Item ID: 9641 Xin qu yuan 新曲苑 [The New Aria Garden]. Erbei 任二北 REN, ed.

Xin qu yuan 新曲苑 [The New Aria Garden].

Printed with movable type. 12 vols. 8vo, orig. printed wrappers, orig. stitching. Kunming: Zhonghua shuju, 1940.

First edition, set in movable type imitating Song typography, of this collection of writings on arias (qu 曲), a “large corpus of lyric and dramatic songs which ripened in the poetry and dramas of the Yüan and early Ming dynasties." Most of the metrical models for arias “emerged at a time when popular songs flourished and cultural influences from non-Han peoples were abundant. Jurchen music, songs, and dances were popular and the vocabulary of the Han dialects was fertilized by a considerable number of Jurchen and Mongol words and expressions…These explosions of popular songs in the streets and taverns, among actors, entertainers and their patrons, occurred independently in various regional centers and eventually spread throughout Chinese urban society” (The Indiana Companion to Traditional Chinese Literature, Vol. 1, 349-50).

In 1921, the bibliographer Chen Naiqian 陳乃乾 (1891-1971) published Quyuan 曲苑 [The Aria Garden], which contained a number of writings about arias. Our book, The New Aria Garden, continued that work, covering 34 arias, none featured in earlier prominent treatises on arias (Qi, Zhongguo quxue da cidian, 932). Famous writers such as Tao Zongyi 陶宗儀 (1322-1403) of the early Ming period are included in the collection.

The editor, Ren Erbei (1897-1991), was a historian of Chinese drama and a scholar of Dunhuang studies. He published and authored several publications on the history of Chinese literature from the Tang to the Yuan periods. Copies described in WorldCat (e.g., 26169210) give Shanghai as the place of publication, but the imprint of our copy says Kunming.

Fine set.


Nienhauser, William H., Jr. The Indiana Companion to Traditional Chinese Literature. Second, revised edition. Vol. 1. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986.

Qi Senhua 齐森华, ed. Zhongguo quxue da cidian 中国曲学大辞典. Hangzhou: Zhejiang jiaoyu chubanshe, 1997.

Wu Xinlei 吴新雷, ed. Zhongguo kunju da cidian 中国昆剧大辞典. Nanjing: Nanjing daxue chubanshe, 2002.

Zheng Xuelai 郑雪来, ed. Ershi shiji Zhongguo xueshu da dian 20世纪中国学术大典:艺术. Fuzhou: Fuzhou jiaoyu chubanshe, 2009.

Price: $500.00

Item ID: 9641

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