listed in the table of contents. In 1831, when the woman poet-scholar W a n y a n Yunzhu % | | U compi led the Correct Beginnings: Women's Poetry of Our August Dynasty m H ^ IE to H 1 Qu Bingyun, Collection from the Jade-Collecting Tower M. 3£ l i M (Yunyulou ji, hereafter YYJ): Shi Poems from the Jade-Collecting Tower^ 3£ IS I# (Yunyulou shi) and Ci Poems from the Jade-Collecting Tower M 3s 18 M # (Yunyulou cichao), printed by the Gathering Lotus Studio M. 5? W §E (Jifurongshi) in 1811. 2 See the discussion about this selection in Chapter III. 3 Yuan Mei comp., Selected Poems by Yuan Mei's Female Disciples M M If5 f# M (Suiyuan nudizi shixuan, hereafter NS), printed in 1796. Modern punctuated edition in Collected Works of Yuan Mei^ Ifo f£ ;H (Yuan Mei quanji, (VII); hereafter YMQJ), compiled by Wang Yingzhi 3E 51 ;S et al, Nanjing: Jiangsu guji chubanshe, 1993. 2 (Guochao guixiu zhengshi ji),4 she mentioned a poem entitled "Withered Chrysanthemums" ~%\ M ("Canju") attributed to Qu Bingyun, which, however, is not found in the Collection from the Jade-Collecting Tower. In 1896, when Xu Naichang f£ Jb H compiled the Small Sandal Arched Study's Anthologies of Ci Poems by A Hundred Women Poets /[\ ft it _? "g" ^ H ^ fSj (Xiaotanluanshi baijia guixiu ci), a series of collected works by women poets, he edited an anthology containing fifteen ci poems by Qu Bingyun entitled Ci Poems from the Jade-Collecting Tower%%. (Yunyulou ci). Since all the ci poems can be found in the Collection from the Jade-Collecting Tower and since the title for the anthology seems to be borrowed from this collection, it is very likely that Xu used it as his source. Lei Jin's f f j f 1 9 1 5 Talks about Women's Ci Poetry M 5 § M IS (Guixiu cihua) also mentions a c/'poem by Qu, "To the Tune of Golden Threads" __ H ft ("Jinluqu"),5 which can be found in both Xu Naichang's anthology and the Collection from the Jade-Collecting Tower. It is more likely, however, that Lei Jin used the former as his source. In 1977, in her An Anthology of Female Poets of the Qing Dynasty ft -%c If A M M (Qingdai nushiren xuanji),6 Chen Xiang Uf credits a set of two poems "Expressing My Aspirations" M; ^ ft ("Xuzhipian"), not included in the Collection from the Jade-Collecting Tower, to Qu Bingyun. In 1999, in their Women Writers of Traditional China: An Anthology of Poetry and Criticism,7 the American scholars Kang-i Sun Chang and Haun Saussy discussed Qu Bingyun. A contributor to this book, Anthony C. Yu, selected and translated five ci poems believed to be from Xu Naichang's anthology and wrote a short biographical note about her. It begins with the statement: "Available information about Qu Bingyun, a student of Yuan Mei, is not abundant" (p. 490). The Collection from the Jade-Collecting Tower is referred to in a few sources such as The Revised Local Gazetteer of Changshu and Zhaowen M f i i S Hp a" ^ 4 Wanyan Yunzhu % jf@ % Sfc comp., Correct Beginnings: Women's Poetry of Our August Dynasty S #j H 5? IE in M (Guochao guixiu zhengshiji), printed by the Red and Fragrant House %_ # t f (Hongxiang guan), 1831, (12:4a-5b). Lei Jin fpf, Talks about Women's Ci Poetry m (Guixiu cihua), Shanghai: Saoye shanfang, 1915, 2:12b. 6 Chen Xiang |5$ § comp., An Anthology of Female Poets of the Qing Dynasty f f {X i£ M A M M (Qingdai nushiren xuanji), Taipei: Commercial Press, 1977, pp. 122-3. Kang-i Sun Chang and Haun Saussy comp., Women Writers of Traditional China: An Anthology of Poetry and Criticism, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999. 3 (Chongxiu Chang Zhao hezhi),8 A Study of Women's Writings Through the Ages M iX M Be (Lidai funu zhuzuo kaof and the recently published A Comprehensive Catalogue of Individual Collections of Qing Writers r i A M #§ FH {Qingren bieji zongmu)/0 Although there are several copies of Qu's collection in different locations, Xu Naichang is probably the only one among the above scholars to know about it. I came across a copy of this collection in the summer of 1999 in Beijing University Library, when I undertook an investigation of Yuan Mei's female disciples in China. 1 1 The Collection from the Jade-Collecting Tower survived accidentally. When Qu Bingyun was dying after prolonged liver disease, she first distributed her paintings- mainly of fragrant flowers and dragonflies-to her family members, including her brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews and nieces. Then, one day prior to her death, she ordered a maid to collect all her poetry in a basket and incinerate it. The maid was in the process of doing so when Qu's husband, Zhao Tongyu ^§ |Wj §£ (courtesy name J | and sobriquets Ziliang =f ^ and Maocai J% happened to return home. He grabbed the poetry and hid it, telling Qu, "It's been burned." One year later, Zhao edited the poetry and had it published. In his account of the compilation, he says: While I suffered pain [from the loss of my wife], I collected her poems and put them in order, dividing them into four chapters [of shi poems] and one chapter of ci poems, and then brought the compiled poems to a publisher. I knew it was not what she wanted me to do, but I was doing this only for relieving my own grief ^ -)fi §§ trf, Ut Mi H5J ~^ m,ttmnA.$tt#mZm&,fcMnAW£Z. ffi m (Zhao Tongyu, Preface). 1 2 Zheng Zhongxiang f|5 H Pang Hongwen H #§ yt et al, The Revised Local Gazetteer of Changshu andZhaowen M f i f % Hg J& {Chongxiu Chang Zhao hezhi, hereafter RGCZ), Taipei: Chengwen chubanshe youxian gongsi, reprinted, 1974, p. 3039. 9 Hu Wenkai ffl3tf£,A Study of Women's Writings Through the Ages JS {X M ^ M fF 5£ (Lidai funu zhuzuo kao), Shanghai: Guji chubanshe, 1985. 1 0 Li Lingnian ^ ® ^ , Yang Zhong % et al comp., A Comprehensive Catalogue of Individual Collections of Qing Writers flf A B'J M IS S (Qingren bieji zongmu), Hefei: Anhui jiaoyu chubanshe, 2002. According to this book, copies of Qu Bingyun's Collection from the Jade-Collecting Tcwercan be found in the libraries of Nanjing, Shanghai and Beijing. It does not, however, mention Beijing University Library, where I located a copy of it. 1 1 The Collection from the Jade-Collecting Tower is in the rare section of Beijing University Library and cannot be photocopied under the protection regulations. I took photos of the entire book after paying a fee. 1 2 In this dissertation, all the poems and commentaries cited from the Collection from the Jade-Collecting Tower are given parenthetical references in the text. 4 The poems in this collection are arranged primarily in chronological order. They were mainly written during Qu's adulthood—from the time when she got married at eighteen until her death at forty-three.1 3 The book is a nearly complete collection of poems composed during the twenty-five years of the mature period of Qu Bingyun's life. However, this collection fails to include Qu's childhood poetic creations, which were quite possibly large in quantity and some of which were of high quality. Also, since she was famed in the region, Qu had to write many poems on request. Some of these poems might have not been available to Zhao Tongyu when he compiled this collection. Therefore, a certain number of poems by Qu was inevitably lost, while some were scattered throughout various sources. This explains the fact that Wanyan Yunzhu and Chen Xiang found poems excluded from the Collection from the Jade-Collecting Tower when they compiled their anthologies. The Collection from the Jade-Collecting Tower includes a large quantity of commentaries on both the poems and the author, as follows: (1) Prefaces by Wu Weiguang J £ M % (1744-1803), Chen Wenshu (1775-1845), and Bao Wei fjfe {i% (courtesy name Lingke $t ^); (2) Inscriptions for this poetry collection by Yuan Mei, Tao Tingxi flf (courtesy name Yuezhai | t l If), Xi Shichang J$ i_ H (died 1808, courtesy name Zikan =f {Jil and sobriquet Zhiquan f t H , Provincial Graduate, 1795), Shao Yuanyao Ef, $H H (courtesy name Huanlin M. #) , Xi Peilan (1762-1826, courtesy names Daohua M lj§, Yunfen M 3 £ and Wanyun \% U ) , Zhao Gui'e MmM (courtesy names Mingxiang ^ %r and Mengyue ^ £]), Xu Gong f £ ^§ (courtesy name Shunxian H f[i|), Zhao Bingqing H ^ t f (courtesy name Ruoyun ^ %_), Gui Maoyi §§ fit #t (c. 1762-c. 1832, courtesy name Peishan ffl, i i , sobriquet Langao M Ji Ruizhen ̂  M courtesy name Jingyu 3£) and Bao Yin EP (courtesy name Zungu # "£"); 1 3 The time for the composing of a set of eight poems, "Songs of Willow Branches" ("Liuzhici"), is unidentified. They, among the first group of poems in YYJ, are possibly part of poems Qu Bingyun wrote in her childhood, as indicated in Sun Yuanxiang's M preface to YYJ. "The fifteen circulated poems of the 'Songs of Willow Branches' were written in [Qu Bingyun's] childhood" fff-ftfP^if + E ^ M S m m ft i&. 5 (3) B i o g r a p h i e s by S u n Y u a n x i a n g j % Jj^ #fj ( 1 760 - 1829 , c o u r t e s y n a m e Z i x i a o M, M e t r o p o l i t a n G r a d u a t e , 1805) , a n d B a o F e n ftfe ( c ou r t e s y n a m e S h u y e ML Si); (4) E u l o g i e s by B a o Y i n , Q u J i n g k u n J3 fpTjj? ( c ou r t e s y n a m e W a n q i n g M ft). a n d Z h a o T o n g y u . (5) P o s t s c r i p t s by Q u J i n g k u n a n d B a o Y i n ; (6) T h e ed i to r ' s f o r e w o r d by Z h a o T o n g y u ; (7) R e f l e c t i o n s a b o u t a p o e m in the c o l l e c t i o n by Z h a o T o n g y u a n d a c o m m e n t a r y a b o u t t h e s e re f l ec t i on s by S u n Y u a n x i a n g ; a n d (8) T h r e e h u n d r e d twenty - f i ve p i e c e s of c o m m e n t a r y a b o u t i nd i v idua l p o e m s in t he C o l l e c t i o n by th i r teen p o e t s w h o a r e a s fo l l ows : W u W e i g u a n g (n inety-two), S u n Y u a n x i a n g ( seven ty - th ree ) , X i P e i l a n (forty- th ree ) , B a o W e i ( twenty-e ight) , X i S h i c h a n g ( s e ven teen ) , G u i M a o y i (thirteen), B a o Y i n (twelve) , W e i y e 7^ ^ u ( twelve), Y u a n M e i (e leven ) , Z h a o G u i ' e (eight), Y u n q i a o £§j / f i 1 5 (six), Z h a n g X i e § | (d ied 1808 , c o u r t e s y n a m e Z i h e f n , f ive), L a n f e n g Jg, j i l 1 6 ( three), a n d C h e n W e n s h u (two). A portrait s k e t c h of Q u B i n g y u n by X i P e i l a n is a l s o i n c l u d e d . T h e a b o v e c o m m e n t a t o r s c o n s i s t of s o m e w e l l - k n o w n p o e t s a n d cr i t ics , a s we l l a s Q u B i n g y u n ' s f e l l ow d i s c i p l e s , o the r poe t i c f r i end s a n d re la t i ve s . T h e i r c o m m e n t a r i e s p r o v i d e a b u n d a n t i n fo rmat i on abou t the poe t a n d he r c r e a t i o n s . S p e c i f i c a l l y , t hey p r e s e n t the p r ima ry m o d e s of the p o e t ' s i n te rac t i on w i th o the r m e m b e r s of he r d i s c o u r s e c o m m u n i t i e s , in add i t i on to p rov i d i n g a m o d e l for the c o n t e m p o r a r y r e a d i n g of th is poet. 1 . 2 Socio-Cultural Background Q u B i n g y u n l i ved at the e n d of the " p r o s p e r o u s a g e of the K a n g x i , Y o n g z h e n g a n d Q i a n l o n g r e i gn s " H mtt W ( " Kang Y o n g Q i a n S h e n g s h i , " 1 6 8 3 - 1 7 7 5 ) , 1 7 w h e n C h i n a ' s e c o n o m y r e c o v e r e d a n d t h e n d e v e l o p e d v i go rou s l y . A t t he s a m e t ime, s i n c e Q i n g ru lers str ict ly c o n t r o l l e d the c oun t r y ' s i deo logy , i n te l l e c tua l s o c c u p i e d t h e m s e l v e s 1 4 Unidentified. 1 5 Unidentified. 1 6 Unidentified. 1 7 See Wei Qingyuan ̂  g j l and Ye Xian'en ̂  H A Comprehensive History of Qing China, j§ ft ife j£ (Qingdai quanshi), Shenyang: Liaoning renmin chubanshe, 1991, v. 5, p. 1. 6 with " e v i d e n t i a l s t u d i e s " of the c l a s s i c s a s w e l l a s o the r non -po l i t i c a l a n d n o n - i d e o l o g i c a l s u b j e c t s . A m o n g t h e s e w e r e i s s u e s c o n c e r n i n g w o m e n , s u c h a s cha s t i t y a n d e d u c a t i o n for w o m e n . T h e e c o n o m i c a n d po l i t i ca l s i t ua t i on s c o m b i n e d by c h a n c e to a l l ow w o m e n to b e s e e n a n d h e a r d . Economic Recovery Facilitated the Flourishing of Urban Culture and Women's Literature T h e e s t a b l i s h m e n t of the Q i n g t r i gged the d e v e l o p m e n t of hand i c ra f t i ndus t r i e s . Du r i n g the m i d - Q i n g , e s p e c i a l l y the Q i a n l o n g p e r i o d (1736-95 ) , t he na t i ona l c o m m e r c i a l e c o n o m y d e v e l o p e d g reat l y a n d a c o u n t r y w i d e t r ade m a r k e t t ook s h a p e . C o t t o n s p i n n i n g a n d w e a v i n g , s i lk r ee l i ng , pot tery p r oduc t i on , t he w o r k i n g of b a m b o o , w o o d , t e a , p ape r , suga r , t he s m e l t i n g of i ron, c o p p e r a n d l e a d , a n d sa l t p r oduc t i on g r e w r a p i d l y . 1 8 A t the s a m e t ime, t he s ta te ne twork of t r an spo r ta t i on , of w h i c h r iver t r an spo r t a t i on w a s t he ma jo r part, e x p a n d e d . It i n c l u d e d o v e r fifty t h o u s a n d k i l omet re s of r iver r ou te s in the inter ior a n d a p p r o x i m a t e l y a t h o u s a n d k i l ome t r e s in the c o a s t a l r eg i on s . T h e t r ade m a r k e t e x p a n d e d f r o m the f ive r e g i ona l m a r k e t c e n t r e s to i n c l ude the ent i re count ry : f r o m Be i j i n g to the no r the rn reg ion , H a n k o u to the cen t r a l reg ion , H a n g z h o u to J i a n g n a n , G u a n g z h o u to the s o u t h e r n p r o v i n c e s a n d F u z h o u to the c o a s t a l a r e a s . U r b a n i z a t i o n i n c r e a s e d a l o n g with the d e v e l o p m e n t of hand i c ra f t i ndus t r i e s a n d the c o m m e r c i a l e c o n o m y . T h i s w a s par t i cu la r l y t rue af ter 1737 , w h e n the Q i n g cour t b e g a n s u p p o r t i n g t he m i n i n g indus t ry a n d w h e n the exp l o i t a t i on of m i n e r a l r e s o u r c e s swift ly s p r e a d t h r oughou t the na t ion . N u m e r o u s p e a s a n t s left the i r h o m e s to s e e k wo rk in t he m i n i n g indust ry . F o r e x a m p l e , in s o u t h w e s t e r n C h i n a , w h e r e the m i n i n g indust ry w a s t he m o s t a d v a n c e d , m i l l i on s of p e a s a n t s c a m e to s e e k e m p l o y m e n t in the s i lver, c o p p e r a n d l e a d m i n i n g f a c to r i e s . A s i n g l e f ac to r y a c c o m m o d a t e d t h o u s a n d s of p e a s a n t s a n d the n u m b e r s of w o r k e r s in s o m e f a c t o r i e s r e a c h e d s e v e n t y o r e i gh ty t h o u s a n d . 1 9 M i g r a t i on b rough t the g rowth of u r b a n i z a t i o n a n d c o n s u m e r i s m . Wei and Ye, p. 40. Wei and Ye, pp. 12-5. 7 T h e L o w e r Y a n g z i , w h e r e Q u B i n g y u n ' s h o m e t o w n C h a n g s h u S is l o c a t e d , w a s a l r e a d y a h igh ly c o m m e r c i a l i z e d a n d u r b a n i s e d r eg i on du r i n g the late M i n g . In the e i g h t e e n t h centu ry , t he r eg i on s a w a rap id g rowth of co t t on cu l t i va t i on a n d se r i cu l tu re , a s w e l l a swift d e v e l o p m e n t of the text i le industry. S p i n n i n g a n d w e a v i n g b e c a m e the m a j o r o c c u p a t i o n of e a c h fami ly , i n vo l v i ng bo th f e m a l e s a n d m a l e s . F o r e x a m p l e , in W u x i " bo th f e m a l e a n d m a l e s p u n a n d w e a v e d , o c c u p y i n g t h e m s e l v e s w i th no th ing e l s e " ^ ft |§ ± 11 ft jjsft JE, Wi M f l i f - 2 0 W o m e n t ook the ch ie f ro le in the text i le i ndus t ry a n d the i r po s i t i on b e c a m e important , a s S u s a n M a n n i nd i c a te s : " W o m e n w e r e c e n t r a l to h o u s e h o l d p r o d u c t i o n a n d c o n s u m p t i o n pa t te rn s in the J i a n g n a n ' s H i g h Q i n g e c o n o m i c u p s w i n g , a n d rap id e c o n o m i c c h a n g e c a l l e d i m m e d i a t e a t tent ion to w o m e n ' s ro le s in p r o d u c t i o n a n d c o n s u m p t i o n . " 2 1 U r b a n i z a t i o n g a v e r i se to u r b a n cu l tu re , p r o d u c i n g a n d requ i r i ng u r b a n l i terature a n d arts. D u e to p o p u l a r d e m a n d , u n o r t h o d o x l i terature s u c h a s r eg i ona l o p e r a s a n d art- s o n g th r i ved in u r b a n a r e a s . T h e s c h o l a r Z h e n g Z h e n d u o g|5 Ji f| e m p h a s i z e s th i s o u t p o u r i n g b y po in t i ng out that h i s c o l l e c t i o n of t w e l v e t h o u s a n d (12, 000 ) s o n g s of the Q i a n l o n g p e r i o d is " a c t ua l l y n o m o r e t h a n one - t en th a m o n g t h o u s a n d s of h u n d r e d s of t h e m " M^f Mfc-i—• 5t H M B-22 W o m e n ' s l i terature w a s o n e of the t y p e s of u n o r t h o d o x l i terature f l ou r i s h i ng at the t ime. A w i d e l y - q u o t e d work , H u W e n k a i ' s A Study of Women's Writings Through the Ages, g i v e s e v i d e n c e of th is t r end . T h i s b o o k r e c o r d s a tota l of fou r t h o u s a n d a n d n inety s e v e n (4097) w o m e n wr i ter s , of w h o m th ree t h o u s a n d s i x h u n d r e d a n d fo r ty - three (3643) a r e c r e d i t e d to the Q i n g p e r i o d a n d on ly t h r ee h u n d r e d forty o n e (341) to p r e - Q i n g t imes . O f t h o s e w o m e n p o e t s w h o e m e r g e d du r i n g t he Q i n g , m o r e t h a n half a r e s a i d to h a v e b e e n Q u B i n g y u n ' s c o n t e m p o r a r i e s . C h e n B o h a i $1 $S s t a te s : " to m y su rp r i s e , m o r e t h a n a half of t he Q i n g w o m e n wr i ter s m e n t i o n e d [in H u ' s book ] a p p e a r e d b e t w e e n the e n d s of the K a n g x i (1722) a n d Q i a n l o n g p e r i o d s ( 1 736 - 1795 ) " m m ^ ¥ 12 H ¥ ffl W ^i^auMf^X ^ 2 3 '"Wei and Ye, p. 41. 2 1 Susan Mann, Precious Records: Women in China's Long Eighteenth Century, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997, p. 32. 2 2 Zheng Zhenduo MMM,A History of Chinese Folk Literature cf3 g 3c H 5£ {Zhongguo suwenxue shi), Beijing: Commercial Press, 1939, p 408. 2 3 Chen Bohai W ffi M, An Outline of Last Four Hundred Years of China's Literary Trends iff 0 H ¥ 4̂ M ~$C H )§. M (Jinsibainian zhongguo wenxue sichao shi), Shanghai: Dongfang chuban zhongxin, 1997, p. 285. 8 H u ' s b o o k is a v a l u a b l e s o u r c e i l lust rat ing w o m e n ' s l i terature t h r oughou t C h i n a ' s h i s to ry a n d in pa r t i cu la r s h o w i n g the s u d d e n i n c r e a s e of w o m e n wr i te r s du r i n g the m i d - Q i n g . H o w e v e r , r e a d e r s s h o u l d r ea l i z e that it is a n i n c o m p l e t e r e c o r d , p o s s i b l y a s i n c o m p l e t e a s Z h e n g Z h e n d u o ' s c o l l e c t i o n of s o n g sc r ip t s . It fa i l s to i n c l u d e m a n y w o m e n w h o a u t h o r e d w o r k s , a s we l l a s n u m e r o u s o the r w o m e n wr i te r s w h o d i d not l e a v e the i r w o r k s b e h i n d for v a r i o u s r e a s o n s ( s u ch a s , for e x a m p l e , d e c i d i n g to burn the i r poe t r y b e f o r e dea th ) . F o r e x a m p l e , C h a n g s h u w o m e n wr i te r s a l o n e w h o a r e not re fe r red to in H u ' s b o o k i n c l u d e S h a o W a n z h a n g §|5 M |£, t he au tho r of the Draft Left Behind from the Talking to the Moon Towerfjj§ ̂  # 31 f j | (Huayuelou yigao), G a o S u o rU !M, w h o w ro te the Heavenly Fragrance Chanting Draft ( one chap te r ) A Hf >% f i l # (Tianxiang yin'gao yijuan), a n d W a n g S u n 3£ M, w h o a u t h o r e d the Collected Poems of Singing and Responding at the Green RiverH zfc n|| j§ | H (Lushui changchouji).24 A n o t h e r e x a m p l e is that H u u s e s Y u a n M e i ' s Selected Poems by Yuan Mei's Female Disciples a s a s o u r c e , but h i s b o o k l e a v e s out f ive of the twenty -e i gh t w o m e n wr i te r s m e n t i o n e d in Y u a n ' s s e l e c t i o n . T h e s e e x a m p l e s of the i n c o m p l e t e n e s s of H u ' s r e c o r d s s u g g e s t a m u c h g rea te r o u t p o u r i n g of f e m a l e wr i t ing du r i n g t he Q i n g t h a n h i s b o o k s h o w s us. T o g e t h e r wi th the d r a m a t i c i n c r e a s e in the n u m b e r of w o m e n wr i te r s c a m e c h a n g e s in the i r s e l f - c o n s c i o u s n e s s . H a v i n g t e s t e d the i r ab i l i ty in wr i t ing, w o m e n b e c a m e a w a r e of the i r ro le in the d e v e l o p m e n t of l i terature. T h e y s t a r t ed to get rid of the m a l e g u i s e a n d w ro te a s w o m e n , i n t r oduc i ng the i r o w n t h e m e s , s t y l e s a n d l a n g u a g e to c l a s s i c a l l i terature. F o r e x a m p l e , o n e of Q u B i n g y u n ' s f e l l ow d i s c i p l e s , X i P e i l a n , a r g u e d a g a i n s t t h o s e w h o r e g a r d e d w o m e n a s s i m p l e a n d i n c a p a b l e of wr i t ing l i terary wo rk s , s a y i n g : The commonly-held view is stale and thickheaded, IS JIL x£ iffi, Saying, a woman is best advised to stick to simplicity. iff Jt[ fttJ. This idea, I would say, is unreasonable. ^ EE] i i These works are mentioned in RGCZ, but do not seem to have survived. They, however, are eligible to be included in Hu's book, since it includes non-extant works. 9 I study and see it does not adhere to logic. 55 SI ^ fife- Look at the Zhounan poems, m IS M t^l rKf, Which one was not written by a woman? Wi^WltC SpE? 2 5 X i P e i l a n t h i nk s that w o m e n p o s s e s s t he qua l i t i e s n e e d e d for wr i t ing poetry , u s ua l l y a t t r ibuted s o l e l y to m e n . S h e s u g g e s t s that s i n c e w o m e n h a d a c h i e v e d e x c e l l e n c e in poe t r y f r o m the ea r l y s t a g e s of C h i n e s e h i s tory a s i l l u s t ra ted by the Zhounan p o e m s in t he Classic of Poetry, t hey c o u l d a l s o at ta in g r e a t n e s s du r i n g the p r e s e n t t ime. S h e b e c a m e a g g r e s s i v e in he r c o m p e t i t i o n with m e n , a s s u g g e s t e d by the fac t that s h e m i s u n d e r s t o o d Y u a n M e i ' s p r a i s e of he r a s the " n u m b e r o n e poe t of t he t i m e " a n d a s s u m e d s h e c o u l d b e s u p e r i o r to al l c o n t e m p o r a r y poe t s , bo th m e n a n d w o m e n . 2 6 Strict Ideological Control Turns Intellectuals' Interests to Women's Issues Xi Peilan )S fll M, Collected Poems from the Eternal Truth Tower M H H f# M (Changzhen'ge shiji), Shanghai: Saoye shanfang, 1920, 4:5b. 2 6 Yuan Mei wrote, Although I have over twenty female disciples, Ruizhu, learned and refined, Jin Xianxian , intelligent, and X i Peilan, esteem(ed/ing) number one of our times, are the three bosom friends o f mine among ladies. ^ ^ H A 3 ft- YMQJ (VIII): Continuation of the Poetry Talks at Sui Garden IH M f̂ F IrS W 31 (Suiyuan shihua buyi, hereafter BY), 41 of v 10, p. 808. In this passage, "Xi Peilan as esteem(ed/ing) number one of our times" is a vague phrase, since it be can interpreted as "Xi Peilan as being esteemed" or "Xi Peilan esteems (someone else)" as "number one of our times." Xi Peilan understood that Yuan Mei praised her as "number one" and she wrote: "I composed some poems in celebration of Master Yuan Mei's birthday and was rewarded by the Master with a bundle of fine silk and encouraged by being praised as the champion of our times in poetry." ]>X f# W M H % W.1$. W. Sz; iL Hi W M ^ W ~~ I n II Wi- See Xi Peilan, 3:3a. However, it was Xi herself who had praised Yuan as "the champion of our times in her poems mentioned above: Y o u , my senior, were an official held in esteem both inside and outside the government In poetry and prose, you are the champion of our times. ( X i , 3:2b) Because Xi Peilan had admired him as "number one of our times," Yuan Mei regarded Xi Peilan as one of his three lady bosom friends. Nevertheless, many scholars in later times followed Xi's interpretation. For example, in his The Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Penod, Arthur W. Hummel, gives the following account of Xi Peilan: "She is known as a painter of orchids and as a pupil of Yuan Mei who declared her to be, up to his day, the best poetess of the Ch'ing period." See Hummel, Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1944, p. 686. . W M fl- B tu K, 10 Q i n g ru ler s str ict ly c o n t r o l l e d the c o u n t r y ' s i d e o l o g y a n d cu l t u ra l ac t i v i t ie s a n d ha r s h l y s u p p r e s s e d a n y o p p o s i t i o n to t he Q i n g court , rea l o r imag i na r y . Du r i n g the s ixty y e a r s of the Q i a n l o n g re ign t he re w e r e o v e r thirty c a s e s of " l i terary inqu i s i t i on a n d p e r s e c u t i o n s " 3t ^ Wt ( "wenz iyu " ) , a s the resu l t of w h i c h a c c u s e d o f f i c ia l s a n d s c h o l a r s , a s we l l a s the i r f am i l i e s , w e r e e x e c u t e d . T h e Q i a n l o n g E m p e r o r a l s o o r d e r e d the e x a m i n a t i o n of b o o k s in o r d e r to p i ck out a n d d e s t r o y a n y t h i n g potent i a l l y ha rmfu l to his rule. A s a result, 2, 4 5 3 s e t s of b o o k s w e r e d e s t r o y e d , 4 0 2 s e t s w e r e part ly ob l i t e ra ted , a n d n u m e r o u s b o o k s w e r e r e v i s ed ; on l y 3, 4 7 0 b o o k s s u r v i v e d th i s e x a m i n a t i o n a n d w e r e c o m p i l e d into the Imperial Library H j$ ^ H (Siku quanshu).27 A t the t ime, u n d e r t he th reat of d e a t h , i n te l l ec tua l s d a r e d not t o u c h on po l i t i ca l a n d i d e o l o g i c a l i s s ue s . I n s tead, t hey s u b m e r g e d t h e m s e l v e s in " e v i den t i a l s t u d i e s " of c l a s s i c s a n d h i s to r ie s , w h i c h w e r e e n c o u r a g e d by the Q i n g court . In the Q i a n l o n g pe r i od , p h i l o s o p h y w a n e d w h i l e e v i d e n t i a l s t u d i e s t h r i v e d . 2 8 T h r o u g h e v i den t i a l s t ud i e s , i n te l l ec tua l s got a c h a n c e to r e - e x a m i n e t he c l a s s i c s a n d h i s to r i e s a n d to j u d g e c o n t e m p o r a r y s o c i a l a n d cu l tu ra l p h e n o m e n a in the i r light. T h i s e n a b l e d t h e m to c r i t i c i ze s oc i e t y . T h e d i s c u s s i o n s o n w o m e n ' s cha s t i t y a n d the d e b a t e o n w o m e n ' s e d u c a t i o n w e r e t hu s b rough t a b o u t by s t u d i e s of the Book of Rites, t he Book of Changes, t he Classic of Poetry and s o m e h i s to r i ca l w o r k s . T h e d i s c u s s i o n s a n d the d e b a t e s o n w o m e n ' s i s s u e s in w h i c h the s c h o l a r s p r o m o t e d the equa l i t y a n d v is ib i l i ty of w o m e n w e r e a l s o r e l a ted to the t r e n d s of se l f - c o n s c i o u s n e s s a n d i nd i v i dua l i sm of i n te l l ec tua l s in the f i e ld s of l e a r n i n g a s we l l a s to l i terary a n d art i s t ic c r e a t i o n s . T h e s e t r end s , w h i c h s t a r t ed du r i n g the late M i n g , d i d not s e e m to b e h i n d e r e d by the h a r s h po l i t i ca l r e p r e s s i o n , w h i c h w a s a i m e d m a i n l y a g a i n s t a n t i - M a n c h u i dea s . F o r e x a m p l e , a s o n e of the " E i g h t E c c e n t r i c s of Y a n g z h o u " i § jf\ J\ g ( " Y a n g z h o u bagua i " ) , a g r o u p of art i s t s a n d p o e t s w h o b e h a v e d u n c o n v e n t i o n a l l y a n d w h o s e w o r k s w e r e e c c e n t r i c , Z h e n g X i e $f> § | ( 1693 -1765 ) over t l y d e f i e d t rad i t ion a n d s u p p o r t e d i n d e p e n d e n t th ink ing but n e v e r got into t roub le . In h i s a u t o b i o g r a p h y , Z h e n g w a s p r o u d of h a v i n g b e e n f a m o u s du r i ng t h r ee re igns , s a y i n g , "I, B a n q i a o (the Xiao Shafu M M 5£ and Xu Sumin H g , Developments and Changes of the Enlightenment of Learning in the Ming and Qing Dynasties BE] ?jf Jgf H H fff M, It (Mingqing xueshu liubian), Shenyang: Liaoning jiaoyu chubanshe, 1995, p. 635. 2 8 See a detailed discussion of this issue in Chen Bohai, pp. 261-77. 11 c o u r t e s y n a m e of Z h e n g X i e ) , a m a C u l t i v a t e d T a l e n t of the K a n g x i re ign , a P r o v i n c i a l G r a d u a t e of the R e n z i y e a r (1732) of the Y o n g z h e n g re ign , a n d a M e t r o p o l i t a n G r a d u a t e of the B i n g c h e n y e a r (1736) of the Q i a n l o n g r e i gn " fjx fif JH BE f§ z?t j£ =£ •=p 4 ^ X, f£ !H PI M i l ± - 3 0 H e e v e n u s e d " C u l t i v a t e d T a l e n t of K a n g x i , P r o v i n c i a l G r a d u a t e of Y o n g z h e n g , a n d M e t r o p o l i t a n G r a d u a t e of Q i a n l o n g " a s a p e n n a m e in h i s w o r k s of pa in t i ng a n d ca l l i g r aphy . A l s o , in h i s p o e m " W r i t t e n by C h a n c e " j$ ( "Ouran zuo " ) , Z h e n g d i s c a r d s a l l author i ty: Why does a hero have to read classics and histories? 5£ J § f n f ij& §U U s£? What he should do is to directly expose D i s c o u r a g i n g i n d e p e n d e n t th ink ing w a s a long t rad i t ion. C h i n e s e i n te l l ec tua l s a b i d e d by C o n f u c i u s ' s a y i n g , "I t r an sm i t but d o not invent; I b e l i e v e in a n d a m d e v o t e d to ant iqu i ty " M ftn ̂  fp> fa Tftj £F " f i " - 3 2 I n s tead of c r ea t i n g the i r o w n d i s c o u r s e s , i n te l l ec tua l s t e n d e d to f ind w h a t t hey w a n t e d to s a y in t he c l a s s i c s a n d t h e n q u o t e d the c l a s s i c s to e x p r e s s t h e m s e l v e s . Z h e n g X i e , h o w e v e r , w a n t e d i n te l l ec tua l s to d i s c a r d a l l t h e s e a u t h o r i t i e s — C o n f u c i a n i s m (the s a g e ' s ) , D a o i s m (the immor ta l ' s ) a n d B u d d h i s m ( B u d d h a ' s ) — a n d to th ink for t h e m s e l v e s a n d e x p r e s s i d e a s of the i r o w n . A n o t h e r n o t a b l e i nd i v idua l w h o u p h e l d i n d i v i dua l i sm a n d u p h e l d the i n d e p e n d e n t v a l u e of l ea rn i ng w a s Q u B i n g y u n ' s mento r , Y u a n M e i . Y u a n e n d o r s e d e m o t i o n s a n d This dissertation uses Charles Hucker's A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1985) to term official titles. 30Zheng Banqiao ftp fg ft, "Banqiao's Self-Accounting" fjjj ft g $fc ("Banqiao zixu") in Collected Works of Zheng Banqiao $t|5 |g H j£ M (Zheng Banqiao quanji), compiled by Bian Xiaoxuan T" # Ut, Ji'nan: Qilu shushe, 1985, p. 241. 3 1 Bian Xiaoxuan comp., p. 35. 3 2 Zhao Cong H || annotated, A Full Explanation on The Analects of Confucius: I transmit bu f f i In f¥ W' 5$i TfFl (Lunyu xiangshi: shu'er), Taipei: Hualian chubanshe, 1960, p. 129. his blood and nature in his writings. Say no to the immortal, to Buddha, and to the sage, Beyond his brush and ink the hero has his own positions. 12 d e s i r e s , w h i c h w e r e c o n v e n t i o n a l l y r equ i r ed to b e c o n t r o l l e d , a s the m o s t impor tant a s p e c t of s o c i a l l ife: For what reason did the people of the world collectively hope to be ruled by the sages and the sages diligently rule the people? Nothing more than emotions and desires. A ~F A s a s cho l a r , Y u a n c l a i m e d to " d i s c a r d C o n f u c i a n i s m o r t h o d o x y " JH j i %Jt WL in the f ie ld of l e a r n i n g , 3 4 wh i l e a s a poet, he w a n t e d poet ry to b e f r ee f r o m a n y c o n c e r n s o the r t h a n e m o t i o n s a n d d e s i r e s . H e a r g u e d a g a i n s t the s a y i n g , "Wr i t i n g is a l s o g o o d for s e r v i n g t he s t a te " ~St m- cff $S HI,35 a n d c r i t i c i z ed the C o n f u c i a n s of the S o n g Dyna s t y , for w a n t i n g l i terature to b e d i d a c t i c in o r d e r to s e r v e the s ta te : " the S o n g C o n f u c i a n s b o u n d po l i t i ca l a f fa i r s , l i terature a n d l a n g u a g e al l t o g e t h e r w i th o n e rope, a n d d r o v e al l s u b j e c t s into t he o n e s i ng l e c a t e g o r y of mora l i t y 7 ^ ff§ ftl fiM j$ }ff 3& Ipf 3t H H In — M JI H rTrl H Ift H t i fr — PI 3 6 Y u a n a l s o d i s a g r e e d w i th t he i d e a that " [poetry] mu s t b e r e l a ted to h u m a n re la t i on s a n d e v e r y d a y l i fe " §5 % A fit 0 ffl 3 7 m a i n t a i n i n g that l i terature s h o u l d h a v e its o w n va l ue , i n d e p e n d e n t f r o m a n y o the r s ub j e c t s . S e l f - c o n s c i o u s n e s s a n d i nd i v i dua l i sm h e l p e d p r o m o t e equa l i t y b e t w e e n m e n a n d w o m e n , a s c a n b e s e e n f r o m the d i s c u s s i o n s a n d d e b a t e s o n w o m e n ' s i s s u e s . Q i n g ru ler s s e t forth C o n f u c i a n i s m a s the s ta te i d e o l o g y a n d u p h e l d C o n f u c i a n f am i l y v a l u e s by h igh l i ght ing the cha s t i t y of w o m e n . E a c h y e a r the cour t r e v i e w e d n u m e r o u s pet i t ions a n d g r a n t e d c h a s t e w i d o w s h o n o u r s by the t h o u s a n d s . H o w e v e r , t h r ough the i r s t u d i e s 3 3 Yuan Mei, "Idle Talks" ft f£ ("Qingshuo") in YMQJ (II): Prose Collection from the House on the Small Barn Hill /}\ # [1( J § 3t H (Xiaocangshanfang wenji, j. 22, hereafter WJ), p. 374. 3 4 Yuan Mei, "Five Answers to Cultivated Talents" W. 3 f ~% >C S i i ("Ce xiucaiwen wudao") in YMQJ (II): WJQ. 24), p. 417. 3 5 Yuan, Mei, "Another Letter to Answer General Administration Circuit Tao" ? f | £ |% H H U ("Zaida Tao Guanca shu") in YMQJ(\\): WJQ. 16), p. 269. 3 6 Yuan Mei, "A Letter to Answer Minister Zhu Shi" ^ %z 5 S f £ I t H ("Da Zhu Shi jun Shangshu shu") in YMQJ (V): Correspondence from the House on the Small Barn Hill/}\ it lU B KM (Xiaocang shanfang Chidu, j. 9, hereafter CD), p. 181. 3 7 Yuan Mei, "A Letter to Discuss Poetry and Answer Shen Deqian" & £fc X TK ffi Ira ft H ("Da Shen Dazongbo lunshi shu") in YMQJ (II): WJ (j. 17), p. 284. 13 of the c l a s s i c s , s o m e s c h o l a r s a r g u e d for r e m a r r i a g e of w i d o w s a n d a g a i n s t foot b i nd i ng , s ta t ing that w o m e n w e r e not m e r e l y d e p e n d e n t s of m e n . T h e s c h o l a r W a n g Z h o n g yj£ ^ ( 1744 -94 ) w ro t e s e v e r a l e s s a y s o n w o m e n ' s re - m a r r i a g e a n d chas t i t y , o n e of w h i c h is ent i t led " O n t he S u i c i d e of E n g a g e d W o m e n after T h e i r F i a n c e s ' D e a t h a n d the R e m a r r i a g e of W i d o w s " M Tfn £f $h Jk TF Ii ( "Nuz i xu j i a e r xu s i c o n g s i ji s h o u z h i y i " ). In it, W a n g q u o t e s the Book of Rites to d i s p u t e the p r a c t i c e of w o m e n c o m m i t t i n g s u i c i d e a f ter the i r f i a n c e ' s d e a t h a n d m a i n t a i n s that it is a g a i n s t a n c i e n t e t iquet te that s u c h a w o m a n d o e s not remarry . H e po i n t s out that the Book of Rites s t a te s that c h i l d r e n s h o u l d h a v e e n o u g h t ime to e x p r e s s the i r grief, but at the s a m e t ime, t hey s h o u l d limit t he du ra t i on of the i r grief. T h e a n c i e n t k ing s t hough t the c o r p s e of a pa ren t s h o u l d lie u n b u r i e d in a cof f in for on l y t h ree d a y s a f ter d e a t h a n d l imi ted the m o u r n i n g pe r i od to t h r ee y e a r s ; 3 8 a l s o , the Book of Rites m a k e s it c l e a r that p e o p l e ' s b o d i e s a r e r e c e i v e d f r o m the i r p a r en t s a n d s h o u l d not b e m u t i l a t e d . 3 9 H e wr i tes , Since the ancient kings hated to cause harm to the living by mourning for the dead, they created a funeral ceremony for moderate grieving. It was not permitted by etiquette for The Book of Rites prescribes sons to lay out the corpse of their parent three days after death, in order to give enough time for the dead to revive, and in the meantime, limit the exposure of the corpse so as to prevent sons from being downcast in their heart: "laying out the corpse three days after death... to wait for the parent coming back to life...and afterwards, the heart of the filial sons will be more downcast, so that the sages had decided three day period as the rule" H 0 f£ %R . . . lil ^ £ . . . # ^ Z_ '0 2F- j& M £ , J ! i f t g A f i £ » f & & H B ; z . l i i g f & I - & . Sun Xidan & # 0. comp., A Collection of Commentaries on the Book of Rites Ms&MM {Lift jijie), Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1989, p1352. Also, in response to the question, 'What purposes do the mourning rites for three years serve?" The Book of Rites indicates that the different rules for mourning rites were established in harmony with people's feelings: "The greater a wound is, the longer it remains; and the more pain it gives, the more slowly it is healed. The mourning of three years, being appointed with its various forms in harmony with the feelings (produced by the occasion of it), was intended to mark the greatest degree of grief... If people continue to indulge the feeling, their grief will prove to be inexhaustible. Therefore, the ancient kings determined the proper medium for mourning, and appointed its definite terms." |ij | | f i B ^ . , l s m n 0 m. H ^ m m m m sr. m & m m m m • • • m m m. £, m & mm m. & % s m n ±L f&l fp. Book of Rites: questions about the mourning for three years jjH i g : jr. ̂  f<% (Liji: sannianwen, j. 55). The translation is taken from James Legge, Li Chi: Book of Rites, New Hyde Park & New York: University Books, 1967, pp. 392. 3 9 The Book of Rites quotes Zengzi # ^ as saying, "The body is that which has been transmitted to us by our parents; dare anyone allow himself to be irreverent in the employment of their legacy" J§- fh, # $C M «L JS f t til? And, "His parents give birth to his person all complete, and to return it to them all complete may be called filial duty. When no member has been mutilated and no disgrace done to any part of the person, it may be called complete" 5 £ § ^ M 3 E £ , - ? ^ M ! f f £ , n J I l # ^ . m^^^ M*! 14 someone to die himself because he could not bear his grief 9t^EZ.W^A.liX^bM^L W a n g a p p l i e d t h e s e ru le s to w o m e n w h o s e f i a n c e s h a d d i e d ; to a s k s u c h a w o m a n to c o m m i t s u i c i d e is a g a i n s t the e t iquet te p r e s c r i b e d by the Book of Rites. Y u Z h e n g x i e f r j IE 31 ( 1775 -1840 ) , o n e of the m o s t p r o m i n e n t s c h o l a r s of the M i n g a n d Q i n g pe r i od , c o n d e m n e d u n f a i r n e s s to w o m e n , a d v o c a t i n g w o m e n ' s equa l i t y to m e n . H a v i n g s e e n that w o m e n w e r e t r e a t ed a s s e x u a l t o y s o r s l a v e s for h o u s e w o r k , a n d that m e n c o u l d buy a s m a n y c o n c u b i n e s a s t hey w a n t e d a n d c o u l d a f fo rd , Y u r e m i n d e d m e n that w o m e n a r e h u m a n be i ng s . H e v o i c e s h i s d i s a p p r o v a l of m e n f o m e n t i n g j e a l o u s y , s ta t ing that m e n s h o u l d not buy c o n c u b i n e s a n d if t h e y d o a w i fe w h o l o v e s he r h u s b a n d w o u l d s u r e l y b e j e a l o u s : The principle of being husband and wife is said to be oneness. If the husband buys a concubine and the wife does not become jealous, she must be indifferent. If the wife is indifferent the Way of the family is damaged. ^ c l l ^ M , I f i & ^ f e ^ M ^ l T n i l ^ r , s u JI n m . m i o m m. m ̂ x\t Y u ' s " o n e n e s s " of the h u s b a n d a n d w i f e c o n t a i n s the i d e a s of equa l i t y of w o m e n to m e n H e e x p l a i n e d it fu r ther b y re fer r ing to a n c i e n t e t iquet te : " A c c o r d i n g to a n c i e n t et iquette, a h u s b a n d a n d w i f e s h o u l d b e c o m b i n e d into o n e body , a n d b e of e q u a l rank" ^ i f ^ M l«I # A n d , s i n c e h u s b a n d s a n d a w i v e s a r e e q u a l par t s of the ' o n e n e s s , ' s i The Book of Rites: the meaning of sacrifices fit |2 ̂  H (Liji:jiyi, j. 46). The translation is taken from Legge, p. 226 and 229. 4 0 Wang Zhong QE clP, "On the Chastity and Suicide of Engaged Woman After Their Fiances' Death" tc fr" W- Tfff # f 3t fx. Ik TT ;S I i ("Nuzi xujia erxusi congsi ji shouzhi yi") in Wang Zhong's A Commentary on Learning: Inner Pieces Sft M (Shuxue: Neipian), Publisher (unknown), 1815, 1:15a. 4 1 Yu Zhengxie, "Jealousy Is not a Wicked Behavior of a Woman" $p i£ EP H fil lit ("Du feinuzi edelun") in Classified Drafts in the Guisi Year (1833) ^ E M fi? (Guisi leigao), j 13. Shanghai: Shangwu, reprint, 1957, p. 497. 4 2 Yu Zhengxie, "On Chaste Widows" f i M i f t ("Jiefu shuo") in Classified Drafts in the Guisi Year (1833). Yu, j 13, reprint, p. 493. Yu refers to the Book of Rites which states: "When the bride arrived, the groom bowed to her as she entered. They ate together of the same animal and joined in the sipping from the cups made of the same melon; thus showing that they now form one body, were of equal rank, and pledged to mutual affection" ffi M, mmM & X , & * £ M i t - fix HX 1=T ft, M # J£. HX Wi £ 15 Y u c o n c l u d e s that " the re fo re , a w o m a n w h o r e m a r r i e s [after he r h u s b a n d d ies ] s h o u l d b e r e g a r d e d the s a m e a s a m a n w h o r e m a r r i e s [after h i s w i fe d i e s ] " |§ H W- |fl IS S T h e s c h o l a r a n d wr i ter L iu D a k u i SH A H ( 1 698 -1780 ) a n d the nove l i s t L i R u z h e n ^ Ik & ( 1 763 -1830 ) a l s o pa r t i c i pa ted in the d i s c u s s i o n . L iu c h a l l e n g e d the c o m p a r i s o n of the r e l a t i on sh i p s b e t w e e n a h u s b a n d a n d w i f e to that b e t w e e n t he e m p e r o r a n d min i s te r s , c l a i m i n g that un l i ke the e m p e r o r - m i n i s t e r r e l a t i on sh i p he l d t o ge the r by loyalty, the h u s b a n d - w i f e r e l a t i on sh ip is b o u n d by love. A n e n g a g e d w o m a n s h o u l d not c o m m i t s u i c i d e after he r f i a n c e d i e s , s i n c e a m in i s te r d o e s th is out of l o y a l t y . 4 4 Li w ro te a nove l , The Romance of the Flowers in the Mirror H 7^ If (Jing hua yuan) that c r e a t e s a m a r v e l l o u s w o r l d in w h i c h w o m e n h a v e the s a m e in te l l ec tua l c apab i l i t i e s a s m e n . W o m e n r e a d , wr i te, a n d , t a k e c iv i l s e r v i c e e x a m i n a t i o n s a n d a r e a p p o i n t e d a s o f f i c ia l s if t h e y s u c c e e d . A l s o , m e n c a n n o t buy c o n c u b i n e s a n d s o m e t i m e s h a v e to d o h o u s e w o r k . A l o n g w i th the f l ou r i sh ing of w o m e n ' s wr i t ing, w o m e n ' s e d u c a t i o n w a s r a i s e d a s a n o t h e r impor tan t i s s ue . T h i s w a s hot ly d e b a t e d b e c a u s e of Y u a n M e i ' s a n d h i s f o l l owe r s ' e n t h u s i a s t i c p r o m o t i o n of w o m e n ' s wr i t ing. Y u a n M e i ac t i ve l y s u p p o r t e d w o m e n ' s l i terary e d u c a t i o n a n d o p e n l y took o n a l a rge g r o u p of w o m e n a s h i s d i s c i p l e s to s t udy poe t r y ( S e e the next s e c t i o n a n d C h a p t e r III). F o l l o w i n g h i s e x a m p l e , the m a l e p o e t s W a n g C h a n g EE M ( 1724 -1806 ) , W a n g W e n z h i EE SC ?n ( 1730 -1802 ) , G u o L in M ^ | , C h e n W e n s h u U >C M ( 1775 -1845 ) a n d R e n Z h a o l i n f i % § £ (ca . 1 776 -1823 ) a m o n g o the r s t aught poe t r y to g r o u p s of w o m e n . C h e n W e n s h u , just l ike Y u a n , c o m p i l e d Poems by the Female Disciples from the Jade City Immortal House | f ifa f i l l f l 1$ -F l# {Bicheng xian'guan nudizi shi), a s e l e c t i o n of p o e m s wr i t ten by h i s th i r teen f e m a l e d i s c i p l e s 4 5 Y u a n a n d o the r m a l e l i terary e d u c a t o r s thus c a u s e d the d e b a t e in w h i c h m a n y r e n o w n e d s c h o l a r s a n d wr i te r s p a r t i c i p a t ed . Y a o N a i ^ ( 1732 - +J2, Book of Rites: the meaning of marriage ceremony Wt 12: # H (Liji: hunyi, j. 58). The translation is taken from Legge, pp. 429-30. 4 3 Ibid., p. 494. 4 4 Liu Dakui f i j A ffi, "A Biography of the Chaste Woman Wang" rZE fil tc {M- ("Wang Lienu zhuan") in Collected Works of Liu Dakui'fij A ffi M (Liu Dakui ji), Shanghai: Guji chubanshe, 1990, j. 6, p. 202-3. 4 5 See Lu Cao Iji |=E, "On the Characteristics of Women Poets Groups of the Qing Dynasty" 1& tf ft f A &5 P fl 1'4 W- fJE ("Lun qingdai nushiren de quntixing tezheng"), Journal of Zhongzhou, cf3 jtl H TO (Zhongzhou xuekan), 1993: 3, p. 79. 16 1815 ) w a s o n e of t h o s e w h o a g r e e d with w o m e n wr i t ing poe t r y o n t he c o n d i t i o n that it b e n e f i t e d s oc i e t y : Some Confucians said that writing and chanting poems is not suitable for women. I do not think so. If writing is to make this world better, it is suitable for both males and females {f§#n£ s - ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ t C ^ PJj HXM,^ B- m M i l ^ T f J T h e s c h o l a r Y u Y u e ftj |H ( 1 821 -1907 ) o p p o s e d Y u a n M e i ' s e d u c a t i n g w o m e n in l i terature, but e x p r e s s e d h i s o p p o s i t i o n with s o m e restra int: "I n e v e r t hough t it right that Y u a n M e i w i d e l y r e c ru i t ed w o m e n d i s c i p l e s " ^ PAM&M & \7-M ^ - 4 ? H o w e v e r , s o m e C o n f u c i a n s c h o l a r s c r i t i c i z ed Y u a n M e i h a r s h l y by a c c u s i n g h im of b e i n g " l o o s e in m o r a l s " f£ H ( y i d a n g ) . 4 8 A m o n g t h e s e s c h o l a r s w a s the w e l l - k n o w n h i s to r i an Z h a n g X u e c h e n g ljf: Jp M ( 1737 -1801 ) . Z h a n g w a s o n e of the s c h o l a r s w h o e n d o r s e d i n d e p e n d e n t th ink ing , s ta t ing that a l t h o u g h the W a y d o e s ex i s t in t he S i x C l a s s i c s , in e v e r y d a y life t he C l a s s i c s s h o u l d on l y b e t r e a t e d a s r e c o r d s of h i s tory a n d s o u r c e m a t e r i a l s fo r s e e k i n g the W a y 4 9 N e v e r t h e l e s s , h e w a s the m o s t s e v e r e a m o n g t h o s e C o n f u c i a n s w h o c o n d e m n e d Y u a n M e i . H e w ro te a l ong e s s a y , " W o m e n ' s L e a r n i n g " H ( "Fuxue" ) , to a t t ack Y u a n , i gno r ing the fac t that Y u a n a s s o c i a t e d with w o m e n at a n o ld a g e a n d still a c c u s e d h im of s e d u c i n g w o m e n : Yao Nai M, Collected Poems and Prose from the Small Room of Cherishing Ambitions fg If f# ~$L M (Xibaoxuan shiwenji), Shanghai: Guji chubanshe, 1992, j. 8, p. 121. 4 7 Yu Yue ffr fH, Complete Collection from the Spring Hall^- %E ^ % It (Chunzaitang quanshu), Taipei: Zhongguo wenxian chubanshe, 1968, p 3045. 4 8 See Accounts of Anecdotes from the Mystery Talking Study IS jt jiE 5ft H (Shuoyuanshi shuwen) YMQJ (VIII): Appendix 3: "Criticisms on Yuan Mei." p. 26. 4 9 Zhang Xuecheng, "Confucians regard the six classics as conveying the Way and adhere them. Does the world have a Way separate from its use like a shadow existing without an object? The Confucians, ignoring human relations and livelihood, adhere to the six classics to talk about the Way, so it is impossible for them to discover the Way. f l # TF g 7A ffl S>X f§ M # *c M 2. # A A T a. W "Examination of the Way (II)" Jf; J l (dp), in Ye Ying H comp., A Checked and Annotated Edition of A Survey of Literature and History^. j£ M H (Wenshi tongyi jiaozhu), Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1983, p. 132. 17 Recently, there has appeared a shameless and arrogant man who considers himself to be a talent, and who has seduced gentry women, much like an actor in a drama of "a talent and a beauty". He seduces many young women from prestigious and noble families south of the Yangzi River. He solicits those women's poems and prints them to advertise their names. Having ignored the discretion that should exist between men and women and having forgotten that they themselves are female, such young girls do not study women's learning. How could they have had any real talent? 3fr W M tf>b ̂  A , HI JE ffii @ op, H Z h a n g ' s c h a r g e of " s e d u c t i o n of gen t r y w o m e n " is m u c h the s a m e a s the o n e l e ve l l ed a g a i n s t Li Z h i ̂  ft ( 1527 -1602 ) w h o a c c e p t e d two f e m a l e d i s c i p l e s two c e n t u r i e s e a r l i e r . 5 1 Z h a n g d o e s not c o n s i d e r l i terature to b e a n a p p r o p r i a t e s u b j e c t for w o m e n ' s l ea rn i ng . In h i s e s s a y , h e ou t l i ne s a h i s to ry of C h i n e s e w o m e n ' s l e a r n i n g a n d m a i n t a i n s that w o m e n s h o u l d a d h e r e to the t rad i t iona l w o m e n ' s l e a rn i ng that i n c l u d e d fou r c a t e g o r i e s : w o m a n l y v i r tue, w o m a n l y s p e e c h , w o m a n l y m a n n e r s a n d w o m a n l y work . A s for " w o m a n l y s p e e c h , " he s a y s that w o m e n s h o u l d s t udy the Classic of Poetry a n d the Book of Rites, but not poe t r y wr i t ing. H e wr i te s , "Wr i t i ng is not a w o m a n ' s c a l l i n g " A ^f, #p" % M H ; " a l t hough t he re a r e s o m e g o o d wr i t ings o r i g i na t ing natu ra l l y f r o m w o m e n ' s i nbo rn ta lent, t hey s h o u l d not g o b e y o n d the i nner qua r t e r s " g§ ~$t H tB A M, jtn $e iH ^ afH M ^f--52 E v e n t h o u g h Z h a n g X u e c h e n g re - s t a te s t rad i t iona l be l ie f s , he t e n d s to r e c o g n i z e that w o m e n h a v e t he s a m e in te l l ec tua l gifts a s m e n . 5 3 B e c a u s e of Z h a n g ' s a t t a ck o n Y u a n M e i , the d e b a t e s u r r o u n d i n g w o m e n ' s l i terary e d u c a t i o n s w a s e x t r e m e l y h e a t e d , m a k i n g w o m e n ' s i s s u e s m o r e p rominen t . b U Ye Ying comp., p. 538. 5 1 See a discussion of Li Zhi in Section 3 of this chapter. 5 2 Ye Ying comp., pp. 532-3. 5 3 Regarding the debate between Zheng Xuecheng and Yuan Mei, see Susan Mann, '"Fuxue"' (Women's Learning) by Zhang Xuecheng (1738-1801): China's First History of Women's Culture." Late Imperial China, 3.1 (June), pp. 40-62. 18 1.3 Yuan Mei's Promotion of Literary Education for Women Y u a n M e i d e v o t e d h imse l f m o r e t h a n o the r s to the l i terary e d u c a t i o n of w o m e n du r i n g the Q i n g , d i rec t l y c a u s i n g t he a f o r e m e n t i o n e d d e b a t e . Y u a n d e f e n d e d h i s t e a c h i n g w o m e n l i terature by a n s w e r i n g the f o l l ow ing two q u e s t i o n s : (1) " S h o u l d l i terature b e a s u b j e c t of w o m e n ' s e d u c a t i o n ? " a n d (2) " S h o u l d m e n t e a c h w o m e n ? " S i n c e S u s a n M a n n h a s s t u d i e d the d e b a t e f r o m Z h a n g X u e c h e n g ' s s i de , a s part of t he i n t roduc t i on to the s o c i a l a n d cu l tu ra l b a c k g r o u n d for Q u B i n g y u n ' s life a n d c r ea t i on s , t he f o l l ow ing s e c t i o n wi l l b e d e v o t e d to the d e b a t e f r o m Y u a n M e i ' s s i de . Women's Education in Literature T h r o u g h o u t the h i s tory of p r e - m o d e r n C h i n a , w o m e n w e r e p roh ib i t ed f r o m a n y of f ic ia l f o r m of e d u c a t i o n . T h e y c o u l d on l y r e c e i v e i n f o rma l t ra in ing at h o m e in the s u b j e c t s of C o n f u c i a n mora l i t y a n d b a s i c l i teracy. B e f o r e t he late H a n Dyna s t y , on l y the " D o m e s t i c R e g u l a t i o n s " p*g | i j (Neize) of the Book of Rites m e n t i o n e d t he t ra in ing of w o m e n . T h e " D o m e s t i c R e g u l a t i o n s " c h a p t e r e m p h a s i z e s t he p h y s i c a l s e p a r a t i o n of the s e x e s : T h e m e n w e r e in c h a r g e of al l a f fa i r s o u t s i d e the h o m e , a n d the w o m e n m a n a g e d the in te rna l af fa i r s . F r o m the t ime they w e r e bo rn , b o y s a n d g ir l s d r e s s e d a n d a c t e d d i f ferent ly. G i r l s s h o u l d on l y b e taught the k n o w l e d g e a n d sk i l l s n e c e s s a r y to m a n a g e a h o u s e h o l d . B e f o r e the a g e of n ine , t hey l e a r n e d the s a m e su r v i v a l k n o w l e d g e , s u c h a s "to u s e the right h a n d to eat, " " the n u m e r a l s a n d the n a m e s of the fou r d i r ec t i on s , " a n d " h o w to u s e the ten H e a v e n l y S t e m s [ A -p Tiangan] a n d the twe l ve Ea r t h l y B r a n c h e s [Jfe Dizhi] to m e m o r i z e d a t e s , " 5 4 but a f ter that b o y s a n d g ir l s s t u d i e d d i f ferent s u b j e c t s . W h e n they w e r e n ine y e a r s o l d , b o y s b e g a n to g o o u t s i d e the r o o m to p u r s u e a b r o a d r a n g e of k n o w l e d g e , s u c h a s the c l a s s i c s , h istory, ph i l o s ophy , l i terature, m u s i c a l i n s t r ument s , m a t h e m a t i c s , a n d mar t ia l arts , wh i l e g ir l s w e r e c o n f i n e d in the i nne r q u a r t e r s to s t udy h o w to m a k e c l o t h e s a n d to c o n d u c t re l i g i ou s r i tuals. T h e s e p r e s c r i p t i o n s e s t a b l i s h e d the b a s i s for w o m e n ' s l e a r n i n g in later a g e s . B a n Z h a o (ca. 49 - c . 120) s t a r ted t he s y s t e m a t i c e d u c a t i o n of w o m e n , not in l i te racy but in C o n f u c i a n mora l i ty . In a c c o r d a n c e with the Book of Rites, s h e w ro te Instructions for Women M 19 (Nujie), in w h i c h s h e a n n o u n c e d w o m e n ' s infer ior po s i t i on a n d put f o rwa rd the co r r e c t b e h a v i o u r of a w o m a n in fou r c a t e g o r i e s : w o m a n l y v i r tue, w o m a n l y s p e e c h , w o m a n l y m a n n e r s , a n d w o m a n l y work. S h e a l s o s u g g e s t e d that a w o m a n s h o u l d s t udy the c l a s s i c s b e f o r e s h e is f o u r t e e n y e a r s o l d in o r d e r to s e r v e he r h u s b a n d b e t t e r . 5 5 A f t e r B a n ' s b o o k c a m e qu i te a f e w w o r k s o n w o m e n ' s m o r a l e d u c a t i o n , i n c l ud i ng M a d a m e Z h e n g ' s % J£ (c. 7 0 0 c. e.) Classic of Filial Piety for Women iz. # IS (Nu xiao jing), S o n g R u o s h e n ' s 9f. ^ ( ca . 8 0 0 c. e.) Analects f o r W o m e n fm |§ (Nu lunyu), a n d L u K u n ' s S i% (c. 1 6 0 0 c. e.) Rules for Women i f frj (Gui fan). T h e s e b o o k s e l a b o r a t e t he p r i n c i p l e s se t forth in B a n ' s book, a n d , t o ge the r w i th B a n ' s , w e r e u s e d a s text s for t he e d u c a t i o n of w o m e n . L i te ra tu re a n d the c l a s s i c s w e r e d e s i g n a t e d a s the fa the r ' s a n d b ro the r ' s d o m a i n a n d w e r e not a v a i l a b l e to w o m e n . 5 6 E v e n in the Q i n g d y n a s t y w h e n w o m e n got m o r e f r e e d o m to e x t e n d the s c o p e of the i r l e a rn i ng at h o m e , l i terature w a s still a p roh ib i t ed s u b j e c t for t h e m to s t udy in p u b l i c . 5 7 O n the o the r h a n d , du r i n g the ea r l y p e r i o d of C h i n e s e h i s tory, t he r e w e r e a f e w w o m e n w h o e x c e l l e d at the l e a r n i n g of the c l a s s i c s o r l i terary wr i t ing; s o c i e t y d id not a c c u s e t h e m of the " c r i m e " of s t udy i n g t he s u b j e c t s t hey w e r e not s u p p o s e d to, but a d m i r e d a n d o p e n l y p r a i s e d t h e m . S o m e f a m o u s w o m e n wr i ter s , s u c h a s Z h u o W e n j u n ^ ^ ^ (118 B. C ) , W a n g Z h a o j u n 3£ Bg If (33 B. O ) , Sun Xidan comp., pp. 754-73. 5 5 Zhang Fuqing l i Jf comp., The Book of Instructions for Women: A Yoke for Females ^ c i : i 14 ffi tilll SJt (Nujie: nuxing de jiasuo), Beijing: Zhongyang minzu daxue chubanshe (the Central Nationality University Press), 1996, p. 2. 5 6 There are exceptions in the area of religion, where women were not excluded from education and could excel at some domains. According to Daniel Overmyer, early Taoist texts are addressed to the whole household including women, and sometimes women are specially mentioned as participants. One fifth century text, San-t'ien nei-chieh ching, praises both the Celestial Masters and their wives as founders of the tradition. Another one, Cheng-i fa-wen Tai-shang wai- lu I, devotes several pages to instructing women in various stage of life. Also, there was a Taoist tradition of sexual rituals that supposedly could bring immortality to men as well as women (See Daniel L Overmyer, "Women in Chinese Religions: Submission, Struggle, Transcendence," in Koichi Shinohara and Gregory Schopen ed., From Benares to Beijing: Essays on Buddhism and Chinese Religion in Honour of Prof. Jan Yun-hua, Oakville: Mosaic Press, 1991). However, in late imperial China women were prevented from learning Daoism. Also, as stated by Diana Y. Paul, the notion that the feminine is wise, maternal, creative, gentle, and compassionate is a theme of Buddhist texts. A female could be the teacher of Dharma, a good daughter, and a good friend, even an advanced Bodhisattva or imminent Buddha. Women's position in Mahayana Buddhism is higher than in any Chinese philosophies and political thought (See Diana Y. Paul, Women in Buddhism: Images of the Feminine in the Mahayana Tradition, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985). 5 7 See Chen Dongyuan W.MM..A History of Chinese Women's Life t p M M tc £ s£ (Zhongguo funu shenghuo shi), Beijing: Commercial Press, reprint 1998, p. 282. 2 0 C a i W e n j i (160), Z u o F e n 1± & (300), X i e D a o y u n WiMtm (344), X u e T a o B H ( d ied c a . 832) , G u a n P a n p a n IS gft ffi (785), Y u X u a n j i ^ fl ( ca . 844 - ca . 871 ) , Li Q i n g z h a o ^ fif ffl ( 1084 - ca .1151 ) , a n d Z h u S h u z h e n (d ied 1107) , w e r e g reat l y a d m i r e d t h r oughou t C h i n e s e h istory. H o w e v e r , f r o m the late M i n g o n w a r d , t he n u m b e r of w o m e n wr i te r s d r a m a t i c a l l y i n c r e a s e d , a l t h o u g h t rad i t i ona l s o c i e t y o p p o s e d th is t r end . T h e s a y i n g o n e v e r y o n e ' s l ips at t he t ime w a s " a w o m a n h a v i n g no ta lent is v i r t u o u s . " 5 8 A d e b a t e o n the i s s u e of w h e t h e r w o m e n s h o u l d b e e d u c a t e d in l i terature o r not e r u p t e d . Y u a n M e i a d v o c a t e d equa l i t y a m o n g p e o p l e in the a r e a of e d u c a t i o n . H e m a i n t a i n e d that e v e r y o n e s h o u l d h a v e the right to r e c e i v e e d u c a t i o n , u p h o l d i n g t he C o n f u c i a n i d e a , " T h e r e is no d i s t i nc t i on in e d u c a t i o n " te $M (you jiao wu lei).59 Y u a n wro te , The creator did not choose a certain category when creating human beings. Also, the gentlemen did not choose a certain category of people to teach. Formerly the ancient kings were worried about choices arising [in the field of education] and therefore they established education ^ ^ | A M 4 , l O ^ ^ ^ ^ J P A r T n i t ^ T f e B E S r A T Y u a n d e n i e d that e d u c a t i o n for a ce r t a i n c l a s s s h o u l d b e re s t r i c ted . T h i s w a s w h y h e a c c e p t e d w o m e n a n d s o m e D a o i s t a n d B u d d h i s t m o n k s , r unne r s a n d ac t o r s a s h i s d i s c i p l e s . 6 1 Y u a n M e i to ld h i s c o n t e m p o r a r i e s that w o m e n w e r e m o r e s u i t ed for l ea rn i ng l i terature, b e c a u s e it w a s or i g ina l l y a w o m a n ' s d o m a i n , a n d s t u d y w a s or i g ina l l y a w o m a n ' s act iv i ty. Y u a n M e i though t that p e o p l e w h o o p p o s e d w o m e n s t udy i n g poe t r y w e r e ignorant . H e d e c l a r e d h i s r e s e a r c h o n the h i s tory of w o m e n ' s e d u c a t i o n s h o w e d that (1) P o e t r y h a d b e e n con t r i bu t i ng to the e d u c a t i o n of w o m e n for a l ong t ime; (2) the s a g e s a s s o c i a t e d the t r i g rams, dui a n d //', in the Classic of Changes w i th e d u c a t i o n a l See Chen Dongyuan, p. 2. Zhao Cong comp., p. 354. YMQJ (V): Drafts by the Grand Historian Yuan, MJK$.WI (Yuan Taishigao, hereafter SG), p. 35. YMQJ (VIII): BY, 35 of v 9, p. 780. 21 act i v i t ie s a n d l i terature, a n d (3) t hey s e l e c t e d w o m e n ' s w o r k s to m a k e up a m a j o r part of the Classic of Poetry: Today's scholars easily say that poetry and prose are not the callings of women. They do not know that the poems "Shade o' the Vine" ("Getan") and "Curl-Grass" ("Juaner"), which were all written by women, crown the Classic of Poetry. Also, the sages defined the trigram, dui, as a young girl, and the sage associated it with "lecture and study amongst friends." He defined the trigram, li, which stands for middle-aged women, as "literature, bright and pretty, shining in the sky." So, poetry has been contributing to female education for a long, long time @ H # ifj II If ~$C # IB H5 FJf J=L ^ M T h e t r i g rams , dui a n d //, a r e two of the e ight p r ima ry d i v i na to ry s y m b o l s , e a c h m a d e up of a set of t h r ee b r o k e n a n d u n b r o k e n l ines . T h e s e e ight t r i g r ams con s t i t u te s i x ty - four h e x a g r a m s , w h i c h a r e the c o r e c on ten t of the Classic of Changes. Dui is a s s o c i a t e d with m a r s h e s in t he c a t e g o r y of na tu ra l ob jec t s , y o u n g gir ls a m o n g h u m a n be i ng s , h a p p i n e s s (qua l i t ies ) , s h e e p (an ima l s ) , m o u t h (the body) , w e s t (d i rect ion) a n d a u t u m n ( s e a s o n ) a n d //'with f ire a n d the s u n (natura l ob jec t s ) , m i d d l e - a g e d w o m e n ( h u m a n be ing s ) , d e p e n d e n c e (qual i t ies ) , p h e a s a n t ( an ima l s ) e y e (the body) , s o u t h (d i rect ion) a n d the s u m m e r ( s ea son ) . T h e c o m m e n t a r i e s for the t r i g r ams H if? (Zhuan ci) d e f i n e dui a s a n e d u c a t i o n a l act iv i ty, a n d //'as l i terature. It w a s b e l i e v e d that o n e of the ea r l i e s t l e g e n d a r y ru lers , t he E m p e r o r F u X i j% H ( 2 8 5 2 - 2 5 3 8 B. C.) d r e w the d i v i na to ry s y m b o l s a n d that the D u k e of Z h o u (ca. 2 5 6 B. C.) a n d C o n f u c i u s w ro t e the c o m m e n t a r i e s o n t h e m . It w a s a l s o b e l i e v e d that C o n f u c i u s w a s t he c o m p i l e r of the Classic of Poetry. N o mat te r w h e t h e r Y u a n ' s i n te rp re ta t ions w e r e t rue o r not, t he Preface to Luo Qilan, Collected Poems from the Listening-to-Autumn House, H %X. I f I f M (Tingqiuxuan shiji), Jinling: Gongshi JS 1796. Also see the similar statements in YMQJ (III): Poetry Talks at Sui Garden MMMM (Suiyuan shihua, hereafter SH), p. 570-1, YMQJ (II): WJ, p. 588, YMQJ (V): CD, p. 108, and YMQJ (II): Outer Collection from the House on the Small Barn Hill /h^iUBW-M (Xiaocangshanfang waiji, hereafter WAIJ), p. 125. The translations of the poems' titles are taken from Ezra Pound in John Minford and Joseph S. M. Lau ed., An Anthology of Translations: Classical Chinese Literature (Volume I: From Antiquity to the Tang Dynasty), New York: Columbia University Press, 2000, pp. 97 and 98. 2 2 r e f e r e n c e s that h e f o u n d in the c l a s s i c s m a d e his a r g u m e n t s m o r e p e r s u a s i v e to h i s c o n t e m p o r a r i e s . T h i s w a s w h y Y u a n M e i r e p e a t e d t h e m in v a r i o u s text s . Y u a n M e i ' s p o e t i c s h a d a g rea t i m p a c t o n h i s p r o m o t i o n of w o m e n ' s poetry. T h e c o r e of Y u a n ' s p o e t i c s is h i s t heo r y of " na tu re a n d in sp i ra t ion , " w h i c h e m p h a s i z e s i nd i v i dua l s p o n t a n e o u s f ee l i n g s a n d i ngenu i t y a s the k e y po in t s fo r c o m p o s i n g a g o o d p o e m . A c c o r d i n g to Y u a n M e i ' s v i ewpo in t , poet ry is a n art of s e l f - e x p r e s s i o n a n d s h o u l d b e c o m p o s e d i ngen i ou s l y . T h i s t heo r y not on ly t r ies to f r ee poe t r y f r o m C o n f u c i a n d i d a c t i c i s m , but it a l s o t r ies to f r ee it f r o m e x c e s s i v e s c h o l a r s h i p . F irst, Y u a n ' s s t a t e m e n t that " poe t r y a l l o w s for s e l f - e x p r e s s i o n " m e a n s that poet ry s e r v e s a s a m e d i u m for i nd i v i dua l s to e x p r e s s the i r i nner f e e l i n g s a n d p e r s o n a l l ife. T r a d i t i o n a l p o e t i c s p l a c e d a n e m p h a s i s o n s o c i a l a f fa i r s for e d u c a t i o n a l a n d po l i t i ca l p u r p o s e s ; n u m e r o u s C h i n e s e o f f i c ia l s d e v o t e d the i r l i ves to t he wr i t ing of poetry . H o w e v e r , Y u a n M e i b r o k e with th is t rad i t ion. H e c o n c e n t r a t e d o n the pr i vate a n d d e - e m p h a s i z e d d i d a c t i c i s m in poetry . Y u a n d e c l a r e d that, e v e r y b o d y , r e g a r d l e s s of c l a s s or g e n d e r , c o u l d c o m p o s e poetry . S o m e t i m e s e v e n a n i l l i terate v i l l a ge w o m a n c o u l d utter o n e or two s u p e r b poe t i c l ines , to w h i c h e v e n Li B a i a n d D u F u , if t hey w e r e a l i ve , w o u l d h a v e to b o w d o w n . 6 3 S e c o n d , " poe t r y is for na tu ra l s e l f - e x p r e s s i o n , " m e a n s that the t rue f ee l i n g s a n d the na tu re of pe r s ona l i t y in poe t i c e x p r e s s i o n s a r e v a l u e d . In a p o e m Y u a n wro te , " O n l y the se l f mu s t ex i s t in poetry ; / don ' t p i ra te o ther s . " {H H ~aj I j l ®f| | | . 6 4 Y u a n e m p h a s i z e d the i m p o r t a n c e of the s i nce r i t y a n d n a t u r a l n e s s of a n i nd i v i dua l ' s f ee l i n g s . H e b e l i e v e d that the b e s t poe t r y c a m e f r o m a poe t ' s intuit ion a n d s p o n t a n e o u s e m o t i o n s , pa r t i cu la r l y f r o m his/her r oman t i c e m o t i o n s . B y e m p h a s i z i n g r o m a n t i c e m o t i o n s Y u a n M e i p r o m o t e s w o m e n ' s f ee l i n g s a s at l ea s t e q u a l to m e n ' s ( S e e m o r e d i s c u s s i o n of th i s i s s u e in C h a p t e r VI). Men Teach Women It h a d a l s o b e e n a l ong t rad i t ion that w o m e n ' s e d u c a t i o n w a s re s t r i c ted to the w o m e n ' s q u a r t e r s a n d taught on l y by w o m e n . T h e roya l f am i l y s e l e c t e d e rud i te w o m e n 6 3 YMQJ (III): SH, 50 of v 3, p. 84-5. 2 3 f r o m the f am i l i e s of the G r a n d M a s t e r s A A (Daifu) a n d p r e s t i g i ou s s c h o l a r s to t e a c h the i r u n w e d f e m a l e s . T h e d a u g h t e r s of o f f i c ia l s , s c h o l a r s , a n d c o m m o n e r s u sua l l y r e c e i v e d the i r e d u c a t i o n in l i te racy a n d mora l i t y f r o m the i r m o t h e r s o r w e t n u r s e s . 6 5 In M i n g a n d Q i n g t ime s , s o m e gent ry f am i l i e s w h o w a n t e d a better e d u c a t i o n for the i r d a u g h t e r s s t a r t ed to h ire w o m e n t e a c h e r s f r o m o u t s i d e the f a m i l y . 6 6 L i Z h i w a s the first m a n w h o t r ied to c r o s s t he b o u n d a r y b e t w e e n m a l e s c h o l a r s a n d f e m a l e s tuden t s , b y t e a c h i n g D a o i s m at a nunne ry . H e a l s o a c c e p t e d two f e m a l e s t uden t s , M e i D a n r a n fjg tit a n d M e i S h a n y i n fj| | f g , t he d a u g h t e r s of h i s f r i end M e i G u o z h e n #| US ||, the R i gh t V i c e M i n i s t e r of the M in i s t r y of W a r S. ^ is f# IP (Bingbu you shilang). S i n c e at t he t ime it w a s s o c i a l l y u n a c c e p t a b l e for m e n to t e a c h w o m e n , L i ' s r e l a t i on sh ip wi th h i s two f e m a l e s t u d e n t s w a s kept unof f i c ia l , yet e v e n t h e n h e w a s a c c u s e d "of s e d u c i n g the w i v e s a n d d a u g h t e r s of gent ry f a m i l i e s " a n d " da r i n g to t e a c h D a o i s m at a n u n n e r y . " 6 7 T h e a b o v e w a s u s e d a s o n e of a s e r i e s of c r im i na l c h a r g e s a g a i n s t h im, a n d h e w a s i m p r i s o n e d . F o l l o w i n g L i Z h i , M a o Q i l i n g ^ ^ @$ ( 1623 -1716 ) , a poe t of the ea r l y Q i n g , h a d a f e m a l e d i s c i p l e by the n a m e of X u Z h a o h u a f £ 0g ^ f . 6 8 S h e n D a c h e n g tfc A ( 1 700 - 71) , a s c h o l a r a n d a poe t of the Q i a n l o n g pe r i od b e f o r e Y u a n M e i , a l s o took on a f e m a l e d i s c i p l e , X u Y i n g y u % 3 £ . 6 9 N o h i s to r i ca l s o u r c e s i nd i ca te that the two m e n w e r e p r o s e c u t e d for t a k i ng a f e m a l e a s a s tudent ; n e v e r t h e l e s s , Q i n g s o c i e t y still o p p o s e d the i d e a that m e n t e a c h w o m e n . Du r i n g the Q i n g a s c h o o l i s s u e d " R e g u l a t i o n s for G o o d YMQJ (I): Collected Poems from the House on the Small Barn Hill/J\ it | i | J§ |# M (Xiaocangshanfang shiji, hereafter SJ), v 14, p. 259. 6 5 See Chen Dongyuan, p. 53. 6 6 See Dorothy Ko, Teachers of the Inner Chambers: Women and Culture in Seventeenth-Century China, Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1994, pp. 123-129. 6 7 Zhang Wenda jjl Fnl "A Memorial for Impeaching Li Zhi" | $ f | ("He Li Zhi shu"), in Zhu Weizhi IH 1Z. ed., On Li Zhi $ # ff fj& (Li Zhuowu lun), publisher (unknown), 1935, p. 121. 6 8 Mao Qiling was very erudite. His contemporaries called him "Master Xihe." His female disciple, Xu, was a native of Shangyu in Zhejiang. She was the author of the Poetry Collection of Instructor Xu f£ ffS l i f# M (Xu Dujiang shiji). Xu's mother and older sister were also skilled poets. Xu Zhaohua was well known in the local community and her father was a friend of Mao Qiling. We are told that one day Mao, together with some other friends, visited the Xu family. When Xu Zhaohua came out to greet the guests, Mao asked her to compose a poem on a painting of butterflies. Xu completed the poem immediately. This surprised the guests. See Shi Shuyi M M fit, Biographies of Gentry Women Poets of the Qing Dynasty }f ft H IH f# A ffi B§ (Qingdai guige shiren zhenglue), Taipei: Mingwen shuju, 1985, 1:4a-b. 6 9 Xu Yingyu, a native of Kunshan, authored the Drafts for Chanting from the Southern Tower^ i% fjf (Nanlou yin'gao). It is said that when Shen Dacheng visited Wuling, he happened to see a poem that Xu 2 4 B e h a v i o u r " w h i c h spec i f y : "If a f e m a l e s t uden t r e a c h e s t he a g e of n ine, it is not a p p r o p r i a t e for he r to l ea rn f r o m a m a l e t e a c h e r w h o is f r o m o u t s i d e the f am i l y a n d not m o r e t h a n fo r ty -n ine y e a r s o l d " tU E -p M, ft Bffi T P M 2 -p #, ^ ji! WL £-70 Y u a n M e i d e f i e d th i s t rad i t ion. H e o p e n l y r ec ru i t ed a g r o u p of f e m a l e d i s c i p l e s a n d a c t i v e l y a s s o c i a t e d with t h e m . Y u a n s p e n t a lot of t ime a n d e n e r g y in o r d e r to c o n v i n c e p e o p l e that t a k i ng t e a c h i n g f e m a l e d i s c i p l e s w a s t he right th ing to do . B y q u o t i n g C o n f u c i u s ' " t he re is no d i s t i nc t i on in e d u c a t i o n , " Y u a n m a d e it c l e a r that h e w o u l d not r e f u se w o m e n w h o w a n t e d to l ea rn f r o m h im . 7 1 A l s o , t h r ough h i s o w n in te rp re ta t ion of c e r t a i n r e f e r e n c e s , Y u a n M e i tr ied to m a k e p e o p l e a w a r e of the fact that h i s f o r m of e d u c a t i o n " e x i s t e d f r o m a n c i e n t t imes , " w h i c h m e a n s that it h a d b e e n a p p r o v e d by the t rad i t ion a l ong t ime a go . In a p o e m wr i t ten to c e l e b r a t e a c q u i r i n g a n o t h e r f ive f e m a l e d i s c i p l e s Y u a n wro te : Mr. Xiahou was getting feeble and his temples becoming grey. When finished planting "Peaches and Pears,"7 2 he moved on to the "Female Vines." From ancient times, only a few poets have achieved longevity. Nowadays, however, so many women read books. Women with painted eyebrows have time to compose poems, But there is nobody for them to discuss them with and to ask about the wording. No wonder that the daughter from the family of Director-in-Chief Wen, wrote about blossoming plum. He could not help appreciating this poem and changing some words in it; Xu was happy with the changes and asked Shen to be her mentor. See Shi, 4:8a. 7 0 Chen Dongyuan, p. 282. 71 YMQJ (III): BY, 35 of v 9, p. 780. 7 2 "Peaches and Pears" conventionally alludes to students. 7 3 "Female Vines" refers to trailing plants and alludes to female students. x m m £ m m m, dtr " a " = / ( > Vt a a\t OIL P5] -mr 'y, 2 5 Stole a glance over the window at the aged Dongpo. In this poem, Xiahou Sheng JUL {jl j$£ (73 B. C ) , an allusion to Yuan himself, was the Grand Master for Splendid Happiness % jjii A ^ (Guanglu daifu) in the royal court. He was also an erudite scholar specializing in teaching the Book of Documents fn} H (Shang shu). The Empress Dowager had been overseeing the state administration when the Emperor Xuan W i f ascended the throne. She invited Xiahou to help her study the Book of History because she wanted to know about the classical ways of supervising the newly formed administration.7 5 In this case, gender was not an issue because the Empress Dowager could not be treated merely as a woman. As the Grand Master for Splendid Happiness, Xiahou was an intimate imperial aid and an advisor resident the palace. The other allusion in the poem is to an anecdote about "the aged Dongpo" (Su Shi H f̂ , 1037-1101, courtesy name Dongpo) through which Yuan suggested an increase in demand for male supervision from a growing number of literary women. Yuan detailed this anecdote in the epitaph for his female disciple Jin Yi & £1 (1770-94): When Su Shi was demoted to Huizhou M 'itl he was already growing old. One day, when he was reading, he discovered that the Director-in-Chief Wen's daughter was secretly watching him through the window. At first, Su Shi felt strange about this, but he assumed that this girl admired him for his ability to read books and that she wanted to learn from him. He was impressed by her ambition and praised her. Later, however, Su Shi was further degraded to Hainan ;M F̂ - After he returned from Hainan he found that the girl had died, he was so struck by grief that he wrote a short c/poem in her honour." 7 6 Yuan's account of this anecdote, however, differs from other sources. For example, the Ci Poetry Talks from Meidun f g ig£ fjij fgj (Meidun cihua) states that there was a girl in the Wen family named Chaochao who did not want to marry anyone, even though she was already sixteen years old. When Su Shi became her neighbour, she was so pleased that she told everybody he was the right man for her. She spent a lot of 74 YMOJ (I): SJ, p. 961. 7 5 Ban Gu, The Books of the Han rH H (Hanshu), reprinted: Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1962, p. 3155. 26 t i m e lurk ing a r o u n d S u ' s h o u s e a n d l i s ten ing to h im c h a n t p o e m s . Y e t w h e n s h e s a w that S u w a s a w a r e of he r p r e s e n c e , s h e qu i c k l y w i t hd rew. S ho r t l y a f t e rwa rd s , S u w a s fu r ther e x i l e d to H a i n a n I s land. W h e n h e re tu rned f r o m H a i n a n a n d f o u n d out that C h a o c h a o h a d d i e d a n d w a s bu r i ed in the s a n d near -by , h e w a s s t ruck by gr ief a n d w r o t e a c/ ' poem ent i t led " T o the T u n e of D i v i na t i on S o n g : A W a n i n g M o o n H a n g s in S p a r s e T o n g T r e e s " h W-$k R Wt ffii, ffl-77 S c h o l a r s d oub t the au thent i c i t y of th i s a n e c d o t e a n d d o not t e n d to c o n s i d e r th is a va l i d i n te rp re ta t ion of the a f o r e m e n t i o n e d ci p o e m . 7 8 Y u a n M e i t r e a s u r e d it, h o w e v e r , a n d c h a n g e d it f r o m a r o m a n t i c a n e c d o t e into a g i r l - l ea rne r ' s s to ry in o r d e r to s t r e s s the fac t that w o m e n n e e d e x p e r i e n c e d m a l e p o e t s to t e a c h t h e m poetry . T h e r e a s o n w h y Y u a n M e i h a d to u s e f a r - f e t ched h i s to r i ca l s t o r i e s a n d e v e n m a k e s o m e c h a n g e s to t h e m w a s b e c a u s e he, a s we l l a s o the r s , c o u l d not f ind m a n y p r e c e d e n t s for h i s t e a c h i n g of w o m e n in a n c i e n t r e co rd s . T h i s p r o v e s that Y u a n ' s o p e n i n g up t he pos s ib i l i t y of ma l e - t augh t l i terary e d u c a t i o n to w o m e n w a s a p i o n e e r u n d e r t a k i n g . It s h o u l d a l s o b e no ted that Y u a n M e i s t r e s s e d h i s o l d a g e in t a l k i ng abou t t he t e a c h i n g of w o m e n . In the a b o v e p o e m , both X i a h o u a n d S u a r e o l d m e n . A l s o , in a letter to o n e of h i s f e m a l e d i s c i p l e s , S u n Y u n f e n g i i M , Y u a n s u g g e s t e d that h e a c c e p t e d S u n a n d o the r w o m e n a s d i s c i p l e s b e c a u s e h e w a s o l d (72) a n d w a n t e d to p a s s d o w n h is k n o w l e d g e a s we l l a s w a n t i n g c o m p a n y for c o n v e r s a t i o n . 7 9 Du r i n g the c o u r s e of h i s t e a c h i n g , Y u a n a l s o t r ied to m a k e p e o p l e a w a r e of h i s o ld a g e a n d s t a te s that it w a s p r o p e r for h im to t e a c h w o m e n at h i s a ge . H e o b v i o u s l y w a n t e d to d o w n p l a y s u s p i c i o n of s e x u a l r e l a t i on sh i p s wi th h i s f e m a l e d i s c i p l e s . / B YMQJ(\\): WJ, p. 588. 7 7 Yan Zhongqi II cp S comp., Collected Anecdotes about Su ShiM MifeUkW-WL |§ (Su Dongpo yishi huibian), Shandong: Yuelu shushe, 1984, pp. 209-10. 7 8 Cao Shuming H %i $g comp., Ci Poems by Su Dongpo M~MtfcM (Su Dongpo ci), Taiwan: Commercial Press, 1983, pp. 261-4. 7 9 See YMQJ (V): CD, p.108. Yuan Mei wrote, "When scholar Fu got old, he simply wanted to pass on someone his knowledge of the Classics, and, when Liu Yin became aged and feeble, whom could he get to talk with? ft & % IE M f# II; $!l f3" St ffi, J6§ t l * f£? "The scholar Fu" refers to Fu Sheng ft B (221 B. C , courtesy name Zijian =f- H) , a native of Ji'nan $f j^J, who was an erudite. When the First Emperor Yingzheng ordered the burning of all Confucian books, he hid the Book of Documents (Shang shu) in the walls of his house. During the Han Dynasty (206-25 B. C) , he took initiative to spread the knowledge of the Book of Documents by teaching it to the people in the Qi and Lu areas. Emperor Wen heard about this and sent a scholar to learn about the Book of Documents from him when he was already in his nineties and could not speak clearly, but he taught the scholar with the help of his daughter as an interpreter (See Sima Qian S J I i The Historical Records fjg (Shiji), reprint, Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1959, v 121, 3124-5). 2 7 1.4 Assumptions, Approaches and Objectives T h e a p p r o a c h e s a n d o b j e c t i v e s se t forth for th is r e s e a r c h of Q u B i n g y u n a n d he r p o e t i c c r e a t i o n s w e r e f o r m u l a t e d o n the b a s i s of two a s s u m p t i o n s : (1) a c c o r d i n g to N a n c y C h o d o r o w ' s t heo r y r e ga rd i n g the re l a t i ona l g e n d e r ident i ty of w o m e n , the i n te r re la t i on s b e t w e e n Q u B i n g y u n a n d o the r p e o p l e p l a y e d a n impor tan t ro le in he r e n g a g e m e n t in poe t r y s t udy a n d in he r a c c o m p l i s h m e n t a s a poet ; a n d (2) c o n s i s t e n t w i th Ma r i l y n M . C o o p e r ' s t heo r y that wr i t ing is bo th a s y s t e m of s o c i a l a c t i o n a n d a n i nd i v i dua l p r o c e s s , t he i n te rac t i on b e t w e e n Q u B i n g y u n a n d o the r m e m b e r s of he r d i s c o u r s e c o m m u n i t i e s f o r m e d he r poe t i c c o n c e p t s a n d wr i t ing t e c h n i q u e s . Nancy Chodorow's Theory: Women's Relational Gender Identity T h e p s y c h o a n a l y s t a n d f em in i s t N a n c y C h o d o r o w w r o t e a book , The Reproduction of Mothering: Psychoanalysis and the Sociology of Gender,80 in w h i c h s h e s t a t e s that a s e n s e of g r o u p ident ity is o n e of the m o r e p r o m i n e n t c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of w o m e n : the ve r y s e n s e of identity, i n t e r d e p e n d e n c e a n d c o m m u n i t y a r e k e y e l e m e n t s in t he d e v e l o p m e n t of a w o m a n ' s identity. I n s tead of s e e i n g t h e m s e l v e s a s un i que , w o m e n o f ten e x p l o r e the i r s e n s e of s h a r e d ident i ty w i th o the r w o m e n . C h o d o r o w a n a l y z e s the r ep r oduc t i o n of m o t h e r i n g a s t he cen t r a l a n d c on t i nu i n g e l e m e n t in the s o c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n a n d r ep r oduc t i o n of g e n d e r . S h e s a y s that mo the r i n g , i n c l ud i n g c h i l d b e a r i n g a n d c h i l d c a r e , is o n e of the f e w un i v e r s a l a n d e n d u r i n g e l e m e n t s of the s e x u a l d i v i s i on of labour . H o w e v e r , t he a c t u a l p h y s i c a l a n d b i o l o g i c a l r e q u i r e m e n t s of m o t h e r i n g h a v e h i s to r i ca l l y d e c r e a s e d a n d its ro le h a s g a i n e d p s y c h o l o g i c a l a n d i d e o l o g i c a l s i g n i f i c a n c e . C h o d o r o w d r a w s o n p s y c h o a n a l y t i c a c c o u n t s of f e m a l e a n d m a l e pe r s ona l i t y d e v e l o p m e n t to d e m o n s t r a t e that w o m e n ' s m o t h e r i n g r e p r o d u c e s itself c yc l i c a l l y : w o m e n a s m o t h e r s p r o d u c e d a u g h t e r s wi th m o t h e r i n g c a p a c i t i e s a n d the d e s i r e to mother . T h e s e c a p a c i t i e s a n d n e e d s a r e built into a n d g r o w out of the m o t h e r - d a u g h t e r r e l a t i on sh ip itself. B y con t ra s t , w o m e n a s Liu Yin is unidentified. 8 0 Nancy Chodorow, The Reproduction of Mothering: Psychoanalysis and the Sociology of Gender, California: Berkeley and Los Angeles, University of California Press, 1978. 2 8 m o t h e r s p r o d u c e s o n s w h o s e nurturant c apab i l i t i e s a n d n e e d s h a v e b e e n s y s t e m a t i c a l l y c u r t a i l e d a n d r e p r e s s e d , w h i c h p r e p a r e s m e n for the i r l e s s a f f ec t i ve later f am i l i a l ro le a n d for p r ima r y pa r t i c i pa t i on in the i m p e r s o n a l ex t r a - f am i l i a l w o r l d of w o r k a n d pub l i c l ife. T h e s e x u a l a n d fami l i a l d i v i s i on of l a bou r in w h i c h w o m e n m o t h e r a n d a r e m o r e i n v o l v e d in the i n t e r p e r s o n a l a f fec t i ve r e l a t i on sh i p s t h a n m e n p r o d u c e s in d a u g h t e r s a n d s o n s a d i v i s i on of p s y c h o l o g i c a l c apab i l i t i e s , w h i c h l e a d s t h e m to r e p r o d u c e th i s s e x u a l a n d fami l i a l d i v i s i on of l a b o u r (p. 7). C h o d o r o w i n d i c a t e s that w o m e n ' s m o t h e r i n g p r o d u c e s a s y m m e t r i e s in the re l a t i ona l e x p e r i e n c e of gir ls a n d b o y s a s t hey g r o w up, w h i c h c a u s e c r u c i a l d i f f e r e n c e s in f e m i n i n e a n d m a s c u l i n e pe r s ona l i t i e s , c a p a c i t i e s a n d m o d e s . T h e f e m i n i n e pe r s ona l i t y c o m e s to b e b a s e d l e s s o n the r e p r e s s i o n of i nner o b j e c t s a n d m o r e o n the re tent ion a n d cont inu i t y of e x t e r n a l r e l a t i on sh ip s . F r o m the re tent ion of p r e - o e d i p a l a t t a c h m e n t s to the i r mothe r , g r o w i n g g ir l s c o m e to d e f i n e a n d e x p e r i e n c e t h e m s e l v e s a s c o n t i n u o u s w i th o the r s ; the i r e x p e r i e n c e of se l f c o n t a i n s m o r e f l ex ib l e o r p e r m e a b l e e g o b o u n d a r i e s . B o y s c o m e to d e f i n e t h e m s e l v e s a s m o r e s e p a r a t e a n d d i s t inct , wi th a g r ea te r s e n s e of r igid e g o b o u n d a r i e s a n d d i f fe rent ia t ion . T h e b a s i c f e m i n i n e s e n s e of se l f is c o n n e c t e d to the wo r l d , wh i l e the b a s i c m a s c u l i n e s e n s e of e g o is s e p a r a t e f r om it (p. 149). In the O e d i p u s c o m p l e x , w h i c h is, a c c o r d i n g to t he p s y c h o a n a l y t i c p a r a d i g m , a t ime of m a j o r d e v e l o p m e n t a l d i f fe rent ia t ion in pe r s ona l i t y a n d of a re la t i ve f ix ing of pe r s ona l i t y s t ruc tu re for gir ls a n d boy s , a girl d o e s not turn a b s o l u t e l y f r o m he r m o t h e r to he r father , but a d d s he r f a the r to he r w o r l d of p r ima ry ob jec t s . S h e d e f i n e s her se l f in a re l a t i ona l t r i a n g l e — s h e , he r m o t h e r a n d f a t h e r — w h i c h m e a n s that t he re is a g r ea te r c o m p l e x i t y in the f e m i n i n e e n d o p s y c h i c ob j e c t -wo r l d t h a n in the m a s c u l i n e o n e a n d that a l t h o u g h m o s t w o m e n e m e r g e f r o m the i r O e d i p u s c o m p l e x e ro t i ca l l y h e t e r o s e x u a l , h e t e r o s e x u a l l o ve a n d e m o t i o n a l c o m m i t m e n t a r e l e s s e x c l u s i v e l y e s t a b l i s h e d . M e n t e n d to r e m a i n e m o t i o n a l l y s e c o n d a r y , w h i c h c o n t r a s t s to the g r ea te r p r i m a c y a n d e x c l u s i v i t y of the O e d i p a l boy ' s e m o t i o n a l t ie to h i s m o t h e r a n d o the r w o m e n (pp. 167 - 8). F r o m the i r O e d i p a l c o m p l e x a n d its r e so lu t i on , w o m e n ' s e n d o p s y c h i c ob jec t - w o r l d b e c o m e s a m o r e c o m p l e x re l a t i ona l c o n s t e l l a t i o n t h a n m e n ' s , a n d w o m e n r e m a i n p r e o c c u p i e d with o n g o i n g re la t i ona l i s s u e s in a w a y that m e n d o not. A m a s c u l i n e p e r s o n a l i t y c o m e s to b e d e f i n e d in t e r m s of m o r e d e n i a l of re la t ion a n d c o n n e c t i o n , 2 9 w h e r e a s a f e m i n i n e pe r s ona l i t y c o m e s to i n c l u d e a f u n d a m e n t a l de f in i t i on of se l f in a r e l a t i on sh ip . T h u s , re l a t i ona l ab i l i t i e s a n d p r e o c c u p a t i o n s h a v e b e e n e x t e n d e d in w o m e n ' s d e v e l o p m e n t a n d cu r t a i l ed in m e n ' s , po in t i ng to b o y s ' p r e p a r a t i o n for pa r t i c i pa t i on in non - r e l a t i ona l s p h e r e s a n d g i r l s ' g r e a t e r po ten t i a l for pa r t i c i pa t i on in re l a t i ona l s p h e r e s (p. 170). F r o m r e a d i n g C h o d o r o w , I c o n c l u d e that the s e n s e of Q u B i n g y u n ' s re la t iona l ident i ty i n t e r s ec t s wi th that of he r i nd i v i dua l ident ity in the d e v e l o p m e n t of he r pe r sona l i t y , a n d that the re la t i ona l g e n d e r ident ity p l a y s t he k e y ro le in he r w r i t i n g . 8 1 C o n s e q u e n t l y , I d e c i d e d to v i e w Q u B i n g y u n f r o m a re la t i ona l p e r s p e c t i v e . A l s o , wh i l e l o o k i n g into s u c h re la t ions , I k e e p m y m a i n f o c u s o n the i n te rac t i on b e t w e e n Q u B i n g y u n a n d the m e m b e r s of he r d i s c o u r s e c o m m u n i t i e s . T h i s f o c u s is d e r i v e d f r o m a s t u d y of Ma r i l y n M . C o o p e r ' s theory . Marilyn M. Cooper's Theory: Writing as a Social Interactive Process Mar i l y n M . C o o p e r m a i n t a i n s that wr i t ing is not m e r e l y a p r o c e s s of n e t w o r k i n g i d e a s o r b r ing ing a n i s o l a t ed wr i ter t o g e t h e r w i th i s o l a t ed r e ade r s , but a w a y of l iv ing in a s o c i a l g roup , of i n te rac t ing wi th o t h e r s . 8 2 C o o p e r a n d he r c o l l e a g u e M i c h a e l H o l z m a n c o m p i l e d a c o l l e c t i o n of e s s a y s 8 3 p r o m o t i n g the i d e a of wr i t ing a s s o c i a l a c t i o n . In he r a r t i c le , " T h e E c o l o g y of Wr i t i ng , " i n c l u d e d in th is c o l l e c t i o n , C o o p e r s t a t e s that the c o n c e p t of wr i t ing not a s a p r oduc t but a p r o c e s s , a r e c u r s i v e cogn i t i v e act iv i ty, s e e m e d qu i te revo lu t i onary . It s t a r t ed in 1 9 8 2 a n d s o o n w a s c o d i f i e d . H o w e v e r , a c c o r d i n g to this c o n c e p t , the i dea l wr i ter p r o j e c t ed by the cogn i t i v e m o d e l is i s o l a t ed f r o m the s o c i a l w o r l d a n d b e c o m e s w h a t s h e ca l l s t he " so l i t a ry author . " T h e so l i ta ry au tho r w o r k s a l o n e w i th in t he p r i v a c y of his/her o w n m i n d , e x p r e s s i n g his/her f ee l i n g s , p a s s i n g o n i n fo rmat i on , p e r s u a d i n g o the r s to s e e th ing s a s s/he d o e s . S/he s e e s I follow the common practice of making use of Western feminist theories in understanding Chinese women. At the same time, I am aware that these theories are based on modern western culture, so that they are not always compatible with Chinese traditional society. Chinese society is a traditional group- oriented society, in which both women and men seek relations with others. Chodorow's theory provides an enlightening approach to Qu Bingyun from the relational perspective: Chinese women may like to connect themselves with other people more than men. 8 2 Marilyn M. Cooper and Michael Holzman, Writing as Social Action, Boynton: Cook, 1989, pp. viii-iv. 8 3 See Note 82 in this chapter. 3 0 her/his wr i t ing a s a g o a l - d i r e c t e d p i e c e of work, the p r o c e s s of p r o d u c i n g a text. C o o p e r i nd i c a t e s that po s t - s t ruc tu ra l l i terary t h e o r y re f lec t s th i s c o n c e p t . F o r e x a m p l e , S t a n l e y F i s h b e l i e v e s that r e a d e r s a r e g u i d e d by i n te rp re ta t i ve s t r a t eg i e s that a r e cons t i tu t i ve of i n te rpret i ve c o m m u n i t i e s o r i g i na t ing w i th wr i te r s . F i s h ' s s t r a t eg i e s a r e not p r e s e n t in the text. Ra the r , t hey a r e part of the m e n t a l e q u i p m e n t of wr i te r s a n d r e ade r s , a n d on l y by e x p l a i n i n g th i s m e n t a l e q u i p m e n t c a n w e e x p l a i n h o w wr i te r s a n d r e a d e r s c o m m u n i c a t e (pp. 2-3). C o o p e r a r g u e s that l a n g u a g e a n d text s a r e not s i m p l y t he m e a n s by w h i c h i nd i v i dua l s d i s c o v e r a n d c o m m u n i c a t e i n fo rmat ion , but a r e e s s e n t i a l l y s o c i a l ac t i v i t i e s d e p e n d e n t o n s o c i a l s t r uc tu re s a n d p r o c e s s e s not on l y in the i r i n te rpret i ve but a l s o in the i r c o n s t r u c t i v e p h a s e s . B a s e d o n th i s a r g u m e n t , s h e p r o p o s e s a n e c o l o g i c a l m o d e l of wr i t ing, the f u n d a m e n t a l t ene t of w h i c h is that wr i t ing is a n act iv i ty t h r ough w h i c h a p e r s o n is c on t i nua l l y e n g a g e d with a va r i e t y of s o c i a l l y c o n s t r u c t e d s y s t e m s . W r i t e r s w i th in t he s y s t e m a re c o n n e c t e d by wr i t ing t h r ough s y s t e m s of i dea s , p u r p o s e , i n t e r pe r s ona l i n te rac t i on s , cu l tu ra l n o r m s , t ex tua l f o rms : (1) T h e s y s t e m of i d e a s is t he m e a n s by w h i c h wr i te r s c o m p r e h e n d th is w o r l d a n d turn i nd i v i dua l e x p e r i e n c e a n d o b s e r v a t i o n s into k n o w l e d g e . F r o m th is p e r s p e c t i v e , i d e a s resu l t f r o m con tac t , w h e t h e r f a c e - t o - f a c e or m e d i a t e d t h r ough texts . (2) T h e s y s t e m of p u r p o s e is the m e a n s by w h i c h wr i te r s c o o r d i n a t e the i r a c t i o n s . P u r p o s e s a r i s e out of i n te rac t i on , a n d i nd i v i dua l p u r p o s e s a r e m o d i f i e d by t he l a rge r p u r p o s e s of g r oup s ; in fact, a n i nd i v i dua l ' s i m p u l s e o r n e e d on l y b e c o m e s a p u r p o s e w h e n it is r e c o g n i z e d a s s u c h by o the r s . (3) T h e s y s t e m of i n t e r pe r s ona l i n te rac t i on s is t he m e a n s by w h i c h wr i te r s r egu l a te the a c c e s s to o n e ano the r . T w o d e t e r m i n a n t s of the na tu re of a wr i ter ' s i n te rac t i on s w i th o the r s a r e i n t imacy a n d power . (4) T h e s y s t e m of cu l tu ra l n o r m s is t he m e a n by w h i c h wr i te r s s t ruc tu re the l a rge r g r o u p of w h i c h they a r e m e m b e r s . O n e a l w a y s wr i te s out of a g r oup ; the no t i on of w h a t ro le a wr i ter t a k e s o n in a pa r t i cu la r p i e c e of wr i t ing d e r i v e s f r o m th i s fact; a n d , 31 (5) T h e s y s t e m of t ex tua l f o r m is t he m e a n s by w h i c h wr i te r s c o m m u n i c a t e . A t ex tua l f o r m is at the s a m e t ime a c o n s e r v a t i v e r epo s i t o r y of t rad i t ion a n d a r e vo l u t i ona r y i n s t r umen t of n e w f o r m s of a c t i o n . C o o p e r c o n t i n u e s to s a y that a wr i ter a n d the a b o v e s y s t e m s a r e inter- d e t e r m i n e d : al l t he c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of a n y i nd i v i dua l wr i ter o r p i e c e of wr i t ing bo th d e t e r m i n e a n d a r e d e t e r m i n e d by the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of a l l t he o the r wr i te r s a n d wr i t ings in t he s y s t e m s . T h e s y s t e m s a r e c o n c r e t e a n d in t h e m i n te r ac t i on s t a k e p l a c e a s part of wr i t ing. T h e s y s t e m s a r e s t r u c tu re s that c a n be i n ve s t i g a ted . E v e r y i nd i v i dua l wr i ter is n e c e s s a r i l y i n v o l v e d in t h e s e s y s t e m s — f o r e a c h wr i ter a n d e a c h i n s t a n c e of wr i t ing o n e c a n s p e c i f y the d o m a i n of i d e a s a c t i v a t e d a n d s u p p l e m e n t e d , t he p u r p o s e s that s t i m u l a t e d the wr i t ing a n d that r e su l t ed f r o m it. W i t h i n t h e s e s y s t e m s a wr i ter d o e s not i n te rna l i z e the a u d i e n c e a n d m a k e s it a m e n t a l con s t ruc t , but f a c e s rea l r e a d e r s . T h e wr i te r s l ea rn to e m p l o y the d e v i c e s of a u d i e n c e - a d a p t e d wr i t ing by h a n d i n g the i r texts to c o l l e a g u e s to r e a d a n d r e s p o n d to. T h e a u d i e n c e not on l y j u d g e s the wr i t ing, it a l s o m o t i v a t e s it (pp. 2-13). C o o p e r , in fact, c a t e g o r i z e s two m o d e l s of w r i t i n g — o n e is t he i nd i v idua l cogn i t i ve p r o c e s s a n d t he o the r is t he s o c i a l i n te rac t i ve p r o c e s s . A l t h o u g h s h e d e n i e s it, her d e s c r i p t i o n of the s e c o n d c a t e g o r y of wr i t ing m o d e l is a c t ua l l y a p i c tu re of a wr i t ing m o d e l w i th in a d i s c o u r s e c o m m u n i t y . A s F r e e d a n d B r o a d h e a d po int out, C o o p e r a t t e m p t s " to d e s c r i b e a d i s c o u r s e c o m m u n i t y a n d t he d i a l e c t i c i n v o l v e d a s d i s c o u r s e r s a n d c o m m u n i t y e a c h act u p o n the o the r a n d c h a n g e e a c h o the r " (p. 155). In a s s o c i a t i o n w i th C h o d o r o w ' s t heo r y of the re la t iona l ident ity of w o m e n , I a s s u m e that Q u B i n g y u n ' s wr i t ing fa l l s into C o o p e r ' s s e c o n d c a t e g o r y of wr i t ing m o d e l s ; that is, it is a s o c i a l i n te rac t i ve p r o c e s s , a part of w h i c h is Q u ' s i n te rac t i on w i th the m e m b e r s of he r d i s c o u r s e c o m m u n i t i e s . Research Approaches and Objectives In l ight of the a b o v e a s s u m p t i o n s , I a p p r o a c h Q u B i n g y u n f r o m the p e r s p e c t i v e of i n te r re la t ion a n d i n te rac t i on to fulfil l t he o b j e c t i v e s of e x p l o r i n g the q u e s t i o n s : (1) H o w d id Q u B i n g y u n b e c o m e a n a c c o m p l i s h e d p o e t ? (2) W h a t a r e he r poe t i c w o r l d s a n d the i r c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s ? F irst, I wi l l i n ve s t i g a te v a r i o u s r e l a t i on sh i p s c o n c e r n i n g Q u a n d he r 3 2 p o e t i c ac t i v i t i e s s o a s to r e vea l t he p r o c e s s of he r e n g a g e m e n t wi th poet ry . I wi l l t h e n l ook into he r l i terary i n te rac t i on s wi th the m e m b e r s of d i f ferent d i s c o u r s e c o m m u n i t i e s in o r d e r to c o m p r e h e n d he r poe t i c c o n c e p t s a n d c r e a t i o n s . S o , th is r e s e a r c h wi l l : (1) T r a c e Q u B i n g y u n ' s f am i l y h i s to r i ca l b a c k g r o u n d a n d m a p out he r d o m e s t i c cu l t u ra l e n v i r o n m e n t . C h a p t e r II, " F a m i l y a n d P o e t r y E n g a g e m e n t , " d e s c r i b e s th i r teen g e n e r a t i o n s of Q u B i n g y u n ' s a n c e s t o r s a n d he r c h i l d h o o d e d u c a t i o n to s h o w a c o n n e c t i o n b e t w e e n her poe t i c e n g a g e m e n t a n d he r f am i l y ' s h i s to r i ca l b a c k g r o u n d . C h a p t e r III, " D o m e s t i c P o e t r y C i r c l e s , " g i v e s a n a c c o u n t of t w e n t y - o n e poe t i c m e m b e r s in Q u B i n g y u n ' s birth a n d mar i t a l f a m i l i e s a n d he r r e l a t i on sh i p s wi th t h e m to i l lustrate he r u s u a l p o e t i c ac t i v i t ie s a n d mo t i v a t i on s for t h o s e act i v i t ie s . (2) E x p l o r e t he in ter re la t ion a n d i n te rac t i on b e t w e e n Q u B i n g y u n a n d o the r m e m b e r s of Y u a n M e i ' s f e m a l e d i s c i p l e c i r c l e in he r reg ion . C h a p t e r IV, " B e c o m i n g a M e m b e r of Y u a n M e i ' s F e m a l e D i s c i p l e G r o u p , " r e c o u n t s Q u B i n g y u n ' s a c t i v e a s s o c i a t i o n w i th Y u a n M e i a n d h i s o the r f o l l ower s . C h a p t e r V, "W i th i n a F e m i n i s t D i s c o u r s e C o m m u n i t y : In teract ions T h r o u g h C r i t i c a l C o m m e n t s , " e x a m i n e s the i n te rac t i on t h r ough wr i t ing a m o n g Q u a n d o the r m e m b e r s in Y u a n M e i ' s f e m a l e g r oup to g i ve r e a s o n s for the f o r m a t i o n of Q u ' s poe t i c c o n c e p t s a n d t e c h n i q u e s a s we l l a s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of he r poetry . (3) V i e w Q u B i n g y u n ' s poe t i c w o r l d s in the f r a m e w o r k of i n te r re la t i ons a n d i n te rac t i on s w i th in the f am i l y a n d soc i e t y . C h a p t e r VI, " Poe t r y , " l o o k s at Q u ' s poe t i c t h e m e s a n d i m a g e r y in c o n n e c t i o n w i th he r s o c i a l e n v i r o n m e n t . C h a p t e r VII, " C o n c l u s i o n , " w r a p s up t he a c c o m p l i s h m e n t s of Q u B i n g y u n a s a poe t a n d the i r i m p l i c a t i o n s a n d e v a l u a t e s he r c r e a t i o n s in the f i e l d s of C h i n e s e l i terature a n d w o m e n ' s l i terature in g e n e r a l . 3 3 Chapter II Family and Poetic Background Q u B i n g y u n w a s bo rn into a n e l i te h o u s e h o l d du r i n g t he " p r o s p e r o u s a g e of t he K a n g x i , Y o n g z h e n g a n d Q i a n l o n g re igns , " w h i c h p r o v i d e d f a v o r a b l e s o c i a l , e c o n o m i c a n d cu l tu ra l e n v i r o n m e n t for the d e v e l o p m e n t of l i terature. H e r h o m e t o w n , C h a n g s h u S fh, J i a n g s u , in a d istr ict in the l owe r Y a n g z i R i ve r , p r o d u c e d nea r l y 4 0 p e r c e n t of a l l the w o m e n wr i te r s du r i n g the Q i n g D y n a s t y . 8 4 T h e y o u n g g ir l s of e l i te f am i l i e s f r o m the r eg i on w e r e e d u c a t e d a n d e n c o u r a g e d to wr i te poetry , pa in t a n d p r a c t i c e c a l l i g r a p h y unti l t hey m a r r i e d , a n d af ter ma r r i a ge , m o s t of t h e m w e r e a b l e to c o n t i n u e wr i t ing poet ry w h e n the i r h o u s e w o r k w a s f i n i s hed . B a c k in the Z h o u d y n a s t y (ca . 1 1 t h c e n t u r y B. C . - 256 B. C ) , th i s p l a c e w a s not yet c a l l e d C h a n g s h u ; rather, it b e l o n g e d to the s ta te W u ^ . It b e c a m e the t o w n s h i p of Y u js§ in the W u distr ict at the t ime of the H a n d y n a s t y ( 206 B. C . - 220 A . D.), a n d in the J i n D y n a s t y (265 -420 ) Y u T o w n s h i p w a s s e p a r a t e d f r o m the W u distr ict a n d b e c a m e a n o t h e r d istr ict c a l l e d " H a i y u " 18. It w a s in 541 that th i s p l a c e c a m e to b e c a l l e d " C h a n g s h u . " In 1726 , C h a n g s h u w a s d i v i d e d into two par t s . T h e e a s t e r n part b e c a m e a n e w distr ict a n d w a s g i v e n the n a m e " Z h a o w e n " Bg j£ b a s e d o n two w o r d s f r o m the Literary Selections of Zhaoming Bg 0£J Si M {Zhaoming wenxuan). A c c o r d i n g to t rad i t ion, it w a s h e r e that X i a o T o n g (501-531) c o m p i l e d this l i terary an tho l ogy , o n e of t he m o s t in f luent ia l in C h i n e s e history. C h a n g s h u a n d Z h a o w e n w e r e g o v e r n e d s e p a r a t e l y a s two d i s t r ic t s unti l 1 9 1 2 w h e n the latter r e jo i ned C h a n g s h u . C h a n g s h u w a s s i t ua ted o n the s o u t h s h o r e of the l owe r Y a n g z i R i v e r ( S e e F i g u r e 1), a n d h a d a w a r m c l i m a t e a n d p i c t u r e s q u e s c e n e r y : T h e hi l ls w e r e c o v e r e d with g r e e n p l an t s t h r oughou t the y e a r a n d the w a t e r rou tes e x t e n d e d in a l l d i r ec t i on s . M o u n t Y u , a l s o c a l l e d M o u n t W u m u J§ @ [J_|, w a s l o c a t e d in no r t hwe s t C h a n g s h u . T h e n a m e of th i s m o u n t a i n w a s d e r i v e d f r o m Y u Z h o n g jjl {if. t he s e c o n d s o n of K i n g T a i of Z h o u Jfj A 3E, w h o ru led o v e r the s u r r o u n d i n g a r e a s a n d w a s bu r i ed o n the m o u n t a i n after h i s 8 4 See Susan Mann's calculations in "the Spatial Distribution of Women Writers in Qing Times" in Precious Records, pp. 229-232. 3 4 Figure 1. T h e lower Y a n g z i River region in the Ming-Qing per iod: From Dorothy Ko, Teachers of the Inner Chambers: Women and Culture in China, 1573-1722, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994, p . xvi. ' 35 d e a t h . M o u n t Y u is not la rge, on l y 2 6 2 m e t e r s in he ight , 9 k m in length a n d 2 0 k m in c i r c u m f e r e n c e . H o w e v e r , l iterati r e g a r d e d it a s a n e m b l e m of C h a n g s h u a n d p roud l y r e fe r red to t h e m s e l v e s a s " n a t i v e s of M o u n t Y u . " T h i s m o u n t a i n f e a t u r e s s e v e r a l s c e n i c s po t s , s u c h a s the t o m b of Y u Z h o n g , the t o m b of Y a n z i H EP, o n e of C o n f u c i u s ' f avo r i te d i s c i p l e s , a n d t he P e a c h S p r i n g s M {Taoyuan). 2.1 Brilliant Lineage and Childhood Education A noble descendent of the family from G u i 8 6 and a girl of a prominent family of Mount Y u MM W, JS M %x W- (Bao Fen, Biography of Qu Bingyun) "A Prominent Family of Mount Yu" T h e Q u s w e r e a l i n e a g e with a l ong a n d bri l l iant t rad i t ion of bo th "mora l i t y a n d wr i t i ng " M H >C m- (daode wenzhang). O n e of t he Q u f am i l y ' s pu ta t i ve a n c e s t o r s , Q u Y u a n ( ca . 3 4 0 - 2 7 7 B. C ) , w h o m Q u B i n g y u n p roud l y c a l l e d " m y ance s t o r , " is o n e of t he m o s t i l lus t r ious p o e t s in C h i n e s e h istory, a n d his Encountering SorrowM. H (Lisao) e s t a b l i s h e d t he l a m e n t a t i o n g e n r e II ff (saoti) in C h i n e s e poetry . Q u Y u a n ' s u p r i g h t n e s s a n d loya l ty to his c oun t r y h a v e m o v e d the C h i n e s e p e o p l e g e n e r a t i o n after g e n e r a t i o n . A l s o , a c c o r d i n g to the l o ca l g a z e t t e e r of C h a n g s h u a n d Z h a o w e n , the Q u s " h a d b e e n e n g a g e d in C o n f u c i a n l e a r n i n g for n ine g e n e r a t i o n s a n d not d e c l i n e d " % fj± f§ H M pr ior to Q u B i n g y u n ' s g rea t - g rea t g r a n d f a t h e r ' s t i m e . 8 7 F r o m th i s w e k n o w that t h e r e w e r e at l ea s t th i r teen c o n s e c u t i v e g e n e r a t i o n s in the Q u l i n e a g e i n v o l v e d in s c h o l a r s h i p up to Q u B i n g y u n ' s t ime. T h e g e n e r a t i o n s f r o m the g rea t - g rea t g r and f a t he r to Q u B i n g y u n a r e k n o w n to us, a s s h o w n in a t ab l e be l ow: Bao Fen, "Biography of Qu Bingyun," in YYJ. The prefecture of Gui f f (modern Zhigui in Hubei) was the homeland of Qu Yuan. 3 6 Figure 2. Qu Bingyun's genealogy: Qu Yongqing jg ^ ff, z/Guoshi HI ± (Qu Bingyun's great-great grandfather) Tribute Student J|f £ (Gongsheng), specialized in the "Great Preface,"88 "upright and frank" and "never crooked and dishonest."89 Qu Chenglin jg f|, z/' Qishang @ jij Metropolitan Graduate i i ± (Jinshi, 1736), Prefect of Lulong Jj| f i and Jingzhou H jf\ in Hebei province, authored three books.90 Qu Zengfa jg # ft, z/ Lu-chuan H IH, Xingyuan ^ s @ Provincial Graduate ljl X (Juren, 1738), left behind three works.91 Qu Hongji jg #t 3£, z/'Zhongqian {cjn f|f (Qu Bingyun's father) Known as erudite, kind and filial by nature. T h e Q u s w e r e we l l k n o w n for bo th the i r s c h o l a r s h i p a n d t rad i t ion of m o r a l integrity. T h e r e a r e qu i te a f e w a n e c d o t e s r e ga rd i n g the i r g o o d d e e d s in a c a d e m i c af fa i r s , s o c i a l char i ty , g o v e r n m e n t a l adm in i s t r a t i ve w o r k a n d f am i l y a f fa i r s . H e r e a r e s o m e e x a m p l e s : Q u Y o n g q i n g ' s g r ea t - g rea t f a the r Q u T a n z h i f r equen t l y u s e d h i s m o n e y to hos t l a r ge b a n q u e t s for the p e o p l e in h i s distr ict. O n t h e s e o c c a s i o n s , he f e d the hungry , me t with t he fo lk of h i s d istr ict a n d s o m e t i m e s pub l i c l y s e r m o n i z e d i n d e c e n t p e o p l e . O n e day , T a n z h i a n d s o m e o the r s c h o l a r s h a d a n oppo r tun i t y to sit wi th s o m e ce l eb r i t i e s . Q u T a n z h i d i d not th ink that s c h o l a r s l ike t h e m w e r e infer ior to t h e s e f a m o u s p e o p l e , a n d w h e n h e s a w a s c h o l a r s h o w i n g humi l i ty a n d s u b m i s s i o n to the ce l eb r i t i e s , h e got ang r y a / RGCZ, pp. 1658-9. 8 8 The "Great Preface" to The Classic of Poetry. 89 RGCZ, pp. 1658-9. 9 0 Qu Chenglin's works, Referential Correspondences Between the Classics and Histories #1 j£ # |WJ (Jingshi cantong), A Book on Learning Correctness !? H | i (Xishibian), and A Local Gazetteer of Jingzhou H 'jf| ^ (Jingzhouzhi) are mentioned in RGCZ, p. 3034, but not found. 91 "A Comprehensive Examination of the Number 9' fi 1ft j l # -f - H # (Jiushu tongkao shisan juan), A Study of Ten Thousand of Words H | f | ^ !f§ (Wanyan yiya), and Teaching Materials in Biyang Jjl |5§ if i i (Biyang jiangyi) are mentioned in RGCZ, p. 3034, but not found. 3 7 a n d i m m e d i a t e l y s h o u t e d at h im, " S h o u l d a s c h o l a r f r o m a p re s t i g i ou s f am i l y b e l ike t h i s ? " In 1644, w h e n he w a s s e ven t y - f i v e y e a r s o l d , T a n z h i e x p e r i e n c e d the c o l l a p s e of t he M i n g d yna s t y . T h e n e w s w a s a n n o u n c e d w h e n h e w a s ea t i n g , a n d h e th rew his c h o p s t i c k s a w a y a n d w a i l e d loudly, f a s t i ng for s e v e n d a y s unti l h e d i e d of s t a r v a t i o n . 9 2 W h e n Q u Z e n g f a , Q u B i n g y u n ' s g rand fa the r , t ook o f f i ce in K a i z h o u h e e n t h u s i a s t i c a l l y p r o m o t e d a c a d e m i c e n d e a v o r s , p a t r on i z i n g t he A c a d e m y of D o n g g a o by s u p e r v i s i n g its c u r r i c u l u m a n d g i v ing l ec tu re s , buy i n g b o o k s f r o m S u z h o u to e n l a r g e its l ibrary a n d s e l e c t i n g s c h o l a r s to s tudy the re . H e d i d the s a m e later in B i j ie H§ f f i , w h e r e h e w a s a l s o r e n o w n e d a s b e n e v o l e n t to o rd i na r y p e o p l e a n d s e v e r e to ev i l i nd i v i dua l s . B i j ie w a s t he cen t r a l po s t s ta t ion for t h ree a d j a c e n t p r o v i n c e s — G u i z h o u , Y u n n a n , a n d S i c h u a n — a n d r equ i r ed a la rge n u m b e r of po s t h o r s e s . T h e l o ca l h o r s e s w e r e c o m m a n d e e r e d at a ve r y l ow c o m p e n s a t i o n rate, w h i c h heav i l y b u r d e n e d the p e o p l e , s o Q u Z e n g f a c h a n g e d the rate f r o m o n e qian p e r h o r s e to fou r qian, m a k i n g t he l o ca l p e o p l e h a p p y w i th th i s r e a s o n a b l e rate a n d m o r e w i l l i ng to p r o v i d e h o r s e s fo r the p o s t . 9 3 A l s o , it w a s s a i d that a tr ibal ch ie f in D a d i n g A 7E by the n a m e of A n Z h a o w a n t e d to p o s s e s s h i s o w n s i s t e r - i n - l aw a n d he r p rope r t y a f te r h i s b ro the r d i e d . T h e w o m a n d i s o b e y e d h im a n d s w o r e to kill he r se l f if A n Z h a o f o r c e d her. W h e n Q u Z e n g f a h e a r d a b o u t th is he p u n i s h e d A n Z h a o a n d h o n o r e d the w o m a n . A f t e rwa rd s , A n Z h a o c o m m i t t e d m o r e adu l te r y w i th w o m e n o u t s i d e h i s tr ibe a n d w a s b e a t e n by l o ca l v i l l a ge r s . W h e n h e l ed h i s p e o p l e a g a i n s t the v i l l age r s , Q u Z e n g f a s t o p p e d h i m . 9 4 Q u B i n g y u n ' s f a t he r Q u Hong j i w a s a fi l ial s o n . W h e n he w a s v e r y y o u n g h i s m o t h e r s u f f e r ed f r o m i l l nes s , a n d h e p r a y e d for he r e v e r y day , te l l ing H e a v e n that he w a s w i l l i ng to s h o r t e n his o w n life if h i s m o t h e r ' s life c o u l d b e p r o l o n g e d . H e w a s a l s o k ind to o the r p e o p l e , s e l l i n g r ice at a l ow pr i ce to re l i e ve p e o p l e . S o m e t i m e s h e e v e n put m o n e y i n s i de b a g s of r ice a n d s o l d t h e m c h e a p l y to poo r p e o p l e , or h e w o u l d p l a c e b a s k e t s of r ice at the d o o r of hung ry f a m i l i e s . 9 5 A c c o r d i n g to the l o ca l g a ze t t ee r , t he Q u f am i l y w a s a l s o p r a i s e d by the pub l i c for a l a rge ph i l an th rop i c project, t he e s t a b l i s h m e n t of a m a n o r for p o o r p e o p l e , w h i c h w a s c o m p l e t e d by f ou r c o n s e c u t i v e g e n e r a t i o n s of the Q u l i neage . Q u B i n g y u n ' s g reat - Ibid, pp. 1775-6. Ibid, pp. 1660-1. Ibid. Ibid, pp. 2133-4. 3 8 g r a n d f a t h e r Q u C h e n g l i n in i t iated the p ro ject by con t r i bu t i n g a h u n d r e d mu 96 of l a nd for pub l i c u se . In the f o l l ow ing two g e n e r a t i o n s , Q u X i a o f a | g H i t ( P r o v i n c i a l G r a d u a t e , 1798) a n d Q u W e n j i , c o n t i n u e d con t r i bu t i ng the i r l a nd to p o o r p e o p l e , a n d Q u B i n g y u n ' s c o u s i n Q u T i n g z h e n $S ft ( c ou r te s y n a m e S h a n g h e n g _L Hj , P r o v i n c i a l G r a d u a t e ) c o m p l e t e d the p ro ject by d o n a t i n g s i x h u n d r e d mu. P e o p l e g lo r i f ied the Q u f am i l y in the f o l l ow ing w o r d s : " T h e w h o l e f am i l y l o v e d to d o pub l i c g o o d . T h e f ou r g e n e r a t i o n s of the Q u a r e of the s a m e hear t " — H £ F m, H f t IRI ' L N 9 7 Q u B i n g y u n ' s mothe r , s u r n a m e d B a o fflu, a l s o c a m e f r o m a s cho l a r - o f f i c i a l f am i l y of C h a n g s h u . B y t he t ime of Q u B i n g y u n ' s mothe r , the B a o s h a d e n g a g e d in s t udy for t h r ee g e n e r a t i o n s . Q u B i n g y u n ' s m a t e r n a l g r a n d f a t h e r a n d h i s two b ro the r s w e r e al l s c h o l a r s w h o p r o d u c e d w o r k s that s u r v i v e d t h e m . T h e m a t e r n a l g r a n d f a t h e r B a o J i e x u n IfS JS Wi ( c ou r t e s y n a m e Y u a n l u jt {S a n d s ob r i que t M i n g s h a n fJLf) w a s a S t i p e n d S t u d e n t 0 £ (Linsheng). K n o w n a s a n a c c o m p l i s h e d poet , pa inter , a n d ca l l i g r aphe r , he left b e h i n d a w o r k of poet ry ent i t l ed Collected Poems from the Residence of Growing Trees H 7f> | § § f H (Yangmuju ship). 98 J i e x u n ' s e l d e r b ro the r B a o J i n ' g a o | g # itj ( c ou r t e s y n a m e Y i t a o Jff |% a n d s ob r i que t L i u c u n fp fcf) w a s a T r i bu te S t u d e n t by P u r c h a s e , F i r s t C l a s s | | 4 (Lin'gongsheng). B a o J i n ' g a o w a s a con t r i bu t i ng au tho r to the p r o v i n c i a l g a ze t t ee r . M e a n w h i l e , J i e x u n ' s y o u n g e r b r o the r B a o K u i tfg $ | ( cou r te s y n a m e S h e n z h i $1 w r o t e two b o o k s , What I Learned from My Travel in Qian I7 $ F — ?# (Qianyou yide) a n d Collected Poems and Ancient-Style Prose (Shiguwen //) . " M a d a m e B a o ' s g e n e r a t i o n w a s e n g a g e d in l e a r n i n g to a n e v e n g rea te r extent . H e r b ro the r s , B a o W e i , B a o F e n a n d B a o T a n ftg ( c ou r t e s y n a m e X i n t i a n /[> tj§> S t u d e n t | | ^ [Z/7t7s/7engf]), a n d he r s i s te r B a o Y i n w e r e a l l a c c o m p l i s h e d s c h o l a r - wr i te r s . B a o W e i , a T r i bu te S t u d e n t by P u r c h a s e , F i r s t C l a s s , w a s a ve r y h o n e s t a n d forthr ight m a n a n d f o n d of a n c i e n t b o o k s . H e a u t h o r e d a w o r k ent i t l ed Collected Poems from the Banana Rain TowerM PM H ft H (Jiaoyulou shiji)? 00 B a o F e n , a T r i bu te A unit of area, one mu equals to 0.165 acre. RGCZ, pp. 2134-5. This collection is mentioned in RGCZ, p. 2040, but not found. These books are mentioned in RGCZ, p. 2041, but not found. 3 This work is mentioned in RGCZ, p. 2041, but not found. 3 9 S t uden t , w a s v e r y k n o w l e d g e a b l e a b o u t the Illustrious Articles from the Literary World $r |g n gg (Wenyuan yinghua) a n d 7/ie Great-Peace Imperial Encyclopedia A 2p fP ft (Taiping yulan), a n d a l s o a sk i l fu l c a l l i g r aphe r . H e i n d u l g e d in poe t r y a n d w i ne , s o h e d id not at ta in a n y d e g r e e s o r of f ic ia l t i t les. H i s d i s c i p l e s p u b l i s h e d h i s wr i t i ng s ent i t led Collected Works from the Have-not-been Learned Studio T P H ^ M {Weixuetang y/), 1 0 1 af te r h i s d e a t h . B a o Y a n , w h o h a d p r o f o u n d k n o w l e d g e of a n c i e n t p r o s e , w a s v e r y a d e p t at p r o s e wr i t ing a n d h i s p r o s e e v e n s u r p r i s e d Y u a n M e i , w h o p r a i s e d B a o Y a n by c o m p a r i n g h i s w o r k to that of X u n z i ^ ( ca . 3 1 3 - 2 3 8 B. C ) . Y a n w a s a l s o g o o d at poe t r y a n d c a l l i g r a p h y in the H a n D y n a s t y S c r i p t it ft (Hanli). It is s a i d that h e a u t h o r e d a w o r k c a l l e d Collected Poems and Ancient Style Prose from the Non-Innovation Hall^f it ^ If TJ? £ M (Buzuotang shiguweny'/).102 T h e Q u s b e f r i e n d e d the B a o s . Q u C h e n g l i n w r o t e B a o J i e x u n ' s t o m b e p i t a p h a n d M a d a m B a o m a r r i e d Q u Hong j i . T h e s e two f a m i l i e s ' h i s to r i ca l b a c k g r o u n d s u r e l y g a v e Q u B i n g y u n a s e n s e of b e c o m i n g a k n o w l e d g e a b l e a n d upr ight p e r s o n a n d mo t i v a t ed he r to b e e n g a g e d in l i terary e d u c a t i o n . T h i s prof i le of the th i r teen c o n s e c u t i v e g e n e r a t i o n s of Q u ' s l i n e a g e r e v e a l s the s t r ong d e s i r e of Q u ' s f am i l y to t r an sm i t its t rad i t ion of e rud i t i on a n d integr ity f r o m o n e g e n e r a t i o n to the next. Childhood Education Q u B i n g y u n l i ved in a " g r and fami l y " w h i c h c o n s i s t e d of he r g r ea t - g r andpa ren t s , g r a n d p a r e n t s , pa ren t s , a n d s i b l i ng s . H e r u n c l e a n d aun t a n d the i r c h i l d r e n a l s o l i ved u n d e r th is roof. W h e n Q u B i n g y u n w a s a todd ler , he r mothe r , M a d a m e B a o , b e g a n t e a c h i n g he r w o m a n l y m a n n e r s . A s s h e g r e w a little o l d e r he r p a r en t s s t a r t ed t e a c h i n g he r l i terature a n d b e g a n in s t ruc t ing he r m o r e s e r i o u s l y in t he m o r a l c o n d u c t p r e s c r i b e d for w o m e n in the c l a s s i c s . It is s a i d that Q u B i n g y u n w a s v e r y br ight a n d a b l e to l ea rn m o r e t h a n w h a t w a s t aught to he r d i rect ly . M o r e s pec i f i c a l l y , if he r i n s t ruc t i on s dea l t on l y w i th the s upe r f i c i a l a s p e c t s of a pa r t i cu la r matter , s h e w o u l d i n va r i ab l y b e a b l e to f i gu re out the m e a n i n g unde r l y i n g it o n he r o w n ( S e e B a o F e n , P r e f a c e ) . Un fo r tunate l y , he r The Collected Works from the Have-not-been Learned Studio (eight chapters) 3jz ifS ^ H (Weixuetang ji) was printed in 1839, found in Shanghai Library. 2 This work is mentioned in RGCZ, p. 2041, but not found. 40 m o t h e r d i e d in 1 7 6 9 w h e n s h e w a s m e r e l y two y e a r s o l d a n d in the f o l l ow ing y e a r he r f a the r a l s o d i e d . A f t e r w a r d s he r g r a n d p a r e n t s , Q u Z e n g f a a n d M a d a m e J i a n g M, b e c a m e t he g u a r d i a n s of little Q u B i n g y u n a n d he r y o u n g e r b ro the r Q u B a o j u n . A c c o r d i n g to t he later a c c o u n t s of re la t i ves , a s we l l a s he r o w n t e s t imony , Q u B i n g y u n felt v e r y s a d a b o u t l o s i ng he r p a r en t s at s u c h a t e n d e r a g e ( S e e B a o Y i n , P r e f a c e ) a n d w a s v e r y g ra te fu l for he r g r a n d p a r e n t s ' c a r e . L a t e r on , w h e n r eca l l i n g t h o s e d a y s wi th he r g r a n d m o t h e r , s h e wro te : Your great kindness, every time, reminds me of H e r g r a n d m o t h e r , M a d a m e J i a n g , a n d aunt, L a d y C a o If , t ook c a r e of Q u B i n g y u n ' s e v e r y d a y life a n d t r a i ned he r in w o m a n l y v i r tue a n d work . T h e g r and fa the r , Q u Z e n g f a , a n e n c y c l o p e d i c s cho l a r , t ook c h a r g e of her l i terary s t ud i e s . T h e r e is little d oub t that the g r a n d f a t h e r h a d a d i rec t a n d p r o f o u n d i n f l uence o n Q u B i n g y u n . A s t he a b o v e t ab le i nd i ca te s , Q u Z e n g f a w a s o u t s t a n d i n g both in t e r m s of e rud i t i on a n d mora l i ty . H e w a s a p rod igy , " b e i n g g i f ted a n d k n o w i n g a g rea t d e a l a bou t s t r a t eg i e s w h e n h e w a s just a c h i l d . " 1 0 3 H e p a s s e d the p r o v i n c i a l e x a m i n a t i o n in 1 738 in N a n j i n g w i th Y u a n M e i . T o fulfil l h i s du t i e s a s a s o n , i n s t e a d of c o n t i n u i n g to p u r s u e a M e t r o p o l i t a n G r a d u a t e d e g r e e , Q u Z e n g f a f o l l o w e d h is f a t he r to J i n g z h o u in o rde r to h e l p h im with o f f i ce work. A f t e r his f a the r ret i red, Q u Z e n g f a a c c o m p a n i e d h im at h o m e , a s s i s t i n g h im wi th c o n s t r u c t i o n w o r k in the h o u s e . Q u Z e n g f a ' s nea r l y l i fe long c o m p a n i o n s h i p wi th h i s father, o n e of the m o s t l e a r n e d s c h o l a r s in the Q u l i neage , t u r n e d Q u Z e n g f a into a n e rud i te s c h o l a r too. Q u Z e n g f a w a s we l l k n o w n a s a m a t h e m a t i c i a n , a n d D a i Z h e n ^ H ( 1724 -1777 ) , o n e of the g r ea te s t t h i nke r s of the e i g h t e e n t h c e n t u r y a n d p o s s e s s e d of a b r o a d k n o w l e d g e of a s t r o n o m y , g e o g r a p h y , m a t h e m a t i c s , h istory, the c l a s s i c s a n d l ingu i s t i c s , w ro t e a p r e f a c e to Q u Z e n g f a ' s t h i r teen c h a p t e r s o n m a t h e m a t i c s ent i t led A Comprehensive Examination of the Number Ibid., p. 1160. (4:5a) 41 9 i L i £ M % + — # {Jiushu tongkao shisan yuan) . 1 0 4 Q u Zeng fa a lso had a profound knowledge of the S ix C l a s s i c s . His work on this subject, A Study of Ten Thousand Words H m W ft (Wanyan y / ya ) , 1 0 5 was publ ished in 1779 . Q u Zeng fa occupied the posit ion of Prefect of Bijie at the age of sixty after he had f inished his duties as a filial son . W e are told, at the age of six, the grandfather began teaching Q u Bingyun the Confuc ian c lass ics , the works of the pre-Qin phi losophers, history, and literature. It was sa id that Qu Bingyun understood the "general meaning" of those works, and that she could recite a p iece fluently after only a few readings (See Q u J ingkun, Postscript). Cal l igraphy was a lso included in her educat ion; however, under her grandfather's instruction she did not spend much time working on the standard script (Kaishu). The grandmother, M a d a m e J iang , instructed her on Ban Zhao 's Womanly Instructions, and together with Lady C a o , training her in womanly work and skil ls, such as cooking, embroider ing, and playing C h i n e s e musical instruments. Q u Bingyun grew up with her cousin Qu J ingkun who a lso became an accompl ished poet later on, and the two cous ins shared their affinity for poetry the rest of their l ives. The two girls were born in the s a m e year, although Qu J ingkun was a little older, and they were educated together in the family. A poem by Q u Bingyun entitled "Miss ing My Elder Sister Wanq ing" (translated in Chapter V) shows that they competed with one another in the study of books and womanly work. The two young cous ins learned to write poetry together in their chi ldhood. They often d i scussed poetry writing and exchanged what they learned from studying. Somet imes they ass igned each other rhymes for compos ing poems, as descr ibed in a couplet from a later poem composed by Q u J ingkun: "I recollect those days when we tried hard to depict f ragrance and to match the ass igned rhymes. / W e d iscussed poetry on quiet nights, shoulder to shoulder" I f H # ff & M m § It M (Qu J ingkun, Preface) . O n one occas ion at least they were inspired by colorful fresh flowers, and were too impatient to wait to put on make-up before writing poems about them: "We imagined that the scenery outside was like a curtain with a fresh green background. / Right after combing our hair, we composed poems" fM M — M §\ It JS, ^ft M H HE See Note 91 in this chapter. 42 t% f v f (1:10a). It was said that Qu Bingyun was very good at writing short verse, and that she created a set of fifteen poems, "Songs of Willow Branches" $/P ^ ("Liuzhici"), in her childhood. Evidently, these poems were widely circulated. Many years later, the poets Yuan Mei, Wu Weiguang, and Bao Wei still showed an interest in these poems and made positive comments about them. One of the poems reads: [Poem 1] Songs of Willow Branches (second poem) Before the wind a thin shadow dances playfully. jMl flj Hi i £ ^ !lc, If not wrapped in affection, then in regret. ^ $j| fjf IP f| | Reflected in the water, you admire yourself and happily use it as a bright mirror. 7JC |=| H£[ § i $T% If you gazed upon a slender moon below how much greater would your happiness be? =̂r BH H R l l $d (1:2b) Qu Jingkun wrote: as a daughter of the Qu family, Qu Bingyun "is good both at writing poetry and at doing womanly work; she is adept at sewing and embroidery" f l£ II , i f H W- % I f Mi ( Q U Jingkun, Postface). In addition, Qu Bingyun had a sound foundation in the classics and historical works. In short, before marriage Qu Bingyun was well trained to be a good housewife and a poet in an elite family. 2.2 A Virtuous Housewife "More Fortunate than a Goddess" 4 3 Qu Bingyun was married to Zhao Tongyu in 1785 when she was eighteen years o ld . 1 0 6 The Zhao family was also a well-known scholar-official lineage in Changshu which had been producing Metropolitan Graduates and Provincial Graduates for many generations. Among Zhao Tongyu's father's generation, Zhao Guikun H J f Zhao Guipu H M #t and Zhao Guishi H Mffi, were all Provincial Graduates, and his mother, Madame Tao |J®, was the daughter of the Metropolitan Graduate (1773) Tao Zhenyi ptjf M Also, Madame Tao's four brothers, two of whom were Provincial Graduates, were renowned for both their academic achievements and morality. 1 0 7 The Zhao family was wealthy, enabling Zhao Tongyu to have three expensive hobbies: collecting inkstones, building residential houses, and hosting parties. He had a large collection of valuable Duan inkstones, made from a kind of stone from Duanxi, Guangdong province. He called the top nine of them "The Nine guests" % ^ (Jiuke) and another group of thirteen "The Thirteen Guests," and gave each a name, calling one that was worth a hundred mu of land "A Hundred Mu" "g" \aX (Baimu) and another that was the same value as the former "Jade-like" JH I f {Langgan)/08 Zhao Tongyu also constructed and decorated buildings. For example, he designed the Jade-Collecting Tower (Yunyulou), The Studio Next to the Goddess of Inkstone Xin (Linxin'ge) and the House Beside Water with Gull Ripples (Ouboguan), as well as villas in the south of the town. Let us take a look at the compound of Yunyulou found in a description by Sun Yuanxiang: There are seven principal columns in the front hall, two of which are at the west end. It is wide open, without walls between the columns. Although not high, it is well lighted. It is surrounded by several red rails intermingled with gorgeous engravings. The painted ceiling beams resemble variegated mist in height, and in the sunlight the inscriptions on the ridgepoles shine. The place where the white walls look like luminous frost and Xiang curtains are as pure as water is Madam Qu Bingyun's studio "for writing poetry." Inside In this dissertation I use the western method for calculating age, which is different from the one used by Chinese. According to the Chinese way of age calculation, a child was one sui when born and one sui was added after each lunar New Year's day. So a person born at the end of the twelfth lunar month, would be two only a few days after birth. 107 RGCZ, p. 1695. 1 0 8 Ibid., p. 2049. 4 4 it, books and sacrificial tripod vessels are on display. A silk zither's strings are tautly stretched and a chessboard is placed there. Smoke from an incense burner rises and meanders above the desk, and the branches of various plants touch each other. Further along is a bedroom, arched and gently curving, and covered loose and silently. You only smell a hidden fragrance like orchids or plums; although you smell it in your heart, you do not know where it comes from. $gt i f -fc; fg, M ® ft 13 £ §• ̂  M rfTJ Ui, # 7B g Qu Bingyun liked this building very much, spending most of her time there. She used its name for her poetry collection as well as in the titles of many poems, such as "I Sit in the Jade-Collecting Tower While Snowing" H 3£ H ^ If ("Yunyulou zuoxue," 1: 6a), "Evening Lights in the Jade-Collecting Tower" H 3L it 'M 5? ("Yunyulou dengxi," 1:14a), "Linked Lines in Early Summer When We Admire the Moon from the Jade-Collecting Tower " D ' l l l i f ^ M *Q ("Chuxia Yunyulou shangyue lianju," 2:18b) and "To the Tune of the South Tower: Self-Inscription for the Jade-Collecting Tower" ĵ f fg g M H 5 W: ("Nanlouling: ziti Yunyulou," c:9b). The Zhaos was wealthy and scholarly, which suited Qu Bingyun quite well. Like Lin Daiyu, the heroine in Dream of the Red Chamber (Hongloumeng), she was a talented but fragile young woman, and it is likely that she had been in a weak physical condition since birth, as reflected in one of her "Songs for Willow Branches" written during her childhood: Songs of Willow Branches (fourth poem) Sun Yuanxiang, Collected Works from the True Nature Tower Ji % M (Tianzhen'ge ji, hereafter TZJ), 1801, 52:18b-19a. 109 [Poem 2] 45 It is not that my body is light, or easily shaken. W/lkM' I was born to be thin and delicate. #L 3f5 I t When I wake in the jade tower I can hardly stand up; 3 L IS How many mornings ago did the pure chill render me i l l? /JN ^ fm (1:2a) Although this short poem speaks of a twig, we cannot help associating it with the condition of Qu Bingyun's own life. In her second year of marriage, she first began writing on the theme of her illness, which eventually became one of the most frequent topics of her poetry: "Besides the sickness I am suffering, I feel my poetry is emaciated to the bone" i © % Jpf | # # g | (1:13b). Eleven years later, she summed up the first half of her life in the following couplet: Idling away half of my life, I have been living with poetry; ^ 1ft Pfl Mr I# 1 § i i , For ten years, my pure happiness has come from sickness. -f- ^ ?ff |g ^ ^ 5f5- (2:11b) Why did the Zhaos agree to a marriage with this fragile girl while most families wanted a healthy woman to bear children? One possible reason lies in the celebrated background of Qu Bingyun's natal family. The Zhao family established an alliance with a more influential family by the marriage with Qu Bingyun. The other possible reason, as Susan Mann states in her book, was that there were not enough brides for eighteenth century marriage market because of an unbalanced sex ratio. This resulted from the preference for sons in the family system. 1 1 0 Since Zhao Tongyu was talented and shared Qu Bingyun's interests, and the Zhao family was well off financially, Qu Bingyun's family was also satisfied with the marriage. Qu Jingkun once talked with Qu Bingyun's elder brother about the marriage: "Our sister is talented and exquisite. Now 1 1 0 Mann, Precious Records, p. 12. U M W) ffi, 46 she has gotten a good match. This is luckier than if she had become a goddess" (Qu Jingkun, Postscript). A Dutiful Wife We cannot find any evidence supporting the following assertion made by David Hawkes concerning her household life: [Qu Bingyun was] a delicate and fastidious person who hated household duties. 1 1 1 By contrast, there is a considerable amount of evidence showing that Qu Bingyun was a devoted housewife. As a daughter of an elite family with a background in traditional learning and morality, she had been well prepared for this. Typical of most wives in elite society at the time, Qu performed housework in her marital family that required a great deal of time and effort, and won praise from all members of the Zhao family and its relatives: She was diligent in doing housework and never arrogant. She put everything in good order. People inside and outside the household respected her as virtuous and filial f § fit mi^^^mm^&mmm^^^ %• ^ ^ f i f I t (Qu Jingkun, Postscript). As most Chinese brides did at that time, during the first few years of marriage, Qu Bingyun did not spend much time with her husband; instead, she accompanied her mother-in-law and other female members in the family. She served the mother-in-law very carefully, not asking the cook to prepare food for her mother-in-law, but taking care of this task in person. Even though Qu was continually sick, she made use of her exceptional cooking skills to please her mother-in-law, and she successfully won praise from the in-laws (See Tao Tingxi, Preface), accompanying her mother-in-law and doing everything the old lady liked. Once when the mother-in-law contracted a skin ailment and could not rest her head on a pillow during the night, Qu happened to also be seriously sick --her legs swelled up as big as her thighs. However, she still waited on 47 her mother-in-law. For seven days without eating or sleeping, she supported her mother-in-law's waist with her feet and supported her head with her hands. It was said that during that time Qu suffered great agony; pus leaked out of her swollen legs, and her weakened body was exhausted by her prolonged contortions. People were touched by this and came to think of her as a moral daughter-in-law. 1 1 2 When the mother-in-law later contracted a serious mouth ulcer and could not eat, Qu was very concerned and wrote a poem, "Serving My Mother-in-law by Her Sickbed" f # $ | ("Shiguji") exposing her worries and guilt feelings for not taking good care of her mother-in-law because she was ill herself: [Poem 3] By the bedroom doors morning and evening linger long; When the summer ends, we enter autumn. I do my utmost but am not sure I can fulfill my duty as a daughter-in-law; My own feeble body may worry my mother-in-law I know the nature of food well and fear I will feed her something bad. I strongly hope the medicine will take effect soon. Dare I say that those ulcers are not in my mouth? When will the anxiety in my heart end? (4:6b-7a) In doing the housework, Qu Bingyun regarded cooking and embroidering as two aesthetic pursuits separate from her poetry, painting, calligraphy or music. According to Sun Yuanxiang, she embroidered in the same style she painted, using needles in place of brushes and colorful threads for paints. For example, once one of her poetic mentors, 1 1 1 David Hawkes, "Hsi P'ei-lan," Asia Major, 1959, V. 7, p.119. 1 1 2 Sun, TZJ, 50:6b. 48 Wu Weiguang, asked her to embroider his treasured painting of plum trees on a bag. Upon carrying out the assignment, Qu Bingyun first visualized images of the plum flowers, then recreated them in her embroidery, which resembled a painting. She also cooked the way she wrote poetry, developing her own unique recipes. Her husband liked to host parties for his literati friends, and she made food for the parties by using her excellent cooking skills. Sun Yuanxiang was a frequent guest at this couple's parties and according to his accounts, Qu Bingyun would serve rare dishes that none of the guests had seen anywhere else. For example, [One day,] Tongyu hosted a banquet at the Studio Next to the Goddess of the Inkstone Xin. The food on the menu was surprising and delicious: The thick soup was made of jade-like minced condiments and rice (to be verified). The broth was made of mica, evening mist and heavenly flowers. The congee was made of lotus, erigeron and honey. There were "eight pellets" and "snow milk" in the cheese paste. The soup had "unicorn marrow," "good-for-lungs," jade-like swallow," and "snow balls." All these were Wanxian's handwork ^ ^ Jg g PS, ^ W ^ t l M 3E M, 3£ f# (IS ffll & After dinner, Sun wrote a long poem to thank Qu Bingyun, comparing the cooking to poetry writing and highly praising the hostess for both her verse and cooking: I however remember, from year to year, we had banquets in this room. There was a change each time, and the dishes were never repeated Just like essays composed by the hand of a genius Not a single stale word remains. 1 1 3 Ibid., 12:2a. t u s . 49 An Understanding Wife My investigation into Qu Bingyun's life has partially proved, but also partially disproved, the following statement: Wanxian was fond of cleanliness. After she got married to the Zhao family, she at once drew money from her dowry and bought two concubines for her husband, consigning to them all the housework % f[l| g M, W ffl. f t W tB S M, M ^ H M & \>X ^ It is true that she used part of her dowry to buy a concubine for Zhao Tongyu, and that she assigned the concubine some of the domestic chores. However, Qu Bingyun was a devoted housewife and there were already a cook and maids in the family at the time. Apparently, she did not buy her husband a concubine to avoid housework, but for other reasons. There is a clue that suggests what the reason was. When both Qu Bingyun and Ye Wanyi H ff| (courtesy name Tiaofang H 35), her sister-in-law, reached the age of twenty-nine in 1796, Qu Bingyun wrote two poems in celebration of their birthdays. In the poem for her own birthday, she refers to her marital life in a self-mocking tone: "For ten years, my pure happiness has come from sickness" - f - ^ ?g ^ ^ 5ft. In the poem celebrating Ye's birthday, who had four children while Qu had none, Qu mentions her marriage in admiration: "Both romantic love and pure happiness are bearable [for you]" Hi ff tf §̂ M f b Comparing the two lines, we can easily figure out that Qu Bingyun could not easily endure "romantic love" since she was delicate, feeble, and sick most of the time. On the other hand, Zhao Tongyu's sexual desire was very strong, as indicated in a ci poem by Qu: [Poem 4] To the Tune of Li ly Magnolia Flower (Brief Form): M ^ M Vc 1 1 4 Ibid 12:2b. 50 Presented to Ziliang when I Bought Him a Concubine j=| p̂ ^ M $5 W Real ecstasy! i f § t J i fjt|, Having awakened from a dream the powerful army rises greedily for another battle. 1? @I l̂ ttl Si jit fp". How couldn't I notice this? f l M $B 'L>? I am therefore willing to pawn my gold dowry bracelet. jpi J& H 41 ®k Uft j f e - To seek spring you must start early, IP § îf A wax plum bud with fragrance is perfect for you . 1 1 6 f§ 3̂" f IE It, like a piece of light cloud flying down from the W u peak, 1 1 7 Is just right for accompanying you. fft T 7 M i | fn ffi H". (c: 2b) This poem reveals that Zhao demanded sex more than one time a night, which was too much for Qu Bingyun. She, however, was willing to satisfy him by using part of her dowry to buy him a concubine. It was a difficult decision to bring another woman into her husband's bedroom. Also, like Lin Daiyu, Qu Bingyun was a sensitive woman who thirsted for romantic love, and, from year to year she used the conventional theme "Double Seven" ("Qixi") to express her innermost feelings of love. Actually, it was about ten years after she was married that Qu bought Zhao his first concubine as indicated by a poem entitled "I Bought a Maid and Named Her Chunwu" M M HI # M £ 1Z. ("Maibi yi Chunwu mingzhi," 2:19b) which was written in the autumn of 1795/96 when Qu Bingyun was in her late thirties. Moreover, it is likely that the woman whom Qu Bingyun bought was not legally a concubine, but rather entered the household in the capacity of maid. In regard to this, the line in this poem, "I pawned my hairpin to buy spring" Jfe f# ^ $% M M # corresponds to the ci poem 1 1 5 Wanyan Yunzhu, 12:4b. 1 1 6 "Plum wax" (Meila) refers to a plum bud alluding to a young girl. 1 1 7 "Cloud and rain" in the "Wu peak" refers to sex in Chinese literary convention. 51 quoted above, which was written in the autumn, as well. The latter urges Zhao to start earlier to "seek spring," while the former alludes to "buying spring." Thus, the Correct Beginnings, which states that she did this right after becoming Zhao Tongyu's wife, is incorrect. The phrase "to buy spring" conventionally refers to the purchase of sex. In this poem, it might have another meaning; that is, to buy the maid named Chunwu (Spring Grass). However, there were undoubtedly maids and a cook in this family already, and if there was need for another one this wealthy family should have been able to afford it. To pawn a part of a dowry for a maid was an omen of the family's decline; however, at the same time, if a wife pawned part of her dowry to buy her husband a concubine he would feel honored and she would be considered virtuous. There probably was also a mocking tone in the name "Spring Grass" given to the maid by Qu. If this is true, it suggests mixed feelings about this matter on the part of Qu Bingyun. The second concubine was Xu Xiaoshu fifc /j\ M (courtesy name Lianqing H HP), who entered the household around 1805 when Qu Bingyun was thirty-seven years old. While it was Zhao who wanted to take in this girl she soon became a bosom friend of Qu Bingyun. Xu Xiaoshu was a native of Kunshan % Jiangsu. At the time when Zhao met her, she lived in Changshu with her maternal grandparents who were neighbors of Zhao Tongyu's younger sister. Zhao Tongyu and Xu Xiaoshu met each other when she was fifteen years old. Zhao was entranced by her beauty and he proposed marrying her as a concubine, but her maternal uncle refused. Sometime later, Xu began learning embroidery from Tongyu's sister. One day, the sister said to Xu, "You are delicate. If you marry into a poor family, you will have to face heavy housework. You would not be able to bear it. If you marry a good husband of a wealthy and high-ranking family, it would be good for you, even if you were a concubine." Xu nodded when she heard this, and when Zhao found out that his sister had persuaded her, he talked to her grandmother directly and eventually attained her consent. 1 1 8 In the Zhao family, Xu always followed etiquette and did her utmost to do whatever was required of her. However, she was quiet and seldom spoke or smiled to anyone, so people started calling her "Ice-maid." She respected Qu Bingyun very much, 52 for she had known her as a poet since childhood. Although apparently Zhao Tongyu loved the young Xu very much, Qu was not jealous and readily accepted her. Qu even gave Xu the courtesy name "Lianqing" M ffl}, in which "lian" (lotus) is a homonym of "Man" (f#|, to love or pity) and "qing" means "you;" "lianqing" can be interpreted as "to love you." Qu Bingyun expressed her thoughts about this in a poem, 1 1 9 [Poem 5] You the unwed girl from the cold boudoir, are virtuous by nature. 1 2 0 | t | | f l ^ f£ {ft M- Ten years ago you first troubled yourself to know my fame. + HSo 9b §a Wl ;r5- Does the ocean have no capability to accommodate water? ^ JIL IPS ^ ? T K J I ? Doesn't a bright star desire to accompany the moon? JI |ij ^ff {§ ^ 'Iff. (4:12b) Qu Bingyun and Xu Xiaoshu proved to be good companions, spending most of their time together. Qu Bingyun was kindhearted, prudent and sweet by nature, which made it easy for her to get along with everybody in the family, including servants. Although Qu did not bear any children, she looked after two, her nephew Qu Songman ^ yji (1792-1816, courtesy name Ziqian | § and sobriquets Zhoufu E& W and Yinfu H ^f) and the daughter of Zhao Tongyu and his concubine Chunwu. She always said that Zhao's and Chunwu's daughter was as clever as Zhao and had this little girl accompany her all the time, especially when she was sick or worried. Qu actually played the role of mediator among the family members and made sure that they were all happy. As Zhao Tongyu's uncle, Tao Tingxi, said, "She played qin and se to please the family and harmonized the 1 1 8 Sun, TZJ, 20:6b-7b. 1 1 9 The title of this poem is "Ziliang Bought a Concubine Surnamed Xu, Naming Her Xiaoshu and Giving Her the Courtesy Name Lianqing; also, He Wrote a Poem, 'Hurrying up with Her Dressing and Making- up.' I Therefore Am Writing This Poem to Respond to His Rhymes" ^F'^Wi®. ft .R, & Uk ^ M, ^ lik I IIP; M IK {§ WL f#- H fP M § i ("Ziliang maiji Xushi, mingyi Xiaoshu, ziyi Lianqing; bingfu cuizhuangshi. yinhe yuanyun"), 4:12b. 2 0 This hints at the refusal of the first proposal from Zhao Tongyu. 53 family like music." The following is a poem that Qu wrote on the New Year's Eve of 1801, revealing her role in the family: [Poem 6] On the New Year's Eve of the Xinyou Year (1801) ^ M Wfc 9 Our shadows project on the jade window lattices when we sit in reunion. From the cypress firewood comes strong fragrance protecting us from cold. Below the candle, I idly tease the little girl. Before her cup, again and again, I win my mother-in-law's laughter. The year happens to a paired number like Mandarin ducks. 1 2 1 Among the festival goods, each of us tries to see the wax swallows first.1 I wipe a vase to plant plum blossoms, Which will inform us of the family's well-being in the place of bamboos below the eaves. 1 2 3 (4:5b) Wu Weiguang remarked: "[this poem depicts] the joys of the family and portrays fully her ability to serve her seniors and look after the young folk" fg[ M ̂  H , % H {JTJ ̂  flft W Z m (4:5b). 1 2 1 The Xinyou year was the sixth year of the Emperor Jiaqing's reign. "Mandarin ducks" here refers to even numbers because they always stay together in pairs. 1 2 2 Wax swallows, silk roosters $jj |f, and rice litchis H are known as the three festival goods for Chinese New Year's Day. 1 2 3 This alludes to a story in Duan Chengshi's WtJ&^ (ca. 803-63) Continuation to the Youyang Miscellany j§f |S§ J§ iS. M H (Youyang zazu xuji, Hubei: Congwen shuju, 1877, 10:3a): There was a t f l i r l ^ f e i . *f£ m *5ft % * WL, 54 2.3 A Well-known Poet from the Mount Yu Region Zhao Tongyu outlines Qu Bingyun's poetic life as follows: Qu Bingyun inherited her family learning as a child and became more adept at poetry when she grew up. During her more than twenty years of marriage to me she did not stop studying and writing, which she did after getting the housework done. When our relatives and neighbors got to know her excellence in writing poetry, they all sent their maids, both young and old, with pieces of white paper to beg her to write down poems for them. Frequently, her poems were circulated, and thus, became known and appreciated by the two masters, Yuan Mei of Hangzhou and Wu Weiguang of our city. Qu Bingyun, however, sighed and regretted that she had not yet obtained the ultimate secret of poetry and that she had no, intention to be famous. Nonetheless, afterwards many more admirers requested her inscriptions and poems, and Qu Bingyun could never meet the demand. j#j m B ffl, m^nnfc.&mmmmmB^fm & (Zhao Tongyu, Preface). This outline states that Qu Bingyun inherited her family scholarship and was engaged in poetry writing at an early stage of her life. She became adept at poetry, continued writing it after her marriage, and eventually gained fame. It is certainly worth noticing that Qu was not only renowned for her poetry, and, in fact, possessed "three superb skills" .EE fg (sanjue), 1 2 4 for in addition to writing poetry, Qu was also an expert in both calligraphy and painting. She favored the small script (xiaokai) style of calligraphy, writing "I greedily copy the thirteen line model calligraphy of the Jin" + H fr to Hi fjl W (2:22a). 1 2 5 And, although Qu Bingyun did not learn painting until after marriage, it clump of bamboos growing in the yard of Tongzi Monastery. The chief monk reported on the safety of the bamboos every day to the temple. In later times, people called a letter home "bamboo safe report." 1 2 4 Sun, TZJ, 54:5a. 1 2 5 The Thirteen Lines is Wang Xianzhi's 3£ UK ~2_ (344-486) calligraphy of the prose-poem of the Goddess Luo fa | $ PJS ("Luoshen fu") written in small character standard script (xiaokai), a model calligraphy for students in later ages. 55 appears that she quickly became good at it, being especially adept at painting flowers and birds in black ink. As a matter of fact, she compiled a multi-volume collection of her own paintings and produced countless pieces as presents for her relatives, friends and other admirers. Qu Bingyun wrote all her poems in the form of five or seven-character regulated poetry f | t f# (lushi) or ci poetry. She herself said that she favored the regulated poetry of the Tang: I adore the five or seven character poetry of the Tang. J L If -fcr | v f If Iff (2:22a) Among the Tang poets, she particularly honored Li Shangyin ̂  fff IS (813-858; see the discussion in Chapter V), and of the various periods representative of ci poetry, we may assume that she favored Song ci, since her commentators compared her ci poems to those of the Song writers (See Chapter V). By mastering these restricted forms, she proved that her ability was at least on a par with male poets, if not better. It is notable that, Qu treated poetry as part of her daily life and wrote poems primarily for ordinary uses. Poetry fulfilled many different functions for her. She sometimes utilized poetry as a pastime. When sailing on a lake together with Zhao Tongyu or other female members of the Zhaos or the Qus, she would "link lines" with them for fun or, when the same group drank wine at home, they would take turns adding a line to a poem as a drinking game. Also, instead of always composing letters in prose, she wrote to her close relatives in the form of poems. Furthermore, she sometimes wrote poems as a diary, recording events in her domestic life. And her poetry writing frequently worked as a kind of therapy when she was bed-ridden. Bao Yi writes: Maocai [Zhao Tongyu] once told his brother named He that in the recent years Wanxian had frequently fallen ill. Subsequently, she often diverted herself from illness by filling in the prescribed tunes of ci poetry W M 2§ 51 If, fill TH M # 'M, ft ft Ok M M & ffl S (Bao Yin , Postscript). 56 There can be no doubt that Qu had many reasons to compose verses. However, according to Qu herself, an innate sensibility (or, as Yuan Mei put it, the "nature and inspiration") was the primary motivation behind her poetry. Even though she wrote poetry to communicate with others and to record events or as a pastime and a kind of therapy, she treated it as a literary creation. She always worked painstakingly, cudgeling her brains to get ideas for poems. Qu sometimes became so obsessed with the composition of a poem that she would either be unable to sleep or could only sleep fitfully. She once wrote, When after painfully composing a poem I awakened from a dream and sat alone | ^ H ^ A $9 #1, Asking for the time, I was told it was near the fourth watch. 1 2 6 ferj B f f f i l H I ^ . (2:10a) In a state of frenzy, Qu sometimes beat her favorite inkstone while composing a poem. She wanted to remedy her illness by writing poetry and occasionally this worked, but on one occasion she became so obsessed with a poem that her condition actually worsened. Due to her obsession, writing poetry often became an unbearable mental and physical torment for her, so she wrote, "Not because of the endless illness I grieve over my life, /1 did it only because with birth came 'nature and inspiration'" H ^ ix M % t t , tfS \% 3 i 3fc ?f? fi. I I (3:15b). However, although she may have sometimes regretted her "nature and inspiration," she loved poetry and surely for the most part enjoyed reading and writing it. Zhao Tongyu's paragraph, which gives an account of Qu Bingyun's involvement with poetry and her rise to fame, indicates that she often wrote poems on request for relatives and neighbors. Also, as said by Bao Wei, Qu compiled a book of her poems and circulated it among her relatives (Bao Wei, Preface). Thus, Qu's poems gradually spread beyond the sphere of her family and won her recognition among a much broader readership. After the locally esteemed Wu Weiguang and the influential Yuan Mei 126 Jing HL was one of measures of nighttime in pre-modern China. One jing equaled about two hours. The fourth jing was the time between 1:00 to 3:00A.M.. 57 commended her poems, more and more people, male and female, ordinary and noble, official and literati, came to ask Qu for poems or paintings. It was in 1794 that Qu Bingyun met Yuan Mei for the first time. Her association with Wu Weiguang probably started a few years earlier. She likely attained fame in the Mount Yu region around 1794, when she was in her late twenties. The line "Ten years ago you first troubled to know my fame" - j - fie % #§ I I ^ (4:12b), which is from a poem she wrote to Xu Xiaoshu, who entered the Zhao family in about 1805, can substantiate this chronology. According to Zhao's outline, Qu Bingyun's poetic life in her adulthood can be broken down into two periods: (1) The first period started in 1785, when she married into the Zhao family, and ended in 1793. During these roughly eight years, aside from doing housework, Qu Bingyun was thoroughly involved in writing poetry and associating with poetic members of both the Zhao and Qu families, which prepared her for regional recognition. (2) The second period started in 1794, when she became a disciple of Yuan Mei, and continued until 1810, when she died at the age forty-three. Qu Bingyun began professional poetic creation after entering Yuan Mei's female group. She reached her peak of poetic creation when she achieved fame in the Mount Yu area and beyond. 58 Chapter III Domest ic Poetry Circ les In Qu Bingyun's region during the eighteenth-century poetry seemed a fashion of gentry women's circles. Almost every female member of both the Zhaos and the Qus displayed interest in it. Unlike the majority of male poets for whom poetry was an intellectual adventure, these women regarded it a part of their daily life and used it practically as a communication tool and an emotional tie with others much like games or letters. Of course, poetry was an intellectual pursuit as well. For Qu Bingyun, poetry seemed to be a magic wand enabling her to communicate with everyone in her domestic circle and making meaningful connections with them. She kept in touch with at least twenty-one poetically inclined relatives, eleven in the Zhao family and nine in the Qu family (See Figure 3). 3.1 The Zhao Family Poetry Circle There are many [poetic] talents in the Zhao family in the Mount Yu region. 111 H f£ # ^.21 (Yuan Mei) Qu Bingyun's ability to pursue her poetic pursuits after marriage was largely due to the literary environment of the Zhao family, which had been producing women poets for three generations. Zhao Tongyu's grand-aunt, Madame Wang 3E, was an erudite woman who received education in the classics from her father in her early youth. She wrote poems while teaching her own sons, since at the time the family could not afford their education, naming her poetry collection Poems Drafted after Teaching My Sons (two chapters J H |i£ ^ ZL # (Keyucao erjuan).:2e Zhao Tongyu's aunt, sister and three female cousins were all good poets forming a major part of the poetry circle in the family. Apparently, Qu Bingyun the poet had no difficulty finding like-minded companions in her 127 YMQJ (III): BY, 19 of j 8, p. 744. 1 2 8 This work is mentioned in RGCZ, p. 2307, but has not been found. 59 60 environment. As a daughter-in-law, she needed to maintain a good relationship with everyone in the family including concubines and maids. Poetry made her a great success in doing so. Members of the Same Generation (1) Zhao Tongyu As her husband, Zhao Tongyu played a major part in Qu Bingyun's marital life. Their conjugal relation falls into Dorothy Ko's "companionate couple" category, "a union between an intellectually compatible couple who treat each other with mutual respect and affection." 1 2 9 Their relatives and friends applauded this union by referring to them as the "fairest mates." Some even compared them to the most famous companionate couple in Chinese culture, Li Qingzhao (1084-ca.1155) and Zhao Mingcheng, despite Qu Bingyun disagreeing with this comparison. 1 3 0 Zhao Tongyu was a gifted writer, excelling in poetry and ancient-style prose. He left behind Collected Works from the Studio Next to the Goddess of the Inkstone Xin M yf IH M. (Linxin'gey/).131 Local intellectual circles recognized him as one of the "Four Talents" (in learning) of the Mount Yu region, the other three being Xi Shichang, Xi Yu f& jg (courtesy name Yuanchang j l | S, Metropolitan Graduate, 1801), and Sun Yuanxiang. Although he did not know him well, Yuan Mei praised Zhao for being "expert at expressing feelings in poetry" fj# # H" fflf and made a remark about a couplet from his poem "Facing a Mirror" %i H ("Duijing") being "preeminent" H j$g (chaojue). 1 3 2 Yuan also selected Zhao's poems twice for his poetry talks and once for his Continuations of the Collected Works of My Fellows H |Wj X M (Xu tongren y'/).133 There is also an ^ Dorothy Ko, p. 179. 1 3 0 Sun, TZJ, 50: 5b. 1 3 1 Zhao Tongyu, Collected Works from the Studio Next to Goddess of Inkstone Xin M?f SB H (Linxin'ge ji), a Qing Dynasty hand-copied manuscript is found in the Library of the China Social Science Academy (Zhongguo shehui kexueyuan). 132 YMQJ (III): BY, 19 of j 8, p. 744 and 22 of j 8, p. 746. 1 3 3 Those mentioned in Yuan Mei's poetry talks are "Inscription for the Picture of My Younger Sister Ruobing" H ^ #K W / h M P~i Ruobingmei xiaozhao"), "A Pool in A Hill" [i| ijf ("Shantang"), "Gathering Water-Chestnuts" T£ M ("Cailing"), "Passing the Summer" (third poem) -/ft J | ("Xiaoxia"), "Facing a Mirror" 61 anecdote that tells about Yuan Mei hosting a gathering of celebrities from both sides of the Yangzi River at Sui Garden. Zhao happened to be in Jinling writing a provincial examination and he was invited to this gathering. As part of the festivities some guests composed poems extemporaneously and exchanged them with one another. Zhao attracted the admiration of many when he composed an excellent impromptu poem in the same rhyme as the poem given to him. Zhao Tongyu, however, failed the provincial examinations on a number of occasions, so he did not get any government appointments except as an Instructor ffc Uf (Jiaoyu).™* In the first few years of their marriage Qu Bingyun and Zhao Tongyu did not spend much time together because she accompanied her mother-in-law and he was busy preparing for the examinations. After Zhao became tired of the examinations and abandoned his attempts and after his mother died, the couple had increased opportunities to stay together, even though Zhao brought in concubines. After purchasing a concubine for her husband, Qu avoided becoming his sex partner and established a relationship with Zhao that was more equal in nature. Therefore, some people recognized the couple as "Literary Soulmates" Steffi ft} ("wenzi xiangzhi," Shao Yuanyao, Preface). Qu Jingkun appreciated Zhao Tongyu, saying, "My brother-in- law Ziliang is extraordinarily talented and famous" ^ A ^ 1̂  Ji. £1 < h W § f # and once described what poetry meant to this couple: As the zither (qin) sounds and the harp (se) resonates,1 3 5 harmonious and peaceful is the couple inside the green windows, one singing and the other responding, [their poems are pure] like polished jade and smoothed ice. Thus, their poetry writing improves # Pj§ M .Jg, B m m U m BE m JI & I# & X (Qu Jingkun, Postscript) ff H ("Duijing") and "Chanting for White Peonies" f7jc S fl ("Yong Baimudan"). YMQJ (III): BY, 19 of j 8, p. 744 and 22 of j 8, p. 746. Those selected for the Continuations of the Collected Works of My Fellows are "Presenting to Master Yuan Mei" M M M A ~F ("Cheng Suiyuan fuzi") and "Celebrating Master Yuan Mei's Birthday" m IS! W A A ("Shou Jianzhai fuzi"). YMQJ (VI): Continuations of the Collected Works of My Fellows M H A M (Xu tongren, hereafter XT), p. 245. These poems are sorted into the "Gentry Women Category" M ^ M ("Guixiulei") in the collection, probably because Yuan Mei regarded Zhao Tongyu as a dependant on the female disciple, Qu Bingyun. 1 3 4 Sun Yuanxiang, however, said that Zhao Tongyu was not interested in being an official. See Sun, TZJ, 13:9a. 62 The couple enjoyed physical and emotional intimacy, as well as intellectual harmony. They moved around from one building to another throughout the year. In the summer, they lived in a villa south of the city; moved to the Studio Next to the Goddess of Inkstone Xin in the fall in order to admire the view; and went back to the Jade- Collecting Tower in winter time. Side by side, the two discussed poetry or composed poems. Frequently, they used poetry to entertain themselves or to convey subtle feelings about one another. As can be seen from the following poem, poetry was a key ingredient in their happiness: [Poem 7] Miscellanies on the Remaining Spring Days (second) ? | # Si He (HH"|[) Last night by the lamp, I stayed up late to compose a poem painstakingly. I $ f I T ? 4 " 7 I , I did this behind my man's back without letting him know. H W f t IP $z m %U- This morning I finish the final draft and copy it out, fif} ijijj Hr — M , Asking my man to guess whose poem it is. ifc IP St II iHr A rKf • (2:5b) When his wife died, Zhao Tongyu was grief-stricken and on numerous occasions recalled their happy union as spouses and soulmates. He wrote, "I feel lonely and cannot bear to watch the lonely moon above" MMWlMMR Az (Zhao Tongyu, Preface). About this, Sun Yuanxiang remarked that while in the past many men had lamented the passing of a beautiful woman, none had felt such lament for a woman because of her talent. 1 3 6 (2) Zhao Ruobing Qin and se are Chinese stringed instruments. 63 Zhao Ruobing was Zhao Tongyu's younger sister. She was vivacious, and candid and had talent for both poetry and painting. Both Zhao Tongyu and Qu Bingyun liked her very much; a poem by Zhao, which Yuan Mei commended and selected for his poetry talks, portrays her as a teenager: I recollect those years when you were deep in the women's quarters unwed. While I held a book reading, you looked at it over my shoulder. When the maid reported that wine was ready You quickly made yourself up and arrived first Zhao Ruobing was one of the most affectionate to Qu Bingyun among the female members of the Zhao family. In their association, poetry was the most frequent topic of conversation. Qu's poem "Chatting the Night away with Ruobing" |& ^ #K ("Yu Ruobinggu yehua") recounts their tender conversation on an evening in the fall of 1785 after Qu had just become a member of the Zhao family. The second stanza reads, [Poem 8] We always have heart-to-heart chats, of which many are profound. The most gentle and soft ones are about poetic lines, with which we are mostly concerned. Sitting together, we do not notice that evening has passed. Outside the door curtain the moonlight flows like water. (1:3a -b) 1 3 6 Sun, TZJ, 50:6b. 137 YMQJ (III): BY, 19 of j 8, p. 744. 64 The two ladies sometimes shared a drink at home or went sightseeing together. In a poem "In a Late Afternoon in Autumn I Bring Ruobing to Three Bridges for a Boat Cruise" M f i t 3s fo H i f f i i ("Qiumu xie Ruobing sanqiao fangchao," translated in Chapter VI) Qu describes one of their activities together: the two went on an outing in a pleasure boat and were inspired to compose poems. There are eleven other poems in the Collection from the Jade-Collecting Tower recording their shared activities and expressing their joy of meeting and sorrow of parting. One of them is entitled "To the Tune of Song of Immortals in a Cave: Ruobing Has Delayed Visiting Me" M f i l l W- M fo ^ M ("Dongxian'ge: chi Ruobing buzhi," translated in Chapter V). It expresses Qu's deep longing for Ruobing, who had not come home for a while, after marriage. (3) Zhao Tongyao Zhao Tongyao $1 [RI Bf (courtesy name Xunxian #u M), the daughter of Zhao Guikun | § J t $1 (Student by Purchase Fourth Class H ^ jiansheng), was another Zhao woman who was affectionate to Qu Bingyun. Tongyao began studying the classics, Buddhism and literature when she was a child, and had a good understanding of them. She liked Yuan Mei's poetry the best among contemporary authors and deemed it to be both knowledgeable and insightful. 1 3 8 She studied poetry and wrote her own poems during her teenage years, producing two works, the Draft from the Cloud Stopping Tower & f t H fjf (Tingyunlou gao) and the Poetry Draft from the Laurel Room (one chapter) ft £ | $f f# fjf — # (Yueguixuan shigao yijuan)/39 Yuan Mei also selected her poems, "On Double Seven" He -fcr $ ("Yong Qixi"), "On a Mirror" He i t ("Yong jing"), and "Chrysanthemum" ^ ("Ju") for his poetry talks. 1 4 0 However, Yuan guessed incorrectly her relationship with Zhao Tongyu, saying "A person named Tongyu, whose courtesy name was Ziliang, I gather, is an elder brother of Xunxian" ĵf ^ |Wj §5 ^ ^ ^ H H 1 3 8 The Qing scholar Jiang Dunfu M S£ f j l listed Zhao Tongyao in the "Table of the Names of Yuan Mei's Female Disciples" M M Wi * IS B l & & J£ I f , YMQJ (VIII): Anecdotes of Yuan Mei M M Wi 9 (Suiyuan yishi, hereafter YS), pp.100-4, but no references are found to support this assertion. 3 9 These two works are mentioned in RGCZ, p. 3038, but have not been located. 140 YMQJ (III): BY, 16 of j 8, p. 743. 65 :M f*! ~$£ ± Z jrl- 1 4 1 This was contradictory to Qu Bingyun's lines addressing Tongyao which indicate that she was the only child of her parents: You stand out, singly, without siblings. $S ^ ^ W> W M, Your mother cherishes you like a bright pearl. rSj ^ fgf ht H£j Sfc. (1:18b) Qu Bingyun and Zhao Tongyao became sworn sisters right after Qu came to the family. The two also had many congenial conversations concerning poetry. The following poem recounts one of their cheerful conversations at night: [Poem 9] On the First Day of Autumn I Invite Xunxian IL^K HMl%} M to Chat the Night Away (second stanza) | g Wine glasses overflow as I set them up. }§t !f?f W fx. In advance, I have asked a maid to float melons. 1 4 2 JJk9cW(.Wr'W-- I will then invite the Celestial Girl to descend £ p M fill W, Pf, To chat with me by a dark night lamp. |Wj |j§ 'M ffi- (1:12a) Over three years, the two women frequently exchanged their ideas on poetry and wrote poems in response to each other. Tongyao then married Shao Guangrong §13 i f (Provincial Graduate) and though she remained in the same region, the marriage allowed the two sworn sisters fewer chances to meet. Instead they had to send their 141 YMQJ (III): BY, 19 of j 8, p. 744. 1 4 2 This line alludes to the sentences in "A Letter to the Magistrate of Zhaoge Wu Zhi" fi| U WK W • ("Yu Zhaogeling Wu Zhi shu") by the Emperor Wen of the Wei, Cao Pi : "To float sweet melons in a clear fountain and to sink red plums in cold water" # ~# JR Jft ft H . M A $ 5̂  H TK, Xiao Tong comp., Literary Selections ~$t M (Wenxuan), Hong Kong: Shangwu, 1936, p. 924. Cao's sentences refer to the preparation for a banquet in the summer. In later times, people used "to float melons and sink red plums" as a metaphor for the preparation of a summer banquet. 66 maids to deliver poems which conveyed their friendship and opinions. In the first year of marriage Zhao Tongyao gave birth to a son—her parents were very happy with this. However, on the twenty-seventh day of the ninth month of 1788, when her parents had just treated their relatives to a traditional banquet called "happy pot-cakes and soup" H f l i (xibing xitang) in celebration of the birth Zhao died of dystocia. Qu wrote an elegiac verse "Weeping for Xunxian" ^ yfaj f| ("Ku Xunxian"), giving an account of their friendship and mourning her: [Poem 10] I recall when I married four years ago. Having just come to recognize each other's faces, we loved each other. With one single sentence we reached an agreement joining our hearts Hence, you allowed me to follow you shoulder to shoulder. 1 4 3 (1:18a) (4) Zhao Bingqing Among Zhao Tongyu's female cousins, Zhao Bingqing was unique by virtue of her filial piety. She was the daughter of Zhao Guishi, the Prefect of Funing |§ ^ in Fujian province. He was well known as a "pure official" and it was said that he could hardly support his family on his salary. Bingqing herself obtained fame both for poetry and filial piety. She authored the Draft Remaining after the Fire in the Home of My Refuge W ^ II ^ ^ fd {Jishengguan fenyu gao) prefaced by the prestigious poet There is a note on this couplet by Qu Bingyun: "We became sworn sisters." 67 Zhao Yi H H (1727-1841) and mentioned by several sources. 1 4 4 In 1807, she was commended by the royal court for being a pious daughter. It is said that when she was nine years old Zhao Bingqing read a story in The Intrigues of the Warring States i g f (Zhan'guoce) about a girl from the Qi State by the name of Ying'erzi who refused all offers of marriage in order to wait on her parents for life. Zhao Bingqing made up her mind to do the same, taking an oath not to get married so as to serve her parents forever. She once sliced off some flesh from her buttock to cure her mother's illness and, when her father was sick, she prayed to heaven to transfer his illness to herself. It is said in the gazetteer that she worked as a mentor at private schools for females to make money to support her family, which was generally regarded as a father's duty. When her parents died she tried to hang herself but was stopped by her maternal uncle. Afterwards, she permanently abstained from meat and embroidered portraits of the Buddha, while kneeling and worshipping all day long for her parents' protection in the other world. She died in her seventies. 1 4 5 Qu Bingyun had some association with Zhao Bingqing. Qu admired Zhao for her moral character and Zhao appreciated Q u ' s poetry. Once, Qu painted an orchid for Zhao and presented it to her along with the following poem: [Poem 11] I Painted an Orchid for M y Sister-in-Law Ruoyun % HI 1ft ^Ef H #TJ You are just as suitable for a girl's quarters, as a mountain's woods. fJ2 IS PS ttl lU ffi, A whiff of sacred fragrance fills up your pure heart. — Y\ M. Uf W M >LS- Once, I touched your fragrant tip and was moved. "fl" f|c ^ tH M The Draft Remaining after the Fire in the Home of My Refuge (one chapter) iff" £ Iff fif (Jishengguan fenyu gao), printed in 1885, is found in the Libraries of Nanjing, Tianjin, and Changshu. The sources that mention Zhao Bingqing include Wanyan Yunzhu's Continuation to the Correct Beginnings: Women's Poetry of Our August Dynasty, Shi Shuyi's Biographies of Gentry Women Poets of the Qing Dynasty and Hu Wenkai's A Study of Women Writings Through the Ages. u i See RGCZ, p. 2686 and Shi Shuyi, 6:23a. 68 I have to know that a friendship with you is never too deep. 2jt £P fll W- (3:20b) In this poem, Qu Bingyun turns the orchid into a metaphor for Zhao Bingqing's moral character and expresses her appreciation of her friendship with such a strong woman. In return, Zhao wrote three poems to praise Qu for her poetry, of which the following is one: I open your poetry and read it; every word is pure. Among the lines is a one-inch orchid heart, inborn. You the female talent possess three excellences, 1 4 7 Clear and fresh like autumn water and bright like the snow and the moon. (Zhao Bingqing, Inscription) (5) Tao Lingqing Tao Lingqing U HP was a maternal cousin of Zhao Tongyu and occasionally visited the Zhao family. Since she married the eldest nephew of Sun Yuanxiang, 1 4 8 Tao had a friendship with Qu Bingyun and Xi Peilan and attended the gathering of the twelve female relatives and friends of Qu and Xi (See the details about this gathering in Chapter V). Qu Bingyun had heard a lot about Tao's beauty before meeting her in 1799, but she was also impressed by her demeanor when she met her face to face: When socializing with people you keep away from vulgar etiquette. jcf] t/i I s Wi W> Ut rcf> 1 4 6 "Orchid heart" is a metaphor for purity. 1 4 7 "The three excellences" refers to poetry, painting and calligraphy. 1 4 8 Since Xi Peilan called Tao Lingqing "My eldest daughter-in-law" (see X i , 5:10b), and her only living son Sun Xiangtang j % ^ married a girl by the name of Manxian H it is likely that Tao Lingqing was the wife of the eldest nephew of Sun Yuanxiang. B# ^ ¥m» M 'L> — T f I t A I f JS " f " ? H H | g , 69 Your conversation and demeanor rise above the world of dust. gj»c th M ^ uB Hi- (3:3b) Tao and Qu became poetic friends after this meeting. However, Tao died young after giving birth to a child, which made Qu very sad. Qu wrote two poems mourning her in "Inscription on a Portrait of Lingqing Left Behind" (4:9a-b). Seniors and Male Members (1) Zhao Gui'e Zhao Gui'e (courtesy names Mingxiang ^ If and Mengyue H), one of Zhao Tongyu's aunts, was the daughter of Zhao Hongzhang (courtesy name Runfu f| A, Tribute Student m. £ ) 1 4 9 and the wife of Cao Ru'ao W $ C H (Dependent Tribute Student M M :£)• She was also an accomplished poet and her collection was called Draft Poems from the Tea Fragrance Residence ^ Uf Uf |# ^ (Mingxiangju shicao)/50 Zhao Gui'e and Qu Bingyun read each other's poetry, Zhao contributing comments about eight of Qu's poems and a verse critique on her work in general, all included in Qu's printed poetry collection. Also, they exchanged ideas and praise of each other in poetic form. For example, after reading a commendatory poem by Zhao, Qu wrote one to thank her entitled "My Aunt Mingxiang Presented Me a Poem, Over- Praising Me, So I Am Writing to Thank Her" ^ M % # ^ A \>X f# H If, i t « i l l W, M ith M M ("Waigumu Mingxiang furen yishi jianzeng jiangyu guoshen fuci chengxie"): You granted me a piece of superb writing like a precious jade. But I am embarrassed, for I lack talent corresponding with your praise. RGCZ, p. 1640. 70 And, in return, Qu glorified Zhao Gui'e's poetry and calligraphy, by saying: Your poetry follows the Tang rhymes and eliminates ornateness. Your calligraphic work imitates that of the Jin, from which come purity and naturalness. (1:10b) (2) Tao Tingxi and Shao Yuanyao Tao Tingxi was Zhao Tongyu's maternal uncle. He wrote a preface to Qu Bingyun's poetry collection, which mentions her good personality, including her filial piety for her mother-in-law and her love of her husband, in addition to pointing out the naturalness and intelligence of her poetry. Tao was apparently among Qu Bingyun's readers and seem to have known a lot about her. Shao Yuanyao, who was Zhao Tongyu's nephew, was another male reader of Qu's poetry. He contributed a preface to the Collection from the Jade-Collecting Tower, in which he expresses his admiration for her talent in poetry and painting, as well as her close relationship with Zhao Tongyu. The Concubine and the Maids (1) Xu Xiaoshu Although Xu Xiaoshu was Zhao Tongyu's concubine, she spent a lot of time with Qu Bingyun acting as her maid. Each day, Xu joined Qu early in the morning (at six o'clock) when she got up for Buddhist meditation, and stayed with her during the daytime either inside Qu's studio or outside in the surrounding areas. Some evenings, they would sit up chatting for a long time. As stated in three of Qu Bingyun's poems, the two women often talked privately for the most part about This work is mentioned in Hu Wenkai's book, has not been located. 71 ti# J3i HP T=f # i M M, poetry. From Qu's poetic descriptions, both of them must have enjoyed their talks very much. In one line, Qu writes: We are chatting softly in the yard, allowing the flowers to listen. 4 1 H $3 Hp M II (4:21b). And, in a ci poem, Qu describes one of their gentle and pleasurable conversations: [Poem 12] To the Tune of Butterflies Lingering Over Flowers: I Sat Idly with Miss X u Lianqing on a Cold Evening (Second stanza) We laughed and talked, time passing while we shared wine and tea. Outside our candle-lit room, a frosty bell Rings, sending another evening off. Tonight's remaining feelings should be brought into our dreams. The sky is high; the moon is thin; between them our poetic souls indulge every whim. (c:15b-16a) Poetry connected their souls, enabling them to have emotional intimacy with each other; the boundary between the wife and the concubine vanished. It is said that after Qu died, Xu could not bear her sorrow; when Zhao Tongyu asked her to run the household, which means to assume a wife's duty, she said, "I dare not refuse to manage the household temporarily. However, you'd better have another wife. I will eventually serve m - f t : mw-mm, R J E # M 5§ . 72 Madam Qu in the nether world" W Wt ̂  Sfc i & B ^ i:11 ^ - ^ l£ # ^ A M T ^ - 1 5 In the following year, after giving birth to a son, Xu starved herself to death. (2) Chunwu The gentle, kind and docile Chunwu was bought for Zhao Tongyu for sexual purposes, but she also waited on Qu Bingyun as a maid. Qu always had Chunwu accompany her, especially when working on a poem—Chunwu was responsible for the preparation of ink, brushes and writing paper. The mistress liked to call the maid by the name of a plant from Qu Yuan's Encountering Sorrow, and was happy to read out her draft poems to her, as shown in the following lines: I named you after a plant of the Xiao and Xiang River. Wi M 35 W ®? & ^ You listen to me chanting poems in our women's quarters. H S ^ I# i l T£ A- (2:9a) Also, Qu Bingyun occasionally conversed about poetry with Chunwu and encouraged her to get more involved in it. In a poem addressed to the maid, Qu wrote, It is not that you cannot pursue literature,1 5 2 JH, Jf| 7^ Hr" M ft, Let your body be imbued with ink fragrance and flower vapor. | § Uf f£ H i He M. M~- (2:9a) (3) Lu Ansu 1 5 1 Sun, TZJ, 20:6b. 1 5 2 "Fengya" JE f l is a metaphor of literary pursuits. "Feng" stands for the Guofeng poems and "ya" for the Daya and Xiaoya poems in the Classic of Poetry. 73 Lu Ansu |H % M (courtesy name Huixiang H H) was the daughter of Qu Bingyun's cook Zhang Ciyu M "-X 3£. She frequented Qu's house and sometimes stayed there for several days. Qu found this eight-year-old girl precocious and taught her poetry. Thus, the two started enjoying a teaching-learning process, which caused them to always stay up late at night. The disciple admired her mentor very much and, under her direction, studied Tang poetry. Lu selected favorite lines from Tang poems that she had learned and compiled them into a book. Usually, the mentor composed her own poems while the disciple studied ancient poems, and the two took pleasure in this. Qu recalled, "You took me as a mentor in your heart" >\j I R I i i i and "You accompanied me whenever I was chanting a poem by the red window" § fn| H W # ric I# (2:11 b). Lu Ansu, however, was very prone to illness and contracted a serious disease at fourteen. Qu became very worried about Lu when one day she received a package from her, containing a portrait of Lu and a book of selected Tang poetic lines. Upon the receipt of these, Qu knew the situation had become worse. One month later she heard the bad news—her disciple was dead. Qu felt that her heart was broken and she composed a set of two poems "Weeping for Lu Huixiang" ̂  H #i ("Ku Huixiang"), one of which was praised by Yuan Mei for its sincerity and naturalness. She also wrote a poem in response to Zhao Tongyu's poem commemorating Lu "On the Funeral Day, Ziliang Wrote a Poem as an Offering at Her Tomb. I Read It in Tears and Write Mine to the Same Rhymes" H i H ^ i ^ i t H U i l S £ ("Huixiang zangri Ziliang weishi wangdian qimu shanran hezhi," 4:7b). Qu's sorrow over losing Lu lasted for years; she was sometimes reminded of her poetic disciple on special occasions, as the one described in her poem, "When Painting a Hui Flower I Thought of Huixiang" % K M B M B ("Xie Hui yougan Huixiang," 3:22a-b). 3.2 The Qu Family Poetry Circle After Qu Bingyun's marriage, the Qu family changed: Qu Jingkun and Qu Bingyun married into other families, while Qian Zhen came to the Qus as a bride. After Qian Zhen's death Ye Wanyi became the second bride of the Qu family and gave birth 74 to several children who grew up while Qu Bingyun was alive. Besides maintaining a close relationship with her cousin, Qu used poetry to successfully establish an intimate relationship with her sisters-in-law Qian Zhen and Ye Wanyi, respectively, and with the younger generation and some older relatives. Members of the Same Generation (1) Qian Zhen Qian Zhen H 5£ (courtesy name Wenru $p), a native of Changzhou in Jiangsu province, was the first wife of Qu Baojun. She married into the Qu family at fourteen in 1786 and died while giving birth to a child two years later. Qian was from a gentry family; her father took office somewhere as a General Administration Circuit H ^ (Guancha). She received a good education and became adept at poetry in her teens. It was said that she was very bright and could compose a poem in a very short time. Hu Wenkai's A Study of Women Writings Through the Ages mentions Qian Zhen's poetry collection entitled The Draft Left Behind from the Small Jade Orchid /J\ 3£ M 31 Wt (Xiaoyulan yigao), but it is nowhere to be found today. Perhaps because their parents died very early, Qu Bingyun and her younger brother Qu Baojun grew up without experiencing parental love; Bingyun loved Baojun like a mother and extended her love to his wife. Also, because of their mutual interest in poetry, the two women became sworn sisters shortly after Qian married. Qu Bingyun regularly went back to her parental family to chat with Qian, as described in Qu's "On a Winter Night, Together with Wenru" ^ ^ H #p (translated in Chapter VI). She also went on outings and played poetry games with Qian, as depicted in another poem by Qu, "We Link Lines when Going by Boat" iff- fy M (translated in Chapter VI). In the autumn of 1786, before Qian left for a short visit to her parents' family, Qu wrote a poem "Parting from Wenru Who Is Coming Home" gij ^ £p §§ ("Bie Wenru gui") to express her unwillingness to part. The two sworn sisters read each other's poems and provided comments. In a verse commentary "Written On Wenru's Poetry Volumes" (translated in Chapter VI), Qu Bingyun values Qian's poetry as "pure and fresh," with clear and melodious rhymes. 75 In the beginning of the third month of 1789, when Qian had just returned from another visit to her paternal family, she sent a note to invite Qu Bingyun to come for a short stay. Due to her illness, however, Qu could not come until the 15th. Unexpectedly, only three days after Qu came, Qian died of a miscarriage. In a set of ten poems, "Weeping for Wenru" (1:22a), Qu expresses her sorrow and regrets over not coming sooner. Qu carefully reviewed the poetic manuscript that Qian left behind, 1 5 3 sighing to read her neat writing in the small regular script (xiaokai). She marveled at the first poem in the collection, which was about peach flowers, a common metaphor for "A beautiful woman who has an unfortunate life" ("hongyan homing"). Qu thought it was an augury of Qian's death (See 1:22b). (2) Ye Wanyi Ye Wanyi, a daughter from a gentry family in Wuxian, Jiangsu, became Qu Baojun's second wife. She gave birth to at least four children: two sons, Songman and Yuman 3<3 and two daughters, Rulan $p Hi and Mengchan ̂  ©|. Ye Wanyi happened to have been born on the same day and the same year as Qu Bingyun, and she was also a good poet and painter, so they had many things in common. Only after a few meetings Ye Wanyi and Qu Bingyun took an oath as sworn sisters, and their intimate association with each other in poetry and painting attracted admiration from their contemporaries. Modern talks about Intellectual Circles M # 4" IS (Molin jinhua) states: [Qu Bingyun and Ye Tiaofang] consulted each other [about poetry and painting] and their contemporaries called them "wonderful friends in the women's apartments" It is likely that Qu Bingyun was the compiler for The Draft Left Behind from the Small Jade Orchid. However, here Qu only mentions that she sealed Qian Zhen's poems up in an embroidery box for safekeeping. 1 5 4 Shi Shuyi, 6:22a. The author of the Nowadays Talks about the Intellectual Circles mistakes Qu Bingyun for Ye Wanyi's younger sister. 76 How did they get fame as "wonderful friends in the women's apartments"? The Collection from the Jade-Collecting Tower includes a few of poems providing some details about the women's activities concerning poetry and painting, as in the line, "Many times we competed with each other in poetic talent when drinking wine" (2:14b) H # IE M R f# Jf- The poem "Responding to Tiaofang by Matching the Rhymes of Her Poem, 'Appreciation of Chrysanthemum in the Embroidering Bag Study, I Am Writing this Poem to Her'" ffilSllltMm^Ital^ST? ("He xiunang shuwu shangju shiyun ji Tiaofang," 2:14b) also indicates that they amused themselves with poetry games. In addition, Qu and Ye wrote poems on the occasion of giving gifts to and receiving them from each other. Such poems by Qu include "Written to Accompany the Chestnut Blossom Mirror and Lotus Inkstone that I Am Presenting to Tiaofang" \X H I lh H E ffi Vc M If Us i§- i 'J ^X m (translated in Chapter VI), "Tiaofang Presented Me with Snow C l a w s 1 5 5 after the Snow" I J f ^ g T f i ^ l t M J l i j t ("Xuehou Tiaofang yi xuezhao jianshang," 3:20a) and "Tiaofang Presented Me with Sprays of Plum Blossoms for My Vase, so I Am Writing this Poem in Return" g ^ £ff W If zfc i£ M, $B Z \>X l# ("Tiaofang zhemei zengyu gongping, baozhi yishi," 4:20b-21a). Poets and painters, they often combined poetry and painting. For example, once the two women collaborated on a painting done according to the theme of a couplet by Li Bai (701-62). Zhao Tongyu interpreted their work as a symbol of the two painters' friendship and called it "The Orchid and the Trumpet Creeper Come in a Pair," alluding to the fact that "orchid" (Ian) is a word in Qu's sobriquet and Ye's courtesy name, Tiaofang, means "fragrant trumpet creeper." Qu Bingyun was very happy with this interpretation and wrote a poem to note the event, with the following preface: Tiaofang and I did a painting together, which is derived from Li Bai's lines, "A pair of pearls come out from the bottom of an ocean, / They are a treasure worth several cities." Ziliang changed the title to 'Images of Orchid and Trumpet Creeper in a Pair.' I am writing this poem to record this" fg ^ fH ^ £ | f — IB, ^ ^ flf M l# " H $c tB M m, u m w i f ^ i ^ ^ ^ i i ^ p m. m m m z (3:8a-b). "Snow claws" refers to white birds' claws. 77 Another similar event involved Xi Peilan. Once again, Qu and Ye jointly did a painting of two plants and asked Xi Peilan to name it. Both Xi Peilan and Qu Bingyun wrote verses to record the event. Xi's poem was entitled "Wanxian Painted an Orchid and Tiaofang Added Some Chrysanthemums to the Painting and They Asked Me to Inscribe a Title on It" frJLf H M — fe S 7? fit H — H. S #c JH ^ ("Wanxian hualan yizhi, Tiaofang buju yicong. Zhuyu ti qiming") 1 5 6 and Qu's was called "Tiaofang and I Painted an Orchid and Chrysanthemums Together" g 5? |j flU U ("Yu Tiaofang hexie lanju," 3:16a). Perhaps because Qu was very grateful to Ye for assisting her younger brother and for giving birth to children for the family, she wrote many poems to celebrate Ye, such as "Inscription on the Picture of Tiaofang" | g ^ / J \ ("Ti Tiaofang xiaoying," 2:17a-18b), "Written in Celebration of Tiaofang's Birthday: it is the same day in same year as mine" | | f f ^ : J 5 i ^ [ W ] | ! g | I ] g ("Shou Tiaofang: yuyu tongsui tongri," 2:12a) and "Presented to My Younger Brother's Wife Ye Tiaofang" !f| | j | ft| H g ("Zeng dixi Ye Tiaofang," translated in Chapter VI). The last one praises Ye for her virtue, demeanor, talents and her soft, passionate, diligent and light-hearted personality. (3) Qu Jingkun Qu Bingyun and Qu Jingkun had been constant companions from their childhood through to early adulthood. Before entering their twenties, Bingyun went to the Zhao family, while Jingkun became the wife of Yu Zhao fu M (courtesy name Jinghuan H J | and sobriquet Langting jt^j ^f), who was Expectant Appointee of the Palace Secretary f g M 41 Hr- Like Bingyun, Jingkun also carried on her literary pursuits after marriage and later became an accomplished poet, leaving behind a collection entitled Collected Poems and Prose from the Remaining Surplus Study ^ |f JH f# 3£ M (Liuyu shuwu shiwenji)?57 1 5 6 X i , 5:4a. 1 5 7 This collection is mentioned in Hu's book, but has not been found. 78 Although they still lived in the Mount Yu region, the two cousins could hardly get together, a situation that became worse after Jingkun left the region. Since her father-in- law Yu Tingbo frj {6 (courtesy name Xinfu if and sobriquet Maoyuan *g H, Metropolitan Graduate) took office as Prefect of Huoshan in Anhui province, the entire family, including Jingkun and her husband, moved there with h im. 1 5 8 Bingyun and Jingkun missed each other very much. They used "a poetic mailbox" f# ft] (shitong), as Qu Bingyun put it, to convey their affectionate feelings and poetic opinions. So, in the Collection from the Jade-Collecting Tower, there are a few verses concerning Jingkun, such as "Missing My Elder Sister Wanqing" (translated in Chapter VI), "Written for Expressing the Feeling of Missing My Elder Sister Wanqing" Iff fit M fn % ("Jihuai Wanqing jie") and "Matching the Rhymes in 'Flowers Falling' by My Elder Sister Wanqing" fUiUfn W-W^VcWk ("He Wanqing jiajie luohua yun"). All of the above poems express the feeling of loss. When Jingkun talked about such poems by Bingyun, she recalled: "In 1795, when I went to Beipei for a visit to [Yu] relatives, Bingyun sent me a fan with a poem inscribed on it, in which the feeling of longing is expressed through words. Z, g\i 1795 & it 11 it ffi, m^m$.~ffi, U m^M-M ffi S'J m ft M PO (Qu Jingkun, Postscript). It is understandable that Qu Bingyun talked mostly about poetry with her poetic friends—they might not have had many other topics to discuss. However, growing up together with Jingkun, Bingyun was still obsessed with their conversations on poetry. Qu Jingkun recalled that whenever they had a chance to get together, the two cousins stayed in each other's company all the time, chatting about poetry: Each time when she came back to our paternal home, she sat with me side by side or put her bed next to mine, talking poetry until dawn § jg | f ^ 0, S | ^ fj£ M W., M ff# J H S. (QU Jingkun, Postscript). How fascinated with poetry they were! RGCZ, pp. 1711-3. 79 Male, Senior and Junior Members (1) Qu Baojun Qu Baojun Jg $k ¥3 (courtesy name Yishi g£ Ji) was Qu Bingyun's only sibling. Both of them were under the guardianship of their grandparents after their parents died. Although there is no reference to Baojun sharing Bingyun's interest in poetry, according to the "Domestic Regulations" of the Book of Rites, a sister and her brother can be raised and educated together until one of them reaches age nine; 1 5 9 Bingyun and Baojun were very likely both taught similar subjects by their erudite grandfather. Qu Baojun was the inheritor of both the scholarship and the moral traditions of the Qus. He once was appointed Assistant Prefect of Zhaoqing H I f\\ (Zhaoqing tongpan), but for some reason he took office as the Acting Vice Prefect of Chaozhou jf\ l«I 9U (Chaozhou tongzhi). In Chaozhou, he advocated classical learning by restoring academic institutions there, using regulations of the most prestigious academy in the Tang dynasty, the Academy of Bailudong ElBLMW it, to run them. Baojun was a "pure official" who never accepted bribes. We are told that he refused a total of a thousand pieces of gold from the past and current Magistrates of Chenghai H $S who wanted to bribe him for personal purposes. Baojun died of disease while in service, and since he did not leave any money behind, his family had to sell his books and paintings to raise enough to bring his coffin back home. 1 6 0 (2) Qu Songman and Ji Lanyun Qu Songman was Baojun's eldest son. When he was a child, Qu Bingyun brought him to live with her and treated him as her own child. She started his education early and ensured his interest in poetry. Qu Songman became a good poet and painter See Sun Xidan comp., pp. 754-73. RGCZ, p. 2134. 80 when he grew up and authored the Draft Left Behind from the Ink Flower Immortal House M 72 {\k W, 31 Ws (Mohua xianguan y/gao). 1 6 1 Ji Lanyun ^ jij H (courtesy name $fj $1) was Qu Songman's wife. She also left a work behind, entitled Collected Works from the Chu Orchid Land Tower (twelve chapters) B£B HI H + — # (Chuwan'geji shierjuan), which was printed together with Qu Songman's poetry. 1 6 2 (3) Bao Yin, Bao Wei and Bao Fen Bao Yin was Qu Bingyun's maternal aunt and a fellow-disciple of Yuan Mei (Bao Yin's poetic relationship with Qu Bingyun will be described in Chapter IV). Bao Wei and Bao Fen were Qu Bingyun's maternal uncles (See biographical accounts of them in Chapter II). They also associated with Qu Bingyun in poetry writing within the scope of the family, since Bao Wei wrote a preface to the Collection from the Jade-Collecting Tower and many comments on its poems, while Bao Fen wrote a biography of Qu Bingyun included in this collection. Qu Bingyun's use of poetry is both unique and impressive. Her poetry functioned as a bridge making her relationships harmonious and intimate across generations, social status and lineages in the domestic circles. In a traditional Chinese family, the bride had to face several potential difficult relationships: with her mother-in-law H (poxi), with her sisters-in-law t& W. (gusao), with the wives of her husband's brothers M. (zhouli), and possibly with the concubine/s H §£ (qiqie) as well. So, the texts on women's moral education all include instructions on these relationships. For example, in his Rules for Women, Lu Kun tells daughters-in-law: "[A bride] bears another surname, but lives with those who were born of the same parents, which 1 6 1 Qu Songman's Draft Left Behind from the Ink Flower Immortal House H {[lj f | fi| (Mohua xian'guan yigao), printed by Mohua xian'guan in 1847, is found in the Libraries of Beijing University and Changshu. 1 6 2 This collection was printed together with Qu Songman's Draft Left Behind from the Ink Flower Immortal House. See Note 161 in this chapter. 81 constitutes grounds for quarrels and arguments" J | i& jfTj 0 A # 1̂3 *L fMl #1 § £B ̂  163 H j s f a t h e r |_Q Desheng g H who wrote a colloquial version of the textbook for women' moral education called The Language of Female Children tc A 5fi In (Nuxiaoeryu), asks the bride to yield to her husband's sisters and his brothers' wives, warning "If you do not yield to the younger sisters and those wives, which of them would yield to you?" /\\ M ffl % ^ II f& M fll H {ft.164 As for the wife-concubine relationship, the most bothersome of all, Lu Kun reasons, "The wife and the concubines were not born of the same parents, and none of them have the virtue that Ehuang and Nuying had, but they are expected to be with one heart and to go the same way. Isn't this difficult?" ^ ^ # I R I Uf5 Qu Bingyun was involved in all these potentially troublesome relationships, except for the one with the wives of her husband's brothers. To make matters worse, she had two apparent weaknesses which could easily have resulted in being despised by her marital family. First, she could not give birth to children. The infertility of a wife was regarded as a serious offence to tradition listed as the second reason among the "Seven Reasons for Divorcing a Wife" -tr A ("Qiqu"). 1 6 6 The other weakness was that she had long ago contracted a liver disease and often had to interrupt housework, including waiting on her mother-in-law. In spite of all the above troublesome relationships and weaknesses, Qu Bingyun became the favorite daughter-in-law of the Zhao family. She was the soul mate of the concubine Xu Xiaoshu, an intimate of her husband's younger sister Zhao Ruobing, as well as the sworn sister of the first daughter-in-law of the Qus, Qian Zhen, and the second one, Ye Wanyi. This was largely because poetry helped her manage these relationships successfully. As we have seen, through poetic association with her relatives and maids, Qu not only developed physical proximity but also emotional intimacy with them. In the course of her and other Zhang Fuqing comp., p. 79. 1 6 4 Ibid., p. 55. 1 6 5 Ibid., p. 81. 1 6 6 The other reasons specified are "not being filial to parents-in-law," "committing adultery," "jealousness," "having a nasty disease," "talkativeness," and "committing stealing." A HIM % ®, &, tP, M I f e ^ E S I - See Zhang Fuqing comp., p. 59. 82 family members composing verse and reading and commenting on each other's poems, they communicated their innermost feelings to one another, eliminating any psychological distance among them. Qu Bingyun wrote poems in her social interaction with other family members, from which she got inspirations for writing poems and topics to write about. Her poems were meant to be read by the people whom them she associated. Qu's poetic creation was "a social action," as Marilyn M. Cooper describes it. Also, as Nancy Chodorow suggests, seeking and maintaining good relations with others in the family circles instinctively motivated Qu to write poetry. Unlike writers who, as Cooper assumes, treat writing as an intellectual adventure, Qu Bingyun and her familial poetic fellows used poetry in a practical way, treating it as part of their life. Thus, they connected poetry with domestic life and specifically with women's experience. By way of connecting and interacting with her domestic poetry circles, Qu Bingyun got motivated and increasingly involved in poetry. Hence, her poetic concepts started to form and her techniques improved. These domestic poetry circles established Qu's poetic-social network before she entered Yuan Mei's female disciple group, cultivated her talent and prepared her road to future accomplishment as an expert poet. 83 Chapter IV Becoming a Member of Yuan Mei 's Female Disciple Group It was in the third month of 1794 that Qu Bingyun first paid her respects to Yuan Mei as a disciple. Yuan Mei recounted this event in a paragraph written after reading two chapters of the poetry manuscripts that Qu brought him when they met: Wanxian is the granddaughter of my Tongnian167 of 1738, Mr . Qu Zengfa (Xingyuan). In the third month of Jiayin (1794) when I passed through Mount Y u on a boat trip, Wanxian paid her respects to me under the blossoming cherry trees and acknowledged me as her mentor. She then handed me two chapters of her poems [to read] ^ | f [ l j j=§ zf< M W — (Yuan Mei , Preface) Also, as Qu's closest friend and one of Yuan's favourite female disciples, Xi Peilan was very happy about the event and wrote a poem to celebrate it. 1 6 8 In Yuan's female disciple group, besides Yuan himself, Qu Bingyun mainly associated with Xi Peilan, Gui Maoyi, and Bao Yin who lived in the same region as Qu. She also had some contact with the members outside her region, such as Zhang Yuzhen of Songjiang ^ t£ (modern Shanghai), Qian Mengtian of Wuxing J^L M (modern Huzhou), and Wang Qian of Suzhou. Furthermore, Qu Bingyun had much contact with the male followers of Yuan Mei. Through the interactions with these able poets, Qu became an expert poet and gained recognition in the Mount Yu region and beyond. 4.1 Yuan Mei's Teaching of Poetry to Gentry Women Tongnian |Wj £p ("Same Year") or Nian Xiongdi^- 51 |j§ ("Year-Brother") refers to the examinees who passed the Civil Service Examination in the same year. 1 6 8 This poem is found in Xi Peilan's poetry collection entitled "Hearing that Wanxian Has also Met Master Yuan Mei as a Disciple, I Am Extremely Happy and Present [Them with] This Verse-Letter" dfl fill $F IX I f j ^ i t M l l l I l , S H # f§? ('Wen Wanxian yiyi dizili jian Suiyuan, xijifengjian"), Xi, 3:1b. 84 Yuan Mei was one of the most outstanding poets of the Qing dynasty, due to the uniqueness of his personality and the originality of his work. His theory of "nature and inspiration" ft M (xingling), advocating free self-expression, was very well-received by poetry circles, and his poetry impressed readers by its sincerity, originality and creative use of tradition. More strikingly, in his late years, Yuan Mei devoted himself to literary education for women. Although he was not the first man who took on female disciples, for the first time in Chinese history, he openly associated with a large group of young women and taught them poetry, a bold action against Confucian tradition. Yuan Mei accepted his first female disciple, Chen Shulan | ^ M M, in 1783, when he was sixty-seven years old. Over the next seven years, five women poets asked him to be their mentor and were accepted by him. From 1790 onward, however, Yuan took the initiative and sought out women poets to be his disciples and openly associated with them until his death in 1798. Fifty-six Female Disciples How many women writers were members of Yuan Mei's disciple group? Who were they? Scholars' opinions regarding the exact number of Yuan Mei's female disciples vary. Jiang Dunfu M Sfc f j l , in his "Anecdotes of Yuan Mei: Table of the Names of Yuan Mei's Female Disciples" W M M M l£ ^ ^ t& !fc Wi ("Suiyuan yishi: Suiyuan nudizi xingshi pu") 1 6 9 published in 1864, suggests that Yuan had fifty-seven female disciples. However, Jiang's table only lists thirty-seven names, among which so far just thirteen have been confirmed as actual disciples of Yuan M e i . 1 7 0 Jiang does not bM YMQJ (VII): Anecdotes of Yuan Mei M M Wi 9- (Suiyuan yishi, hereafter YS), pp. 100-4. 1 7 0 The thirty-seven names on Jiang Dunfu's list are Zhou Yuezun JU % # (courtesy name Yixiang $| |f), Fang Yunyi jj H (courtesy name Langqing Jj| ^), Gui Maoyi, Wang Shen £E W (courtesy name Xunwei ft M, sobriquet Shunzai Jill H)- Tao Qingyu |ifsj (courtesy name Shansheng | f £), Ge Xiuying H 5f | l (courtesy name Yuzhen 3s M)< Wang Qiong EE Ij| (courtesy name Biyun H ft), Yang Qionghua |§ 1% !jl (courtesy name Peiying {Ji H), Zhang Yuwu 35 3s ̂ § (courtesy name Qiuyun fX ft), Zhang Jue H (courtesy name Yuquan 3£ Zhang Bingyi jjg # (courtesy name Xingquan f4 :̂), Ye Lingyi H ^ fit (courtesy name Yixin H Zhou Xingwei JU M W (courtesy name Tianxiang X ff), Chen Danyi ^ ?j& jl[ (courtesy name Juren % X), Song Jingjuan A if M (courtesy name Shouyi A —), Pan Suxin 7§ ̂  ;ij (courtesy name Peilan fJl M), Gao Yunzhen iSj iK ̂  (courtesy name Danxian f|Ij), Wang Heng 3£ M (courtesy name Xiying fll f£), Jin Dui (courtesy name unknown), Yan Jingfu jg f% (courtesy name unknown), Wu Li'nian ̂  H £j| (courtesy name unknown), Zhuang Tao $± :M (courtesy name if& 5 Songshi), Wutong fg flU (this is a given name; her surname is unknown), Xiuxiang If (this 85 list the twenty other female disciples whose works were included in Yuan Mei's poetry selection. 1 7 1 Since there is no such version of the selected poems extant today, we cannot know exactly who the identities of those women mentioned were. A modern Chinese scholar and expert on Yuan Mei studies, Wang Yingzhi EE ^ states that Yuan Mei had "more than forty female disciples." However he only lists thirty-nine out of that number. 1 7 2 A Japanese scholar, Goyama Kiwamu [If %, has conducted a survey of Yuan's female disciples. 1 7 3 His resulting research paper entitled "The Female Disciples of Yuan Mei" £ IB j~s ?~> ("En Bai to jodeishitachi") greatly helped me in tracing those disciples. I have tabulated the names of the disciples in the chronological order in which they joined Yuan's entourage (See "Appendix"). I mention only those women who have been confirmed as falling into one of the following categories: is a given name; her surname is unknown), Yuexin ft >fj (this is a given name; her surname is unknown), Wu Hui A?| H (courtesy name Xiangyi § ]l[), Huang Zhen ilf ft (courtesy name Xiongyi H), Zhang Yaoying $k 1% H (courtesy name unknown), Wang Yuzhen 5 1 ^ (courtesy name J[ ft Yiqiu), Yuan Shufang MMJJ (courtesy name Liqing JH IIP), Wang Mingyu £E 3s (courtesy name Hesheng fn If), Shi Baoyin j£ | g EP (This is a mistaken name of Bao Yin. Yuan Mei's "Shi Baoyin" refers to Bao Zungu (Yin) of Changshu, see YMQJ (VI): On Yuan Mei's Eightieth Birthday M i A + i f (Suiyuan bashi shouyan, hereafter SY), p.107. Jiang mistakenly took her as the eldest sister of Bao Zhihui), Di Fang %k. (courtesy name Shaorou {p- ̂ ) , Zhao Tongyao, Zhang Xunxiao jJK #U (courtesy name Lucheng % f$c), Bi Zhizhu (Hui) | § H? ^ (courtesy name Lianting M TI), and Ma Cuiyan J§ Ip! ffi (courtesy name Tianxiang HF). Among the above names, so far only Gui Maoyi, Wang Shen, Zhang Bingyi, Pan Suxin, Jin Dui, Zhuang Tao, Wutong, Xiuxiang, Yuexin, Wang Yuzhen, Yuan Shufang, Zhang Xunxiao, and Bi Zhizhu have been confirmed as actual disciples of Yuan Mei. See Appendix, "A Table of Yuan Mei's Female Disciples" in this dissertation. 1 7 1 This poetry selection was likely a version of the Selected Poems by Yuan Mei's Female Disciples and that the twenty women poets mentioned in it were the key disciples. 1 7 2 The names on Wang Yingzhi's list are Tao Qingyu, Jin Yi ife Jin Dui, Wang Bizhu i f $ Zhang Xunxiao, Zhou Yuezun, Yan Ruizhu ft M ifc, Wang Yuzhen, Wu Qiongxian ^ 1% f[ij, Yuan Shufang, Gui Maoyi, Qu Bingyun, Xi Peilan, Bi Hui (Zhizhu), Liao Yunjin 0 ft Zhang Yuzhen jjg 3£ Zhang Yuwu, Bao Zhihui M £. K, Lu Yuansu ut % %, Xu Dexin If f§ H, Qian Mengtian £ | ]£ |ffl, Luo Qilan ,|§ M, Chen Shuying (Shulan) ^ U 51 (M M, Wang writes, "Only one of them, Chen Shuying ffl. M 31. was from Nanjing;" here, Wang mistakes Chen Shuying for Chen Shulan), Sun Yunfeng j% i f JE, Sun Yunhe M 9 11, Zhang Yaoying, Wang Zuanzu £E H iH, Wang Shen, Wang Zhong tEftf, Chen Changsheng |$C M Qian Lin | § # , Sun Tingzhen j% gj f i , Xu Yuxin f£ ^§ Zhang Jue, Ye Lingyi, Pan Suxin, Wang Qian 3s ffi, Dai Lanying M jRj 51. and Wang Yuru 3s 3s See Wang Yingzhi, >4 Study of trie Poetry School of "Nature and Inspiration"i± ft -/JS W 55 (Xinglingpaiyanjiu), Shenyang: Liaoning University Press, 1998, p. 32. 1 7 3 Goyama Kiwamu, "The Female Disciples of Yuan Mei" ^ l i l ^ y ^ ^ ("En Bai to jodeishitachi"), Bungaku ronshu, 31. (August, 1985), Kyushu: Bungakukenkyukai, College of General Education, Kyushu University, pp. 113-54. 86 1. Those who attended one of three Poetry Gatherings gf # (Shihui) called by Yuan Mei. The first two gatherings took place at Lake Tower by West Lake in 1790 and 1792 respectively, and the third one at Brocade Grain Garden | § # H (Xiuguyuan) in Suzhou in 1792. 2. Those who were depicted in the "Painting Thirteen Female Disciples Asking for Advice at Lake Tower" WM^^tt^^MWimMM ("Suiyuan shisan nudizi hulou qingye tu") and its continuations. 1 7 4 3. Those who were mentioned in the Selected Poems by Yuan Mei's Female Disciples compiled by Yuan Mei. 4. Those who had personal contact with Yuan as disciples, where Yuan confirmed such a relationship. Unlike Goyama, I exclude Wang Zhong, Wu Rouzhi ^k^Z, Zhang Yaoying, Yao Xiuying M 3^ 51. Wang Qiong, Ju Jingwen Uf ~$c., and Jiang Wanyi M f& \m from Yuan Mei's female entourage. Wang Zhong was the younger sister of Wang Shen. The only connection between Wang Zhong and Yuan Mei is that Yuan asked Wang Shen to send his regards to Wang Zhong and to pass his poem to her. 1 7 5 Wu Rouzhi almost became a disciple. Wu regretted both not having asked Yuan to be her mentor when she first met him in 1788 and having to miss the gathering in 1790 due to an i l lness. 1 7 6 Zhang Yaoying was the wife of Yuan's nephew, Wang Jian'an EE Wi Yuan mentioned her twice in his poetry talks and selected one of her poems for his Continuation of Collected Poems of My Fellow Poete. 1 7 7 However, no references can be found regarding her status as Yuan's disciple. There are also no references to the relationship between Yao Xiuying and Yuan, except for one poem by her that was selected for Yuan's Continuation of Collected Poems of My Fellow Poets. As for Wang Qiong, the granddaughter of Wang Wenzhi, Yuan highly appreciated her poems and selected some of them for his poetry talks and Continuation of Collected Poems of My Fellow My thanks to Dorothy Ko for introducing me to this article. 1 7 4 "Thirteen Female Disciples Asking Yuan Mei for Advice at Lake Tower" actually includes eighteen women poets in total. See a discussion of this painting in this chapter. 175 YMQJ (V): CD, p. 222. 1 7 6 See Wu Rouzhi's poem "Seeing off Master Yuan Mei at Lake Tower," YMQJ (VI): XT, p. 224. 1 7 7 See YMQJ (III): SH, 25 & 26 of v 10, pp. 325-6, and YMQJ (VI): XT, p. 224. 87 Poefe . 1 7 8 However, when Yuan wanted to visit her, she declined on moral grounds. 1 7 9 Ju Jingwen was a poet of Shandong province. Her poems were introduced to Yuan by Sun Yunfeng, but otherwise there were no contacts between the two. This can probably be attributed to the great distance between their residences. As for Jiang Wanyi, Pure Talks from the Paulownia ShadeflU H i§ (Tongyin qinghua) does not give any proof for its claim that she was Yuan's disciple. 1 8 0 I add Qian Mengtian to the list because her uncle Qian Weiqiao H If ^ (1739 - 1806) recommended her as a disciple to Yuan . 1 8 1 Qian also attended the 1790 gathering at West Lake. The five anonymous women who were accepted in 1797 should also be taken into account because Yuan regarded them as his disciples. However, besides the poem written by Yuan that describes his joy of having these women as his disciples, no further references are found to their status. Three Poetry Gatherings From 1790 to 1792 Yuan called three gatherings for women poets. This was the most significant action that Yuan took in terms of acting as a mentor for women poets. Through these gatherings, he actively sought literary women and taught them poetry openly. On the 13th of the fourth month, 1790, Yuan Mei called the first gathering of thirteen literary women at West Lake in Hangzhou to discuss poetry. 1 8 2 In the late third month or the early fourth month, Yuan Mei went to Hangzhou to sweep the graves of his ancestors. 1 8 3 He lodged at the house of Sun Jiale J£ M the Surveillance Commissioner, at West Lake. Sun Jiale was an admirer of Yuan, and his two daughters, Sun Yunfeng and Sun Yunhe, had been Yuan's disciples for one or two years. Yuan asked Sun Yunfeng to invite, on his behalf, local gentry women for a poetry gathering. 1 ' 8 See YMQJ(l\\): SH, p. 595 and YMQJ (VI): XT, p. 238. 1 7 9 Shi, 6:13b. 1 8 0 Ni Hongyun {5S #§ I f merely states that Jiang Wanyi "learned to write poetry from Yuan Mei and thus she was called 'a female disciple of Yuan Mei" l&MM^A^MWtt^-F- Pure Talks from the Paulownia Shade flsj H $f (Tongyin qinghua), reprint, Shenjiang, 1874, 5:26a. 1 8 1 Qian Weiqiao, Collected Works ofZhuchuff W j£ M (Zhuchu quanji), v 3, Goyama, p. 133. 182 YMQJ (III): BY, 19 of v 1, p. 553, YMQJ (V): CD, p. 221, and YMQJ (VII): NS , pp. 28 and 30. 1 8 3 A ceremony of paying respects to the deceased people. 88 While it is said that thirteen women who brought their own poems or paintings attended this gathering, the presence of only ten women at this first gathering has been confirmed. Their names are Sun Yunfeng, Sun Yunhe, Zhang Bingyi, Xu Yuxin, Wang Shen, Wang Zuzan, Wu Shushen, Sun Tingzhen, Feng Hui, and Qian Mehgtian. 1 8 4 The gathering was held in Lake Tower of the Sun house, which was situated at the foot of the lakeside hills and faces West Lake. Yuan hosted a banquet, in which the women "surrounded the Star of Longevity" M. M %k ^ A M M , 1 8 5 listening intently to him talking about poetry. They asked him various questions about their writing and reading of poetry, and Yuan answered them with great patience. Both Yuan Mei and his female followers were absorbed in the discussions, as described in Sun Yunfeng's preface to the "Painting of Thirteen Female Disciples Asking for Advice at Lake Tower," Asking about diction, they left wine glasses idle. Talking about the Classics, they did not notice dishes getting cold In addition to discussions, some of the women had composed poems particularly for this occasion. For example, Yuan described Wang Shen at the gathering, Facing guests, she waved her brush writing down her poem, using a talent like X i Daoyun" 1 8 7 to depict the character of the flowered hairpin, ^ fip \)X, ffe | E zt, 1 H 4 Sun Yunfeng's preface to "Farewell At Lake Tower" (YMQJ (VII): NS, p. 30) mentions that Sun Yunfeng and her sister joined the gathering. Also, when talking about this gathering, Yuan Mei wrote, "thirteen women poets, such as Zhang Bingyi, Xu Yuxin, Wang Shen et al, gathered at Lake Tower to learn poetry from me" £ ^ ^ 7 i f ! # , M i l , f f i M + H A l ^ S i l * # ; M ^ (YMQJ (I): SJ, p. 793). Furthermore, Wang Zuzan, Wang Shen, Wu Shushen, Sun Tingzhen, Feng Hui, and Qian Mengtian each wrote a farewell poem on the occasion of the 1790 gathering, mostly with the title of "Farewell to Master Yuan Mei at the Treasure Stone Villa." These poems were recorded in Continuation of Collected Poems of My Fellow Poets. YMQJ (VI): XT, pp. 226-8. 185 YMQJ(V): CD, p. 221. 186 YMQJ (VII): NS, p. 29. 1 8 7 Xie Daoyun M i t tit (ca. 350) was a well-known female poet of the Jin Dynasty (265-420). It was said that Xie Daoyun was a prodigy. When she was a child, her uncle, Xie An f i 3c, once asked her, "Which poem is the best in the Classic of Poetry? Xie Daoyun answered, "Ji Fu wrote an eulogy,/ which is mild like pure wind." " ĵ f f ® , f § £• / f j ! , . 1 8 7 Xie An commented, "This answer contains a poet's deepest m ^ # m m m m 89 Both Yuan and the women were pleased with the gathering and, Yuan proudly spread word of his undertaking to many of his friends. Some two years later, Yuan held two more poetry gatherings, one in Hangzhou and the other in Suzhou. It was in the late second month of 1792 when Yuan returned from Mount Tiantai, located in east Zhejiang province. On his way home, he stopped at Hangzhou and called a gathering of female poets in the Sun house at West Lake. Fifteen women were invited, but only seven attended. We know the names of five of these seven women, namely, Xu Yuxin, Qian Lin, and Pan Suxin in addition to the two daughters, Yunfeng and Yunhe, of the Sun family. Yuan Mei recounted this gathering in his Continuation of the Poetry Talks at Sui Garden, This year, I called a poetry gathering of seven female disciples of mine in Lake Tower. The prefect Ming Xizhe sailed from Qingbo Gate to visit us. He chatted with those women for quite a while and came to know that they were all gentry women from respectable families, with whom his family has maintained a friendship for generations. He therefore lent his luxurious boat to this group of women for admiring the view. He also presented them with some silk blankets and bead curtains. He rode on horse back to his official mansion. Shortly after, he sent two tables of delicious food along with seven jade Ruyis,189 brushes, and fragrant beads as gifts to these gentry women. At that time, this pleasurable affair was on everybody's lips in the gentry circles. ^ 7 ^ mtcm^±:x^mt.±^m^m9h±(m^ m & n n m M.m.mm tc ? ̂  m & x; ft m A m m m > ft &• m m w 11 • ib m m ̂  m m m m,m turn *:&,%.mmwifrmv!},frM mmmmm,-mm±mmmmm interest and charm." When it was snowing, Xie An uttered a poetic line: "What is it like when these white snowflakes swirl" r=l If i& M Pft A cousin of Xie Daoyun replied with a line: "Sprinkling salt in the sky may compare to it" f£ H n oj gf. Xie Daoyun: "Not as good as the trope: 'willow catkins rise in the wind'" 3g #p §E gj )!, JE. Xie An was very happy with Xie Daoyun's line. People therefore praised Xie Daoyun for having "a talent for chanting willow catkins." See Fang Xuanling J§ ~£ A History of the Jin Dynasty: Biography: Wang Ningzhi's Wife by the Surname of Xie ff- H: £[J \M: ~EE M H l i K (Jinshu: Liezhuan: Wang Ningzhi qi Xieshi liezhuan), Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1974, p. 2516. 188 YMQJ (V): CD, p. 221. 189 Ruyi is an S-shaped ornamental object made out of jade, which is a symbol of good luck. 190 YMQJ (III): BY, AA of v 5, p. 670. 90 The gathering lasted the entire day. The sequence of their activities on that day seems to be as follows: In the morning, they assembled at Lake Tower where Yuan Mei and the women in attendance discussed poetry for a while. Wang Wenzhi then appeared as he happened to be in Hangzhou at the time, talking to the women and inscribing his calligraphy on fans for some of them. Ming Xizhe then came to chat further with the women, and around noon the women and Yuan had a banquet, the food of which was part of Ming's gift. In the early afternoon, Yuan and his female disciples went outside to admire the view along the northern hills. In the late afternoon, they returned to Lake Tower and had some food again while each composed a poem with an appointed rhyme. Finally, Yuan presented the women with writing paper, brushes, and inkstones, talking about poetry with the women and commenting on the poems, which they brought him. He even kept talking at the banquet and while admiring the view of the hi l ls. 1 9 1 Immediately after the gathering by West Lake in Hangzhou, Yuan Mei stopped again at Suzhou on his way home and called another gathering of women poets who lived in the area. He asked Jiang Zhu, a local female poet, to invite female poets on his behalf, or as Jiang wrote, "I acted as messenger to ask each of those famous gentry women to come" £g i t ^ M, W M f]£ # - 1 9 2 The total number of the participants is unknown, but according to the poems selected in Yuan's Continuation of Collected Poems of My Fellow Poets, Zhang Zilan, Gu Kun, You Danxian, Jin Dui, Zhou Lilan, and He Yuxian were participants in the gathering. Jin Yi lived in the area but was unable to come due to illness. Jiang Zhu also did not attend, although she acted as a messenger prior to the gathering. The gathering was held at Xiugu Garden where Yuan Mei's host, Sima Qingya WJ , H 0f j i t , prepared a banquet for Yuan and his female followers. Yuan read the poems the women had brought to him, commented on them, and assigned the women to write poems for the occasion. The participants who met Yuan at the gathering became his disciples. YTWQJ(VII): NS, pp. 28-30. YMQJ (VI): XT, p. 235. 91 The Nature and Method of Yuan Mei's Teaching Yuan Mei had brilliant insights into literary education, and his disapproval of three types of teaching practised by early scholars reveals his thoughts about the teaching of poetry. First, Yuan opposed references to spiritual and abstract matters in teaching: The sages' way of teaching always focuses on material and concrete matters, not on abstract matters. Therefore, the 'orthodox words' include the Classic of Poetry, the Book of History, and the Rites of Zhou, but not the Classic of Changes. This is because the sages did not want to show off their brightness and intelligence by dealing with those abstruse and mysterious issues. I A t A , M ^ T P > ? f i 3 ^ ; & ± l i - r $ J s j f J l l f Second, Yuan disagreed with the generally accepted ideas that poetry students should study the classics before writing poetry. He said, Recently, a notable poet has been teaching the writing of poetry. He has been telling his students that they must read all the classics and their commentaries before writing poetry, which they would be able to pass down to later generations, jff 0 ^ M {ik $$L A W, Third, Yuan Mei argued against placing emphasis on technique and metrical skills when teaching one how to write. He stated, Scholars in phonetics do not need to be good at poetry. [In contrast,] weren't L i Ba i , D u Fu, Han Y u , and Su Shi clumsy at the pronunciation of their poetry? [Also,] when Mao L u m e n 1 9 5 taught writing prose, he especially educated the students in the skills of "beginning, continuing, turning, and concluding," but the prose by Mao's entourage YMQJ (V): Remaining Writings from the Correspondence M^^m {Duwai yuyan, hereafter YY), p. 4. 194 YMQJ (III): BY, 7 of v 1, p. 548. 1 9 5 Mao Kun ^ itfi (1512-1601, courtesy name Shunfu (III ^, sobriquet Lumen JH f"J) was a famous scholar and writer of classical prose during the Ming Dynasty. 193 194 92 was pretty mediocre . . .. What this hints at is really worth contemplating. gj | I H H Yuan did not consider poetry as being something abstruse, but rather as a kind of written form expressing the inner feelings of human beings. Therefore, a poet mentor should not elaborate endlessly on profound principles to his students. Also, as poetry writing is not a matter of learning, the study of the classics or of phonetics is not necessarily a prerequisite for composing a good poem. In addition, poetry writing is not a matter of technique but rather an expression of the "nature and inspiration" of human beings. It would harm the expression of spontaneous inspiration if a poet is too immersed in developing one's skill. These three "taboos" show that Yuan attempted to make poetry writing an approachable, tangible, and spontaneous activity: a person who wanted to write poetry did not need to be concerned with the profound classics or complicated techniques. The only thing he or she needed to have was true "nature and inspiration." In Yuan's teaching practices, advising female disciples individually on their specific works was the major part, which includes "personal consultation," assigning works and commenting on completed works. (1) Personal Consultation "Asking about diction" fa\ ^ (wenzi) refers to one's personal consultation about writing, and was a frequent term used in the associations of Yuan with his female disciples. When they met with Yuan, the women usually brought in some finished or unfinished poems and consulted him regarding advice on diction. They also asked Yuan some questions they encountered in their study of other subjects, such as the classics. When Luo Qilan came to see Yuan for the first time, she had her poetry with her and was prepared to "ask about words." The following poem she wrote describes their first meeting: YMQJ (V): YY, p. 7. 93 I heard your fame twenty years ago when I was in the woman's quarters. But I did not meet with "Jingzhou" until this morning. I hurried myself to the window of your study asking about diction. For the time being, I handed in my new poems as my tuition. FJU ^ W ~F "Jingzhou" alludes to Yuan Mei. In his letter "To Han Jingzhou" ffi H M jf\* ("Yu Han Jingzhou shu"), 1 9 8 Li Bai quotes a saying, "Do not hope to be born as a Marquis above ten thousand people, /1 only wish to meet Han Jingzhou" ̂  M J 3 fit / {S. I I — 11 M 'J'H, to praise Han Zhaozong ^ | fjj ^ w h o held the position of Military Chief (Changshi) in Jingzhou. Like Yuan Mei, Han liked to promote young and less advanced people or recommended them for a higher position, and therefore he was_very famous in elite circles. This poem illustrates a typical conversation at the meetings between Yuan and his female poetry disciples. Personal consultation was the most practical way for such female poets to obtain a clear answer from an experienced poet regarding a particular problem. Yuan Mei preferred this particular method of teaching poetry, openly offering his insights into the particular choice of words in a poem. Whenever he gathered with his disciples, he reminded them to bring their poems. However, traditional Chinese society placed many obstacles between Yuan and his female disciples, which made their meetings difficult. For example, shortly before her death, Jin Yi stated regrettably that she had not had the opportunity to meet Yuan and been unable to ask him many questions related to poetry. 1 9 9 Yuan and his female disciples sometimes wrote to each other to deal with the problems that the women encountered, Yuan's letters, "In Answer to Lady Sun Yunfeng" i^MW^Wi X A ("Da Sun Biwu furen"), "To Lady Qian Mengtian" f i ^ f ("Ji Wanqing furen"), "To L - U U , I . I C—.U. 1 9 8 Li Bai, Complete Works of Li Bai ^ X S ^ M (Li Taibai quanji), compiled by Wang Qi 3£ % Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1977, p. 1239. 199 YMQJ(\\): WAIJ, p. 587. 94 Lady Pan Suxin" fit ^ '0 A A ("Ji Pan Suxin furen") and "To My Cousin Wang Shen" J& t£ Hi q£ tS ^ ("Yu Wang Shunzhai shimei") having been written for this particular purpose. 2 0 0 In one of her poems, Sun Yunfeng mentioned that Yuan lectured to his disciples when they gathered at West Lake: "Why was I so lucky to attend his lectures at a banquet. /In the famous hill, everywhere, he held a teacher's pointer" ^ f# l i % M IB -f1, ^ d l H JS # I 1̂ 7 i ! . 2 0 1 Yuan Mei might have lectured briefly when he gathered with his disciples at West Lake, but he was not likely to have given separate academic lectures. (2) Assigning Works Yuan sometimes made his disciples write poems. At the end of the gathering in 1790, he assigned each disciple a rhyme to compose a poem on the topic of farewell. Sun Yunfeng, for example, was given the rhyme, "gui" §§; Sun Yunhe got the rhyme, "lin" [3a; and Qian Lin, the rhyme "shan" L L [ . 2 0 2 In addition to this, at the end of the Suzhou gathering, all the women in attendance wrote a poem with the same title, "We Assemble at Xiugu Garden to See off Master Yuan Mei Who Is Returning to Jinling" ^ l i i=f H MIHIS 9h zfeM^II ("Ji Xiuguyuan song Suiyuan xiansheng huai Jinling"). In his personal interactions with his female disciples, Yuan often asked them to inscribe paintings or to reply to some of his poems. For example, he requested Sun Yunfeng, Qu Bingyun, Qian Lin, Lu Yuansu, and Wu Xiaqiong, respectively, to inscribe the painting of the "Thirteen Female Disciples Asking Yuan Mei for Advice at Lake Tower." He also asked several of them to inscribe the "Painting of an Elegant Gathering" ft ^ H ("Yajitu") of his fellow male poets and himself. Although Yuan usually specified requirements when he assigned works to the women, they were quite simple and straightforward, as shown in the following passage, which is from a letter to Wang Shen, YMQJ (V): CD, pp. 108, 123, 174 and 222. YMQJ(V\\): NS, p. 26, YMQJ (VI): XT, p. 226. Ibid., pp. 26, 82, and 94. 95 I am attaching a fan on which I inscribed my poem, "Impromptu Verse on the Events at Lake Tower," to this letter in order for you to reply with a poem,. . . Please just write your own inspiration. You do not need to follow the original rhymes strictly or the number of two poems, f ±f i - f f i «M S W ̂ >I# >J< fit fcfc f D" 1Z., • • • Yuan Mei encouraged his female disciples to publish, an encouragement that made them work harder in order to produce high quality poems. He often "solicited poems" fjf f# (zhengshi) or called for submissions from women poets for his poetry talks and anthologies. Some of his female disciples, such as Qu Bingyun, Sun Yunhe, and Wang Bizhu, gratefully mentioned that Yuan had solicited some of their poems. 2 0 4 Sun Yunfeng also mentioned that Yuan delegated her to collect women's poems." 2 0 5 Due to his fame as a poet, it was a great honour for poets to have their works included in the Poetry Talks and other selections that he compiled. Many of Yuan's female disciples were bestowed this honour. In addition to including a number of works by women poets in his Poetry Talks, Continuation of the Collected Poems by My Fellow Poets, and Collected Poems in Celebration of My Eightieth Birthday, Yuan also complied two special poetry selections which contained only poems written by his female disciples. The first one, which is no longer extant and of unknown title, contained the poems of thirteen women, and the second one, entitled Selected Poems by Yuan Mei's Female Disciples, contains the works of twenty-eight women. (3) Written Commentaries Apart from oral commentaries, Yuan also provide written commentaries on his disciples' poems. For example, in the letter to Wang Shen, Yuan told Wang that he had made comments on her poems and selected some for his poetry talks: YMQJ (V): CD, pp. 221-2. See YMQJ (VI): XT, p. 224, and YMQJ (VII): NS, p. 104. YMQJ (VI): XT, p. 233. 96 I have commented in writing on the poetry drafts that I took home with me, and I have chosen the most outstanding ones for inclusion in my poetry talks. ^ §§ |# fifj DX 1JU Sun Yunfeng gratefully mentioned that "the Master made remarks on my poetry collection" % £ ft" fp ^ # # . 2 0 7 Yuan usually made brief comments on his female disciples' poems, and we will see such comments on Qu's poems in Chapter V. He also wrote passages evaluating the poetry of his female disciples in general; sometimes, he did this to preface his female disciples' collections before they were printed. So far we know that Qu Bingyun's and Xi Peilan's published collections include such passages as prefaces, and that the poetry collections of Chen Shulan, Pan Suxin, Qian Mengtian, Bao Zhihui, and Luo Qilan were published with prefaces by Y u a n . 2 0 8 It was the nature of Yuan's teaching method to offer individual advice to his disciples regarding the quality of their specific works. Based on this fact, we know that Yuan's relationship with his female disciples was more one of a "mentor and his disciples" than that of a "teacher and his students." In contemporary English usage, a "mentor" is defined as "an experienced person who advises and helps a less experienced person" while a "disciple" is "someone who believes in the ideas of a great teacher, especially a religious one, and tries to follow them." A "teacher" is "someone whose job is to teach," while "teaching" is "the general word for helping a person or group of people to learn something." A "student" is "someone who is studying at a school, or a university." 2 0 9 These definitions indicate that the "mentor and disciples" relationship usually exists between an accomplished person in a certain field and his followers. A mentor and his disciples usually deal individually with practical issues and in an informal educational environment. The "teacher and students" relationship is between a learned person and learners who usually come together to examine both z w YMQJ (V): CD, pp. 221 -2. 2 0 7 Y7WQJ(VII): NS, p. 26. 2 0 8 Some of these prefaces are also found in YMQJ: Yuan Mei's preface to Chen Shulan's collection is found in YMQJ (II): WAIJ, p. 125, his preface to Pan Suxin's collection is in YMQJ (VI): XT, p. 231, and the one to Bao Zhihui's collection is in YMQJ (II): WAIJ, p. 137. 209 Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (third edition), Edinburgh Gate: Person Education Limited, 1995. 97 theoretical and practical issues in a formal educational environment. This is not the case with Yuan and the women poets who learned from him. 4.2 Qu Bingyun's Association with Yuan Mei and His Followers While Yuan did not hold any further poetry gatherings after the one at Xiugu Garden in 1792, he still actively sought women poets to enlarge his entourage. In Changshu Yuan recruited four women poets, Xi Peilan, Qu Bingyun, Gui Maoyi, and Bao Yin, who became his leading female disciples soon after entering his group. Contacts with Yuan Mei Unlike most of her fellow female disciples, Qu Bingyun lacked a male relative who provided a connection with Yuan Mei. It is possible that Wu Weiguang introduced Qu Bingyun to Yuan Mei. Wu had recommended the best local male poets to Yuan as disciples or poetic friends, and he admired Qu very much for her poetry and acted as her poetic mentor before she met Yuan. Another person who may have served as an intermediary was Xi Peilan, who became Yuan's disciple one year prior to Qu. However, Qu Bingyun and Yuan Mei had another reason to be on intimate terms, for her grandfather was a Tongnian of Yuan Mei. Both Qu Bingyun's grandfather, Qu Zengfa, and Yuan Mei passed the Civil Service Examination for the Provincial Graduate degree in 1738. In ancient China, the relationship between Tongnian was regarded as being almost as close as that between Tongmen [WJ H ("Fellow Students") which itself was equivalent to that of siblings. Since women were habitually restricted to the inner quarters, Yuan Mei usually made trips to meet his female disciples. Compared to the locations of most of her fellow poets in Yuan Mei's female disciple group, Qu's hometown, Changshu, was a fair distance from the places usually visited by Yuan, being located approximately two hundred kilometres southeast of Nanjing, the site of Yuan's estate, and about seventy kilometres northeast of Suzhou. However, since Changshu lies at the foot of Mount Yu, a scenic spot, the city was attractive to Yuan Mei. Once when he was visiting Suzhou he went there sightseeing. It is alleged that on the trip to Changshu, he happened to 98 look through a window at a beautiful girl weaving near the west gate of the city, and that he stared at her for quite a while until the locals spotted him and promptly attacked h im. 2 1 0 After he accepted Xi Peilan and Qu Bingyun as his disciples, he sometimes made a detour to Mount Yu when traveling south to Nanjing. Qu Bingyun met with Yuan at least twice at her home, as shown by the following poetic line by her, in which the "thatched door" is a self-depreciatory expression for "my house" and "the literary star" is a simile for Yuan: M y thatched door, twice, was shined on by the literary star. 8 lB Fl ! l ^ M (2:16b) According to Sun Yuanxiang, when Yuan Mei called on Qu Bingyun in her house, Qu served him tea made by herself from roses, orchids, plum blossoms, sweet scented osmanthus, and oranges called "Buddha's Hand." Yuan Mei enjoyed it very much and called it "Five Blossoms Dew" TLvcS ("wuhualu"). Sun attended the meeting and wrote a poem about this tea . 2 1 1 Qu might have also met Yuan somewhere else, as for example in the house of Wu Weiguang or Xi Peilan, since it is said that Yuan visited Mount Yu three more times after 1794, the year in which he accepted Qu as his disciple 2 1 2 Yuan Mei and Qu Bingyun also planned to meet each other again in the eighth month of 1798 on his return from Mount Luming jfg oj§, but unfortunately, Yuan died before that date. There were many obstacles that hindered the meetings of Qu and Yuan. In addition to the inconvenient location of Qu's hometown, Qu had contracted liver disease and it became more and more serious as time passed. This might have prevented her from participating in more activities involving Yuan, but, in the course of their associations, Qu wrote three sets of five poems to Yuan, which provide some details about their contacts. More importantly, Yuan Mei wrote many comments on Qu's poetry collection, which are of essential significance for studying the interactions between the mentor and his disciple, to be discussed in the next chapter. The titles of those poems 2 1 0 See YMQJ (VIII): Anecdotes about Yuan Mei(Suiyuan yishi, hereafter YS), p. 28. This book is frequently quite unreliable. 211 TZJ, 9:12b. 2 1 2 Wang Yingzhi, p. 296. 99 are: "Master Yuan Mei Ordered Me to Write on the Painting Thirteen Female Disciples (two poems)" MM9c&wM^^l£!&iT-'tti ("Suiyuan xiansheng mingti shisan nudizi tu,"2:10b), "Five Days Before the Summer Solstice Master Yuan Mei Met Me and Presented Me with Red Damask; I Am Writing to Thank Him" j ^ M M E B,MM.M 9c ^. M jfi. M f% H Wi *L §§; K I# M W ("Changzhi qianwuri meng Suiyuan xiansheng jianguo, bingbai hongling zhichi, fushi chengxie," 2:16b-17a), and "Daohua [Xi Peilan] and I Became Sworn Sisters and Painted Together the 'Painting of the Orchids;' Master Yuan Mei Inscribed a Poem on it; I Am Writing This Poem by Using His Rhyme to Thank H i m " ^ mmm fo m m m, m m mm m,mm 9t ±mm n ±. i^m ^.m (Yuyu Daohua yuewei jiemei, yinhui rulantu, Suiyuan xiansheng tishi qishang, yiyun chengxie," 2:12a-b) These poems reveal how Qu and Yuan interacted with each other both as poets and as friends, writing poems on each other's paintings and presenting them to each other along with gifts of silk or poems. Yuan Mei thought highly of Qu Bingyun. After reading the poetry manuscripts which Qu brought to Yuan when they first met, Yuan said: "When I was reading them I surprisingly got to know that Zhonglang had a successor!" fj£ z> f&, IH 41 £P M W fit ^ (Yuan Mei, Preface). Zhonglang refers to the famous writer and calligrapher Cai Yong 1̂  H (133-192) of the East Han Dynasty who was Cai Yan's father. In the chaos caused by the wars of the late Han, his daughter, Cai Yan, was kidnapped by Xiongnu £ j j t5L soldiers and was forced to marry their king. Cai Yan stayed with the Xiongnu for twelve years and finally was ransomed back. She described her miserable experiences in a set of poems entitled "Eighteen Beats of the Xiongnu Flute" S§ %a + A #3 ("Hujia shiba po"). 2 1 3 Cai Yan was greatly admired by people in later ages, and that Yuan Mei compared Qu Bingyun with Cai Yan shows his admiration for her. Around 1795 Yuan asked his friends You Zhao -jt M and Wang Gong £E to make a painting of thirteen female entitled "Painting of Thirteen Female Disciples Asking Yuan Mei for Advice at Lake Tower." In addition to Qu Bingyun, this painting includes Sun Yunfeng, Sun Yunhe, Xi Peilan, Xu Yuxin, Wang Zuanzu, Wang Shen, 3 Jia is a kind of the reed instrument. 100 101 • K J e * M < s r J M s , « . . . . . . , . 4»«lM»-**pl* 3 t ^ l > k-K ><*l* )S;:*$I>£-t - -w2l?T - . I .r» s i * > (•>•>»• i - > + t W J ^ S i t * f!t 9 *-* *••>* SftlSS » % S £ jfc-* ^ * $ S t i r : VS->—.,-«.*=̂ ~ „~ •- ' fc*..«B-,y3r».R(>-*' * . . A s i £ a ? i» »•* jt s r i( a * • * ? »» Jf 4 > 3 ft t» S i * n>* *• » •* * »M* r 3 S ?• > S if 5? » S 3 J» a * in * ti •* Wl » - « | t M J H * t * ^ >. * « 1 £ I > = r * > V i > * » ¥ > 7 » I R » £ I P „ , . , . m „ n . « . — . • » » * » » i i i j f * 5 { l ? ^ g - ^ f ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ S ^ P 1 102 Sr 3 I* J*S •* Pr -35 & i > ->i«; **.» S. Jjt«•% j**- ft*. =. - i * ip1- JSl>-5«Sr*-4fe **» .2 I" :* a-' i 1 >*> I*-1 ? l 5fc f--'Mt *r: i t S }• S- £ * * 5- "St A 3-- j * ft' ' Aa» & »».-i -V£f* t ti-p-4 f»p» '» •f- a * . .~J&* - ? -= !* S =• F i* * «-S !• r)» - • £ i5- * £ 5 it J ; J ; jtajsV* sip iS*pis£«j: .is a k. *cfi £ i» 103 m B a i s £ * » # * » + ; - * * » » - l * r - * » » ! * . * If * * • » « i t B * * t r « , * - * * f t Jp i * . * r • £ + C<F ? » * ft * * * *r 6 £ * K £ * * C * • S * J»jt * » » |l g JTT * f * »PM»* * JSf»* I. D Jr S (b i ? .f i. H «*_•>•» )<* •* If i: «t !t I p rt * (1 H » s ^ £ r ? 5 4"+ Sl-S * * * £ <* v )H JS h S + » 1* * * ¥ ^ • 5 £ I t & H 3 4- * p DT m )* » SI 35B jS £ > 5 $jS$4i.#?#3*H 1 0 4 Yan Ruizhu, Liao Yunjin, Zhang Yuzhen, Qu Bingyun, Jiang Xinbao, Jin Yi, and Bao Zhihui, as well as Yuan Mei and his niece by marriage Dai Lanying (See figure 4 ) . 2 1 4 Qu Bingyun sits together with Liao Yunjin and Zhang Yuzhen by a small rectangular table. Later on, Yuan asked another of his friends Mr. Cui H to paint Cao Ciqing, Luo Qilan, and Qian Lin separately as a continuation of the painting. It is said that in the third month of 1796 Lu Yuansu was added to the continuation. 2 1 5 Therefore the "Thirteen Female Disciples Asking Yuan Mei for Advice at Lake Tower" and its continuation actually include eighteen women poets in total. 2 1 6 The setting for this painting is the poetry gathering at Lake Tower by West Lake in 1790, but among the women in the painting Qu Bingyun, Xi Peilan, Yan Ruizhu, Jin Yi , Dai Lanying, Luo Qilan, Lu Yuansu, and Cao Ciqing did not attend any poetry gatherings, because they entered Yuan's female group after the gatherings took place, and Liao Yunjin, Jiang Xinbao, and Bao Zhihui probably did not attend. Also, around 1795, when the painting was created, Yuan had already more than forty female disciples. Apparently, Yuan only included his favourite female followers, mostly those who were important women poets and actively associated with h im. 2 1 7 Qu Bingyun was also chosen in the two versions of Selected Poems by Yuan Mei's Female Disciples. It has been shown that Yuan Mei compiled a poetry selection of 2 1 4 You Zhao and Wang Gong, "Painting of Thirteen Female Disciples Asking Yuan Mei for Advice at Lake Tower," Shanghai: Shenzhou guoguangshe, 1929. Also see, Host of Xiaohengxiang, p. 153. 2 1 5 See Lu Yuansu's poem, "On the Twelfth day of the Third Month of the Bingchen Year (1796), Master Yuan Mei Visited Mr. Qian. He Painted the Continuation of the "Painting Asking Yuan Mei for Advice at Lake Tower" and added me to it." ft R ^ — B,MM Jz? fflteW MM, & ("Bingchen sanyue shi'er ri, Suiyuan fuzi guofang qianlang, hua xu hulou qingye tu, yi yuansu fu yan"). (YMQJ (VI): SY, p. 247). However, Lu's image is not included in the version of the continuation that I mention here. 2 1 6 In her poem, "Master Yuan Mei Ordered Me to Inscribe the Painting Thirteen Female Disciples Asking for Advice at Lake Tower,'" MM9u^wMX~^it^^MW:mMM (Suiyuan xiansheng ming ti shisan nudizi hulou qing ye tu), Xi Peilan mentioned twenty-six female disciples in the painting because she wrongly assumed that the continuation would have consisted of another thirteen women. (See Xi, 4:2a-b). However, no references to the number twenty-six are found; all other sources prove the number of women poets as thirteen plus four, thus excluding Lu Yuansu. 2 1 7 This painting also served as a means to advocate women's literary education. Yuan showed it to many people and asked them to inscribe in it. According to the descriptions of a copy of the painting in Host of Xiaohengxiang /}\ f| f i A comp., A Grand Collection of Unofficial Historical Records of the Qing Dynasty vf ft If j£ A H (Qingdaiyeshi daguan, v 9, reprint, Shanghai: Wenyichubanshe, 1992, p. 151) and Ge Xucun M iH. # comp., Anecdotes of the Celebrities of the Qing fit ft ^ A ffc l|f (Qingdai mingren yishi, reprint, Jiangsu: Guangling guji keyinshe, 1992, 15:5a-b), there were thirty-two inscriptions on the copy, several written reflections of reading the painting as well as some narratives of buying and selling the painting. W e therefore believe what we are told: This painting was well circulated in society and it provided a major topic for conversations among people at the time. 105 his thirteen or eighteen female disciples at the same time when he had them painted. Qu was certainly included. In his postscript to the painting, Yuan wrote, "There are poems from each of them; now I am sending them to a publisher" § f A i l - W ft , M # A - 2 1 8 There is a line in Xi Peilan's verse inscription on the painting saying, "Following the example of the Jade Terrace, [Yuan Mei] selected new poems to print" H %\\ |Ff f# W 3 L I E - 2 1 9 A note in Qu Bingyun's verse inscription of the painting further proves this fact: 2 2 0 The Master selected poems by the thirteen female disciples and had them printed. Mine were also included. % ± M f!l A H % ? £ f# H ^ M (2:1 Ob). In the fifth month of 1796, Yuan Mei finished editing the Selected Poems by Yuan Mei's Female Disciples, which included works by twenty-eight contributors, and had it published. Compared to the first anthology, this selection excluded the works of Xu Yuxin, Wang Zuanzu, Wang Shen, Jiang Xinbao, and Cao Ciqing, which possibly appeared in the first selection of eighteen women poets, and included the works of fifteen others not part of the first selection: Chen Changsheng, Wang Yuru, Chen Shulan, Wang Bizhu, Zhu Yizhu, Bao Zhihui, Zhang Xunxiao, Bi Zhizhu, Xu Dexin, Gui Maoyi, Wu Qiongxian, Yuan Shufang, Wang Huiqing, Wang Yuzhen, and Bao Yin. The selection's table of contents is as fol lows: 2 2 7 The Host of Xiaohengxiang, p. 151. 2 1 9 X i , 4:2a. The Jade Terrance refers to the New Songs of the Jade Terrace 3£ I f §Ff j^c (Yutai xinyong) which was compiled by Xu Ling |5J| (507-ca. 582). 2 2 0 However, in this inscription, there is a line with a note attached to the second poem which reads, "When you compile a new poetry anthology, you solicit my draft, (the Master considers that my poems are fewer than other female disciples, and ordered me to provide my latest work for selection iff T'J f# ^ W £ 9c £ IX & J& I f ^ m m m >X\ W B. M . & # l i M). It is likely that "new poetry anthology" referred to the second selection, Selected Poems by Yuan Mei's Female Disciples, because Yuan only compiled two selections by his female disciples. In this version, the number of poems by each female disciple was a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 82. Those leading disciples, who had a large number of poems published in this selection, are Xi Peilan with fifty-two, Jin Yi with eighty-two, Sun Yunfeng with forty-four, Luo Qilan with forty-three, Zhang Yuzhen with thirty-three, and Wang Qian with forty-two. Qu's expression "fewer," is likely a comparison with these leading disciples' poems, but Qu Bingyun's poems are missing from the extant version of this selection. It is unknown how many of Qu's poems were actually selected. 2 2 1 Yuan Mei comp., Selected Poems by Yuan Mei's Female Disciples, 1796. Modern punctuated edition: Shanghai: Dada tushu gongyingsheA I t H H fft M th, 1934. 106 Volume 1. Xi Peilan, Sun Yunfeng Volume 2. Jin Yi Volume 3. Luo Qilan, Zhang Yuzhen, Liao Yunjin, Sun Yunhe Volume 4. Chen Changsheng, Yan Ruizhu, Qian Lin, Wang Yuru, Chen Shulan, Wang Bizhu, Zhu Yizhu, Bao Zhihui Volume 5. Wang Qian, Zhang Xunxiao, Bi Zhizhu, Lu Yuansu, Dai Lanying, Qu Bingyun, Xu Dexin Volume 6. Gui Maoyi, Wu Qiongxian, Yuan Shufang, Wang Huiqing, Wang Yuzhen, Bao Yin However, in today's extant version of this selection, poems by Qu Bingyun, Zhang Xunxiao, Bi Zhizhu, Qu Bingyun, Xu Dexin, Gui Maoyi, Yuan Shufang, Wang Huiqing, Wang Yuzhen, and Bao Yin are missing. 2 2 2 Yuan Mei compiled and published this book one year prior to his death. It should be considered as Yuan Mei's ultimate achievement in his teaching career. In this anthology Yuan selected those who were both outstanding poets and active members of his entourage. 2 2 3 The publisher, Wang Gu 2E Wi (1754-1821), was a famous collector of calligraphy, paintings and other antiques, and good friend as well as a poetic disciple of Yuan Mei. According to Wang's preface to this book, in the fifth month of 1796 Yuan brought it to Suzhou and asked Wang to publish it. Because there had not been such a book before, this selection drew much attention from society and became very famous soon after it was published, and even became very popular in Japan. Associations with Fellow Female Disciples and Other Female Poets Yuan Mei's female entourage did not form one large group, but rather various small groups. Those groups were either based on the women's family lineages or on the region from which they came. For example, one group based on family lineage included Hu Wenkai may have seen a near complete version of this selection because he says that only Gui Maoyi's works did not appeared while her name was listed in the table of contents. Hu, p. 9 3 3 . 2 2 3 The presence of some of poems might have been due to courtesy, as for example in the cases of the works of Wang Bizhu and Zhu Yizhu who were the concubines of the publisher Wang, in spite of the fact that Wang asked Yuan to take them out when he found his concubines included. (See Wang Gu's preface to this selection, YMQJ (VII): NS. 107 women such as Sun Yunfeng, Sun Yunhe, and Wang Yuru who were related to Sun Chunyan, whereas another group based on regional origin included women like Jing Dui, Zhang Yunzi, Gu Kun, and He Yuxian, who lived in Suzhou. All the members of these small groups had individual connections with Yuan Mei, but at the same time were connected with one another within their small group. Four of Yuan Mei's female disciples come from the Mount Yu region: Qu Bingyun, Xi Peilan, Gui Maoyi, and Bao Yin. (1) Xi Peilan Xi Peilan was the prized female disciple of Yuan Mei. She composed the Poetry Collection from the Permanent Truth Tower^ JC H f# H (Changzhen'ge shiji), which includes seven chapters of shi poems and one of ci poems. Xi and Qu were sworn sisters and poetic friends for half their lives. From about 1790 onward, when Qu was twenty-three years old and Xi was twenty-eight, the two started to associate closely with each other. 2 2 4 At the time Qu and her husband, Zhao Tongyu, lived in the northern suburbs of Changshu and Xi and her husband, Sun Yuanxiang, moved to this area and became their neighbours. The two couples shared an interest in poetry and art, paying frequent visits to each other. Since Zhao Tongyu enjoyed hosting parties, they sometimes had parties in the Zhao home, and the two women often exchanged small gifts such as flowers, oranges, fans, tea, and soup. Qu and Xi often exchanged their ideas about poetry and stated their opinions about each other's work. Also, they frequently exchanged poems. There are more than twenty poems concerning Xi by Qu, and fifty-three poems related to Qu by Xi. Xi named herself "Peilan," "orchid," and Qu gave herself the sobriquet "Xielan," "associate orchid." Both of them liked to create images of orchids in poems or paintings as symbols of their friendship, and Qu once painted an orchid and Xi inscribed a verse on it entitled "Written on Qu's Painting of an Orchid" M % f[Ij If M ("Ti Wanxian hualan"): Exquisite orchid, its two stems touching across, This is according to the time when the poems concerning Xi Peilan appeared in Qu's poetry collection and vice versa. 108 is ingeniously depicted. 5y If! t'P 1% M It is exactly as if the stems had the same heart and are considerate to each other. fn f|§ fn] W @- In one simple sketch, a pair of shadows —- rfJg E=3 IS It -p , Are like those times when Peilan herself leans against Xielan. f j f l |jtl f^f IS M B#-225 Together, they created the "Painting of the Orchids" $ D l l ("Rulantu") on which Yuan Mei inscribed a poem found in Qu's poetry collection and not surviving in Yuan's collected works: Having the same fragrance, and like-minded, both of the images are superior. 3f2 J | |W] s& fc f=l, The painting portrays you in the prime of life. j3]- ilf M tB ^ P̂- You two beauties have finished picking orchids at the Xiang River, — $S H M fit, And become sister flowers within the human world. {-fc A fe\ ffl. f£. (2:12b) The expression "two beauties" alludes to Ehuang M M and Nuying tc the concubines of the legendary Emperor Shun who drowned in the Xiang River and became goddesses. In this poem, Yuan Mei likens Qu and Xi to these two deities in order to point out that the sworn sisters had similar characters and personalities. Qu and Xi were both well known in the region, as indicated by Wu Weiguang's statement that "Lady Xi Daohua and Lady Qu Wanxian live in the same city and gained fame at the same time" B A A xl W, J3 A A U fill 1*1 e \>X jg, M Bf rtn tB (Wu Weiguang, Preface). (2) Gui Maoyi 109 Gui Maoyi married Li Xuehuang ^ P J f (courtesy name Anzhi sobriquet Fuxuan %_ $f), a Student by Purchase Fourth Class (Jiansheng) in Shanghai and the author of the Remaining Poems from the Comfortable House: one chapter^ | f f t I# — # {Zhenshanju shisheng yijuan).226 Her father, Li Chaoxu ^ | H 0 $ , was a General Surveillance Circuit ^ M {Xundao) and her mother, Li Xinjing ^ >L> (courtesy name Yiming — was also a well-known poet. Gui had a variety of printed poetry collections with the general title "Poetry Draft After Having Finished Embroidering" | § ft£ f# ^ ("Xiuyu shicao"). 2 2 7 She also had her poetry jointly printed with that of her mother in Poetry Collections of the Two "After"s (Eryu shiji).228 Gui associated actively with Yuan Mei after becoming one of his disciples. 2 2 9 Since Gui did not have the same stable finances as Qu Bingyun and Xi Peilan, she had to travel back and forth between the provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangsu to make a living by teaching female students in spite of her poor healthy. Gui befriended both Qu and Xi and sometimes went back to Changshu with her husband to visit them. Gui exchanged various poems with Qu and Xi, and once she got Qu Bingyun to write poems on her paintings, among which are "Impromptu Verse: Responding to Madam Gui Maoyi's Poem in the Same Rhyme" (two poems) IP i j l %U §§ i l ^ A i ("Jishi he Gui Peishan furen," 3:22a-b), "Written for Gui Maoyi on Her 2 2 5 Xi, 3: 9b. 2 2 6 This poetry collection is found in Shanghai Library. 2 2 7 The Draft After Having Finished Embroidering (one chapter) |§ ^ — # (Xiuyucao yijuan) is found in Shanghai Library; Continuation of Draft After Having Finished Embroidering (Not separated into chapters) |§ f£ H ^ fl %s (Xiuyu xucao bufenjuan) and Continuation II (one chapter) 3 H :§C — # (Zaixucao yijuan), Continuation III (one chapter) EL H ^ — §̂ (Sanxucao yijuan) and Continuation IV (one chapter) EH £g ̂  — ^ (Sixucao yijuan) are found in Nanjing Library; Continuation V of Draft After Having Finished Embroidering (Not separated into chapters) |§ ^ S WL W- -f- fl~ (Xiuyu wuxucao bufenjuan) is found in Shanghai Library; Recent Draft After Having Finished Embroidering (one chapter) St ftfc jfi: (Xiuyucao yijuan) is found in Tianjin Library; Continuation of Draft After Having Finished Embroidering (one chapter) |§ f£ Jj| ̂  — =g (Xiuyu xucao yijuan) is found in the libraries of Beijing, Changshu, Nanjing, Shanghai, and China Science Academy (in Beijing); and Draft After Having Finished Embroidering (five chapters) M$&MW-TL?& (Xiuyu xucao wujuan) is found in the libraries of Beijing, Anhui, and Changshu. 2 2 8 The Poetry Collections of the Two "After"s H f# M (Eryu shiji), printed by Li's Studio in 1788, contains Li Xinjing's Draft After Having Eaten Books (one chapter) H |£ ^ — # (Duyucao yijuan) and Gui Maoyi's Small Draft After Having Finished Embroidering (one chapter) |§ ^ — # (Xiuyucao yijuan) is found in Nanjing Library. 110 'Painting of Lan'gao Searching for Poetic Lines " (four poems) M^M,^]MMW,MM ("Lan'gao mingju tu wei Peishanti," 3:22b-23a), and two other ci poems (c: 13a-b). Gui and her husband seemed to have been closer to Xi and Sun than to Qu and Zhao, usually lodging at Sun's house when they visited Changshu, and exchanging more poems with Xi and Sun than with Qu and Zhao. These three women, however, were regarded as like-minded friends and they enjoyed fame for their poetry in the region. In his preface to Qu's poetry collection, Chen Wenshu listed Qu, Xi and Gui as the "three outstanding poets" of the Mount Yu region. Also, Sun Yuanxiang wrote a verse "A Song of the Three Friends of the Orchid Boudoirs" 1 1 H J f ("Lan'gui sanyou ge") in celebration of their friendship, which included the following lines: The three orchids are of the same breath More fragrant than the combination of a hundred other flowers. The three ladies are of the same heart, Of double elegance their words are. (3) Bao Yin Bao Yin was the author of Draft Poems from the Collecting-Writing Tower (four chapters of shi poems; one chapter of ci poems) SH ̂  #| |# |j| LZH # M — # (Canhanlou shigao sijuan ciyijuan).23^ Bao was Qu Bingyun's maternal aunt. She married Shao Guangrong after Shao's first wife Zhao Tongyao, who was Zhao Tongyu's cousin, died. Bao was especially skilled at ci poetry, having learned it from a male ci poet by the name of Hesan ;g§ H. Yuan Mei praised Bao for her erudition, calling her the "Lady Scholar" ^ # . 2 3 2 Both Qu Bingyun and Xi Peilan exchanged their poems 2 2 9 Also, in her later years, Gui Maoyi had close contact with the famous poets Shu Wei if itL (1765-1816) and Gong Zizhen S$ § ^ (1792-1841). See Zhu Zejie ^ Wi A History of Poetry of the Qing Dynasty, 7t ft (Qing shi shi), Nanjing: Jiangsu guji chubanshe, 1992, pp. 362 and 268. 2 3 0 TZJ, 14:4b. 2 3 1 This collection in mentioned in RGCZ, p. 3038, but has not been found. 2 3 2 See the note in Qu, 3:2a. ~vc R ~ m*, m J® w f • m. H A I R I — " >ii\ 111 with Bao, Qu writing a set of two poems "Thanks to Madame Bao Yin for Her Having Inscribed My Fan: Matching the Same Rhymes as in Her Inscription" Wl M # "S" ^ A JU HI HI It: HP "JK H ("Xie Bao Zungu furen jianti huashan ciyuanyun," 3: 2a), and Xi composing a set of four poems entitled "Written for Bao Shuyun's Picture: Matching the Rhymes of His Younger Sister Bao Yin" H M M SS M- # ^ W # ^ H ("Ti Bao Shuyunzhao: ci lingmei Zungu yun"). 2 3 3 (4) Other Local Female Poets and a Painting of a Gathering Qu Bingyun organized a gathering of the above fellow female disciples as well as other local female poets and had them portrayed in "A Painting of the Flower-like Historians in the Flower Bud Palace" 1£ ^ H ("Ruigong huashi tu"). This was a very interesting event since the painting was intentionally created to compete with similar paintings of male celebrities. Twelve women were include in it: Qu Bingyun, Xi Peilan, Gui Maoyi, Bao Yin, Qu Wanqing, Ye Wanyi, Zhao Ruobing, Tao Lingqing, Li Canhua ^ H Xie Cuixia IMW-M, Yan Caifeng H JE and Jiang Shuxin M M IP- According to Sun Yuanxiang, Qu Bingyun invited eleven female poets to gather in her house on the fifteenth day of the second month of 1796 in celebration of the "Birthday of a Hundred Flowers." At this party, they came up with the idea of painting themselves in a fashion of the "Elegant Gathering" Jf| H H ("Yajitu"), in order to transmit their names to later generations. Since they did not want to be painted in current costumes, they decided to borrow styles from ancient beauties, selecting pictures of twelve famous ancient beauties and assigning each of them the role of a monthly flower goddess. Then, by drawing lots, these poets decided who would take the position of each monthly goddess. The designs for their images in the painting are as follows: (i) Xie Cuixia dressed in the costume of Jiang Caiping tL^M (died 756), designated as the Flowering Plum Goddess in the first month; 2 3 4 She was one of the concubines of the Tang Emperor Xuanzong T K - The Emperor called her "Plum Blossom Lady" $g #g because she liked plum blossoms. 112 (ii) Yan Caifeng dressed in the costume of Xie Daoyun, designated as the Orchid Goddess in the second month; (iii) Qu Bingyun dressed in the costume of Lady Guoguo ft m A A (died 756) , 2 3 5 designated as the Flowering Pear Goddess in the third month; (iv) Bao Yin dressed in the costume of Yang Yuhuan f§ 3 £ M (719-756), 2 3 6 designated as the Peony Goddess in the fourth month; (v) Qu Wanqing dressed in the costume of Madame Pan i ^ A (died 502), 2 3 7 designated as the Pomegranate Flower Goddess in the fifth month; (vi) Ye Wanyi dressed in the costume of Xi Shi Hf M238 designated as the Lotus Flower Goddess representing the sixth month; (vii) Li Canhuadressed in the costume of Su Ruolan M^M, designated as the Begonia Flower Goddess in the seventh month; (viii) Gui Maoyi dressed in the costume of Chang'e M,239 designated as the Osmanthus Fragrance Goddess in the eighth month; (ix) Zhao Ruobing dressed in the costume of Jia Peilan J f {fl jftf,240 designated as the Chrysanthemum Flower Goddess in the ninth month; (x) Jiang Shuxin dressed in the costume of Madame Huarui H A A,241 designated as the Cottonrose Hibiscus Goddess in the tenth month; (xi) Tao Lingqing dressed in the costume of Yuan Bao'er J | J f 5 f l , 2 4 2 designated as the Camellia Flower Goddess in the eleventh month; (xii) Xi Peilan dressed in the costume of Lingbo Immortal ^ f [ i j i ^ , 2 4 3 designated as the Narcissus Goddess in the twelfth month. 2 3 5 Lady of Guoguo was one of Yang Guifei's elder sisters. She was conferred upon the title of the "Lady of Guo State (guo)" in 749. 2 3 6 Yang Yuhuan was the imperial concubine of the Tang Emperor Xuanzong. 2 3 7 Madame Pan (nicknames Yu'er 3s JtL and Yunu 3s M) was the concubine of Marquis Donghun ̂  # of the Southern Qi ^ (479-502). 2 3 8 Xishi was a beauty of the Yue M State of the Eastern (770-256 B.C.) Zhou Dynasty j | | JI. 2 3 9 The Moon Goddess. 2 4 0 Unknown. 2 4 1 The "Madame Hua'rui" was the title of the concubine of a King of Shu Hi of the Five Dynasties (907- 960). There were the Former King and the Latter King of the State. The "Madame Hua'rui" here refers to the Latter King's concubine, Madame Xu, who was a talented writer. 2 4 2 Unknown. 113 Yuan Mei was excited about the painting and wrote a postscript to it. He also asked many other celebrities as well as his disciples to write poems on this painting and had it widely circulated. One of his female disciples, Zhang Yuzhen, wrote a c/poem entitled "Xizi's Makeup" M f j f e ("Xizizhuang") on this painting. 2 4 5 (5) Fellow Female Disciples Beyond the Region Qu Bingyun had some contact with Yuan Mei's female disciples outside the Mount Yu region, which is revealed by the fact that she wrote a set of three poems, "For Madam Zhang Yuzhen's Ci Poems from the Evening Fragrance Residence"^ M ^£ A A 3£ & <$& Hr M #J» ("Zhang Lansheng furen Yuzhen Wanxiang cichao," 3:21a), as a critique for Zhang Yuzhen's poetry collection and a set of two poems for Wang Qian's self-portrait, "For Madame Wang Qian's 'Leaning against Bamboos'" I S HP ~$C zt f«f tT H ("Wang Meiqing nushi yizhutu," 3:13b). Qu also wrote a c/poem by matching the rhymes in Qian Mengtian's c/poem inscribing the paintings she collected. Qu's c/poem is entitled "To the Tune of Golden Filament Melody: For the Volumes of the Ink-wash Paintings of Flowers and Birds by the Female Historian Li Jinsheng of the Ming Dynasty, Using Madame Qian Mengtian's Rhymes of the Verse Inscribing the Painting Volumes £ m fffi-M M ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ 7 j c M ^ B # f f i # 4 ] i l ^ W A A J ^ i l ("Jinluqu: tiqianchao nushi Li Jinsheng shuimo huajuan yong juanzhong Qian Mengtian furen yuahyun"). Associations with Sun Yuanxiang, Wu Weiguang and Other Male Poets (1) Sun Xuanxiang Sun Yuanxiang (1760-1829, courtesy names Zixiao it and Changzhen ^ JJL, sobriquet Xinqing /[> ff) was a noted poet of the Qing. He authored poetry and prose 2 4 3 Unknown. 2 4 4 This postscript has not been found. 114 collections entitled Collected Works from the True Nature Tower A M M ft (Tianzhen'ge ji) and Outer Collection ft ft (Waiji). Sun did not get a Provincial Graduate degree until 1795, when he was thirty-five years old, and it took him another ten years to obtain his Metropolitan Graduate degree. With this latter degree, he assumed the positions of Hanlin Bachelor f# ^ ± {Shujishi) and Assistant Proofreader W flf UT {Xiexiu guan), but shortly resigned from both posts. Instead, Sun devoted much of his life to teaching at four academies H ^ (Shuyuan), among the academies of Yuwen tfL ~$t in Anhui. Sun Yuanxiang was the top male disciple of Yuan Mei. In 1788, when Yuan visited Mount Yu for the first time, Sun was already a skilful poet. Wu Weiguang recommended him to Yuan Mei, together with five other accomplished scholar-poets of the area, after which, Sun became Yuan's disciple. 2 4 6 As husband and wife, Sun and Xi Peilan were another "companionate couple." It was said that Sun started to learn poetry writing after he married Xi and spent most of his time exchanging poems with Xi and her female fr iends. 2 4 7 However, Gui Maoyi teased him about this in a poem written in celebration of his success in getting the Provincial Graduate degree in 1795, I however laugh at Qin Jia who has unmatchable talent, . %\\ ^ f j | Hf Z% $§ fj£. But who has been lowering his head before a mirror stand. ^ 4 IS f i 1 f i l - 2 4 8 "Qin J ia" was the name of the well-known poet Xu Shu's f£ M (ca. 147) husband and alludes to Sun's poetic activities with women, including his wife Xi Peilan, Qu Bingyun 2 4 5 G u o Zeyun ftf |ij -/S, Jade Flakes from Qing Poetry -/f f# 3£ M (Qingshi yuxie), v 8. See You Zhenzhong jtW.*P and You Yiding Xt HI T, Collected Commentaries on Qing Ci poem Poetry /f M IS ^#fp (Qing cijishihuiping), Hefei: Huangshan shushe, 1995, p. 634. 2 4 6 Wang Yingzhi, p. 296. Sun shared Yuan Mei's ideas about poetry and he upheld Yuan's theory of "nature and inspiration." Just like Yuan, Sun greatly valued and placed emphasis on the true feelings and spontaneous emotions of a poet. However, Sun and Yuan differed from each other in that Sun accentuated individualism while Yuan treated it as equal to sincerity. 2 4 7 Sun Yuanxiang did not know anything about poetry when he was a child. It was when he married Xi Peilan in1776 that he started to learn about poetry. It was said, "Sharing a study desk, [Sun Yuanxiang and Xi Peilan] read books, and they were both each other's teacher and friend" 4± |? M H. 5 f@ 613 ^ . Sun once wrote a poem for Xi , "Shown to My Wife" T]K ("Shi nei"), which also records their mutual happiness: "We use the inner quarters as our classroom. / And place a book horizontally before us two" f i i l l D i ^ - i l K I A i . Shi, 6:1 a. 2 4 8 X i , 6:2a. 115 and Gui Maoyi herself. "A mirror stand" refers to women, and "lowering his head before a mirror stand" suggests that Sun followed women around. Sun Yuanxiang wrote many informative pieces about Qu Bingyun: in addition to a great number of comments on her poetry, Sun wrote narratives about Qu's buildings, about the parties at her house and her husband's inkstones, commentaries on her paintings, a biography of Qu, eulogies for her husband's concubine Xu Xiaoshu, and finally, a eulogy for Qu. (2) Wu Weiguang Wu Weiguang (1744-1803, courtesy names Zhefu T& ĵ" and Zhixu fft jjjg, and sobriquets Zhuqiao t\T and Hutian Waishi $S EB ft was the most prestigious scholar-poet in the Mount Yu region and played the leading role in the local literati Wu Weiguang was appointed to the position of Secretary of the Ministry of Rites l l i If? (Libu zhushi) in his early years but soon resigned. He was very prolific, producing a number of scholarly works and poetry collections. 2 4 9 He was a bibliographer Collected Works from the Unadorned Hall (Not separated into chapters) ^ fif it M ^ fl (Suxiutangji bufenjuan) is found in Fudan University Library; Collected Poems from the Unadorned Hall (twenty-four chapters and one chapter of supplement) ^f l^^f^S — + i t l l - =H (Suxiutang shiji ershisi juan buyi yijuan), printed in 1812, is found in the libraries of Nanjing, Xiamen and Taiwan Normal University; Collected Poems from the Unadorned Hall (twenty-four chapters, six chapters of continuation and one chapter of supplement) ^ j§ M ~ -\- \B ^ ^ik M r\ W M ~ & (Suxiutang shiji ershisijuan houji liujuan buyi yijuan), printed in 1812, is found in the libraries of Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Guangdong and People's University of China; Collected Works from the Unadorned Hall (four chapters of the prose left behind) ^ 1£ M M IB (Suxiutang jiyiwen sijuan) is found in Changshu Library; Poetry Draft of Wu Weiguang (two chapters of shi poems and one chapter of ci poems) f/i Mi f# fp Z l ^ m fp — # (Zhixu shichao erjuan cichao yijuan) is found in the libraries of Beijing, Nanjing, Changshu, Wenzhou, Qinghua University, Fudan University, and Huadong Normal University; Poetry Draft of Wu Weiguang (Not separated into chapters) ^ tT Wi f# Wi fl # (Wu Zhuqiao shichao bufenjuan) is found in Shanghai Library; Two Chapters of Fragrant-Mirror Poems by Grand Historians Wu and Sun (Joint collection with Sun Yuanxiang) ^ j% ~ X s£ Ut l£ f# — ^ (1̂1 M. W, M a " M) (Wu Sun ertaishi xianglianshi erjuan) is found in the libraries of Nanjing and Changshu. Several other works by Wu Weigaung including the Music Bureau Poetry from the Small Paddy- Field /J\ $i H ^ Jtt [Xiao hutian yuefu, 13 chapters), Collected Poems from the Unadorned Hall% fif ^ M M (Suxiutang shiji, 31 chapters), Poetic Themes and Techniques of Du Fu tfc f# i i S (Dushiyifa, 4 chapters), Six Advantages of the Tang Poetic Meter |f A JS; (Tanglu liuchang, 4 chapters), A Commentary on the Poetry of Su Shi and Lu You WWiWW(Su Lu shiping, 12 chapters), Corrections of Ci Poetry f# f£ p ft (Shiyu bian'e, 2 chapters), A Reading of the Ci Poetry of Jiang Kui and Zhang Yan H [HI] 31 [i£] II f# (J/'ang Zhang crate, 2 chapters), /A Textual Examination of Dialects J f % J j (Fangyan kaoju, 2 chapters), and Former and Later Collections from the Ancient-Modern Stone Study ~^ 4~ 5 If BU f£ ft (Guy'/'n shizhai qianhou ji, 60 chapters) are mentioned in Zhang Huijian jjg *§ #J comp., circles. 116 and had a collection of thousands of books, naming his study "One Volume of Flowering Plum Tower" — # ^ (Meihua yijuan lou), and "Embracing Book Tower" M H Wt (Yongshu lou). 2 5 0 He had a book-stamp named "Haiyu Wu's Historical Stamp for Embracing Book Tower" $ | Jjt ^ I I I t i l H j£ ("Haiyu wushi yongshu lou tushi"). Just like Yuan Mei, Wu abandoned his official career at the earliest opportunity and devoted himself to studying, writing, traveling and associating with other poets, and frequently got together with his literary friends. In Changshu, the literati he was in close contact with included Mao Chen 3 3 ̂  Wang Dai J£ £§, Zhang Xie, Sun Yuanxiang and Wang Jiaxiang T£ M Wu Weiguang was Yuan Mei's best friend and follower in the Mount Yu region, and they frequently paid visits to each other. Yuan selected some of Wu's poems for his poetry talks and for his Continuation of Collected Poems by My Fellow Poets. Also, Wu had been Qu Bingyun's poetic mentor before Yuan accepted her, and had much more contact with Qu than Yuan, writing the most comments on her poems. (3) Xi Shichang, Zhang Xie, Chen Wenshu and Wang Gu In the Mount Yu region, Qu Bingyun also had contact with Xi Shichang and Zhang Xie, both of whom were Qu Bingyun's readers and commentators. Xi Shichang, who was Xi Peilan's brother, authored a collection entitled Prose (one chapter), Shi Poetry (one chapter), and Ci poetry (one chapter) from the Red Snow Tower | E I f $f| 3t Ws — # l# i'P — # Mi'P ~ # {Hongxuelou wengao yijuan shichao yijuan cichao yijuan) and a book on the Explanations of Words ift j>c (Shuowen); he had a considerable reputation as a scholar in the region. 2 5 1 Xi Shichang wrote a verse preface to the Collection from the Jade-Collecting Tower and comments on seventeen poems in Chronological Table of Literati ofJiangsu in the Ming and Qing Dynasties -/ff tL M 3Z A ^ IR (Mingqing jiangsu wenren nianbiao), Shanghai: Guji chubanshe, 1986, but have not been found. 2 5 0 Qu Honglie H $§ ?! comp., Gazetteer of Changshu S (Changshu xianzhi), Shanghai: Shanghai renmin chubanshe, 1990, p. 834. 251 The Prose (one chapter), Shi Poetry (one chapter), and Ci poetry (one chapter) from the Red Snow Tower 3 $ j 3C S i — ^ !# i'P — # M & ~~ (Hongxuelou wengao yijuan shichao yijuan cichao yijuan), printed in 1810, is found in Nanjing Library and the Explanations of Words M 3t (Shuowen) is mentioned in Hawkes (p. 115), but has not been found. 117 the collection. Zhang Xie, Sun Yuanxiang's brother-in-law, was also a local celebrity, and contributed comments about five poems in Qu Bingyun's poetry collection. Outside of the Mount Yu region, besides Yuan Mei, Qu Bingyun had contact with Chen Wenshu of Qiantang, a well-known poet and critic of the eighteenth century. Chen Wenshu and Qu Bingyun read each other's poetry and provided their comments to each other. Chen contributed a preface to Qu's Collection from the Jade-Collecting Tower and comments on two poems in the collection, while Qu wrote a verse commentary, together with Zhao Tongyu, on Chen's poetry collection, Drafts for Chanting from the Celestial House of the Jade City H $c f|Ij fil i% {Bicheng xian'guan yin'gao). Qu Bingyun may also have been acquainted with Wang Gu of Hangzhou, the publisher of Selected Poems by Yuan Mei's Female Disciples, since she wrote a set of three poems, "For Mr. Wang Gu's Painting of The Trying-lnkstone Study" 2E >L> i t 9c £ M, M Wt H ("Wang Xinnong xiansheng Shiyanzhai tu," 3: 4a-b). It was of great significance for her poetic life that Qu Bingyun became a member of Yuan Mei's female disciple group. The second period of Qu's poetic life started she joined this group. During this period her poetic creation became mature and reached its peak and she achieved fame in the Mount Yu area and beyond. Taking Yuan Mei as her mentor meant that Qu Bingyun had decided to ignore the Confucian tradition. The action that Yuan Mei accepted so many women and openly gathered with them to study poetry defied tradition. Such actions in themselves would encourage Yuan Mei's female disciples to overlook Confucian teachings in their poetic creations and their everyday lives. There is no doubt that Qu was influenced by Yuan Mei's anti-traditional thought, which freed her from Confucian teachings and enabled her to write what was on her mind without much restraint. Qu Bingyun was one of the female disciples who greatly benefited from Yuan Mei's tuition. Yuan opposed abstruse and mysterious issues in teaching writing poetry and did not necessitate the study of the classics, technique or metrical skills. This put his female disciples at ease and enabled them to become more involved in the writing of poetry. This might be part of the reason why Qu still took "trivial" things from her everyday life as her subject matter after joining Yuan's group and why she wrote poems 118 in a genial style. More importantly, Qu Bingyun was exposed to all three major traits of Yuan's teaching: (1) since Qu met Yuan a couple of times, she was able to discuss specific problems of poetry composition with Yuan face to face in the way of "asking for diction." (2) Yuan Mei "solicited poems" from Qu twice for poetry selections of his female disciples; these which were kinds of "work assignments" that "forced" Qu to write more high-quality poems. (3) Yuan Mei commented on Qu's poems directly concerning various aspects of poetic creation; this way of teaching was probably the most helpful for Qu and will be discussed further later in this disertation. By joining Yuan's female group, as well as by organizing the poetry gathering of her fellow female poets and associating with the male followers of Yuan Mei, Qu Bingyun further revealed her desires to seek connection with others in writing poetry. All of Yuan's female followers, as well as the male ones, with whom Qu Bingyun associated during this period, were expert poets at a literary level much higher than that of Qu's family poetry circles. After becoming a member of Yuan Mei's female disciple group, Qu began her mature creation period and developed as an expert poet through interaction with other members. Reading each other's poetry and responding to it in writing within this group, which will be discussed in the next chapter, was especially helpful in Qu's journey to becoming an accomplished poet. 119 Chapter V Within a Feminist D iscourse Communi ty: Interactions Through Critical C o m m e n t s Qu Bingyun, her fellow disciples in the Mount Yu region and their mentor, Yuan Mei, formed a feminist discourse community in which everyone shared the principles of Yuan Mei's 'nature and inspiration' theory and his feminist poetics. Through their interaction they explored women-related poetic issues together and integrated them into their writing principles and interpretative strategies. Reading each other's poetry and responding to it in writing was a primary mode of interaction within this discourse community. This chapter mainly examines the comments on Qu Bingyun's poetry by Yuan Mei, Xi Peilan, Gui Maoyi and Bao Yin, who are responsible for 250 out of the total 347 remarks and commentaries included in the printed copy of the Collection from the Jade- Collecting Tower. The remarks, which come after Qu's poems, are about particular lines, couplets, stanzas, or poems (see Figure 5) and the commentaries, which are printed as prefaces, postfaces or inscriptions, are mostly on Qu's poetry as a whole. All of the remarks and commentaries are appreciative. The commentators may have also suggested some changes or made direct corrections to the poems in the manuscript, but no references to such suggestions and corrections have been found. Also, it was not appropriate to make one's own critical remarks if someone else had already done so. Therefore, there is only one remark in existence for each poem or part of a poem. Another possible reason for this omission was lack of space, because Qu Bingyun had only one manuscript circulating among her fellow poets when she was alive. These remarks/commentaries are a precious record representing the primary mode of interaction within this discourse community: reading each other's poetry and responding to it in writing. This interaction model was enhanced by the members' 'dialogic reading' 2 5 2 and by circulating only one copy of the text at a time. As a member, 2 5 2 Here I use Adrienne Rich's term. See Rich's "Vesuvius at Home: The Power of Emily Dickinson," in her On Lies, Secrets and Silence: Selected Prose, 1966-1978, New York: W.W. Norton, 1979. 120 Figure 5. Comments of Yuan Mei, Xi Peilan, Gui Maoyi and Bao Yin on Qu Bingyun's poems Wfij I M # ^ ^ " ^ " I P * * : * * " & m i -.-If- m M 3. W A f E° iS/vvfV %°m trii — « § ° * q # - J * ™ £ M & B > f r * ° 0 •' » - $ r H * § — I«ii -4^ 3ft f x M g o § ^ 15} M Irloyl 541 t r re £ r ' i ^ ' ^ 5 $ 5 : @ " A - f i 5 , - % # g£ c t e r ; " / I H - J . . r t a t . ^ ^ ™ ^ . - ^ (MR m •tj? M i l 121 Qu Bingyun contributed poems that are representative of her poetic concepts and other members "unfolded the text as a living event" during their reading. All discourse community members were engaged in an intimate conversation by reading the same copy of the text: one passed the manuscript to another after reading and making his/her comments. Thus, each member was able to read the others' comments while reading the poems. 5.1 Yuan Mei's Comments Yuan Mei's comments appearing in the Collection from the Jade-Collecting Tower include a preface-like passage and short remarks about ten poems in the first two chapters of the collection, which are the two-chapter manuscript Qu Bingyun brought to him when she first became his disciple. Overall Assessment and Feminist Reading The following paragraph is taken from the preface-like passage. In it Yuan Mei assesses Qu Bingyun's poetry as a whole: Recently, there have been many poets who consider 'nature and inspiration' fundamental, but those who consider poetic meter fundamental are few. Wanxian is able to avoid relying on [any previous masterpieces] and does not use ancient cliches, but her poetry is in accord with the standards set forth by the Tang poetic worthies. Poetry like this is rarely found among the works of male poets, let alone among the works of female poets in B i# A 3L m m # , i & m m % \ m z m t g - ^ m m, * & * A ^m,tt^^mmmm.^zmm^^%%w,unmmmw (Yuan Mei, Preface) This paragraph points out that: (1) Qu Bingyun put equal weight on 'nature and inspiration' and poetic metre, whereas the majority of poets at the time placed a stronger emphasis on 'nature and inspiration' and ignored poetic metre. Her poetry maintained the metrical regulations of classical poetry but did not contain its cliches; (2) Qu wrote her own poetry instead of imitating the works of her 122 predecessors, and her poetry was original; (3) Qu's poetry was of a quality higher than rest of her contemporaries. Even though Yuan's phrase "let alone among the works of female poets" seems to be sexist, this paragraph shows that his reading of Qu Bingyun is essentially feminist, because he views her poetry in the framework of the contemporary poetry circles and endorses it more than the poetry of the male poet majority in terms of its balancing the two fundamentals of poetry. Yuan's feminist reading of Qu Bingyun can also be justified by his feminist criticism. Yuan Mei holds that poetry is more suited to women than to men and that women can produce the best poetry. This is because literature was originally a woman's domain and study was initially a woman's activity. The Ming critic Zhong Xing t i t l (1574-1624) deemed female poetry superior to male poetry. His assertion is derived from the belief that "poetry is a creature of serenity." Because women are excluded from men's public and political endeavours, they have innate serenity, a mind that ensues from their detachment from the physical materiality of the public men's wor ld. 2 5 3 Unlike Zhong Xing, Yuan Mei's feminist assertion lies in his literary theories of "nature and inspiration," in which individual spontaneous feelings and ingenuity in poetic creations are emphasized. Yuan believed that the most excellent poetry came from a poet's intuition and spontaneous emotions, particularly from his/her romantic emotions. He explains: Poetry is the product of human feelings. A poet must first have feelings, which cannot be dispelled, and only can he compose a poem, which can be handed down. Among all these feelings, romance is paramount A I# rtd t f sfe # t!l. M 'Z^nJMxL 1ft TtTj %. M In this explanation, Yuan makes it clear that the feelings necessary for producing the best poems are not political loyalty or patriotism, but romantic love. By accentuating romantic love, Yuan promotes equality between men and women, or Zhong Xing, Selected Poems by Famous Ladies ̂ MWW (Mingyuan shigui), ca. before 1626. YMQJ(\\) WJ,p. 527. 123 at least suggests that women are the equal of men. Both Yuan Mei's and Zhong Xing's feminist declarations concern women's inner world and physical location. However, Yuan's theory puts emphasis on the inner world, while Zhong Xing's calls attention to the physical location. Yuan's theory applies to women who are not physically restricted, which is more compatible with the social conditions in Ming-Qing time when women traveled a lot more than before. In contrast, according to Zhong, a woman should be secluded in order to compose good poems. Yuan Mei's and Zhong Xing's assertion that women make the best poets is similar to the assertions of some present-day feminists such as Julia Kristeva and Judith Butler. They would argue that "poetic language" is especially suited to women. They reason that "poetic language" is "the recovery of the maternal body within the terms of language." Jacques Lacan holds that the paternal law, termed "the Symbolic," structures all linguistic signification and so becomes a universal organizing principle of culture itself. Opposing "the Symbolic," Julia Kristeva proposes "the Semiotic" as a source of effective subversion of the paternal law. According to Kristeva, in its semiotic model, language is engaged in a poetic recovery of the maternal body. The primary drives that "the Symbolic" represses and "the Semiotic" obliquely indicates are now understood as maternal drives. Not only do those drives belong to the mother, but they also characterize the dependency of the infants' body of either sex on the mother. She further claims that the emergence of multiplicitous drives into language is evident in "the Semiotic" and that the domain of linguistic meaning is distinct from "the Symbolic." While "the Symbolic" is predicated upon the rejection of the mother, "the Semiotic," through rhythm, assonance, intonations, sound play and repetition, represents or recovers the maternal body in poetic speech. Poetic language, in contrast to the paternal language or "the Symbolic," breaks apart the usual, univocal terms of language and reveals an irrepressible heterogeneity of multiple sounds and meanings. Poetic language has its own modality of meaning, which does not conform to the requirements of univocal designation. It can be used by either sex or multiple gender identifications. Poetic language, however, is especially suited for women because it is the maternal 124 body manifest in poetic speech . 2 5 5 The feminist theories of Julia Kristeva and Judith Butler, as well as Zhong Xing's and Yuan Mei's, are interesting and plausible. However, socio-historical conditions in both the West and China restricted women on the poetic realm. Some scholars may consider the point that Yuan Mei made in his paragraph—Qu Bingyun's poetry being "in accord with the standards set forth by the Tang poetic worthies"—as being at odds with his 'nature and inspiration' theory. However, it may also express Yuan's disappointment with the large number of contemporary poets who upheld his 'nature and inspiration1 but ignored poetic metre. More importantly, Yuan Mei might have wanted to confirm Qu Bingyun's superiority to many male poets by mentioning her ability to combine the spirit of 'nature and inspiration' with the poetic forms she had mastered. After all, regulated poetry took shape during the Tang Dynasty and was commonly regarded one of the highest achievements of that period. Remarks on Poems: Sincerity and Ingenuity Yuan Mei's feminist reading is illustrated by his critical remarks on Qu Bingyun's individual poems. The rest of this section is devoted to their discussion, which will not follow the same order as the one in which the remarks appear in the Collection from the Jade-Collecting Tower. (1) Yuan Mei remarked in "Written On Qian Zhen's Poetry Collection" M #P |# # ("Ti Wenru shijuan"): [Poem 13] In the girls' quarters you were younger but monopolized the intelligence. i f J§ f̂£ /Js U If§ HU, At fifteen, when wed, you were the youngest. -p Jf §§ |Hf It $M- 2 5 5 See Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, Routledge / New York / London: Routledge, Chapman & Hall, Inc., 1990, pp. 81-9. For detailed discussions on poetic language, see Julia Kristeva, Revolution in Poetic Language, New York: Columbia University Press, 1984, and 125 I was the one who cared about you the most; @̂ fjf IS 1W IH $o !£, I love the pure poem that you just uttered. |Ff I# M • i t H fit- Every time when amid burning incense, we sat together, exchanging poems, Oil Wii l§ If You completed yours quickly, without beating time on an earthen bowl. WlWtMM.W^i$- $1- A book of poems is pure like icy snow; — ; ^ § $P $C I | Clear and crisp chanting comes from the depths of jade orchid. 3 i III ?£ Jj£ IJB ^ Sf • (l:14b-15a) Regarding the poem's naturalness of expression Yuan wrote, It is fluent and elegant, like a bullet out of a slingshot. Yuan Mei $ft M ttt W % M M M (l:14b-15a). (2) Yuan Mei also critiqued "Mourning Lu Huixiang" ^W.MW: ("Ku Lu Huixiang"). This poem expresses Qu's deep sorrow for her poetic disciple's death: [Poem 14] Last year I saw you off in front of the painted building. 5fe ^ JII $Z S ttl. Nearly a year has passed and you are not yet back. J[J @ dp ^ — From the beginning of autumn I have been dreaming about you. |i} A fX 5f5 ff^ W Whoever came I asked about your daily activities. § 1 A 1 PI S @S- I was startled to leam that there was something red, like jade, in your spittoon. flU H ft H J^ I , Desire in Language: a semiotic approach to literature and art, New York: Columbia University Press, 126 Your brush is now left idle, and writings are like smoke. If I knew there would be no more meetings after our parting, How could I have taken your returning home so lightly? (2:11b) Yuan's comments were, The emotions are true and the words are superb, and each word is like a drop of tears. If written in the Tang Dynasty, it certainly would have surpassed Yuan Zhen and Bai Juyi. Yuan Mei j f * 1= M, - ^ - M- % & J# H#, fc & M $!l it E3- M H (2:11b). Yuan Zhen jt f l (779-831) and Bai Juyi 6 ^ (772-846) led the "New Music Bureau Movement" in the Tang Dynasty. This movement encouraged poets to follow the Music Bureau poetry tradition of the Han Dynasty, which expressed authentic emotions and mirrored social reality in a colloquial style. The poetry of Bai Juyi and Yuan Zhen was exemplary work in this style, and here Yuan's confirms the excellence of Qu's verse. (3) Yuan Mei highly appreciated the poem "Autumn Dew" fx- f t ("Qiulu"): [Poem 15] An old crane speaks, halfway in the sky. In the dead of the night, the autumn looks purer. When draining dew, lotus leaves are elegantly round Wet cassia coldly keeps silence. I feel cool air moistening my clothes. I see the pale light appearing, mirroring the moon. Do not worry about the slippery mossy path. Few people are going to walk down it. (1:3b) 1980. ¥• m m m m & #, a m m it n m m x j> g t ; ga & W. %K H rt • I f I f WL, i n ^ i m. ^ff&^n m, 127 Yuan Mei remarked, Every line captures the true soul of autumn dew. Yuan Mei -£j /nj H fX. f| ^ Jjt. $g g| (1:3b). Yuan means that this poem appeals to all of the reader's senses instead of appealing only to the sense of sight. It does not depict the appearance of dew, but the reader can feel the dew when reading each line. (4) Another poem Yuan Mei commented on is "Rain on a Spring Day" | 0 i ("Chunri yu"): [Poem 16] A parrot extends her remaining dream, i l SS ffi ̂ 1̂, Murmuring about the early morning chill. LTjH fljU fj§ BH lib. She does not roll up the rhinoceros-screen, out of laziness, 2 5 6 m ti m, Jade bamboo shoots accompany new meals. m m m. When a gust of spring wind blows strongly, — >t JfC ® m, She lets both of her silk sleeves fall loosely. m m n %. At this moment, the colours of peaches and willows, Jib m w m Mixing with the rain, are making the riverbank gorgeous. m s m u. (l:8a-b) Yuan Mei wrote that this poem was "Full of grace and charm." [Yuan Mei — £B M ^ M M M (l:8a-b)] 2 5 6 "Rhinoceros-screens" literally refer to door or window screens made from the rhinoceros horn, but in fact most of these screens were made from bamboo. 128 (5) Yuan Mei also specifically pointed out the techniques in "Songs of Passing the Chill Days During the Double-Nine Days Period (third poem)" A TL #t H ffi ("Jiujiu xiaohan qu"). The poem reads, [Poem 17] In the third nine-day period, the wind is severe sounding like a secret and frightening signal. In the evening, gradually, it turns to frontier sounds. The wind is clearly a piece of "Moonlight over the Frontier Pass Mountain" But now it shines on the 'mandarin-duck' tiles. (1:21a) Yuan Mei observed, The word "but" concludes the poem by beating out an opposite rhythm. Yuan Mei "̂ P" «£tf M f ^ - M (1:21a). This poem depicts the wind of the "third nine-day period," which is usually strong and chilly, appealing predominantly to the aural senses of the reader. The first couplet compares the wind to a secret and frightening signal, and then to frontier sounds, alluding to a battlefield. The second couplet uses a phonetic play to create a compound image: "to shine" H£J (ming) and "to sound" t i | (ming). In its original meaning, the phrase "moonlight in Frontier Pass Mountain" in the third line effects a turn to the visual sense, but since it is also a tune sung by soldiers of garrison frontiers, 2 5 9 "Moonlight over the From the date of the winter solstice onward, every nine days count as one "nine-days" until the ninth nine-day. 2 5 8 The expression "Mandarin ducks" traditionally alludes to a couple. Here, the "Mandarin duck tiles" refers to the house of the poet and her husband. 2 5 9 "Moonlight in Frontier Pass Mountain" is originally the title of a tune of the Han Dynasty Music Bureau. See Guo Maoqian ffl /J? ff ed., A Collection of the Music Bureau Poems %JffWM (Yuefu shiji), Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1979, pp. 334-9. It became a tune for soldiers' song on garrison frontiers after the Wei and Jin Dynasties. H A i i m it et ft, 129 Frontier Pass Mountain" suggests the aural sense, too. In the closing line the author makes use of this compound image with both visual and aural senses to conclude the poem: the word "but" overtly indicates its visual nature while pointing to the aural character of the wind. This is what, most likely, Yuan Mei means by saying "The word 'but' concludes the poem by beating out on opposite rhythm." (6) Yuan Mei also discussed the closing line of Poem 1, "Songs of Willow Branches (fourth poem)" (translated in Chapter II): If you gazed upon a slender moon below how much greater would your happiness be? ^ ^ Hi /=| Jr£ #P ffJf? Yuan Mei commented: The three characters, "how much greater" (geng ru he), are ingenious and lifelike. Yuan Mei "H tW 1RT H ^ l g l l (1:2b). Yuan's critical remarks above illustrate his appreciation of Qu Bingyun's ability to balance the spirit of 'nature and inspiration' with poetic rules. Wang Zhenyuan and Wu Guoping maintain that Yuan Mei's theory of "nature and inspiration" includes two essentials, "nature and feelings" '[4 t f (xingqing) and "intelligence and ingenuity" M H£ (lingji).2 6 0 The former tends to be feelings generated when a poet's individuating nature responds to a specific occasion, and the latter refers to a poet's intelligence and ingenuity illustrated by his creations.2 6 1 Yuan's critical remarks on Poems 13, 14 and 15 are mainly consistent with the first essential, "nature and feelings." For example, Poem 13 speaks sincerely about the two sworn sisters' friendship from when they first met to the present time, as well as about Qian Zhen's poetry and its natural association with her personality. Poem 14 depicts the living image of Lu Ansu and her feelings for the poet; it is itself a natural revelation of the poet's sorrow for this little girl's death. The three other comments concern mostly the second essential, "intelligence and ingenuity." Wang Zhenyuan H M and Wu Guoping ^ m zp, An Outline of Literary Criticism of Qing China iX ~$L H fit W jfe (Qingdai wenxue piping shi), Shanghai: Guji chubanshe, 1995, pp. 479-91. 2 6 1 Ibid, p. 486. 130 In these comments Yuan Mei praises Qu's ingenuity in creating images and in diction which effect the originality and interest of her poems. There is another poem by Qu that is said to have been "highly appreciated by Yuan Mei the Old Man of Suiyuan" Hf H ^ A P/f Wi m. (2:14b), probably for the same reasons: [Poem 18] Double Seven Festival of the Yimao Year (1759) Z. 5P -fc ^ The moon tent and the curtain of stars shine on your gorgeous dress. You are making yellow silk with a loom as if you were composing a palindrome. 2 6 2 If immortals really regarded each year as one day, You would be too busy working by the Milky Way night after night. (2:14b) Since none of Yuan's comments on this poem appear in the Collection from the Jade- Collecting Tower, we do not know what aspects of this poem Yuan Mei appreciated. However, the poem's ingenuity can point to some: The "moon tent" and the "curtain of stars" are conventional images, but the poet uses them to create a vast, bright and shining backdrop to the Weaving Ma id . 2 6 3 Also, the poet compares the Maid's weaving "yellow silk" to the composition of a palindrome poem, suggesting that the Weaving Maid does not only have skill in weaving, but that she also has talent for writing. This is also an ingenious and original allusion to the expression "begging skills" Vj ("qiqiao") that is the major part of the Double Seven Festival in which women competed in household skills, mainly weaving. 2 6 2 "Palindrome" m ~$t or i i ^ (Huiwen) is a phrase or sentence that is the same when reading it backwards. "Palindrome" also refers to a poetic genre; a poetic palindrome usually can be read backwards and both vertically and horizontally. 2 6 3 The Weaving Maid is a legendary figure, separated from her lover the Cowherd by the Milky Way but allowed to meet him once a year on the seventh day of the seventh month. ^ & ffi. fc A It- 131 Remarks on Poems: Women's Experience and Intellectual Capability When reading Qu Bingyun, Yuan Mei also took note of the female subjectivity in the poems and authorized its legitimate representation. (7) One poem Yuan Mei commented on is "Songs of Passing the Summer (third poem)" #i g M ("Xiaoxia ci"): [Poem 19] The plum rains lasted for over ten days. For quite a while, the rue has distanced itself from the Mt. Bo censer Having hoped for a breezy day, I feel cool this morning. I prepare to sweep away flowers' shadows to sun my books. (2: 2b) Yuan Mei commented, This is what an intellectual in a boudoir cares about. Yuan Mei H; P ^ | g H A ;L> IP- M. H (2: 2b). This critical remark suggests that the poet is concerned about her books getting damp during the continuous plum rains. The rue mentioned in line two is a kind of material for making incense. By burning this incense intellectuals drove away bookworms and thus protected their books. Mt. Bo is a kind of a censer, shaped like a mountain and since "bo" W- also means "broad knowledge," "Mt Bo" also suggests 'a mountain of books.' This line states that the incense has not been used for a long time, suggesting that the poet was worried about her books. (8) Yuan Mei also commented on "No Moon on the Night of the Mid-Autumn m 'L> i i H m n, 132 Festival: Repeating the Previous Rhymes (third poem)" rJp M ft: | | gij fj| ("Zhongqiu wuyue die qianyun"): [Poem 20] A fragrant banquet just ended my small window is empty. It's only the first watch of night. I hastily pack away the draft of my painting, There is still time for me to read a book by the oil lamp. (2:10a) Yuan's remark was: [The poet is] going to take the women's examination for the Cultivated Talent degree. Yuan Mei mm-tt^^fUW*. MM (2:10a). Since there was no Cultivated Talent degree for women, this critical note is a gentle tease, for Qu treasured time very much and studied very hard. It can also be interpreted as an encouragement for Qu to write about the details of her daily life. The above remarks show that Yuan Mei was clearly aware that the text he was dealing with was the female one and should therefore contain female subjectivity consistent with his 'nature and inspiration' theory. He was happy that he had found it: in the text a female speaks about her concerns and about her domestic life. Yuan Mei's notes are simple, but they express his support of the representation of the female self. Therefore, they are of considerable significance. When women tried to write literary works they may not have been producing women's literature, because some women wrote entirely from a man's point of view. For example, the nineteenth-century English women poets tried to achieve patriarchal authority through metaphorical transvestism or s m % % J & ta m, 133 male impersonation. 2 6 4 The "male-like" women writers of seventeenth-century China competed with men in men's f ields. 2 6 5 Yet, only if women express their own concerns in their works and encode the female subjectivity into poetry, can there exist a women's literature. 2 6 6 (9) Yuan Mei also wrote a critical note about "Green Pearl" ^ Igfc. In this poem Qu Bingyun reveals her positions on a historical female figure: [Poem 21] A seven-foot-long coral opens like a brocade curtain. Shi Chong after all knew how to love a talented girl, Flinging herself from the top of the building, she was right to have died in front of her master This was not something a bright pearl could buy. (1:7a) Yuan Mei's note reads: It has broad significance. Yuan Mei pjf 1*1 ^ JS- M. BI (1:7a). Green Pearl (? - 300), who was pretty and talented at playing flute, became the mistress of Shi Chong 5 # (249-300, courtesy name Jilun ^ ff%), who served in the palace of Queen Jia j f . Shi Chong liked her very much, but unfortunately, a favourite of King Sima Lun W] H ff% by the name of Sun Xiu M 5f, also desired her, and when Sun asked Shi for Green Pearl, he was refused. So, Sun framed Shi and prompted the King to arrest him and his family, and when the soldiers came for them, Green Pearl killed herself by jumping down from the top of her tower. •tiRmmmmm, Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, the Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and Nineteenth- Century Literary Imagination, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1980, p. 66. 2 6 5 See Ko, pp. 115-42. 2 6 6 See Judith Butler, pp. 1-34, and Catherine Belsey, "Constructing the Subject: deconstructing the text," in Robyn R. Warhol and Diane Price Herndl ed., Feminisms, New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1991,.pp. 593-609. 134 Qu uses the name of this woman to create a metaphorical image: A "Green Pearl" comes out of the "coral" that is like a "brocade curtain." The two gorgeous objects, "coral" and "brocade," provide the context for Green Pearl, and at the same time, this mixture of a natural object and a man-made object suggests her twin qualities—deity and human, symbolizing her extraordinary beauty and talent. The poet emphasizes that Shi Chong loves Green Pearl mainly because of her talent, distinguishing her from those women who committed suicide by throwing themselves into water or leaping from towers out of chastity. On the other hand, Shi Chong loved Green Pearl mainly due to her talent, suggesting that the couple shared musical interests. That Yuan Mei commended the imagery and the motif may also reveal his admiration of the love between the couple. (10) Yuan Mei provided notes for "Words for Double-Seven Festival (fourth poem)" - t ^7 ("Qixi ci") and selected this poem for his poetry ta lks. 2 6 7 The poet's thoughts conveyed in this poem are contrary to convention: [Poem 22] Flowers, by nature, are gracefully lithe while the dew looks cold. Beyond the emerald railing the Jade Ropes lower.26 Where do the ordinary magpies come from, That have luckily perched overnight on the clouds? (2: 8a) Yuan's observation was, m m A ft 5 m ®. DBF YMQJ (III): BY, p. 744. 2 6 8 "Jade Ropes" refers to the two stars of the Big Dipper on the north end, and "The Jade Ropes lowering" suggests the night is late, as in Xie Tiao's i§f M (464-499) line "The Jade Ropes lower over the Imperial Palaces" 3£ $1 {£ H Jp: in his poem 'When I Was Rushed to Take a Mission in Nanjing I Left Xinlin at night for the Capital, Presented to my colleagues in West Prefectural City" § {s£ "F fl5. ~%L f t ff # S i R E , Ifif S Jtt |W| ff ("Zanshi xiadu yefa Xinlin zhi Jingyi zeng Xifu tongliao"), Xie Tiao, Collected Works of Xie Tiao Iff W i $ H f£ (Xie Xuancheng ji jiaozhu), collated and annotated by Hong Shunlong ^ HI ! L Taipei, Zhonghua shuju, 1969, pp. 216-7. 135 [The poet], uttering much veiled satire, deserves the same honour as Grand Master Song. Yuan Mei • # M, ^ '\% T £ A A- M M (2: 8a). According to legend, on the seventh night of the seventh lunar month, called the "Double Seven Festival," the Weaving Maid and the Cowherd, who are separated from each other in the sky, have their annual tryst. Magpies gather together over the Milky River to make a bridge for the couple to meet. It was customary for people to glorify the magpies for making this meeting possible, but the poet does not deem the magpies as being on a mission of self-sacrifice. She mocks them as being ordinary birds that want a chance to perch on the holy clouds, subverting the magpies' selfless motive into a worldly one. "Grand Master Song" (Song Yu 5i5 3£, ca. 290-ca. 223 B. C.) was a great writer of Chu whose works contain much "veiled satire"-indirect criticisms-about the King of C h u . 2 6 9 That Yuan spoke highly of the above two poems suggests that he is praising the poet's intellectual capability. The two poems disclose Qu Bingyun's judgments on two types of characters, one historical and the other legendary. Both are commonly found in two major genres of classical poetry—"historical poetry" % $1 (yongshi) and "poetry describing objects" % ty] (yongwu). Qu's judgments on the historical figure and the legendary figure are different from those of traditional perspectives. She did not praise Green Pearl for her chastity, but for the love that Shi Chong and she derived from their shared musical interests. Also, Qu subverted the conventional viewpoint in decoding the magpies' motive: Instead of assuming that it is a holy one, she points out that it may have selfish intentions. Both judgments reveal that Qu emphasizes literary figures' personal purposes rather than alleged public purposes. Yuan Mei's praise of Qu's intellectual capability is related to his feminist ideas that can be seen in similar statements. He often praised women and disparaged men when comparing the two sexes. He said, for example, that Luo Qilan, one of his leading female disciples, was superior to men in insight: Sima Qian WJ H 5 § (145-ca. 87 B.C.) indicates that Song Yu "dared not criticize the King of Chu in a direct way in the end" JS HE in his Historical Records: Biography of Qu Yuan IB: jg M M £ '̂J 136 From my observations, Luo Qilan is kind-hearted and prudent, and she devotes herself to strict learning. She has brilliant insights, compared to which "great men" look like mere babies' u & m 2., m m ^ m m m M %,m^ n m. nmmm & m ZT- Yuan Mei made similar comments about his first female disciple, Chen Shulan ^ M W- Since her husband Deng Zongluo IP T H a Government Student, lost his position at an academic institute and eventually drowned himself, Chen was extremely sad. After burying him and choosing an heir for the Deng family, she hanged herself. Yuan Mei eulogized Chen by writing her biography, in which he compares the couple and deems the husband to be inferior to the wife in many ways. Virtue and outlook on life are among the most telling distinctions between the two: "Mr. Deng died because of poverty while Shulan died out of righteousness. They both died, but their deaths are as different in weight as Mount Tai and a feather" I P 4 i i f ^ , t l l i E ^ ^ E t i , Yuan Mei was not the first scholar who argued against sexism in estimating a woman's intellectual capability. A century before, Li Zhi claimed that women had the same capabilities in learning as men and said that they should have the same opportunities to study Daoism as men, disputing a theory that women were shortsighted when it came to learning. 2 7 2 Some scholars, Wang Yingzhi, for example, rightly pointed out a connection between Yuan Mei's and Li Zhi's promotion of female education. 2 7 3 However, compared to his predecessor, Yuan Mei went much further by confirming women's intellectual abilities in both learning and ordinary life. fH (Shiji: Qu Yuan Jiasheng liezhuan, reprint, Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1959, v 84, p. 2491). Scholars see this statement as an implication that Song Yu criticized the King of Chu in an indirect way. 2 7 0 Preface to Luo Qilan, 271 YMQJ (II): WJ, j 31, p. 559. 2 7 2 Li Zhi states that women did not see things the same as men because women were restricted to their quarters, while men could go anywhere they wished. He wrote, 'We can say there is a distinction between male and female, but can we say there is a distinction between the sight of males and females? We can say one sees a short or long distance, but can we say all far-sighted persons are male and all short- sighted ones are female" # | f A W H it Wi Rl, 11 M W H & a. «T ¥ ? 11 M W S M 10 RT, II J§ ? £ M M M, ic A 2. H M M, X § Rl Li Zhi, A Book to Burn I Continuation of A Book to Burn # / K 137 5.2 The Comments of Xi Peilan, Gui Maoyi and Bao Yin When commenting on Qu Bingyun, Xi Peilan, Gui Maoyi and Bao Yin highly praised her works. In the meantime, they gave "purity" as the primary criterion for evaluating a female text, witnessing the female self-representation in Qu's works and affirming her mastery of the art of poetry in all aspects. Purity: Primary Criterion for the Female Text Xi Peilan wrote two verse comments that express similar ideas, one of which is included in the Collection from the Jade-Collecting Tower. It is entitled "On Wanxian's Poetry Collection: Following the Rhyme Scheme of the Poem 'To Celebrate My Birthday' in this Collection" MMilh^M^^B^ @ H f# H ("Ti Wanxian shihui ci juanzhong zishoushi yun"), 2 7 4 and states her observations on Qu's poetry in general: Your exquisite heart is like a jade mirror stand; /[> H: £p IH 3 L §jt JE, Nowhere does its clear light contact dust. yff 9t M lU ĵf JU I suspect it is from an earlier life of the moon on the mirror, ]S H HJ§ /=} fff Ji- As it long ago had an immortal style and body of the Way. ^ ?fr f|i[ JU, ^ # After you play a zither, only a lonely crane echoes your music # H —' 5f 5H til M, From a mountain hollow where thousands of flowers blossom in every direction. [If 2g FZH JS H 7£ Hj. Your paper for writing poetry does not need to be in the bird-track form, (ji J | The cloud-like leaves of autumn can be cut and tailored naturally. fX Wz t-U f t lU M i t (Xi Peilan, Inscription) The other verse commentary is compiled in Xi Peilan's own collection, Xi, 3:7b-8a. 138 The expression a "Jade Mirror Stand" ("Yujingtai") first appeared in Liu Yiqing's %U m U (403-444) New Stories and Tales of the Times tS i f IP (Shishuo xinyu), referring to a mirror stand made of jade. 2 7 5 Associated with the second line "Nowhere does its clear light touch dust," however, this term ought to be seen as an allusion to the Buddhist monk Shenxiu's ffi (605-706) famous poem (gatha) that compares the heart to a mirror: "The body is as a pipal tree, / The heart is like a bright mirror stand, / Wipe it at times, / Do not let it be tarnished by dust" % J i ^ WL ffi, <b $U m i t M- B# Bf l i i£-276 This allusion functions as a metaphor for the pure mind revealed in Qu's poetry. Gui Maoyi also wrote a verse inscription using metaphorical language as an appreciation of Qu's poetry in general: Not defiled by even a speck of dust, 777 Your talented brush is born in the heavens. It is enriched by seven emotions; This book of poetry matches Encountering Sorrow. The orchid snow is sprinkling lightly; The pine-tree wind is aloof high. Your pure thoughts stop the night moon; With plentiful talents you depict the autumn billows (Gui Maoyi, Inscription) - b i t t u t :M- Liu Yiqing §ij H JS, The New Stories and Tales of the Times ft 1$; $f | § H (Shishuo xinyu jiaojian), collated and annotated by Xu Zhen'e f£ M f̂ > Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1984, v 3, p. 458. 2 7 6 China Association for Buddhism cp IH \% WLWJ # comp., Chinese Buddhism ^ S \% f£ (Zhongguo fojiao), Beijing: Zhishi chubanshe, 1982, j 2, p. 134. Shenxiu's biography is found in Zanning | f ap, Accomplished Monks of the Song Dynasty^ M f t M (Song gaosengzhuan), j 8, pp. 755-6, in Shanghai Bookstore _L :M l r Jfi comp., Accomplished Monks Through Ages MiXM i§ W (Lidai gaosengzhuan), Shanghai: Shanghai shudian, 1989. 2 7 7 "Talented brush" f£ H (Cai hao) alludes to Zhang Heng's $1 f|j (78-139) prose-poem entitled "Rhapsody on Contemplating the Cosmos" ("Sixuan fu") Jg S IS, in which there is a line "The talented embellishment and carved jade are bright!" B§ |$ §§ J& M J-i The Tang scholar Li Shan ^ # glosses 139 Bao Yin's postface is a prose critique that concerns all aspects of Qu's poetry: From my point of view, the essence of Wanxian's poetry is pure and its ideas are meaningful. Her poetry is original and not tinged with the habitual practice of the "rouge and powder."278 The poet has upheld 'nature and inspiration' so that her poetry is fresh. But there is something even more profound about her ci poetry's meanings: it is clever in forming concepts and the chosen words are gorgeous; let alone, these words appropriately reveal her elegant and sorrowful moods in which the readers linger and ignore the colourful and charming words of emotions. This is the heritage of ci poetry of the Southern Tang. Her poetry is characterized by its lofty and outstanding words and style, and thus it is excellent work among celestials .... Since ancient times, writers who have something depressing their souls usually generate outstanding work. They embody their depression in poetry, so that the mood is especially touching. Wanxian's ci poems at times manifest a melancholic tone through soft and beautiful words. Perhaps because of this she could not enjoy longevity. If this is the case, I cannot help grieving for her ̂  f | l ^ M H fill M til (Bao Yin, Postface). All of the above critiques appreciate Qu's poetry highly for its quality of "purity," which suggests that these women poets regarded purity as a fundamental criterion for judging a female work. Their concept of purity is seen in their figurative or plain descriptions of the mind, the imagery and the language of Qu's work: First, the poetic mind of her work is unsullied. Xi uses metaphorical language to describe the mind through poetry, alluding to Buddhist teachings. Gui also indicates that the mind is not touched by "dust," resembling the pure soul of a Buddhist laywoman. A the word "talented" (cai) as 'literary talent'" | $ , 3C til- See Xiao Tong comp., Literary Selections 3t (Wenxuan), Hong Kong: Shangwu yinshu guan, 1936, p. 303. 7 8 "Rouge and powder" refer to feminine traits. 140 pure mind, however, does not mean lack of emotions. On the contrary, as Gui points out, it is enriched with "seven emotions" and "pure thoughts." Bao Yin also sees an especially melancholic mind in Qu's ci poetry. These women make it clear that a poet should have a soul untarnished by worldly concerns but enriched by emotions and thoughts. In other words, a pure mind comprises unsullied emotions and thoughts that are transcendent, noble and profound, as illustrated in some of their remarks on Qu's individual poems: A work transcending the earthly |g £B JH 7Z. (Bao Y i n ) . 2 7 9 The meanings entrusted are noble and remote f £ M [Hj j g (Xi Peilan). 2 8 0 The tone of language is noble and transcendent g E |Jf jUj ^ (Xi Peilan). 2 8 1 Second, Qu's poetic imagery is bright and limpid. In their comments, Xi Peilan compares Qu's images to "the moon on the mirror" and both Xi and Bao Yin make an allusion to "xian" f|lj (celestial beings, fairy-like beings). These indicate that their concept of a pure image resembles the one that Yan Yu H 53 (died ca. 1260) describes in his Canglang's Poetry Talks $| /H I# IS {Canglang shihua). Yan writes: a poetic image is similar to the image of an antelope hanging by its horns in a tree to escape discovery by hiding its traces. It is pure and elusive, like Tones in the empty air, color in a face, moonlight in the water, and an image in a mirror Even though differing from Yan Yu, who makes use of Chan Buddhism to illustrate his concept of poetic imagery, Xi Peilan and Bao Yin allude to celestial beings/fairy beings This comment is about "A Picture of Heavenly Fragrance and Moonlike Image of Lady Wang Yuehan of Renhe" {Z fP ic ± zE ft M A # fit 12 M ("Renhe nushi Wang Yuehan tianxiang chanying zhao"), 2:9a-b. 2 8 0 This comment is on "A Pearl Orchid" igfc fljtj ("Zhulan," 1:10a), in which the image of an orchid symbolizes virtue. 2 1 This comment is about "To the Tune of Picking up Mulberry Fruits: The Painting of An Orchid" T£ H : p : i t M ("Caisangzi: hualan," c: 17b), which personifies the orchid as a talented beauty. 2 8 2 This translation is taken from Stephen Owen, Readings in Chinese Literary Thought, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992, p. 405. For a detailed discussion of this image, see this book, pp. 410-2. 141 to manifest qualities of poetic imagery similar to what Yan describes: brightness, limpidity and, therefore, transcendence. Third, her poetic language is natural. Xi Peilan uses natural phenomena to suggest this quality of Qu's poetry, saying, "The cloud-like leaves of autumn / Can be cut and tailored naturally." Gui Maoyi identifies Qu's "inborn talent" for creating poetic works that are as natural as "the orchid snow sprinkling lightly." Bao Yin remarks about a ci poem entitled "To the Tune of Touching Up Carmine Lips: The Beginning of Spring" Irj 1$ # : T i # ("Dianjiangchun: lichun," c: 9a), "As if it comes naturally from her mouth" tU M P (c: 9a). These women's concept of pure language resembles a natural language free from adornments. When commenting on poetry, these women poets may use "purity" to praise one aspect of a poem or to characterize the entire work. Examples of the latter are Bao Yin marvelling at Qu's poem "A Banana Leaf Fan" M I t ("Jiaoshan," 1:4a-b) by calling it "extremely pure" tm IS (1:4a-b) and Xi Peilan commenting on another poem entitled "A Night Chat with My Sister-in-law Ruobing" ffl ^ #K IS ("Yu Ruobing gu yehua," 1:3a-b): "The entire poem is pure and beautiful" M ft M (1:3a-b). The poetic purity that Xi, Gui and Bao espouse is apparently based on their understanding of poetry, which mainly follows Yuan Mei's poetics. Their understanding of this term is therefore well-matched with Yuan Mei's nature and inspiration theory. As indicated in her postface, Bao Yin relates the "purity" and originality of Qu's poetry to her upholding of nature and inspiration. Xi Peilan identifies Qu's work with "the poetic style of Yuan Mei" M H F̂ J M (1:11 b) , 2 8 3 while she also considers it to be "pure." Yuan Mei may not have agreed with the Buddhist allusion to "discarding the material world," but he maintained that a poet's individual positions should not be affected by worldly concerns and advocated the ingenious creation of imagery in order to convey spontaneous feelings. He also favoured natural expressions. Yuan Mei himself used "purity" to evaluate poetry, especially when talking about women's poetry. For example, he praises Xi Peilan's poetry, saying, "My female disciple Xi Peilan's poetic talent is pure and marvellous" ^ c H ^ S f t M I f ^ T f $y-284 When talking about a fourteen- This comment is on "Songs of Gathering Lotus" (eighth poem)2 8 3 $R M ffl ("Cailianqu"), 1:11b. YMQJ (III): BY, 8 of j 11, p. 740. 142 years-old girl, he stated that her "poetic brush is pure and elegant" |# 4ft ?f ft. Yuan commended another female disciple Wu Qiongxian and her husband Xu Shanmin [JL| JS; by saying, "The couple's poetry is of inborn purity and marvelousness" z : A I# ^: fH Originally, "purity," {qing) signifying "limpid," was an antonym of "turbid" $f} (zhuo), as seen in early sources such as "Oh, the Canglang River's water is pure" ?Jr $ | Z 7R tf in Mengzt287 or "The River's water is pure and it ripples" M zR JEL $1 $1 in the Classic of Poetry.288 In later times people also used "purity" to symbolize human virtue, meaning "unsullied" or "free from worldly concerns." For example, the term "pure officials" (qingguan) refers to officials who are free from corruption, while "pure woman" (qingbai nuzi) stands for a woman who is chaste. In her informative and insightful article, "A Guide to Ming-Ch'ing Anthologies of Female Poetry and Their Selection Strategies," Kang-i Sun Chang suggests that late Ming scholar started using "purity" to characterize women's work and states, "Zhong Xing relies on an alleged female 'purity' (qing) to make his argument—claiming that ideal poetry must come from this quality of qing (purity) with which women are innately endowed." 2 8 9 Zhong Xing, however, merely uses it to characterize a woman's mind revealed in poetry. Xi Peilan, Gui Maoyi and Bao Yin extend this term to include imagery and language, for the reason that a female's text has special traits in many ways. Because of this, these women may have noticed that there was a need for special criteria for evaluating a woman's text, and attempted to establish such criteria by using "purity" to comment on Qu's texts. Witness: A Woman's Self-Representation Ibid., 8 of j 12, p. 741. 2 8 6 Ibid., 34 of j 10, p. 904. 2 8 7 Jiao Xun |£ flf, The Exact Implications of Mencius ]£ ^PIE i t (Mengzi zhengyi), Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1987, p. 498. This is a quotation by Mencius from the Lyrics of Chu: Old Fisherman ^ jf£: ^ 5£ (Chuci: Yufu), Lyrics of Chu $| |? (Chuci), Shanghai: Saoye shanfang, 1912, p. 98. "Cutting Sandalwoods" {% H ("Fatan"), in Gao Heng [wj -"jr annotated, A Modern Annotated the Classic of Poetry^ f l H i i (Shijing jinzhu), Shanghai: Guji chubanshe, 1980, p. 147. 2 8 9 Kang-i Sun Chang, "A Guide to Ming-Ch'ing Anthologies of Female Poetry and Their Selection Strategies," in Ellen Widmer and Kang-i Sun Chang ed., Writing Women in Late Imperial China, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997. 143 A p a r t f r o m the i r i n s c r i p t i on s a n d po s t s c r i p t to t he Collection from the Jade- Collecting Tower, X i P e i l a n , G u i M a o y i a n d B a o Y i n e a c h m a d e s p e c i f i c r e m a r k s a b o u t Q u B i n g y u n ' s i nd i v i dua l p o e m s : X i c o m m e n t e d o n fo r ty - th ree p o e m s a n d G u i a n d B a o o n f o u r t e e n e a c h , tota l l ing s e v e n t y - o n e p a s s a g e s . T h e f o l l ow ing part in th i s s e c t i o n d i s c u s s e s the r e m a r k s that h a v e not b e e n p r e v i ou s l y r e fe r red to, in the h o p e of r e v e a l i n g the r a n g e of the w o m e n poe t s ' c o m m e n t s . In he r " R e a d i n g O u r s e l v e s , " P a r e o c i n i o P. S c h w e i c k a r t o b s e r v e s that t he f e m a l e r e a d e r of w o m e n ' s l i terature at first tes t i f ie s to t he c on ten t a s b e i n g a t rue e x p e r i e n c e of a w o m a n : " T h e f em in i s t r e a d e r s p e a k s a s a w i t n e s s in d e f e n c e of the w o m a n writer. " S o , the first f e a tu r e of the f e m a l e r e a d i n g of a w o m a n ' s text is " the t e n d e n c y to c o n s t r u e the text a s the m a n i f e s t a t i o n of the sub jec t i v i t y of the a b s e n t a u t h o r — t h e v o i c e of a n o t h e r w o m a n . " 2 9 0 W h e n r e a d i n g Q u ' s p o e m s , X i , G u i a n d B a o e n c o u n t e r the sub jec t i v i t y of a n o t h e r w o m a n , Q u , a n d r e c o g n i z e he r e x p e r i e n c e by c o m p a r i n g it to that of the i r o w n . E s p e c i a l l y , a s c l o s e f r i end s of the author , t h e y s e e a c h a r a c t e r in the p o e m s a s s im i l a r to the o n e in rea l life a n d d i s c o v e r the p o e t ' s f ee l i n g s , e m o t i o n s a n d i d e a s a s c o m p a t i b l e wi th t h o s e of the poe t in real ity. T h e f o l l ow ing g r o u p of r e m a r k s by X i P e i l a n a n d B a o Y i n at test to Q u ' s d o m e s t i c life e x p r e s s e d in he r p o e m s : (Group 1} [1] The readers seem to hear the poet talking inside a green window tU $k iia A BP (X i Peilan). 2 9 1 [2] A pure scene of the woman's quarters is depicted ingeniously | f l i f trt JR ~W ¥ M tB (Bao Y i n ) . 2 9 2 [3] A pure and cold scene is ingeniously depicted fif ^ ZZ. Jit W ^ M tB (Bao Y i n ) ' 2 9 3 2 9 0 Patrocinio P. Schweickart, "Reading Ourselves" in Robyn R. Warhol and Diane Price Herndl ed., Feminisms, New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1991, pp. 537-9. 2 9 1 This comment is about "Shown to the Jade Girl" ^ £ II A ("Shi nubiren"), 4:13b. 2 9 2 This comment is about "I Sit in the Jade-Collecting Tower While Snowing" fa 5 ® ^ S ("Yunyulou zuoxue"), 1:6a. 2 9 3 This comment is about "Listening to Rain; in Responding to Tongyu's Poem" M¥®%U^F~M ('Tingyu he Ziliang"), 2:3b. 144 The comments in Group 2 are indications of the similarities between poetic feelings, intentions and judgments and those expressed by Qu: {Group 2} [4] The one who laughs at the infatuated immortal is just a blindly loving person herself. How many infatuated people are there in this world? ^f | i ] |^#IEj l l$S51ifAt i2"f f i m m m m A ¥ (Bao Yin ) . 2 9 4 [5] There is profound affection, which is indirect but lingering — ft lit W- H M rftl Jf (Xi Peilan). 2 9 5 [6] Head over heels in love [with the image of the lotus] — ft t f M (Bao Yin ) . 2 9 6 [7] Infatuation is also a matter for poetry S i fjf fc\ JH H ifl (Gui Maoyi) . 2 9 7 [8] The words are most sad and gorgeous jf¥ WC 3p[ ffi (Xi Peilan)' 2 9 8 [9] This sorrowful music was obtained from Qin Guan '[H JH ZZ_ W ?# ZZ. :M $5 (Bao Y i n ) 2 9 9 [10] Thoughts of elegance and dignity overflow the brush's tip S I ^ I I ^ l l (Xi Peilan). 3 0 0 [11] The judgments when [the poet praises the moon and disparages the black clouds] are fair I f m it # (Gui Maoyi). 3 0 1 [12] There is an epiphany that can be told ifp fg nT #| A M (Xi Peilan). 3 0 2 This comment is about "To the Tune of Magpie Bridge Immortal: Double Seven Festival in the Intercalary Sixth Month" ®§ ^ {[lj: p] 7K ft -b ^ ("Queqiaoxian: run liuyue qixi"), c: 14a-b. 2 9 5 This comment is on "Seeing Qian Zhen off Who Is Visiting Her Parents' Home" S'J M. ttt If (Bie Wenru gui), 1:13a. This comment is about "Songs of Gathering Lotus" (fifth poem) 3f ft ("Cailian qu"), 1:11 a-b. 2 9 7 This comment is about "Mixed Odes on the Remaindering Days of the spring" (eighth poem) g£ # $| tic ("Canchun zayong," 2:6b), in which the poet shows her infatuation with the moonlight. 2 9 8 This comment is about "Four Narrative Poems on the Renovations to the Tomb of Hedongjun [Liu Rushi fP #p H , born ca. 1620, courtesy name Miwu H M and Sobriquet Hedongjun M ̂  f^]: Responding to the Rhyme in Daohua's Poem" (third poem) Jf fif PJ M f | H IB ̂  ES H fU M W i i ("Chongxiu Liu Rushi mu jishi sishou he Daohua yun"), 4: 23b. 9 9 This comment is about "To the Tune of Garden Is Filled with Fragrance: Autumn Atmosphere" / i M 3f : fX M ("Mantifang: qiuyi"), c: 16a-b. Qin Guan ̂  H (1049-1100, courtesy name Shaoyou {p- and sobriquet Huaihaijushi ft£ $| JU dr) authored Collected Works of Huaihai tf£ $S H (Huaihai ji). 3 0 0 This comment is about "Written on the Floating Jade Inkstone" M # 5 5! ('Ti fuyu yan"), 3:18b. 3 0 1 This comment is about "The Mid-Autumn Night" (first poem) ^p^X^ ("Zhongqiuxi"), 2:3a. 145 [13] After reading these poems I began to understand that ancient Buddhists must have faced a wall full of paintings in the west wing when they meditated on the Dao "ĵ f jjiif f§ mmmmmm m, m nt m m (Bao Y i n ) . 3 0 3 In the following group of observations, Xi Peilan identified a character in the poems with the author herself: {Group 3} [14] This portrait of the lotus is a self-portrait of the poet E ^ ^ i i P § ^ A § M M (Xi Peilan). 3 0 4 [15] Her personality is seen in the painting-like imagery of the poem §\i H JIL ah (Xi Peilan). 3 0 5 [16] There is a human being in the poem If 41 W A S (Xi Peilan)' 3 0 6 [17] This poem is from your immortal bones [t| jk Wi M~ ^ i\h (Xi Peilan). 3 0 7 [18] Isn't the lady in that tower a heavenly person f^f 1 A a # A A ¥ ( X i Peilan)? 3 0 8 [19] The analogy is just right. It is also a speaking of herself ttMWm^fi^^^M (Xi Peilan). 3 0 9 It is a common belief that writing mirrors the writer. Traditional poetics holds that "the poem articulates what is on the mind intently |# m ^ - 3 1 ° Ye Xie ^ (1627-1703) 3 0 2 This comment is on "There Is a Jade Lotus for Sale" W 3£ H — fc£ H # ("You yuou yizhi qiushouzhe," 4:3b) in which Buddhism is the main subject matter. 3 3 This comment is about "A Spring Night" (first and second poems) # ^ ("Chunye," 1:23a-b), in which a spring night is viewed from the point of view of a lay Buddhist. 3 ( 5 4 The comment is on "Lotus" M Vc ("Hehua"), 3:9b-10a. 3 0 5 This comment is on "Peony" ft R ("Mudan"), 4:16b. 3 0 6 This comment is about "A Couple of Butterflies in the Falling Petals" $ | ~fic St Wk ("Luohua shuangdie," 4:1a), in which the poet expresses her thoughts through the personification of the butterflies. 3 0 7 This comment is on "The Double Seven Festival of the Yimao year [1795]" (first poem) Z. 5P - t $ ("Yimao qixi," 2:14a), in which the description of a celestial situation reflects Qu's own character. 0 8 This comment is about "Impromptu Verse on the Mid-Autumn Night" dp ^ gp | | ("Zhongqiu ye jishi," 1:16b-17a), in which there is an interaction between the moon palace and the lady who lives in a tower. 3 0 9 Th is comment is about "A Plum Tree" fg ("Mei," 4:21b), which personifies the plum tree as a slim talented beauty. 146 explains this in detail in his The Origins of Poetry I# (Yuanshi): "If one's nature and emotions are in the writing of poetry, then the poem must also have a face" W W 14 ff i& W IS @- Thus, "every poem is seen through the person, and in turn every person is seen through the poem" | i J ^ A M A 3 l J i ( i JI-3 1 1 There is no doubt that Xi , Gui and Bao followed this theory when they associated a poem with its author. However, their remarks were not derived just from this theory but also from their own observations. For example, when Bao Yin talks about a melancholy mood in Qu's ci poems, she relates this to Qu's suffering from illnesses: "In recent years, Wanxian frequently fell ill and she always comforted herself by composing a ci poem" 5B f|I| jff M # M, f ± t i \>X AR M S Wf- :& (Bao Yin, Postface). Xi, Gui and Bao believe that Qu's poems were written out of her own 'nature and inspiration' and truly speak of her mind. They declare the revelation of female subjectivity by connecting to the author's real experience and by comparing it to their own experience. More importantly, these women critics confirm the representation of the female subjectivity and approve of it. Techniques: "Anxiety of Authorship" All other remarks on Qu Bingyun's poems by Xi Peilan, Gui Maoyi and Bao Yin concern the art of poetry, which can be derived from traditional poetics. These constitute the major portion of such comments—forty-five out of seventy-one. This suggests that Xi, Gui and Bao were eager to identify the traditional art of poetry utilized in Qu's poems. To appreciate a poem by Qu Bingyun, these women poets pointed out the correct or creative use (or sometimes simply the mere use) of the traditional poetic technique. The following concern the organizational rules of regulated verse: {Group 4} 310 The translation is taken from Owen, Readings in Chinese Literary Thought, p. 26. Ibid., pp. 576 and 578. 311 147 [20] The first four characters [$a f IS A %. Yu lang qu hou (A young fisherman has just gone)] are arranged most methodically. Also, the following lines are pure, leisurely, open and vast £E H ^ 2c §i # S ® U % T ^ M M H€ Hf (Xi Peilan).312 [21] The beginning is like that of Wen Tingyun's ci poems $\ ff| f P ^ (Xi Peilan).313 [22] The opening line is transcendent M & (Gui Maoyi).314 [23] [The poet] resumes pentasyllable form to write about a painting. The opening is marvellous and the closing is interesting 5 ^ M ft, M # In $S (Xi Peilan).315 [24] The third and fourth lines delicately correspond [to the previous lines] EL |ZH 15 W (Xi Peilan).316 [25] By concluding with the painting unusual gusto is created | p H nf" S tit 5 : (Gui Maoyi).317 [26] The concluding line shifts the mood back [to that of the opening line] | p -fej f g J$j $ | ffl M (Xi Peilan).318 These remarks are about the "art of composition" i f f£ (zhangfa) of the poems. Traditional poetics prescribes that the discourse in a regulated poem should proceed in the sequence of "opening, continuing, turning, and drawing together" 7jk i i 0$ (Qi cheng zhuan fre).319 The critic Yang Zai fj§ tic (1271-1323) explains specific 3 1 2 This comment is about "Madame Binghu Goes Spring Outing in Taoyuan" /;.K Wt 3z A JM. # H ("Binghu Furen taoyuan fanchun tu," 2:1a) of which the keynotes are pleasure and leisure. 1 3 This comment is about "To the Tune of Deva-like Barbarian: Inscription on a Fan l f : i i ("Pusaman," c: 4b). Feiqing was Wen Tingyun's JH (812-c. 870) courtesy name. 3 1 4 This comment is about "Sheng Zizhao's Painting of 'Ballad of the Pipa" H =f- Hg H H fs B ("Sheng Zizhao pipaxing tu," 3:12b-13a), in which the first couplet alludes to the Tang Dynasty poet Bai Juyi's £3 f§ % "Ballad of the Pipa" Ji § ?r ("Pipaxing"). 3 1 5 This comment is about "A Small Bamboo" / JN tt ("Xiaozhu"), 4:18a-b. 3 1 6 This comment is about "A Blossoming Plum in the Twelfth Month: Repeating the Rhyme in the Previous Poem for the Third Time" I i f§ H S iff M. ("Lamei sandie"), 2:15b-16a. 3 1 7 This comment is about "On the Painting of 'Lan'gao [Gui Maoyi] Is Searching for Poetic Lines' for Gui Maoyi" (fourth poem) l i ^ E ^ H J I M l J f l l ("Lan'gao mijutu wei Peishan ti"), 3:23a. 3 1 8 This comment is about "During My Sickness Daohua Sent Me a Fan on which She Wrote Down My Poem Titled 'Seeing the Spring off to which Daohua Responded in the Same Rhymes. I Am Writing this Poem again in the Same Rhymes to Repay Her" $f dp Jf ~0 jy, fn £ 1 # If tf It fil If, ft §i $ $2 ("Bingzhong Daohua yi jianhe songchun shi shushan xiangji, dieyun fengbao," 2:19b), in which there is a turn in the last line. 3 1 9 The translation is taken from Owen, Readings in Chinese Literary Thought, p. 478. 148 requirements for each phase of the sequence: in the opening couplet one must secure a broad area through which to move. Namely, it "must be lofty and far-reaching" 1? ?8? j§. The second couplet should "hold tight and not be allowed to slip away" % ffn The third "should be a transformation, like a sudden peal of thunder breaking over the mountain" §f ft, $n ̂  ff 5$ |_L|; and the conclusion "may tie up the topic, may step off in a new direction, may shoot like a stringed arrow back into the concepts of the preceding couplets, or may make a reference. One must set at least one line free as a place for dispersal [ending]" mUmffil£Wl-P,l&fflimWZmi£mm. >& WL - ^ if WL £§.3 2 0 The above critical notes of Xi, Gui and Bao are consistent with these rules and their requirements. For example, the first three remarks are on the beginning couplets, which are "open and vast," "like that of Wen Tingyun's ci poems," 3 2 1 and "transcendent," having different ways of being "lofty and far-reaching;" and the last two remarks are about two closing couplets: one "concludes with the painting," which is a way of "tying up the topic;" and the other "shifts the mood back," meeting the requirement of "stepping off in a new direction." Group 5 are about two interrelated poetic values, "indirection" M fffi (wanqu) and "reservation" -g- H (hanxu):' {Group 5} [27] Sinuousness fffi (Xi Peilan).322 [28] Connotative and subtly sinuous ^ f£ f£ (Xi Peilan).323 [29] [The poet obviously knows about the matter but she] just says, "I do not know" f | m £P" (Xi Peilan).324 320 Yang Zai, Poetic Rules of the Masters M ffi ^ Wt. {Shifa jiashu), ibid., pp. 440-3. 321 Wen Tingyun sometimes opens a c/'poem with a remote or vast image. For example, in the beginning couplet of the c/'poem 'To the Tune of Deva-like Barbarian" Wen associates the hair and the cheek of the female to mountains and clouds: "The mountains on the screen shimmer in the golden dawn. /J\ |JL| JI # ik BM MIA cloud of hair brushes the fragrant snow of her cheek ff ^ §i § JJJg If. The translation is taken from Lois Fusek tr., in Victor Mair ed., The Columbia Anthology of Traditional Chinese Literature, New York; Columbia University Press, 1994, p. 305. 3 2 2 This comment is about the line "from ancient time it has been hard to stand alone" in "Ms. Wang Qian Leaning on a Bamboo" 3E W IP ~&. ± fW HI ("Wang Meiqing nushi yizhutu"), 3:13b. 149 [30] Loyalty is clearer when using the words "not believing" fP^Ffg ^Ls^M; (Bao Y i n ) . 3 2 5 [31] Endless ^ ^ (Gui Maoy i ) . 3 2 6 [32] The "cherishing of spring" goes beyond the language f§f # M ^ If $r- (Gui Maoyi ) . 3 2 7 [33] Marvellous thoughts emerge one after another M M tB ^ H (Xi Peilan). 3 2 8 [34] The fourth line is extremely meaningful H H3 R̂J (Bao Y i n ) . 3 2 9 Traditional poetics highly values "indirection," which mainly refers to an indirect expression and "reservation," which mostly denotes the connotative. Yang Zai lists "proceeding on too straight a course with no graceful turns" (ji g If as one of his ten warnings. 3 3 0 "Reservation," the standard explanation of which is "the words are over, but the meaning is endless" ft H fffj M M H , 3 3 1 is most appreciated in conventional poetics. In his The Twenty-Four Categories of Poetry zi - f - |Z9 n̂ F np {Ershisi shipin), Sikong Tu W] 2£ H (837-908) lists it as Category 11, explaining, "It does not inhere in any single word yet the utmost flair is attained. Though the words do not touch oneself, it is as if there were unbearable melancholy" i f — H % JM, IR ̂  ^ 3 , 1% It- As such, to "reserve" is to make language connotative. For example, one may 3 2 3 This comment is about the personification of a lotus in the poem, "A Potted Lotus Has just Started to Grow"^ ; ?Hf $] JH; ("Penhe chuzhang"), 4:14a. 3 2 4 This comment is about "I Am with Ruobing on a Summer Evening" J | •$? [W] ^ $c ("Xiaxi tong Ruobing"), 4:18b. 3 2 5 This comment is about Guan Panpan Ifl Ej# ("Guan Panpan," 1:7b), which describes a courtesan's loyalty to her master. In the closing couplet, the poet uses "unbelief" to illustrate the courtesan's incredible action of loyalty. 3 2 6 This comment is about "To the Tune of Double Lotus Leaves: On the Painting of 'Picking Lotus Beauty' Requested by Gui Maoyi" §f fHf M- #f tW H A HI I f f i l M % M ("Shuangheye: zhehe meiren tu Gui Peishan suoti"), c: 13a-b. 3 2 7 This comment is about "The Flower Festival of the Renxu year [1802]" (second poem) 3r ĵ c Ih IH ("Renxu huachao," 4:5b-6a), in which the poet expressed her "cherishing of the spring." This comment is about "I Painted an Orchid and a Chrysanthemum together with Tiaofang" JH | § 5J I f f ("Yu Tiaofang hexie lanju"), 3:16a. 3 2 9 This comment is about "Facing Snow; in the Rhymes of 'Jian' and 'Cha'" (second poem) ff S ffl =̂ X H ! ("Duixue yong jianchayun," 1:13b-14a), which contains a line "No fragrance is provided by the trees but flowers are everywhere" faf ^ 4 . ilr H If vc, 1:13b-14a. 3 3 0 The translation is taken from Owen, Readings in Chinese Literary Thought, p. 436. 3 3 1 Ibid., p. 405. 150 make no reference to unhappiness, but unhappiness is revealed as the basis on which one speaks of something e l se . 3 3 2 The following group regarding "reversing" f§ (fan), "fitting in with" f^J (qie) and "roundness" H (yuan) are selected from those concerning particular techniques and poetic values: {Group 6} [35] Good at reversing earlier judgments; from this comes endless originality ^ ^ ff$ i j l nj m M m m m m ( » P e n a n ) . 3 3 3 [36] Skilful and fitting inXMfy) (Xi Peilan). 3 3 4 [37] [The poem] fits in with the phrase "after having done the embroidering" [of the Collected Poems after Having Done the Embroidering by Ji Jingyu =p f$ 3E US |i£ f̂ f ^ ] W Mm (Gui Maoyi) . 3 3 5 [38] There are no words in this poem that are not round and inspired 3 3 6 M f t ~F ^P- M: ^ HI M (Xi Peilan). [39] [This poem] is pure, harmonic and round and turning, just as the falling petals follow the wind and wandering orioles circle trees337 fif %U HI W %U Iff Vc M $ft M HI Uf (Xi Peilan). "Reversing" or "turning a table upside down" | | H (fan'an) means to reverse an earlier judgment, which the critic Wei Qingzhi MMZ. (fl- 1240-44) explains: "This is the 332 333 Ibid., see pp. 326-9 for a detailed discussion of Sikong Tu's category of "reserve." This comment is on "A Potted Plum Tree Tries Blooming in Late Autumn" 3p fX f§ M, it ("Jiqiu penmei shihua"), 4:9b. 3 4 This comment is about "An Elegy for My Niece Manxian" M i£ j | fill ('Wan zaizhinu Manxian"), 3:23b. 3 3 5 This comment is about "On the Collected Poems after Having Done the Embroidering by Ji Jingyu" H 3p W 3s I i I # m ("Ti Ji Jingyu xiuyu shihui," 3:10a), in which the poet compares the writing of poetry to the art of embroidering. 3 3 6 This comment is about "Tiaofang and I Painted a Picture Together" H ^ JSi ^ fp | f — 0 ('Tiaofang yuyu hehui yitu," 3:8 a-b), in which the images of an orchid and a trumpet creeper symbolize the friendship between Qu Bingyun and Ye Wanyi. 3 3 7 The comment is on "Man Day" A 0 ("Renri," 4:20a-b), which describes the traits of early spring. "Man Day" is the seventh day of the first according to the lunar calendar, 4:20a-b. 151 method which our elders called 'turning a table upside down.' It generally means to reverse the established judgment when using an allusion or talking about a thing" lit pjTj HI3/? I I ffl ^ ^ £ % M ftn m £ t!i 3 3 8 This method is used when Qu Bingyun writes about a plum tree that "tried blooming in late autumn." Since plum trees normally blossom in early spring, the one Qu is writing about came into bud very early; Qu, however, writes that it is "a branch that has not bloomed since last spring" 7 ^ US This unusual treatment affects the interest of the poem. The technique, "fitting in with," means that language used to describe a thing should fit its manner. The critic Liu Xie M 45 (ca. 465-522) gives an explanation of this: "Their artful language catches the manner of things like a seal pressed in paste" ~Pj m ty] /IA iu B\] i_ Ep ?Jg. 3 3 9 The poem that Xi Peilan commends portrays a living image of Xi's daughter-in-law. Xi's comment, "fitting in with," suggests that the poetic image resembles her daughter-in-law. The last two critical notes of the above group commend the poems for their "roundness." This term also suggests "perfection," suggesting a quality of stylistic smoothness and polish, also an important value. Yan Yu says, "roundness is important in diction" j | fg M W, and Yang Zai requires a "concept to be presented in a round and lively manner" i& M H HI ?rS-340 The remaining twenty-five critical remarks by Xi, Gui and Bao also refer to the traditional art of poetry. Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar maintain that the association of the pen and the paintbrush with the phallus in metaphors of creativity resulted in an "anxiety of authorship" for aspiring women writers in nineteenth-century England: to wield a pen is a masculine act that puts the woman writer at war with her body and her culture. In other words, the female poet must confront her predecessors who are almost exclusively male, and significantly different from her. Not only do these predecessors incarnate patriarchal authority, but they also attempt to enclose the female writer in definitions of her person and her potential that are in a drastic conflict with her subjectivity, her autonomy and her creativity. Thus, a Wei Qingzhi comp., Jade Chips of the P o t e f f A 31 M (Shiren yuxie), Shanghai: Guji chubanshe, 1978, p. 148. 3 3 9 The translation is taken from Owen, Readings in Chinese Literary Thought, p. 282. 3 4 0 Ibid., pp. 415 and 448. 152 woman writer experiences "anxiety of authorship," which is a radical fear that she cannot create as men do. To alleviate her anxiety, she tends to seek a female predecessor who proves by example that a revolt against patriarchal literary authority is possible. 3 4 1 Did Xi Peilan, Gui Maoyi and Bao Yin have such an "anxiety of authorship?" Did a major portion of their remarks relating to traditional art of poetry imply this anxiety? When confronted with the male-dominated literary history, Xi, Gui and Bao likely developed a fear that they could not write good poems. However, they did not seek a female predecessor to solve their anxiety, as did the nineteenth-century English women writers. In their critical remarks, the only one relating to a female predecessor, Li Qingzhao, was to point out how a line by Qu Bingyun was superior to a line by Li. All other positive references relate to the great male poets such as Qu Yuan, Qin Guan, Wen Tingyun, Li Shangyin, and Zhou Bangyan. This implies that Xi , Gui and Bao wanted to overcome their anxiety in a different way. Xi , Gui and Bao received traditional literary educations and accepted the traditional system of values as legitimate. They, therefore, sought to master the traditional art of poetry to dismiss the anxiety they might have had. Their reading of Qu Bingyun is a reading of part of themselves. They tried to attest that Qu was a qualified writer by connecting her work to the poetic tradition—mastering the poetic tradition proved a poet successful. Most poems that Qu Bingyun composed are in regulated verse or in the c/'form. Yan Yu indicates, "Regulated verse is more difficult than old-style verse. Quatrains are more difficult than octaves [eight-line regulated verse]" W W H M ~& i ^ I 1̂  A ^ J ; 3 4 2 ci poetry is also a difficult form. Qu might have wanted to prove herself a skilful poet by choosing to write in these forms. 5.3 Qu Bingyun's Critical Opinions See Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, pp. 45-59. The translation is taken from Owen, Readings in Chinese Literary Thought, p. 418. 153 Through other members' readings of her poetry, Qu Bingyun communicated with the rest of the feminist discourse community. Qu also exchanged critical opinions with them in other ways such as talking directly or writing letters. Qu's recorded critical opinions in expository form are found in her letter to Xi Peilan quoted by Sun Yuanxiang in his Biography {$ (Zhuan) of Qu Bingyun. 3 4 3 These express Qu's basic understanding of poetry and some special insight into it. Among her critical opinions, those regarding choosing model poets from classical poetry traditions from the perspective of a female poet are especially informative. Poetic Qualities: Purity, Naturalness and Uniqueness Qu Bingyun mentioned Yuan Mei's "nature and inspiration" (2:9b) before she met him and at a later time she claimed that she had been "born with 'nature and inspiration'" £ 3fc W II and that her poetry was their product (3:15b). As mentioned before, Bao Yin confirmed that Qu advocates "nature and inspiration." Therefore, it is very likely that Qu studied Yuan's poetics and poetry before becoming his disciple. In the letter to Xi Peilan regarding poetic basics Qu Bingyun highlights human feelings and emotions f t (qing) and elaborates on their sources. She claims: "As a way [of expression], poetry is best to articulate the feelings and emotions [of a poet] naturally, not to discuss issues" |# z> M it, IX ^ Ii Ira, S J¥ tf BMX. (See Sun Yuanxiang, Biography). Qu holds that feelings and emotions articulated in poetry come from the poet's self-cultivated mind, in which there are two major elements involved— will ^ (zhi) and discernment H (shi). Qu Bingyun regards the will as primary and describes its cultivation as follows: [In order to awaken her will, the poet] must cast off her worldly concerns and raise her mind to reach the nobility of Emperor Fu X i , by cleaning her soul in the Salty P o o l 3 4 4 and 3 4 3 Sun Yuanxiang's Biography of Qu Bingyun is included in YYJ. 3 4 4 The scholar Wang Yi I£ £fe of the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 B. C.) explains the "Salty Pool" in Qu Yuan's Encountering Sorrows: "The 'Salty Pool ' is the place where the sun bathes" J^, ftfi, B YS^^- Yu Xueman The Exact Implication of the Encountering Sorrow^. IS IE i l (Lisao zhengyi), Hong Kong: Xueman Yiwenyuan, 1955, p. 144. "Salty Pool" is also the name of the Yellow Emperor's music, as 154 washing her hair in the Silver Water P o o l 3 4 5 M^W^M'L^ M f l THL, I# A IL ^ (See Sun, Biography). Emperor Fu Xi (2852-2738 B. C.) is a mythical sage. It is said that he first drew the trigrams and that these trigrams became the core elements of the hexagrams of the Classic of Changes. Salty Pool is a mythical bathing pool as well as the name of the sage-king Yellow Emperor's music. When Confucian scholars mentioned these sages and legends, they usually emphasized morality. Qu, however, uses them allegorically to describe the process through which the poet can achieve purity and nobility of her soul in order to awaken her will. When her soul becomes pure and noble, the poet achieves a high level of discernment. Qu continues, [When one learns how to] identify false styles, she will be able to sing a vocal solo to the finest string, to shake her clothing in rosy clouds, and rest her vision above peaks. She, in other words, achieves a poet's discernment fj§ f§ S!J H£, ^ tJ||, fM ^ WL §5r f=! Tl ± , i A Z l f i (See Sun, Biography). This passage means that when she has discernment, a poet is capable of selecting true and worthwhile things for her themes and of creating unique and outstanding works of her own. The will and discernment of a poet form the basis for her spontaneously generated feelings and emotions. These feelings and emotions can be characterized as unique, natural, and free from worldly influences, as Qu explains again in an allegorical way: the Scholar Zheng Xuan fft ;£ (127-200 B .C. ) states in the Book of Rites: Music i t jjg: ^ 13 (Liji: yueji): "The 'Salty Pool ' is the name of music composed by the Yellow Emperor. Yao augmented and revised this music for his own use." Jifc ftfj, ̂  ^ iff ^ £ -fc. % i t (If M M Z- See Sun Xidan, pp. 995-6. 3 4 5 "Silver Water Pool" refers to the Milky Way, which is also seen in Su Shi's poem "Responding to Wen Yuke's 'The Garden Pool in Yangzhou'" (thirty poems): Terrace by the Heavenly River:" in ~$C "BJ # jtl H tfe (H-f~): 7v M H (He Wen Yuke Yangzhou yuanchi: Tianhantai):" "The east border of the Heavenly River reaches upward to the Gods" f l vM £ # _h M I I- Wang Wen'gao 3 i 3£ IS comp., A Poetry Anthology of Su ShiM H M M (Su Shi shiji), Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1982, p. 670. 155 When [one is like] a plant releasing sprouts out of the dirt and growing and revealing her natural roots, [like] a piece of jade cloud flowing alone, and [like] the plain spring season arriving by no artificial tracks, she has a poet's feelings, th |jt H If, it if A IS, H ft Wl f±, M # M J R , ft A 2. If (See Sun, Biography). In short, Qu Bingyun highlights purity, naturalness and uniqueness in poetic creation. She employs the essence of Yuan Mei's theory of "nature and inspiration" in defining the poet's feelings and emotions by claiming naturalness and uniqueness of feelings and emotions, and singles out "purity" of feelings and emotions-freedom from worldly things-and underscores it, which is consistent with her fellow female disciples Xi Peilan, Gui Maoyi and Bao Yin. In addition, Qu explores self-cultivation of feelings and emotions. Qu's opinions regarding self-cultivation fall into a conventional frame of poetics, but they are non- traditional in content. Confucian tradition requires a poet to cultivate his will and discernment in morality. For example, the Confucian scholar Ye Xie requires discernment (shi), talent Jf (cai), courage JH (dan) and power JJ (li) from a poet. In his theory, morality guides discernment, the key element among the four. 3 4 6 However, the way Qu Bingyun proposes to cultivate her will is through discarding worldly concerns and making the soul pure and noble. Her definition of discernment places emphasis on finding trueness, uniqueness and excellence, not morality. Li Shangyin: Acknowledged Model and Female Language Stephen Owen observes that Tang and Song poets often imitate their predecessors and that during the Ming and Qing, there were groups of poets who modeled themselves on Tang or Song poets. 3 4 7 Although Yuan Mei commends Qu Bingyun for writing on her own instead of imitating the works of her predecessors, she declares that she favours Tang poetry and acknowledges Li Shangyin as her model. The following is an interesting dialogue between Qu Bingyun and Xi Peilan, in which Qu J 4 b Wang and Wu, p. 296. 3 4 7 Stephen Owen ed., & trans., An Anthology of Chinese Literature: Beginnings to 1911, New York and London: W. W. Norton &Company, 1996, p. 684. 156 explains why she has chosen Li Shangyin, not Du Fu (712-770) or Li Bai (701-762), as her model: D u Fu's writing is like a vast ocean's swirling waves caused by playful fighting between [huge] fish and dragons; I dare not imitate him. L i Bai's writing is like rosy clouds in the sky that no ladders can reach; I cannot imitate him. I only have a desire to learn from L i Shangyin A s ^ $ n A ^ M M , ^ f i f f t J c , ^ ^ P m . A H $ P ^ « A ^ J g A B {fc^m^.Tbffi m M £ 3E m (See Sun, Biography). When Xi Peilan heard this, she challenged Qu by stating that Li Shangyin writes about fairy worlds and palace ladies; his poetry is like that of the "Poetic Style of Romance" ffe f § (Yanti), and its language is secretive. Replying that it is worthy of imitation, Qu said that Li was a very talented poet but his unconventional behaviour led him to be dismissed from political circles, and in order to escape further persecution, he had to express his thoughts in an indirect way. His way of writing poetry was derived from the Airs JE (Feng) of the Classic of Poetry and should not be considered secretive. Also, some of Li's poems that were in the guise of fairy tales and love stories actually voice the frustrations of his political career, echoing Qu Yuan's Encountering Sorrows as well as the Lesser Odes / J \ f t (Xiaoya) of the Classic of Poetry. Qu voices her disagreements with the opinions that Xi Peilan stated by asking, "Why do some people criticize Li Shangyin's poems as nonsense and treat them as continuations of the Fragrant Mirrors i f Sr (Xianglian) or the Jade Terrace 3E H {Yutai)"348 HXMWW: mm^m,nmm^.mZ^.¥ (Sun Yuanxiang, Biography)? 3 4 9 The Fragrant Mirrors is a poetry style initiated by the late Tang poet Han Wo's f t {Ji (ca. 842-923) Collection from the Fragrant Mirrors f f f (Xianglian ji). This style was used to write about women and items found in their boudoirs. The Jade Terrace style was derived from the New Songs of the Jade Terrace, an anthology of love poems and witty poems about the royal court compiled by Xu Ling. The Jade Terrace style was subsequently used in the imperial palaces to write about romance. It became popular during the Six Dynasties (420-589) and came to be known as the Palace Poetry Style H f t (Gongti). All these styles were referred to with a derogatory term, the Poetic Style of Romance in later times. 3 4 9 It is worth noting that Qu Bingyun consciously excludes Du Fu and Li Bai and chooses Li Shangyin as her model, even though Du Fu and Li Bai were widely recognized as the greatest poets of Chinese tradition. Du Fu, the "poet-historian," closely observed contemporary political and social conditions and created powerful poetic images illustrating them. Li Bai, "a poet of fantasy" in Stephen Owen's words (See Owen, An Anthology of Chinese Literature, p. 398), wandered through east and southeast China 157 To model oneself on a poet means mainly to learn from the themes and the language of that poet. As a woman whose life was primarily restricted to the family domain, Qu acknowledges that Li Shangyin, not Du Fu and Li Bai, is most familiar to her. Although she cannot find many similarities between Li Shangyin's experience and her own, the themes of his poetry share her poetic interests since he writes mainly about love, friendship and women. She learns from both Li's poetic themes and his language while disregarding the political overtones of his poems. For example, Qu Bingyun employs conventional images of peach blossoms as the symbol for Arcadia, which may be credited to Li Shangyin's frequent use of fairy tale imagery and similar symbols. 3 5 0 She also borrows a number of words directly from Li Shangyin's poetry, for example, tanlang f f IP (my man) 3 5 1 yaose 1% M (jade zither) 3 5 2 and jingkai$j% (framed mirror) 3 5 3 Also, Qu derives many images from those of Li. For example, she recreates the image of "a veined dust-proof rhinoceros-horn" 3c W M Hf ^ from Li's "The rhinoceros [horn] protects from the dust and the jade protects from the cold" H U$ H 5 Iff I I , 3 5 4 the image of "a message about the young girl" f from Li's "I am expecting a message from the green sparrow" | t , H f ii 3 5 5 and "I feel cold and my heavy quilt seems thin like gauze" J | M # Hf {IX H from Li's "how many layers is this fragrant gauze thinner?" f l i l M 3 5 6 Some of these words and images and created unusual and ingenious poetic images to illustrate the marvels of nature. Since Li Shangyin unwisely moved from one political camp to another, he became involved in many feuds and his career was obstructed, causing him to create ambiguous images of love, friendship, women and historical figures to voice his frustrations. 3 5 0 An example of Qu Bingyun's images of peach blossoms is in her poem, "To the Tune of Picking Mulberry-Leaves Girls: Peach Blossoms" ^ fa ("Caisangzi: taohua," translated in Chapter VI). 3 5 1 Qu Bingyun used "tanlang" in Poem 7, which Li Shangyin had used in his poem "My Elder Brother Wang Shi'er, Together With Weizhi, Has Visited Me and Invited Me for a Light Drink. Since the Day for Me to Mourn My Wife's Death Approaches, I cannot Go, yet I Write this Poem to Send to Them" 3T£ + — JH m H Z m. fl- *B iS, M m 'b tfc, m f m n t B ^ 3c m W ("Wang Shi'er Xiong yu Weizhi yuanwai xiangfang jianzhao xiaoyin, shi yu daowangri jin, buqu yinji"), Ye Congqi MW^, Annotations and Commentaries on the Poetry of Li Shangyin ^ jl§ IS f# It ©fni (Li Shangyin shiji shuzhu), Beijing: Renmin wenxue chubanshe, 1985, p. 151. 3 5 2 Qu Bingyun used "yaose" (also refers to jade zither) in Poem 53 (see Chapter VI), which had been used in Li Shangyin's "The West Creek" jg g§ (Xixi), Ye, p. 105. 3 5 3 Qu Bingyun used "jingkan" in Poem 26 (see Chapter VI), which had been used in Li Shangyin's "The Framed Mirror" § | ;ff ("Jingkan"), Ye, p. 339. 3 5 4 See Poem 33 in Chapter VI and Li's poem "The Jade City" @ $c ("Bicheng"), Ye, p. 174. 3 5 5 See Poem 40 in Chapter VI and Li's poem "The Goddess Temple" H ^ jfWJ ("Shengnu ci"), Ye, p. 365. 3 5 6 See Poem 35 and Li's "Left Untitled" U | | ("Wuti"), Ye, p. 396. 158 appeared in other poets' works prior to Qu, but it is likely that Qu Bingyun learned them from Li Shangyin. As Alicia Ostriker points out, language is primarily male-oriented, but women have always tried to "steal" it from men to express their own experiences. However, women writers needed to revise male-oriented language to have it in their power, to seize speech and make it express what they mean, namely, to make it a specifically female language. 3 5 7 Qu Bingyun perfectly demonstrates how this occurs. She had to make use of the language of classical Chinese poetry, which is a male-oriented one, to write about her feelings and experiences as a woman. Qu found it difficult to adapt Li Bai's language of bizarre imagery and Du Fu's language of social and historical imagery for her own use, but she found Li Shangyin's language much more useful for her purposes. Qu chose not to borrow the language from the Fragrant Mirrors and the Jade Terrace poems, even though they are more directly related to women and their lives, for the possible reason that the Fragrant Mirrors and the Jade Terrace had a bad reputation and were not rich in masterpieces. However, Li Shangyin was considered the most outstanding poet of the Late Tang, although people compared some of his poems with those of the "Poetic Style of Romance." Qu argued against this comparison and instead likened his work to the Classic of Poetry and the Encountering Sorrows, both of which started the Chinese literary tradition and represent orthodox poetry. Thus, Qu claimed that her poetry too represented orthodox verse. As we have seen, the members of this feminist discourse community took the principles of Yuan Mei's 'nature and inspirations' and his feminist theories as their basis. They also explored women-related poetic concepts further through their interactive activities, a major model of which, reading-commenting, has been discussed in this chapter. All the members affirmed Qu Bingyun to be a good poet and gave their approval of her expression of a woman's experience in poetry. Yuan Mei reads Qu 3 5 7 Alicia Ostriker, "The Thieves of Language: Women Poets and Revisionist Mythmaking" in The New Feminist Criticism: Essays on Women Literature, and Theory (Elaine Showalter ed., New York: Pantheon Books, 1985), pp. 314-37. 159 in a more personal and friendly way, while the female members read Qu from a more collective-public viewpoint and try to connect her poetry with tradition. This discrepancy is likely due to the gender differences explained by Nancy Chodorow: women always try to connect themselves to others, while men frequently seek separation from the rest of the world. Therefore, these women liked to discover connections between their creations and authority, through which they felt to be legitimized. Yuan Mei, however, was more concerned with individualism in poetic creation, which meant that Qu was a success from his poetic standpoint. The classical poetic techniques and values that women liked to follow stemmed from a patriarchal culture but were not necessary gendered as male. Unlike images and metaphors which were created by men in previous times and which embody the male ideology, forms and techniques become largely independent from the culture they were derived from; they can be used to express men's ideology, and can also be utilized to articulate female thoughts. In order to prove Qu as an outstanding poet, Yuan Mei also points out that Qu Bingyun observes poetic conventions. This by no means indicates that Yuan Mei thinks of classical forms as the male authority. Though imperceptibly, these women had in fact begun to revise tradition in order to make it fit their own particular needs. For instance, their understanding of "purity" for evaluating a female text and Qu Bingyun's choice of Li Shangyin as her language model are of great significance when viewed in the framework of developing women's literature, because these facts evidenced that the women started exploring traits of women's literature and particular ways of creating it. A writer and her discourse community are inter-determined. She accepts the writing principles and interpretative strategies in a discourse community of which she is a member. Then, she joins the activities of the community, generating new ideas to be added to the theories. In turn, the community informs her of new ideas that will re-shape her concepts and writing practices. During the course of this particular interactive activity, namely reading-commenting on Qu's poetry, this feminist discourse community had gained new ideas, especially the ideas about female writing of poetry. The discourse community would inform Qu Bingyun as well as other members of the newly formed theories, which would in turn re-shape their poetry. 160 Chapter VI Poetry Qu Bingyun's poetry is primarily family-oriented. It falls under two categories, (1) her domestic life and (2) her social networks. The poetry in the first category focuses on Qu's family life and natural phenomena found in her domestic surroundings (hereafter referred to as "home-based nature"). The poetry in the second category concerns Qu's relations with others outside her domestic sphere. Qu's poetry opens up a world of a gentry woman's private life and feelings to an extent had not seen much earlier in classical Chinese poetry. 6.1 A Gentry Woman's Domestic Life: Poems on Family Life and 'Home-Based Nature' On Family Life Qu Bingyun frequently celebrates the details of her domestic life, writing about almost everything she encounters in her daily life: getting up early, going to bed late, reading books, writing poetry, or learning to paint. She also chooses household objects, as well as her family including herself, as her subjects. Qu, however, has to face a problem when she chooses to write about her daily life, namely, there is no preferable 'aesthetic distance' between the poet and what she writes about—daily life is too familiar to inspire her to write poetry. Edward Bullough defines aesthetic distance as "psychical distance," which is a sense of separation between "one's own self" and the object of aesthetic contemplation—a sense that permits the observer to experience the object in isolation from his or her personal concerns and from all "practical needs and ends . " 3 5 8 A certain psychical distance is also necessary for literary inspiration because the poet needs to reduce familiarity with the object, as people's senses are more responsive to novelty. Yet, Qu Bingyun's poetic creations prove that she overcame the lack of aesthetic distance. 161 The following excerpts are selected from a set of twelve poems entitled "Miscellany on the Remaining Spring Days" i # i 1 ("Canchun zayong"), which are about her everyday activities in late spring—working in the yard, watering in-door potted lotus, drying out tea, changing seasonal cloths, preparing for a party, obtaining a maid, watching the moon at night, buying roses, going to show her new poem to her husband, working on a painting, and so on. [Poem 23] Miscellany on the Remaining Spring Days (fifth poem) The living cherry wood flames fumigate new tea. | f f $!< ffi ik_ @ f j f Fragrance comes out of the silver walls of jasmine blossoms. ^ £B IH JM |j@ ^ Its green shadows were clear, all day, pure as water. &BBf^:M U zK, The ripples now are motionless, soaking my window gauze. 3 5 9 Wi^-^fWl^M^ (2:6a) [Poem 24] Miscellany on the Remaining Spring Days (sixth poem) To wash inkstones and to burn incense— endless chores. -fill H HI ^ TM, I have to have a maid follow me around. | g Mf f® 7 J N f t JI- I call her using the name of the Xiang River's plant IP]2 ^ i H fa W AC 3 5 8 Edward Bullough, Aesthetics: Lectures and Essays, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1957, pp. 93- 6. 162 In order for her to put down soft roots in "many an acre." 3 6 0 (2:6a) Poem 23 captures the occasion of drying out tea, which Sun Yuanxiang describes as, "extremely quiet and obscure and there are humans in it" if fH $g H, A T̂£ S nb (2:6a). Although it gives readers an impression of stillness and silence, this poem is actually filled with motion. The speaker is behind the scenes, but she dominates the poem—she sees the cherry-like flames burning, smells the fragrance of jasmine flowers and tea, visualizes the tea growing in the fields fresh like pure water and finally her mind's eye returns back to the room and "sees" the "ripples" of the fragrance soaking the window gauze. Poem 24 gives an account of the poet obtaining a maid because there are too many chores. Since there is an allusion to the line "I have tended many an acre of orchids" 3 6 1 in the Encountering Sorrow, readers know that the poet calls the maid by a name containing the word "orchid" (Ian) and that she will 'cultivate' the maid in poetry. Also, largely due to this allusion, the imagery is enriched because reality intertwines with the poetic world, the present with the past. The following three poems were composed after Qu Bingyun got up early in the morning; here the "jade ropes" may refer to the rain outside her door and the "whitewashed pillars" to patches of rain in the distance: The Chinese used to fumigate tea with jasmine flowers. "The silver walls" refer to the fumigating oven made of tin, while the "green shadows" are reminiscent of tea growing in the fields. "The ripples" figuratively describe a strong fragrance. "Many an acre" alludes to Qu Yuan's line "I had tended many an acre of orchids" ^ ;M M ~Z. fl f$G This translation is taken from The Songs of the South: An Ancient Chinese Anthology of Poems by Qu Yuan and Other Poets (David Hawkes trans., Harmondsworth: Penguin Book Ltd., 1985), p. 69. 3 6 1 Hawkes, p. 69. [Poem 25] Early Morning in M y Room for Collecting Lotus (first poem) H 5^ ^ The potted orchids bloom and the potted plum trees follow. 163 In my closed bedroom, delicate fragrance circles a hundred times. i 1 i f ' f t H 0 . The maid is not, after all, a great talent. Ijl % A J t #F #J. On arrival, she opens the green windows first. J[J 5fe JG H iig Jfl- (4:8a) [Poem 26] Early Morning in M y Room for Collecting Lotus (second poem) Below the emerald bamboo curtain, rain murmurs. § ^ ^ T i l i = Between jade ropes and a framed mirror A ^ ^ t l IIE feEJ. I am watching a block of topless whitewashed pillars. —• ffi 5B jfrj ^ 1§, The window lattices are clear; inside them I seem to sit in a deep valley. J§ f|| ?jf fl̂ i, #5: L L [ . (4:8a) [Poem 27] Early Morning in M y Room for Collecting Lotus (third poem) I hesitate downstairs and go to bed upstairs. | H A fr< Hi W: A IS, Using a jade stairway I pass up and down nimbly every day.Hs. t £ B SI This morning, I go downstairs earlier, ^ i|H §P A M As someone has urged me to dip my writing brush. j=| ^ A fit H= ^ 9h- (4:8a) When she gets up earlier than usual one morning the poet obtains a fresh sensation of the blossoms of potted plants, the rain outside and the stairway, which are ordinary objects in her home surroundings. The first quatrain describes a moment when 164 she feels that the fragrance of blossoms is especially delicate, yet she soon loses it. The second expresses how she feels when she sits in her room while it is raining: the rain is like jade ropes falling from the sky and murmurs on the ground near the door curtain. In the distance, the waves of rain resemble topless pillars that make Qu's room appear like a deep valley. The two objects--the clear window lattices in front of her through which she is watching the rain far away and the framed mirror behind her~ seem to broaden the space where she is sitting. Xi Peilan comments on the line, "The window lattices are clear, inside which /1 seem to sit in a deep valley" in the following way: "[This] has not been said by anyone" A IS A i l (4:8a). In the last quatrain, the poet explains why she has gotten up so early that day. After gaining recognition in her region, Qu received many requests for her poems, paintings and calligraphy works, but she does not mention in the poem what kind of work she is going to do and for whom. In this quatrain, the poet also discloses some information about the structure of her house and her daily life: her bedroom is upstairs and her study and living rooms are downstairs; she goes up and down everyday by using a "jade stairway." Qu often singles out one of her home objects to write about, and one spring day she wrote a poem about her mirror: [Poem 28] Facing a Mirror $j £ j | |Jt| Too lazy to express my spring sorrows with the strings on paulownia wood. Idly, I lean on my dressing table, asking the mirror to speak for me. How can I, make this round ice-like thing deep as the moon, So I can fly into the Great Cold Palace m m m is m m m, 165 after making myself up? Jj£ $C fft A JS H (2:7a) Qu's "spring sorrows" in this poem may allude to her unhappiness about love, or even her sadness over falling petals, but in any case she expresses these emotions through a mirror that she faces everyday. After associating the mirror with a round piece of ice and comparing it to the moon, Qu imagines that one day she will fly through the mirror to the fairy palace she sees in it. When reading this poem, Wu Weiguang exclaimed with admiration: "These imaginings are unusual" % H iff i§ (2:7a)! Qu Bingyun also wrote some poems about her family members and their lives, as seen in Poem 6, "On the New Year's Eve of the Xinyou Year (1801)," which depicts the joy of the whole family and shows Qu's devotion to serving her seniors and looking after her juniors, Poem 4, "To the Tune of Lily Magnolia Flower (Brief Form): Presented to Ziliang when I Bought Him a Concubine," which reveals her consideration for her husband and his strong sexual drive and Poem 3, "Serving My Mother-in-law at Her Sickbed," which is about her worries of not being able to take good care of her mother- in-law due to her own poor health. In the following poems, Qu takes the roles of wife and guardian, respectively: [Poem 29] Parting from M y Husband Who Is Going to the Provincial Examinations (first poem) j | | f̂-1=3 ISl On an autumn evening, I am sending you off. jCP fX *L 5? Us W f j , The red candle, producing a blossom, seems emotional. H ® :£ 3@ JI W lit- I wish you could get rid of your 'fondness for the flowers and moon,' JH % 5$ | ^ ft JS, From now on, do not be known only for poetry. ^ HA ftf 5=\- 362 "The strings on paulownia wood" refers to a zither, as the Chinese use paulownia wood to make 166 (l:19a-b) [Poem 30] Parting with M y Husband Who Is Going to the Provincial Examinations (second poem) The crescent moon shines on our tilted wine glasses. — I f JH H M $I> When a short separation approaches How could we be reluctant to talk for long? /\\ S'J {RJ Wi IrS A S ? Don't sigh when you hold a jiaotong zither again. H Jf3 M ffl #1 '|I In this world, there still is a 'Cai Zhonglang.' 5 6 5 A Pel m W ^ 'I3 IP- (l:19a-b) [Poem 31] Shown to the Jade Girl T J ^ 7>C It A You, the little daughter of a concubine, are litchi-like. #1 / J N H t £ I R L You accompany me when I experience worries and disease. f-£ ^ |&| -Iff f̂3- I have been making nothing of hardships to bring you up. ^ l ij jf-f jjlf $C Jfe, Smart you are; your demeanour is much like your father's. If§ ^ ^ W Î T ?P M - zithers. 363 "Jiaotong" ("charred wood of paulownia") and "Cai Zhonglang" allude to a story of Cai Yong fgf H (Cai Zhonglang, 132-192) in the History of the Later Han Dynasty, which says: "Cai Yong heard the sounds of burning firewood of paulownia when someone was cooking with it and knew that the firewood was good for making zithers. He asked to cut off a piece of it to make a zither. It made a beautiful sound. Since the end of the zither was charred, contemporaries called it the 'charred end zither'." A W 'M flU \>X f t Ml Fan Ye m B$, The History of the Later Han Dynasty History: The Biography of Cai Yong § | U H (Hou Hanshu: Caiyouzhuan), Taipei: Chengwen chubanshe youxian gongsi, 1971, p. 3098. 167 A flowering plant must grow high as early as possible to reach green windows. Being anxious that your studies are delayed I have taught you by a flaming candle. M y face looks severe but I love you in my heart. Do not hurry when you flip coins or fight with flowers (4:13b) The above poems resemble those of Yuan Mei addressing his family members in their straightforwardness and colloquialism. Poems 29 and 30 were written around 1788, when Qu and her husband were in their twenties. In the first one the poet speaks from the traditional perspective of a moral instructress, making a demarcation between poetry and a man's career pursuits and urging her husband to pursue his career, most likely with the government, instead of indulging in poetry. This illustrates Qu's traditional values, while her demarcation indicates that at the time poetry was not treated as a serious calling but as an amusement. In the second poem, the poet seems to be consoling her husband by indicating that, in the future, if he would like to entertain himself by writing poetry she could join him. Sun Yuanxiang comments on Poem 29 by saying "this is the ancient theme of advising and encouraging" W] M "S" M (1:19a-b), while Wu Weiguang commends Poem 30: "This is really a legacy of the Airs and the Odes [of the Classic of Poetry]" MB*BZM (1:19a-b). "Shown to the Jade Girl," which addresses the daughter of a concubine is filled with caring and sounds like a gentle conversation. Xi Peilan says that she read this poem "as if she was hearing the conversation inside the green windows" $P S i iii A | § (4:13b). In other words, the poem resembles a loving mother talking with her children in her boudoir. Traditionally, a male poet addresses his family members, usually a son or a wife, in works with titles such as "Shown to My Son" or "Shown to My Wife" to express what he cannot or he does want to express orally. Qu Bingyun does not want to inform the little girl of something through her poem, because it is hard for a child to interpret. She, however, makes use of this tradition to reveal her affection for the girl. Qu did not give birth to any children, but she voluntarily took responsibility for the girl W't&mmBMu.. 168 she addresses in the poem and sometimes she also took care of her brother's son, Songman, who lived in her house. Qu entitles this poem "The Jade Girl," which is complimentary but vague, reflecting an awkward relationship between the poet and the girl who was born to Chunwu whom Qu bought for her husband for sexual purposes. Qu Bingyun wrote some poems about herself as well. She was an intensely self- conscious poet, as is illustrated by her self-eulogy, which reveals her confidence as a poet and her traditional values: [Poem 32] Wanxian's Self-Eulogy: on the Mid-Autumn Festival j | Hf ^ | ^f dp fX of Gengwu (1798) of the Jiaqing Reign Period fill"? 1=1 St Why do you look so thin and "stay on the dead twig?" tern? Why do you wear the melancholy expression of autumn? f ^ m ? Who are you? ^ i t i t HP? A declined orchid or A withered chrysanthemum? m :t m HP? Alas! Bf! The legacy of my ancestor's Encountering Sorrow!364 z MHP? (Preface) Qu wrote this self-eulogy at the age thirty, after she had already become an accomplished poet. In it she identifies herself as a professional poet, not an amateur or one who considers poetry a mere pastime. By alluding to the orchids and In the first line, the phrase "to stay on the dead twig" is taken from a story in the National Documents: Jin Document g gg: U |j§ (Guoyu: Jinyu, Shanghai: Shangwu yinshuguan, 1935, p. 101): Just like the birds that prefer flourishing branches to dead twigs, courtiers liked to make friends with those in power and not with those who lost power. Qu Yuan, however, would rather "stay on a dead twig"--be solitary— than associate with the mean ministers. The "orchids" and "chrysanthemums" in the fourth and fifth lines allude to the images in the Encountering Sorrow. Qu Yuan declared that he "had tended many an acre of the orchids" (See Hawkes, p. 69), suggesting that he had trained many young people who would perpetuate his literary and political pursuits. Qu Yuan also claimed that he had cultivated his virtues by assimilating many kinds of "fragrant plants" including chrysanthemums: "In the morning I drank the dew that fell from the magnolia;/ At evening ate the petal that dropped from chrysanthemums." Hawkes, p. 70. 169 chrysanthemums Qu Yuan says he cultivated, Qu Bingyun suggests that she is among his inheritors, and by referring to "staying on the dead twig" she declares that she has Qu Yuan's virtue of staying away from worldly advancement even if it means being solitary. In the introduction to their anthology of traditional Chinese women writers, Kang-I Sun Chang and Haun Haussy indicate that an allusion to an early poet "establishes lines of filiations and affiliation" and acts as "a kind of sociality across the centuries, the circulation of tokens and gestures that keep the tradition al ive." 3 6 5 This statement can help explain Qu Bingyun's above allusions. Namely, when making the connection between Qu Yuan and herself, Qu Bingyun naturally acknowledges that she is a legitimate poet even though due to her modest nature she says that she is merely a "declined" or "withered" inheritor of Qu Yuan. Qu Bingyun's entire life was devoted to poetic creation, as she indicated one year prior to writing her self-eulogy: [Poem 33] Words for Celebrating M y Thirtieth Birthday The autumn tinge, fresh and colourful, shines on my tower's terrace. Why do I need a veined "dust-proof rhinoceros-horn" 3 6 6 Having idled away half of my lifetime, I am living with poetry. In recent ten years, my pure happiness has been derived from disease M y shadow projects itself on the orchid window gauze when I sit by burning incense. 3 6 5 Sun Chang and Haun, p. 6. 3 6 6 "Veined dust-proof rhinoceros horn" refers to a legendary rhinoceros horn that was dust-proof, of which Ren Fang f#J (460-508) gave the following account: "The rhinoceros that prevents dust is a sea animal. Its horn is dust-proof. If it is placed on a cushion, the horn prevents the cushion from being soiled even by a single particle of dust. §p MB, M M t k , M ^ n J3 M- %L (Wi 2. t§ M. M %k ^ A - Ren + ¥ ut ^ 41 170 The flowers of my disordered hair bun bloom in front of the mirror. H ijt ~Vc t£ %i t i US- In this world, I don't think that fine silk is the best. 7ft % A ftl H If £F, I am happy with the cotton skirt, which was made when I got married. f̂j t̂ j H H W- ĉ- (2 : l lb -12a) The theme of autumn is conventionally melancholic. 3 6 7 Yet, the autumn setting of this poem is pleasant, summing up Qu's life with two major themes, poetry and disease. She is content with her life because of poetry despite her constantly failing health. This poem also reveals Qu's preferred life-style: a simple and cozy one rather than a luxurious one, which reflects the traditional intellectual values of Confucius: "The gentleman rests at ease in poverty" 3 6 8 f | @ | g . Poetry and disease have been Qu's companions since a very tender age and they have significantly affected her life. As she puts it in the above poem, "My pure happiness has been derived from disease." This is because Qu had been able to enjoy poetry partly due to the bad health that freed her from a lot of housework. However, she also suffered from a disease that was unbearable at times. In many poems Qu describes her physical and psychological torment caused by the disease. The following are two of them: [Poem 34] Feeling of the disease -Ijsj j Too stunned to see chrysanthemum petals on the cold green lichen, I've not opened my red windows several days m 0 u. m * m m- Fang, The Accounts of Things Strange M H | H (Shuyiji, 2:10a), in A Book Collection of the Han and Wei Dynasties H I I i t I I (Hanwei congshu), v. 89:2, Hunan: Hunan Yiwen Shuju, 1894. 3 6 7 See Note 373 in this chapter. 3 6 8 Zhao Cong annoted, The Analects of Confucius: Duke Ling of Wei, p. 328. 171 In the sickbed I especially cherish time as it passes like flowing water. In my dreams, I formed those lines so they have nothing to do with talent. Geese pass over my tower to a message, While my swallow-like hair drops onto (2:15a) 3 oem 35] the cloud-like pillows. u • m m i * I should burn some incense again as medicine, & m m After laughing at the most 'talented' silvers and leaves. m Writing by Chance to Divert Myself from Liver Disease iff -Ijsf I have no way out of great pain when the spring comes. I use silvers and leaves to ease my sick body, but they have not done any good. I lie, my eyes often wide open, as clear as water, I feel cold and my thick quilt seems thin like silk. The medicine does not help when I toss and turn. Seeing new blossoms of plum trees I start to be afraid of idling away the time. In bed my hair falls down depressingly, like heavy clouds. I have dropped hairpins and abandoned pearls for a month. (1:18a) ft mm m mm m 172 In both poems, "silvers and leaves" refer respectively to needles used in acupuncture and to Chinese herbal medicine. In Poem 34, there is a pun in the concluding line: "material" # (cai) is a homonym of "talent" zY (cai). This pun means that although there are various "talents" (materials) involved in medicine, they did not cure her disease. Having taken the medicine for a long period of time, Qu lost her confidence in the medical treatment. Instead of taking more medicine, she worships Buddha and asks him to relieve her pain. In Poem 35 Qu describes her bitter experience of long-term liver disease that might have resulted in some psychological problems. Since this poem exposes Qu's anguish in a way that is so true to life and unique, Zhao Mingxiang comments, "People who have not experienced the disease cannot understand her situation" # f l H =j| ft (1:18a). The above poems make it clear that the familiarity of her family life was not an artistic problem for Qu. She had acute aesthetic sensibility and unusual imagination, which enabled her to be inspired by familiar situations. When Qu called her maid by the name of a fragrant plant alluding to the Encountering Sorrow, she betrayed herself as an inheritor of that literary work. The fact that she desired to fly to the fairy palace though a mirror in her room showed that the boundaries between history and present and between literary or fantastic worlds and reality disappeared for her. Qu lived in an artistic/fantastic world that she had created herself. The readers get a glimpse of that world through some details in Qu's descriptions of her daydreams such as: "I am confused if this is my body or a butterfly's? / The words of Zhuangzi are not fa lse" 3 6 9 H M JE ̂  I f I I ffl, H £±J W Jtt 3 ^ U, and, "I feel that there are numerous fantasies in this wor ld" j i 3fc tS ± # £ J (2:23b). Since Qu fantasized about her life and her surroundings and made them artistic she became a part of the artistic/fantastic world that she created; this way, she did not need to distance herself from her fantastic world to live her life and get her inspirations. On 'Home-Based Nature' 369 Zhuangzi: All Things Being Equal: "Long ago, Zhuang Zhou dreamed he was a butterfly fluttering among trees, doing as he pleased, completely unaware of a Zhuang Zhou. A sudden, awakening, and there, looking a little out of sorts, was Zhuang Zhou. Now, I don't know whether it is Zhou who dreamed her was a butterfly, or whether a butterfly dreams he's Zhuang Zhou." This translation, in which I change 173 Qu Bingyun wrote many poems on natural phenomena found in her home surroundings such as weather, seasons, time, planets, trees, flowers, birds and even worms. About eighty-five out of five hundred twenty-eight poems in her Collection from the Jade-Collecting Tower are on such themes. Qu projects her personal disposition, judgements, values and feelings onto the imagery of nature in her poems, making them strongly subjective. For example, when she writes on a natural object, Qu tends to describe her sense of the object instead of its real appearance. Yuan Mei suggested this in his praise of Poem 15, "Autumn Dew:" "Every line captures the true soul of autumn dew." Readers can sense the soul of an object even when they do not see it, and, they get a better sense of authenticity when they explore the soul of the object rather than reading a faithful description of its physical appearance, as illustrated by the following two poems: [Poem 36] A New Autumn Evening iff fX 5? By chance, slightly ill, I circle my winding corridor. I find that even their leaves are perfumed when the lotuses stay still. The sky moves about disorderly, while the stars make sounds. The Silver Bay hangs obliquely; the river shines. Deep in the bushes, slumbering butterflies are dreaming sweetly this autumn. In the darkened comers insects are chanting on this cool and bright night. "Chuang Chou" into "Zhuang Zhou" according to the pinyin system, is taken from The Essential: Chuang 174 I want to descend the steps to walk about further. I\J> WL ~T Pit f X — M, I hesitate, as I may not be able to bear so much dew. Jf. %r H raft W IH- (4 :22a) There are some bizarre images created in this poem—the lotuses are still and quiet, while the stars move around and produce sounds, and the moon hangs over the river, making the water shine. The poet, rather than portraying real stars and moon in the sky, depicts their images reflected in the lotus pool, where, because of the ripples, reflected images of the start seem to fall down and move about disorderly, crashing into each other and making sounds. "The Silver Bay" conventionally stands for the moon when it wanes like a hook. It is also reflected in the river, as if the moon were hanging in the sky of water. The above images are the poet's impressions of natural objects, which are unusual but vivid and realistic. Lingke }fg % comments, "this poem is pure and gorgeous; its closing line especially betrays the legacy of the Airs" fc fit fc f&. | p JH % f# J H A 1Z. A (4:22a). The readers may not be able to associate the closing line with the Airs of the Classic of Poetry, but they can appreciate the purity and gorgeousness of the poem's imagery. The readers can further enjoy similar imagery in the following poem about the moon, a frequent theme in the Collection from the Jade-Collecting Tower. [Poem 37] The Moon on the Night of the Sixteenth -jr 7\ ^ H A slice of the Silver Toad's image Is blown up by the wind to the jade sky. I am still unsure if tonight's full moon Is as round as last night. Tzu (Sam Hamill and J . P. Seaton trans., Boston & London: Shambhala, 1998), p. 18. 3 7 0 There are four phases of the moon that frequently appeared in classical Chinese poetry: the new moon $Fj (shuo), the first quarter _L 32 (shangxian), the full moon H (wang) and the last quarter ~F 32 (xiaxian). The full moon, according to the lunar calendar, is at the fifteenth day. 7& T£ ej 175 M y poetic thought is pure like water; ff̂ f fm 7JC, The flowers' fragrance becomes light mist. 7£ H $| \f Unaware of being under pure drew, ft fH f | ~F, I lean on the window alone. <Jtt § {Isf f|f fff. (1:4a) Qu Bingyun wrote this autumn poem around 1785, right after getting married. She describes the moon on the sixteenth day of the lunar calendar, possibly the day after the Mid-Autumn Festival, when it is supposed to be at its brightest. In the poem, the "Silver Toad," a common metaphor for the moon, is blown to the sky by the wind. From there it shines down on the world in the speaker's "poetic thought," which is "pure like water" (another conventional trope). It also extends to "a smoke of flower fragrance." The "pure dew," which also echoes the light of the "Silver Toad," is secretly "soaking" through the speaker's clothes. At night, in a peaceful and delighted mood, the speaker leans on a window watching the "Silver Toad." In her imaginative world, the speaker's poetic thought and the smell of the flowers become visual, and while the "pure dew" may be not real, the light of the "Silver Toad" is. She murmurs to herself, wondering if the "Silver Toad" is as round as last night's and about her lack of awareness of the "pure dew." Wu Weiguang remarks, "The sixth line captivates the soul and gets at the marrow, while the closing line has a long-lasting flavour" 7 \ "RJ IFJJ i t tfk f t , |p /ff n>fc ; | | (1:4a). Qu makes her family life an artistic world of which she is part; she also takes part in the nature, not merely as an observer but as a participant. Some of Qu's poems on nature are identified as masculine in style by Sun Yuanxiang. Since poetic tradition is a male tradition, it is natural for some to associate a number of Qu's poems with those of male poets. Yet, because Qu writes about what she perceives, her 'masculine' images are not necessarily created in masculine style, but rather it is the masculine style of an object that the poet senses. The poem about heavy rain reveals is a good example of this: [Poem 38] Heavy Rain (first poem) A M 176 The ink-like rain crashes on my windows from the turmoil of the cloudy sky. Vying to fly from the eaves troughs like hundreds of spurting fountains Afraid that the rice blossoms' fragrance will be drown and killed, I shout at the maid to walk through water, and look in front of the gate. (3:10b-lla) Initially, readers may relate the first two lines that so vividly capture the images of violent rain to Li Bai's "masculine style" poems, but when they read on, they realize that it is a very female perception of the rain. The poet, after all, describes the rain as "heavy and scary," while a male may regard it as nothing serious and treat it lightly. There is also a female sympathy for the plants in this poem. Another example is "To the Tune of Celebrating the Pure Morning: Watching Plum Trees In a Mountain Temple" flf fit !H: |±[ # H $S ("Qingqingzhao: shansi guanmei") which Sun Yuanxiang regards as masculine. The first stanza, on which Sun makes his comments, reads: m m n m E m A, [poem 39] Snow caresses your robe, making it lighter. Wind combs your temples, making them thinner Fragrance comes from an ancient Buddha niche. A piece of pure cold and A mild smell of sandalwood fuse together. Here, who held horizontally an iron flute, 3 7 1 3 7 1 "Holding horizontally an iron flute" alludes to the lines, "To trouble you more holding horizontally an iron flute, / blow a music for a group of immortals" H 'MII Sc I Jfil W fill fp in Hu Yin's fiB H (1098- mm& I f , fit IS ~~ J T i B W. ft] M, 5C l i 177 To call back the spring and wake up jade dragons? Idly I stand and stare at the surroundings- There the cold fragility Wrap the fragrant shrubs, (c 7) The depicted images in this c/poem appear to be remote, indifferent, and calm. Sun Yuanxiang sees these images as "pure, masculine, contemplative, and melancholic" fit M. m i f and says, "I did not expect to see these qualities in a woman's poetry" ^ 1 1 1 1 | ^ . However, Qu created these images from her impression of the "remoteness, indifference and calmness" of her surroundings, and the tropes and allusions that she used in creating these images are quite feminine: wind "combs" the temples and snow "caresses" the robe, and shrubs are "fragrant." The allusions, "[who] holding horizontally an iron flute" and "[the music] waking up jade dragons," seem to be masculine. They, however, create a series of vivid images of the wind and snow to give the readers a beautiful scene that is not masculine at all: The wind is blowing and making a sound like music of "an iron flute." It stirs up snow as if jade dragons were woken up and flying. Qu also makes use of nature to express her various moods and convey her thoughts and values, as Yuan Mei has pointed out that Poem 19, "Songs of Passing the Summer" (third poem), exposes the cares of an intellectual in the boudoir, while Poem 22, "Words for the Double-Seven" (fourth poem), expresses Qu's ironic opinions about magpies. In the following c/poem Qu utilized the traditional theme "grievous autumn" 3 7 3 ("beiqiu") to express her worries: m # m m 5 i w 11? m m f ? , mmn>m, 1156) poem entitled "Presented to Mr. Liu When I Travel in Mt. Wuyi" W jSc % I f §U ^ ("You Wuyi Zeng Liusheng"), Fu Xuancong flf g | i§, Ni Qixin {£ S ;[> et al comp., Complete Song Poems j£ 5f5 f# (Quan Song shi), Beijing: Beijing daxue chubanshe, 1998, v 33, p. 20997. 3 7 2 "Jade dragons" alludes to flying snow, as in a line, "Jade dragons chilled Mt. Yan overnight" i l i l |JL| — 1 ^ 31 f i IS in Lu Yan's poem "I Am Writing This Poem by a Sword in Snow in Xiangyang" M H jit f# 11 R§ S tp- ("Jianhua cishi yu Xiangyang xuezhong"), Complete Tang Poems % JH f# [Quan Tang shi), Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1960, v.24, section 858, p. 9698. "Qiulong" $i| f i is a legendary smaller dragon with horns. 3 7 3 Since autumn is a season of decline, traditionally, poets expressed a melancholy mood through depicting the experience of autumn. It was commonly accepted that Song Yu's line "Grievous! Autumn is as an atmosphere" M M fX ~$L M M, Hi started the theme of "grievous autumn" in classical Chinese 178 [Poem 40] To the Tune of Fragrance fills the Garden: Autumn Atmosphere $| J|§ %k 33 fel Flowers are cut from light gauze. Paulownias pat their cold emeralds. flqj 31- I felt the chill when opening the curtains. Hfl J f J I J ! 8rt A message about the young girl W Wi #t % Wil l be brought to my sick bed. Iff ^ Over and over, my mind is racing, H M >LS 11 f̂e M y surroundings fill me {H 5u 5f5> With endless pure cold. M PiU §1 fit- I idly stand staring at fM3 H fr. A string of goose images — $2 jfH i ^ , When the word "melancholy" stands before my eyes. f& ^ i i "T4 fit- Vaguely, I seem to hear m ?#, A hollow but clear sound Ffc3 iTTJ / H E & f i , Coming in the melody of a flute mm m s r . And asking the sparse bushes: mm HI Have the butterflies woken up from their short dreams? asm Earlier, there was slim rain. us i i i . Now, again, the setting sun Makes the sky a little clearer. m Hf- poetry. The famous critic Lu Ji H (261-303) further defines this theme saying "[A poet] grieves for the leaves falling in harsh autumn" fS. H M #$• l̂ C- Song Yu's line is in the Songs of the Chu: Nine Changes H&M- AM (Chuci: jiubian, 8:91), Wang Yunwu 3E. ft 5 , >4 Collection of Book Series J | H ^ $c (Congshu jicheng), v. 1810, Changsha: Commercial Press, 1939. Lu Ji 's line is in The Poetic Exposition on Literature M (Wenfu) translated by Stephen Owen. See Owen, p. 336. 179 Do you know- Has Song Y u of the orchid boudoir Been secretly sad a long time? (c:16a-b) This poem shows that Qu is overcome by worries. When writing the poem she was likely waiting for information about her poetic student Lu Anshu H ^ M who was seriously sick at the time. The poem alludes to Song Yu's l ine," How sad is Autumn's atmosphere" 3 7 4 M W* fX Z M M i i i , which started the theme of "grievous autumn" in classical Chinese poetry. Instead of following the common practice of writing poetry on the theme that focuses on the decline of the year, Qu Bingyun borrows the meaning of Song Yu's line to create a grievous atmosphere. The first stanza creates a scene dominated by "endless pure cold" and features a representative sign of autumn-geese flying south. 3 7 5 Since geese sometimes fly in a horizontal-shaped formation in addition to the V- formation, Qu compares their flight to a horizontal stroke representing the word 'melancholy.' After experiencing the tactile sense of coldness and the visual sense of "melancholy" which act as backgrounds to an autumn atmosphere, in the second stanza the poet introduces the sounds of autumn-"a hollow but clear sound"-and compares it to the melody of a flute that sounds like sobbing. This natural sound seems to ask whether butterflies have woken up and are aware of the melancholy of the female Song Yu. This closing line refers readers to both the allusion and the poet herself, hinting at the main idea of the poem. In a series of poems about natural objects in her paintings, Qu reveals her thoughts regarding integrity, as shown in the following two. [Poem 41] Inscribing M y Painting Albums (two poems of twelve) jlj M If fffj — mm m i M BE, ^BBff i t f ? J M Wang Yunwu, v. 1810, 8:91. 3 7 5 Geese are migratory birds, nesting in the north of China in spring and migrating to the south after mid- autumn. Therefore, autumn is called a "geese season" ff| T C [Yantian]. 180 Bamboo (second poem) I hold a brush to paint your image, Which transcends worldly things in an entirely unattached mind. Although I can convey your strong joints I have difficulty depicting your modest heart (4:15b) [Poem 42] Orchids (fifth poem) [jtj A loyal and loving heart —• m Was turned into "many an acre" of orchids. it i t Nowadays, the soul of the solitary minister —1 Still haunts the riverbank of Chu. (4:16a) These poems prove once again that Qu valued the traditional elite integrity that was passed on to her by her clan. "Bamboo," in which the "joint" (y'/'e) is a homonym for "integrity" (jie), and the "unattached mind" (sujiri) suggests modesty, conveying conventional image of a detached and modest human character. The "Orchids" alludes to her ancestor Qu Yuan again, representing his loyal and loving heart. She mentions the "many an acre of orchids" and today's "haunting soul" in order to suggest that she has inherited Qu Yuan's moral character. Qu Bingyun's poetry about nature is full of ingenuity, as Yuan Mei mentions, "Rain on a Spring Day" (Poem 16) is of "grace and charm" and "Songs of Passing the Chilly Days During the Double-Nine Day Period" (Poem 17) "beats time to harmonize the lines with their opposites." Also, her "Songs of Willow Branches" (Poems 1 and 2) 181 are reminiscences of Yuan Mei's ingenious quatrains on natural objects. The following poems, "Songs of Gathering Lotus" (second) and "A Paulownia by the Window" provide more examples of the ingeniousness of Qu's poetry. [Poem 43] Songs of Gathering Lotus" (second) H fffi Clean from your light make-up of lead powder, ffi> ffl i n W W Wk rfe You, white lotus, are purer and more fragrant. 31 Vc i$t H fit Ut • I like you for your aroma and purity. '|$| \a H fH Z& M., When coming out of the boudoir after a bath you look sweet and charming. M. ̂  M Hi M M- (1:11a) [Poem 44] A Paulownia by the Window f | f f f f fijjf fllj Desolated, you often make yourself a shady tree fjf jSft S ft- ~^ ID" PH> When you set off the window, it looks especially deep. f§[ f# 0 III 5̂  $f<- Even though people have not appreciated your solitary nobility, A'F m., You will turn into a pure zither after death. Mf fit J H f# fit (1:4a) The first poem personifies the lotus as a beautiful woman. Although this image is derived from Li Bai's line, "From clear water a lotus appears" 3 7 6 fit 7R tB H H and the 3 7 6 See Li Bai, "After Turmoil of the War, I Was Exiled in Yelang by the Grace of Heaven; Now I Miss My Old Friend and I Am Pouring out My Heart to the Prefect of Jingxia, Wei Langzai" $f gL HI WL, % J§. M, & IP, i s 8 W- 11 IS If tC H ^ A \F M ̂  ("Jing luanli hou, tian'en liu Yelang, yijiuyou shuhuai, zeng Jiangxia Weitaishou Liangzai"), Li Bai, Complete Works of Li Bai, p. 574. 182 metaphor of a lotus as a young girl is convent ional , Qu 's personif ication is created skilfully. A s Zhao Mingxiang comments , "both a human being and an object find their image in the poem" A #J {JI H ffr (1:11a); readers can interpret these lines either as an image of a young girl or a lotus. The second poem descr ibes the paulownia as one with a noble heart unknown to others, but the paulownia, persists in making its nobility recognized by turning itself into a zither after death. X i Z ikan s e e s "profound implications" pp l i l K l :4a) in this poem, and readers may cons ider it ironic. S i nce there is a long tradition of poetry about nature, Q u Bingyun could use numerous brilliant poems to enrich her own creat ions. Qu 's poetry about home-based nature undoubtedly benefited from the long c lass ica l tradition, and in it some traditional themes and imagery can be found. S h e , however, used traditional themes and imagery in her own spec ia l ways and renewed them in many ways , for example , as S u n Yuanx iang points out "To the Tune of Picking Mulber ry-Leaves Gir ls : P e a c h B lossoms" ^ p̂: Tg ( "Caisangzi : taohua," c: 14) is about a "conventional subject matter, but there is something unconventional ly arousing" f.ft M TfTJ W T̂£ ̂  (c: 14) and "New Moon : Respond ing to Zi l iang" (first poem) fjf H fU ^ ("Xinyue he Zi l iang," 3:4a), which is on a popular theme, is marked by Q u as "a record of novelty" m f f JI- £9 "qj JS -jt M $f £p Hi (3:4a). C o m p a r e d with her poems on family life that are, in fact, more original in subject matter and language, Q u Bingyun's poems on natural phenomena are still quite skilful and have received more appreciat ion from her feminist d iscourse community, as well as from readers and critics outside the community. 6. 2 A Gentry Woman's Social Network: Poems on Her Relations with Others Approximately forty percent of the poems in the Collection from the Jade- Collecting Tower have as their subject Q u Bingyun's relat ionships with her poetic fr iends, neighbours and admirers and distant relatives, which I shal l call "relational poems. " Qu 's relational poems include a large portion of occas iona l verses , but the concept of relational poetry differs from that of occas iona l poetry. Accord ing to M.H. Ab rams , "Occas iona l poems are written to adorn or memoria l ize a specif ic occas ion , such as a birthday, a marr iage, a death, a military engagement or victory, the dedication 183 of a public building, or the opening or performance of a play. Thus, occasional poems do not necessarily involve others, while relational poems do, with the subject as an addressee or a co-speaker. For instance, Qu's poem "On the New Year's Eve of the Xinyou Year (1801)," is a typical occasional poem, but since it does not address someone in particular or is co-composed with someone else, it cannot be considered a relational poem. Relational poems included in this section are those related to Qu's friends, mentors, admirers as well as birth and marital relatives; here I exclude poems about the members of Qu's own family-her mother-in-law, husband and his concubine and their daughter~as the poems related to them have already been discussed in a preceding section of this chapter. The number of relational poems composed by Qu is striking. Qu used poetry as a licence to affiliate herself with various literary, cultural and social communities in the Mount Yu region and beyond, in addition to tying herself closer to other members of her birth and marital family clans. On Various Occasions and Emotions The most important characteristic of Qu Bingyun's relational poems is their geniality. In these poems, the speaker is mostly the poet herself, and the addressee is also often a real individual, not a fictional or generic one. These works are naturally sincere and genial, because the true speaking self addresses a real audience, especially when the two have a close relationship. As illustrated by the poems written about special occasions, outdoor boat cruises, indoor chats, giving and receiving gifts and celebrating a special day, the poet often speaks her mind to members of her social network. For example, one day, late in the afternoon, when Qu brought Zhao Ruobing to the "Three Bridges" for a boat cruise, she wrote: [Poem 45] In a Late Afternoon in Autumn I Bring Ruobing fĵ C H= fti 3n M.H. Abrams, A Glossary of Literary Terms (third edition), New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1971, p. 116. 184 to Three Bridges for a Boat Cruise In spring people go boat cruising, A WL m m, But I prefer a plain autumn, m m When the mountains are dyed by red leaves, Of M H m Where the water flows together with jade clouds. m. ga mr 1M- To convey chrysanthemums, light feelings are better. m Iff I f HL m, To seek poems, we are at the right place in this hidden scenery. mm The especially clear places in the bright valley mm Are reserved for the setting sun. (1:13a) This poem was written around 1786, when Qu entered the second year of her marriage. In the late afternoon, she and Zhao Ruobing went to the "Three Bridges," a famous scenic spot at the foot of Mount Y u . 3 7 8 In this poem, she relates her peaceful and delightful mood and her viewpoints about poetry to Ruobing, while they paddle through the quiet river. The poet says that she likes the plain autumn best-this may reflect her attitude toward fame and wealth. The second stanza in which she mentions poetry deepens this idea: on the surface, the speaker is talking about a poetic issue, but the word "chrysanthemum" suggests a meaning beyond. Since this plant traditionally symbolizes autumn, in this particular situation the word "chrysanthemum" reminds the reader of Tao Qian (365-427), who gave up public life and returned to his garden and fields, and of his famous couplet, "I pick a chrysanthemum by the eastern hedge, / Off in the distance I saw south mountain" ?R U III U T , f&i$M.i%\ l i | . 3 7 9 Although the speaker depicts scenery as "plain," it is actually colourful: red leaves cover the hills and are reflected in the river; the river also reflects images of "jade clouds;" in the sunlight, the valleys are bright and clear, and they are going to be coloured red by the rays of the setting sun. The "setting sun" in the closing line echoes the word "late afternoon" in the 3 7 8 Sun Yuanxiang, Wu Weiguang and many other literati in the Mount Yu region wrote poems on their spring outings at this scenic spot. See RGCZ, p. 62. 185 tile of the poem. Wu Weiguang comments that this poem "begins with a contrast and closes by suggesting [an upcoming action, the setting of the sun]. The skills are seen in both parts" j|E f$ ft ^E, M iE; M JI f l 5 (1:13a). Apparently, Qu is the speaker in the poem, while Zhao Ruobing is the addressee. Qu Bingyun liked to talk with others and she wrote many poems about her night chats with her close female friends. "On the First Day of Autumn, I Invite Xunxian (Zhao Tongyao) to Chat the Night Away" AL^XBM 1%) #1 & IrS ("Liqiuri yao Xunxiangu yehua," 1:12a) gives an account of Qu's cheerful preparation of wine and melons before Zhao Tongyao's visit and another poem, "Chatting with My Sister-in-Law Ruobing at Night" ffl ^ Y7_K ^ IS ("Yu Ruobinggu yehua," 1:3a -b) is, as the title suggests, about a night chat with Zhao Ruobing. According to those poems, Qu is intoxicated by conversation topics, mostly concerning poetry, and by quiet nights. One night, when Qu and Qian Zhen sat up for a very long time, Qu wrote the following poem about their conversations: [Poem 46] On a Winter Night I A m with Wenru (Qian Zhen) &m inn. Having sat a long time deep in conversation, m mm Our love for each other is like this deep night. miz m H . M y sleeves are thin, so I know the frost is heavy. mm m s , The lamp is dark, and I feel the bright moonlight. m # i t ft m. Chrysanthemums have withered but are still like a painting's images. m The water clock is still chanting. M sr- Pure leisure like this, Jit m m WL, In this world only you and I can enjoy. A m m. (1:17b) This translation is taken from Owen with minor changes. See Owen, p. 316. 186 This poem was written around 1787, when Qu was twenty years old and her marriage was in its third year. The poet chats with her sworn sister, Qian Zhen, who is Qu's brother's wife, on this cold, quiet night, when the frost is heavy and the lamp is dark. The dominant sense of the images is "depth," which symbolizes the friendship between the two women. At the same time, Qu's plants are like artwork and the clock seems to chant a poem, as if both of them are praising the friendships between the two sworn sisters. Zhao Gui'e comments, "Both the hearts and their tracks are pure in this charming story within a woman's boudoir" >[> 5$ §f fit- M S i • (1:17b). Exchanging gifts with her relatives and friends was a common occurrence in Qu's life. On the occasions when Qu presented gifts to her relatives and friends, she sometimes wrote poems and when she received gifts, she also wrote thank-you poems. As mentioned above, when she met Yuan Mei and received his gift of fine silk, Qu wrote a poem entitled "Five Days Prior to the Summer Solstice, Master Yuan Mei Met Me and Presented Some Red Damask. I Am Writing this Poem to Thank Him." The following two poems are further examples: [Poem 47] Written for the Chestnut Blossom Mirror and Lotus Inkstone that I A m Presenting to Tiaofang (first poem) Like a pond of tin-like water, cold and limpid, You are best among the seven treasures cast for the carved dowry case. Now, say goodbye to the worrying appearance of the sick person And go, inviting a beauty to reflect her clear image, (3:8a) [Poem 48] 187 Thanking Daohua for Giving Me Buddha-Hand Oranges §f 11 W fft \% Kf- ffl I am grateful for the present of these fruits, gorgeous like gold. Their Buddha-fragrance is right for me in my sickbed. I look at them as if I face again the picture of you holding flowers; It is as good as meeting and holding your hand. It is not today that you began caring about me. Only my one-inch heart knows that you support me. I am sorry I cannot repay your steadfast kindness. Now I put my palms together at the dressing desk, — dare I refuse your present? (2:20b) The first poem was written when Qu presented a mirror to Ye Wanyi, and the second one is a thank-you verse to Xi Peilan. In every couplet of the second poem, there is at least one instance of word play related to the gift of oranges, which is called "Buddha-Hand Oranges." The "Buddha's fragrance" in the first couplet refers to the good smell of the fruits and to the ideas of Buddhism, at the same time. "The picture of you holding flowers" in the next alludes to the picture of Xi Peilan that Yuan Mei asked Qu to inscribe, in which Xi holds a bouquet of flowers. The word "holding" hints at "hand," which is a word in the name of the oranges. Thus, the phrases "holding hands," "supporting me," and the word "steadfast" in the following two couplets also refer to this. The closing line, "I put my palms together," also suggests 'hands,' as well as the gesture of worshipping Buddha. Qu Bingyun wrote poems as gifts as well. Such poems were usually executed in a manner that shows the appreciation of the recipient. In commenting on Qu's poem presented to Ye Wanyi, Sun Yuanxiang writes, "every poem that Qu presents to someone is like a portrait of that person. She is the 'Gu Hutou' among poets" Ig If — A I'J I A I D If. m ^ JH fit M (2:7a). "Gu Hutou" stands for Gu Kaizhi gg fft Z (ca. m m ?# mm m. m H m i t 9W. m mm yfnT-i t i" m, 188 345-406), whose sobriquet was Hutou and who is recognised as the most talented painter of pre-Tang China. The poem about Ye Wanyi describes Ye as a virtuous and talented wife: she is soft, passionate and light-hearted, and her demeanour is natural; she is good at playing music, doing calligraphy and writing poems; she is also diligent in housework such as gardening and embroidering: [Poem 49] Presented to M y Younger Brother's Wife Ye Tiaofang 1̂  | j | %% H It 5f From the top floor of the tower you blow forth the sound of a flute To express tender feelings deep as a river. Taking your man's place, you inscribe cursive script on fans. After planting flowers together with a maid you rest under the eaves' shade. Incomparably pure jade bits fly about, As you finish cutting cloth, elegant and ingenious. You are light-hearted and your demeanour is natural, Like Xie Daoyun's "air that is close to a mountain forest."3 8 0 (2:7a) Qu Bingyun was a passionate individual. Poetry proved a good channel for her to vent various emotions, especially when she mourned the deaths of her relatives or friends, or longed for their company. In total, Qu wrote eight sets of 25 elegiac poems in her adulthood. It seems that women's lives in Qu's times were very difficult. Many J B U "Xie Daoyun's air of woods near a mountain" alludes to a description of Xie's demeanor in Liu Yiqing's New Stories and Tales of the Times: Virtuous Women tJ; ift §f |§: R W. (Shishuo