Collected Works of Li Wenrao


Li Wenrao (787‒850), often referred to by his courtesy name Li Deyu, was one of the most famous figures of late Tang dynasty history, known for both his official status and his literary achievements. During the Wuzong reign (841‒46), he had great influence and was granted the title of Weigong, Duke of Wei, in 844, which placed him in the highest ranks of the Tang court and gave him the role of overseeing all important state affairs. He was also the leader of a political group in the notorious rivalries in the court. Because of his enduring fame, his most important works, including his poems and fu (prose rhapsodies), survived. More important, however, were about 230 documents he composed while serving Emperor Wuzong, some of which relate to the Uighurs of the time and the eventual fall of the Uighur Empire. Presented here is Li Wenrao wen ji (Collected works of Li Wenrao), an extensive work, in a copy with a number of corrections. The edition was superior to the one it is based on, which was printed during the Jiajing reign (1522‒66). The 34 juan consist of 20 regular juan, 10 bie juan (additional juan), and 4 wai juan (external juan), in a total of 12 volumes, printed during the Tianqi reign (1621‒27). The work was edited by Han Jin, who also wrote the preface dated 1624, and Mao Zhaohe. The rich contents include records of meritorious service by officials; documents on government policies, including those regarding the Uighurs; a number of imperial injunctions; major court cases concerning policies; reforms in offices and appointments; secret memorials; and military strategies, including one on how to “exterminate” the Uighurs. Juan 1 is a eulogy praising the portrait of Emperor Wuzong. The final juan includes a poem Li Deyu wrote and presented to the emperor at a banquet. The additional juan consist mostly of his essays and poems. The external juan are believed to have been issued before the additional juan and their authenticity is uncertain.

Last updated: January 10, 2018