A Study of Romantic Yongwu Ci by Women Writers in the Qing Dynasty

Vol. 48 No.3  9/2018


A Study of Romantic Yongwu Ci by Women Writers in the Qing Dynasty


Zhang Hongsheng









Key words

Qing dynasty, women ci writers, romance and fragrance, ci on objects, life-orientation


Liu Guo 劉過 (1154-1206) composed two romantic yongwu ci 詠物詞 with the title Qinyuan chun 沁園春 that gained widespread attention among ci writers during the Ming-Qing transition,  as well as during the reigns of Yongzheng 雍正, Qianlong 乾隆 and Jiaqing 嘉慶. At this time, many female writers participated in this literary trend, the significance of which is discussed in this article. The women skilled at writing ci on romance and fragrance usually had distinctive tastes. Since this kind of ci usually possessed the attribute of ya 雅 (elegance), their work can be classified under the category of shangya 尚雅 (upholding ya). Meanwhile, their writing demonstrated their tendency to draw close to the male writing tradition by breaking through the traditional restrictions of earlier female ci. Although their works inevitably reveal the limitations of a patterned and stereotyped writing style, women’s compositions on their own bodies can be viewed as a kind of breakthrough in displaying their lives in the inner chambers. Besides, compared with the male focus on literary allusions, women’s writings are more concerned with describing immediacy, which became an important feature of their work.


Author: Zhang Hongsheng
Genre: Article