Vignettes from the Late Ming

A Hsiao-p'in Anthology

Translated by Yang Ye

  • $27.00s paperback (9780295977331) Add to Cart
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  • Published: 1999
  • Subject Listing: Asian Studies / China; Literary Studies
  • Bibliographic information: 216 pp., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Contents

This anthology presents seventy translated and annotated short essays, or hsiao-p'in, by fourteen well-known sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Chinese writers. Hsiao-p'in, characterized by spontaneity and brevity, were a relatively informal variation on the established classical prose style in which all scholars were trained. Written primarily to amuse and entertain the reader, hsiao-p'in reflect the rise of individualism in the late Ming period and collectively provide a panorama of the colorful life of the age. Critics condemned the genre as escapist because of its focus on life's sensual pleasures and triviality, and over the next two centuries many of these playful and often irreverent works were officially censored. Today, the essays provide valuable and rare accounts of the details over everyday life in Ming China as well as displays of wit and delightful turns of phrase.

"Vignettes from the Late Ming is a judicious selection of informal essays . . . [that] introduce aspects of traditional Chinese life that one cannot read about in more formal types of writing. These essays also tell us something about late-Ming sensibility and introduce the personality of some very interesting thinkers and writers. . . A most welcome work."
-David R. Knechtges, University of Washington

"The selection is excellent; the best writers are included, and good examples by each. There is no [other] such anthology . . . available in any Western language."
-Jonathan Chaves, The George Washington University

Vignettes from the Late Ming

Hsiao-p'in of the late Ming: An Introduction
Editorial Notes
Kuei Yu-kuang
1) Foreword on "Reflections on The Book of Documents"
2) A Parable of Urns
3) Inscription on the Wall of the Wild Crane Belvedere
4) The Craggy Gazebo
5) The Hsiang-chi Belvedere
6) An Epitaph for Chillyposy
Lu Shu-sheng
1) Inkslab Den
2) Bitter Bamboo
3) A Trip to Wei Village
4) A Short Note about My Six Attendants in Retirement
5) Inscription on Two Paintings in My Collection
6) Inscription on a Portrait of Tung-p'o Wearing Bamboo Hat and Clogs
Hs Wei
3) To Ma Ts'e-chih
4) Foreword to Yeh Tzu-shu's Poetry
5) Another Colophon (On the Model Script "The Seventeenth" in the Collection of Minister Chu of the Court of the Imperial Stud)
6) A Dream
Li Chih
1) Three Fools
2) In Praise of Liu Hsieh
3) A Lament for the Passing
4) Inscription on a Portrait of Confucius at the Iris Buddhist Shrine
5) Essay: On the Mind of a Child
T'u Lung
1) A Letter in Reply to Li Wei-yin
2) To a Friend, while Staying in the Capital
3) To a Friend, after Coming Home in Retirement
Ch'en Chi-ju
2) Trips to See Peach in Bloom
3) Inscription on Wang Chung-tsun's A History of Flowers
4) A Colophon to A History of Flowers
5) A Colophon to A Profile of Yao P'ing-chung
6) Selections from Privacies in the Mountains
Yan Tsung-tao
1) Little Western Paradise
2) A Trip to Sukhavati Temple
3) A Trip to Yeh-yang
4) Selections from Miscellanea
Yan Hung-tao
2) First Trip to West Lake
3) Waiting for the Moon: An Evening Trip to the Six Bridges
4) A Trip to the Six Bridges after a Rain
5) Mirror Lake
6) A Trip to Brimming Well
7) A Trip to High Beam Bridge
8) A Biography of the Stupid but Efficient Ones
9) Essay: A Biography of Hs Wen-ch'ang
Yan Chung-tao
1) Foreword to The Sea of Misery
2) Shady Terrace
3) Selections from Wood Shavings of Daily Life
Chung Hsing
1) Flower-Washing Brook
2) To Ch'en Chi-ju
3) A Colophon to My Poetry Collection
4) Colophon to A Drinker's Manual (Four Passages)
5) Inscription after Yan Hung-tao's Calligraphy
6) Inscription on My Portrait
Li Liu-fang
1) A Short Note about My Trips to Tiger Hill
2) A Short Note about My Trips to Boulder Lake
3) Inscriptions on An Album of Recumbent Travels in Chiang-nan (Four Passages)
4) Horizontal Pond
5) Boulder Lake
6) Tiger Hill
7) Divinity Cliff
1) Inscription on A Picture of Solitary Hill on a Moonlit Night
Wang Ssu-jen
1) A Trip to Brimming Well
2) A Trip to Wisdom Hill and Tin Hill
3) Passing by the Small Ocean
4) Shan-hsi Brook
T'an Yan-ch'un
1) First Trip to Black Dragon Pond
2) Second Trip to Black Dragon Pond
3) Third Trip to Black Dragon Pond
Chang Tai
1) Selections from Dream Memories from the T'ao Hut
2) A Night Performance at Golden Hill
3) Plum Blossoms Bookroom
4) Drinking Tea at Pop Min's
5) Viewing the Snow from the Mid-Lake Gazebo
6) Yao Chien-shu's Paintings
7) Moon at Censer Peak
8) Liu Ching-t'ing the Storyteller
9) West Lake on the Fifteenth Night of the Seventh Month
10) Wang Yeh-sheng
11) Crab Parties
12) Lang-hsan, Land of Enchantment
1) An Epitaph for Myself
2) Preface to Searching for West Lake in Dreams
Appendix A: Table of Chinese Historical Dynasties
Appendix B: Late Ming through Early Ch'ing Reign Periods

"This slim-and handsome-volume constitutes a very fine contribution to the recent flurry of translations of traditional Chinese literature, one that can serve as both textbook and reference for a variety of readers."
-Journal of Asian and African Studies

"This book is well-produced and well-designed. It is also itself like a hsiao-p'in, short and elegant."
-Sino-Platonic Papers 98