A Brief Guide to the West Lake Excursions, with Selections and Supplements


West Lake is a famous freshwater lake located in the historic area of Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, with numerous temples, pagodas, gardens, and artificial islands within the lake. Although it is not listed either in Si ku quan shu zong mu (General catalog of the complete Imperial Library), or Wulin zhang gu cong bian (The collection of historical anecdotes about the city of Hangzhou), the copy presented here is a Wanli edition. The compiler’s sources were Xihu you lan zhi (West Lake excursions) and a supplement Xihu you lan zhi yu (More West Lake excursions), written by Tian Rucheng (1503‒57), an official at the Ministry of Punishment and the Ministry of Rites. The material was selected and compiled by Gao Yingke, about whom very little is known, and edited by Chen Youfu. Also included are poems written by persons from later periods. The work has four postscripts, dated between 1599 and 1600, by Kong Wenyin, Sun Dazhong, Huang Bingzhong, and Xu Youheng. The original two works by Tian Rucheng contain descriptions of many scenic attractions in Hangzhou and its surroundings, as well as poems and stories about Hangzhou. This edition also includes illustrations of the city, hills, temple, Lingyin Temple, Dragon Well, and other sites. The work begins with an overview with poems by famed scholars, and it continues with descriptions of the scenic spot of Gushan, the attractions of Beishan, Nanshan, and Wushan. Under one of the illustrations is an inscription which reads: “Hushan yi lan tu (Lake and Hills at a Glance), painted by Wu Xi of Wulin, and carved by Huang Shangzhong of Xin’an.” Other well-known woodcarvers who provided illustrations were Huang Ruzhi, Huang Yingguang, and Wu Yuanlan.

Last updated: January 10, 2018