Xie Xuancheng’s Poetry Collection


Xie Xuancheng shi ji (Xie Xuancheng’s poetry collection) was included in a supplemental series of Si ku zong mu (Catalog of the Complete Library of the imperial Siku Collection). It was said to have originally been in the inner court collection. Considered a masterpiece of the Southern Song dynasty, it was printed in the 28th year (1158) of the Shaoxing era of Southern Song. It opened with a preface written in the same year by Lou Zhao, who explained how this work was printed. Xie Xuancheng was Xie Tiao (464‒99), one of the foremost poets of the Southern Qi dynasty (479‒502). He was born in Yangxia (present-day Taikang, Henan) to a noble family. His style name was Xuanhui; he was also known as Xie Xuancheng and Xiao Xie (Little Xie). The National Central Library copy has Lou Zhao’s preface, in which he states, “When I came to Xuancheng, I collected in my leisure time stone inscriptions and Xie Xuancheng’s poems, later I acquired Xiao Xie’s poetry collected by Jiang Zhiqi.” Later the characters and illustrations became faded, and almost illegible. In the 13th year (1220) of the Jiading era, Hong Ji reprinted the work at Junzhai, and that edition was passed on through generations. On the title page of this copy is a 20th century handwritten inscription by Liu Qirui, giving details about the book: “This fragmented Song edition of Xie Xuancheng’s poetry collection was acquired by my late father (Liu Yueyun). Each page has 20 columns, each column consisting of 18 characters. Out of the original five juan, only two juan remained. The table of contents had nine pages, but two of them are missing. They could be replaced by copying other existing works. It was originally bound twice with Song paper, but the earlier layer is gone; also gone is a part of the second layer that probably had been done during Yuan or Ming. It has been rebound, but the old portion is retained. Some of the taboo words were observed with the last stroke missing from the characters gou and dun. Undoubtedly it was a Song print.” At the end of the book is a handwritten postscript by Liu Wenxing, according to which the Chinese book collector and scholar Fu Zengxiang (1872‒1949) once had written a lengthy postscript for Liu Qirui, with a detailed introduction about the editions of Xie Xuancheng’s poetry collection, but that is also missing. The preface, table of contents, and juan 1 and 2 are included here.

Last updated: November 9, 2017