Poems from the Zichuang Pavilion


This is an incomplete manuscript of collected poems written by Wenzhao (1681–1732), grandson of General Zhangtai (1636–90), a member of the imperial Manchu family. Striving for mastery in composing poetry, Wenzhao became a disciple of the great Qing poet Wang Shizhen (1634–1711), who was also a successful high official. In 1714 Wenzhao pleaded illness and thus was exempted from service in the imperial Clan Court and was allowed to retire and devote his life entirely to poetry. He also loved to plant flowers. He left 21 poetry collections in 32 juan, which were issued at various times. These are known collectively as Zichuang xuan shi (Poems from the Zichuang Pavilion), or under the literary name Xiangying ju shi ji (Collection of Xiangying, the retired scholar). The copy of this work in the Library of Congress has 12 of the 21 collections, each with a distinctive title. There is no preface or postscript. The work seems to have been issued prior to the ascendance of Emperor Qianlong (reigned 1736–95), as the poet used the character li, which was also one of the characters of Qianlong’s personal name, Hongli, and which therefore became taboo once Qianlong became emperor. Wenzhao also was known to have produced several anthologies, one of them consisting of poems by members of the imperial clan, but this work is no longer extant.

Last updated: January 3, 2018