[Chinese]: Man Han [he be] xi xiang ji; [Manchu]: Manju nikan hergen i kamciha si siyang ni ejebun [The Story of the Western Wing [or] The Romance of the Western Chamber]. Shifu WANG.
[Chinese]: Man Han [he be] xi xiang ji; [Manchu]: Manju nikan hergen i kamciha si siyang ni ejebun [The Story of the Western Wing [or] The Romance of the Western Chamber].
[Chinese]: Man Han [he be] xi xiang ji; [Manchu]: Manju nikan hergen i kamciha si siyang ni ejebun [The Story of the Western Wing [or] The Romance of the Western Chamber].
[Chinese]: Man Han [he be] xi xiang ji; [Manchu]: Manju nikan hergen i kamciha si siyang ni ejebun [The Story of the Western Wing [or] The Romance of the Western Chamber].

“The Best Northern Play of the Period”

[Chinese]: Man Han [he be] xi xiang ji; [Manchu]: Manju nikan hergen i kamciha si siyang ni ejebun [The Story of the Western Wing [or] The Romance of the Western Chamber].

Printed in Chinese & Manchu. 40; 52; 43; 42 folding leaves. Four vols. 8vo, cont. wrappers (final three leaves of Vol. I & final leaf of Vol. IV with some waterstaining), new stitching. [China]: Preface dated 1710.

First Chinese/Manchu edition, printed in parallel columns, of this great classic, the single most famous Chinese story of a young couple consummating their love without parental approval. Wang (ca. 1250-1307/1337?), a native of Beijing, was a leading dramatist of the Yuan dynasty, a period that saw the flowering of Chinese drama.

This work prints his play Xi xiang ji [The Story of the Western Wing], which “is widely regarded as the best northern play of the period. The work is an amplified zaju (a then-popular theatrical form) containing several of Wang’s innovations — such as giving singing parts to all, instead of only one, of the important characters. Despite the rigid conventions of the stock actor, Wang also succeeded in creating a convincing character in the maid, Hongniang; the dialogue is also excellent. With five parts [this edition prints the first four parts, which were written by Wang; the weak fifth part is not considered to be by him], the Xixiangji is several times the length of a regular zaju, foreshadowing the chuanqi, the dominant dramatic form of the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1664–1911/12) dynasties.”–Encyclopedia Britannica.

The play had a profound impact on later literary works with the theme of love — both novels and dramas — including the very famous Peony Pavilion and Dream of Red Mansions.

Fine set in a wooden Chinese-style chitsu. Minor dampstaining here and there. A few tears carefully repaired. WorldCat locates only one copy in North America.

❧ Nienhauser, ed., The Indiana Companion to Traditional Chinese Literature, Vol. 1, p. 407–”Praised by both traditional and modern critics not only as the masterpiece of the northern tsa-chu dramas, but of all Chinese drama.”.

Price: $9,500.00

Item ID: 7186

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