Collected Songs and Verses of Li He


Li He (790–816), courtesy name Changji, was a Chinese poet of the late-Tang dynasty, known for his unconventional and imaginative style. A native of Changgu, Henan Province, Li was unsuccessful in the imperial examination. He died at age 27, having worked, despite his distant royal ancestry, as a poor minor official. About 240 of his poems survive. Although his works were admired by the late-Tang poets, none of his poems made their way into the popular anthologies, such as Tang shi san bai shou (300 Tang poems). As indicated in the preface by Tang poet Du Mu (803–circa 852), the original version of this four-juan work consisted of 223 poems, which Li He compiled, arranged into four groups, and gave to his friend, the classical scholar Shen Ziming. These poems do not represent his entire output, as there were later Song editions of his works with additional and different numbers of poems. This copy, with 207 poems, has several distinctive characteristics. The text is printed on Song paper made for official use and bears the dates of 1165–73, the first nine years of the Qiandao era of Southern Song emperor Xiaozong (reigned 1163–89). It contains seal impressions of some official bureaus, such as the Da li yuan di dang ku (Debt Security Treasury of the Supreme Court). In addition, the final strokes of characters in words considered taboo during the Song dynasty were not printed. Japanese scholar Abe Ryūichi suggested, in his work entitled Chūgoku hōshoshi, that, based on the style of characters and the engraving, the printing can be dated to the Shaoxing era (1131–62) of the Song dynasty. According to a postscript by Yuan Kewen, the book was originally in the collection of poet and calligrapher Wang Zhideng (1535–1612) and passed later to the collection of Ming calligrapher Zhang Chou (1577–1643).

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Physical Description

4 juan, 2 volumes ; 19.8 x 14.4 centimeters


  • Only preface and juan 1–2 is included in the WDL presentation.

Last updated: January 3, 2018