A Romance at a Post-House


Qing you chuan qi (A romance at a post-house), also known as Qing you ji, is a play in two juan, written by Wu Bing (1595–1647), a famed late-Ming playwright from a family of officials in Changzhou. After achieving his jin shi degree, Wu Bing assumed the post of magistrate of Puqi, Hubei Province. Among his other posts were assistant superintendent of education in Jiangxi and service in the Bureau of Rivers and Canals, the Ministry of Works. He was known as an able, just official, but he later resigned his post and returned home to devote himself to writing poetry and drama. After the suicide of the last Ming emperor, he joined the court of the Ming loyalist regime, the Southern Ming (1644–62), and served as minister of the Bureau of Rites and concurrently as the grand scholar of the East Hall. He was captured in Jingzhou and died after a hunger strike. Wu Bing was posthumously canonized by the Qing emperor Qianlong. He is considered one of the greatest dramatists of the Linchuan School, one of the Ming schools of long poetic dramas. Most of his works deal with love and marriage, with misunderstandings and coincidences threading through the stories, as is the case here. This work is one of his five best-known plays, along with Xi yuan ji (The story of the west garden), mu dan (Green peony), Liao du geng (The broth that cures envy) and Hua zhong ren (The figure in the painting). Qing you chuan qi is the longest of the five plays. The Jinling workshops printed few copies of this play, and often left out parts, making this complete copy very valuable. The story revolves around the hero named Liu Qianchu and his two wives. When the chief of the Privy Council wants to select a concubine from among beautiful girls to be presented to him, the sub-prefect, Wang Ren, substitutes the servant girl Jia Zixiao for his daughter Wang Huiniang. His plot is exposed and Wang Ren is put in jail. Meanwhile Scholar Liu writes a poem on the wall of a post-house where he is staying. Wang Huiniang and her maid Jia Zixiao read the verse and complete the composition. Together with her maid, Wang Huiniang eventually rescues her father, and both mistress and maid marry Liu Qianchu.The book includes red-colored punctuation marks and corrections. It has no prefaces or table of contents. This copy contains only five of the original 12 illustrations. They provide a bird’s-eye view of a scene and depict railings of pavilions and balconies. Each illustration has an inscription describing the mood in the image.

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2 juan, 2 volumes : illustrations ; 19.7 x 14.2 centimeters


  • Only juan 1 is included in the WDL presentation.

Last updated: December 24, 2013