100 Poems on Plum Blossom


Mei hua bai yong (100 poems on plum blossom) is a work of Wei Gui. Wei (dates of birth and death unknown), courtesy name Degui, style name Meixue, a native of Shanyin (present-day Shaoxing, Zhejiang), was a poet of the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368). Even when he was young, his poetry was widely known around his native town. He had a particular love for the plum blossom. Upon the order of Li Zhongshan, the censorial envoy, he wrote poems in praise of the plum blossom; he started with 26 poems and later composed up to 100, which formed the genesis of this collection. Because he did not find any poems on plum blossom in Chu ci (Songs of Chu), Wei Gui attached at the end of this work an essay, entitled Bu Sao (Supplement to “Li Sao”), the lead poem in Chu ci. Very few editions of this work have survived. Yuan editions are especially rare. The paper and ink of this copy are of refined quality, the columns are spaciously and clearly placed, and the calligraphy is vigorous and graceful. It is one of the masterpieces among Yuan editions. During and after the Qianlong and Jiaqing reigns (1736‒1820), it was held in the private collections of Yao Huchen, Chen Zhan, Huang Pilie, Wang Shizhong, Yang Yizeng, and others.

Last updated: July 12, 2017