Poems from the Garden of Excellent Plants


This collection of poems by Wang Chengzuo was printed during the Chongzhen reign (1628‒44) of the Ming dynasty. It was edited by the author’s younger brother, Wang Yongzuo. Wang Chengzuo, whose exact dates of birth and death are unknown, was the eldest son of Wang Tingzhuan (1554‒91), a Ming literary scholar. Recognized early as a talent, Wang Chengzuo was appointed a government student. Later he entered the Imperial Academy and, upon recommendation, he became the magistrate of Tancheng, Shandong Province, an area often stricken with famines and natural disasters. Jiahuiyuan shi (Poems from the garden of excellent plants) is one of his three best known works, printed probably before he became a magistrate. The prefaces were written by the poet himself, dated 1636, and by Nan Juren, a scholar from the prominent Nan family in Huainan and a Hanlin Academy compiler, dated 1635. A postscript written by Wang Chengzuo’s cousin is undated.

Last updated: January 10, 2018