Preferred Citation: Strassberg, Richard E., translator, annotations, & introduction Inscribed Landscapes: Travel Writing from Imperial China. Berkeley:  Univ. of Calif. Press,  c1994 1994.


Inscribed Landscapes

Travel Writing from Imperial China

Translated with Annotations and an Introduction by
Richard E. Strassberg

Berkeley · Los Angeles · Oxford
© 1994 The Regents of the University of California

For Jane, Jim, Jimmy, Cornelia, and Celeste Hall

Preferred Citation: Strassberg, Richard E., translator, annotations, & introduction Inscribed Landscapes: Travel Writing from Imperial China. Berkeley:  Univ. of Calif. Press,  c1994 1994.

For Jane, Jim, Jimmy, Cornelia, and Celeste Hall



The growth of planetary awareness at the end of our century has, among other things, stimulated a renewed interest in travel writing in many countries. Records of past journeys continue to hold our imaginations both as pioneering itineraries that reduced the distance between cultures and as eyewitness accounts of worlds now lost. Amid the abundance of recent works on travel writing in both China and the West, the lack of a comprehensive anthology in English of the voluminous literature from Imperial China has become increasingly apparent. Although examples of travel writing are rare for the first two-thirds of Chinese literary history, in the later dynasties it seems that just about every writer of note tried his hand at travel accounts or travel diaries. This anthology focuses on literary pieces, ones characterized by lyrical or autobiographical content, but also includes documentary pieces written as objective records of places or events. The line between these two poles of Chinese travel writing is often obscure, as are the distinctions that are sometimes drawn between the various subgenres of the travel account (yu-chi ). The selections are arranged chronologically by author to suggest both the development and continuity of travel writing through the centuries. For in these works, tradition was a particularly powerful guide to artistic choice: early forms, themes, and literary techniques, in addition to the actual places visited, constantly reappear in pieces from later periods. Many of these works have been canonized by the literary tradition and were widely anthologized in general collections of prose. Some are still read in Chinese middle schools and universities today. In general, I have tried to include the monuments of classical Chinese travel writing, neglected examples by some of the notable personalities of Imperial China, works that record journeys to


important places as well as works suggesting the generic extent of this kind of literature. I have excluded works that are not the result of personal experience and those of purely scholarly interest.

I would like to thank the National Endowment for the Humanities Translation Program for a generous grant that enabled me to take a year off from teaching to begin work on this book. Several other grants from the UCLA Academic Senate were also helpful in enabling me to travel to China and engage in further research. The Center for Chinese Studies and the Office of International and Special Overseas Programs at UCLA and the Kelton Foundation provided support for the illustrations and maps. I hope I will be forgiven for collectively thanking the many colleagues, librarians, curators, and graduate assistants who were generous with their time and advice. At the University of California Press, executive editor Sheila Levine, senior editor Amy Klatzkin, and editor Laura Driussi have my gratitude for patiently guiding this book through the stages of publication, as does Anne Canright for her careful editing. I would also like to thank Columbia University Press for permission to reprint a revised version of K'ung Shang-jen's travel account from an earlier book, The World of K' ung Shang-jen (1983 ).

Much can be understood about a civilization from its landscapes, and even more from the way its people described them. These pieces articulate traditional Chinese attitudes toward Nature, history, the individual, and society, and toward writing itself. Most of the places in this anthology still exist on the map and can be visited by travelers today. Despite the enormous destruction of Chinese culture through the centuries, an inconceivable amount of which has occurred within our very lifetimes, the modern pilgrim can still follow in the footsteps of many of these writers, encounter earlier inscriptions, and experience a sense of the ethos of the past. And for those preferring to indulge in what the Chinese call "recumbent traveling" (wo-yu ), reading these pieces at leisure and contemplating the illustrations may stimulate the imagination to retrace these journeys from afar.


Editorial Notes

Classical Texts

Citations of classical texts follow the Harvard-Yenching and Sino-French Indexes unless otherwise noted. Official titles and geographical divisions follow Charles O. Hucker, A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China (Stanford, 1985), when possible. Romanizations of Central Asian places generally follow Feng Ch'eng-chün, ed., Hsi-yü ti-ming (Peking, 1982). Reign dates and eras follow Tz'u-hai (Shanghai, 1979), and conversions of dates are based on A Sino-Western Calendar for Two Thousand Years, 1–2000 A.D. (Taipei, 1960 rpt.). The following standard abbreviations of collectanea are used:



Chih-pu-tsu-chai ts'ung-shu


Chin-tai pi-shu


Ch'üan T'ang shih


Szu-pu pei-yao


Szu-pu ts'ung-k'an


Taisho shinshu Daizokyo[*]


Ts'ung-shu chi-ch' eng

The anthology Ni Ch'i-hsin et al., eds., Chung-kuo ku-tai yu-chi hsüan , vols. 1 and 2 (Peking, 1985), is abbreviated in the notes as Ni, Yu-chi .


Weights and Measures

I have tried to convert Chinese measurements to their closest Western equivalents when possible. However, some that are rhetorical, such as "a myriad hsün " or "a hundred chang ," and those that are parts of proper names, such as "Five-Li Station," have been preserved. Chinese measurements vary somewhat according to time and place. Generally speaking, quantities grew slightly in size over the centuries. A precise list of equivalents that would cover all of China during the last three millennia has yet to appear, and a number of historical measurements remain the subject of scholarly investigation. The following list is based on the chart of Chinese weights and measures in Frederic Wakeman, Jr., The Great Enterprise , vol. 1 (Berkeley, 1985), p. xiii, which provides a set of equivalents derived from various sources from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries. Other measures appearing in texts in this anthology have been added to these. They should be considered as approximate values for present purposes and the numbers adjusted downward a bit for earlier periods:


Chinese Units

U.S. Equivalent

Metric Equivalent

Linear Measures


1 ts'un

1.41 inches

3.581 centimeters

1 ch'ih (=10 ts'un )

14. 1 inches

35.814 centimeters

1 jen (=7 ch'ih )

98.7 inches

250.698 centimeters

1 hsün (=8 ch'ih )

112.8 inches

286.512 centimeters

1 chang (=10 ch'ih )

141 inches

3. 581 meters

Itinerary Measures


1 ch'ih

12. 1 inches

30.734 centimeters

1 pu (=5 ch'ih ;
translated here
as "pace")

60.5 inches

1.5 meters

1 li

1821. 15 feet
(roughly 1/3 mile)

0.555 kilometer



1 mu

O.16 acre

0.064 hectare

1 ch'ing (=100 mu )

16.16 acres

6.539 hectares




1 chu (=1/24 liang )

0.055 ounce

1.568 grams

1 liang (tael)

1.327 ounces

37.62 grams

1 chin (catty; = 16 liang )

1. 33 pounds

603.277 grams

1 tan (picul)

133.33 pounds

60.477 kilograms

1 shih (stone; = 120 chin )

160 pounds

72.574 kilograms



1 sheng

1.87 pints

1.031 liters

1 tou (=10 sheng )

2.34 gallons

10.31 liters

1 hu (=10 tou )

23.4 gallons

103.1 liters

1 shih (=10 tou )

23.4 gallons

103.1 liters

1 chung (=6 hu 4 tou )

149.8 gallons

659.8 liters

1 chung (=1000 sheng )
[post-Ch'in period]

234 gallons

1,031 liters


1 liang = 10 ch'ien (cash) = 100 fen

Chinese Dynasties



ca. 21 st cent.–ca. 17th cent. B.C.


ca. 17th cent.–ca. 11th cent. B.C.


ca. 11th cent.–221 B.C.

Western Chou

ca. 11th cent.–771 B.C.

Eastern Chou

770–221 B.C.

Spring and Autumn Period

770–477 B.C.

Warring States Period

476–221 B. C.


221–206 B.C.


206 B.C.-A.D. 221

Western (Former) Han

206 B.C.-A.D. 8


A.D. 9–23

Eastern (Latter) Han


Six Dynasties



Three Kingdoms








Western Chin


Eastern Chin


Sixteen Kingdoms


Southern Dynasties


[Liu] Sung


Southern Ch'i






Northern Dynasties


Northern (Latter) Wei (T'o-pa)


Eastern Wei


Western Wei


Northern Ch'i


Northern Chou








Five Dynasties


Latter Liang


Latter T'ang


Latter Chin


Latter Han


Latter Chou


Ten Kingdoms




Former Shu








Southern Han




Latter Shu


Southern T'ang


Northern Han




Northern Sung


Southern Sung



Liao (Khitan)


Northern Liao


Western Liao


Hsi-Hsia (Tangut)


Chin (Jürchen)


Yüan (Mongol)




Ch'ing (Manchu)




Map of China, based on present boundaries


Bell Mountain 1

The Cascade Pavilion 24

The Cave of the Three Travelers 26

Chang's Cave 25

The Chin Temple 27

Ch'in-huai River 1

The Delightful Pavilion 16

Dragon Gate 2

Dragon Mountain 3

Dragon Well 4

Eyebrows Mountain 5

Five Terraces Mountain 6

Flat-Top Mountain (Ho-nan) 30

Flat-Top Mountain (Chiang-su) 31

Geese Pond Mountain 7

Heaven's Eyes Mountain 8

Hermitage Mountain 9

The I-ch'eng Station 28

Lotus Mountain 10

Meng's Gate Mountain 11

Mount White Water 13

The Mountain A Hundred Chang High 29

The Mountain Where Hui-pao Meditated 32

My Own Terrace 14

Orchid Pavilion 15

The Pavilion of Joyful Abundance 33

The Pavilion of Joyous Feasts 34

The Pavilion of the Old Drunkard 33

The Pavilion of the Prince of T'eng 35

The Pavilion of Yüeh-yang 36

Red Cliff 16

The Right-hand Stream 37

Sandy Lake 16

Seven Stars Cavern 17

Six Bridges 4

Snow Gorge Mountain 18

Solitary Hill 4

Stone Bells Mountain 19

Stone Gate 9

Stone Gate Mountain 20

The Supreme Mountain 21

T'ai-an Prefecture 21

The Temple of Confucius 20

The Temple of the Moon-in-the-Water 23

The Temple That Receives the Heavenly 16

Terrace of Heaven Mountain 22

The Three Gorges 38

Thunder Garrison 41

Tiger Hill 31

Transverse Mountain 12

Twenty-four Bridges 42

West Lake 4

Wheel River 43

The Wind-in-the-Pines Pavilion 15

The Winter Pavilion 39

Yellow Dragon Mountain 44

Yellow Emperor Mountain 45

The Yü Garden 40

Yung prefecture 14


The Rise of Chinese Travel Writing

"Every traveler has a tale to tell." This ubiquitous European expression not only testifies to the pervasiveness of travel writing in many cultures but also indicates the centrality of the journey in Western narrative. The major genres from the epic to the novel have been constructed around odysseys, pilgrimages, crusades, exiles, explorations, picaresque adventures, Grand Tours, quests, and conquests. A primary guide has been the teleology of the Judeo-Christian tradition, which provided ample myths for the Western traveler to view his journey as ordained by a higher power and potentially redemptive. The exodus of the Israelites to the Promised Land or the progress of saints from the suffering of a profane world to the bliss of Heaven allegorically endowed journeys with the possibility of material reward or salvation of the soul. Tragic wanderings and a profound sense of rootlessness could be interpreted as the consequences of Adam and Eve's egress from paradise or a divine curse. At the same time, Eurocentrism in its many national and historical guises often conditioned Western writers to emphasize the strange "otherness" of the places they visited. Much Western travel writing can be read as an unconscious projection of native values onto other cultures, an exporting of repressed anxieties, or as a fantasy of the exotic. In attempting to come to terms with the difference of foreign places, these texts often reveal themselves to be mirrors of the writer's own desires and illusions.[1]

During the medieval and early Renaissance periods, travel accounts often represented exotic, marginal worlds as fearful zones of demons, infidels, heretics, and natural dangers. Such texts as Wonders of the East presented the "savagery" of distant places with hyperbole and often considerable imagination to satisfy the reader's desire for curiositas .[2]


Given the limited extent of medieval traveling, the representations in these works were mostly accepted as valid even though largely unverified. Despite a general intention to convey what was actually witnessed, such writers usually avoided contradicting the authority of the canonical auctores back home who dominated writing by interpreting individual experience through classical and theological allegories.

It was the travel writing of the Age of Exploration that finally challenged and helped to undermine the medieval worldview. Following the earlier efforts of such traders as Marco Polo in his Description of the World (1298–1299), a host of accounts recorded vastly different cultures and landscapes unexplainable within the established categories of knowledge. Such anthologies as Hakluyt's Principal Navigations (1589) contained many plausible and enthusiastic reports of ocean voyages that resulted in commercial profit.[3] Owing to the increase in trade and colonization, these accounts could now be verified as readers demanded more factual, as opposed to allegorical, truth. Such texts not only encouraged four centuries of adventurous imperialism; they also liberated writers to become individual authors reporting on the unique meaning of their own experience in a variety of narrative forms resistant to traditional classification. As one contemporary critic points out, "Authors exploited the discontinuity between the things in the New World and the words in the ancient books to claim for their works an unprecedented cultural power to represent the new."[4] The "savageness" of these territories revealed to perceptive writers hitherto unrecognized qualities within themselves, while the fashionable consumption of foreign things introduced a new degree of cultural relativism. Romantic Nature, antiquity, and the primitivism of other peoples were often used to frame unflattering assessments of the home culture. Many of the comparisons drawn between these different societies fueled the critique of sociopolitical institutions in Europe, generating support for the revolutionary changes of the past three centuries.[5]

The overlapping of this kind of journalistic reporting with the evolving novel further moved travel writing into the progressive mainstream of Western narrative. The flexible forms of letters, diaries, histories, and romances served both factual and fictional writers as well as those in between. Throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, popular works based on actual journeys, such as The Travels of Mendes Pinto (1614)[6] and Sterne's A Sentimental Journey (1768), frequently crossed over into fiction so that the writer might put forth liberal opinions about the broader cultural issues of the time. Novels that parodied travel accounts, such as Swift's Gulliver's Travels (1726), Bougeant's The Marvellous Voyage of Prince Fan-Férédin (1735), and Vol-


taire's Candide (1759), employed common themes, character types, and plots.[7]

The Enlightenment's optimistic advocacy of individual consciousness was also advanced in a kind of travel writing that used autobiography and biography to explore the self. The affluent increasingly ventured forth on Grand Tours to educate their tastes, enhance their status, and pursue forbidden pleasures. They constituted the core of an everwidening audience that consumed works about people much like themselves encountering distant places. Goethe's Italian Journey (1786), for example, conveyed through letters to friends back home in Weimar not only the writer's perceptive observations along the classical itinerary but also the subjective responses of a sensitive mind discovering itself undergoing change. In Boswell's Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides (1785), the writer filtered many of his experiences of places, history, and society through his observations of the character of his English traveling companion, Dr. Johnson, for whom Scotland was a somewhat exotic location.

Thus, the mainstream of travel writing in the West developed as a means of facilitating the desires of writers and readers for a more liberated, autonomous existence. By defining altered selves in nontraditional accounts of other worlds, it played a role in critical phases of social and political emancipation at home. The twentieth century has witnessed an even greater proliferation of travel writing. Mass tourism has whetted the appetite of readers for more profound observations of places too briefly encountered, while exotic adventures continue to entertain. The paradigm of the journey has been often invoked to signify modern experience. The questioning of classical forms of representation has led to the breakdown of traditional structures of time and space to signify inner peregrinations of the psyche. Figurative language has been conceived of as a migration of meaning, and the act of theorizing as a product of displacement.[8] Texts ranging from the high literary to film and advertising frequently signify reality as a transit through unstable states of being.

By contrast, the travel writing of Imperial China may seem far removed from the historical and intellectual foundations of the West, as remote in its forms and concerns as the land itself. The writers, like their original audience, were mostly degree-holding literati, usually officials and poets as well, whose public lives revolved around climbing up, slipping down, seeking entrée to, or rejecting entirely the ladder of bureaucratic success. In a country without a strong maritime or colonial tradition, their itineraries were primarily internal. Theoretically, they scorned the pursuit of commercial profit and also showed little


interest in foreign countries and non-Chinese ethnic groups. Within a cosmology without a purposeful Creator or strong philosophical interest in the concepts of truth and progress, the dominant Confucian ideology advocated the recovery of a ritualized moral order based on archetypes that were primarily cyclical and spatial. The literary forms of Chinese travel writing evolved out of a matrix where narrative was dominated by the impersonal style of official, historical biography, and subjective, autobiographical impulses were largely subsumed within lyric poetry. Until the latter part of the nineteenth century, journalism was nonexistent and the novel generally regarded as an entertaining diversion.

Chinese travel writing, like its Western counterpart, is voluminous and formally diverse, resisting simple classification. Western readers were first introduced in the late nineteenth century to translations of records by Buddhist monks of their pilgrimages to India and to an ancient chronicle of an imperial tour to the margins of the empire.[9] In the years since then, there has been a tendency to focus on these and similar accounts of political missions to the periphery and beyond.[10] Such texts tend to confirm ideas of Chinese travel writing as being much like our own. They chart difficult quests through alien lands by individuals who objectively report on awesome geographical features and ethnographic oddities.

The mainstream of travel writing, however, was concerned with travel in China itself, and was written by literati for a number of reasons in addition to an impersonal, documentary one. Although scattered antecedents exist in early Chinese literature, it was not until the mid-eighth century, about two-thirds of the way through Chinese literary history, that a set of conventions of representation in prose was codified in the lyric travel account (yu-chi ), enabling writers to articulate fully the autobiographical, aesthetic, intellectual, and moral dimensions of their journeys in first-person narratives; and it was not until the eleventh and twelfth centuries that the travel account and the related travel diary (jih-chi ) actually began to flourish.

In the traditional Chinese classification of literature, travel writing could be found in two principal categories in the Four Libraries (Szupu ) system. Those works that primarily documented geographical features were classified under the geography (ti-li ) subsection of the history (shih ) category.[11] Shorter, more personal pieces such as travel accounts and travel diaries were usually included within the collected works of literati in the belles lettres (chi ) category. These collections were generally published posthumously, and the outstanding ones were continually reprinted through the centuries. From the Sung dynasty on,


as Chinese prose became anthologized and individual pieces canonized as monuments, a number of travel accounts gained widespread prominence. In addition, travel writing was also disseminated through encyclopedias, local gazetteers, and guidebooks.[12]

A further form of transmission, one perhaps unique to Chinese travel writing, was accomplished by engraving texts at the original sites of their inspiration (see fig. 1). By incorporating a text into the environment, the traveler sought to participate enduringly in the totality of the scene. He perpetuated his momentary experience and hoped to gain literary immortality based on a deeply held conviction that through such inscriptions, future readers would come to know and appreciate the writer's authentic self. At the same time, the text altered the scene by shaping the perceptions of later travelers and guiding those who sought to follow in the footsteps of earlier talents. Often, local figures would request or commission such inscriptions by notable visi-


Fig. 1.
Inscriptions on a mountain in Kuei-lin, Kuang-hsi. Photograph by the author.


tors to signify the importance of a place. Certain sites thus became virtual shrines in the literary culture, eliciting further inscriptions through the centuries. The Cave of the Three Travelers (San-yu-tung), first written about by Po Chü-i (772–846) in 819,[*] attracted another set of "Three Travelers" in the Sung, and was further inscribed by Lu Yu (1125–1210) in his A Journey into Shu (1170).[* [ 13]]

For many travel writers, excursions to places that had accumulated a literary tradition were encounters in which Nature was inextricably linked with language and history. Sung Lien's (1310–1381) piece Bell Mountain (1361),[*] for example, is a veritable peregrination through the past, as along his path he notes places associated with events and writers who had preceded him. In such cases, the experience of the inscribed landscape predominated over the encounter with pristine Nature so important to many Western travelers. So pervasive was this mode that several later connoisseurs of the landscape protested against the overinscription of a scene. Yüan Hung-tao (1568–1610) criticized the excessive number of engravings on the Mountain That Gathers the Clouds (Ch'i-yün-shan) as a contamination of the mountain's spirit.[14] Fang Pao's (1668–1749) account of Geese Pond Mountain (1743)[*] praised the purity of this inaccessible spot by noting that no other travelers had yet been able to engrave inscriptions there. But to most writers, the presence of Chinese characters in a scene was not considered a violation of Nature by the artifice of civilization. According to some myths, writing was believed to have originated from the observation of natural processes or animal tracks by ancient sages and was thus regarded as contiguous with the environment. The ordering and enhancing of reality through the artful application of language stood at the heart of the Chinese concept of culture (wen ); it was, indeed, a core function of the ruling class of literati-officials.

In addition to having a purely aesthetic function, this textualizing of the landscape often accompanied social, political, military, and economic development. It was one way a place became significant and was mapped onto an itinerary for other travelers. By applying the patterns of the classical language, writers symbolically claimed unknown or marginal places, transforming their "otherness" and bringing them within the Chinese world order.[15]

Such inscriptions could actually result in the physical alteration of the landscape as it was transformed into a shrine with commemorative

Throughout the Introduction, an asterisk denotes a text that is included in this anthology.


pavilions, gardens, and other features often designed to recreate a writer's original description. Red Cliff in modern Huang-kang, Hu-pei, became such a site of pilgrimage in the centuries following Su Shih's (1037–1101) two influential pieces written in 1082.* Among the structures erected at the site were a sacrificial hall to honor the writer and a pavilion to house copies of his original calligraphy. Recently, a statue of Su Shih himself was erected, and in 1982 an academic conference was held at the site to discuss his travel writings. Similarly, although the original location of Wang Hsi-chih's (ca. 303-ca. 361) Orchid Pavilion, which he recorded in 353,* was in the intervening centuries forgotten, it was subsequently recreated outside modern Shao-hsing, Chechiang, with a winding stream similar to the one Wang mentioned.[16] Of course, it was not necessary literally to engrave one's text at the site: producing a widely read account was often sufficient to gain the writer inclusion in the genius loci .

Engraved inscriptions were not only read by later travelers to the site, but were also widely reproduced in rubbings sold as souvenirs. Later calligraphers, moreover, reinterpreted earlier versions or rewrote them in their own styles, further disseminating these texts.[17] A number of texts gained enormous prestige through rubbings of engravings of the original calligraphed versions. Wang Hsi-chih's Preface to Collected Poems from the Orchid Pavilion (353)* was engraved many times and became the most influential model of the "running mode" of calligraphy, even though the original had long since disappeared (fig. 2). Likewise, one of Su Shih's handwritten versions of his first piece about Red Cliff* survived and has been revered through the centuries as a masterpiece;[18] it, too, was widely reproduced in numerous engravings and reinterpretations (fig. 3). Both these texts also established enduring painting traditions as artists over the centuries created conventional formats based on the scenes described. Scholars in a boat beneath a cliff inevitably signified journeying to Red Cliff; poets seated along a winding stream with floating winecups was instantly recognized as the gathering at the Orchid Pavilion. These two sister arts were also combined, with the texts of travel accounts being appended to images depicting the scene. The Ming painter Shen Chou (1427–1509), for instance, added such a text to the end of his 1499 handscroll of Chang's Cave (Changkung-tung; fig. 45); and the Ch'ing artist Chin Nung (1687–1773) produced an album of twelve leaves in 1736 in which he illustrated scenes from famous travel accounts and inscribed the texts as colophons (figs. 20, 23). Lastly, both images and texts appeared in the decorative arts, applied to a wide range of objects; some of these motifs continue to be employed by Chinese artisans today.[19]



Fig. 2.
Wang Hsi-chih (ca. 303–ca. 361), Preface to  Collected Poems
from the Orchid Pavilion
 (detail, original 353). From a rubbing
of the Ting-wu  series of engravings reproduced in  Shu-tao
, vol. 4:  Eastern Chin  (Taipei, 1976).


Compared to Western travel narratives, however, travel writing was more marginal within the Chinese literary canon. The journey was less central mythically to Chinese cultural experience, which is noted for lacking a definitive epic account like the Odyssey , nor did it play a major role in the development of the Chinese novel. Monumental examples of the explorer's narrative, such as The Travel Diaries of Hsü Hsia-k'o (1613–1639),* stand out in the literary landscape like solitary peaks. Some of the most heroic journeys, including Cheng Ho's (1371–1435) seven voyages to South Asia and Africa in 1403–1431, yielded only secret official reports, which subsequently disappeared, and no literary accounts.[20] Despite the inclusion of a number of travel accounts in the early prose anthology Finest Flowering of the Preserve of Letters (Wen-yüan ying-hua , 987), in this and most other influential collections travel writing was generically subdivided and subordinated to other categories.[21] When included in the collected works of individuals, travel writing formed but a minute portion; genres such as memorials to the throne, epitaphs, biographies, essays, letters, and prefaces were the ones usually looked to for serious stylistic and thematic statements. The earliest extant anthology exclusively devoted to travel accounts is a handwritten manuscript from the fourteenth century, which contains the table of contents from an earlier collection dated 1243; at least by then, apparently, travel writing had begun to be regarded, by some, as an independent genre.[22] Although scattered critics during the Ming and Ch'ing dynasties took note of the travel account, as late as the first half of this century the term yu-chi still had not appeared in the classical dictionaries Tz'u-yüan (1915) and Tz'u-hai (1938). It remained for modern Chinese anthologizers to argue for travel literature as a major prose genre in its own right and to reintroduce it to contemporary readers.[23]

The traditional division of Chinese travel writing into history and belles lettres reflects a distinction between public, impersonal forms and more private modes that included the representation of the subjective self. This duality was further reinforced by the presence of two principle discourses in classical Chinese, which were combined in varying



Fig. 3.
Su Shih (1037–1101),  Red Cliff I  (detail from Su Shih's handwritten version). National Palace Museum, Taipei. The missing title and first four lines on the
right were added later by the Ming artist Wen Cheng-ming (1470–1559).

proportions within most texts. At one pole was the objective, moralizing perspective of historiography; at the other, a mode of expressive and aesthetic responses to the landscape derived from poetic genres that could be termed "lyrical."

Historiography provided the earliest forms of narrative in China and continued to dominate most prose writing until the modern period.[24] Its primary function was to document human behavior in society within a framework of Confucian moral judgment, as a guide to readers involved in statecraft. The historian created an omniscient, third-person voice and a terse, unembellished style of prose. He typically defined the self from an exterior perspective, against a background of exemplary types enacting well-defined roles. Time in these accounts was conventionally represented by means of the recurrent cycles of Chinese chronology; space was charted along an axis emanating from the power center of the court to the margins of the provinces. As a writer, the historian was primarily a processor of information that he collected, evaluated, edited, and retold. He regarded himself as engaging in a self-effacing act of documentation, which allowed him effectively to transmit the meaning of events with the proper combination of factuality and literary embellishment. There was from the outset a


close connection between historiographical discourse and state power, in that the office of the Grand Historian (T'ai-shih ) was originally hereditary. The court's desire to dominate the writing of history was so intense that at times the private compilation of history was decreed to be illegal, with such acts, when discovered, even resulting in imprisonment. Thus, when a travel writer adopted the narrative persona of the historian, he was appropriating a potent form of literary authority. At the same time, because the conventions of historiography governed content, they tended to direct the writer's concerns toward the public values and issues of official, court-centered culture.

Historiographical conventions dominate almost exclusively in the few extant examples of early travel writing; they also constitute the primary discourse in works informational in nature, such as guidebooks, records of cities, and accounts of journeys to foreign lands. It was not until the period of disunity during the Six Dynasties that a complementary, lyrical discourse began to appear in prose, expressing what Yu-kung Kao has defined as the quintessential ideals of "selfcontainment" and "self-contentment" in Nature.[25] The rise of lyric shih poetry, the rejection of public life by many writers, and the search for alternate spheres of being such as transcendence in Nature supported


new, personal forms of literature apart from the political focus of the court. In contrast to historiography's paradigms of totality, Chinese lyricism sought to represent an alternate vision. The lyric poet, operating from a more interior ground of being than the historian, often captured his momentary experiences of self-realization in descriptions of landscapes. In an autobiographical act, he signified an identification of his inner feelings (ch'ing ) with the sensual qualities of scenes (ching ), using highly imagistic language that often obscured the distinction between observer and object. Similarly, he explored a more subjective sense of time by coordinating shifting perspectives to evoke a vision of the universal Tao as a process of endless transformation.

Lyric travel writing ultimately emerged as the most literary means of representing a journey. Its essential character was defined by the incorporation of individual poetic vision within a narrative framework derived from historiographical discourse. Thus lyric travel writers, whose works are the major focus of this anthology, wore the dual mask of historian and poet (in fact, they were often writers of biographies and poetry as well). They created sublime, self-centered worlds—marginal places universalized—as substitutes for the politicized dynastic scene with its unstable and unpredictable power center. Indeed, the lyric travel account grew out of the tension between the public and private aspects of the self experienced by exiled officials, such as Yüan Chieh (719–772) and Liu Tsung-yüan (773–819) of the T'ang. These men's achievement of one of the few genuinely autobiographical forms in Chinese prose was the watershed between a long period of development, when travel writing was dominated almost exclusively by historiographical concerns, and the later, mature phase of travel writing, which sought to inscribe the landscape with the perceptions of the self.

Early Chinese Travel Writing

Prior to the travel accounts and travel diaries of the T'ang and Sung, relatively few prose texts survive that are concerned with the representation of a journey. The Book of Documents (Shu ching , early-late Chou dynasty) contains mythicized descriptions of the ritualized tours of the ancient sage-king Shun:

In the second month of the year, he [Shun] made a tour of inspection to the east as far as Tai-tsung [i.e., T'ai-shan, the Supreme Mountain], where he made a burnt offering to Heaven and sacrificed to the mountains and


rivers according to their importance [fig. 8]. He received the eastern nobles in an audience and put their calendar in order, standardized the musical pitches and the measures of length and volume as well as the five kinds of rituals. He was presented with the five tokens of rank, three kinds of silk, two living animals and one dead one; he returned the five tokens of rank to the nobles. After finishing his tour, he returned to his capital. In the fifth month, he made a tour of inspection to the south as far as the Southern Sacred Mount, to which he sacrificed in the same manner as at Tai-tsung. Likewise, in the eighth month, he made a western tour of inspection as far as the Western Sacred Mount. In the eleventh month, he made a tour of inspection to the north as far as the Northern Sacred Mount, where he sacrificed as he had in the west. Upon his return to the capital, he went to the Temple of the Ancestor and offered up an ox.[26]

This passage indicates the earliest reasons for writing about travel: to document heroic achievements in ordering the political, spiritual, and material dimensions of the world and to provide a guide for later rulers.

These public themes are paramount in the earliest extant travel narrative of any length, The Chronicle of Mu, Son-of-Heaven (Mu T'ientzu chuan ), whose earliest strata have been dated around 400 B.C.[27] It tersely chronicles an imperial tour by Emperor Mu of the Chou (r. 1023–983 B.C.) through his realm—an example of what David Hawkes has called "itineraria," that is, representations of ritual progresses, as well as of imaginary or supernatural quests.[28] The ritual progress in particular is a circuit by a powerful figure such as a king or wizard through the zones of a symmetrical cosmos. Each zone is presided over by a god or political figure who confirms the traveler's authority or acknowledges submission in ritualized encounters (fig. 4). The traveler ultimately returns to the power center of the capital having thus demonstrated his control of totality.

The Chronicle of Mu reads like a record of the public activities of the emperor by a court historian:

On the day chia-wu , the Son-of-Heaven journeyed west. He crossed the hills of the Yü Pass.
On chi-hai , he arrived at the plains of Yen-chü and Yu-chih.
On hsin-ch'ou , the Son-of-Heaven journeyed north to the P'eng people. They are the descendants of Ho-tsung, Ancestor of the Yellow River. Duke Shu of P'eng met the Son-of-Heaven at Chih-chih. He presented ten leopard skins and twenty-six fine horses. The Son-of-Heaven commanded Ching-li to accept them.[29]



Fig. 4.
Emperor Mu Meets the Queen Mother of the West (rubbing from a Han
dynasty engraving). From Ku Shih,  Mu T'ien-tzu chuan hsicheng chiang-
 (rpt. Taipei, 1976). This fragment depicts the emperor riding in his
chariot with his attendants in the foreground.


The text constitutes the traveler as a man who completely dominates his environment. He demonstrates his control by journeying to distant locations by horseback and chariot, engaging in political and religious rituals, hunting, banqueting, accumulating and distributing tribute, judging his subjects, and receiving benefits in encounters with spiritual beings. Emperor Mu is largely represented as an impersonal function of the rituals of statecraft; there is little explanation in the text of his inner motivations. We do get a brief personal view when the emperor voices doubts about the moral correctness of his traveling and questions whether he will be judged by history as a profligate for leaving the capital. Here, the text seems to be answering the criticism of Emperor Mu in the Confucian classic The Tso Commentary to the Spring and Autumn Annals (Ch'un-ch'iu Tso chuan )—that Emperor Mu "wished to indulge himself" by traveling throughout his kingdom.[30]The Tso Commentary adopted a negative attitude toward this behavior and praised the officials who remonstrated with him, persuading him (supposedly) to remain at home and die a natural death in his palace. This is the Confucian view. Unfortunately, the beginning of The Chronicle of Mu is missing, and the work provides no further statement of the emperor's motivations.

Nevertheless, Emperor Mu's concern with the issue of travel bespeaks a primal principle of Chinese political culture, what could be called "the politics of centrality," in which power is believed to emanate from a fixed center and threatens to become dissipated when the center is destabilized and loses its ritualized authority. For the ruler to abandon the capital and travel for pleasure rather than necessity was a serious moral issue, for it meant that he risked losing dominance over the very margins he was visiting. Differing from the negative judgment of The Tso Commentary, The Chronicle of Mu quickly resolves this problem when the emperor is assured by a flattering knight that history will not criticize his desire to travel as long as he maintains the world in a proper state of order, which the ritualized encounters on his journey demonstrate.[31]

The Chronicle of Mu records an early act of inscribing the landscape when it states that after visiting the Queen Mother of the West and banqueting at the Jade Pond (fig. 4), "The Son-of-Heaven rode up to the Hsi Mountains where he engraved a record of his journey into the rock and planted a huai -tree, naming the place 'Mountain of the Queen Mother of the West.'"[32] In the ritual tours of emperors documented in the dynastic histories, such inscriptions enunciated praise of sagely rule, projecting the ruler's extension of his authority and signifying his possession of the world.[33] Their ideological function was to project


domination, while the required response of the reader was awe and submission.

The other major example of travel writing that has survived from early antiquity, Guideways through Mountains and Seas (Shan-hai ching , ca. 320 B.C.–A.D. 200), is also an anonymous work and is composed of several strata. Some parts of it appear to have been a guidebook for travelers through known territory; other parts seem to be a description of mythical lands unlikely to be visited. Both types of landscape are filled with fantastic beings.[34] The itineraries through known mountains in each direction note natural features, local objects of value, and the resident gods and how to propitiate them:

Another hundred miles east is Green Hill Mountain. On its south side is much jade; on its north side is much azurite. There is an animal here with the shape of a fox with nine tails. It makes a sound like a baby and devours men. By caring it, one can avoid evil forces. There is a bird here with the form of a dove. It makes a sound like men shouting. Its name is the Kuan-kuan. Wearing it at the waist will prevent delusions. The Ying River issues forth from here and flows south into the Chi-i Marsh. There are many red ju -fish, which have the form of a fish with a human face. They make sounds like mandarin ducks. Eating them will prevent skin disease. . . . The gods are in the form of birds with dragon heads. The proper sacrifice uses animals with hair and a jade chang -blade, which are buried. The rice offering uses glutinous rice, a jade pi -disc, and hulled rice. White chien -straw is used for mats.[35]

Those routes through surrounding regions termed "Great Wilds" (Tahuang ) contain a wealth of early mythology about the bizarre peoples and strange gods who inhabit these distant zones (fig. 5):

In the Great Wilds of the West there is a mountain named Ao-ao-chü, where the sun and moon set. There is an animal here with heads on the right and left named the P'ing-p'eng. There is Shaman Mountain. There is Valley Mountain. There is Golden Gate Mountain and a person named Huang-chi's Corpse. There are single-wing birds who fly in pairs. There is a white bird with green wings, yellow tail, and a black beak. There is a red dog called Celestial Dog. Wherever he descends, war occurs. South of the Western Sea at the edge of the Shifting Sands beyond the Red River and before the Black River is a great mountain called K'un-lun. There is a god with the face of a human and the body of a tiger, with a white spotted tail, who lives here. Below, the depths of the Weak River surrounds the


mountain; beyond is Fiery Mountain. Anything that is tossed up there bursts into flames. There is a person there who wears a headdress, has tiger teeth, the tail of a leopard, and lives in a cave named Queen Mother of the West. This mountain contains every kind of object. . . .[36]

The traveler of the Guideways is never personified and can only be read as a function of the itineraries. In the chapters on relatively familiar territory, the care given to describe sacrificial offerings reveals a world in which the naive traveler is at risk unless he performs the proper rituals. In the chapters on the Great Wilds, by contrast, the prospective traveler is given no advice concerning sacrifices, and the routes in these chapters seem poorly defined, even unfeasible. For later readers, such as the lyric poet T'ao Ch'ien (365–427), it was precisely the exoticism of such territories that appealed to them, stimulating their fascination with the strange.[37]

Fundamental historiographical frames of time and space in both these texts reappear as regular features of later travel writing. The Chronicle of Mu employs the chronology of the "horary sterns" system, which encloses linear sequences within recurring cycles.[38] The Guideways utilizes the simplest way of representing spatial progression as a string of spheres—mountains or territories linked by a single road. In addition, the Guideways describes each mountain in the chapters on familiar territory using exactly the same categories of key features, thus creating a rhythmic repetition, an illusion of control over Nature in which the danger of the unexpected is absent and unseen spirits can be managed. In later travel writing, the tendency for writers to select the same categories of objects for scrutiny and conventionalize the basic elements of a scene can be read as a similar effort to enclose and order the world. Compared to their Western counterparts, later Chinese travel writers described remarkably few irrational, terrifying landscapes, bizarre or grotesque experiences, or journeys of unremitting physical suffering.

During this early phase, classical philosophers of the later Chou dynasty defined some of the basic ideological meanings of travel, meanings that continued to guide the perceptions of later writers. The Confucian school and the writer(s) of the "Inner Chapters" of the Chuang-tzu in particular asserted complementary visions of how travel affected moral and spiritual perceptions of the Tao , the nature of Nature and the ways of being in it, as well as the role of language.

Classical Confucianism articulated several views about travel from the standpoint of its program of self-cultivation and ruling the world.



Fig. 5.
Some Inhabitants of the Great Wilds from  Guideways through Mountains and Seas . From Shan-hai ching  (Shanghai, Kuang-i shu-chü ed., n.d.).
Early versions of the text were accompanied by illustrations that were lost and periodically redrawn over the centuries.
Those shown here date from the first half of the twentieth century.


As an ideology, Confucianism arose to reverse the disintegration of the centralized Chou feudal system due to the rapid mobility of new local elites. Order was to be restored by educating a ruling class of morally aware "Noble Men" (chün-tzu ) who would reinstitute the patterns of ritual behavior (li ) of the idealized sage-kings of the early Chou and remote antiquity. Li was largely antithetical to any concept of spontaneous, unconstrained movement based on personal desire. Travel by a ruler could be justified only as a pragmatic extension of the moral Tao from the political center—hence The Tso Commentary's critique of Emperor Mu. Confucius (551–479 B.C.) himself is quoted implying that Mu's desire to travel was a failure of the ruler to practice humaneness (jen ) by "restraining the self and returning to li " (k'o-chi fu-li ), which could have had dire consequences for the state.[39] Confucius's own peregrinations in search of an enlightened ruler who would employ him have a negative connotation too: he traveled only because the world was in chaos, seeking to find his proper place in a stable power center. To the extent that perfect Confucian government was associated with temporal repetition of moral activity and the spatial stability of its rulers, purely personal travel in the context of statecraft was synonymous with destabilization and a loosening of the bonds of li .

The Confucius of The Analects (Lun-yü ), however, found positive value in limited excursions into Nature to discover scenes of moral symbols that would illuminate the ideal qualities of the Noble Man. In what is perhaps the line most quoted in later Chinese travel writing, he said: "The wise man delights in streams; the humane man delights in mountains."[40] This view of the self reading its perfected image in the landscape is a basic assumption that underlies not only Confucian but also later lyrical modes of travel writing. Indeed, this statement was often appropriated by later writers to defend their private, pleasurable journeys as proper acts of self-cultivation. Nevertheless, Confucius did not view Nature as an alternate sphere of subjective feeling within which the traveler could transcend the political world; his concept of "beauty" (shan ) identified the aesthetic with the morally good. The landscape for him was thus a didactic scene where the Noble Man prepared himself for his proper role as a ruler at the center of the sociopolitical world.[41]

Related to the discovery in Nature of a mirror of the moral self is the idea that certain scenic views can provide a total perspective on the world. The Mencius (Meng-tzu ) states that when Confucius climbed East Mountain (Tung-shan), he realized the relative insignificance of his home state of Lu; and when he climbed the Supreme Mountain (T'aishan), the empire appeared small.[42] For Chinese travel writers, the


ascension of mountains or other high points became a pervasive motif and often the climactic focus of their accounts. The descriptions were not of arduous conquests of death-defying heights, for most of the important Chinese mountains were well under six thousand feet, and even a hill, terrace, or pavilion might serve to provide the experience. Rather, the ascents were generally safe though sometimes demanding hikes to points offering scenic panoramas that writers represented as symbolic of an all-encompassing view of reality. The process of more grounded travel was often represented as yielding a series of partial perspectives indicative of the finitude of the human condition. But the heights of mountains were widely believed to be points of contact with Heaven itself, where the traveler could gain the "grand view" (takuan ).[43] When Fan Chung-yen (989–1052), in The Pavilion of Yüeh-yang (1046),* described the panorama of Grotto Lake (Tung-t'ing-hu) as a "grand view," for instance, or the Ming prime minister Chang Chücheng (1525–1582) wrote in Transverse Mountain* that he had climbed to the summit to gain a grand view of the world, each sought to present his journey as a quest for Confucian sagehood.

Confucius also articulated another issue that lay at the heart of the act of literary inscription: the correspondence of "name" (ming ) and "reality" (shih ). When asked what he would put first if given the administration of the state of Wei, he replied, "the rectification of names" (cheng-ming ),[44] which he saw as fundamental to speech and action as well as to the institutionalization of ritual and punishments. In Confucian ideology, such naming was seen as a core function of the ruling class, who would employ the classical language to recover the moral structure of the golden age of the sage-kings. The travel writer as a Noble Man rectifying names is a persona that appears in a number of texts, particularly the subgenre of the "valedictory travel account." Beginning with Han Yü's (768–824) celebration of a fellow exile's character in The Pavilion of Joyous Feasts (804),* many writers inscribed the landscape as a scene of individual virtue, thereby seeking to praise worthy men, redress injustice, or restore the historical record while simultaneously constituting themselves as loyal Confucians. A frequent pattern at least since Yüan Chieh's (719–772) The Right-hand Stream (ca. 765)* is the encounter of a traveler with a hitherto undiscovered or unappreciated scene, followed by his lyrical response to it and, finally, his appropriate naming of it.

In contrast to travel as a purposeful activity whose ultimate goal was the restoration of moral and political order, the Chuang-tzu presents travel as liberation from the unnatural constraints of society, a spiritualized venturing forth into the unrestricted realm of authentic


being (tzu-jan ) much like the self-generated movement of the Tao . If the purpose of the Confucian itinerary can be summed up in the ideals of self-cultivation and ruling the world, the phrase "free and easy wandering" (hsiao-yao yu )—the title of the first chapter of this work—became the bywords of all who, following the Chuang-tzu , sought escape from the strife of the dynastic scene. In a number of fables, tropes of floating on the wind or down a river serve to convey man's natural, effortless participation in the Tao . Many of the characters are described as constantly on the move. The gigantic p'eng -bird metamorphoses from the k'un -fish and flies from the northern darkness to the Celestial Lake in the south, a trope for the continuum of the Tao as ongoing transformation and bipolar alternation. Images of water occupy a particularly important role in the Chuang-tzu . In the chapter "Autumn Floods" (Ch'iu-shui ), the relativism of all perspectives is comprehended by the Lord of the Yellow River, who flows into the even vaster North Sea and realizes the limitations of his existing mental parameters. This fundamental relativism perceived from a shifting ground on Earth is the Chuang-tzu 's alternative to the "grand view," which for Confucius emerged from an ascent to a fixed point on the border of Heaven.

Of the modes of "free and easy wandering," that which is unconscious is asserted to be the highest. Even the Taoist philosopher Liehtzu is criticized for relying on a dependent mode of travel—he uses the wind—instead of on "unwilled activity" (wu-wei ). Characteristically, those who achieve this mode are not dominating emperors or upright Confucians but lowlife figures such as millipedes, snakes, and shadows. The Ckuang-tzu even recommends travel as the solution to the impediments of human reason. When the logician Hui-tzu is unable to figure out a practical use for a huge gourd, Chuang-tzu recommends that he use it to "go floating around the rivers and lakes. "[45]

Both Confucius and the writer(s) of the Chuang-tzu would have agreed that the way of being in a place was more important than regarding the place as a destination. They relied on the myths of a golden age in antiquity and saw travel as facilitating a return to original human nature. These attitudes may explain, in part, why the quest is less significant in Chinese travel writing than in Western travel writing, and why many journeys are represented as ramblings that produce casual perceptions and insights rather than as roads to a specific object of power. As an alternate vision to Confucian ideology, the Chuang-tzu remained an influential text in Chinese culture, reaffirming a self-centered view of travel. Moreover, despite the Chuang-tzu 's antipathy to language as unstable and incapable of accurate signification, it in-


spired many later works of lyrical travel literature in which writers sought to describe a sense of freedom anti contentment found in the landscape of the natural Tao .

During the Ch'in and Han dynasties, the kind of ritual progresses earlier recorded in The Book of Documents and The Chronicle: of Mu were officially documented by Han historians. Following the extensive tours of the First Emperor of Ch'in (r. 221–210 B.C.), numerous Han emperors made visits to the sacred mounts and other sites ruled by gods.[46] Wizards (fang-shih ), who proliferated during this period, were recorded as journeying to make contact with Transcendents (hsien ), elusive figures who had discovered the secret of longevity and had etherealized into spiritual energies so they might freely wander through time and space.[47] These wizards then influenced credulous emperors to leave the capital and make arduous pilgrimages to sacred mounts and rivers in the hope of encountering Transcendents.[48]

Ma Ti-po's A Record of the Feng and Shan Sacrifices (A.D. 56)* records the pilgrimage of the Eastern Han emperor Kuang-wu (r. A.D. 25–57) to the Supreme Mountain near the end of his life. It is the earliest extant account of an actual journey written by the traveler himself and was considered by the Ch'ing scholar Yü Yüeh (1821–1907) to be the first travel diary.[49] Though separated from the travel account of the T'ang by seven centuries, it surprisingly contains many of the same rhetorical features. This ritual tour had the dual agenda of sacrificing to Heaven and Earth and enhancing the emperor's longevity, for wizards had convinced him that the Yellow Emperor had succeeded in just such a quest in antiquity. The account, which was probably prepared as an official report, was presented through the eyes of its author, Ma Ti-po, an official who preceded the emperor to make arrangements. It demystitles the idealized itineraria by not recording the emperor as having encountered any spiritual beings. In fact, far from extending his life, one year after returning to the capital he died. This unique exemplar suggests that writers in the Han may have already developed first-person travel writing, and reveals the incompleteness of our knowledge of the corpus of early Chinese literature given the limited number of surviving texts.

Early Chinese writers represented the journey primarily in poetry rather than prose, as seen particularly in the Ch'u tz'u collection of the Warring States period and the fu rhapsody of the Han and Six Dynasties. A number of poems of the Ch'u tz'u codified around the first century B.C. are transformations of religious material in which a shaman or wizard embarks on a spirit-journey to the supernatural. In "Nine Songs" (Chiu-ko ), the shaman is in quest of gods and goddesses who


may or may not appear. A similar goal stirs the more successful quester of "The Far-off Journey" (Yüan-yu ), who follows a circular course through the symmetrical cosmos of Hah Taoism, where he communes with the gods of each sector, finally achieving a climactic apotheosis in the center.

In "On Encountering Sorrow" (Li sao ), Ch'ü Yüan (340?–278 B.C.), a Ch'u nobleman slandered by rivals and disillusioned with court politics, ascends in a chariot and travels to mystical realms in search of an allegorical "Fair One" (mei-jen ), a virtuous figure who will understand him. Yet his search proves fruitless; even allies sought among spirits and shamans fail to guide him. The influence of this particular poem on lyric travel writing was considerable: indeed, it was traditionally regarded as the locus classicus of tragic experience in literature, of unsatisfied questing, and of the expression of plaintive emotions. The writer of "On Encountering Sorrow," in the end, was unable to view Nature as a mirror of personal virtue, a scene of transformation, or a soothing refuge. The environments he visited prove to be merely extensions of his anguished sorrow and feelings of misunderstanding.[50]

With the political and ideological consolidation of the Han dynasty during the second century B.C., a systematic cosmology was defined, an intricately structured map of overlapping dimensions. Elements existing in spiritual, historical, mythical, geographical, political, moral, and bodily zones were believed linked by elaborate correspondences and were brought into conjunction with one another through events of sympathetic response.[51] The fu rhapsody developed largely as a courtly celebration of this universal order, and it often employed the framework of the journey to survey and catalog this manifold reality.[52] Some pieces provide detailed descriptions of the landscape, while others focus on various natural phenomena, supporting the view that the rhapsody was an origin for what some Chinese critics have termed "landscape literature" (shan-shui wen-hsüeh ).[53] Later, travels to the frontiers and to lesser cities, sightseeing from famous towers, celebrations of outstanding buildings, and descriptions of mountains and rivers became the subjects of simpler, more personal rhapsodies not necessarily intended for the court.

Among the outstanding fu rhapsodies on distant travel were Pan Piao's (A.D. 3–54) Rhapsody on a Northward Journey (Pei-cheng fu , A.D. 25), Pan Chao's Rhapsody on an Eastward Journey (Tung-cheng fu , A.D. 95), and P'an Yüeh's (247–300) consummate Rhapsody on a Westward Journey (Hsi-cheng fu , 292).[54] These journeys were undertaken respectively to flee a civil war, to take up an official post, and to escape political persecution. All three pieces, however, treat the journey as a


setting for what Hans Frankel has called "contemplating antiquity" (lan-ku ).[55] In these works, a string of sites evokes melancholy reflections on such themes as ruined cities, the cruelty of past rulers, the loneliness of the traveler away from home, the moral heroism of ancient worthies, and the writer's personal fate. The actual narrative of the journey itself and the objective description of the landscape play relatively small roles in these later rhapsodies. Rather, they serve as a framework for reflections on moral history. Each site is perceived as connected to personalities and events that in turn provoke emotions and judgments on the part of the writer, who mostly wears the mask of the historian. These later travel rhapsodies represent an advance in realism over the earlier courtly pieces. While still utilizing parallelism and allusive language, they no longer celebrate a well-ordered cosmos centered on the emperor. The journey marks the irony felt by the individual writer forced to travel, while his rectification of the past substitutes for the world he has lost.

A set of verbal techniques essential to both the Ch'u tz'u and the fu rhapsody was codified into a euphuistic style later termed "parallel prose" (p'ien-wen ). It became the most prestigious form of writing at court until the later dynasties and was utilized in both official documents and more literary endeavors.[56] Among the general features of parallel prose were the pervasive use of couplets of four or six characters that maintained metrical and syntactic parallelism, shifts in meter, and the use of binomial expressions and other euphonic devices. The lofty, often difficult diction utilized a dense texture of figuration and a host of learned allusions, conveying an aesthetic: of erudition, elegance, and courtliness. Complementarity was the most apparent feature of parallel prose. The correlation of signs into two mutually implicating, polar categories formed a powerful rhetorical device for representing totality and still underlies profound patterns of thought present throughout Chinese culture. The very concept of hindscape, shan-shui —literally, "mountain-water"—depended on such a perceived parallelism in Nature, within which the traveler was situated. Other polarities such as Heaven and Earth, yin and yang , past and present, capital and wilderness, constituted archetypal axes that travel writers employed to chart their journeys through the world.

One result of this emphasis on spatial representation is that the actual journey to a place is often not crucial and may not even be mentioned as such, while striking features in the landscape such as architecture, gardens, mountains, caves, or springs become the exclusive focus of interest. The reader may be told little about the rigors of the road, where the traveler spent the night, what he ate or whether it


agreed with him. How and why he arrived at his destination may be briefly noted at the beginning or end, or not at all. In Chinese travel writing, attention is usually placed instead on the pattern of shifting observations and responses to the environment. These are generally more important than a logical emplotment of change in the writer's status or personality as he proceeds from one point to another, as occurs in many Western narratives. Parallel prose can be found to varying extent in almost every travel account and diary, especially in descriptive passages. During this early period, it was notably employed throughout Pao Chao's (ca. 414–466) Letter to My Younger Sister from the Banks of Thunder Garrison (439).*

Toward the end of the Eastern Han dynasty, imperial power declined as nobles, local clans, and military commanders usurped authority. The empire fragmented into regional power centers, and the prestige of the court culture eroded. The complete collapse of the Han world order in the early third century, which was followed by three centuries of disunity, marked another important phase in the development of early travel writing. The succeeding Six Dynasties period was an age of mass migrations and unstable political centers. The fall of the Western Chin in 316 marked the beginning of a split between north and south that was to last for two centuries. When the non-Chinese T'o-pa tribe conquered the north, native Chinese aristocrats and many among the general population were forced to flee to the safety of the Long River (Ch'ang-chiang; also Yangtze) area. In the south, a similar series of weak dynasties preserved some of the purer elements of the southern and the displaced northern Chinese cultures. All the dynasties of this period were plagued by an inability to expand their territory militarily and by bloody internal competitions for power.

The result was the rise of localized aristocratic cultures in which talented individuals searched for universal meanings beyond the Confucian moral and political vision. Buddhist and Taoist forms of spiritual cultivation spread, influencing a broad segment of cultural forms. Among writers, transcendence, individual consciousness, and aesthetic appreciation became major preoccupations of various cults that celebrated Nature. "Mystical Learning" (Hsüan-hsüeh ) sought to redefine a cosmology built on the responsive relationship between man and the natural universe, a relationship that enabled the individual to find personal meaning and pursue techniques of life extension.[57] A new attitude toward the world was adopted by many among the literate, one defined by the avoidance of mundane affairs. "Pure Discourse" (Ch'ingt'an ) became a new mode of defining reality through metaphysical speculation about the larger questions of time, space, human emotions,


and mortality;[58] it was expressed in elite social circles by individualistic, even eccentric personal styles and in a genre known as "mystical poetry" (hsüan-yen shih ). Both Wang Hsi-chih's Preface to Collected Poems from the Orchid Pavilion (353)* and the anonymous Preface and Poems on a Journey to Stone Gate (400)* are the results of group outings that yielded enlightening reflections in these modes. The former is a melancholy pondering of time and mortality on the occasion of a poetic gathering of outstanding talents by a stream. The latter narrates a rapturous encounter of religious devotees with the scenery of Hermitage Mountain (Lu-shan), a major center of Buddhist and Taoist activity. Both these pieces were written in the form of a "preface" (hsü ), a short prose introduction to a poem or a collection of poems that often provides a narrative context.

Painting and painting criticism became meaningful adjuncts to travel writing because of the growing interest in depicting landscapes. The painting critic and Buddhist layman Tsung Ping (375–443), for example, was associated with the ethos of Hermitage Mountain. His theory, which has been termed "Landscape Buddhism," viewed mountains as no longer fearful zones ruled by spirits but as scenes of enlightenment. He regarded painted landscapes as substitute aids to meditation, icons that conveyed through similitude the spiritual truth to be found in Nature.[59] In old age, he relied on paintings to generate the experience of the landscape, what the Chinese call "recumbent traveling" (wo-yu ), a term signifying vicarious journeys through texts and images.

Literary criticism, another phenomenon that developed during this period, stressed the importance of Nature as a source of both inspiration and aesthetic criteria for the writer. Lu Chi's (261–303) "Rhapsody on Literature" (Wen-fu ) and Liu Hsieh's (ca. 465–ca. 520) The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons (Wen-hsin tiao-lung ) defined a metaphysical basis for writing as the embodiment of the patterns of the Tao manifest in the natural world.[60] Writing about the sensory patterns of the universe perceived by the spiritual mind in sympathetic response to the sun, moon, mountains, and streams was, in Liu's view, to transmit a divine power possessed by sages.

But it was with the rise of a new kind of shih poetry—subjective, private, obsessed with transcending politics and with finding an alternative sphere for the self—that the Chinese lyrical impulse began to achieve its classic expression. Just as painting stressed resemblance in representation, the shih poetry of the Six Dynasties made scenic description a touchstone of the poet's talent.[61] Liu Hsieh devoted specific attention to the aesthetics of capturing Nature in language in his chapter entitled "The Physical World" (Wu-se ),[62] while another critic,


Chung Hung (ca. 465–518), employed descriptive ability as a criterion in ranking poets in his Evaluation of Poetry (Shih-p'in , 513–517). Both men referred to this tendency as "responding to things" (kan-wu ), a phrase that came to denote a new subgenre of poetry. In poems that explored fantastic journeys, such as those about "wandering Transcendents" (yu-hsien ), as well as poems recounting actual travels, the landscape was systematically surveyed and scenes depicted with a new devotion to concrete detail.

Two pivotal poets, T'ao Ch'ien and Hsieh Ling-yün (385—443), inaugurated genres of lyric poetry that incorporated personal experience in Nature, providing a set of motivations and responses, a vocabulary and grammar of description, and structural patterns of movement that became conventional elements in later prose travel writing. Both figures also became celebrated in the literary culture as ardent travelers who turned to Nature when disillusioned with official life. T'ao is regarded by literary history as the founder of the "field and garden" genre of poetry (t'ien-yüan shih ). Rejecting the humiliations and dangers of political life in middle age, he resigned from office as a minor magistrate to return to an impoverished life of farming and excursions. T'ao reacted against the dominant tradition of literary embellishment by employing a simplified diction to create a poetic ideal of "natural freedom" (tzu-jan ) and contentment amid rural scenes. His fictional "Record of Peach Blossom Spring" (T'ao-hua-yüan chi ) parodied historical writing in documenting a fisherman's discovery of an ideal village that had preserved a primitive simplicity in its social life while isolated for centuries from historical change. Originally the preface to a poem, this piece became the most influential vision of utopia, to which later travel writers often alluded as they searched for their own ideal worlds.[63]

Another preface T'ao wrote to one of his travel poems, "An Outing to Zigzag Stream" (Yu hsieh-ch'uan ping-hsü ), can be read as a miniature travel account in itself; though still dependent on the poem for its justification, it is briefly descriptive of a journey in Nature:

On the fifth day of the first month in the year hsin-ch'ou [February 3, 401], the sky was clear and the weather was mild, while all Nature seemed beautiful. I went with a few neighbors on an outing to Zigzag Stream. Standing on the banks of the flowing current, we gazed beyond at the Many-storied Citadel. Bream and carp leapt in the twilight; seagulls soared about on the balmy drafts. Over there, South Mountain has long been famous—no need for us to exclaim its praises. As for the Many-storied Citadel here, nothing connects with it as it stands in solitary beauty


amid the marshes. We imagined the Divine Mountain far away and were delighted by its appropriate name. Since it was not enough simply to encounter all this, we wrote poems. We felt sorrow over the suns and moons gone by and mourned the years of our lives that keep on passing. Each of us inscribed our ages and hometowns so as to commemorate this occasion.[64]

T'ao was one of the first to create images of himself in his poetry and prose, advancing the art of autobiography.[65] As a result of the enduring appeal of these images, he became an idealized figure for many later travel writers, who sought to emulate his detachment from the political world and his achievement of a sublime, natural existence. When K'ung Shang-jen (1648–1718), in Stone Gate Mountain (1678),* cited a poem by T'ao to describe his own feelings of satisfaction on having escaped the burdens of the city, he was following a long tradition of allusion to T'ao as a prototypical lyric traveler.

Hsieh Ling-yün's poetry is even more central to later travel writing, both for his self-image of the solitary traveler and for the structural pattern of the journey that he used in some of his most influential poems.[66] Regarded as the founder of "landscape poetry" (shan-shui shih ), he sought escape from the dangers and frustrations of political life in outings on his estate and the discovery of new landscapes. Unlike T'ao, the aristocratic Hsieh remained involved in the turbulent political life of the time, alternating between periods of service and disillusioned retirement. He also experienced exile and was finally executed while still relatively young. Most of Hsieh's landscape poems were written after a major political reversal when he was exiled to the scenic but isolated Yung-chia area in modern Che-chiang, and also during the periods when he withdrew from official life to his extensive family estate at Shih-ning (modern Shan-yu, Che-chiang).

Hsieh was an adventuresome traveler, always seeking out famous mountains in his vicinity, then trying to capture his sense of profound contact with their significant features in a style of verisimilitude. Many of these places serve as sites of self-effacement as the poet blends into a cosmic unity. In commenting on one of his most emblematic poems about the landscape of Shih-ning, "On My Way from South Hill to North Hill, I Glanced at the Scenery from the Lake" (Yü nan-shan wang pei-shan thing hu-chung chan-t'iao ), Kang-i Sun Chang has pointed out the parallelism between water and mountain scenes, plants and birds, and comprehensive and close-up views that were patterned into an ordered progression of continuously unfolding views.[67] Though still


indebted to the tradition of the fu rhapsody, Hsieh abandoned its hyperbole, courtliness, and formal rigidity. In the preface to his widely read "Rhapsody on Dwelling Among the Mountains" (Shan-chüfu ), in which he catalogs the natural beauty of his estate, he announces: "What I will rhapsodize about now is not the sumptuousness of capitals and cities, or palaces and towers, imperial tours and hunts, or music and beautiful women. I will only describe mountains and plains, plants and trees, streams and rocks. . . ."[68]

Hsieh also produced a work of short entries in prose about sites he had visited, Travels to Famous Mountains (Yu minx-shan chih ).[69] This text was originally substantial enough to circulate on its own, but disappeared sometime after the Sung and now exists only as a preface and some fragmentary notes. Apparently, it was gradually compiled between about 422 and 432. The extant entries cover mountains in modern Che-chiang and Chiang-hsi that correspond to many described in his poems. Each entry is a one-line geographical description without any narrative elements or poetic observations. Yet the preface can be read as a credo of the Chinese literary traveler who preferred the search for natural beauty to the dangers of politics:

Food and clothing are necessities of life; mountains and streams are what human nature takes pleasure in. Now, I have abandoned the burden of such necessities and have embraced my human nature, which enjoys such pleasures. It is commonly avowed that the happiness enjoyed in elegant mansions is satisfying enough, while those who sleep on cliffs and wash in streams lack great ambitions and can only preserve their withered bodies. I say, "Not so!" The Noble Man possesses a love for things as well as the ability to rescue them. Only those with talent can control the tendency toward dissipation. Thus, there are those who will endure the circumstances in order to aid their fellow man. Yet how could the stage of fame and profit be more worthy than a place that is broad and pure? An emperor dropped the reins of his chariot at Caldron Lake to become a Transcendent; a crown prince relinquished control of his horse at Eminence Mountain. Moreover, the Vermilion Duke of T'ao bowed out as prime minister of Yüeh, and Marquis Liu yearned to leave the service of the Han dynasty. If you reason from this, it will all become clear.[70]

One of the influences of Hsieh Ling-yün's poetic persona of a solitary traveler is the relative absence of other people in the landscape. Compared to Western narratives, in which traveling companions and individuals met on the road are usually objects of considerable interest,


Chinese travel accounts mention other people infrequently and may even leave the impression that the traveler is the only one there.[71] Actually, as members of the elite, few writers ever traveled alone; besides companions, they often took along: servants to clear the way, carry baggage, arrange transportation, and cook. Hsieh himself was sometimes accompanied by a retinue of disciples and servants on his excursions at Shih-ning. Even so, people, if noted at all, are usually acknowledged in but a few words, with conversations tersely recorded in the impersonal language of classical Chinese; and local residents are mostly ignored, except for such stereotypical figures as fisherman, woodcutters, monks, farmers, or the occasional peasant. In geographical accounts of foreign lands, ethnographic customs are usually described as general habits of the population as a whole, rather than depicted in the actions of representative individuals.

Whereas Western travel writing, with its novelistic orientation, emphasizes social events and portraits of noteworthy characters, the poetic underpinnings of Chinese travel writing tend to stress objects and qualities perceived in the landscape. For this reason, the dividing line between landscape literature and "travel literature" (yu-chi wenhsüeh ) is often obscure. The former is usually descriptive of a single location, while the latter takes in more of the experience of the journey. Yet this is at best a relative distinction, and most prose pieces include something of both elements. In the end, such generic labels are often less suggestive of the formal qualities of a given piece; more is revealed by considering the occasion for which it was written and the audience it was intended for.

During the Six Dynasties period, few attempts were made to extend poetic lyricism into prose forms. But in addition to prefaces, prose descriptions of landscape exist in fragments of letters that survived in later anthologies. An example is Wu Chün's (469–519) "Letter to Sung Yüan-szu" (Yü Sung Yüan-szu shu ):

The wind and mist are both stilled; sky and mountains have become one color. I followed the current, swirling, letting it bear me to and fro. From Fu-yang to T'ung-lu[72] is more than thirty miles. These extraordinary mountains and fantastic streams are unsurpassed in all the world. The water is a clear blue throughout; the bottom, visible to a depth of a thousand chang . Fish swimming and the smallest stones can be clearly observed. The rapid flow is faster than an arrow; its ferocious waves seem to race ahead. On lofty mountains along both banks grow evergreens everywhere. Mountains supported by their mass compete to rise higher; together, they all soar into the distance. Struggling aloft, pointing straight up: hundreds,


thousands, have become high peaks. Waterfalls dash against the rocks emitting sounds of "ling-ling ; elegant birds call to each other in a poetry of "ying-ying ." Cicadas buzz ceaselessly in a thousand ways as monkeys utter a hundred cries without end. "Sparrow hawks soar to Heaven"[73] but gaze at these peaks and cease their ambitions; "those who would order the affairs of the world"[74] behold these valleys and forget about returning. A crossweave of branches covers the sky: though daylight, it is darker than dusk. Through sparse twigs that reflect the light, the sun is sometimes visible.[75]

While lyrical landscape poetry was developing predominantly among southern writers, monumental travel writing m the historiographical mode arose in the north and west. These texts went far beyond the minimal entries of the Guideways Through Mountains and Seas to incorporate a wide range of material including some personal experiences and observations. The Guide to Waterways with Commentary* by Li Tao-yüan (d. 527), for instance, expanded an earlier work into an encyclopedic guide to 1,389 waterways. Following itineraries along major rivers, the Guide not only documented geographical features but also included data from official histories, philosophical texts, biographies, epigraphs, supernatural tales, legends, and folk songs. In addition, Li offered personal observations and evocative descriptions of outstanding landscapes. Usually classified as a geographical work, the Guide was written to recapture a comprehensive sense of the Chinese world at a time when the country was politically divided. Li himself stated, like a true historian, that he was preserving antiquity. In the opinion of later critics such as Liu Hsi-tsai (1813–1881), some of the book's descriptive passages anticipated the travel accounts of Liu Tsung-y–an (773–819).[76]

Another important work was Yang Hsüan-chih's (n.d.) The Temples of Lo-yang (ca. 547), which inaugurated the genre of urban and architectural accounts.* [77] It is similar to the Guide in its accumulation of a wide range of information. In addition to detailed descriptions of more than seventy temples in this war-damaged ancient capital, it preserves much material on aspects of urban life in Lo-yang. Historical preservation was also a great motivation for Yang. He had been an official in the city before its destruction and abandonment in 534, and afterwards sought to describe it at the height of its glory. His was the first of a number of such works compiled by travelers about cities both lost and still in their prime.

Lastly, the Six Dynasties period saw the rise of geographical accounts by Buddhist monks who journeyed through western China and Central Asia on their pilgrimages to India. Fa Hsien's (ca. 334–420)


A Record of Buddhist Kingdoms (Fo-kuo chi , 416)[78] is one of the earliest examples of this genre. Such records were intended to serve both official and private purposes: as intelligence for the ruler and as guide-books for future pilgrims. All the above works of historiographical travel writing shared a common style: objective, third-person narrative; emphasis on factuality; and production based on the compilation and processing of a variety of information including other texts.

On the eve of the development of the lyric travel account in the T'ang, the primary discourses of objective, historiographical documentation and subjective, lyric expression already marked various narrative and poetic genres. Philosophical and religious ideologies emphasizing statecraft, moral cultivation, modes of being in Nature, and spiritual transcendence had become well established, and a private, nonofficial literature, together with theories of writing, had arisen. Early landscape painting also created parallels to literature that furthered the Chinese perception and cultural transformation of Nature. Yet genuine travel writing as the first-person narration of a journey still remained fragmented and subsumed within other genres. It required the particular situation of the literatus-official under the T'ang to generate the autobiographical and stylistic motivations for conveying the experience of traveling to a sympathetic audience. This was brought about in prose largely by two factors: the exigencies of political exile, and the advocacy of a new literary style designed to reassert the Confucian vision.

The Exilic Syndrome, Ancient Style Prose, and the Rise of the Lyric Travel Account

With the reunification of China under the Sui and T'ang dynasties, the centralizing forces in Chinese culture reasserted themselves to create a great empire that viewed itself as the successor to the Han. The borders were again extended to Central Asia, parts of modern Korea and Vietnam came under Chinese influence, and the Chinese settlement of the aboriginal areas south of the Long River was aggressively continued. The political system adapted past institutions to a centralized model and for a century managed to avoid the traditional evils of excessive taxation and a bloated bureaucracy: in 657, there were only 13,465 officials for a population of about fifty million.[79]

Like earlier dynasties, the T'ang drew the upper levels of the official class from aristocratic clans and other elite families, including those


whose forebears had served in the government.[80] Despite the expansion of the examination system, it accounted for only about 10 percent of officeholders and did not bring in many talented outsiders. Nor did the process of recommendation, a more flexible avenue of recruitment, fundamentally alter the social composition of the literate elite. The T'ang did, however, initiate one powerful trend that ultimately undermined the role of the aristocracy in China. For gradually, the power of the court "metropolitanized" members of the local aristocracies, attracting them away from their regional power bases. The central government now appointed all local officials instead of only the principal ones, who previously had chosen their own subordinates. Hence, the power of autocratic emperors and the imperial family grew in relation to other clans. This had a considerable effect on T'ang writers, most of whom were unable to envision a mode of existence apart from official life. Compared to writers during the Six Dynasties period, T'ang literati became more psychologically dependent on service to the dynasty and more subject to the whims of imperial power. Even when demoted, exiled, and disillusioned, as in the case of Wang Wei (701–761) or Po Chü-i, they were generally unwilling to renounce public service and withdraw completely into private life.

Travel writing during the first century of T'ang rule largely followed the practices established during the Six Dynasties. The geographical and ethnographic description of foreign kingdoms by Buddhist pilgrims reached its height in Hsüan-tsang's (ca. 600–664) A Record of the Western Region (646).* This work was of particular interest to the T'ang court, which had reopened the Silk Road and was actively engaged in military maneuvers designed to defend the heartland against such expansionist forces to the west as the Tibetans, Uighurs, and other Central Asian tribes. At court, the parallel prose style retained its prestige and was cultivated by ambitious writers in the provinces—as exemplified by the young Wang Po's (ca. 650–ca. 676) consummate description of scenery in his Preface to Poems from the Pavilion of the Prince of T'eng (675).* Encountering Nature on one's estate continued as a poetic theme. Wang Wei, for instance, immortalized the beauty of his estate, Wheel River (Wang-ch'uan), in a series of lyric poems, and further communicated these visions in prose in A Letter from the Mountains to the "Cultivated Talent" P'ei Ti .*

Painting and travel writing drew closer during the T'ang through developments in the representation of landscape and through increased journeys, both in provincial centers such as Tun-huang as well as in the capital.[81] As landscape subjects achieved greater independence from figure painting, the T'ang developed a sophisticated set of composi-


tional arrangements later known as the "three perspectives" (san-yüan ).[82] The painter Wu Tao-tzu (fl. eighth century) is recorded as having rendered the landscape of Szu-ch'uan while traveling there; then, upon his return to Ch'ang-an, he was summoned to the imperial palace where he depicted the length of the Chia-ling River from memory in a single day. The critic Chang Yen-yüan (ca. 815–ca. 875) devoted a prominent section of his Comprehensive Record of Famous Painters Through the Dynasties (Li-tai ming-hua chi , 847) to "Landscape, Rocks, and Trees" (Lun shan-shui shu shih ), in which he asserted that Wu Tao-tzu had begun a new phase of development in landscape painting that was perfected by Li Szu-hsün (651–718) and his son, Li Chao-tao (fl. ca. 670–730). Among travel writers, Po Chü-i also wrote a "Record on Painting" (Hua chi ); in it he praised artists for their spiritual insight and the quality of verisimilitude in their works, an achievement of "the harmony of Nature and the art of the mind."[83] But it was Wang Wei who most completely combined abilities in painting and travel writing. In addition to the poems and letter mentioned above, he depicted Wheel River in a mural and in a long handscroll, thus inaugurating a special tradition in landscape painting.[84] In later interpretations of his no-longer extant handscroll, the viewer experiences a journey through linked space-cells illustrating sites celebrated in his cycle of lyric poems (fig. 16).

The metropolitanization of the literate elite also influenced travel writing by defining certain kinds of common itineraries for the official class, which were followed through most of later Imperial China. The bureaucratic recruitment procedures of recommendation and examination necessitated that one journey to the capital from one's home as part of the quest for political power. If a degree-holder received an appointment outside the capital, he was then obliged to travel to distant posts in the provinces and to relocate every few years, often returning to the center only to be reassigned to the provinces again. Significantly, public service was often referred to as the "official road" (huan-t'u ) or, given a Confucian moral tint, the "orthodox road" (cheng-t'u ). In the ch'uan-ch'i short story that arose at this time, the motif of such travel appears frequently, especially in romantic tales of young scholars and beauties.[85] Continual displacement had become the accepted mode of existence for the official class. Moreover, except during required periods of mourning for one's parents, it was often difficult to return home, where officials were traditionally barred from service to avoid conflicts of interest. Of the various reasons for official travel, political exile became more common, and it was a catalyst for a new genre of travel writing.


Following the disastrous An Lu-shan Rebellion (755–763), a crisis that fundamentally weakened the T'ang dynasty, political conflict grew more intense. Various bureaucratic and eunuch power factions proliferated at court while regional military and financial commissioners came increasingly to dominate in the provinces. The extensive control that the T'ang court had gained over the careers of officials enabled it not only to summon talent but also readily to disperse those who angered the emperor or who lost out in the endless factional struggles. During the Six Dynasties, assassination, execution, flight to rival kingdoms, imprisonment, or hermetic withdrawal from public life were not uncommon fates. From the T'ang onward, demotion and internal exile figured prominently in personal experience and in literature: some of the most influential works of travel writing were written by exiles, including leading literary figures at various points in their careers. An important feature of exile was the possibility of recall and reinstatement, even promotion. One's fate could be suddenly reversed if the emperor had a change of heart, if one's patrons and friends succeeded in gaining power, or if one received a favorable annual review for six years straight. Few exiles resigned themselves completely to their situation. No matter how far one was from the capital, occasional visitors and correspondence with supporters back at the center kept hope alive that the exiled writer would eventually be pardoned. Many experienced exile several times in their lives and were resilient enough to return from it. Some, however, were sent so far away or were so debilitated by the living conditions that they were unable to survive the ordeal; and others waited in vain for pardon. Sung Lien died on the road to exile in old age; Su Shih and Ch'in Kuan (1049–1100) died on their way back after being recalled; and Liu Tsung-yüan succumbed in a remote, inhospitable environment.

It was to document one such journey into exile that Li Ao's (772–836) Diary of My Coming to the South (809)* was written. In this daily log, he recorded the lengthy journey from Ch'ang-an to Kuang-chou (Canton) at the southern end of the empire, a distance of over 2,500 miles by waterways that required six months of travel. Minimal in its detail, with few of the subjective or aesthetic perceptions found in later travel diaries, the work follows the historiographical style of a chronicle, charting an itinerary while noting a few personal incidents along the way. Its careful delineation of routes and distances suggests that it was probably intended as a guide for others planning similar journeys. The autobiographical presence, though, may also suggest that the writer sought to represent himself as a Confucian Noble Man who


has gained the "grand view" and thus possesses the virtue of an official worthy of respect and recall.

The exigencies of exile created a particular set of political, psychological, and spiritual problems for such writers. In the Confucian ideology of the imperial state, the exiling of an official by an infallible ruler inevitably brought the official's moral virtue into question. The burden for the rupture of the ritual order lay with the individual offender, who felt obliged to scrutinize himself closely and then attempt to demonstrate clearly those qualities of the cultivated self that would justify the restoration of his status. The abrupt loss of one's social world effectively isolated the individual from his sustaining network of relationships and often rendered him a pariah, making contact with him a potential danger for friends and relatives. The exile might be forced to relocate to a distant, alien environment where he was often frustrated and underemployed. Under these adverse conditions, some felt the need to redefine themselves within an alternative context. As a sublime substitute for the world he left behind, the landscape became both a refuge for the persecuted official and a mirror of his virtuous, misunderstood self.

The exilic writer's need to defend his character combined with the polemical advocacy of a style of writing later known as the "Ancient Style" (Ku-wen ), designed to revive the fortunes of the declining T'ang dynasty. In her survey of this movement, Yu-shih Chen has identified dual motivations: a revolt against the parallel prose style that dominated the court and a revival of classical ideals in literature.[86] In the initial, utilitarian phase, officials at various courts in the sixth century criticized the rhetorical devices of parallel prose as incapable of promoting stable government and as responsible for the corruption and political disunity of the age. Advocating "a balance between plainness and embellishment in literary style" (wen-chih pin-pin ), they focused on the practical use of such writing. They were less specific about precise stylistic techniques, however, and generally rejected slavish imitation of the classics, the latter being regarded as too remote from contemporary needs. At the height of the T'ang dynasty in the eighth century, classicism was seen as the answer to the problem of how correctly to manifest the Tao in writing and realize the utilitarian goal of influencing society. By adopting the language and spirit of the Six Classics (Liu-ching ), literature could more effectively transmit its moral ideals.

Following the cataclysmic An Lu-shan Rebellion, several theorists of this phase gave a more metaphysical definition to the Tao in literature, expanding it beyond simple didacticism and fidelity to the classics


to the representation of "universal mind" (hsin ) and "emotions" (ch'ing ). Lyrical travel writing, which was relatively free of courtly influence, became a vehicle for writers to advance these ideals without the polemical burden of more orthodox genres. At the same time, its informal status permitted writers to include parallelistic elements without appearing to compromise their stylistic views. Yüan Chieh, celebrated as a practitioner of classicism, developed a freer style to capture a sublime Nature, anticipating the travel accounts of Liu Tsung-yüan in such pieces as The Right-hand Stream (ca. 764),*The Winter Pavilion (766),* and My Own Terrace (767).* Each of these short pieces is an assertion of the quality of the writer's self through appropriation of a scene; in My Own Terrace , Yüan even invented characters to signify his ownership of the property, an act completed through naming and inscribing.

The stage was now set for a further phase in the Ancient Style movement that occurred during the first half of the ninth century. Although Chinese traditionally regarded Liu Tsung-yüan as inaugurating the travel account, Han Yü is usually given more credit in the Ancient Style movement, not only for applying the term to his own work but also for his theories and advocacy of Confucian orthodoxy. Han Yü promoted a more polemical view of the Ancient Style as a means of representing the correct moral vision of Confucianism in literature, as against the heterodoxy of Buddhism and Taoism. Yet he rejected slavish imitation of the Six Classics . In an influential statement on the orthodox process of self-cultivation, he argued that one must first identify with the Classics and naturalize their spirit and form, and then emerge with a realization of one's own identity and uniqueness (ch'i ).[87] Han Yü's belief in personal distinctiveness as the highest achievement in creativity saved his work from becoming dominated by the past and helps to explain his interest in fables, short stories, and other informal genres.

Although Han Yü did not write much travel literature, he can be considered the founder of the "valedictory travel account" with The Pavilion of joyous Feasts (804).* In 803, not long after he had become a supervisory censor, he was demoted for submitting a critical memorial and banished to Kuang-tung in the far south. It was during this phase of his life that his earlier ideals were tempered by confronting what he termed "extremity" (ch'iung ). In The Pavilion of Joyous Feasts , the exilic syndrome and the moral purity of the Ancient Style converged as Han Yü celebrated the Confucian landscape of character by inscribing the scene with the virtues of a fellow exile in Kuang-tung, Wang Chungshu (Hung-chung). Essentially two kinds of activity are described. One


involves the actions of Wang, who discovered an area of natural wilderness and proceeded to alter the landscape to reflect his sensibility. Nature is presented as the sublime stage of the Noble Man's purposeful activity as Wang orders the uncivilized world into patterns that reflect the moral aesthetics of Chinese culture. Each of the elements symbolizes an aspect of perfected character brought into harmonious balance with totality: landscaping as Confucian self-cultivation.

After Wang has thus "inscribed" the landscape to bring out the patterns of the Tao , Han Yü voluntarily complements this deed by a second order of action: bestowing correct names. The appellations he gives to each of the focal elements in the scene constitute a further inscription. All this is crowned by celebrating the erection of the pavilion whose name alludes to an aristocrat in the classic Book of Poetry (Shih thing ). Wang is praised as an extraordinary man who has traveled a heroic itinerary into exile, during which he has gained the "grand view" of the world. Finally, Hah voices one of the primary motivations of the piece, that is, to predict that Wang will be recalled to the court as an official. Although the piece immortalizes Wang, it is also a vicarious expression of Han Yü's own yearning to return to the center of power. By representing himself as Confucian rectifier of names and engraving his text at the site, he, too, participates in the scene; he also knows that in the literary universe, it is his mode of inscription that will endure.

In contrast to Han Yü, Liu Tsung-yüan's family boasted a number of high officials over several generations. Well established within the elite of the capital, Liu's relatives helped smooth the way for his own entrée into official life. In 805, though, the reformist faction of the prime minister, Wang Shu-wen (753–806), fell, and Liu was exiled to isolated Yung Prefecture (modern Ling-ling, Hu-nan) at the age of thirty-three.[88] Because this faction became involved in the conflict over the imperial succession, Liu and seven others were not only demoted and exiled to unpleasant localities; they were specifically denied the usual possibilities of amnesty as well. As in the case of Han Yü, the marginal environment and the blow to his self-image challenged Liu's assumptions about literature, nurtured in the capital. Liu turned away from his earlier preoccupation with the role of literature in politics and came to embrace a broader vision of universal principle (li ) rooted in natural process (tzu-jan ).

During his exile in Yung Prefecture from 806–815, Liu Tsung-yüan created most of the writings for which he was later canonized, along with Han Yü, as one of the Eight Masters of T'ang and Sung Prose (T'ang Sung pa-chia; fig. 6).[89] Despite the continued marginal status of the travel account, his Eight Pieces from Yung Prefecture (809–812)* [90]



Fig. 6.
Portraits of Masters of T'ang and Sung Prose: (a) Han Yü; (b) Liu Tsung-yüan; (c)
Fan Chung-yen; (d) Ou-yang Hsiu; (e) Su Shih. From  San-ts'ai t'u-hui  (1609),
Richard C. Rudolph East Asian Library, University of California, Los Angeles.


arguably had as much influence on later literary history as some of his other, more formal writings. In these few short pieces, he went beyond the overt concern with Confucian virtue and the orthodox Tao of Han Yü. Within a dominant mode of objective, spartan prose that incorporated the power of classic historiographical writing, he preserved a broad palette of descriptive language that included some of the aesthetic features of both parallel prose and lyric poetry.[91] Most important, the autobiographical experience of the traveler became the primary focus for presenting the scene. Liu's movements, observations, and intellectual reflections constituted a sympathetic self in the narrative as the traveler encountered and transformed the "otherness" of Nature.

Although the term "travel account" (yu-chi ) did not originate with Liu Tsung-yüan,[92] these words appear in the title of the first piece of the set, My First Excursion to West Mountain (809).* Liu begins by signifying his discovery of a higher mode of traveling and perceiving the landscape. He notes the many excursions he had made with friends to sights in the area, which he recognizes as an unenlightened mode of tourism. Liu then goes on to recreate his discovery of the lyrical sublime on West Mountain. He states that he happened to view the mountain from the spiritualized vantage point of a Buddhist temple and then felt mysteriously compelled to seek it out. This he did by aggressively cutting a path through the wilderness, burning the dry bush, and conquering the peak of the mountain. Once on the summit, he attained a "grand view" of the world below and found himself losing his self-consciousness in a moment of fusion with the cosmos. As William Nienhauser has pointed out, the central metaphor pervading all the pieces is that of a neglected scene of natural beauty, signifying the exiled official forgotten by the emperor and misunderstood by his fellow politicians.[93]

In the other pieces of this group, Liu discovers further emblematic places. Flatiron Pond (Ku-mu-t'an) is formed by a fiercely agitated stream that dramatically encounters rocks, then becomes benign eddies, and finally flows on to form a deep, clear, calm pond. The Little Hill West of Flatiron Pond (Ku-mu-t'an hsi hsiao-ch'iu) is an energetic scene of fantastically shaped rocks thrusting upward and resembling various animals, a natural setting for the quality of uniqueness that both Han Yü and Liu Tsung-yüan appreciated. Other spots are settings for experiencing the dazzling tapestry of nature, an ironic sense of cosmic order, and a melancholy solitude. In many of these pieces, an aggressive impulse to possess and inscribe the landscape is intimately connected with the experience of the sublime. Liu represents himself as an


energetic explorer and discoverer of the unknown, which he then physically transforms to bring out its inherent aesthetic and moral significance. In Flatiron Pond (809),* he profits from the impoverishment of a local farmer who sells the pond to him to pay his taxes. Liu then builds a terrace and diverts a spring so as to create sound effects that enable him to obtain another "grand view." In Stony Brook (812),* about a little stream he obtained from the prefect, he enlarges the brook so that a spring can flow forth in full abundance. In The Little Hill West of Flatiron Pond (809),* Liu explains how he obtained the site, which was abandoned and had long stood empty, though it was being sold for a mere pittance. He trims away the growth to reveal fine trees, bamboo, and rocks, whereupon the scene becomes civilized, enabling the writer to respond to its innate purity. Sometimes he sentimentalizes a place, calling it neglected and long-suffering and suggests that his restorative care has aroused its appreciation. In several pieces, Liu Tsung-yüan noted that he had the text engraved on a rock at the site as a guide for future visitors. The interaction of the traveler with the landscape had now become a process of mutual inscription, designed to recover the identity between man and Nature and thereby restore the writer to his rightful place in the cosmos.

There was an implicit irony in the exilic travel account written by many other unwilling sojourners to the margins of Imperial China. On the one hand, the writer celebrated his newfound world as a sublime environment purified of the inauthenticities of bureaucratic politics, and he immortalized his virtuous self by inscribing his own sensitive responses to the natural Tao . Within this alternative sphere, he expressed an ultimate moment of lyric containment and contentment for sympathetic readers. On the other hand, the exile was well aware of his distance from the capital and often addressed a real or potential audience among powerful officials and political supporters, desperately seeking recall. Thus, he signified as well a contradictory yearning to escape the isolation and barbarism of the very scene he was celebrating in order to reenter the political world he condemned Such an intention can often be confirmed by other, more overt statements from the same period, as in the case of some of Liu Tsung-yüan's poems and letters.

In postmedieval travel writing in the West, the discovery of new worlds, new cultures, and new sources of wealth supported a fundamental questioning of traditional structures of authority in both the literary and nonliterary realms. The exiled official in Imperial China, however, remained bound to the dynastic scene. Though alienated from the power center, he did not look to the cultures of the margin


for elements that would enable him to envision a radically different existence. Class status, a Confucian disdain for pursuing private commercial profit, and pride in the superiority of Chinese culture were barriers to creating the kind of autonomy that might have had revolutionary implications. Rather, the lyric bent of the Chinese travel writer in exile led him in another direction. Instead of dialectically preserving the "otherness" of a place as a vantage point from which to express ideological opposition, his desire for a poetic identification with Nature temporarily resolved feelings of alienation and isolation in a transcendent sphere, one that was purified of specific social and political issues. Simultaneously, his psychological need for rehabilitation led him to intensify his commitment to the dynasty and its ruler. By integrating historiographical narration of correct action with the poetic response of a genuine, inner self, the text sought to inscribe the landscape with the sincere character of a cultivated Confucian. However extended his wanderings in the margins, the road of the exilic travel writer was intended to lead back to the center.

The deaths of Han Yü and Liu Tsung-yüan deprived the Ancient Style movement of its two most charismatic leaders during the T'ang. Although a few lesser writers continued to espouse its values, a void ensued in travel writing that was to last for almost two centuries as the T'ang declined, collapsed in 907, and was followed by another period of disunity. In the opinion of the Ming critic Wu Na (1372–1457), both Han and Liu in their travel writings had gone beyond the traditional use of the account as a document of events to establish it as a vehicle of discursive thought, thus setting the pattern for later travel writers.[94] Their influence in their own time, however, should not be overestimated. Neither held significant political power, and their writings were persuasive only within a narrow circle. The Ancient Style was primarily addressed to the emerging class of literati officials, yet it was not popular among them nor did it succeed in supplanting the preference for parallel prose at court. Moreover, neither Han Yü nor Liu Tsungyüan were voluminous authors; their reputation as seminal travel writers rests on a rather modest number of pieces. It was not until the consolidation of another strong, unifying dynasty some 150 years after their deaths that the Ancient Style movement was revived and redefined under altered conditions. During the Sung, Han Yü and Liu Tsung-yüan were rediscovered and canonized as heroic writers, travel accounts and diaries achieved their mature forms, and travel writing was henceforth to flourish throughout later Imperial China.


Sung Travel Writing: "The Classification of Things" and the Perception of Universality

During the Northern Sung dynasty, the literati finally emerged within the establishment as the dominant arbiters of ideology and culture, a resuit of the increased role of the official class in the imperial state. Most of the old aristocratic clans and official families that had once sustained the bureaucracy had failed to survive the fall of the T'ang and the ensuing Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. When the founders of the Sung faced the need to administer the state and offset the power of regional military commanders, they turned to members of the literate elite. By means of a more objectively administered examination system as well as by recommendation, they recruited a new corps of founding officials. This unprecedented meritocracy drew primarily on talent from the landed gentry, but it also included some notable outsiders, resulting in a relatively cohesive group of officials motivated by a renewed form of Confucianism. Initially, most founding officials were recruited through the examinations, which tested classical knowledge, current issues, and, particularly, literary style. As the dynasty progressed, however, slightly more than half of the official class was chosen by hereditary privilege, thus enabling prominent literati clans to perpetuate their status.[95]

The literati proliferated as a class owning to the expansion of the educational system, the development of printing, and the general prosperity of the land. From the early eleventh through the mid-thirteenth century, the number of candidates taking the lowest, prefectural qualifying examinations rose from less than thirty thousand to more than four hundred thousand.[96] Yet those at the top of the pyramid, who obtained the Presented Scholar or Metropolitan Graduate degrees,[97] numbered only in the hundreds at any one examination; and, a high proportion of these were from families that already contained officials. Even more than during the T'ang, an official career constituted the sole ladder of success for the literati, and as a result, the style and content of the examination essays emerged as a potent political issue.

The power of the literati to set the cultural agenda was reflected in their search to articulate new intellectual formulas defining a more rational, universal order that could be apprehended by the educated individual. In their reinterpretation of Confucian philosophy, the Northern Sung philosophers emphasized both the search for knowledge in the external world and the application of this knowledge in generating


enlightenment of the moral mind of the individual. Conceiving of reality as a texture of principles (li ) on the metaphysical, concrete, and mental levels, these thinkers were concerned with how to realize the Confucian ideal of agehood by active engagement with events and objects in the world. As finally codified by Chu Hsi (1130–1200) into a system that Western scholars have termed "Neo-Confucianism," "the classification of things" (ko-wu ) was emphasized as the basic step in the process of self-cultivation. The comprehension of universal principles in the world and in the mind through a combination of empirical inquiry and self-scrutiny was the key to perfecting the Noble Man and his ability to create social and political order.[98] On a more mundane level, this philosophical outlook was reflected in a greater motivation to observe and record the world. The miscellany (pi-chi ), an aggregate of random notes about any object or topic of interest, included the most quotidian events, as did daily logs of one's activities.[99] An example of the former is Chats from Dream Stream (Meng-hsi pi-t'an , printed 1166) by Shen K'uo (1031–1095), which included among its 609 entries his travel account Geese Pond Mountain .* The popularity of both forms provided a foundation for more extended travel diaries.

The philosophers regarded the classification of things conceptually; while they included the landscape as a possible object of knowledge, their moral activism led them to emphasize the scrutiny of human events. It was in painting that the Sung impulse to comprehend the totality of Nature was most apparent. Beginning in the tenth century, landscape emerged as the highest subject matter in painting, both theoretically and in the depiction of monumental scenes, which sought to represent the spirit and form of a totalized universe. As Ching Hao (fl. ca. 870–930) remarked in his Notes on Brush Method (Pi-fa chi ), the first coherent theory of landscape painting, "If you wish to paint clouds and forests or mountains and streams, you must understand clearly the source of any phenomenon."[100] The Northern Sung painters sought to present an image of a macrocosmic Nature as an orderly pattern reflecting intellectual principles. Within vast panoramas of dynamically articulated forms, man was shown occupying a diminutive but definite place in the cosmic scheme.

The theme of travel became an essential component of these pictures, as indicated by the names of some of the great works of this period: Traveler at a Mountain Pass (Kuan-shan hsing-lü ) by Kuan T'ung (fl. ca. 907–923), Seeking the Tao in the Autumn Mountains (Ch'iu-shan wen-tao ) by Chü-jan (fl. ca. 960–980), and, often considered the masterpiece of this genre, Travelers Among Streams and Mountains (Hsi-shan hsing-lü , ca. 1000) by Fan K'uan (ca. 960-ca. 1030; fig. 7). Not only



Fig. 7.
Fan K'uan (ca. 960-ca. 1030), Travelers  Among Streams and
 (ca. 1000). National Palace Museum, Taipei.


was Nature depicted as a scene of the traveler's quest for moral and spiritual knowledge, but the viewer was also directed by the shifting perspectives of the work to identify with the traveling figure and follow the path of his journey in search of the "grand view." This monumental style declined by the early twelfth century, to be succeeded by an intimate kind of scenery that was more naturalistic, atmospheric, ambiguous, and simply rendered. The way traveling was represented and experienced in both kinds of Sung landscapes often paralleled the conventions of literary representation found in travel accounts. The evident popularity of this theme in both painting and literature reflected the fact that officials were traveling more, thanks in part to marked improvements in highways and waterways throughout the Sung empire.

Despite prosperity and cultural flourishing, the Sung was beset by constant political conflicts within the official class, chiefly over irredentism and government reform. From the outset, the dynasty had failed to gain control over certain border territories previously held by the Han and T'ang. Moreover, it was faced with powerful non-Chinese states to the north and west, chiefly the Tangut Hsi-Hsia, Khitan Liao, and Jürchen Chin, who inflicted a number of severe military defeats and compelled the Sung to pay tribute. Eventually, the Chin overran the north, captured the Sung emperor in his capital, and forced the remaining court to flee south to the city of Lin-an (modern Hang-chou) by 1127. From there, the Southern Sung continued to rule over two-thirds of its original territory until they were finally destroyed by another foreign force, the Mongols, in 1279. Throughout the Northern and Southern Sung dynasties, there were continual battles at court as the emperors wavered between patriotic war factions that demanded military action to recover lost territory and opposing factions that favored a cautious policy of negotiations and maintenance of the status quo.

This situation influenced travel writing in several ways. First, it was a cause of exile for some writers who fell victim to the struggles and who, like Liu Tsung-yüan, wrote lyric travel accounts while demoted to the provinces. Second, the fall of the Northern Sung capital of K'aifeng in 1127 and the mass exodus south led to such works as A Record of Dreamlike Glories of the Eastern Capital (Tung-ching meng-hua lu , 1147) by Meng Yüan-lao, an account in the tradition of The Temples of Lo-yang that nostalgically documented the life of K'ai-feng before its destruction.[101] Third, diplomatic negotiations and ceremonial visits necessitated the frequent dispatching of official delegations to the powerful border states, mostly by the Southern Sung during the latter part of


the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. Reports of these missions were expected to be submitted to the court upon return, and a number of officials in addition left what have been called "embassy diaries."[102] These highly factual accounts served to disseminate intelligence about hostile neighbors as well as to document the changes that had taken place in former Chinese territories. Some diaries are quite critical of the decay of the former capital of K'ai-feng, the extravagance of the "barbarian" courts, and the harsh conditions of life under these regimes. Among the more detailed extant diaries are Diary of a Northern Journey (Pei-hsing jih-lu , 1169–1170) by Lou Yüeh (1137–1213), Register of Grasping the Carriage Reins (Lan-p'ei lu , 1170) by Fan Ch'eng-ta (1126–1193), Voyage to the North (Pei-yüan lu , 1176–1177) by Chou Hui, and Embassy to the Chin (Shih-Chin lu , 1211–1212) by Ch'eng Cho (1153–1223).

The Sung also witnessed the rise of lengthy travel diaries of journeys within China. To begin with, these did not significantly differ from Li Ao's diary. Ou-yang Hsiu's (1007–1072) Diary of My Route to Assume Office (Yü-i chih , 1036), for example, recorded his route to exile in I-ling (modern I-ch'ang, Hu-pei) in brief laconic entries with little descriptive or subjective content. Although I-ling was about five hundred miles from K'ai-feng by land, Ou-yang took the water route to avoid the summer heat and traveled more than three times the distance over a period of five months. Most of the entries simply note the places on the route and the friends and officials with whom he feasted.

During the Southern Sung, however, two notable travel diaries appeared that in their length, breadth, and narrative technique significantly advanced the genre and served as models for later travel writers. Lu Yu's A Journey into Shu (1170)* and Fan Ch'eng-ta's Diary of a Boat Trip to Wu (1177)* [103] were written by supporters of irredentism on their way to and from posts at the front in Szu-chuan. Both diaries follow routes along the Long River. They went beyond the skeletal documentation of Li Ao's and Ou-yang Hsiu's works and that of the embassy diaries to include the broader range of data found in geographical compendiums such as The Guide to Waterways with Commentary . In addition, they included the subjective, poetic responses to the landscape of the lyric travel account, as well as the observations of quotidian life found in miscellanies. These "river diaries," thus, can be seen as realizing the full potential of combining historiographical and lyrical discourses while stopping short of being an altogether new form. In essence, they are extended strings of individual travel accounts framed within a day-by-day chronology. They present a series of


vignettes of the landscape not unlike the collections of album leaves popularized by Southern Sung painters. Here again, a fundamental distinction between the novelistic tendency of modern Western travel writing and the miniaturist orientation of Chinese travel writing is apparent. The Chinese diarist's attempt to describe an epic journey is constructed as an aggregate of fragmentary perspectives, without an overarching structure, dramatic plot, or thematic development. As the text is savored section by section, "grand views" momentarily appear like sudden visions of mountains shrouded in mist.

Irredentism and the economic burden of supporting a professional army of around a million men were key factors in various plans for government reform. Reformers seeking to expand their own factions often focused on the examination system as the basis of recruitment, and this led to passionate debates over prose style. Because the literary style required in the examination essays was regarded as a decisive factor in the selection of a Confucian Noble Man, it was largely in this bureaucratic context that the revival of Ancient Style prose once again became a potent issue, taking on far greater political importance than it had in the T'ang.

One of the earliest advocates of the Ancient Style in the Sung, Liu K'ai (947–1000), argued for a return to simplicity, accessibility of meaning, and a genuine contemporaneity devoid of imitation.[104] He declared himself a writer in the orthodox tradition of Han Yü and championed the didactic function of writing by reducing its decorative verbal surface. Liu, in fact, failed the examinations several times by insisting on writing in the Ancient Style, gaining an appointment only after a personal interview with the emperor. He wrote a travel account, Flat-Top Mountain (995),* which demonstrated his ascetic ideals. Its spartan brevity and clarity was a direct contrast to the elaborate virtuosity of the styles favored at court.

He states in the piece that after a conversation with a Buddhist monk acquaintance he was tempted into traveling to confirm the monk's claims of the scenic beauty of this mountain. He made a fiveday trip through the landscape and ended at a temple where his friend and the host monk requested that he inscribe his experience. Liu's piece balances action, dialogue, and brief perceptions of the landscape in equal proportions, while also documenting the many sites named after Buddhist mythology. The text still relies on parallelistic rhythms of three-, four-, five-, and six-character phrases, particularly for descriptive purposes; but, these phrases are syntactically broken up within the longer flow of the sentence, especially when the writer narrates his


movements and conversations. Compared to Liu Tsung-yüan's pieces from Yung Prefecture, Liu K'ai's account exhibits a minimal amount of discursive reflection, a deliberate avoidance of poetic emotion, and a rather dry, documentary focus. Despite its lack of aestheticism, it is one of the earliest examples reflecting the Sung travel writer's empirical classification of things in the landscape.

During the middle and latter half of the eleventh century, several notable reformers each experienced exile and wrote lyric travel accounts. These recall the exilic syndrome of Liu Tsung-yüan's pieces; however, they go beyond his attitude of self-commiseration to more optimistically affirm universal meanings discovered in the landscape. One very widely read piece of travel writing that demonstrates the connection between the investigation of Nature and Confucian moral reflection was Fan Chung-yen's The Pavilion of Yüeh-yang (1046).* In its continued dependence on parallelism, it appears transitional in the revival of Ancient Style prose, but as a statement of political activism and in its description of universal Nature as a figure of moral character it reasserted the Ancient Style's advocacy of Confucian content. Fan was an early, persistent advocate of reform who had finally gained sufficient power to institute changes in government personnel in 1043, only to fall victim to conservative opposition and be demoted and exiled. The Pavilion of Yüeh-yang begins as a valedictory piece written to praise a fellow exile who restored the pavilion at Grotto Lake (Tung-t'ing-hu) in modern Yüeh-yang, Hu-nan. Fan's survey of the scenery from the "grand view" of the pavilion then leads him to read the landscape in order to draw intellectual conclusions relevant to the Confucian goal of ruling the world. After evoking contrasting moods of melancholy and delight provoked by his observations of the seasonal changes in the landscape, the writer seeks a means of transcending the cycle of shifting emotions to achieve an unwavering sageliness. He concludes by affirming the model of ancient paragons who put concern for the suffering of the world before their own pursuit of happiness. Fan's sense of a universal constancy was identical with the commitment of the Confucian Noble Man to defer personal gratification and became celebrated as an achievement of self-transcendence through an allembracing love for humanity.

This emphasis on the affirmation of universality, rather than on the discovery of one's uniqueness, is a critical difference between Sung practitioners of the Ancient Style and their T'ang predecessors. Largely through the leadership of Ou-yang Hsiu, the practice of the Ancient Style was advanced as a means of reestablishing contact with the more


objective, enduring principles of the Tao as preserved in the literature of the past. Although he praised Han Yü as a heroic writer and precursor, Ou-yang was strongly opposed to the pursuit of the unique, especially as this had degenerated into an empty display of verbal dexterity among later followers.[105] Ou-yang persistently advocated a return to the simplicity and directness of ancient models, and deplored the pursuit of stylistic difference for its own sake; rather, he sought to recover through writing the essential response of the mind to human events. His aesthetic theories therefore emphasized the role of "intention" (i ) in the apprehension of "form" (hsing ), giving priority to inner mental activity in the artist's process of classifying things.[106]

In The Pavilion of the Old Drunkard (1046),* Ou-yang Hsiu sought to resolve the tensions of the exilic syndrome by inscribing a dualistic persona in a benevolent landscape animated with constant activity. The piece begins autobiographically as the writer narrates his journey up a mountain "luxuriant, secluded, and graceful," past a sonorous waterfall, to a pavilion he ordered built from which one could gain a "grand view." Subsequently, the "I" disappears and is replaced by a doubly named figure, the "Old Drunkard/Prefect." By combining the sensual lyricism of the poet lubricated by wine with a Confucian's classification of the principles of things, the writer becomes both a self-effacing participant in the scene and a moralizing observer of Nature and humanity. After naming himself and the pavilion, he proceeds to read the seasonal changes and the concrete activities of the people as emblematic of a universal constancy, a kind of sublime normalcy that envelops all things in a pervasive joyfulness. The emotions of the Old Drunkard are rendered ambiguous by the trope of wine: one can read drink as a facilitator of participation in the joyful scene; yet it can also be a means of quietly dissipating the desperation of a middle-aged exile who struggles to preserve his integrity while consigned to the margins. Through the teasing playfulness of the syntax Ou-yang repeatedly creates patterns that assert objective perceptions, activities, or facts, only to withhold some key element until the end, which then appears as an enlightening surprise, completing the meaning. Only at the very close of the piece, in fact, are we told who the Old Drunkard/Prefect is. The inscription of a benign, virtuous personality who seems to have found solace in this mode of classifying things has contributed to the perennial appreciation of this account. In the centuries following, it became a favorite text for calligraphers and was widely anthologized.

A recent study comparing the travel writing of Ou-yang Hsiu with that of Liu Tsung-yüan has pointed out some of the particular qualities of Sung as opposed to T'ang travel writing.[107] Liu gave scenes a certain


concreteness so that they might serve as figures of his plaintive emotions. Hence he selected specific, tactile qualities of shape, sound, and color, which were enhanced by highly visual similes. Ou-yang's interest was more abstract and discursive. He included fewer descriptive details, capturing the essence of the landscape by isolating its typical features. His angle of vision was broader as he scanned the environment, and his sense of totality more monumental as he articulated the "grand view." Liu, in contrast, found odd corners of the landscape to describe, which took on vividness and depth as each became a substitute world. Linguistically, this difference is reflected in the more archaic and imagistic qualities of Liu's language with its many short, parallelistic rhythms. Ou-yang's language was designed to facilitate philosophical discussion and so utilized a more continuous syntax, aided by frequent use of grammatical particles known as "empty words" (hsü-tzu ), which coordinate extended phrases.[108] The effect is more direct and colloquial, creating an aesthetic of simplicity and unembellished purity.

Aside from the particular literary practices of the T'ang and Sung, which led each writer to define the Ancient Style with different emphases, the nature of their exiles also influenced their travel writing. Liu's political offense was more serious, and his punishment more drastic and unforgiving. His more desperate predicament thus led him to focus on his own plight; he made little attempt to address public issues or wider intellectual questions. Ou-yang's exiles were of shorter duration, his appointments as magistrate involved real responsibilities, and he was later promoted and recalled to positions of importance at court. In his writings, therefore, he never ceased to focus on moral and philosophical concerns relevant to the power center and there was an implicit faith on his part that his situation was merely a temporary circumstance.

It was after he was recalled to the capital that Ou-yang Hsiu was able to use his expanded influence to further his literary views. He later wrote a history of the Five Dynasties and rewrote the existing T'ang dynastic history to serve as models of the Ancient Style. In 1057, he served as chief examiner of the Presented Scholar examinations, where he instituted the Ancient Style as the required prose style for essays. This particular examination not only represented the coming of age of this movement, which subsequently remained an important element in the literary culture; it also enabled him to promote some outstanding protégés. Among these was Su Shih, destined to emerge as one of the most influential travel writers in Chinese literature, in addition to achieving a dominant position as a poet, calligrapher, scholar-painter, and theorist.


Despite his affiliations with Ou-yang Hsiu as an Ancient Style writer, Su Shih did not share Ou-yang's emphasis on the theme of Confucian moral activism.[109] He was concerned instead with broader metaphysical questions, as well as with more purely aesthetic issues of writing. Among the recurrent themes of his work was the desire to discover and abide in the underlying unity of the universe. This often involved a striving to understand the eternal principles behind cosmic change, particularly as revealed in investigation of the landscape. As a result, Su Shih's writings were more philosophically syncretic and included Buddhist and Taoist views of immanence, evanescence, and transcendence.[110] Su also articulated certain artistic priorities designed to convey the spiritual quality of the self. Among his early theoretical concerns were the importance of method (fa ) and craftsmanship (kung ). Later, as he experienced several periods of exile, he turned inward to consider the role of the writer's conscious intention (i ) as the motivation and guiding force behind stylistic choice.

A minor political figure, Su Shih was accused of defaming the court in a poem and imprisoned in 1079, narrowly avoiding execution. Upon release, he was demoted and banished to Huang Prefecture (modern Huang-kuang, Hu-pei). There, he spent much of his time on a small property he bought, writing and making excursions through the countryside. Su Shih's numerous travel accounts comprehended a wide range of themes and forms, from the classification of things in Stone Bells Mountain (1084),* to casual miniatures in the form of miscellaneous notes, to his two more formal pieces, Red Cliff I and II (1082),* which he called "fu rhapsodies." Red Cliff I remains the single most widely read work of Chinese travel writing, around which a cult was established by later writers.[111] Not only did it dramatically express the dilemma of the exiled writer, but it also dispensed with a specifically Confucian vision of the landscape in order to avow a more transcendent mode of self-realization beyond politics and even mortality. The work has never been equaled as an enactment and resolution of the quintessential literary issue of the travel account: the ironic relationship between historiography and lyricism.

Su created a layered narrative that simultaneously addresses literary, philosophical, political, and autobiographical questions. He began by constituting an idealized lyric scene employing the parallelism of the traditional rhapsody. A serene moment is represented in which he and his guests, including the Taoist Yang Shih-ch'ang, find themselves experiencing an emotion of liberation as they float freely on the Long River surrounded by Nature in all its calmness. The travelers express their joyful feelings by chanting poems that manifestly celebrate the


scene; yet their songs also allude to Su Shih's exilic syndrome and the fate of Ts'ao Ts'ao (155–220), the great conqueror at the end of the Han whose overconfident plans for unifying China were unexpectedly halted at the Battle of Red Cliff in 208. Although the battle site was in fact elsewhere,[112] by creating an identity between the two places Su undermines the timeless security of the lyric river scene by recalling the historical tragedy of Ts'ao's reversal of fortune.

The meaning of Ts'ao Ts'ao's hubris is further explored by Yang Shih-ch'eng, who plays a troubling melody on the flute and proceeds to articulate Su's own anxieties over vanitas and mortality. One one level, Ts'ao is the archetypal failed hero whose far-reaching quest for worldly power was ultimately defeated. But there is also a political subtext in the use of Ts'ao. The previous year, the Sung army had suffered a severe defeat on the western border when the irredentists convinced the impetuous young emperor to attack the Hsi-Hsia kingdom. Su Shih had been among those who advocated military caution. When the Sung forces lost three hundred thousand men and the dynasty was forced to negotiate unfavorable terms for peace, Su recognized the event as a major reversal. The figure of Ts'ao can thus also be read as a symbol of the failure of the emperor's enthusiasm for conquest and Su Shih's oblique criticism of the irredentist party.[113]

After Yang laments the futility of human ambition and expresses a sense of insignificance amid the magnitude of time and space, Su sympathetically responds with a philosophical solution designed to recover the universality of the lyric moment. In his well-known reply he asks,

Do you really understand the water and the moon? Here, it flows by yet never leaves us. Over there, it waxes and wanes without growing or shrinking. If you look at things as changing, then Heaven and Earth do not last for even the blink of an eye. But if you look at them as unchanging, then I along with everything am eternal.

Su's intellectual solution identifies the perceptive mind as the fundamental ground of being. Its responsiveness to tangible things endows it with the capacity to attain the "grand view"; by standing outside time the mind can observe Nature and events as both changing and cyclical. Yet at the same time, this mind can also freely participate in the universe by sensually consuming the abundant sights and sounds in the environment. Forefronting the traveler as a figure capable of perceiving universality anywhere, Su rescues his sense of personal centrality from the margins of exile. Moreover, his concept of a sincere


self-awareness actively encountering things suggests a solution to the dichotomy of inner and outer being signified by the dual discourses of the travel account. More than any travel writer up to his time, it was Su Shih who claimed an autonomous power to choose one's mode of interaction with, in his words, "the inexhaustible treasury of the Creator-of-Things."

By the end of the Sung period, major writers had come to employ travel accounts and diaries as vehicles for their broader views about Nature, writing, intellectual thought, and politics. A number of influential texts had emerged to form a canon, while the important sites of literary pilgrimage had been mapped and inscribed. The primary genres of travel writing employed in subsequent periods were by then well defined. During the centuries to follow, the steady expansion of the literate class, the spread of printed books, and the popularity of tourism were to generate an even greater proliferation of these texts. As the literati grew in number far beyond the capacity of the bureaucracy to accommodate them, alternate life-styles arose that sought fulfillment outside of official careers; and correspondingly, the exilic syndrome receded as a motivation for writing. Amid a more general feeling of security and prosperity during the later dynasties, literati depicted their journeys to the pleasure cities of the Chiang-nan region or to famous mountains as sophisticated forms of self-cultivation. The well-known recommendation to "travel ten thousand li " as well as "read ten thousand volumes" was increasingly followed as writers displayed an attitude of connoisseurship toward the landscape, representing their journeys as demonstrations of taste. As might be expected, the travel account frequently appeared in the collected works of literati, and there were few writers of stature who did not attempt it.

Most of the selections m this anthology have been chosen from the substantial corpus of the Sung, Yüan, Ming, and Ch'ing dynasties. Many of the later pieces, in particular, can be read as pursuits of antiquity in which the writers affirmed various modes of continuity with the past. Others sought to define a new degree of individualism, while a few discovered hitherto uncelebrated itineraries. Despite the pervasive attitude of traditionalism, the abundance, complexity, and inventiveness of later Chinese travel writing testify to its creative vitality as literati enthusiastically continued to inscribe the landscape.


Ma Ti-po (n.d.)
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The Supreme Mountain (T'ai-shan) stands some five thousand feet high, its major peak located in the north of modern T'ai-an District, Shan-tung. Though not the tallest, it has always been regarded as preeminent among the Five Sacred Mounts, representing the east, where all things were believed to originate and the renewal of spring began. Legend stated that seventy-two ancient kings came to sacrifice during the Hsia, Shang, and Chou dynasties, and The Book of Documents briefly noted the sacrifice carried out by the sage-king Shun. Beginning with the account in the Historical Records (ca. 90 B.C.) of the First Emperor of Ch'in's visit in 219 B.C., imperial pilgrimages to the mountain began to be documented in some detail.

Ma Ti-po served under Emperor Kuang-wu of the Eastern Han (r. A.D. 25–57) as a Court Gentleman. He accompanied the emperor in A.D. 56 when the latter journeyed to perform the feng and shan sacrifices to Heaven and Earth, respectively, on behalf of the dynasty. Kuangwu's motivation, however, was largely personal. Having been told by one of his officials that the Yellow Emperor had become a Transcendent after performing these sacrifices, Kuang-wu set out on an Eastern Tour in search of the secret of longevity. He was particularly concerned that the rites be carried out scrupulously and exclusively by himself: it was, after all, a matter of his own survival. After the feng sacrifice to Heaven on the mountain, the emperor performed the shan sacrifice to Earth at Liang-yin. He then returned to the capital, where he, nonetheless, died the following year.

The rare account that Ma left of this state occasion was preserved as a commentary on sacrifices in the History of the Latter Han Dynasty (ca. A.D. 82). It appears to be the earliest extant narrative of a journey told



Fig. 8.
Emperor Shun Sacrificing at the Supreme Mountain . From Sun Chia-nai et al.,
eds.,  Ch'in-ting shu chin g t'u-shuo  (1905), Richard C. Rudolph East Asian
Library, University of California, Los Angeles. This is one of a set of four
idealized images of the legendary sage-king sacrificing at the sacred mounts.


in the first person. Equally important is its narrative style, which contains a number of elements associated with the later travel account. Though the function of this piece was primarily documentary, the writer presented his personal experience in concrete detail, including subjective impressions and brief lyric responses to natural scenes. One may well assume on the basis of this text that many of the conventions of post-eighth-century travel writing already existed as early as the Han dynasty.

From A Record of the Feng and Shan Sacrifices: The Supreme Mountain
(A.D. 56)

In the thirty-second year of the Chien-wu era [A.D. 56], the imperial carriage set out on an Eastern Tour. It departed the palace in Lo-yang[1] on the twenty-eighth day of the first month [March 3]. On the ninth day of the second month [March 14], it reached the Commandery of Lu.[2] The Probationary Receptionist Kuo Chien-po[3] was dispatched with five hundred penal workers to prepare the way to the Supreme Mountain. On the tenth day [March 15], the Commandery of Lu dispatched members of the Liu and K'ung clans and members of the Ting clan of Hsia-ch'iu[4] to offer up birthday greetings, for which they received gifts. All paid a visit to the K'ung Mansion, where they were treated to a feast by the Emperor. Everyone departed on the eleventh [March 16]. On the twelfth [March 17], the night was spent at Fengkao.[5] On this day, a Court Gentleman Brave as a Tiger[6] was dispatched to ascend the mountain in advance to inspect conditions. He returned and another thousand penal workers were added to repair the road. On the fifteenth [March 20], the fast of purification began. His Majesty stayed at the Governor's Mansion, the imperial princes stayed at the Prefectural Office, and the nobles stayed at the District Office: all held fasts of purification. The Chamberlains, Commandants, Generals, Grandees, Gentlemen of the Palace Gates, the other officials, the Duke of Sung, the Duke of Wei, the Marquis of Pao-ch'eng, various nobles from the eastern regions, and various lesser nobles from Lo-yang partook of the fast outside the city by the Wen River. The Defender-in Chief and the Chamberlain for Ceremonials fasted at the Headquarters of the Supervisor of Forestry and Hunting.

I, Ma Ti-po, along with seventy others, first reached the Headquarters of the Supervisor of Forestry and Hunting to inspect the altar to


the mountain and the ancient Hall of Enlightened Rule, where the Court Gentlemen and others were to offer up sacrifices. We entered the Headquarters and observed the stones installed there. There are two stones, broad and flat, nine feet in circumference. They were meant to be placed at the site of the actual altar. One of these stones was from the time of Emperor Wu.[7] At that time, five carts were used but could not move it up the mountain, so it was placed at the foot and a building was erected over it—it is called the "Five-Carts Stone." Boulders supporting the four corners are about twelve feet in length, two feet wide, and one and a half feet thick. There are four stone containers each three feet long, six inches wide, and shaped like sealed boxes. There are ten long containers. There is an inscribed stele twelve feet tall, three feet wide, and one foot, two inches thick: this is called the "Erected Stone." On one side is engraved a record of meritorious achievements.

On this morning [March 17],[8] we ascended the mountain on horseback. Frequently, where the road grew steep and precipitous, we dismounted and led our horses on foot. Sometimes we walked and sometimes we rode, roughly in equal amounts. We arrived at the Midway Temple[9] where we left our horses, a distance of seven miles from flat ground. Along the southern vista nothing escaped our view. Looking up at the Celestial Pass[10] was like contemplating an eminent peak from the bottom of a valley. Its height felt as if I were observing the floating clouds; as for its precipitousness, its rock walls stretched into the remote distance—no road seemed to lead there. When I cast my gaze toward the people there, they seemed to be climbing up on poles. Someone thought they were white rocks; another, that they were patches of snow. After a while, the "white" things moved past the trees and we realized that they were people. We could barely make the climb. I had to spread out my four limbs and lay down on a rock. But after a while I felt revived, thanks also to the wine and food brought along. There were springs everywhere, which were always an inspiring sight for the eyes. In this manner we persevered, helping each other along.

When we arrived at the Celestial Pass, I thought I had already reached the top. But when I asked someone on the path, he said that it was still more than three miles farther. The path between the rock walls was eight or nine feet at the widest and five or six feet at the narrowest. I peered up at the cliffs, where the pines were flourishing and viridian—they seemed to be amidst the clouds. When I peered down at the streams in the valleys, they were so minute that I could hardly discern them. Then we arrived just below the Celestial Gate. When I peered up at it, it seemed as if I were looking at the sky from inside a


cave. We went another two and a half miles straight upward. The path was convoluted, winding its way around, so it is called Circle Path. Often, there were ropes to grasp hold of as we climbed. Two assistants supported me as another in front pulled me up. Those in back could see only the soles of the sandals of the ones in front, while those in front could see only the tops of the heads of those in back—it looked like a picture of a stack of men. This is what people mean by "as difficult as scraping one's chest and grasping hold of the rock in order to touch Heaven." When we began to climb up this path, we had to stop and rest every ten paces or so. As we became exhausted, our throats and lips grew parched, and we rested every five or six paces. We shuffled along, first upright, then crawling. The dank and dark places on the ground were unavoidable. When there was a dry area ahead, our eyes could see it, but our feet would not follow.

We began to climb up after breakfast and reached the Celestial Gate after the hours of pu [3:00–5:00 P.M.]. The emissary, Kuo,[11] came across a bronze vessel. The bronze vessel resembled a wine goblet in shape. It also had squared handles with holes in them. We couldn't identify what it was and assumed it was an object used in previous sacrifices. Yang T'ung of Chao-ling in Ju-nan took it.[12] I climbed almost half a mile to the east and came across a wooden image. The image was a god from the time of Emperor Wu. More than a hundred paces to the northeast, we came upon the site for the feng sacrifice. The First Emperor of Ch'in had erected a stele and a stone entrance in the southern part of the area.[13] More than twenty paces north of this, Emperor Wu established a circular terrace facing north, nine feet high and about thirty feet square in area. There are two sets of stairs, which no one is permitted to climb besides the Emperor. We climbed up the eastern stairs to where there is an altar on the top of the terrace about twelve feet square. On top of this is a square stone supported by boulders at all four corners. On all four sides are platforms. We bowed down thrice before the altar. Visitors had placed considerable amounts of money and other things on the altar, and these had never been cleared away. Later, when His MaJesty[14] mounted the altar, he saw this and inquired concerning the decayed pears and rotten dates strewn about, the hundreds of coins scattered around, and the strips of silk currency all along the path. The Emperor demanded an explanation, and the official in charge replied, "When Emperor Wu arrived at the foot of the Supreme Mountain to offer up the feng and shan sacrifices, before he ascended, all the officials first ascended and performed obeisance. Then they placed pears, dates, and money along the path to summon blessings—this is


what they are." His Majesty said, "The feng and shan are great sacrifices that occur but once in a thousand years. How could men of rank behave like this?"[15]

We climbed farther east about three miles on the Supreme Mountain to the summit southeast of the Celestial Gate. This is called "Sunrise Vista." Sunrise Vista is where one can see the sun as it first appears, as soon as the cock crows. The place is about thirty feet long. From Ch'in Vista, one can look toward Ch'ang-an; from Wu Vista, one can look toward Kuei-chi; from Chou Vista, one can look toward the state of Ch'i.[16] The Yellow River is some seventy miles from the Supreme Mountain. From the site of the sacrifice, the Yellow River resembles a sash as if it were at the foot of the mountain. There is a temple south of the mountain;[17] everywhere junipers have been planted, the largest trunks having a circumference that the hands of fifteen or sixteen men could encircle. It is said that they were planted by Emperor Wu. By the Lesser Celestial Gate[18] is the "Grandee of the Ninth Order" pine from Ch'in times. When the First Emperor sacrificed at the Supreme Mountain, he encountered raging winds and driving rain. Thanks to this pine he found cover, so he ennobled it as "Grandee of the Ninth Order."[19] Northwest is a rock chamber. South of the altar is a jade basin with a jade tortoise in the middle. On the southern flank of the mountain is a sacred spring. When I drank from it, I found it extremely pure and refreshing.

At dusk, we descended, leaving by way of the Circle Path again. By nightfall, there was a fair amount of rain and we could no longer distinguish the path. One man had proceeded ahead. We felt with our feet where the person in front of us had trod before following. By the time we reached the Celestial Gate, it was in the deep of night.[20]


Wang Hsi-chih (ca. 303–ca. 361)
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Wang Hsi-chih, from Kuei-chi (modern Shao-hsing, Che-chiang), was an influential official, writer, and, above all, calligrapher during the Eastern Chin dynasty. He wrote this preface to commemorate a festive springtime gathering of forty-one notable figures who made an excursion outside Kuei-chi to a spot about ten miles southwest of modern Shao-hsing on April 22, 353. As part of the entertainment, winecups were floated down a winding stream and the guests were asked to write a poem before the cups passed their seats or else drink a forfeit. Only twenty-six guests were able to comply, and their efforts were gathered in a volume to which Wang wrote the following short introduction of 324 characters. Despite its brevity, few examples of Chinese prose have had such widespread influence on subsequent literati culture. Wang was canonized as the "sage" of calligraphy, and the original text became a model of the "running mode." Wang's style was transmitted by later masters and promoted by various emperors who modeled their own calligraphy on this piece. The image of the gathering generated a veritable cult of the Orchid Pavilion, celebrated in poetry, painting, and the decorative arts, while the area of the original event became a literary shrine. Not only in China, but also in countries influenced by Chinese culture such as Korea and Japan, one can find replicas of the site built as settings for similar gatherings. In Kyoto, indeed, there is still a society of Sinophiles that restages the event every sixty years when the year falls once again on kuei-ch'ou in the horary cycle.

In his preface, Wang initially affirms the possibility of social harmony, personal happiness, and enlightenment. The presence of a



Fig. 9.
The Gathering at the Orchid Pavilion (detail from a rubbing of a Yung-lo era [1403–1424] engraving). Collection of the author.
These sections depict some of the guests at the gathering at the Orchid Pavilion in 353. The names and poems of each are
recorded in the cartouches above. Wang Hsi-chih is seated second from the right along the stream with floating winecups.

range of talented guests constitutes an ideally ordered world where selfexpression, objective observation, and philosophical speculation can occur. The mood abruptly changes in the second part of the piece, where Wang becomes obsessed with the evanescence of life, reflecting a theme from Mystical Learning, then fashionable. The creation of texts—both the poems of the guests and the preface itself—is viewed as the supreme act of meaning and the only defense against mortality. Wang Hsi-chih finds a bittersweet victory over time in the communication of genuine emotions to future readers. In its final line, his preface successfully asserts its own immortality; it has became one of the classic statements of the faith of the literatus in the act of inscription.

One may argue whether the preface is properly a work of travel writing, since it does not focus on a journey but, rather, articulates an archetypal response to being in Nature after arriving in a scenic place. Its effect on later travel literature, however, seems to warrant its inclusion. Many writers alluded to the preface and envisioned their own journeys as quests to recapture a similar experience. What inspired


most of them, though, was the image of brilliant scholars gathering to contemplate Nature and produce immortal poems recorded in the first part of Wang's short piece, rather than his subsequent consideration of melancholy and mortality.

Preface to Collected Poems from the Orchid Pavilion

In the ninth year of the Yung-ho era in the beginning of the last month of spring when the calendar was in kuei-ch'ou [April 22, 353], we met at the Orchid Pavilion in Shan-yin, Kuei-chi, to celebrate the Bathing Festival.[1] All the worthy men assembled; the young and the senior gathered together. Here were lofty mountains and towering hills, thick groves and tall bamboo. And there was a clear, rapid stream, reflecting everything around it, which had been diverted in order to play the


game of floating winecups along a winding course. We sat down in order of precedence. Though we had none of the magnificent sounds of strings and flutes, a cup of wine and then a poem were enough to stir our innermost feelings.

This was a day when the sky was bright and the air was pure. A gentle breeze warmed us. Upward we gazed to contemplate the immensity of the universe; downward we peered to scrutinize the abundance of living things. In this way, we let our eyes roam and our emotions become aroused so that we enjoyed to the Fullest these sights and sounds. This was happiness, indeed!

Men meet as friends for but the brief span of their lives. Some are content to unburden their innermost feelings as they privately converse inside a chamber. Some are prompted to give rein to their desires and lead wild, unfettered lives. Although their preferences differ and their temperaments are unalike, yet both take pleasure from whatever they encounter, embracing it for but a while, happy and content, unaware that old age is fast approaching. And when they tire of something, they let their feelings change along with events as they experience a deep melancholy. What they had taken pleasure in has now passed away in an instant, so how can their hearts not give rise to longing? Furthermore, longevity depends on Nature's transformation: everything must come to an end. An ancient said, "Life and death are the greatest of matters, indeed!"[2] Isn't this reason enough to be sad?

Whenever I read of the causes of melancholy felt by men of the past, it is like joining together two halves of a tally. I always feel sad when I read them, yet I cannot quite understand why. But I know that it is meaningless to say life and death are the same; and to equate the longevity of P'eng-tsu with that of Shang-tzu is simply wrong.[3] Future readers will look back on today just as we look back at the past. How sad it all is! Therefore, I have recorded my contemporaries and transcribed what they have written. Over distant generations and changing events, what gives rise to melancholy will be the same. Future readers will also feel moved by these writings.[4]


Lay Scholars of Hermitage Mountain (fl. ca. 400)
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Hermitage Mountain (Lu-shan), about 4,800 feet high, is located south of modern Chiu-chiang, Chiang-hsi, at the juncture of the Long River and Lake P'o-yang. Known in the Chou dynasty as the retreat of the seven K'uang brothers, it was believed to have been visited even earlier in antiquity by the sage-king Yü. Szu-ma Ch'ien recorded in his Historical Records that he had climbed Hermitage Mountain to view the Nine Rivers, believed to have been brought under control by Yü. It was not until the latter part of the fourth century A.D., however, that two eminent Buddhist monks arrived on the mountain and established an important religious center among its scenic vistas and contemplative mists. Hui-yung (332–414) settled at the Western Forest Temple, which was rebuilt for him in 377. Later, his fellow monk Hui-yüan (334–416) arrived and eventually presided over the nearby Eastern Forest Temple from about 384 until his death. Hui-yüan was a major Buddhist theologian in his time and considerably influenced the thinking of the poet Hsieh Ling-yün. Another dweller on the mountain who became associated with it in legend was T'ao Ch'ien.

This preface and poem were written during this era. Stone Gate Ravine (Shih-men-chien) is located in the northern part of Hermitage Mountain and named after the towering rock walls between which a stream flows. It was the site of Hui-yüan's Dragon Spring Retreat (Lung-ch'üan ching-she) built during the T'ai-yüan era (376–396), and some scholars have identified the "Buddhist Master" mentioned in the text as Hui-yüan himself. The writers, who remain unknown, produced an early example of a travel narrative in the form of a preface to a poem. The poem itself appears to have been collectively written by


the group of travelers and expresses mystical themes from Buddhist and Taoist philosophy, especially the pursuit of religious enlightenment through contact with the landscape. It particularly notes the importance of "rapture" (hsing ) as an integral part of this experience.

Preface and Poem on a Journey to Stone Gate

Stone Gate is more than three miles south of the Dragon Spring Retreat; another name for it is Screen Mountain. Its base is connected to the great Hermitage Mountain range, but its form rises above all the lesser hills. A gap has been cut through where three rivers converge; its halves stand opposite each other, creating an opening for the water to flow forth. Slanting cliffs darkly glisten above; it owes its shape and appearance to Nature itself, hence its name. Though but a nook in Hermitage Mountain, it is truly the most extraordinary scene in the area. It has been often mentioned in ancient legends, yet many are those who have never seen it. For the route by the cascading waterfall is dangerous and steep, with no tracks of men or animals; and along the path that twists and turns through the hills, the way is blocked and difficult to travel. So few have passed this way.

A Buddhist Master took up his staff and journeyed here in the second month of spring in the fourth year of the Lung-an era [March—April 400] in order to chant poems about the scenery. We disciples of like mind who accompanied him numbered more than thirty. All of us donned our robes and set out at daybreak; our uncertainty only increased our sense of rapture. Though forests and valleys lay deep and secluded, we opened up a path and forged ahead; though we ascended precarious heights and trod over rocks, we took comfort in the pleasure gained. Upon arriving at Stone Gate, we clambered up by grasping on to trees and vines, crossed dangerous passes, and scaled cliffs, taking hold of each other's arms like gibbons until we finally reached the summit. There, we leaned against the cliffs and embraced the scenic beauty. Examining the view below, we realized that the most extraordinary beauty of the Seven Ridges[1] was hidden right here. Before us stood the pair of stone gate towers, their peaks facing each other; behind, layers of cliffs glistened. Peaks and hills surrounded us, forming a screen; lofty crags were positioned on four sides, marking another realm. In the middle were a rock terrace, a rock pond, some rocks resembling palace



Fig. 10.
Ching Hao (active ca. 870–930),  Mount Lu (Hermitage Mountain) .
National Palace Museum, Taipei.


halls, and others with realistic shapes. It was thoroughly delightful. The flow of a clear stream divided, then reunited; limpid depths were of a mirrorlike clarity greater than the Celestial Pond.[2] Patterned rocks burst into color, brilliant like radiant faces. Tamarisks, pines, and fragrant plants dazzled with their luxuriance. The spiritual beauty was simply consummate!

This was a day when all our emotions raced with joy: we never tired of surveying the scene. We had not been viewing it for long before the atmosphere underwent many transformations. When mist and fog gathered densely, everything became concealed. When the sun's rays returned to shine, all the mountains were reflected in the water. As the sky opened and closed, it seemed to reveal a numinous spirit beyond human comprehension. As he ascended the heights, soaring birds beat their wings, and cries of gibbons echoed sharply. When returning clouds transported him back to the mountain, we imagined the arrival of a Transcendent. Entrancing sounds harmonized with each other like the transmission of mystical tones. Though we but faintly perceived them, they delighted our spirits; though we did not expect this joy to last, we remained delighted the entire day. Just when our happiness was complete and we felt content, it seemed that, indeed, there was a meaning in all of this, but we could not easily express it. So we stepped back to ponder everything.

The things we encountered amid these cliffs and valleys lack consciousness and ought not to be capable of enrapturing us through emotions so that we respond so deeply. Do not Emptiness and Clarity illuminate our vision, while Quietude and Deep Understanding render our emotions genuine? When we discussed this over and over again, we found it endlessly appealing. Suddenly, the sun withdrew into nightfall, and what had existed now disappeared. Then we realized how a Solitaire surveys the mystery of the universe and comprehends the eternal nature of things. How could the spiritual meaning of all this be limited to just mountains and streams?

We lingered among the lofty peaks, letting our eyes roam in all directions. The Nine Rivers[3] resembled belts; the hills were like the mounds of ants. Judging from this, we realized that just as forms can be minuscule as well as immense, so likewise is intelligence. We sighed deeply: the universe may be ancient, yet past and present match like the halves of a tally. Divine Vulture Peak[4] is distant indeed, and the road to it through the wilds seems to stretch farther day by day. Without Buddha, why else would such a place have been preserved? He responded to profound karma and became enlightened into the remote causes of


things, feeling sympathy and eternal compassion. Each of us was happy to share the pleasure of this occasion and was moved by the thought that such a fine day might not come again. So our emotions were stirred within us, and we chanted the following poem:

A transcending rapture
    is uncaused.
Respond to the truth of things
    and rapture will arise of itself.
We suddenly heard
    about a journey to Stone Gate,
Where our extraordinary poems
    could express hidden feelings.
Lifting our robes,
    we thought ourselves traveling on a cloud.
Gazing at the cliffs,
    we imagined the Many-storied Citadel.[5]
With quickened steps,
    we ascended high crags
And unexpectedly
    found our bodies feeling lighter.
With raised heads,
    we climbed to these magic gate-towers.
The distance felt like
    crossing to the Heaven of Great Purity.[6]
Seated upright,
    we turned the Wheel of Emptiness
And unrolled
    the  Classic of Mystery .[7]
Since Gods and Transcendents
    are transformed like all things,
It is better
    to disappear into the Unseen.[8]



Fig. 11
Hsia Kuei (active first half of 13th cent.),  A Myriad Miles Along the Long River  (detail). National Palace Museum, Taipei.


Pao Chao (ca. 414–466)
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Pao Chao was from a poor family in Tung-hai (modern Lien-shui, Chiang-su). He had a troublesome official career under the [Liu] Sung dynasty, one of the most unstable and bloodthirsty of the short-lived southern dynasties. Later considered one of the three literary masters of the Yüan-chia era (424–453), Pao gained the patronage of Liu l-ch'ing (403–444), prince of Lin-ch'uan, when he boldly presented some of his poems. Liu, who achieved literary Fame as the compiler of A New Account of Tales of the World (Shih-shuo hsin-yü , 430), valued Pao's talents and took him into his service. In April 439, the prince was sent to take charge of Chiang-chou (southwest of modern Chiu-chiang, Chiang-hsi). Pao Chao was appointed to the lowly position of accessory clerk and left in autumn of the same year to take up his appointment. He departed from his hometown and stopped at the banks of Thunder Garrison (Ta-lei-shu; modern Wang-chiang, An-hui), an important defensive point on the Long River. He then proceeded by boat to Chiang-chou.

This letter was written to his younger sister, Pao Ling-hui, herself a poet. It is less an accurate description of his itinerary than a spatializing sequence of subjective impressions. These reflect both his youthful ambition and his curiosity about a variegated and somewhat forbidding natural world. Long regarded as an early example of travel writing in the form of parallel prose, it owes much to the conventions of the fu rhapsody, with its parallel phrases, use of antithesis, courtly diction, and its tendency to survey scenes by cataloging objects. Pao's initial enthusiasm for government service was later tempered by the risks he faced in a time of widespread disorder. He subsequently served as a


magistrate and as a secretariat drafter at court during the reign of Emperor Hsiao-wu (454–464). In his final years, Pao served the young prince of Lin-hai in a military position; he was killed by rioting soldiers.

A Letter to My Younger Sister from the Banks of Thunder Garrison

Ever since my departure in the cold rain, the days have been few when I could travel for long. With the autumnal torrents, the waters inundated the land. Numerous mountain streams overflowed beyond their limits, so that we seemed to ford against currents without any banks. Traveling along dangerously narrow paths, I trod on walkways projecting from the rocks and dined close to the stars. I tied lotus leaves together for a shelter and slept on the water. This traveler has undergone discomfort and hardship along the immense distance of the river route. I only arrived at the banks of Thunder Garrison by the noon meal today. The journey was a thousand li , and it necessitated more than ten days. Severe winds chilled my bones, cruel winds cut through my flesh. How distressing it is to be a traveler away from one's relatives!

These past few days when I halted on my travels, I observed the river and the land. I wandered freely among the pure islets and gazed about until the sun set. Eastward, I looked toward Three Islets;[1] to the west, I beheld Nine Tributaries.[2] I scrutinized the impass at the Earthly Gateway[3] and looked toward the horizon at a solitary cloud. How long has my great ambition lain dormant in my heart!

To the south, mountains were stacked in myriad formations: they competed with each other in height, they chewed on the rosy mists and drank up the sun's rays, they struggled for supremacy, high against low. They leaped over lengthy slopes connecting with each other front and back. They formed a belt around Heaven and stretched without end across the earth.

To the east, smooth plains turned to marsh in the distance: they were unbounded and unending. Chilled rubus grass curled in the evening; ancient treetops were evened out by the clouds. Whirlwinds arose from the four directions; instinctively, birds flocked homeward. Quietly I listened but heard not a sound; far off I gazed, yet saw nothing.


To the north, marsh ponds were sustained by underground flows; lakes formed a network linked by canals. Hemp and artemisia grew densely; wild rice and reeds proliferated. Of the waterfowl and the fishes, the intelligent ones consumed the witless, and the powerful captured the small. Their voices were clamorous as they struggled in the midst of all this.

To the west, the meandering Long River flowed on, its broad ripples merging with Heaven. Would its surging ever become exhausted? Could it ever tire of swelling? Ever since antiquity, ships have crammed its lanes, prow to stern. I pondered deeply its ripples and waves, filling the lakes and valleys with my melancholy. The mist dispersed to the ends of the eight directions,[4] ultimately becoming mere specks, while this effluence flows someplace beyond comprehension. Only a god in all his magnitude could understand the reason behind it all!

I gazed to the southwest at Hermitage Mountain and was greatly surprised. Its base subdues the Long River and Lake P'o-yang, and its peaks join the constellations and Milky Way. Clouds and mist commonly gather at its heights, weaving a colorful embroidery. The blossoms of the jo -tree[5] were luminous in the evening; a single atmosphere pervaded cliffs and marshes; the brilliant twilight scattered colors; the sky seemed a fiery crimson. Azure clouds were to its left and right; Purple Empyrean Peak was visible inside and out.[6] Upward from the ridges, the atmosphere was completely golden; from the middle of the mountain down, all was a dark viridian. Truly it is an abode fit for a god, or the environs of the Celestial Emperor's capital, for it can control the Hsiang and Han rivers.[7]

Tributaries gather in the hollows; springs shoot forth in the valleys. The water becomes agitated as the flows collide; the currents swirl as it surges onward. Thus, the upper reaches flow between reedy banks, and the lower reaches arrive at the island where wild boars die.[8] Southward, it extends to tributaries where swallows perch; northward, it encounters shallow ponds formed by lightning. If all the confluents were gathered, they would cover an area of several hundred li . Their leaping crests touch the sky, their towering waves baptize the sun. Swallowing and disgorging a hundred streams, they drain into ten thousand valleys.

A light mist hovers as things churn and bubble in this magnificent caldron. Delicate grasses are completely engulfed as eddies advance upon the land. Ever frightfully, it overflows; striking like lightning, speeding like an arrow. Massive billows crash and form again; the river banks are smashed, and hills deluged. Bubbly froth crowns the mountains; onrushing waves empty out the valleys. The water shatters rocks where clothes are washed; it pulverizes the shore into powder. Looking


up, I gazed at the star Great Fire;[9] peering down, I listened to the sound of the waves. My spirit terrified, I panted for breath; my heart raced with fear.

As for the multitudinous and variegated kinds of life to be found here, including those of peculiar nature and strange appearance, there are kinds of:

    river geese,
    sea ducks,
    mud sharks,
    "water tigers,"[10]
and such species as
    elephantine whales,
and sorts of
    stone crabs,
    freshwater mussels,
    "swallow-sieve" rays,[11]
    magpie clams,[12]
and varieties of
    "crooked teeth,"[13]
    dragons with reversed scales,
    and toads with hooked tongues.

They hide under sandy mounds or conceal themselves on grassy islets, are bathed by the rain and buffeted by the wind, playfully spit forth water and beat their wings. When night is about to vanish and the morning mist starts to rise, a solitary crane cries out in the cold and the traveling geese wail in the distance. Wood gatherers sigh, boatmen weep once more. Alas, this melancholy is beyond words.

Winds bellow and thunder clamors. In the nighttime, we must proceed with care. Around the time when the moon becomes a bow,[14] we can look forward to our arrival. Summer and winter give cause for discomfort, so you must endeavor to take care. Night and day, remain cautious; do not worry about me. I have written of what I have observed, as I thought you might wish to know of my journey. Before setting out again I have drafted this somewhat hastily, so my description is less than complete.[15]


Li Tao-Yüan (d. 527)
inline image

Li Tao-yüan was born in Cho District, Fan-yang (in modern Ho-pei), and later inherited his father's title of duke of Yung-ning under the Northern Wei dynasty. Subsequently praised in historical accounts as an upright official, he served in a number of positions, rising to palace commandant of censors. Nevertheless, he earned the enmity of the regional chief of Yung Region, Hsiao Pao-yin, who arranged for him to be sent on a mission and then had him assassinated.

Li had begun traveling while young together with his father and was said to have read widely. He felt that existing accounts of the Chinese world were too rudimentary and sought, in his words, "to identify places through their waterways and, through these places, to preserve antiquity." His work, The Guide to Waterways with Commentary , was unique in its ambition to record the geography of the major areas of China at a time when the country had been politically divided for some two centuries.

The original Guide to Waterways (Shui-ching ) is no longer extant. It was traditionally ascribed to Sang Ch'in of the Han but, following the work of Ch'ing scholars, is now believed to have been written during the Three Kingdoms period. Others, such as Kuo P'u (276–324), appended commentaries to it, but it was the monumental revision by Li Tao-yüan that has survived. Li expanded the length of the original some twenty times into a work of some three hundred thousand characters recording 1,389 rivers. It follows the form exemplified by Guideways Through Mountains and Seas of documenting geographical sites along linear routes—in this case, major rivers and lakes. Yet Li's


methods represent a considerable advance over the primitive materialist, ethnographic, and mythological concerns of this precursor. Employing 437 sources—official histories, philosophical texts, local gazetteers, biographies, epigraphs, as well as supernatural tales, legends, and local songs, all judiciously selected according to the historical standards of his day—he created a compendium of the recorded knowledge of these places. Considered one of the major achievements of prose writing during the Northern Dynasties period, it has also been viewed by later critics such as Liu Hsi-tsai (1813–1881) as the fountainhead of the later travel account. Of particular interest are the sections containing Li's personal observations and evocative descriptions of outstanding landscapes. He can be credited with adding autobiographical perspectives to the impersonal, objective viewpoint of the geographical record. Those sections describing the geography of the north are considered the most accurate and often reflect Li's own observations as a traveler, while sketches of more distant places, such as Shaman Mountain (Wu-shan), are considerably indebted to other writers.

From The Guide to Waterways with Commentary

Meng's Gate Mountain

Meng's Gate Mountain (Meng-men-shan) straddles the Yellow River. One half is located in the west of modern Chi District, Shan-hsi, and the other, in the northeast of I-ch'uan District, Shaan-hsi. It is considered the entrance to Dragon Gate (Lung-men), which stands to the south along the river in modern Ho-chin District, Shan-hsi. According to the "Tributes of Yü" chapter in The Book of Documents , the Hsia emperor Yü had a path for the Yellow River cut through these mountains to control the turbulent current. After the river passes through Dragon Gate, its flow is considerably less threatening.

The Yellow River farther flows southward through the western part of Pei-ch'ü District in Ho-tung Province. As the river flows southward, it passes west of Ku-ch'eng in Pei-ch'ü District.[1] Fourteen miles to the west is Windy Mountain.[2] Fourteen miles west of Windy Mountain on


the south side of the river is Meng's Gate Mountain. Guideways Through Mountains and Seas states: "On the heights of Meng's Gate Mountain lie much gold and jade. At its foot are yellow silt and black rock."[3] The Huai-nan-tzu states: "Before the channel through Dragon Gate was dredged and Mount Lü-liang was cut through, the level of the Yellow River was above Meng's Gate. A great overflow went against the current; no hills remained visible, and even high peaks were obliterated. This was called 'The Deluge.' The Great Yü dredged the channel and it was named Meng's Gate."[4] Therefore, The Chronicle of Mu, Son-of-Heaven says that "he went northward on the route through Meng's Gate by the Nine Tributaries."[5] Meng's Gate forms the upper entrance to Dragon Gate. It is a critical point on the river and is also known as Meng's Gate Ford.

This mountain route was first cut through by Yü. The Yellow River has eroded a wide path; its banks are lofty and deep. Slanting cliffs gaze back at the river protectively. Giant boulders are poised on the brink about to fall, yet they remain stable. The ancients had a saying, "Water is not a chisel, yet it can pierce stogie." How true!

In the middle, the currents collide; white mist arises like clouds floating. Travelers who observe this often think they are just being drenched by mist or dew, but upon closer examination they feel quite alarmed. The water forms crashing waves for a length of a myriad hsün and cascades down from a height of a thousand chang : turbulent, overwhelming, all-powerful, as convulsive as mountains leaping skyward. Colossal waves multiply and collapse all the way down to the outlet. So I realized what the philosopher Shen-tzu[6] meant when he wrote that a bamboo raft traveling through Dragon Gate floats by so quickly that a team of fast horses could not catch up to it.[7]

Lotus Mountain

Lotus Mountain (Hua-shan) stands about 7, 150 feet high in the south of modern Hua-yin District, Shaan-hsi, near modern Hsi-an. It affords á commanding view of the Yellow River at its juncture with the Wei River not far from the strategic T'ung Pass. Under Emperor Wu of the Han, a temple was built about three miles from the mountain's base, where sacrifices were offered to it as the Sacred Mount of the West. It was also the site of numerous other temples, principally Taoist. The Guide to Waterways suggests the origin of its name in its appearance, said to resemble a flower; more specifically, its western-most peak was named "Lotus Flower" (Lien-hua).



Fig. 12.
Meng's Gate Mountain . From  Ku-chin t'u-shu chi-ch'eng  (1725), Gest Oriental Library, Princeton University.



Fig. 13.
Ting Yün-p'eng (1547–ca. 1621),  Lotus Mountain . From  Ch' eng-shih mo-yüan  (l594–
1606), East Asiatic Library, University of California, Berkeley. The hand- and footprints
of Divine Giant on the mountain arc clearly marked. This woodblock print was originally
a design for a scholar's ink-cake by a leading artist of the An-hui school.


Dialogues from the Feudal States by Tso Ch'iu-ming says: "Lotus Mountain, the Sacred Mount, was originally a single mountain blocking the Yellow River, so the water wound about it as it flowed past. The god of the river, Divine Giant, pounding with his hands and stomping with his feet, broke it apart into two, and to this day traces of his hands and feet remain."[1]The Opening Up of Lotus Crag with Illustrations says: "There was an enormous god named Hu who gained complete mastery of the Way of Creation. He could construct mountains and rivers and brought forth the Long and Yellow rivers."[2] This is what "Divine Giant, with his mammoth power, bore as a crown the sacred mountain"[3] means. Often enthusiasts climb Lotus Mountain to observe his imprints here.[4]

From the temple at the foot of the mountain,[5] I passed among numerous junipers and went south four miles; I then turned east for one mile, arriving at the Middle Shrine. Then I went southwest for two miles, arriving at the Southern Shrine, which is called the "Shrine of the Lord of the North." Those who intend to climb the mountain offer prayers for protection to him when they reach this place. From here, I entered southward into a valley and arrived at another shrine, which is named after Guardian Shih-yang, where a rock altar contains a wooden image. Another third of a mile south and I arrived at the Celestial Well.[6] The well can barely accommodate one person: an empty opening, it winds about, turning sharply as I ascended, and is more than sixty feet high. On top of the mountain, there are trickling brooks and slender streams, which flow into the well, but they do not drench people very much. Everyone who climbs must ascend this way, for there is no other path. As I was about to come out: of the well, I glanced toward the sky and saw the light, as if looking through a window from inside a room.

I exited from the well and proceeded southeast for more than half a mile. A high slope was steeply graded up and down. I descended this slope for almost a mile, then turned eastward again and ascended Hundred Chang Cliff. Climbing and descending required grasping onto ropes in order to proceed. I climbed southward for over a mile and reached a rock wall, then slowly advanced along its side for more than one hundred paces. From here, I went southwest for two miles and arrived at another shrine called the Hu-Yüeh Shrine. The statue inside appeared to be that of a youth. From the shrine southward, I crossed over Wedged-in Ridge, which measures a bit more than three feet wide. Flanking it are two suspended cliffs a myriad jen high. I looked down from here but couldn't see the bottom. If a sacrifice at the HuYüeh Shrine produces a response, clouds arise to a level even with it,


and only then should one venture to cross over the ridge. Still, one must mount it prudently, as if on horseback, and sneak over it by advancing gradually; therefore, people call this "Seizing Ridge." I crossed this for almost a mile and finally arrived at the summit.

Just two and a half miles up on the summit are two sacred springs. One is called Reed Pond; it flows westward into a ravine. The other is called Supremely Exalted Spring; it flows eastward into a ravine and then down below. The Temple on the Summit[7] is located close to the northeast corner. Its interior is crammed full with various objects, all of which would be difficult to describe in detail. From the Temple on the Summit, I proceeded northeast 450 paces to where there is a crouching ridge. Then I gazed to the southeast at Divine Giant's Handprint and saw nothing but the reddish wall of a wide cliff; it completely lacked the outlines visible when observed from below.[8]

Three Gorges

The Three Gorges (San-hsia) of the Long River extend more than 120 miles to form one of China's most scenic travel routes. Ch'ü-t'ang Gorge (Ch'ü-t'ang-hsia), in modern Feng-chieh, Szu-ch'uan, is five miles long; Shaman Gorge (Wu-hsia) extends about twenty-five miles from modern Wu-shan, Szu-ch'uan, to Pa-tung, Hu-pei; and West Mount Gorge (Hsi-ling-hsia) extends some seventy-five miles from Pa-tung to I-ch'ang, Hu-pei. Each forms a distinct landscape and contains many unusual rock formations as well as historical and literary sites. In his description of Shaman Gorge, Li Tao-yüan was heavily indebted to Sheng Hung-chih's A Record of Ching Region (Ching-chou chi ), which he expanded by about two hundred characters. Nevertheless, it was Li's enhanced version that became widely read, and he was regarded as the first writer to describe these now-famous scenes in detail based on his personal observations.

The Long River flows eastward past Broad Stream Gorge[1] —this is the first of the Three Gorges. Along the ten miles of this section are tottering cliffs and slanting trees, whose forms appear about to collide. Up the mountains on the northern bank is the Divine Chasm. North of the chasm is White Salt Crag. It is more than a thousand chang high and overlooks the Divine Chasm. The local people noticed its height and whiteness and thus gave it this name. When there is a drought, trees are burned on top. The ashes are then pushed over, soiling the Divine


Chasm below; before long, rain falls. Ch'ang Ch'ü said that in this district there is a god of water in the marshes by the mountains.[2] In times of drought, drums are beaten to ask for rain, and he always responds with a beneficent rainfall. This is what is meant by "He responded to the sounding drums and sent rain" in the "Rhapsody on the Capital of Shu."[3]

In this gorge are two rapids—Ch'ü-t'ang and Yellow Shrine. Their currents swirl around and back in summer. They are disliked by those navigating up and down stream. There is a temple at Ch'ü-t'ang Rapids that is noted for its spiritual power. When regional inspectors and court officials with salaries of two thousand tan passed by, no horns or drums were permitted. When traveling merchants journeyed against the current, they feared making noise when scraping up against the rocks, so the boatmen covered the ends of their poles with cloth. Now such poles are no longer used; instead, offerings of' food are made without a break. There are many gibbons in this gorge. They do not naturally live anywhere along the northern banks. They may have been captured and placed in the northern mountains, for originally, no sounds of them were heard. Perhaps, like the badger, they crossed the Min River,[4] for the badger, too, does not naturally live here. This gorge was dug by Yü in antiquity as a passageway for the Long River, for Kuo Ching-ch'un says, "The gorges of Eastern Pa were cut by the Hsia Emperor."[5]

The Long River farther flows eastward past Shaman Gorge, which Tu Yü cut as a passage for it.[6] Kuo Chung-ch'an said, "According to the 'Treatise on Geography': 'Shaman Mountain is located in the southwest of the district,' but now it is east of the district town, perhaps because the district government has not remained in the same location."[7]

The Long River proceeds through the gorge, passing eastward by Newly Collapsed Rapids. This mountain collapsed in the twelfth year of the Yung-yüan era of Emperor Ho of the Han [100] and collapsed further in the second year of the T'ai-yüan era of the Chin [377]. When it did, the water reversed course for more than thirty miles and rose several hundred feet high. Nowadays, there are rocks in the rapids; some are cylindrical like rolled-up bamboo mats, some are square like houses. There are many like this, all of which fell from the collapsing mountain, and the water becomes ferocious here, flowing by swiftly.



Fig. 14.
The Three Gorges . From  Hai-nei ch'i-kuan  (1610), Deutsche Staatsbibliothek, Berlin.


Thus it is called "Newly Collapsed Rapids." What remain of the toppled cliffs are still taller and more majestic than the other hills around.

More than three miles downstream is Great Shaman Mountain. Not only is it without peer among the Three Gorges, it could contest the height of Min and Eyebrows mountains and is a match for Transverse Mountain and Nine Similar Peaks.[8] Its wings connect with numerous other mountains, and it encompasses the azure clouds; moreover, along with the empyrean, it passes judgment on the height of everything else. It is where the god Meng T'u dwells. The Guideways Through Mountains and Seas states: "Meng T'u, an official of the Hsia emperor Ch'i, was appointed as a god in Pa. Some people of Pa brought a criminal accusation before him, but among them was one who had bloodstains on his clothes, so Meng T'u arrested him. Meng T'u was then asked to take up residence on this mountain, which is west of Cinnabar Mountain."[9] Kuo Ching-ch'un said, "Cinnabar Mountain is in Tan-yang which was part of Pa. 'West of Cinnabar Mountain' refers to 'Shaman Mountain.'"[10] In addition, the Celestial Princess dwells here. Sung Yü referred to her as the youngest daughter of the Celestial Emperor, named Yao-chi, who died before she was married. She was enfeoffed with the southern slope of Shaman Mountain, where the essence of her soul became the plants and the fruit became divine fungi.[11] Thus she stated, "'I, the maiden of Shaman Mountain, become clouds in the morning and rain in the evening by Kao-t'ang Belvedere, morning after morning, evening after evening, below the Southern Terrace.' When the king of Ch'u arose early to view it, he found it was just as she said. Thus he built a temple there and called it 'Morning Clouds.'"[12] From beginning to end, for fifty-five miles, this place is known as Shaman Gorge, taking its name from the mountain.

For the two hundred forty miles of the Three Gorges, mountains stretch along both banks without break. Layers of peaks, ridges upon ridges, hide the sky and block out the sun. Midday and midnight are the only times the sun and moon become visible. When summer arrives, the level of the water rises up the hillside so that the boats are prevented from traveling upstream and downstream. Sometimes, when the Emperor issues an urgent decree, it is possible to set out from the White Emperor's Citadel[13] in the morning and arrive in Chiang-ling by evening.[14] For the four-hundred-mile journey, riding a swift horse or flying on the wind cannot match the speed of a boat!

When winter turns to spring, there are white torrents and emerald depths; reflections appear upside down in the swirling eddies. Many oddly shaped junipers grow forth from jagged mountain peaks from


which waterfalls plummet clamorously. Pure, verdant, lofty, flourishing—such qualities provide innumerable kinds of fascination. After a storm has cleared, or on frosty mornings, among forests chilled and streams desolate, the loud cry of a gibbon is often heard, prolonged and mournful. As it echoes through the empty valleys, its despairing wail lingers before disappearing. So the fishermen sing,

Of the Three Gorges in Eastern Pa[15]
   Shaman Gorge is the longest.
Three cries of the gibbon
   and one's clothes become drenched with tears.[16]

The Long River flows farther eastward, past Wolf's Tail Rapids and by Men Rapids. Yüan Shan-sung said, "These two rapids are almost a mile apart. The water at Men Rapids is formidable and treacherous. The south bank contains granite rocks that are submerged in summer but emerge in winter. These rocks tower above. For several tens of paces, they form the shape of men's faces, some large, some small. And some are so clearly defined that even whiskers and hair arc distinguishable. Thus it is called 'Men Rapids.'"[17]

The Long River flows farther eastward, past the foot of Ox Mountain, where there is a rapids named "Ox Rapids." On the southern bank, layers of ridges rise up with tall cliffs interspersed by the riverbank. There is a rock whose colored surface resembles a man carrying a sword on his back as he leads an ox. The man is in black, and the ox in yellow, clearly defined. Since there is no way to reach it, one cannot investigate it closely. This cliff is quite high, and in addition, the current is swift and winding; one can continue to view this phenomenon while traveling for two days along this route. Therefore, travelers sing a song which goes,

Mornings, we set out from the Ox;
Evenings, we spend by the Ox.
For three mornings and three evenings,
The Ox stays the same.

It means that the route twists around as it progresses, so the view seems to remain unchanged.


The Long River flows farther eastward past West Mount Gorge. A Record of I-tu says,

As one enters from Ox Rapids eastward into the area of West Mount Gorge, it is more than thirty miles to the mouth of the gorge. Both the mountains and the water twist and turn, while along both banks are tall mountains forming layers of screens. Only at noon and at midnight can one see the sun and the moon. The sheer cliffs may be more than a thousand chang high. The color of the rocks and their shapes, for the most part, resemble various kinds of things. The trees are tall and flourishing and generally endure the winter. The cries of gibbons are quite clear and echo through the valleys, vividly and without cease. This is one of what is known as the "Three Gorges."[18]

Yüan Shan-sung stated that he had often heard of the perilous water throughout the gorges. All the written records and oral accounts cautioned travelers and warned them—none ever praised the beauty of the scenery. Then I came to visit this area. After arriving, I happily realized that hearing is not as good as personally observing. Its layered crags and graceful peaks, of unique construction and unusual shape, are indeed difficult to describe. Its forests and trees form intricate woods, randomly rooted and densely flourishing, which protrude above the mists. As I gazed up and peered down, it grew ever more familiar and ever more beautiful. I lingered and spent two nights there, forgetting about returning. For what I saw with my own eyes was a sight hitherto unknown to me. I am delighted to have experienced these unique sights. And if this landscape has a soul, it ought to be surprised to find that it has finally encountered a true admirer for the first time in history.[19]


Yang Hsüan-chih (fl. ca 528–547)
inline image

Little is known of Yang Hsüan-chih. Some scholars have conjectured that he was born into a noted literary family in Pei-p'ing (modern Tsun-hua, Ho-pei). In 528, he was serving the Northern Wei dynasty as an audience attendant and was able to observe the splendor of the capital of Lo-yang before its abandonment in 534. The Northern Wei dynasty had been established by the non-Chinese T'o-pa clan, descended from the nomadic Hsien-pei tribe. Originally based in what is today Inner Mongolia, they had moved into Shan-hsi and established their first capital in P'ing-ch'eng in 398. By 490, the rulers had become considerably assimilated to Chinese culture and harbored ambitions of conquest to unify the entire country. On one such expedition, the Emperor Hsiao-wen (r. 471–499) forced his nobles to move the capital to Lo-yang. Once the political and economic center of the Yellow River area, it was by then largely deserted; however, the emperor felt it was more suitable as a new political center from which he hoped to rule all of China. The Northern Wei aristocracy revived the life of the city by importing artisans, permitting the rise of a wealthy merchant class, and actively supporting Buddhism. During the four decades that it served as the capital, over thirteen hundred temples were built, and the population grew to about five hundred thousand. As a result of power struggles involving local military commanders and members of the imperial family, the Northern Wei dynasty finally split apart. Emperor Hsiao-wu (r. 532–534) ordered Lo-yang abandoned on short notice in 534 and fled to the protection of a military commander in Ch'ang-an, which later became the capital of the Western Wei dynasty. Another commander established Emperor Hsiao-ching (r. 534–550) in the



Lo-yang During the Wei Dynasty, ca. 528, based on Chou Tsu-mo, ed.,  Lo-yang
ch'iehlan chi chiao-shih
 (Peking: Chung-hua shu-chii, 1963)


Eastern Wei dynasty at Yeh-ch'eng near modern An-yang, Ho-pei. Loyang became a contested battlefield subjected to repeated pillaging and destruction. When Yang Hsüan-chih wrote his account, less than five hundred of its temples survived.

In 547, Yang Hsüan-chih was serving as an assistant under a commandery governor of the Eastern Wei and passed through Lo-yang again. The striking contrast between the abandoned capital and its previous magnificence so affected Yang that he decided to write a record of its glorious past. His melancholy reactions upon viewing the fallen capital were expressed in his preface:

Both the city and its suburbs lay in ruins; the palace halls and chambers had crumbled; temples had been burned to the ground, while monasteries and stupas were but mounds of earth. Walls were covered with vines; alleys were a web of brambles and thorns. Wild animals made their homes beneath deserted stairs; mountain birds nested in courtyard trees.... Inside and outside the walls of the capital there had been more than one thousand temples. Now, in these desolate environs, the sounds of bells are seldom heard. I fear that these places will be lost to future generations, so I have decided to compile this record.

The Temples of Lo-yang was written in parallel prose style and is regarded as one of the two monuments of prose writing surviving from the Northern Dynasties, along with The Guide to Waterways with Commentary . The earliest record of a Chinese city, it became the prototype of many later works by travelers recording urban scenes, past and present. It is organized into five parts, covering the inner city and its four suburbs to the north, east, south, and west. Yang had access to official and private archives and probably interviewed eyewitnesses; he used his own memories of the former capital to supplement these resources. Interspersed between descriptions of the architecture and history of more than seventy temples, therefore, are broader historical and political events, local legends, and social and economic conditions. The account of the monks Sung Yün and Huisheng, who traveled from Lo-yang to Udyana and Ghandara to fetch sutras from 5 18 to 522, was also included and regarded as a valuable source of information about Central Asia and foreign relations. In addition, the many anecdotes containing fantastic or highly fictional content have evoked comparisons with the chih-kuai genre of supernatural tales that flourished during this period, largely in the


south. The subject of a bazaar was unusual for a traditional Chinese writer. Yang's description offers a rare view of this important focus of urban life.

From The Temples of Lo-yang: The Bazaar of Lo-yang 88

More than a mile outside the Gate of Western Light south of the Imperial Avenue was the bazaar of Lo-yang. It was surrounded by eight wards.[1] South of the bazaar was the Princess Terrace, built by the Han dynasty general-in-chief Liang Chi.[2] It still stood over fifty feet high. During the Ching-ming era [500–503], the Buddhist monk Tao-heng established the Temple of the Divine Transcendent on top of it. West of the terrace was the seat of Ho-yang District.[3] East of the terrace was the mansion of the palace attendant Hou Kang.[4] Northwest of the bazaar were an earthen hill and a fish pond, also built by Liang Chi, which are referred to in the History of the Latter Hah Dynasty : "He gathered earth and constructed a mountain three miles around with nine slopes to resemble the two peaks of Mount Hsiao."[5]

To the east of the bazaar were the two wards named "Commerce" and "Shipment." The inhabitants here were all engaged in manufacturing, meat-cutting, and trading. Their wealth was enormous. There was a man, Liu Pao, who was the wealthiest. He established a house in every city throughout the regions and commanderies; in each one he maintained ten horses. Despite the fluctuating cost of salt and grain and the changing prices at the market, his enterprises maintained a uniform rate. He conducted business anyplace where boats or carriages could travel and wherever those on foot could tread. Thus, all the goods to be found in the world were stored in his warehouses. His wealth was comparable to the Copper Mountain; his home was another Cave of Gold.[6] His mansion's dimensions exceeded those permitted for merchants; his towers and pavilions pierced the clouds. His carriages, horses, raiments, and ornaments resembled those of princes.

To the south of the bazaar were the two wards "Tuning Up" and "Pitch Pipes." The inhabitants of these streets were musicians and singers. The most skillful performers in the empire came from here. There was T'ien Seng-ch'ao, who was adept at playing the hu-chia flute. He could perform the "Warrior's Song" and "Hsiang Yü's Lament"[7]


and was much favored by the General of Western Conquests, Ts'ui Yen-po.[8]

At the end of the Cheng-kuang era [520–524], Kao-p'ing[9] was lost to rebels, and tyrannical officials abounded. The rebel leader Mo-ch'i Ch'ou-nu preyed on the Ching-Ch'i area.[10] The court was so preoccupied with these matters that the meals were delayed. Ts'ui Yen-po was put in command of an army of fifty thousand infantry and cavalry to destroy him. Ts'ui led his army forth from Chang Fang Bridge in the western suburb of Lo-yang, which was by the former Sunset Pavilion of the Han.[11] On that occasion, nobles and officials assembled to bid him farewell; chariots and mounted horsemen formed a procession. Ts'ui, in a tall hat and long sword, displayed his martial demeanor at the head, while T'ien Seng-ch'ao played the "Warrior's Song" on the flute in the rear. Among the listeners, cowards became brave and swordsmen yearned to do battle. Ts'ui's courage was extraordinary, and he had achieved an awesome reputation while young. For more than twenty years, he had exerted himself in the service of the nation. No city wall remained undamaged after he attacked; no enemy lines held when he did battle. Therefore, the court sent him off with great fanfare.

Whenever Ts'ui faced battle, he would always order T'ien Sengch'ao to play the "Warrior's Song." Every armored soldier was stirred to a frenzied pitch. Ts'ui would charge into the enemy alone on his horse as if no one were near him. His courage was superior to anyone's in the entire army; his might kept the barbarians under control. For two years, reports of his victories arrived one after the other. But Moch'i Ch'ou-nu employed a skillful archer to shoot T'ien Seng-ch'ao and kill him. Ts'ui was so despondent and filled with grief that those around him said that Yü Po-ya's loss of Chung Tzu-ch'i[12] could not have been worse. Later, Ts'ui Yen-po was struck by a stray arrow and died in battle.[13] After this, his army of fifty thousand quickly disintegrated.

To the west of the bazaar were the two wards "Buying Wine" and "Filling Cups." The inhabitants of these wards mostly fermented wine for a living. Liu Pai-to of Ho-tung[14] was an expert at wine-making. In the sixth lunar month, the height of summer when it is scorching hot, he would fill vats with wine and expose them to the sun for ten days, by which time it had fermented. It had a fine bouquet when drunk, and one could feel intoxicated for an entire month. When high-ranking officials of the court traveled out to the commanderies and frontier territories, they often brought this wine over a distance of more than one thousand li as gifts. Because it came from afar, it was known as "Crane


Cup Wine" and as "Donkey Riding Wine." During the Yung-hsi era [532–534], the Inspector of South Ch'ing Region, Mao Hung-pin,[15] brought this wine with him on his way to the frontier. Along the road he encountered bandits, who immediately became intoxicated after they drank it: all of them were caught. Thus, the wine was given the additional name of "Bandit-Catcher." A saying among the wandering swordsmen went,

Fear not drawn bows or unsheathed swords.
Fear only Pai-to's spring wine.

To the north of the bazaar are the two wards "Compassionate and Filial" and "Funeral Rites." The inhabitants of these wards sell coffins for a living and engage in renting out hearses. Sun Yen, a professional mourner, took a wife who slept with her clothes on for three years. Sun considered this strange, so he waited until she was asleep and secretly removed her clothes to find that she had hair three feet long resembling the tail of a wild fox. Sun was terrified and threw her out. As his wife was about to leave, she took a knife and cut off Sun's hair, then fled. The neighbors chased after her, but she turned into a fox and they could not catch her. Later, there were more than 130 men in the area of the capital who had their hair cut off. At first, she would change into a woman wearing makeup and clothes. As she walked along the street, men would see her and gladly try to become familiar with her: all of them ended up with their hair cut off. At that time. If a woman wore a colorful dress, people would point to her as a fox demon. These occurrences lasted from the fourth month of the second year of the Hsip'ing era [May—June 517] until the autumn.

There were, in addition, the two wards "Abundant Wealth" and "Golden Shops," where the rich dwelled.

In all these ten wards were mostly artisans, merchants, and those who possessed wealth. Families worth a thousand gold pieces lived close together; their storied mansions rose face to face; their double gates opened toward each other; covered passageways connected them so that they could visit or see one another. Their household maids wore gold and silver ornaments, embroidery and brocade; their servants and slaves gorged themselves on the five flavors and eight delicacies. During the Shen-kuei era [518–519], it was announced that artisans and merchants had violated the restrictions on these things and were not permitted to wear gold and silver ornaments, embroidery, and brocades. But although this was promulgated as law, it was not enforced.[16]


Hsüan-tsang (ca. 600–664)
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Few Chinese travelers have ever equaled the epic journey of the Buddhist monk Hsüan-tsang to western China, Central Asia, and India. Also known as "San-tsang" (Sanskrit: Tripitaka), his pilgrimage to fetch Buddhist sutras and gain advanced knowledge from the centers of learning in India took some eighteen years along a route of over sixteen thousand miles. Hsüan-tsang's date of birth, the year he departed on his journey, and his precise itinerary remain subjects of debate among modern scholars. He was born Ch'en Wei in Kou-shih, Lo Prefecture (modern Yen-shih, Ho-nan), around 600, the youngest son of a Sui dynasty local official who had retired to avoid the civil war that led to the establishment of the T'ang. At the age of thirteen, Hsüan-tsang became a monk and spent his early years traveling and studying. Eventually he became convinced that the problems of Chinese Buddhism in his time and the inaccuracies in the existing translations of Sanskrit sutras could be remedied only by obtaining original texts. Leaving China around 627, he traveled to more than one hundred countries and cities, where he was usually honored as a holy man, though sometimes he was held hostage. In addition to his journey through western China, his itinerary took him through parts of modern Kirghizstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir, and India. Although he had violated the law by departing without official permission, upon his return to Ch'ang-an in 645, the Emperor T'ai-tsung (r. 626–649) relented and welcomed him with lavish imperial patronage. Hsüan-tsang brought back 657 texts and spent the remaining years of his life translating 74 of them.

Undoubtedly one of the reasons for the emperor's interest in Hsüan-tsang was the intimate knowledge he had gained of the



Hsüan-tsang's Journey through the Western Region, ca. 627–645


numerous cities and countries on the sensitive western frontier of the T'ang empire. The intelligence he brought back about their geography, customs, social and political structures, economy, and martial capabilities was invaluable during a period when the T'ang court was engaged in various military operations there. Hsüan-tsang is believed to have written down these recollections of his journey, which were then edited by a disciple, Pien-chi, and submitted to the court in 646. A Record of the Western Region traces his itinerary from Qoco (Turfan) on to India and back, ending with Lou-lan. It includes 110 countries and cities personally visited and 28 that he had heard about. The description of Baluka[*] and neighboring lands nominally under T'ang suzerainty is a representative example. It is written in a terse, impersonal style as befits its documentary intent and employs considerable parallelism. The focus on presenting intelligence about foreign countries accounts for its anthropological content, a rare feature in more lyrical travel writing about places within China.

From A Record of the Western Region: The Land of Baluka[*]

The land of Baluka[*][1] extends more than two hundred miles from east to west and more than one hundred fifty miles from north to south. The capital city is some two miles in circumference. The soil, the weather, the people, their customs, written language, and laws differ little from those of the land of Kucha[*] .[2] Their spoken language differs slightly. They weave fine felt and wool, which neighboring countries prize. There are tens of temples and more than a thousand Buddhist monks who study the Lesser Vehicle Teachings and espouse the School of All Existing Phenomena.[3]

I proceeded northwest from this country for more than a hundred miles, crossed the Rocky Desert and arrived at the Icy Mountains.[4] They are at the northern plateau of the Onion Range,[5] where the rivers mostly flow east. The snow that accumulates in the mountain valleys remains ice through spring and summer. Although it sometimes thaws, it soon freezes over again. The road is dangerous and difficult; cold winds are pitiless and biting. There are many ferocious dragons, who create trouble for anyone who commits an offense.[6] Travelers along


this road must not wear the red outfits of prisoners, carry water gourds, or shout. For even the slightest offense, a disaster will appear before one's eyes: violent winds will arise, sand will fly about and pebbles fall like rain. Anyone encountering this will die, for it is difficult to escape alive.

I proceeded through the mountains for more than one hundred forty miles, arriving at Great Pure Lake (also called "Hot Sea" and "Salt Sea").[7] It is more than three hundred miles in circumference, broad from east to west and narrow from north to south. Mountains surround it on all four sides; many rivers flow into it. The water has a blue-black color; its flavor is both salty and bitter. Powerful billows spread over its vast expanse; sudden waves churn and swirl. Dragons and fish dwell together here; spirits and demons appear out of it. Therefore, travelers who pass here sacrifice and pray for blessings. Although there are many kinds of fish in the lake, no one dares catch them.

I proceeded more than one hundred seventy-five miles northwest of Pure Lake, arriving at the city of Tokmak.[8] The city is over two miles in circumference, and merchants from all lands in the region dwell here. The soil is fit for raising millet, wheat, and grapes, though trees are sparse. The weather is windy and cold, so the people wear felt and wool. West of Tokmak are several tens of independent cities, each under a chief. Although they are not subordinate to one another, they are all under the T'u-chüeh tribe.[9]

From the city of Tokmak to the land of Kasanna[10] the area is called "Sogd," and the people are also known by this name. The written and spoken languages are called likewise.[11] The characters are very simple, with more than twenty basic signs. These are combined to produce words, which are expanded into a vocabulary. They keep rather crude records, reading the texts vertically. These are imparted from master to disciple, and the master does not alter them. They wear undergarments of felt and wool, jackets of leather or fine wool, and tight pants. Their hair is closely cropped, and the tops of their heads are shaved; or they shave their heads completely and wrap colored cloth around their foreheads. Their physique is imposing, yet their character is timid and fearful. Their customs are inferior and specious, for they are often cunning and deceitful. They are generally avaricious; even fathers and sons scheme against each other for profit. Those who amass wealth are considered noble; little distinction is made between high and low character. But though they possess immense riches, their clothing and food are still crude and inferior. Farmers and traders dwell together, each forming half of the population.


I proceeded west of the city of Tokmak for more than one hundred forty miles, arriving at Bing-yul.[12] Bing-yul is over seventy square miles in area. On the south are the Snowy Mountains;[13] on the other three sides are flat plains. The rivers and soil are abundant and fertile; the forests are luxuriant and extensive. By the end of spring, the varieties of flowers form a tapestry; there are a thousand springs and ponds, hence its name. The khan of the T'u-chüeh comes here every year to avoid the hot season. There is a herd of deer here, most of which have bells around their necks. They are tame enough to approach people and are not very frightened. The khan delights in them and has let it be known to his followers that any who harm or kill them will be executed without pardon. Therefore, this herd of deer lives out its natural life span.

I proceeded west from Bing-yul for about fifty miles, arriving at the city of Talas.[14] The city is almost three miles in circumference, and merchants from all lands in the region dwell here. The soil and the weather are much like Tokmak.

I proceeded south for more than three miles to where there is a small, independent city of more than three hundred households. They were originally Chinese people who were kidnapped long ago by the T'u-chüeh. Later, they gathered together, formed a state, and fortified this city, dwelling within it. They have abandoned their old mode of clothing and follow the style of the T'u-chüeh; but their language, literature, and manners are still that of their original country.

From here I proceeded southwest more than seventy miles to the city of Pai-shui.[15] The city is more than two miles in circumference. The produce off the land and the mildness of the climate surpass those of Talas.

I proceeded southwest more than seventy miles, arriving at the city of Kung-yü.[16] The city is almost two miles in circumference. Its lowlying grasslands are rich and fecund; its forests are verdant and lush. From here, I proceeded south about fifteen miles to the land of Nejkend.[17]



Fig. 15.
Hsia Yong (active 14th cent.)  The Pavilion of the Prince of T'eng . The Freer Gallery of Art,
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 15.36H Wang Po's preface is inscribed as a colophon.


Wang Po (ca. 650–ca. 676)
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Wang Po was born into a family of scholars and officials in Lung-men, Chiang Prefecture (modern Ho-chin, Shan-hsi). A child prodigy, he was recommended to the court and in 666 entered into the service of Li Hsien, prince of P'ei, as a tutor. Two years later, however, he was expelled for having written a satirical piece that angered the Emperor Kao-tsung (r. 649–683). He then traveled through the area of Pa-Shu in what is today Szu-ch'uan and in 672 was reinstated as an administrator in Kuo Prefecture (modern Ling-pao, Ho-nan). There, he was subsequently charged and sentenced to be executed for murdering a government slave but later pardoned and stricken front the list of officials. Because of this case, his father was demoted and exiled to the post of magistrate in Chiao-chih, a remote region in the distant south that covered parts of modern Kuang-tung, Kuang-hsi, and northern Vietnam. Wang Po died unexpectedly by drowning around the age of twenty-six while traveling to visit his father, probably on the same journey that had taken him to the Pavilion of the Prince of T'eng.

A promising young poet who left some eighty poems and ninety works of prose in addition to scholarly studies, Wang Po was regarded as one of the "Four Outstanding Writers of the Early T'ang." His preface to the collection of poems written at a banquet at the Pavilion of the Prince of T'eng was immediately celebrated as a model of the parallel prose style. It remains the piece for which Wang is best remembered today. On passing through Hung Prefecture (modern Nan-ch'ang, Chiang-hsi), Wang was invited to a feast on October 3, 675, given by the local commander-in-chief, Yen, whom some commentators have identified as Yen Po-yü. Yen was celebrating his


renovation of this pavilion originally named after Li Yüan-ying, the prince of T'eng, a son of the founding T'ang emperor Kao-tsu (r. 618–626) who had erected it in 653 when he served in the same position in Hung Prefecture. According to tradition, among the guests was Yen's son-in-law, whom Yen tried to promote by encouraging him to prepare a preface to the poems that were expected to result from the occasion. Wang Po, however, sought to display his talents as well. He spontaneously composed his own preface on the spot, much to the displeasure of the host, who was nevertheless compelled to recognize Wang's superior ability. The text has been widely anthologized and often rewritten by calligraphers, notably the Ming artist Wen Cheng-ming (1470–1559) and, in the Ch'ing, Weng Fang-kang (1733–1818). The pavilion also became a conventional subject of landscape paintings.

The pavilion was built on the city wall facing the Kan River, its three stories standing 105 feet tall and flanked by two smaller pavilions. Over the centuries, it was restored some twenty-eight times, on the average of once every forty years. Later, it became a shrine to Wang Po's preface; the most famous lines were inscribed throughout the building, and Weng Fang-kang's copy of the complete text was placed in the central hall. The pavilion stood for almost thirteen hundred years before its final destruction in 1926 by a northern warlord.

Preface to Poems from the Pavilion of the Prince of T'eng

Nan-ch'ang, an ancient commandery, is the new Hung Prefecture.[1] The constellations Wings and Crossbar watch over it; its land extends to the mountains Transverse and Hermitage.[2] It is collared by three rivers and girdled by five lakes. It dominates the area of Man-ching and leads into Ou-yüeh.[3] Its fine things are treasures of Heaven: this is where the brilliance of dragon-swords struck the constellations Ox and Dipper.[4] Its outstanding men reflect the spirit of the landscape: here, Hsü Ju-tzu used the couch provided by Ch'en Fan.[5] This noble prefecture expands like the mist; its brilliant talents speed by like stars. The city walls stand at the frontier where the heartland meets the barbarous south; the host and guests constitute the best of the southeast. Commander Yen has an eminent reputation; he has brought his standard


here from afar. The new Governor Yü-wen[6] is a paragon of virtue; he has halted his carriage to visit. On this day of rest at week's end, the company is abundant like clouds. A thousand li are bridged by our meeting; noble friends fill the seats. Like soaring dragons and ascending feng -birds are the works of that master of literature, Academician Meng; the swords "Purple Lightning" and "Pure Frost" lie concealed in General Wang's arsenal.[7] My father is a magistrate, and my road has brought me to this famous district; I am just an ignorant youth fortunate to attend this superlative feast.

Now is the ninth month; the season, late autumn. The swollen waters have subsided, and the cold lakes are clear. The mist hangs thickly, so the mountains appear purple in the twilight; horses and carriages are neatly lined up along the high road while we visit the scenery of this imposing hill. We have come to the riverbank of a prince and have entered the former pavilion of a Transcendent.[8] Layers of peaks thrust upward in all their greenery, their summits rising up into the empyrean; from the airborne pavilion stream vermilion colors as the ground below disappears from sight. Sandbanks with cranes and islets with wild ducks wind about and intertwine; palatial halls of rare cassia and magnolia woods are ensconced among the hills. We opened the decorated portals and looked down at the carved eaves: mountains and plains spread out, entirely filling one's eyes, and the river and marshes offered a startling sight. Houses spread over the land, and bells rang forth from noble mansions; boats shaped like blue peacocks and yellow dragons clogged the harbor. A rainbow faded as the rain ceased: colors fused as clouds spread out across the sky. The evening mist flew off along with a solitary duck; the autumn river and the endless sky became a single hue. Evening songs from the fishing boats resounded to the edges of Lake P'eng-li.[9] A line of geese numbed by the cold ceased their cries by the banks at Heng-yang.[10] We sang out into the distance and felt joy gazing downward; our unfettered rapture quickly soared. A pure breeze arose when lively flutes sounded; the white clouds were halted by the strains of a languid song.[11] The spirit of the Sui Garden's bamboo flowed into the winecup of the Magistrate of P'eng-tse;[12] the brilliance of the vermilion lotus in the lake at Yeh illuminated the brush of the Governor of Lin-ch'uan.[13] The four excellent conditions were present, and the two rarities came together.[14] We exhausted the view from high up in the sky and fully enjoyed our pleasant outing on this day of leisure. Heaven is high, and the Earth immense: we felt the infinitude of the universe. Rapture subsided and was succeeded by melancholy: we realized that the succession of opposites follows definite laws. We


saw Ch'ang-an beneath the sun and pointed out Wu-kuei among the clouds.[15] The earth reaches its end and the Southern Ocean is unfathomable; Celestial Pillar is lofty, and the North Star is ever distant.[16] The mountain passes are difficult to cross over: who will feel compassion for someone who has lost his way? We meet like blades of grass afloat in the water: all of us are guests from somewhere else. I yearn to see the palace gatekeeper, but he does not appear; when shall I be summoned to the Proclamation Hall?[17]

Alas! The times are unfavorable to me, and my fate has taken many turns. Feng T'ang soon grew old; Li Kuang found it difficult to gain a fief.[18] Chia I was humbled and sent to Ch'ang-sha, but it was not for lack of a sage ruler; Liang Hung was forced to hide along remote seacoasts, but was it an unenlightened time?[19] I believe in the Noble Man accepting his poverty and in the man of affairs understanding his fate. His resolution only increases with age: why should his mind change when his hair turns white? He becomes more determined in extremity: never does he lower his lofty ambitions. Though he may drink from the Spring of Avarice,[20] he feels morally refreshed; though he be a fish stranded in a dry carriage rut,[21] he is still happy. The North Sea may be distant, but one can reach it on the winds. Though the morning has passed in the east, it is not too late in the evening in the west.[22] Meng Ch'ang was lofty and pure, yet his patriotism was in vain.[23] Juan Chi was wild and unrestrained: why imitate his cries when he encountered obstacles on the road?[24]

I am of no stature, just a wisp of a scholar. Though as young as Chung Chün, I have no way to request the reins to tie up the enemy.[25] I yearn to throw down my brush and long for the great wind of Tsung Ch'üeh.[26] Yet I have cast off my tokens of office forever and am traveling far to look after my parents; while not a "treasure tree" of the Hsieh family, I would make a worthy neighbor for Mencius.[27] Soon I will hasten across the courtyard and respond like the son of Confucius;[28] but now, I am able to pay my respects here and happily pass through Dragon Gate.[29] If I do not encounter a Yang Te-i, I will cherish my cloud-soaring piece in sorrow;[30] but since I have met a Chung Tzu-ch'i, I can play "flowing water" music without regret.[31]

Alas! Scenic places do not endure; sumptuous feasts rarely occur twice. The gathering at the Orchid Pavilion ended long ago; the Catalpa Garden is in ruins.[32] I offer these words upon parting in gratitude for this lavish feast. For writings upon ascending these heights[33] we look to the worthies assembled here. I have ventured to exhaust my humble ideas and respectfully drafted this short preface. Let every per-


son write a poem; mine of eight lines is already finished. Please spread about P'an Yüeh's "river"; let each spill forth Lu Chi's "ocean."[34]

The lofty Pavilion of the Prince of T'eng
   stands facing the river.
Sounds of jade pendants and carriage bells:
   the singing and dancing is over.
Mornings, over painted beams
   soar clouds from South Bank;[35]
Evenings, through raised vermilion shades
   comes rain from West Mountain.[36]
Leisurely clouds are reflected in the lake
   as the days go by;
The scene changes, stars shift in the sky:
   how many autumns have passed?
The pavilion's prince—
   where is he now?
Beyond the railing, the lengthy river[37]
   flows by in vain.[38]


Wang Wei (701–761)
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Wang Wei personified the ideal of Confucian public service combined with personal spiritual and aesthetic cultivation. His official career followed a common pattern among many later travel writers: a succession of positions interspersed with periods of disgrace and exile. Despite disillusionment with politics, he never renounced public life; after the age of forty, though, he increasingly pursued his private interests of poetry, painting, and Buddhism. Born in Ch'i District, T'ai-yüan (modern T'ai-yüan, Shan-hsi), he passed the Presented Scholar examination in 721 and began his career as an official. Briefly exiled, he was rescued from oblivion in 733 by the influential writer and statesman Chang Chiu-ling (678–740), then prime minister. Chang's subsequent fall from power in the face of aristocratic opposition to his Confucian administration was the beginning of Wang's disillusionment with politics, and he began to search for more personal means of fulfillment. During the An Lu-shan Rebellion (755–763) he was captured by the rebels and eventually accepted a position in their regime. Upon the return of the T'ang court to Ch'ang-an, Wang was charged with treason but pardoned through the influence of his older brother. At the end of his life he held the office of assistant director of the right in the Department of State Affairs, which supervised the Ministries of War, Punishments, and Works.

Wang Wei left almost four hundred poems, most of which express a self-effacing contemplation of Nature characterized by transcendental perceptions, ambiguity, and emotional quietude. He had obtained an estate in Lan-t'ien by the Wheel River (Wang-ch'uan) not far from Ch'ang-an. This became the setting of a famous cycle of twenty poems written in response to ones by a close friend, P'ei Ti (716-?), a frequent



Fig. 16.
After Wang Wei (late Ming dynasty),  Bird's Eye View of Wang-ch'uan (Wheel River)  (detail). The Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Eugene
Fuller Memorial Collection, 47. 142. These sections of the handscroll depict the Wheel River (right) and Hua-tzu Hill (left of center).

traveling companion and later a minor official, who at that time held only the first degree of Cultivated Talent. The estate, the poems, and a much-copied handscroll attributed to Wang created an ethos that became the archetypal ideal of the literati's life of retirement from the world. Wang Wei was subsequently canonized as one of the great landscape poets and regarded, mistakenly, as the originator of the "Southern school" of painting. It was about Wang that Su Shih later made his famous remark that "there are poems m his paintings and paintings in his poems." One early form of travel writing, which arose during the Six Dynasties period, was the letter containing brief descriptions of journeys in Nature. The following short letter written by Wang Wei to P'ei Ti is a rare surviving example of this practice, m which Wang expresses his lyric sensibility in prose.


A Letter from the Mountains to the "Cultivated Talent" P'ei Ti

It is growing close to the end of the year, yet the scenery and weather remain pleasantly inviting. Many spots are especially worth visiting among these familiar mountains. You, sir, are in the midst of studying the classics, and I feared to disturb you. So I went myself into the mountains, stopping to rest at the Proselytizing Temple[1] where I dined with the monks before departing. I went north, crossing the "murky Pa";[2] under the clear moon, the countryside was reflected in it. I climbed Hua-tzu Hill[3] at night; on the Wheel River, wind-blown ripples together with the moon's image surged up and down. Distant lights on the wintry mountains flickered beyond the forest. In deep alleyways, freezing dogs howled like wildcats. In the village, nighttime rice pounding played a duet with the distant bells. During all this, I sat alone while my servants remained silent. I thought mostly of the


past when we traveled here together and wrote poems, and when we strolled along a narrow path over to the clear river.

We ought to wait until springtime when the plants and trees sprout forth, when the springtime mountains are worth gazing at, the young mullets leap out of the water, and the white seagulls flaunt their wings; when dew moistens greened river banks and pheasants chirp in the morning among the patches of barley. This is not far off at all. Could you possibly travel with me? Were you not someone endowed with a pure and remarkable character, how could I ever invite you to enjoy such leisurely pursuits? And yet, there is a deep fascination to be gotten from all this. By no means neglect to come!

I have entrusted this to a carrier of huang-nieh[4] on his way, so this letter is brief.



Yüan Chieh (719–772)
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Yüan Chieh was an innovative writer of the mid—eighth century and an early exponent of the Ancient Style prose movement. Born in Lu-shan, Ho-nan, he arrived in Ch'ang-an in 747 but, owing to political obstructions, did not pass the examinations until 755, the year the fateful An Lu-shan Rebellion broke out. His early poems reflect his frustration over failure to obtain an official post; the themes include satiric critiques of the political world, the decadence of urban life, and yearnings for Taoist purity. During the rebellion, he led his family south to modern Hu-nan for safety and in 759 raised troops in Ho-nan for the T'ang cause. For this, he was rewarded with various official positions, including those of palace censor and administrative assistant to a military commissioner. In 763, he served as prefect of Tao Prefecture in Hu-nan, where he pacified the local minority population and alleviated the economic exploitation of the people by the T'ang authorities. In 768, he was posted to Jung Prefecture in what is today Chiang-hsi, where he showed the same kind of compassion for the inhabitants. It is the writings of this mature period on which his later fame was based. Yüan urged that literary forms convey the values of the Confucian classics and objected to the purely decorative elements and formal rules that still characterized much poetic writing and parallel prose. Later critics saw his poetry as based on the direct expression of emotion rather than on stylistic issues, though some considered his work excessively plain. His prose writings were mostly incisive and thought-provoking discussions of social problems.

Yüan's travel pieces were written while serving as prefect of Tao Prefecture. In The Right-hand Stream , he evokes a neglected lyric scene,



Fig. 17.
Attributed to Lu Hung (active first half of 8th cent.), album leaf from  Ten Vieu's of the
Thatched Cottage
. National Palace Museum, Taipei.

rescuing it from oblivion by naming it and aesthetically restoring it with landscaping and buildings. The pity that the place inspires in Yüan Chieh is a personal expression of the loneliness of an official posted far from the capital. A similar feeling pervades My Own Terrace , in which the author plans to construct a vantage point from which to gain the "grand view" of reality—a sublime substitute for the power center of the capital. The Winter Pavilion was written in the summer of 766 while Yüan was on an inspection tour of Chiang-hua. At the request of the local magistrate he bestows a name on the pavilion, one based on his subjective response to the scene. Both The Right-hand Stream and My Own Terrace were originally written as prefaces to a ming , a short,


formal inscription in parallel prose that was engraved at a site. All three pieces anticipate the exilic travel accounts of Liu Tsung-yüan. My Own Terrace , in fact, was located in Yung Prefecture, where Liu Tsung-yüan was later exiled. Liu visited it, and Yüan's account may have had a direct influence on his writings.

The Right-hand Stream
(ca. 764)

A hundred or so paces west of the seat of Tao Prefecture[1] is a small stream. It flows south for tens of paces and then joins Ying Stream.[2] The water strikes against the banks, which are formed by odd-shaped rocks. Jumbled and tilting, they wind along and jut in and out—the scene defies description. When the clear current collides with these rocks, it swirls, surges, becomes excited, and rushes forward. Fine trees and unusual bamboo cast their shadows, covering one another.

If this stream were located in a mountainous wilderness, it would be a suitable spot for eremites and gentlemen out of office to visit. Were it located in a populated place, it could serve as a scenic spot in a city, with a pavilion in a grove for those seeking tranquillity. And yet, no one has appreciated it as long as this prefecture has been m existence. As I wound my way upstream, I felt quite sorry for it.

So I had it dredged of weeds in order to build a pavilion and a house. I planted pines and cassia trees, adding fragrant plants among them to augment the scenery. Because the stream is to the right of the city, I named it "The Right-hand Stream" and had a ming inscription carved on one of the rocks to explain this to all who come by.[3]

The Winter Pavilion

In the year ping-wu of the Yung-t'ai era [766], I was on an inspection tour of the districts under my jurisdiction and arrived at Chiang-hua.[1] The magistrate, Ch'ü Ling-wen,[2] consulted me thus: "In the south of this district, a stream and a rock reflect each other and it is a lovely sight. It was said that one could not climb up there, but I sought a way. I came across a cave and entered it and built a walkway over the


dangerous sections so that I could pass. Thus, I was able to construct a thatched pavilion on top of the rock. Once the pavilion had been completed, stairs and railings were built projecting out from the rock as it looks out on the lengthy river below.[3] The pavilion's pillars and roof mingle with the clouds and are as high as the summit. When the atmosphere is clearest at dawn and at dusk, the mist appears in unusual colors; the surrounding, blue-green rock wall reflects the water and the trees. I wanted to name this pavilion but could not find the words to describe it. I venture to invite you to name it for all generations to come." So I discussed the matter with him at the pavilion, saying: "Though I visited this at the height of summer, it feels as if the season will soon turn to winter. Though located in these torrid parts, it is cool and comfortable. Is it not appropriate to name it 'The Winter Pavilion'?" So I wrote out this record for the Winter Pavilion and had it engraved on the rear wall.[4]

My Own Terrace

More than two hundred feet northeast of My Own Stream,[1] I came across a fantastic rock. It is three or four hundred paces in circumference. From the hours of wei and shen [1:00–5:00 P.M.] to ch'ou and yin [1:00–5:00 A.M.], its cliff blocks out the stars of the Northern Dipper, but during the remaining hours the light returns and all is visible. In front is a flight of stairs eighty or ninety feet high, which leads to a swirling pond below. Steep and precarious, half the stairs extend down to the water's bottom. They appear greenish and undulating as if they were on the surface of the ripples. I plan to build a cottage on top of the rock in an unusually scenic spot. The hollows on its small peak are just right for planting pines and bamboo. These will screen the windows so that it will be completely secluded. Alas! Among the ancients were those who felt angry and depressed or were sickened by the ways of the world. They lacked the funds to build lofty terraces from which to gaze down upon it all. Instead they sought out the summit of a mountain or the edge of the sea to sing out at the top of their lungs and feel exultant. Now, I have taken possession of this rock and will construct My Own Terrace, not out of melancholy or complaint, but only because such is my pleasure.


The ming inscription says:

The Hsiang River's chasm is clear and deep; My Own Terrace is steep and precipitous. I climbed up and gazed afar; not a thing escaped my sight. To whomever is wearied of court and city, or feels harnessed and confined, I offer the use of this terrace to instantly relax your mind and eyes. The cliff on the south has been polished smooth, like a gem, like alabaster. I have written this inscription and had it engraved to make this known to all to come.[2]



Fig. 18.
Printed text of  The Pavilion of Joyous Feasts  (detail). From Han Yü,
Ch'ang-li hsien-sheng chi  (1174). National Palace Museum, Taipei.


Han Yü (768–824)
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Han Yü has long been regarded as one of the definitive voices of Confucian orthodoxy in Chinese literature and was canonized in the Ming as the earliest of the Eight Masters of T'ang and Sung Prose. A polemicist against the political influence of Buddhism and Taoism at court, he was a major proponent of the Ancient Style movement in prose, advocating that writers discover their own uniqueness by identifying with correct stylistic models flora antiquity. Han Yü was descended from the Northern Wei aristocracy and was born in Hoyang (modern Meng District), Ho-nan. He grew up in various places, as the family was often uprooted owing to exile and local rebellions. His older brother was his early teacher and was the first to urge him to reject the ornate parallel prose style. Han Yü became a Presented Scholar in 792 but failed to pass any higher examinations. During this decade in which he was struggling to enter official life he inet Li Ao, Meng Chiao (751–814), and others who were to become part of his literary circle. In 803, a year after he began his career as an Erudite in the Directorate of Education, he was exiled and demoted to magistrate of Yang-shan in remote Kuang-tung for opposing the reformist faction of Wang Shu-wen, to which his friend Liu Tsung-yüan belonged. Upon the fall of Wang in 805, Han Yü returned to the capital. Though an effective supporter of the imperial cause against rebels and separatists, he offended the Emperor Hsien-tsung (r. 805–820) by submitting a memorial criticizing the emperor's veneration of a relic of the Buddha. Barely saved from the death penalty through the influence of friends, he was again exiled, this time to Ch'ao-chou in Kuang-tung. He was finally recalled in 820 and continued to serve in a succession of high posts.


Han Yü's Ancient Style promoted a form of literary utilitarianism in which signifying the moral Tao became the primary meaning of a text. The writer was urged to nurture his talent by cultivating the Confucian virtues of humaneness (jen ) and rightness (i ). Han's models were usually taken from pre-Ch'in and Han prose, and he would often base a piece on a specific model whose style he would then transform. Among his works are a small number of fictional pieces that emphasize unusual phenomena, for which he was criticized by more rigidly moralistic writers. Han Yü was also a noted poet, though generally his poetic forms are heavily influenced by prose values and contain much expository content. A cycle of landscape poems, Poems of South Mountain (Nan-shan shih ), was particularly influential; he wrote few works of travel literature, though.

The Pavilion of Joyous Feasts helped establish the exilic and valedictory modes of Chinese travel writing. It was written in 804 while the exiled Han Yü was serving as magistrate of Yang-shan. The account is less a description of a scene than praise of the moral character of a friend, Wang Chung-shu (Hung-chung, d. 823). Like Han Yü, Wang had been exiled to the same area; the writer was thus expressing his own discontent by focusing on Wang's similar fate. Han Yü bestowed names on the outstanding scenic features to signify Wang's (and his own) superior character and recorded Wang's transformation of the landscape as a metaphor of Confucian self-cultivation. The natural environment is represented as a moral backdrop, at once a mirror of unappreciated personal qualities and a consoling substitute for the disharmony of the capital.

The Pavilion of joyous Feasts

When Wang Hung-chung of T'ai-yüan was in Lien Prefecture,[1] he would travel together with the Buddhist monks Ching-ch'ang and Yüan-hui. One day, he went with these two men on a walk behind their residence. They climbed up an overgrown hill to a high point, gazed about, and discovered an unusually scenic spot. He had the tall grasses cut down, and the fine trees stood revealed; he had the rocks removed, and a pure spring flowed forth; he had the refuse carted away and burned off the dead growth. Then he stood and observed it all. What protruded now stood forth as a hill; what receded opened up to


reveal a valley. A depression became a pond; a cavity became a cave. It seemed as if ghosts, spirits, and other strange beings had come in the dark to aid them. Since then, Hung-chung and the two monks would go there in the morning and forget to return when evening fell. So a house was built to protect against the wind and rain, the winter cold and the summer heat.

When all this was completed, I requested permission to bestow names. The hill I called "The Hill of Patient Virtue," for though it was obscured in the past, it is now revealed, so it possesses the Tao of patience. The rocky ravine I called "The Ravine of Humble Acceptance," its waterfall, "Bestirred Egrets Falls,"[2] for the ravine signifies his virtue, and the waterfall, his appearance. The fertile valley I called "Golden Valley," and its waterfall, "Regulated Falls,"[3] for here the valley signifies his appearance, and the waterfall, his virtue. The cave I called "The Cave of Winter Residence" to indicate the season for entering it. The pond I called "The Pond of the Noble Man," for, when empty, it can store up his fine character; when filled, it can eliminate any evil qualities. The fount of the spring I called "The Spring of Heaven's Beneficence," for it issues forth from on high and bestows its bounty on those below. I summed up all these qualities by calling the house "The Pavilion of Joyous Feasts," praising him by the line in the ode in the The Book of Poetry that goes, "Marquis of Lu, joyous feasts."[4] Subsequently, an elder among the people of the prefecture heard of this and accompanied me to observe it. He said, "The scenery of our prefecture is renowned throughout the world, but nothing elsewhere compares with 'Joyous Feasts'! Those who work the fields nearby encountered it, yet none recognized the value of this place. What Heaven has created and Earth safeguarded was meant to belong to such a man, was it not?"

Hung-chung came here after being demoted from director in the Ministry of Personnel. This is what he passed on his route here: from Lan-t'ien, he entered Shang Prefecture and Lo-yang, crossed the Hsi rapids, came to the Han River, climbed Steep Mountain to gain a view of the Square Citadel, proceeded out through Ching Gate, down the Mien River, crossed over Grotto Lake, went up the Hsiang River, traveled below Transverse Mountain, and crossed over the ridge from Chen Prefecture.[5] Among the alpine dwellings of monkeys and apes and the watery residences of fish and dragons, he has experienced the ultimate in hidden, distant, beautiful, and strange views. He should feel satiated by what he has seen and heard. Yet it appears he still is not satisfied. It is said, "The wise man delights in streams; the humane man delights in mountains."[6] Hung-chung's virtuous character can be said to agree with what he loves. With wisdom he built this, and he dwells


in it with humaneness. I know that the day is not far when he will leave here and "perform the sacred plume dance"[7] at the Imperial Court.

I then had this engraved in stone as a record.[8]

The I-ch'eng Station

This piece was written later in Hah Yü's life when he was exiled to Ch'ao-chou. It is a terse account of an official station located in Ich'eng, Hu-pei, where government couriers and officials stopped to rest en route. Han Yü's piece is related to the genre of lamentations over the decline of ancient capitals. It also employs the restraint and techniques of moral judgment characteristic of Confucian history, such as the classic Spring and Autumn Annals (Ch'un-ch'iu ). By simply recording objective statements of fact, Hah Yü uses the decline of Ich'eng through the ages to criticize the erosion of imperial authority in the T'ang. He implicitly denounces the destructive power of many regional commanders by the telling example of Yü Ti's (d. 818) willful deforestation of the city in violation of centuries of reverence for the ancient trees. In contrast to this depressing scene of loss is the presence of the P'ing family, whose virtue represents hope of a moral revival. One member, P'ing Feng, had commissioned Han Yü to write a eulogy commemorating his righteous father; this connection suggests Han Yü's motivation for recording an otherwise minor place forgotten by time. Han Yü also wrote a quatrain on the decline of the Temple of King Chao, which critics have praised for its evocative quality and economy of expression.

This station was established inside the ancient city of I-ch'eng. Northeast of the station is a well that legend says was the well of King Chao.[1] There is a spirit dwelling in it: to this day no one drinks from it.[2] According to legend, the river in front of the station is the stream below the mountains to the west, which Po Ch'i dammed up in order to flood the city.[3] Many people of Ch'u died, and their bodies were carried by the current to the marshy pond to the east. The stench spread far and wide, and so it was called "Stink Pond." There are chiao -dragons[4] there which harm people, and fishermen avoid the place.


Several tens of paces northeast of the well is the Temple to King Chao of Ch'u. In olden times there were myriad tall trees of unknown name. Through the ages, none dared to cut them down. There was a particularly large number of old pines and large bamboo. When the Grand Mentor Yü commanded Hsiang-yang,[5] he moved the government of I-ch'eng District elsewhere and furthermore erected many official stations in the south of this region. The lumber for the construction was all taken from this forest. The old temple building was monumental in proportions; now, there is only a single thatched room. Still, when I asked the dwellers nearby, they said, "Every year in the tenth month, the people come together and sacrifice before it." The small wall behind the temple probably marked the residence of the king. Within the wall the land was raised for an area covering thirteen or fourteen acres. It is called "The Palace Wall," so it probably was where the court was located. There are many tiles around that could be used for inkstones.

Today, the area inside the wall is all owned by the P'ing family.[6] They live in a villa built north of the wall. Mr. P'ing was a man of high character. His son, Feng, became an instructor in the Directorate of Education by virtue of his learning.


Li Ao (772–836)
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Li Ao's Route in  Diary of My Coming to the South , January 31-July 24, 809,
based on Sakata Shin, "Rainan roku yakuchu," p. 63


Li Ao was born in Ch'eng-chi, Lung-hsi (modern Ch'in-an, Kan-su), into a family of minor officials descended from earlier aristocracy. After five years in the capital, he became a Presented Scholar in 798. Two years before, he had met Han Yü and became part of his circle; in 800, he married the daughter of Han Yü's cousin. Li served in a number of local posts as well as in the capital but was exiled several times for his outspoken views. Most of his posts were in central or southern China, and he eventually rose to military commissioner of the Shan-nan Eastern Circuit. He was also a student of Ch'an Buddhism, which he combined with Confucianism in an early anticipation of the Sung Neo-Confucian synthesis. Like Han Yü, he viewed literature as part of moral self-cultivation and adopted the Ancient Style of prose as the appropriate form for his ideas, among which was the goal of "naturalness" (tzu-jan ) in writing. Most of Li Ao's poetry was lost, but he remains admired for his intellectual thought, particularly three essays, Letters on the Recovery of Human Nature (Fu-hsing shu ), in which he advocated a Buddhist quelling of passions as the path to Confucian sagehood.

Diary of My Coming to the South is the earliest extant travel diary. It records Li Ao's route from Lo-yang to a post to which he had been demoted in remote Kuang Prefecture (modern Kuang-chou, Kuangtung), a distance of over 2,500 miles requiring some six months to travel. Because the diary documents an actual route to a place of exile, his itinerary has long been of interest to historical geographers. Though written at the time of the rise of the travel account, the diary has minimal entries, with few personal observations or scenic descriptions,


elements later added to the travel diary by writers in the Southern Sung. It may well have been motivated by a desire to impress his new colleagues in Kuang Prefecture with his heroic itinerary and provide future travelers with a guide to the routes between north and south China.

Diary of My Coming to the South

In the tenth month of the third year of the Yüan-ho era [October-November 808], I received an appointment from His Excellency, the minister of Ling-nan.[1]

On the day chi-ch'ou in the first month of the fourth year [January 31, 809], departed my house in the Rewarding Goodness Ward and boarded a boat together with my wife and children on the Transport Canal.[2]

On i-wei [February 6], departed the Eastern Capital.[3] Hah T'ui-chih and Shih Chün-ch'uan[4] hired a boat and escorted me for a distance in farewell. The next day, reached Old Lo-yang and called on Meng Tung-yeh, who joined the threwell party,[5] Because Chün-ch'uan's wife was ill, he returned first to Lo-yang from Canal Mouth.[6] By sunset, reached Luminous Clouds Mountain and stopped for the night.[7] The next morning, ascended its summit and viewed Eminent Mountain to the south.[8] Inscribed our names on the mountain and recorded our parting. After lunching, Han and Meng bade me farewell and returned westward.

On wu-hsü [February 9], I fell ill from the cold and drank scallion wine to sweat out the fever. Spent the night at Kung District.[9]

On keng-tzu [February 11], left the Lo River and proceeded down the Yellow River, stopping at Pien-liang Mouth. Then sailed down the Pien River, which connects the Yellow River with the Huai.[10]

On hsin-ch'ou [February 12], arrived at Ho-yin.[11]

On i-szu [February 16], spent the night at Pien Prefecture.[12] My illness grew more acute, requiring a doctor to examine my pulse. Sent a servant to summon a physician.

In the same year, on ting-wei , the first day of the second month [February 18], spent the night at Ch'en-liu.[13]

On wu-shen [February 19], the servant returned from the physician's. Spent the night at Yung-ch'iu.[14]

On chi-yu [February 20], spent the night at Sung Prefecture.[15] I slowly recovered from my illness.


On jen-tzu [February 23], reached Yung-ch'eng.[16]

On chia-yin [February 25], reached Yung Mouth.[17]

On ping-ch'en [February 27], spent the night at Szu Prefecture. Met the prefect. Hired another boat for the section of the Yellow River north of the Huai River and headed toward Yang Prefecture.[18]

On keng-shen [March 3], left the Pien Canal to enter the Huai River under full sail. Reached Hsü-i, where the wind changed, the sky darkened, and waves were stirred up. Followed the tide into New Riverbank.[19]

On jen-hsü [March 5], reached Ch'u Prefecture.[20]

On ting-mao [March 10], reached Yang Prefecture.[21]

On wu-ch'en [March 11], climbed the pagoda at the Temple of Perching Souls.[22]

On hsin-wei [March 14], crossed the Great River. Arrived at Jun Prefecture.[23]

On wu-yin [March 21], reached Ch'ang Prefecture.[24]

On jen-wu [March 25], reached Su Prefecture.[25]

On kuei-wei [March 26], visited Tiger Hill; relaxed at Thousand Men Rock; had a look at Sword Pond. Spent the evening at Plum Blossom View House. Observed Stepping Rock. Planned to visit the Temple of Gratitude, but the water level had fallen and the boat: could not pass. There was no horse path, so in the end was unable to visit it.[26]

On i-yu [March 28], crossed the Sung River.[27]

On ting-hai [March 30], a crack developed in our government boat, water flowed in, and the boat was damaged.

On wu-tzu [March 31], reached Hang Prefecture.[28]

On chi-ch'ou [April 1], visited Martial Forest Mountain (that is, the Temple of Hidden Spirits and the Temple of India). Viewed the winding streams, observed the rows of rounded trees, crossed the stone bridges, and spent the night at a pavilion situated high up. In the morning, gazed at the waves on Placid Lake by Solitary Hill. Followed a path through the bamboo to its end, climbed up to the new hall, and surveyed the many peaks all around. Listened to the wind in the pines summon the enchanted mountains with long chants, and to crying gibbons, and to mountain boys imitating mockingbirds.[29]

On kuei-szu [April 5], rode the waves of the river, arriving at Fuch'un against the current.[30]

On ping-shen [April 8], went down Two-Mile Rapids to Mu Prefecture.[31]

On keng-tzu [April 12], I visited the Pavilion of Yang of Ying-ch'uan.[32]

On hsin-ch'ou [April 13], reached Ch'ü Prefecture. Because of my


wife's illness, halted our journey. Stayed at the Riverside Pavilion of the K'ai-yüan Buddhist Temple.[33]

On the day ting-wei , the first day of the intercalary third month [April 19], I remained in Ch'ü Prefecture.

On chia-tzu [May 6], a daughter was born.

On ping-tzu , the first day of the fourth month [May 18], I remained in Ch'ü Prefecture with Hou Kao, spending the night at Stone Bridge.[34]

On ping-hsü [May 28], departed Ch'ü Prefecture.

On wu-tzu [May 30], I traveled up along the ridge of Constancy Mountain, reaching Yü-shan.[35]

On keng-yin [June 1], reached Hsin Prefecture.[36]

On chia-wu [June 5], viewed Mount Chün-yang. Its strange peaks rose straight upward, resembling Lotus Mountain.[37]

On ping-shen [June 7], visited the Kan-yüeh Pavilion.[38]

On chi-hai [June 10], crossed directly over Carrying Rocks Lake.[39]

On hsin-ch'ou [June 12], reached Hung Prefecture. Met a commissioner from Ling-nan. Traveled to Hsü Ju-tzu's Pavilion, where I viewed the lotuses.[40]

On the day jen-tzu of the fifth month [June 23], reached Chi Prefecture.[41]

On jen-hsü [July 3], reached Ch'ien Prefecture.[42]

On i-ch'ou [July 6], crossed the river together with Han T'ai, courtesy name An-p'ing; traveled to the Mountain of Responding Spirits and rested there.[43]

On hsin-wei [July 12], climbed Great Yü's Ridge. The next day, arrived at Chen-ch'ang.[44]

On kuei-yu [July 14], climbed up the western part of Spirit Camp Ridge; saw the Shao Rocks.[45]

On chia-hsü [July 15], spent the night in a house at Divine Vulture Mountain.[46]

On i-hai , the first day of the sixth month [ July 16], arrived at Shao Prefecture.[47]

On ping-tzu [July 17], visited the grave of the Lord of Shih-hsing.[48]

On wu-yin [July 19], entered Eastern Shade Mountain and saw bamboo shoots as large as an infant. Passed through Chen-yang Gorge.[49]

On chi-mao [July 20], spent the night at Gorge Mountain in Ch'ing-yüan.[50]

On kuei-wei [July 24] reached Kuang Prefecture.[51]

From the Eastern Capital to Kuang Prefecture following the water route through Ch'ü and Hsin Prefectures: 2,620 miles; by way of Shang-yüan and Hsi-chiang: 2,450 miles.[52] From the Lo River down


the Yellow River, the Pien-liang Canal, and the Huai River to Huaiyin: 630 miles. Following the current from Huai-yin to Shao-po: 120 miles.[53] Traveling against the current from Shao-po to the Long River: 30 miles. From Jun Prefecture to Hang Prefecture: 275 miles. Along this section of the canal, the water levels fluctuated and so there was no current. From Hang Prefecture to Constancy Mountain: 240 miles. Traveling against the current took us past many rapids; the boat had to be hauled with bamboo hawsers to pass over them. From Constancy Mountain to Yü-shan: 28 miles. This land route is called "Yü-shan Ridge." From Yü-shan to Carrying Rocks Lake: 245 miles, sailing with the current. This is known as High Stream.[54] From the Lake to Hung Prefecture: 40 miles, sailing against the current. From Hung Prefecture to Great Yü's Ridge: 620 miles, sailing against the current. This is called the Chang River.[55] From Great Yü's Ridge to Chen-ch'ang: 38 miles by land. This is called Great Yü's Ridge. From Chen-ch'ang to Kuang Prefecture: 325 miles, sailing with the current. This is called the Chen River. After leaving Shao Prefecture, it is called the Shao River.[56]



Fig. 19.
Portrait of Po Chü-i.  From San-ts'ai t'u-hui (1609), Richard C. Rudolph
East Asian Library, University of California, Los Angeles.


Po Chü-i (772–846)
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Po Chü-i, courtesy name Le-t'ien, was born in Hsin-chen in what is today Ho-nan into a family of officials that originated in T'ai-yüan in present-day Shan-hsi. He spent his early years in several places where his father took up appointments as a magistrate and was occasionally sent elsewhere for safety during local rebellions. A child prodigy, he became a Presented Scholar in 800. Two years later, he met the poet Yüan Chen (779–831), with whom he shared artistic ideals and, on occasion, political fates. The two studied together, and eventually both passed the palace examination with distinction, Po later published essays on governmental questions resulting from his studies, but neither he nor Yüan ever attained sufficient power to influence court policy. Both supported the reformist faction of Wang Shu-wen, which later fell from power. Yüan was banished in 809. Po was demoted to viceprefect of Chiang-chou (modern Chiu-chiang, Chiang-hsi) in 815 for his outspokenness and particularly for protesting the ineffectual response of the court to the assassination of the prime minister, Wu Yüan-heng (758–815). It was during this exile that he discovered the scenic beauty of nearby Hermitage Mountain. Po eventually returned to the capital and served in a number of posts, including prefect of Hang-chou and of Su-chou. Later, he dwelled in the eastern capital of Lo-yang, where he rose to the position of minister of the Bureau of Punishments. His thought combined the social activism of Confucianism with the individualist ideals of philosophical Taoism and the transcendental yearnings of Buddhism. Po Chü-i left over 2,800 poems and a variety of prose writings in several literary collections that he published and distributed during his lifetime. His satiric poems on social issues were widely read, and his simple, accessible style earned


him a following in both China and Japan. He is perhaps best remembered today for several lengthy narrative poems on the melancholy fates of courtesans.

The Cottage

Hermitage Mountain had by the late T'ang accumulated a rich tradition of literary celebration that only added to its continuing importance as a Buddhist and Taoist center. Its scenic beauty increasingly attracted writers and painters as well as others who found a refuge from the world amid its natural beauty. The severe psychological effect that exile had on Po Chü-i resulted in his privately rejecting the values of official life and enthusiastically embracing the persona of the recluse poet, although he never abandoned his official career. The year after taking office in Chiang-chou he discovered the scenic attractions of Censer Peak (Hsiang-lu-feng), and in 817 he built a cottage there, whose completion he celebrated with a gathering of twenty-two friends on April 28 of that year. The essay immortalizing the occasion has long been read as a classic evocation of the poet's studio and of the simple, purified life of the scholar dwelling in Nature.

The unique beauty of K'uangs' Hermitage[1] ranks it first in all the world. A peak on the north of the mountain is called "Censer."[2] The temple north of this peak is called "Bestowed Love." Between the peak and the temple, the scene is absolutely unsurpassed and ranks first on Hermitage Mountain. In the autumn of the eleventh year of the Yüan-ho era [816], I, Po Le-t'ien of T'ai-yüan, saw it and fell in love with it. I was like a far-ranging traveler who passes through his hometown and who so yearns for it that he is unable to leave. So I built a cottage facing the peak, beside the temple.

In the spring of the following year, the cottage was completed: three rooms divided by two columns forming two side-chambers with four windows. Its area and proportions agreed with my conception and resources. The doorway opens to the north so that cool winds can enter and mitigate the advancing summer heat.[3] The rooms face south to bring in the sunlight and protect against the extreme cold. The wood was evenly hewn and left unpainted; the walls were plastered but not


whitewashed. For the steps, stone was used; for covering the windows, paper. Bamboo shades and burlap curtains—this is enough to satisfy me. In the central room, four wooden couches and two screens of white silk, a lacquered ch'in zither, and books on Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism, two or three volumes each. Ever since I moved in to become the master of it all, I look up at the mountain, listen to the spring below, gaze at the bamboo, trees, clouds, and rocks beside me. From dawn to dusk, there is not enough time to experience all of it. Suddenly, something may fascinate me, and then I feel the entire atmosphere coalesce. Outwardly, I feel at ease; inwardly, in harmony. After one night, my body is at peace; after the next night, my mind becomes calm and congenial; and after the third night, I feel entranced though unable to understand why. I asked myself the reasons for this and found the answer:

This dwelling has a piece of flat ground before it about one hundred feet across; in the middle is a raised plateau occupying about half this area. South of the plateau is a square pond about twice the size of the plateau. Rustic bamboo and wild plants ring the pond, and in the midst of the pond are white lotus and white fish. Farther south, one reaches a rocky ravine; lining the ravine are ancient pines and old firs about as large as a circle formed by ten men. I don't know how many hundreds of feet high they are. Their long limbs stroke the clouds; their lower branches whisk across the pond, like banners suspended, like parasols opened, like dragons and snakes slithering. Below the pines is dense brush and creeping vines interwoven to form a canopy. The light of the sun and moon never reaches the ground, and the weather at the height of the summer is like autumn. On the ground, white stones have been spread to form a path leading in and out. Five paces north of the cottage are layers of crags and piles of rocks, an ornamental tracery of crenelated forms on top of which all kinds of trees and wild plants grow. Their verdant shade: copious; their vermilion fruits: abundant.[4] I don't know all their names, but they remain unchanged through the four seasons. And then there is a cascade, and tea bushes I have cultivated so that I can prepare and drink tea. When enthusiasts see them, they can spend days without end in enjoyment. To the east of the cottage is a waterfall three feet high, which splashes along the edges of the stairs down into a stone channel. It resembles white silk at dawn and at dusk; in the evening, it sounds like tinkling jade pendants or like ch'in and chu zithers. The western side of the cottage leans against the foothills on the right of the crag to the north. I split some bamboo and built a trough through the air to lead the water from the spring on the crag to flow like an artery or suspended line from the roof eave down onto


the stairs. It spurts intermittently, looking like a string of pearls in a fine drizzle, like filling dew, dripping, spraying, sprinkling, blown far away by the wind. From every side of the cottage, one's eyes, ears, and steps can reach: in spring, the flowers of Tapestry Valley;[5] in summer, the clouds in Stone Gate Ravine;[6] in autumn, the moon over Tiger Stream;[7] in winter, the snow on Censer Peak. In the shade, the scene is obscured, then, in the sunlight, made visible; at dusk, things are swallowed up, then, at dawn, discharged. There are a thousand transformations and ten thousand appearances—they could not all be recorded in detail. Judging it, the scenery around the cottage ranks as the finest on Hermitage Mountain.

Ah! When a man erects a house, embellishes it with fine furniture and dwells therein, he finds it difficult to avoid an attitude of arrogant self-satisfaction. Now I am the master of all these things, and when such things are of the finest, one's knowledge can expand.[8] Since each of these things is the finest of its kind, how could I not feel outwardly at ease and inwardly in harmony, my body at peace and my mind joyful? In the past, eighteen men including Yung, Yüan, Tsung, Lei, et cetera[9] came to this mountain together and remained here until their deaths.[10] Though they lived a millennium before my time, I know that they felt as I do. Moreover, I recalled that from youth onward, whether dwelling in a humble house or behind vermilion gates, wherever I have stopped, even if for a day or two, I have always piled up a few baskets of earth to make a terrace, gathered small rocks to form a miniature mountain, and built a ring around a few ladles of water to make a pond—such is my addiction to landscape!

One day, my fortunes reversed and I came here to serve in Chiang-chou.[11] The prefect consoled me with his kindness, and Hermitage Mountain has received me with the spiritual beauty of its scenery. Heaven has provided me with the opportunity; Earth has provided me with the place. Finally I have been able to obtain what I have desired, so what more is there for me to search for? Yet, though inactive, I am still burdened with petty responsibilities and I have not been able to discharge all my duties. So I must come and go and have not the time to dwell for long in this abode. I must await a future time when my siblings have all been married off, when my term as vice-prefect is completed, when I can decide on my own whether to serve or retire. Then, my left hand leading my wife and my right hand grasping a ch'in zither and books, I will spend the rest of my days here and fulfill my life's desire. May the pure streams and white rocks bear witness to these words!

On the twenty-seventh day of the third month [April 17], I moved


into this new cottage. On the ninth day of the fourth month [April 28], to Yüan Chi-hsü of Ho-nan, Chang Yün-chung of Fan-yang, Chang Shen-chih of Nan-yang, venerables of the Eastern and Western Forest Temples Ts'ou, Lang, Man, Hui, Chien, et cetera[12] —twenty-two people in all—I served a vegetarian feast, tea and fruits to entertain them, and on this occasion wrote "A Record of the Cottage."[13]

Preface to Poems from the Cave of the Three Travelers

The Cave of the Three Travelers (San-yu-tung; see fig. 33) is a prime example of the literary shrine, a scenic spot immortalized by a writer which is then inscribed on the literary map. Such a place subsequently becomes part of the cultural itinerary and a place of pilgrimage for later writers. In 819, Po Chü-i, still in exile, received a minor promotion to prefect of Chung Prefecture in Szu-ch'uan. On his way to take up his new post he met Yüan Chen, also in disfavor and on his way from Szuch'uan to a post as administrator of Kuo Prefecture in what is today Ho-nan. Together with Po's younger brother, Po Hsing-chien (775–826), these "Early Three Travelers" visited this cave located along the Long River northwest of modern I-ch'ang, Hu-pei, just before West Mount Gorge. As a result of this piece immortalizing a hitherto uncelebrated spot, later writers were attracted to visit it and participate in the genius loci by adding their writings. In the Sung, Ou-yang Hsiu, Su Shih, and Su Ch'e also visited the site, and they became known as the "Later Three Travelers." Such later arrivals as Lu Yu, Yüan Chung-tao (1570–1623), and Liu Ta-k'uei (ca. 1697–1779) further contributed to the expanded corpus of writings celebrating this site.

In the winter of the year following the suppression of the military commissioner of Huai-hsi's rebellion [818],[1] I was transferred from the post of vice-prefect of Chiang-chou to become prefect of Chung Prefecture.[2] Wei-chih was transferred from vice-prefect of T'ung Prefecture to administrator of Kuo Prefecture.[3] Then, in the spring of the following year, both of us obeyed our orders to proceed to our areas. I traveled together with Chih-t'ui.[4] On the tenth day of the third month [April 8, 819], we three met at I-ling.[5] The following day, Wei-chih reversed his course and escorted me as far as Hsia-lao Garrison.[6]

Then, the next day, unable to bear parting, we brought our boats


near to each other and for a long time circled about. Flushed with wine, we heard the sound of a waterfall among the rocks, so we left our boats and alighted on land, making our way into the cleft in the bank. At first we espied rocks that appeared as if they had been stacked up high and scraped smooth. In their oddness, they resembled a beckoning arm or a hanging banner. Next, we saw a waterfall that appeared as if it were purging itself or scattering itself. In its novelty, it resembled suspended white silk or an unbroken thread. We agreed to tie up our boats below a cliff. Our servants cleared away the bushes and removed any other obstacles; they constructed steps where dangerous, and tied ropes where slippery. We stopped to rest four or five times before climbing up again. We turned our gaze upward and scrutinized things below but found no human traces. There was only the water colliding with the rocks, limpid and glistening like pearls leaping onto submerged jade, startling our eyes and ears. From early afternoon on into the evening, we found it so lovely that we could not bring ourselves to leave. Suddenly it turned dark within the mountain gorge, then the clouds would break and the moon appear, its light swallowed up and then disgorged, now bright, now extinguished. The scene was dazzling and intricate in design as various images appeared. Even someone clever with words could not fully describe them.

Later on, we could not sleep the entire night through. The next morning, as we were about to depart, we felt sorry to leave this unique place and regretted parting from each other. We sighed as we chatted. Chih-t'ui said, "This area is unsurpassed in scenic beauty. How many such places exist between Heaven and Earth? Why is it that, though it lies along a passage route, year after year it has been neglected by people and cast aside so that few people have come here?" I said, "If you use this as a sign of other things, then one can certainly utter a great, long sigh. Is it true only of this place?" Wei-chih said, "Indeed! Moreover, it is difficult for us to meet, and this scene is not easy to encounter. Since both these conditions happened to occur, should we not have some writing about it? Why not each of us write a poem in the ancient style in twenty rhymes and inscribe them on the cliff?" I was requested to write a preface to record the occasion. Then, because we three were the first to travel here, I named it "The Cave of the Three Travelers." The cave is located seven miles north of Hsia Prefecture below North Peak in the space between the two cliffs.[7] So that future enthusiasts may know about this, I have written out a description of this occasion.[8]


Liu Tsung-yüan (773–819)
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Liu Tsung-yüan was born in Ch'ang-an into a prosperous and cultured official family originally from Ho-tung (modern Yung-chi, Shan-hsi) and grew up in the cosmopolitan environment of the capital. A child prodigy who wrote a memorial at the age of thirteen, and who spent his youth assiduously preparing for the examinations, he benefited from early travels around central China with his father. In 793, at the age of twenty, he became a Presented Scholar. After succeeding in a special recruitment examination, Liu quickly rose in the government, where he aligned himself with the reformist faction of Wang Shu-wen. He also associated with Hah Yü and the poet Liu Yü-hsi (772–842), and was considered one of the leaders of the Ancient Style movement. When the Wang faction fell in 805, Liu and others along with him were sent into internal exile with little hope of gaining pardon. Liu, demoted twice in one year, was to spend the next nine years as vice-prefect in the pestilential wilds of Yung Prefecture (modern Ling-ling, Hu-nan), more than a thousand miles from Ch'ang-an. With little to occupy him, he spent much of his time in literary pursuits and in traveling through the area, discovering neglected scenes, which he recorded in these pieces. In 815, after years of effort to obtain recall, he was summoned back to the capital briefly, but his hopes were again dashed when he was reassigned as prefect to Liu Prefecture in modern Kuanghsi, an even more remote place populated largely by aborigines whom the Han Chinese often exploited. During these final years before his early death in 819, his literary output declined as he devoted himself to administrative matters, giving up all hope of ever returning to court.

Liu's early writings before his exile were largely Confucian and related to his ambitions in government. He shared Han Yüs ideal of



Fig. 20.
Chin Nung (1687–1773),  "The Little Hill West of Flatiron Pond" by Liu Tsung-yüan .
Leaf E of  Album of Landscapes Illustrating Poems and Essays by Famous Writers  (1736),
Museum Rietberg, Zürich, Gift of Charles A. Drenowatz. Liu Tsung-yüan is depicted here
sitting in a cottage with his travel account fully inscribed as a colophon.

expressing the moral Tao in a simplified, noncourtly prose style employing elements from classical models. Yet he had a greater sense of the role of the individual in history, was sympathetic to Buddhism and Taoism, and was specifically concerned with understanding the operation of the Tao in politics. It was only after his exile to Yung Prefecture that he broadened his vision to include an awareness of universal principle (li ) and natural process (tzu-jan ), discovering an alternate source of meaning in sublime landscapes. It is the writings of


this latter period on which his fame is based. He produced poetry, fu rhapsodies, essays, biographies, and fables in the style of the Chuangtzu , in addition to lyrical travel accounts. During the Northern Sung, after two centuries of neglect, his reputation was rescued by Fan Chung-yen and others. In the Ming, he was canonized along with Han Yü as the only T'ang writers among the Eight Masters of T'ang and Sung Prose.

The eight short pieces written from 809–812 about rural scenes in Yung Prefecture are traditionally considered to have inaugurated the genre of the lyric travel account. It is not known exactly when they were first considered a set, though they were certainly so regarded in the Ch'ing dynasty. Another piece from Yung Prefecture, The Stream of the God Huang (Yu huang-hsi chi , 813), was also included in his collected works.

Eight Pieces from Yung Prefecture

1. My First Excursion to West Mountain

I have been in a state of constant fear ever since being exiled to this prefecture. Whenever I had a free moment, I would roam about, wandering aimlessly. Every day I hiked in the mountains accompanied by friends with similar fates. We would penetrate into the deep forests, following the winding streams back to their source, discovering hidden springs and fantastic rocks—no spot seemed too remote. Upon reaching a place, we would sit down on the grass, downing bottles of wine until we were thoroughly drunk. Drunk, we would lean against each other as pillows and fall asleep. Asleep, we would dream. Our wildest imaginings reappeared in our dreams. We awoke and arose, and, having arisen, returned. Thus I felt that I had experienced every unusual scene in this prefecture; however, I was still unaware of the wondrous scenery of West Mountain.[1]

This year, on the twenty-eighth day of the ninth lunar month [November 9, 809], while sitting in the West Pavilion of the Temple of the Dharma Lotus,[2] I gazed at West Mountain and, for the first time, really noticed its extraordinary appearance. So I ordered my servants to accompany me across the Hsiang River, following along Tinting Stream.[3] We cut a path through the forest growth and burned the dry brush that stood in our way until we reached the highest point on the


mountain. We ascended by pulling ourselves up and then stretched out our legs to enjoy the scene. The land of several prefectures spread out below our mats. The towering and low-lying formations of spacious mountains and deep lakes resembled anthills and caves. A thousand li appeared as but a few inches. Things appeared crowded together or piled up—nothing below escaped our view. White clouds wound about in the clear blue atmosphere, and the sky extended to the far beyond so that the view was the same in every direction. Thus, I understood the prominence of this mountain, which distinguishes it from mere hills. I felt myself expanding, fusing with the cosmic atmosphere, unable to comprehend its extent; I happily rambled along with the Creator-of-Things, unable to grasp its infinitude.

We filled our winecups to the brim, downed them, and collapsed in a stupor, so we did not realize that the sun had gone down. The evening darkness arrived from afar, and, once it arrived, we could see no more. Still, we were loath to return. My mind was frozen and I lost all sense of my body, feeling at one with everything. Thus, I realized that I had never really traveled. My travels had only now begun, and I decided to record it in this, the fourth year of the Yüan-ho era [809].

2. Flatiron Pond

Flatiron Pond[4] lies to the west of West Mountain. Its source is undoubtedly Tinting Stream, which flows into it from the south. The stream encounters mountainous rocks which divert it eastward. All along its length the current is strong, so it increases in ferocity as it flows. It gnaws at its banks along the way, so it is wide along its sides and deep in the middle, finally coming to a halt where it encounters rocks. The water's froth then forms swirling wheels and slowly moves on. The calm and clear surface of the pond extends for about one and a half acres. Surrounding it are trees, and there is a spring high above it.

There was an inhabitant who dwelled above the pond, and, because I often visited it, he came knocking at my door one day and said, "I cannot pay the taxes and the debts that have piled up so I have cleared some uncultivated land in the mountains and moved there. I would like to sell off the fields above the pond for cash to settle what I owe." I gladly agreed with what he said. Then I increased the height of the viewing terrace, extended the railings, and diverted the spring to a higher place from which it could cascade down into the pond and make a splashing sound. It was especially fitting for viewing the moon during the Mid-Autumn Festival.[5] I could then see the height of the sky


and the atmosphere stretching into the distance. What else but this pond could make me glad to dwell among barbarians and forget my longing for home?

3. The Little Hill West of Flatiron Pond

Eight days after I had arrived at West Mountain [November 16, 809], I followed a path at its entrance northwest for some two hundred paces and came upon Flatiron Pond. Twenty-five paces west of the pond, where the stream flows rapidly and deep, is a fisherman's dam. Up from the dam is a hill on which bamboo and trees grow. The rocks here sharply protrude or lie at an angle. They carry the soil on their backs as they thrust upward, competing to form the most fantastic shapes—I could not possibly enumerate them all. Those which jostle each other as they bend down from their heights seem like oxen and horses drinking at a stream. Those which lunge upward in a line of sharp points resemble bears climbing a mountain.

The hill is so small, barely a tenth of an acre in area, that it seems like one could put it in a basket. I inquired about its owner and was told, "This is abandoned land belonging to the T'ang family. They have been trying to sell it but have not been able to." I asked the price and he said, "Only four hundred." I liked it and bought it. Li Shenyüan and Yüan K'o-chi,[6] who had accompanied me, were both over-joyed and surprised by the unexpectedly low price. We quickly gathered some tools and cut down the dense overgrowth, cleared away the more unsightly trees, and burned them all. Then the fine trees stood forth, the beautiful bamboo were revealed, and the fantastic rocks became visible. Gazing out from amidst this, the loftiness of the mountains, the floating of the clouds, the coursing of the stream, the frolicking of the birds and animals—all these joyfully displayed their talents by performing in homage to this hill.

I lay down using a mat as a pillow. Clear and cool forms sought out my eyes, the gurgling sound of water sought out my ears, the expansive space sought out my spirit, and the capacious quietude sought out my mind. Within the span of ten days, I had obtained two extraordinary places. Even enthusiasts in the past were not necessarily able to achieve this.

Ah! If this hill with its scenic beauty were moved to such areas as Feng, Hao, Hu, or Tu,[7] then wealthy travelers would compete to purchase it. They might increase their offers by a thousand pieces of gold each day yet still be unable to obtain it. But now, it stands neglected


in this prefecture. Farmers and fishermen pass by and think it worthless. Offered at a price of four hundred, it remained unsold for years. Shen-yüan, K'o-chi, and I alone have enjoyed it and obtained it, so has it not truly found good fortune at last? I have had this engraved on a rock to commemorate this hill's good fortune.

4. To the Little Rock Pond West of the Little Hill

From the little hill, I walked 120 paces west and found myself blocked by a thicket of bamboo. I heard sounds of water like jingling jade pendants and bracelets and found this delightful. I had the bamboo cut down to make a path and saw below a little pond whose water was particularly clear and cold. Its bottom was entirely of rock.[8] Along its edges, the rock bottom curved and protruded forming rises, islets, archipelagoes, and crags. Emerald vines on viridian trees grew thickly entwined or hanging down. Uneven in length, they waved back and forth in the wind.

There are a hundred or so fish in the pond who seem to be swimming in the air without any support. Sun rays penetrate down through the water, and their shadows spread out on the rock bottom as they contentedly remain immobile. Suddenly, they swim off, swiftly darting back and forth, seeming as happy as this traveler.

I gazed at the southwest corner of the pond, which was bent like the Dipper and wound about like a snake, the water flickering light and dark. Its edges were serrated like a dog's teeth, and I could not discover the source of the water. I sat down above the pond and was completely surrounded by bamboo and trees on all four sides. I felt solitary without anyone else there. The scene chilled my spirit and froze my bones. I became hushed, melancholy, and remote. The scene was far too quiet to linger long, so I wrote this down and departed.

Those who traveled with me were Wu-ling, Kung Ku, and my younger brother Tsung-hsüan. Those who came along and served us were two youths of the Ts'ui family named Shu-chi and Feng-i.[9]

5. Yüan Creek

By proceeding southwest on Tinting Stream for three miles, one encounters five notable landscapes, of which Flatiron Pond is the finest. By proceeding westward on land from the mouth of the stream, one encounters eight or nine such landscapes, of which West Mountain is the finest. And by proceeding from the Cliff Facing the Sun[10] southeast


by water to Weedy River, one encounters three others, of which Yüan Creek[11] is the finest. All of these are secluded, exquisite, unique places in Yung Prefecture.

In the dialect of the Ch'u and Yüeh regions,[12] streams that flow westward are called ho , which sounds like the word ho [coarse cloth] in the expression i-ho [clothes of coarse cloth] The upper reaches of this ho begin in Southern Lodge Ridge, and it flows into Hundred Clans Shoals. In its middle reaches are a series of islands and tributary brooks, clear pools of water and shallow sandbars, all closely interlaced, forming a winding course. Where the water is placid, its color is a deep black; where it flows rapidly, a frothy white. 'Traveling by boat, it appears one can go no further, but then, suddenly, an endless vista opens up.

A small mountain juts out from the middle of the water. The mountain is composed of beautiful rocks, and on top grows a green grove which is always flourishing in winter and in summer. Its sides contain many grottoes, and at its foot is much white gravel. The trees are maple, cedar, rhododendron, lindera, oak, camphor, and pomelo. The grasses are orchids, angelica, also an unusual species like a mimosa, except that it grows like a vine, clinging to rocks in the water. Whenever the wind gusts down from the surrounding mountains, it shakes the large trees, blows the plants over onto one another, scatters the flowers, and frightens the leaves, so that a lush fragrance is diffused. It causes waves to surge and currents to swirl, so that the water retreats and collects in the valley. The trembling, flourishing, drooping plants undergo changes along with the seasons. This is its general appearance, for I could not completely describe it.

The people of Yung Prefecture have never traveled here. I have experienced it but have no wish to monopolize it, so I am revealing it and making it known to my contemporaries.

Its owner is the Yüan family, hence its name.

6. Stony Brook

By walking not quite a hundred paces southwest of Yüan Creek, I came across a stony brook. The people have built a bridge over it. There is a languid spring whose sound suddenly grows loud, then, just as suddenly, grows faint. The width of the brook is only about a foot or perhaps two, while its length is some ten or so paces. When the flow encounters a large rock, it meekly submits and emerges from beneath it. Continuing on beyond the rock, I found a rock pool covered by


sweet rush and surrounded by green moss and lichen. Then I turned west, and the flow sank beneath the rocks of a cliff to the side and northward dropped down into a little pond. The area of the pond is not quite one hundred feet. It is clear and deep, with many mullets. I meandered northward, zigzagging and glancing at the unlimited view alongside. Finally it flowed into Yüan Creek. Along the banks there are bizarre rocks, extraordinary trees, rare plants, and fine arrow bamboo:[13] one can sit down and rest amidst them. When the wind shakes their tops, a poetry echoes through the valley. I observed the scene as all became quiet and then began to hear sounds from far away.

I obtained this place from the prefect. I had the overgrowth removed, enlarged the brook by removing earth and rocks, piled all of it up, and burned it. Then the spring had ample room to flow forth abundantly. Unfortunately, it has never had anyone write about it, so I have composed a record according to its behest, to be transmitted to others. I inscribed this on the south side of the mountain so that later enthusiasts who search can easily find it.

In the seventh year of the Yüan-ho era, on the eighth day of the first lunar month [February 24, 812], I had the brook dredged as far as the large rock. On the nineteenth day of the tenth lunar month [November 26], I traveled past the rock to the rock pool and the little pond. Here, the scenic beauty of the brook ends.

7. Rocky Stream

After completing the work on Stony Brook, I went up over the bridge and headed northwest down to the northern side of an earthen mountain. There, the people have built another bridge. The water here exceeds Stony Brook by threefold. Broad rocks form the bottom and extend to the banks, resembling a bed, a foundation, an open mat, or a threshold to an inner chamber. The water covers it evenly, its flow like embroidery, sounding like a strummed ch'in zither. I lifted up my garment and waded in barefoot. I broke off some bamboo to sweep away the dead leaves and removed the decaying trees, from which we were able to construct eighteen or nineteen folding chairs. I sat down on one and found a flowing tapestry and crashing sounds below my seat. Trees the color of kingfisher feathers and rocks with patterns like dragon scales shaded me from above. Did the ancients ever enjoy anything like this? Will future visitors be able to retrace my steps? The day I experienced this was the very same one on which I encountered Stony Brook.

Coming here from Yüan Creek, one first encounters Stony Brook, then Rocky Stream. Coming up from Hundred Clans Shoals, Rocky


Stream is first, then Stony Brook. The section of the torrent that can be traveled flows out from the southeast of Rock Citadel Village and contains many delightful spots. Further up its length are deep mountains and secluded forests, where it becomes even more precipitous and steep. The path becomes so narrow that one cannot travel any farther.

8. Little Rock Citadel

Turning northward from where the path to West Mountain begins, I crossed over Yellow Reed Hill and descended to where there are two paths. One leads off to the west: I followed it but found nothing worthy of note. The other runs north for a bit, then east for not more than four hundred feet to where the land terminates at a fork in a stream.[14] A pile of rocks lay at the end of the path. On top, it was shaped like a crenelated parapet and like roof beams. Its sides thrust upward like the walls of a fortress with what resembled a gate. When I peered into it, it was pitch black. I hurled a small rock into it, and there was a resounding splash which echoed sharply, continuing for quite a while before it stopped. I was able to climb up it in a circular fashion, and gazed quite far. There is no soil, and yet, fine trees and beautiful bamboo grow there, appearing quite fantastic yet sturdy. They grow densely as well as sparsely, some bending downward and others facing upward. It all seemed as if some keen intelligence had arranged them.

Ah! I had long doubted whether a Creator-of-Things existed or not. But now I believe that he does indeed. Yet I find it strange that he did not situate this in the Central Plains[15] instead of placing it here in the barbaric wilds. For hundreds, for thousands of years, it has had no chance to display its talents—truly a waste of labor. If this god can be so mistaken, can it be that he does not exist after all? Someone said, "This place serves to console those worthy men who have been exiled here." Another said, "The spiritual energies of this place do not produce great men, only such natural things. Therefore, in the south of Ch'u, there are few talented men but many outstanding rocks." I do not believe in either of these explanations.[16]

Preface to Poems from Dimwit's Stream

In addition to lyric and documentary travel accounts, Liu Tsung-yüan also wrote in the more traditional form of prefaces to poems. Preface to


Poems from Dimwit's Stream , written after five years in Yung Prefecture, treats the predicament of the exile with a satiric touch. The original poems, unfortunately, have not survived.

North of the Libation River lies a stream that flows eastward into the Hsiao River.[1] Someone said, "This was on the former homestead of the Jan Family and so it was given the name 'Jan Stream.'" Someone else said, "One can dye fabrics in it and so it was named after this capacity and called 'Tinting Stream.'"[2] I was guilty of a crime because of my dimwittedness and exiled to the Hsiao River area.[3] Being fond of this stream, I followed it for about a mile until I encountered its finest scenery and there built my house. In antiquity, there was a "Mr. Dimwit's Valley."[4] Now I am living beside this stream. Since its name remains in doubt and is still debated by the locals, there is no reason why I cannot change it. Therefore, I have changed it to "Dimwit's Stream."

Above Dimwit's Stream, I purchased a small hill and called it "Dimwit's Hill." Walking sixty paces northeast of Dimwit's Hill, I encountered a spring and purchased the site for a residence, calling it "Dimwit's Spring." Dimwit's Spring has six fissures; the water flows out of each one from flat ground below a mountain and spurts upward. It gathers into a flow that winds southward, which I called "Dimwit's Channel." I amassed some earth and piled up rocks to dam its small amount of water to form what I called "Dimwit's Pond." East of Dimwit's Pond is Dimwit's Cottage, and south of that is Dimwit's Pavilion. In the middle of the pond is Dimwit's Island. Fine trees and unusual rocks were interspersed, creating something unique among landscapes. And because of me, everything was demeaned with the name "Dimwit."

Streams are what the man of wisdom delights in.[5] But now, this stream alone has been demeaned as a "dimwit." Why so? Because its current is too lowly, so that it cannot irrigate anything. Moreover, since it flows quicky and contains many islets and rocks, large boats cannot enter it. It is remote, shallow, and narrow: chiao -dragons will not dwell in it, and so it cannot produce clouds and rain. Of no benefit to mankind, it is just like me. So it is entirely permissible for me to demean it as a "dimwit."

Ning Wu-tzu became a dimwit when the realm was no longer governed by the Tao —this was a case of a wise man pretending to be a dimwit.[6] Yen-tzu did not interrupt Confucius during the entire day


and seemed like a dimwit,[7] but this was a case of penetrating intelligence appearing to be a dimwit—neither of these is true dimwittedness. Now I live in a time when the world is governed according to the Tao , but have violated right principles and mismanaged affairs so that no other dimwit can possibly compare with me. And so, no one in the world can dispute my possession of this stream, for I haw obtained it for myself alone and have given it this name.

Although this stream is of no benefit to mankind, it is adept at reflecting Nature's myriad things—clear and pure, beautiful and transparent, with a ringing sound like chimes and gongs. It can cause a dimwit to become happy, to laugh, to regard it affectionately, and to feel so joyful that he cannot bear to leave it. Since I do not blend into the vulgar ways of the world, I console myself with writing. I purify everything through it, capture a hundred kinds of appearances with it, letting nothing inhibit it. I serenade Dimwit's Stream with dimwitted verses. In our boundless ignorance, we are not at all in discord; in our muddled confusion, we both agree. I can only transcend this vast energy of Nature, and blend the undiscernible with the inaudible into a soundless, formless void[8] where no one understands me. Thus I wrote "Poems on the Eight Dimwits" and had them inscribed on a rock beside the stream.[9]


Liu K'ai (947–1000)
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Liu K'ai was an early exponent of Ancient Style prose in the Northern Sung, the first major reviver of this movement some 170 years after the deaths of Liu Tsung-yüan and Han Yü. His original name was Chienyü, but he changed it to K'ai (Opening Up) to signify his ambition of "opening up the Tao of the sages." He was born into an official family in Ta-ming in what is now Ho-pei; his father later served the Northern Sung in its early years as an investigating censor. Liu K'ai became a Presented Scholar in 973 and served in several cities as magistrate, eventually rising to the position of palace censor. He was demoted and exiled in 985 owing to a political conflict but later was reinstated. An early advocate of the Six Classics and the writings of Han Yü, Liu was more influential as a theorist than as a writer. Some critics regarded his style as too arid; however, his restraint seems well suited to travel writing, and the qualities of conciseness and objectivity that this piece exemplifies were emulated by many later writers.

Flat-Top Mountain is located in the west of modern Lin District, Ho-nan, and is one of more than twenty peaks that collectively form Lin-lü Mountain (Lin-lü-shan). (A different mountain of the same name near Su-chou was later described by Kao Ch'i.) This piece was not included in Liu K'ai's collected works. It was discovered only later by a relative of his grandson, who preserved it and wrote an afterword.

Flat-Top Mountain

In the first year of the Chih-tao era [995], I was dwelling in T'ang-yang[1] when, before long, the Buddhist priest Wei-shen of Kuei-lin[2]



Fig. 21.
Flat-Top Mountain . From  Ku-chin t'u-shu chich'eng  (1725), Gest Oriental Library, Princeton University.
The mountain is one of many forming Mount Lin-lü and is indicated to the extreme left of center.


passed through on his return from Five Terraces Mountain.[3] He kindly called on me and said, "Formerly, when Your Excellency was magistrate of Kuei-lin, I often talked with you of the beauty of Transverse Mountain, which ranks as the finest scenery in the south. Recently I traveled from Shang-tang through Hsiang Prefecture,[4] reaching Lin-lü District, where I visited the Temple of the Brilliant Teachings[5] at Flat-Top Mountain. I sought out its secluded charm and visited all its scenic spots, eagerly viewing its waterfalls and rocks: it surpasses Transverse Mountain by far." I was surprised and replied, "I lived in T'ang-yang for two years when I accompanied my late father, the investigating censor. T'ang-yang is next to Lin-lü Mountain, yet in all that time I never heard anyone mention it. Now Your Reverence has informed me of it, but are you not trying to make fun of me because I am from Wei?"[6] Two days later, Wei-shen came to bid farewell. I detained him by saying, "If you were not exaggerating when you spoke earlier, then I should like to travel there with you." Wei-shen said, "Agreed!"

First, we entered Dragon Mountain from Horse Ridge. The narrow path was rugged and exhausting. About a mile farther on we entered Dragon's Mouth Valley, where mountains enclosed us on all four sides and the forests were blue-green and emerald. We gazed all around us, peered down, and so forgot the rigors of riding on horseback. The next day we breakfasted in Lin-lü District and by noon had reached Peachtree Village at the foot of the mountain. The route was lined with the sounds of springs; the strange rocks and rare flowers were beyond counting. After traveling around a mountain, we found a plateau extending for about twenty feet known as the Huai -Tree Forest. Entranced by the way the rocks toyed with the springs, we did not notice that sunset was approaching. We relaxed at the Pavilion Surrounded by Greenery. All around us, the atmosphere was ethereal, and we suddenly felt that we had taken leave of this world. We slowly walked along, lingering here and there. It was not until dark that we reached the Temple of the Brilliant Teachings, where we spent the night at the Hall of Unending Clouds.

The following day, Wei-shen arranged for a monk at the temple named Ch'i-yüan to accompany me. Proceeding eastward, we crossed the Bridge to Scenic Wonders and arrived at Green Dragon Cave. Then, we went to Bodhisattva Cave. We descended and observed to the south Abbot's Cliff and Watery Curtain Pavilion. We walked on the path around the cliff and gazed down at White Dragon Pool before returning. The next day, we traveled west to Abbot's Retreat, observed Pearl Falls above, made our way through Dancing Beast Rock, rested at a cottage along the road, and reached the Bridge of No Return.


We wound along a ravine to K'un-lang Stream and the Terrace Where a Transcendent Presented Flowers. We came out by Nine Turns Rapids and encountered White Dragon Pool again to the south. Then, we made our way up West Mountain, followed along Waiting for the Woodcutter Path, and gazed at Wind-and-Clouds Valley before returning.

The next day, Ch'i-yüan cooked some yellow-essence and green-thistle[7] sprouts and invited me to dine north of the Buddha Hall. I looked about at the peaks: their beauty was like that of an encircling screen. Ch'i-yüan said, "The first prominent peak to the northeast is Screen Peak." I replied, "All the peaks seem to form a screen on every side—why is such a name given to this one alone?" Ch'i-yüan said, "Six of the great peaks have names, and five of the smaller ones. They have borne these names for a long time—all were bestowed by earlier masters. To the west of this one are two more: one is called 'Purple Empyrean,' which contains Handsome Scholar Cliff; the other is called 'Arhat Peak,' which contains Lay Scholar Cliff. These cliffs are so named because they resemble such figures. Besides the six major peaks, somewhat hidden to the south is what the local people call 'Hunting Boars Ridge.' The smaller one next to it is Clothes Iron Peak." Each peak thrusts up a sheer cliff several thousand feet high through the thick forests and lofty pines. They all connect to encircle this place, sheer and precipitous: even a skilled painter could not completely depict them. I remained a while to view this.

I stayed here five days viewing the scenery, unable to depart. I realized indeed that what Wei-shen had said was no exaggeration. And I regretted that for these past several years I had dwelled no farther than thirty miles from this extraordinary scenery yet had never heard of it. I truly felt ashamed before Wei-shen. The next day, as I prepared to leave, Wei-shen and Ch'i-yüan repeatedly asked me for some kind of inscription. I feared that my talent could not rival the beauty of the scenery and dared not write a poem. Instead, I wrote down a narrative of what I had seen during the past several days.[8]



Fig. 22.
Hsia Yung (active 14th cent.),  The Pavilion of Yüeh-yang . The Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian
Insitution, Washington, D.C., 15.361. Fan Chung-yen's account is inscribed as a colophon.


Fan Chung-yen (989–1052)
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Fan Chung-yen was born in Su-chou in what is today Chiang-su. His father died when he was still young, and he was educated in Buddhist temple schools with the support of patrons. Becoming a Presented Scholar in 1015, he enjoyed a distinguished career, although he suffered demotion three times during his early years in office. He was nevertheless admired as an idealistic Confucian and achieved notable success in military and diplomatic affairs. In 1041, when he was auxiliary academician of the Dragon Diagram Hall, he was sent as assistant military commissioner for the Shaan-hsi Circuit, where he fortified a critical area against the Hsi-Hsia Kingdom and arranged a durable peace between the two countries. In 1043, he proposed a reform program—later regarded as the "Minor Reform" of the Northern Sung, since it antedated the more pervasive reforms of Ouyang Hsiu and Wang An-shih (1021–1086). It failed in 1045 owing to political opposition. Fan was then assigned to local posts at his request, where he continued to serve with distinction as a prefect.

His literary theory embraced the ideals of Ancient Style prose but also included interest in the conventions of parallel prose. The Pavilion of Yüeh-yang was commissioned by a friend, T'eng Tzu-ching (991–1047), who, like Fan, was demoted and exiled to the post of prefect. Fan wrote the piece from a distance, relying both on his memory of the place and on an illustration. It became one of the most widely known works of travel literature, combining a documentary function with a lyrical description of the scenery that reflects the ambivalent moods of the writer. His statement "First feel concern for the concerns of the world. Defer pleasure until the world can take pleasure" became an enduring motto for Confucian officials.


The Pavilion of Yüeh-yang faces Grotto Lake and was first built above the West Gate of the city wall of Yüeh-yang in present-day Hunan during the K'ai-yüan era (713–741) of the T'ang dynasty. It was renovated a number of times through the centuries and was completely rebuilt in 1867. Presently, its three stories stand about sixty-five feet high. Although celebrated as early as the T'ang in a poem by Tu Fu (712–770), the pavilion became a literary shrine largely as a result of Fan Chung-yen's account. Later, an engraving of this piece written by the Ch'ing calligrapher Chang Chao (1691–1745) was placed inside the main hall.

The Pavilion of Yüeh-yang

In the spring of the fourth year of the Ch'ing-li era [1044], T'eng Tzuching was demoted to the post of prefect of Pa-ling.[1] Two years later, his administration was well ordered and the people lived in harmony; numerous affairs that had languished were revived with success. Then he had the Pavilion of Yüeh-yang restored, expanding its original design. Poems and prose by worthies of the T'ang as well as by men of the present dynasty were inscribed upstairs. I was asked to write a piece in commemoration.

I have observed the magnificent scenery of Pa-ling at this lake named "Grotto," which bites the distant mountains and swallows up the Long River, surging restlessly as it extends beyond the horizon. Between the radiant mornings and the shadowy twilight, its atmosphere undergoes myriad transformations. This is the grand view from the Pavilion of Yüeh-yang, which ancient writers have described in detail. Because the water routes lead north to Shaman's Gorge and stretch south all the way to the Hsiao and Hsiang rivers, exiled officials and tragic poets have always gathered here. Did they not have various feelings upon viewing this scene?

When it rains constantly in heavy showers and the sun does not shine through for months on end, cold winds howl, and muddy waves strike at the sky. The sun and stars hide their radiance; the hills and mountains conceal their forms. Merchants and travelers cannot set sail, for the masts would break and the oars snap. At twilight, all turns to darkness: tigers roar and gibbons cry. Ascending to the pavilion now,


one feels remote from the capital and longs for home, worried about slander and fearful of ridicule. A bleak vista fills one's eyes; regrets intensify and turn to melancholy.

When it turns to balmy spring and the entire scene brightens, the waves are no longer aroused. The sky above and its reflection below form a single, vast expanse of blue-green. Seagulls soar about and gather to rest; colorful fish swim and submerge. Angelica by the banks and orchids on the islets diffuse their fragrances as they flourish. And sometimes, when the blanketing mist vanishes, the luminous moon shines for a thousand li . Floating light beams shimmer like gold; the moon's quiet reflection forms a submerged jade disc. Fishermen's songs respond to one another. How could one ever tire of such joy? Ascending to the pavilion now, one's heart opens and one's spirit is delighted. Favor and disgrace are both forgotten as one faces the breeze with a cup of wine in boundless satisfaction.

Ah! I have often sought to attain the mind of those ancient paragons of humaneness, for some of them did not experience these two kinds of feelings. Why was this? They took no delight in external things, nor felt sorry for themselves. When they occupied a high position at court, they felt concern for the people. When banished to distant rivers and lakes, they felt concern for their sovereign. When serving at court, they felt concern, when forced to withdraw they felt concern. Then when did they enjoy happiness? Would these ancients not have said, "First feel concern for the concerns of the world. Defer pleasure until the world can take pleasure." Alas! If there were not such people, then whom could I follow?


Ou-yang Hsiu (1007–1072)
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Fig. 23.
Chin Nung (1687–1773),  "The Pavilion of the Old Drunkard" by Ou-yang Hsiu . Leaf F of
Album of Landscapes Illustrating Poems and Essays By Famous Writers  (1736), Museum
Rietberg, Zürich, Gift of Charles A. Drenowatz. Ou-yang Hsiu is depicted here sitting with
a companion by the pavilion with his travel account fully inscribed as a colophon.


Ou-yang Hsiu was one of the dominant figures of Northern Sting literature and politics, a leader of a circle of literary progressives who consolidated the ideals of the Ancient Style. Later canonized as one of the Eight Masters of T'ang and Sung Prose, he was a prolific writer in a variety of prose and poetic genres. Born in Yung-feng, Chi Prefecture (modern Chi-shui, Chiang-hsi), Ou-yang entered the Imperial University after twice failing the prefectural examinations and, in 1030, distinguished himself by placing fourteenth in the palace examinations. In 1036, he was exiled and demoted for supporting Fan Chung-yen's criticisms; he was recalled in 1040 along with Fan and rose to become a drafting official because of his fame as a writer. Fan and his faction again fell from power in 1045. The following year, Ouyang's reputation was damaged by a scandal in which he was falsely charged with incest and imprisoned; his known fondness for singers and writing romantic poetry may have made him particularly vulnerable to such charges. After his acquittal, he was once again exiled and made prefect of Ch'u Prefecture (modern Ch'u District, An-hui), where he wrote The Pavilion of the Old Drunkard , one of his most enduring works. Ou-yang Hsiu subsequently served as prefect of Yang-chou, where he revived his romantic reputation, as well as prefect of Ying Prefecture (modern Fu-yang, An-hui), a scenic area where he later retired. He returned to the capital in 1054 and became increasingly influential in the central government, rising to the powerful position of assistant chief minister. During the following period of thirteen years he served as co-editor of The New History of the T'ang Dynasty (Hsin T'ang shu , 1060) and single-handedly wrote The New History of the Five Dynasties (Hsin Wu-tai shih , posthumously


published in 1072) as models of the Ancient Style; both works were praised by literary stylists but later criticized by historians. He further consolidated the position of the Ancient Style when, as chief examiner in 1057, he required it in examination essays and failed those who wrote in other styles. It was through this examination that he discovered Su Shih and Su Ch'e, destined to become leading literary figures of the next generation. Ou-yang Hsiu served in various highlevel positions during the 1060s, and his administration was noted for its stability and several progressive reforms. However, he was again falsely accused of incest, though again cleared. He repeatedly requested assignments away from the capital and finally, in 1071, was allowed to retire with the title of Junior Preceptor of the Heir Apparent.

Ou-yang Hsiu left over five hundred pieces of prose in a variety of forms, all characterized by a tight sense of structure. He was also an early proponent of the miscellany (pi-chi ), producing several influential collections as well as an early travel diary, Diary of My Route to Assume Office (Yü-i chih ), written while journeying to a new post to which he was demoted in 1036. In The Pavilion of the Old Drunkard , the presence of parallelistic elements and syntactical repetitions create a sense of playfulness and humor reflecting the informality of the piece. Ou-yang was relatively unconcerned with the metaphysics of Nature or speculative philosophy; this piece reveals instead his pragmatic interest in concrete human activity and in the texture of the observable world. Its cumulative effect is to convey Ou-yang Hsiu's undiminished humanity and commitment while an official in exile.

The Pavilion of the Old Drunkard (Tsui-weng-t'ing) is located on Lang-ya Mountain in the southwest of modern Ch'u District, An-hui, about two miles from the city. It was ordered built by Ou-yang Hsiu himself, who had the monk Chih-hsien supervise its construction on a scenic spot next to a spring. The elegant open building has been restored many times, and the area abounds in inscriptions dating back to the T'ang and Sung. Ou-yang's original calligraphy of the text was engraved at the site in 1048 but proved unsuitable for making rubbings. In 1091, Su Shih was asked to rewrite the text in larger characters, and this engraving was widely reproduced.

The Pavilion of the Old Drunkard

Mountains ring the seat of Ch'u Prefecture.[1] The many peaks on the southwest are especially beautiful, with their forests and valleys. I


gazed into the distance at one that was luxuriant, deep, and graceful—Lang-ya Mountain.[2] I walked more than two miles up the mountain and gradually heard the gurgling sound of water, "ch'an-ch'an ," until I found, splashing out from between two peaks—Fermentation Spring. The peaks circled around me as the road twisted and turned until there was a pavilion with eaves like wings, facing the spring—the Pavilion of the Old Drunkard. Who built this pavilion? A monk on the mountain—Chih-hsien. Who named this pavilion? The Prefect did, after himself. For the Prefect comes here to drink with his guests. After drinking only a bit, he quickly becomes drunk, and because he is the oldest, he calls himself "the Old Drunkard." But wine is not uppermost in the Old Drunkard's mind. What he cares about is to be amid mountains and streams. The joy of the landscape has been captured in his heart, and wine drinking merely expresses this.

When the sun appears, the mist disperses through the forest; when clouds return to the mountains, the caves in the cliffs darken. These transformations from brightness to darkness—such is dawn and dusk on the mountain. When wildflowers blossom giving off subtle fragrances, when fine trees flourish providing extensive shade, when the wind is clean and the frost is pure, when the water is low and the rocks become visible—such are the four seasons in these mountains. If one comes here in the morning and returns in the evening, one will notice the scenes differing throughout the four seasons and experience a joy that is likewise inexhaustible.

Men bearing loads sing along the road, while travelers rest under the trees. Those in front call out; those behind respond. The elderly, hunched over ones leading the young by the hand as they come and go ceaselessly—these are the people of Ch'u on their outings. Along the stream they fish: the stream is deep, the fish, stout; they ferment the spring water into wine: the water is sweet, the wine, clear. Various kinds of mountain game and wild vegetables casually served—such is the Prefect's banquet. The gaiety of the feasting and drinking is unaccompanied by strings or flutes. Someone wins at tossing arrows into a pot; another gains victory at chess. Winecups and wine tallies crisscross back and forth. Shouting out as they jump up or sit down—such is the happiness of all the guests. And the person with the aged face and whitened hair who sits slumped among them—the Prefect, drunk.

Before long, the sun sets behind the mountain; the people along with their shadows disperse. The Prefect returns, followed by his guests. As the forest covers everything in darkness, cries ring out all over—such is the joy of the birds as the visitors depart. The birds can



Fig. 24.
Rubbing of Su Shih's Inscription of  The Pavilion of Joyful Abundance
(detail, original ca. 1091). From Su Shih,  Feng-le-t'ing chi  (rpt. Taipei, 1975).

only enjoy the mountains and forests: they cannot understand the joy of people. The people can only enjoy this outing along with the Prefect: they cannot understand that the Prefect was enjoying their joy. He who, when drunk, was able to share their joy and, when sober, could describe it with literary flourish is—the Prefect. And who is this Prefect? Ou-yang Hsiu of Lu-ling.[3]


The Pavilion of Joyful Abundance

This piece was also written while Ou-yang Hsiu was exiled in Ch'u Prefecture. In contrast to the casual attitude of The Pavilion of the Old Drunkard , this is a more decorous composition meant to be publicly displayed as an explanation of the moral significance of the pavilion's name. It displays a historical sense of place, as well as loyal political sentiments. Ou-yang Hsiu contrasts the past, a long phase of disorder


and suffering, with the present state of peace and prosperity in which he implicitly participates. The theme of joyful abundance enables him to offer praise to the dynasty that was punishing him for his views and to articulate the Confucian virtues that would merit his recall to the capital. The pavilion at the foot of Mount Abundance (Feng-shan) near Lang-ya Mountain was also ordered built by Ou-yang Hsiu in 1046 in order to celebrate the bountiful era. Standing beside a spring surrounded by a tall peak and bamboo-covered hills, it became a frequent destination for his excursions. The text was also rewritten by Su Shih and engraved at the site.

Only in the summer of the second year after I took office in Ch'u Prefecture was I able to taste the spring water hereabouts and discover its sweetness. When I asked a local person about it, I found that it had come from the south of the prefectural city, no more than a hundred paces away. Above it stood Abundance Mountain,[1] lofty and strikingly erect; below it was a secluded valley, remote and shady, and hidden deep. Between them was a pure spring overflowing and spurting upward. I gazed up and peered down to the left and right, and was delighted at what I observed. So I cut through the rocks to make a path for the spring, and cleared some land for a pavilion so that I could make excursions here along with the people of Ch'u.

Ch'u was a battlefield during the wars of the Five Dynasties. Formerly, Emperor T'ai-tsu of the Sung[2] led the army of the Latter Chou to defeat the 150,000 troops of Li Ching at the foot of Pure Stream Mountain.[3] He took prisoner Generals Huang-fu Hui and Yao Feng outside the East Gate of the city of Ch'u Prefecture, finally pacifying Ch'u.[4] I investigated the terrain, consulted maps and records, climbed up high to observe Pure Stream Pass, and sought to find the place where Huang-fu Hui and Yao Feng were captured. But there were no living survivors, for it has been a long time since peace was established through the empire.

After the T'ang dynasty lost control, the entire land split apart. Strongmen arose and fought each other. Were not those warring kingdoms beyond counting? Then, when the Sung received the Mandate of Heaven, a sage arose and unified all within the four seas.[5] The strategic bases of those contenders have been demolished and leveled. A century later, all is peaceful: nothing remains except the tall mountains and pure streams. I wanted to inquire about these events, but the survivors are


all gone now. Nowadays, Ch'u Prefecture is located between the Long and Huai rivers, yet merchants and travelers do not come here. The people are unaware of events outside and are content with farming and providing clothing and food so that they are happy in life and provided for in death. But who among them realizes that it is the achievements and virtue of Our Sovereign which has allowed them to thrive and prosper, flourishing for as long as a century?

When I came here, I was delighted by the isolation of the place and the simplicity of official business. I was especially fond of the relaxed way of life. So, ever since discovering this spring in a mountain valley, I have come here daily together with the people of Ch'u to look upward and gaze at the mountain and to peer down to listen to the spring. I gather hidden flowers and seek shade under the lofty trees. I have visited it in wind, frost, ice, and snow, when its pure beauty is revealed. The scenery during the four seasons is always charming. Moreover, it is fortunate that the people are joyful over the abundant harvests and are happy to travel here together with me. I have used this landscape to praise the excellence of their customs so as to remind the people that they can rest content in the joy of this year's abundant harvest, because they are fortunate enough to live during a time free from trouble.

To proclaim the benevolence and virtue of Our Sovereign and share the joy of the people is the duty of a prefect. Thus, I have written this account and named the pavilion after this.


Su Shun-ch'in (1008–1048)
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Fig. 25.
East and West Grotto Mountains in the Great Lake . From  T'ien-hsia ming-shan sheng-kai chi
(Hong Kong, n.d.; rpt. of Ch'ung-chen era [1628–1644] ed.). The Temple of the Moonin-the-
Water was on West Grotto Mountain, located on tile right.


Su Shun-ch'in's family originated in T'ung-shan, Tzu Prefecture (modern Chung-chiang, Szu-ch'uan), but had moved to the Northern Sung capital of K'ai-feng two generations before him. Aided by his relatives who were officials, he was able to begin his career while young, serving as a Court Gentleman for Fasting in the Imperial Ancestral Temple beginning in 1030; four years later, he passed the Presented Scholar examination. He subsequently served as a magistrate and joined Fan Chung-yen's party, becoming related to Tu Yen (978–1057), another powerful member, through marriage. Su also became friends with Ou-yang Hsiu and the poet Mei Yao-ch'en (1002–1060); all three were later canonized as the major poets of the early Sung. Because of these connections, Su was singled out by Fan's opponents in 1044 after Fan had promoted him. Charged with embezzlement in a case involving ten other noted scholars whom he had entertained with government funds, Su Shun-ch'in and the others were all deprived of their degrees and banished. He then moved to the pleasurable city of Su-chou in 1044 and built a famous garden that still stands, the Pavilion of Waves (Ts'ang-lang-t'ing), whose name signified adaptability to circumstances. In 1048, the year The Temple of the Moon-in-the-Water was written, he was finally restored to official rank and reappointed to the post of administrator of Hu Prefecture in what is today Che-chiang; unfortunately, he died, at the age of forty, before he could assume office.

Su Shun-ch'in was one of Ou-yang Hsiu's many protégés and followed the pattern of the literary progressives, breaking with the ornate Hsi-k'un style in favor of concrete, realistic poetry on political and social issues. After his banishment he turned to more personal


subjects, especially landscape, and in some light-hearted poems espoused a carefree life-style; yet he never entirely abandoned political poems and was regarded as a poet who voiced heroic sentiments.

There are two Grotto Mountains (Tung-t'ing-shan), which form islands in the Great Lake southwest of the city of Su-chou. Su Shunch'in refers here to the one in the western portion of the lake, whose peak rises about 1,100 feet above sea level. It has been celebrated as a scenic spot since the Spring and Autumn period. Although this piece was written in the year of his recall and sudden death, it still reflects the sentiments of an exile. It combines an autobiographical record of his excursion with documentation of the temple's history and present appearance. His scenic descriptions evoke the ethos of the Chinese rural sublime. The purity of the Buddhist life-style that he encounters engenders an enlightenment enabling him to transcend the pain of his political struggles.

The Temple of the Moon-in-the-Water at Grotto Mountain in Su-chou 

In the fourth month during the summer of the year i-yu [April-May 1045], I came to live in Wu-men.[1] I had barely disembarked when I climbed to the summit of Divine Cliff to gaze at Great Lake[2] and look down at Grotto Mountain: it stood forth in all its loftiness. Clouds and rosy mists drew forth its emerald color as it floated on blue-green waves. I leaned against the railing and looked upward. My spirit was aroused, and I felt in danger of plummeting down. I wanted to ride the pure wind and leap over the setting sun, to soar amidst this scene, but I could not. Since then, I have been unoccupied and longed to go there but wavered because of reports of its dangers. So in the end I never managed to make the journey, and I often felt like I was carrying a weight inside of me.

In the tenth month of this year [November-December 1045] I invited along two gentlemen, Hsü and Ch'en. We sailed in a light craft out from the harbor at Heng-chin[3] and observed the broad river, expansive and rapidly flowing, as well as the vast lake, a myriad ch'ing in extent, all of one color. I could not conceive of how the immensity of Heaven and Earth could contain it. Our route wound around, going against the current for more than twenty-four miles. We spent the first night on the water beside a village and finally arrived at our destination


the next day. We entered Forest Hut Cave, climbed to Mao's Altar, and spent the night at the Temple of the Embracing Mountain.[4] We also sailed on Bright Moon Bay and gazed southward at a single mountain whose heights rubbed against the clouds. The boatman pointed to it and said, "This is Misty Peak."[5]

When we reached shore, we walked through a pine grove. After a mile or so we reached the foot of the peak, where there is a Buddhist temple named "Moon-in-the-Water." The temple hall is quite ancient; the images and ritual objects are imposing and splendid. Beside it is a clear spring—pure, limpid, sweet, and cool. Even in extremely hot weather it never dries out, unlike some other waters. The temple was first erected in the fourth year of the Ta-t'ung era of the Liang dynasty [538]. It fell into disrepair in the sixth year of the Ta-yeh era of the Sui [610]. During the Kuang-hua era of the T'ang [898–900] there was a monk named Chih-ch'in who had traveled all over, but after arriving here he fell in love with this place and couldn't bear to leave. He built a thatched hermitage on the old foundations to recite sutras. After this, buildings were constructed, ranging from several tens to as many as a hundred. In the fourth year of the T'ien-yu era [907], the prefect Ts'ao Kuei named this temple "Bright Moon." Chih-ch'in died of old age, and his disciples have carried on up to this day for seven generations. At the beginning of the Ta-chung hsiang-fu era of this dynasty [1008–1016], the Imperial Court proclaimed the change to the present name.

I observed how Trembling Marsh absorbs three rivers and gnaws at four prefectures.[6] The names of seventy-two mountains hereabouts may be found on maps and in gazetteers. Grotto Mountain alone dominates: it covers three townships with a population of three thousand households in an area fourteen miles in circumference. The manners of the people are genuine and simple. For many years there have been no lawsuits, so before the courthouse of the local official, mulberry, gardenia, and sweet pomelos are tended as an enterprise. Every year at the height of autumn there are cinnabar and vermilion fruits scattered amid the tall pines and evergreens. Sometimes, when this occurs among the cliffs and valleys, it appears as attractive as a painting or an embroidery, in the gold-and-green style.

In addition, Misty Peak occupies a deep and distant spot on the northwest part of the mountain. It rises high above all others and is the most scenic part of Grotto Mountain. The people dwelling on the mountain lead quiet lives. Throughout the seasons they labor to weave and braid, plant and tend, fish and gather. The Buddhists fundamentally reject material life in order to cultivate a pure and unfettered spirit, and have long dispensed with the customary rules of Chinese society.


Moreover, they dwell in this deep, distant, and most scenic spot in the lake, separated from land by fearsome waters, so few people venture here. Several monks were sitting peacefully, silent amid the rocks and springs. I was introduced and spoke with them, and they were without the slightest trace of the vulgarity of the world. Their gazes were relaxed, their movements easy. How they resembled the hermits of antiquity! All my life I have felt inhibited and melancholy, but at this moment, with a single shout, everything suddenly collapsed for me, and I lost all awareness of my self. When I looked back to consider my life, I found myself at a complete loss, in utter ignorance. It was just as if I had cast off my worldly body, which donned wings and flew off beyond the Eight Wilds of the Earth[7] —what ecstasy!

Three years later, Hui-yüan, a monk from there, visited me and asked for an essay recording the decline and revival of his residence. I was delighted by his request and grabbed hold of a brush to write it straight away, describing, moreover, the scenic beauty from my earlier journey.[8]


Wang An-shih (1021–1086)
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Wang An-shih was from Lin-ch'uan, Fu Prefecture, in present-day Chiang-hsi, and spent his youth traveling with his father, a magistrate, before the family settled in Chiang-ning (modern Nanking). During these early years he became aware of the social and economic ills of the country and decided to dedicate himself to improving the lot of the common people. After earning the Presented Scholar degree in 1042 he began service as a local assistant district magistrate, distinguishing himself in river control work and by arranging distribution of grain to the famine-stricken population. In 1058, he proposed an extensive reform program. At the beginning of Emperor Shen-tsung's reign (r. 1067–1085) he was summoned to the capital as a Han-lin Academician, and in 1070 he became prime minister. During the first half of the decade he instituted his "New Policies" (Hsin-fa ), affecting agriculture, government and social organization, education, commerce, river control, and taxation; yet he faced strong conservative opposition over the speed of the reforms and the many problems that arose in implementation. In 1074, when the emperor wavered in his support, Wang was forced to resign. He returned the following year, but retired again in 1076, returning to Chiang-ning, where he became increasingly interested in Buddhism and literary pursuits. In 1086, under the regency of Empress Dowager Hsüan-jen (1032–1093), Szu-ma Kuang (1019–1086) and his conservative party took office. He proceeded to dismantle the New Policies before dying eight months later. Wang also died that same year, embittered and frustrated.

A major literary figure and influential poet, Wang An-shih was regarded as another of the Eight Masters of T'ang and Sung Prose. He



Fig. 26.
Anonymous, Portrait of Wang An-shih  (1106). From Teng Kuang-ming,  Wang An-shih
(Peking, 1975). This portrait was preserved in Wang's ancestral temple and may be a
copy of one by Li Kung-lin (1049–1006) done alter Wang had retired to Nanking.


followed Ou-yang Hsiu's views on utilitarianism, natural simplicity, and clarity in literature. Wang was best known for his essays on contemporary issues and moral philosophy and for his historical critiques, which argued as well for his political program. Among his more than fifteen hundred poems, many address social problems and contain intellectual discussions of what he had observed. Wang Anshih, though considered essentially a realist, was also influenced by Wang Wei, and a number of his poems expressing Buddhist ideals and landscape themes were highly regarded.

This piece was written in 1054, before he gained influence in government. Like much of his descriptive prose, it primarily conveys his intellectual thought and personal ambitions as a political leader rather than lyric reflections on a scene. After engaging in a Confucian "rectification of names," he undertakes to lead a journey into the dark cave; this becomes a moral allegory revealing the limitations of human nature. It is prophetic of his own fate as a reformer, for just like his fellow travelers who abandoned the hike into the cave, his contemporaries would later lack the commitment to sustain his New Polices.

The Mountain Where Hui-pao Meditated (Pao-ch'an-shan) is located less than five miles from the district city of modern Han-shan, An-hui. As Wang An-shih documents, its original name was changed to honor the Buddhist monk Hui-pao, who built a meditation retreat here during the Chen-kuan era (627–649). The mountain was noted for its caves and springs as well as its clouds and mist. Later, in the Ming dynasty, a temple was built to honor Hui-pao by another noted traveler, the eunuch-admiral Cheng Ho.

The Mountain Where Hui-pao Meditated

The Mountain Where Hui-pao Meditated is also called "Splendor Mountain." In the T'ang dynasty, the Buddhist monk Hui-pao was the first to build a retreat at the foot of the mountain and was buried here after his death. Hence, it was named "Where Hui-pao Meditated." The present-day Hui-k'ung Monastery includes Hui-pao's retreat and grave. What is called "Splendor Mountain Cave" lies almost two miles east of the monastery and is so named because it lies on the south side of Splendor Mountain. Slightly more than a hundred paces from the cave is a stele that has toppled onto the path. Its inscription has been worn away. The only characters that can still be recognized are "Flower


Mountain" [Hua-shan ]. The reason the character hua [flower] is now read as hua [splendor], as in the expression hua-shih [splendor and reality], has to do with confusion over the similar pronunciation.

The floor is flat and broad. A spring flows out on the side, and there are many inscriptions left by travelers. This is what is called the "Front Cave." I ascended the mountain for about two miles and found a deep, dark cavern. Upon entering, I became quite cold. I inquired about how deep it was, but even dedicated travelers have not been able to reach its end. This is called the "Rear Cave." I entered it holding a torch in the company of four others. The deeper we advanced, the more difficult our progress, but the more fantastic the sights. One person grew tired and wanted to go back, saying, "If we don't leave now, the torch will burn out." So we all went back out with him. I probably covered not more than one-tenth the distance that a dedicated traveler could have. And yet I looked around and noticed that few had come even that far to leave inscriptions. This is because the deeper the place, the fewer are those who reach it. At that point I was strong enough to go farther, and the torch still could have provided light. When we came out, some blamed the one who wanted to leave, and I also felt sorry that I had followed him and was unable to experience the pleasures of this journey to the fullest.

Thus, I have had some regrets about this. When the ancients observed Heaven and Earth, mountains and streams, plants and trees, insects and fish, birds and beasts, they always obtained some insight because they endeavored to think profoundly about them, and there was no place they feared to go. When a place is level and nearby, then travelers are many; when it is dangerous and distant, wayfarers are few. Yet, the most unique, magnificent, fabulous, strange, and extraordinary scenery in the world is usually found in these dangerous and distant places that people rarely reach. Therefore, only those with ambition can reach them. With such ambition, they would not follow the fainthearted, but if they lack sufficient strength they still will not be able to reach there. Even those with ambition and strength who refuse to follow the faint-hearted may approach remote, dark, obscure places and, lacking support, be unable to reach them. Those with strength enough to go farther but who do not try to will be ridiculed by others and will blame themselves. However, he who exhausts his ambition, even if he cannot go farther, can still be without regrets. Who could ridicule him then? This is the insight I obtained from this journey.

Moreover, when I considered the fallen stele, I felt sorry that such an ancient inscription has not been preserved, that later generations


have misinterpreted what it transmits and none could identify the correct name. How could I fully discuss such things! This is why scholars must consider matters in depth and then exercise care in their judgments.

The four others were: Hsiao Chün-kuei, courtesy name Chün-yü, of Lu-ling; Wang Hui, courtesy name Shen-fu, of Ch'ang-lo; my younger brothers An-kuo, courtesy name P'ing-fu, and An-shang, courtesy name Ch'un-fu.[1]



Shen K'uo (1031–1095)
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Shen K'uo was born in Ch'ien-t'ang (modern Hang-chou, Che-chiang). He became a Presented Scholar in 1063 and served in a variety of positions both in the capital and in the provinces. These involved such activities as river control, the compilation of the Imperial Diary, border fortifications against the Hsi-Hsia Kingdom, and, in 1075, a successful diplomatic mission to the Liao court. He was also a supporter of Wang An-shih's New Policies yet managed to avoid political conflict, rising to the position of Academician of the Dragon Diagram Hall. Later, Shen was implicated in the Sung army's loss of the strategic city of Yung-lo in modern Shaan-hsi in the war against the Hsi-Hsia. After being demoted, he retired from political life to an estate he built east of modern Chen-chiang, Chiang-su, the Dream Stream Garden (Meng-hsi-yüan). This piece was included in a miscellany, Chats from Dream Stream (Meng-hsi pi-t'an ), first printed in 1166. This well-known collection of 609 random notes reflected Shen's broad interests in science and technology as well as literature. Though a practitioner of the Ancient Style who corresponded with Ou-yang Hsiu, he was not a polemicist and was sometimes critical of such models as Han Yü. He also wrote several other travel accounts, which similarly employ a terse, unadorned style of language. Geese Pond Mountain is a good example of "the classification of things" in travel writing as it focuses on the writer's hypotheses about geology rather than on scenic description. Moreover, it is rooted in empirical observation rather than textual research or lyric vision.

Geese Pond Mountain, named after a pond on its heights that geese visit on their migrations, stands about 3,770 feet high in the northeast of modern Yüeh-ch'ing, Che-chiang. With 102 peaks, it has been



Fig. 27.
Li Chao, Geese Pond Mountain  (detail, 1316). Shanghai Museum, Shanghai. This handscroll
is an early example of a topographical painting that illustrates a travel account.

praised as the preeminent mountain of the southeast for its scenic beauty. Though long regarded as inaccessible, several Buddhist temples had been established in its environs by the Northern Sung, and Shen's piece further spread its fame.

Geese Pond Mountain

Geese Pond Mountain in Wen Prefecture possesses the most unique beauty in the world, yet ancient maps and documents never mentioned it. It was first discovered during the Ta-chung hsiang-fu era [1008–1016] when the Temple of the Jade Pure Universe was being constructed and lumber was cut on the mountain for it. At this time it still lacked a name. According to a Buddhist text from the Western Region, the eminent monk No-chü-lo[1] lived by Dragon Falls on Lotus Peak on Geese Pond Mountain along the southeast coast of China. The T'ang monk Kuan-hsiu[2] wrote in "A Poem in Praise of No-chü-lo" the lines


When he passed by Geese Pond,
   the clouds stretched without end;
When he quietly sat by Dragon Falls,
   all was obscured by the spray.

On the south of this mountain is Lotus Peak, and below the peak is Lotus Station, which overlooks the sea. Yet people still did not know where Geese Pond and Dragon Falls were located. Only later, when they went to cut lumber, did they discover the mountain. On the summit is a large pond, which legend identifies as Geese Pond. Below it are two deep pools named after the Dragon Falls.[3] In addition, there is Passing-by Gorge and Quietly Sitting Peak. Both were named by later people after Kuan-hsiu's poem. When Hsieh Ling-yün was governor of Yung-chia,[4] he traveled to all the scenic spots in the area; he neglected to mention this mountain alone, probably because it was not yet named "Geese Pond."


I observed all the peaks of Geese Pond Mountain. Each one rises sheer, is perilously steep and startling in appearance, soaring upward for a thousand feet. The magnificent cliffs and immense valleys resemble those of no other mountain, for they are all encompassed within yet another valley. When one looks at the mountain from the outside, nothing can be seen. But upon reaching this valley, there appears a forest of peaks encroaching upon the sky. If one seeks for the principle behind this, it appears the result of violent action by a huge river that carried away the sand and earth, leaving only giant rocks standing erect in all their immensity. As for such places as Greater and Lesser Dragon Falls, the Watery Curtain, and the Valley of the New Moon,[5] they are all hollows carved out by water. When one gazes up at Geese Pond Mountain from below, one sees lofty cliffs and sheer walls; but when one looks down from above, the mountain appears to be even with the surrounding land. Even the summits of its various peaks seem to be below those of the surrounding mountains. Throughout the world, valleys that have been carved out by water all contain vertical landforms and hollowed-out cliffs, just like this place. The great valleys today in Ch'eng-kao[6] and Shaan-hsi include upright landforms a hundred feet high, standing conspicuously erect: these places are miniature versions of Geese Pond Mountain, except they are of rock and this place is of earth. Since the mountain does not project above the surface of the land, it was hidden by deep valleys and thick forests. Thus, it is hardly strange that the ancients never noticed it and Hsieh Ling-yün never reached it.[7]


Su Shih (1037–1101)
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Su Shih, widely known by his artistic name, Tung-p'o (Eastern Slope), became one of the dominant figures in Chinese literati culture, influencing not only prose and poetry but aesthetic theory, painting, and calligraphy as well. He was born into a gentry family of limited means and educated primarily by his father, Su Hsün (1009–1066), later famous as a political essayist, and also by his mother, née Ch'eng. He and his younger brother, Su Ch'e, were regarded as newly discovered talents after passing the Presented Scholar examination in 1057 under Ou-yang Hsiu. In 1061, Su Shih passed the special examination held to recruit new officials and began his career as a case reviewer at the Court of Judicial Review. During these early years, he wrote numerous memorials identifying critical national problems in areas of finance and military defense. Although interested in reform, he opposed Wang Anshih's New Policies, objecting to the dislocation caused by their rapid implementation and Wang's use of legalist methods. In 1079, Su was arrested in a "literary inquisition" for allegedly defaming the court in one of his poems. After several months of investigation, he was released, demoted to the nominal post of assistant military training commissioner, and exiled to Huang Prefecture in what is today Hu-pei. There, he wrote some of his best-known travel pieces while continuing to address current issues. Given a slight promotion to Ju Prefecture in 1084, he passed through Nanking on his way and met Wang An-shih, with whom he continued to maintain cordial literary relations despite political differences.

Su Shih returned to the capital after the reversal of Wang's policies under the Empress Dowager Hsüan-jen, regent for the young Emperor



Fig. 28.
Wu Yüan-chih (active late 12th cent.),  Red Cliff  (detail). National Palace Museum, Taipei.

Che-tsung (r. 1085–1100), and served as a Han-lin Academician when the conservative party of Szu-ma Kuang gained power. He angered them, however, when he protested the indiscriminate dismantling of Wang's New Policies, with none of their beneficial aspects preserved, and was sent to administer Hang-chou in 1089. A series of other local posts followed in which he was able to institute progressive changes despite the reigning conservative atmosphere. In 1094 when the Chetsung Emperor assumed personal rule, another faction supplanted those favored under the Empress Dowager, and Su Shih was again exiled, this time to remote Hai-nan Island in the south, where living conditions were particularly severe. Here, too, he wrote travel pieces, which continued to express his acceptance of the vicissitudes of life and


a vitalistic engagement with his surroundings. Pardoned in 1100 upon the accession of the Emperor Hui-tsung (r. 1100–1125), he died the following year while on his way north.

Though an activist Confucian official, Su Shih was eclectic in his intellectual interests. He was deeply influenced by Ch'an Buddhist concepts of enlightenment, the mind, and human nature, and searched for transcendence through engagement with social reality and the natural environment. He was also enthralled by the mysterious pageant of universal transformation. Such themes as the equivalence of objective and subjective viewpoints, the Tao as a ceaseless alternation between change and constancy, the affirmation of happiness in this life, equanimity toward fate, and unflagging curiosity about the natural world pervade his prolific writings. Su's shih poems alone number almost 2,800, of which those containing perceptions of Nature and his philosophical views have been the most widely read. His tz'u poems, numbering about 350, expanded the range of content in this genre and are considered innovative examples of an attitude of "heroic abandon" (hao-fang ). One of the Eight Masters of T'ang and Sung Prose, Su was further canonized by the literary tradition as the personification of the Northern Sung zeitgeist, an expansive, optimistic personality who later was celebrated in drama, painting, and the decorative arts.

As a travel writer Su employed a variety of forms such as letters, fu rhapsodies, travel records, random notes, and prefaces. His two pieces on Red Cliff were written during his exile in Huang Prefecture. The first is perhaps the best-known work of Chinese travel writing. In it, Su Shih achieved an optimistic solution to a lyric vision imperiled by an awareness of tragic history. His mood shifted in the second piece to a sober recognition of Nature's awesome power and the limits of human ambition. Yet even here he concluded with an affirmation of the possibility of transcendence. Together, these pieces became monuments of Chinese literature and art, establishing the place as a literary shrine.

Red Cliff I

In the fall of the year jen-hsü in the seventh month on the day after the moon had reached its height [August 12, 1082], I traveled in a boat with some guests to the foot of Red Cliff.[1] A light wind wafted by, and not a ripple was stirred. I poured wine for my guests as we chanted the poem about the bright moon and sang the song about the graceful


maiden.[2] Before long, the moon appeared over East Mountain and lingered by the constellations Dipper and Ox.[3] White dew extended over the Long River; the water's gleam mingled with the sky. We let this reed of a boat follow its course as it traversed an expanse of myriad ch'ing . I felt boundless, as if gliding through the void not knowing where I might land; I felt like I was soaring about, having left the world behind to stand alone as I sprouted wings to become a Transcendent.

Then we drank more wine and reached the height of joy. I beat out a rhythm against the side of the boat and sang:

Cassia-wood oars,
Magnolia-wood rudder,
Stroke the moon's pure reflection
As we glide upstream on its shimmering light.
Ever distant, the object of my longings.
I gaze at the beautiful one
In a faraway corner of Heaven.[4]

One of the guests could play the flute and accompanied my song.[5] Yet his sounds—"wu-wu "—were plaintive, yearning, weeping, accusing. The lingering notes meandered through the air, drawn out like silken threads. They would have aroused a submerged chiao -dragon to whirl around in the cavernous depths, and caused a widow to weep in her lonely boat.

I was saddened. Straightening my clothes, I sat up and asked my guest, "Why are you playing this way?" He replied,

"'The moon is bright, stars are few
Crows and magpies are flying south.'[6]

"Isn't this from the poem by Ts'ao Ts'ao? Westward is Hsia-k'ou; to the east lies Wu-ch'ang.[7] The mountains and the river encircle one another; how dense the viridian growth! Yet, is this not the place where Ts'ao was trapped by Chou yü?[8] He had just conquered Ching-chou and sailed down to Chiang-ling[9] as he followed the course of the river eastward. His fleet stretched bow to stern for a thousand li ; his banners and flags blotted out the sky. As he drank wine by the bank of the river, he lay down his lance and composed this poem. Indeed, he dominated his age, yet where is he now? And what about you and me,


conversing here by the riverbank like a fisherman and a woodcutter, joined by fish and shrimp with the deer as our companions? We ride on a boat no bigger than a leaf as we drink to each other out of simple gourds. We exist no longer than mayflies between Heaven and Earth, and are of no more consequence than a kernel in the vast ocean. I grieve that my life is but a moment and envy the Long River's endless flow. If only I could grasp hold of a flying Transcendent and wander with him through the Heavens to embrace the bright moon and live forever. But I realize this cannot be, so I confide these lingering sounds to the sad autumn wind."

I said, "Do you really understand the water and the moon? Here, it flows by yet never leaves us; over there, it waxes and wanes without growing or shrinking. If you look at things as changing, then Heaven and Earth do not last for even the blink of an eye. If you look at them as unchanging, then I along with everything am eternal. So why be envious? Moreover, each thing within Heaven and Earth has its master. If I did not possess it, then I would not take even a hair of it. However, the pure wind over the river becomes sound when our ears capture it, and the bright moon between the mountains takes on form when our eyes encounter it. There is no prohibition against our acquiring them, and we can use them without ever consuming them. They are from the inexhaustible treasury of the Creator-of-Things, which you and I can enjoy together."

My guest became happy and laughed. We washed out the cups and drank again. Soon the food was gone, and the cups and plates were strewn about. We lay down in the boat, leaning against each other for pillows, unaware that it was becoming light in the east.

Red Cliff II

In the tenth month of the same year on the day the moon reached its height [November 7], I walked from the Snow Lodge back toward Lin-kao.[1] Two guests accompanied me as we crossed over Yellow Clay Slope. Frost and dew had already fallen; the leaves had all dropped off from the trees. Our shadows lay on the ground as we gazed up at the bright moon. We looked around us, delighted by the scene, and sang songs for each other as we walked along.

After a while I sighed, "I have guests but no wine, and even if I had wine, there is no food to go along with it. The moon is white, the wind, gentle. But how can we enjoy such a fine evening?" One of the


guests replied, "Today at twilight, I cast a net and caught a fish with a large mouth and fine scales. It resembles a Pine River perch.[2] But where can we obtain some wine?" I went back and discussed this with my wife, who said, "There are two gallons of wine which I have been keeping for some time in case you should ever need it."

So we took along the wine and the fish and traveled once again to the foot of Red Cliff. The river flowed vociferously, the cleaved banks rose a thousand ch'ih . The mountain was high, the moon small. The water level had fallen, rocks protruded. How long had it been since my last visit? The scene was no longer recognizable! I lifted up my robe and alighted. I made my way among sharp crags, parting the overgrowth to crouch on rocks shaped like tigers and leopards and to climb up trees twisted like horned dragons. I pulled myself up to the precarious nests of falcons and peered down at the hidden palace of the river god P'ing I.[3] My two guests were unable to follow me this far. I suddenly let out a sharp cry. The plants and trees were startled and shook; mountains resounded, valleys echoed. Winds arose, and the water became agitated. For my part, I became hushed and melancholy, then awed and fearful. Then I began to tremble so that I could no longer remain there. I returned, got back on board, and had the boat steered into the mainstream. We let it drift until it came to rest there.

By then it was toward midnight. All around us it was deathly silent. Suddenly, a solitary crane came toward us across the river from the east. Its wings traced cartwheels in the air. It seemed dressed in a white jacket over a black gown, and let out a long, piercing cry—"chia "—as it swept past our boat and headed west.

A short while later the guests left, and I fell asleep. I dreamed of two Taoists clothed in feathers, fluttering about.[4] As they passed by Lin-kao, they greeted me and asked, "Did you enjoy your journey to Red Cliff?" When I asked their names, they looked down without answering. "Oh! Now I understand! Last night, was it not you who called out as you flew by?" The Taoists looked back at me and laughed. And then I suddenly awakened. I opened the door and looked outside but saw no trace of them.[5]

Stone Bells Mountain

In 1084, Su Shih was given a slight promotion and transferred from Huang Prefecture to Ju Prefecture. He traveled to his new post by boat along the Long River together with his son, Su Mai (1059-?), stopping



Fig. 29.
Stone Bells Mountain . From  T'ien-hsia ming-shan sheng-kai chi
(Hong Kong, n.d.; rpt. of Ch'ung-chen era [1628–1644) ed.).

at Hu-k'ou in present-day Chiang-hsi. His expository piece on Stone Bells Mountain reflects a more Confucian side of his travel writing, an empirical quest to investigate things and rectify names. Many travelers both before and after Su Shih sought to explain the phenomenon of the "stone bells," and Su confidently propounded his own explanation based on personal inquiry rather than on textual tradition. His effort only stimulated more debate, and the place became another site of literary pilgrimage as later travelers felt challenged to confirm or revise Su's conclusions. Among those visiting the place during the Ming and Ch'ing periods were Ch'iu Chün (1420–1495) and Lo Hung-hsien (1504–1564), who argued that the name was based on the mountain's


shape, and P'eng Yü-lin (1816–1890), who discovered an underwater grotto and asserted that the mountain was hollow like a bell.

The Guide to Waterways states, "At the mouth of Lake P'eng-li stands Stone Bells Mountain."[1] Li Tao-yüan believed that "where the foot of the mountain meets the deep lake, a slight breeze stirs up the waves so that the water strikes the rocks, producing sounds like that of great bells." People have often doubted this explanation. Recently, some bells and chimes were placed in the middle of the water, and although a strong wind stirred up the waves, they did not emit any sounds. So how could this be true of the rocks? Li Po of the T'ang was the first to travel to the site,[2] and he found a pair of rocks protruding from the lake. "I struck them and listened," he wrote. "The one to the south sounded deep and turbid, the one to the north had a high, clear pitch. After they were struck, the sounds continued to reverberate as the vibrations slowly faded." He thought that he had thus solved the matter. But I still had my doubts about this theory. There are many places where rocks can emit a clanging sound like metal. Why was this one named "Bells"?

On the day ting-ch'ou in the sixth month of the seventh year of the Yüan-feng era [July 14, 1084], I took a boat from Ch'i-an to Lin-ju,[3] and because my son Mai was on his way to Te-hsing in Jao Prefecture[4] to serve as magistrate, I saw him off as far as Hu-k'ou.[5] So I was able to view the so-called Stone Bells. A Buddhist monk had a boy bring along an ax and strike one or two of the scattered rocks. They gave off a dull thud—"hung-hung "—and I laughed in disbelief. In the evening when the moon shone brightly, I went with Mai alone in a small boat to the foot of the cliff. The huge rock rose slanting up a thousand ch'ih , resembling a ferocious beast or a strange demon, terrifying as if it was about to seize one. The perching falcons on the mountaintop were startled by the sound of humans, and their piercing cries—"che-che "—rang out through the sky. And then there were sounds like an old man yelling and laughing in a canyon. Someone said, "That must be a crane." I had just begun to feel uneasy and wanted to return when loud sounds were emitted on the surface of the water, booming "tseng-hung " like continuous bells or drums. The boatman was frightened. We slowly approached to investigate and found that at the foot of the mountain were grottoes and fissures in the rock. I could not tell how deep they were, but it was the small waves which entered, surged around, and crashed against each other that were causing this sound.


As the boat returned, it passed between two mountains and was about to enter the harbor. There was a huge rock standing in the middle of the current, which could accommodate a hundred people seated. It was hollow inside, and it also had many holes in it. It swallowed and spit out the wind and water, giving off ringing sounds—"k'uan-k'an t'ang-t'a "—as the water struck it. It seemed to reply to the booming sound we had previously heard, just like a musical performance. I laughed and said to Mai, "Do you recognize this? The booming sound is the bell Wu-i of King Ching of the Chou dynasty,[6] and the ringing sounds are the Singing Bells of Wei Hsien-tzu.[7] The ancients have not deceived me!"

Should one arbitrarily decide about the existence of something without personally investigating it? Li Tao-yüan probably witnessed what I did, but his description was vague. Since gentlemen would never moor a small boat at the foot of a sheer cliff at night, none of them could know about it. Fishermen and boatmen may have known, but they could not express it. This is why the facts have not been transmitted by my contemporaries. Moreover, an unintelligent person investigated it by striking it with an ax, and thought that he had found the truth. I have written this down because I regret Li Tao-yüan's simplicity and laugh at Li Po's shallowness.[8]

From Tung-p'o's Forest of Jottings

The following three pieces were included in Tung-p'o's Forest of Jottings (Tung-p'o chih-lin ), a miscellany posthumously published that was quite influential on later Ming and Ch'ing writers of prose miniatures. Most of these pieces are no more than one or two hundred characters in length, but they deftly reveal Su's personality and moods through his vignettes of people and places. Sandy Lake and An Evening Stroll to the Temple That Receives the Heavenly were written during Su Shih's exile in Huang Prefecture.

Sandy Lake

Sandy Lake is located ten miles southeast of Huang Prefecture[1] and is also known as Whelk Station. I bought some land there but fell ill when I went to oversee the property. I heard that P'ang An-ch'ang[2] of Hemp Bridge, though deaf, was an expert in medicine, so I went to seek a cure from him. An-ch'ang may be deaf, but his intelligence and


insight surpass others; I used a sheet of paper to write down the words. No sooner had I written a few characters than he instantly understood what I meant. I teased him by saying, "I use my hand as a mouth. You, sir, use your eyes as ears. Both of us are extraordinary people in our time!"

The illness was cured, and I traveled with him to the Temple of the Pure Spring. The temple is located less than a mile beyond the outer gate of the town of Ch'i River.[3] There is the Spring Where Wang Hsichih Washed His Brushes.[4] The water is extremely sweet. Then we went down to Orchid Stream. The stream flows westward. I wrote a song:

The orchid sprouts at the foot of the mountain
   are short and drenched by the stream;
A sandy road through the pines
   is immaculate, without any mud.
In the whispering evening rain,
   cuckoos cry.
Who says
   "youth never returns"?
Just look
   how the water still flows west.
And don't think about
   the white hair increasing with every cockcrow.[5]

That day we drank heavily and returned home.[6]

An Evening Stroll to the Temple That Receives the Heavenly

On the evening of the twelfth day of the tenth month of the sixth year of the Yüan-feng era [November 24, 1083], I had already taken off my clothes and was about to fall asleep when the moonlight came through the doorway. I happily arose and walked outside. I realized that there was no one else there to enjoy this with, so I went to the Temple That Receives the Heavenly to find Chang Huai-min.[1]

Huai-min had also not yet retired, so we went together into the central courtyard. The ground resembled a body of water illuminated by moonlight. The intertwining "aquatic grasses" were just the shadows of the bamboo and junipers.

Is there ever an evening without a moon? And what place lacks bamboo and junipers? But rarely are there carefree men such as we two![2]



Fig. 30.
Shen Tsung-ch'ien (1736–1820),  Su Tung-p'o's
Evening Stroll to the Temple That Receives the
 (October 30, 1770). Nanking Museum,
Nanking. Su's account is inscribed as a colophon.


An Account for Kuo of Our Visit to Mount White Water

This miniature was written during Su Shih's last period of exile. He was ordered to the distant island of Hai-nan at the southern end of the empire, where he suffered from financial hardship and appalling living conditions. It was jotted down as a memento for his third son, Su Kuo (1072–1123), who accompanied him on this journey. The combination of objective recording of sights, subjective response, poetic description, and the quotidian details of their meal conveys the spontaneity of an ink sketch and the casual attitude so appealing to later writers.

On the twelfth day of the tenth month of the first year of the Shao-sheng era [November 22, 1094], I traveled to the Temple of Buddha's Imprints at Mount White Water[1] 1 with my younger son, Kuo. We bathed at Hot Springs.[2] The water was quite hot and at its source was perhaps capable of cooking things. We followed along the mountain eastward, then slightly north, to where there was a waterfall about seventy feet high. It made eight or nine breaks, and at each break there was a pond. They were so deep that a weighted rope fifty feet long failed to touch bottom. With snow white splashes and a thunderous roar, the waterfall was both delightful and frightening. Beside the water were tens of giant imprints—these are what are known as "Buddha's Imprints."

We returned in the evening by the same route we had taken, observing the lights on the mountain. Often, we had to crouch as we crossed through several valleys. The moon appeared when we reached the river. We struck at the ripples in the middle of the current, scooping up the watery pearls and the jade-disc moon. We arrived home during the second watch [9:00–11:00 P. M.]. I then drank some wine with Kuo, dining on some olives and cooked vegetables. I noticed the shadows fading but was not very sleepy, so I wrote this out for Kuo.



Su Ch'e (1039–1112)
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Though Su Ch'e, too, was counted as one of the Eight Masters of T'ang and Sung Prose, he was overshadowed by his elder brother Su Shih as a literary figure; however, he rose higher as an official. Like Su Shih, he passed the Presented Scholar examination in 1057 and the special recruitment examination of 1061. He also opposed Wang Anshih's New Policies and voiced his objections in memorials to the Emperor Shen-tsung (r. 1067–1085). When Su Shih was imprisoned for alleged slander in his poetry, Su Ch'e defended him and also suffered demotion and exile. Upon the return of the conservative faction tinder the regency of Empress Dowager Hsüan-jen, however, he was recalled and rose to minister of personnel and, in 1089, vice-director of the Chancellory. He also successfully served on diplomatic missions to the state of Liao. When another reformist party gained ascendancy under Emperor Che-tsung (r. 1085–1100), Su Ch'e was again demoted to posts as a local magistrate; he was recalled under Emperor Hui-tsung (r. 1100–1125), but only to be demoted again. He finally retired in 1104. His remaining years were spent in leisurely pursuits, enjoying the pleasures of rural existence, and practicing Ch'an meditation.

Su Ch'e's most influential writings are his essays on political and historical issues; as a poet he was less productive than Su Shih and exerted little influence. He also engaged in aesthetic theory; his essay in praise of the bamboo painter Wen T'ung (1019–1079) is a classic statement of the literati ideal of "scholar painting" promoted by the Su circle. Su Ch'e was exiled to Huang Prefecture in 1083, where Su Shih had also been sent a few years earlier. His piece on the Delightful Pavilion is in the mode of Han Yü, a valedictory tribute to the moral



Fig. 31.
The Delightful Pavilion  (detail). From Huangkang hsien-chih  (Taipei, 1969; rpt. of
1882 ed.). This late Ch'ing dynasty view shows part of the shrine complex later built
on Red Cliff across the Long River from the city of Huangkang District, formerly
Huang Prefecture. The Delightful Pavilion is in the lower left, next to Su Shih's
Snow Lodge. Both had been rebuilt a number of times since the Sung and originally
stood outside the city walls.


character of a fellow exile that is also a consolation for himself. Su Ch'e shared Han Yü's pragmatic ideals in literature but emphasized the need for personal enlightenment in the Tao as well as the writer's enhancement of his vital force (ch'i ) in preparation for literary creativity.

The Delightful Pavilion of Huang Prefecture

When the Long River leaves West Mount Gorge, the land becomes flat while the current breaks free and expands. Where it meets the Yüan and Hsiang rivers on the south and the Han and Mien on the north, [1] its force further increases. And right below Red Cliff,[2] waves crash mightily just like the ocean. Chang Meng-te of Ch'ing-ho[3] was demoted to Ch'i-an[4] and built a pavilion southwest of his cottage to gaze upon the scenic beauty of the Long River. My elder brother, Tzu-chan,[5] bestowed the name "Delightful."

The view from the pavilion extends north and south for thirty miles and for about ten miles from east to west. Billows and waves surge and churn; winds and clouds gather and disperse. In daytime, boats appear and vanish before it; in the evening, fish and dragons wail sorrowfully below. The transformation of the scene occurs so suddenly that it unsettles the mind and terrifies the eyes: one cannot observe it for long. Now I am contemplating it while seated here and can observe it all in a glance. To the west I can view the mountains by Wu-ch'ang:[6] I can clearly distinguish the rise and fall of the hills, the rows of plants and trees, the mist dispersing as the sun appears, and the huts of fishermen and wood gatherers. This is why it is called "Delightful." Along the shores of the long islands and by the ruins of the former city wall, Ts'ao Ts'ao and Sun Ch'üan spied on each other in anticipation; Chou Yü and Lu Hsün sallied forth.[7] The memory of their heroism and the traces of their exploits still excite people today.

In the past, King Hsiang of Ch'u led Sung Yü and Ching Ch'ai to the Orchid Terrace Palace.[8] When a wind wafted by, the King loosened his garments and said, "How delightful this wind is! Am I not enjoying this with the common people?" Sung Yü said, "This is a virile wind fit only for a king. How could the common people share it?" Sung Yü's remark was probably meant to be satirical. For wind is neither male nor female, but among men, experiences differ. The King of Ch'u may have delighted in it, while the common people may have been suffering


from it—such are the differences among men. What does this have to do with the wind? If a scholar is dissatisfied with his lot in life, is there any place where he won't find imperfection? But if he is inwardly content and does not allow external things to damage his own nature, then would there be any encounter that he would not find delightful? Now, Mr. Chang does not grieve over exile, and he uses his leisure time away from his duties as a tax official to roam freely among the mountains and streams. It is this quality that makes him superior to ordinary men. Though dwelling behind a door of thatch and windows of potsherds, he delights in everything. Moreover, when wading in the clear currents of the Long River and grasping hold of the white clouds by West Mountain,[9] he enjoys himself by filling his eyes and ears with such scenic beauty! Otherwise, when mountain ranges and remote valleys, tall forests and ancient trees are agitated by a breeze or illuminated by the bright moon, they always provoke uncontrollable sorrow and anxieties among plaintive poets and thought-filled scholars—how could they be able to regard this as delightful?

[DECEMBER 12, 1083][11]


Ch'in Kuan (1049–1100)
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Ch'in Kuan, from Kao-yu, Chiang-su, was considered one of the four major disciples of Su Shih and became his favorite. He is best remembered as an outstanding tz'u poet. Many of his poems express love themes—thus the popular image of him as a romantic personality. A number of his most famous pieces combine the vicissitudes of love with a deep melancholy and feelings of self-commiseration stemming from his frustrating official career. Ch'in first met Su Shih in 1077 in Hsü-chou and impressed him with a fu rhapsody, which Su likened to the work of Ch'ü Yüan and Sung Yü. Later, in 1084, Su introduced Ch'in to Wang An-shih, who likewise praised him, comparing the innovativeness of his poetry to Pao Chao arid Hsieh Ling-yün. Ch'in Kuan became a Metropolitan Graduate in 1085; this degree had by then assumed a new importance as a major prerequisite for official position, and he began his career by holding several local posts. Though highly recommended to the court by Su Shih, Ch'in found his opportunities blocked by political opponents. He passed a special recruitment examination in 1088 and was appointed as part of the conservative faction under Empress Dowager Hsüan-jen to proofreader and junior compiler of the history of the dynasty. With the return of the progressive faction in 1094 he was successively demoted but then recalled when Emperor Hui-tsung assumed the throne in 1100. Like Su Shih a year later, he died as he was returning from exile.

Dragon Well is a natural spring located in Hang-chou west of West Lake on Windy Bamboo Ridge. It is believed to have been discovered during the Ch'ih-wu era (238–250), and as early as the T'ang dynasty a temple existed next to the well. The water is considered sweet and



"Fig. 32.
Dragon Well Temple  (detail). From San-ts'ai t'u hui  (1609), Richard C. Rudolph East
Asian Library, University of California, Los Angeles. The view of the temple, located
in the far distance in the upper left, near the Upper India Temple, is From West
Lake. Across the middle is Su's Embankment with two of the Six Bridges.


cold, and an undulating line appears when it is slightly agitated. The environs around Dragon Well still produce a fine grade of green tea of the same name, which has long been appreciated by connoisseurs. When these pieces were written, Ch'in Kuan had been traveling with Su Shih. Su was on his way from Hsü-chou to a new post in Hu-chou, while Ch'in was on his way to visit his uncle in Kuei-chi. After parting, Ch'in continued his journey, passing through Hang-chou; only upon reaching his destination did he learn of Su's arrest. He hastened back to Wu-hsing to provide help and then returned to Kuei-chi, again by way of Hang-chou. On his return journey Ch'in Kuan accepted the invitation of one of Su Shih's Buddhist friends, Pien-ts'ai (d. 109l), retired abbot of the Upper India Temple. The first Dragon Well piece is a formal, consciously literary travel record containing a documentary description of the place and a philosophical discussion of its virtues. In the second piece, Ch'in Kuan recorded the place m a shorter, more casual form similar to the miniatures of Su Shih. It is terser and more linear, focusing on his itinerary and brief observations of the scenery. The following year, Pien-ts'ai forwarded a copy to Su, who had been released from prison and exiled to Huang Prefecture.

Dragon Well I

The old name for Dragon Well was Dragon Depths.[1] During the Ch'ih-wu era of the kingdom of Wu [238–250], the wizard Ko Hung once refined elixirs of immortality here, a Fact that appears in illustrated gazetteers.[2] This place is located to the west of West Lake north of the Che River on Windy Bamboo Ridge. It is, in fact, a spring located deep in the mountains among scattered rocks. Every year during the dry season, supplications for rain are made in temples elsewhere. If these have no effect, then a supplication is made here, and this has always been answered. Thus, tradition holds that a dragon dwells in the well. But springs are really discharges of the vital essence of mountains. West Lake is deep, tranquil, and broad. It accommodates the beautiful scenery and stores up smoke and mist. Caltrop and water lilies attach themselves to it; turtles, fish, birds, and insects are dependent on it. It overflows, yet not disastrously; it casually meanders, forming patterns of ripples. Whether overcast or clear, it presents a unique appearance in each case that cannot be fully described. Thus, the mountains around the lake are all seduced by it and so are unable to produce springs.


The Che River forms the border between Wu and Yüeh.[3] In the course of a day, the tidal bore can flow in twice from the sea.[4] It strikes quickly and then runs away. Szu -beasts and tigers are terrified as the wind and rain rage.[5] Whatever encounters it is battered; whatever resists it is smashed. When observed from high up, it makes one's hair stand on end and one's heart race beyond control. Thus, the mountains along the river are intimidated and have no time to produce springs.

However, this place occupies a secluded location difficult to reach. Inwardly, bewitching attractions do not seduce it into dissipating its essence; outwardly, tyrannical violence does not intimidate it into diminishing its energy. Therefore, there are always many springs in the vicinity of the ridge, and Dragon Well is the finest of these. When that which has been deeply stored can be discharged at a distance, it is because it has not been negligent in its cultivation, and so what it bestows is inexhaustible. The virtue of Dragon Well is due to its having perfectly attained this state. How can there be any doubt that it is sustained by some divine thing!

In the second year of the Yüan-feng era [1079], Pien-ts'ai, who is the Buddhist master Yüan-ching, concluded his sermons at the India Temple and retired to the Monastery of the Sage of Longevity on this mountain, which is less than half a mile from Dragon Well.[6] Whenever anyone in these mountains has business in Ch'ien-t'ang,[7] as well as travelers on their way to the monastery, all take the road passing beside the well. The master therefore built a pavilion at this spot. He then had his disciples form a circle and utter Buddhist incantations to the well, hoping to pacify the so-called "dragon." Suddenly a large fish leapt up out of the spring, startling all who observed this. Subsequently, none doubted that there was a dragon in the well, and its fame has spread even more widely.

In this same year, on my way from Huai-nan[8] to visit relatives in Yüeh, I arrived in Ch'ien-t'ang and called on the master in the mountains. The master, grasping his staff, escorted me up Windy Bamboo Ridge and pointed to Dragon Well, saying, "The virtue of this spring is perfect. As beautiful as West Lake, it cannot be corrupted and led astray; as strong as the Che River, it cannot be coerced and forced to submit. It has received its stable centrality from Heaven and Earth and is sustained by the harmony of yin and yang , nurturing its source and issuing forth its waters like silk threads to enrich the myriad things. Though there have been men of antiquity who were in accordance with the Tao , how could they ever improve upon this? It should be recorded."

I replied, "Of course."[9]


Dragon Well II

On the day after the Mid-Autumn Festival in the second year of the Yüan-feng era [September 13, 1079], I passed through Hang-chou on my return eastward from Wu-hsing to Kuei-chi.[1] The Buddhist master Pien-ts'ai of Dragon Well sent a letter inviting me to visit him in the mountains. By the time I left the city, it was already dusk. I crossed West Lake by boat to the Temple of Universal Tranquillity, where I met the monk Ts'an-liao.[2] I asked him about the sedan chair that was supposed to have been sent from Dragon Well, and he replied that because I had arrived late, it had left. That evening, the sky cleared after the rain and the moon shone through the forest so brightly that one could even count hairs. I then disembarked and followed Ts'an-liao with staff in hand around the lake by Thunder Peak, crossed over South Screen Mountain, and washed my feet at the Stream of Benevolent Karma.[3] We entered Magic Rock Vale,[4] where we took a side path and climbed up Windy Bamboo Ridge. We rested at Dragon Well Pavilion, where we drew water from the spring and drank it as we sat on the rocks. From Universal Tranquillity we passed by fifteen Buddhist temples, all silent without any sound of people. In some of the cottages along the road were lamplights, now bright, now dim. The bushes and trees were dense and flourishing; the flowing water was agitated and let out a sorrowful cry—this could not be any place in the human world. It was almost the second watch [9:00—11:00 P.M.] by the time we reached the Monastery of the Sage of Longevity. I paid a visit to Pients'ai at the Hall of the Tide's Sound. The next day, I left to return home.[5]


Lu Yu (1125–1210)
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Lu Yu was born into a family of high officials during the Northern Sung who became impoverished soon after the fall of the dynasty. When he was one year old, the Jürchen tribe attacked the capital of K'ai-feng and subsequently established the Chin dynasty m the north, a circumstance that compelled Lu's family to flee south back to their home in Shan-yin, Yüeh Prefecture (modern Shao-hsing, Che-chiang). During the difficult years of his childhood Lu was educated primarily by his father and, like him, became an ardent supporter of the irredentist faction that urged the recovery north China.

Although Lu Yu was a complex personality who explored broad themes in his writings, he has been celebrated in later centuries for his patriotic sentiments and visions of ancient Chinese glory. In 1153, he passed first in the palace examination. His views, however, angered the peace faction of Prime Minister Ch'in Kuei (1091–1155), who favored negotiations, and his name was stricken from the list for the follow-up examination. Upon the accession of Emperor Hsiao-tsung (r.1162–1189), the irredentist faction gained power and he was finally employed. The disunity of this faction and its military failures led to the emperor's loss of confidence, whereupon the court returned to policies of appeasement. Lu Yu was forced out of government service and retired. Henceforth, his official career alternated between holding low-ranking offices and periods of retirement caused by his outspoken views on foreign policy and administrative matters.

In 1169, after several years of requests, he received a minor assignment as vice-prefect in K'uei Prefecture (modern Feng-chieh, Szu-ch'uan). Economic pressures forced him to accept the position, which required long travel through the interior to the western



Fig. 33.
The Long River at Hsia-lao Stream . From Hsiachiang chiu-sheng-ch'uan chih  (1884), Deutsche
Staatsbibliothek, Berlin. The Hsia-lao Stream is shown flowing into the Long River to the right of
the center of the illustration. Higher up to the left is the Cave of the Three Travelers.


frontier—the subject matter of A Journey into Shu . After his term ended, he remained in the establishment of the Pacification Commissioner of Szu-ch'uan, Wang Yen (1138–1218), and wrote numerous patriotic poems reflecting his enthusiasm for the army. After Wang's recall, Lu Yu held further positions m Szu-ch'uan. In 1175, he worked for Fan Ch'eng-ta when the latter came to serve in the military command. None of these positions enabled him to realize his ambition to counterattack the Chin, however, and he eventually turned to wine and unconventional behavior as an escape, taking the sobriquet "The Old Man Who Does as He Pleases" (Fang-weng).

It was as a poet of increasing note that he received an imperial audience in 1178 after his return east. He was given further minor posts, some of which were merely to allow him time to write poetry. In 1194, a relative, Han T'o-chou (1151–1207), gained power at court, and Lu Yu became politically involved with him. A persistent irredentist, Han finally persuaded the Emperor Ning-tsung (r.1194–1224) to attack the north in 1206. This campaign ended in defeat the following year, and Han's head was presented to the Chin as a peace offering. Lu Yu, then eighty years old, finally retired under criticism. He lived another five years, mostly writing poetry.

Lu Yu produced an immense number of poems—more than 9,300 in all genres. He destroyed most of his early work but preserved and published some 2,400 poems of his middle age, and during the last twenty years of his life he composed perhaps 6,500 more. In these later poems he celebrated a calm, rural life in which he had contact with peasants, though as always he continued pursuing his earlier patriotic themes. Among his wider interests was a quest for transcendence through Taoism and The Book of Changes (I ching ). He also wrote noteworthy landscape and field-and-garden poetry in which he explored the tension between Confucian loyalty to the dynasty and lyric ideals of self-contentment and spiritual liberation.

A Journey into Shu , which covers Lu's trip from Shan-yin to K'uei Prefecture in July-December 1170, was one of the most influential travel diaries, becoming a model for other writers. It was one of the longest and most ambitious works in the genre until the late-Ming travel diaries of Hsü Hung-tsu. Its broad contents included geography, roads and waterways, local customs and religions, ethnic characteristics, economic and political structures, local products, and administrative problems of the areas through which he passed. In the following selection, Lu Yu describes the entrance to the Three Gorges and mentions Ox Mountain, earlier recorded in Li Tao-yüan's Guide to


Waterways . The Cave of the Three Travelers had already become a site of literary pilgrimage after Po Chü-i, but his diary helped to popularize this place further among travel writers and poets.

From A Journey into Shu: The Cave of the Three Travelers

On the eighth day of the month [November 17, 1170], after the fifth watch [3:00–5:00 A.M.], we cast off and sailed through the Hsia-lao Pass.[1] Lining both sides of the river were a thousand peaks and myriad ridges. Some arose challenging each other; some stood alone, towering over the others; some were crumbling and about to collapse on those below; some were so lofty that they seemed about to fall; some were filled with horizontal cracks; and some had vertical crevices. There were protrusions and there were hollows and there were fissures—their forms were so strange that they could not be fully described. At the beginning of winter, the viridian color of the grass and trees had not faded. Looking off to the west, the layered mountains formed palace gatetowers. A river flowed out from between them, and this is called "Hsia-lao Stream." Ou-yang Hsiu wrote a poem entitled "Hsia-lao Ferry," which goes:

As we entered the gorges,
   mountains gradually wound about us;
As we moved through the rapids,
   the mountains grew ever more numerous.[2]

He was referring to this place.

We tied the boat up and I went with my sons and the Buddhist master Liao-cheng to see the Cave of the Three Travelers. We climbed stone steps for less than a mile; some were so steep that we couldn't get a foothold. The cave was as large as a three-room house. There was an opening through which one could pass, but it was dark, steep, and dangerous—quite frightening. We wound around the mountain's waist and had to crouch down as we passed below a cliff. We could barely walk to the mouth of the cave. However, we could view below a stream, a pond, and stone cliffs more than one hundred feet high as the sound of the water frightened us. There were two more caves, with a


wall in back, which were large enough to dwell in. Stalactites had built up over many years, which hung perpendicular down to the ground like pillars. Just above the entrance was carved an inscription that said:

Huang Ta-lin, his younger brother T'ing-chien, together with Hsin Hung and his son Ta-fang,[3] visited on the date hsin-hai in the third month of the second year of the Shao-sheng era [April 22, 1095].

Alongside on the rock wall was carved:

Ou-yang Yung-shu of I-ling[4] visited on the tenth day of the seventh month in the fourth year of the Ching-yu era [August 23, 1037].

A character was missing afterward. It further said, "Judge Ting . . . ," with a few characters missing afterward. "Ting" was Ting Pao-ch'en,[5] whose courtesy name was Yüan-chen. The two characters below "Ting" seemed barely visible but did not resemble "Yüan-chen." Moreover, the inscription signed "Ou-yang Yung-shu" only mentioned I-ling: it did not indicate that he was the magistrate there.[6]

Outside the cave in the stream was a fallen rock lying on its side, on which was inscribed:

Huang T'ing-chien, his younger brother Shu-hsiang, son Hsiang, nephew Ch'ing, and the monk T'ang-lü traveled here. When we viewed the old inscription dated "hsin-hai ," it was like something out of a dream. Inscribed on the day keng-yin in the third month of the first year of the Chien-chung ching-kuo era [April 29, 1101].

Huang T'ing-chien, though, was banished to Ch'ien-nan and passed this way in i-hai , the second year of the Shao-sheng era [1095–1096], so stating the year as "hsin-hai " was a mistake.[7]

We moored at Stone Tablet Gorge.[8] In a cave there is a rock resembling an old man holding a fishing pole, which almost seems like the real thing.

On the ninth day of the month [November 18], it was snowing slightly as we passed through Fan Gorge.[9] The layers of mountains


overlapped each other just like panels of a folding fan, so I suspect it derived its name from this. We climbed to Toad Rock.[10] This is where the "Fourth Finest Spring in the World," mentioned in A Ranking of Waters , is located.[11] The "toad" was at the foot of a mountain, facing the river. Its head, nose, throat, and neck bore an exact resemblance, while its back had bumps that were quite realistic. How clever natural creation is! Entering from along its back, one comes across a cave whose rock is green and moist. A spring tinkled—"ling-ling ." It flowed out from the cave and dripped down into the river through the toad's mouth and nose in a beaded curtain of water. On this day it was extremely cold, and the top of the cliffs were covered with snow, yet the cave was as warm as springtime. The rock and the cave stood opposite each other. Slightly to the west was a peak standing alone, piercing the clouds. It is called "Celestial Pillar Peak." From here on, the mountains leveled out slightly, but along the river huge rocks were piled up as far as the eye could see, looking as if they had been dredged up from a canal.

In the evening we stayed at the Ox Temple,[12] where the mountains again rose high. Many villagers came to sell us tea and vegetables. Among them were women who wore kerchiefs of black cloth decorated with patterns of white flowers, yet their skin was very white, and their accent was fairly correct. However, the tea was like twigs and grass, so bitter in taste that it was undrinkable. The temple is called "Responsive Spirit," and it enshrines the god who was given the title "Marquis of Blessings and Protection," both named according to an imperial decree during the Shao-hsing era [1131–1162].

Below it were the Rapids of Unrighteousness. Scattered rocks blocked the middle of the current; looking at it, I felt danger ahead. Yet as our boat passed through I was not overly concerned, no doubt thanks to the marvelous skill of the boatman. A legend says that a god accumulated merit by helping the Hsia emperor Yü control the river, so he is sacrificed to here. Stone horses stand to the right and left of the gate, each rather unimpressive, small in size, and covered by a little roof. The horse on the right is without his left ear, a fact that was noticed by Ou-yang Hsiu.[13] A grove of trees behind the temple seemed to be tung-ch'ing evergreens,[14] but they weren't. No one knew what they were called. The fallen leaves have black veins and resemble the seal-style characters on Taoist charms. Each leaf is unique, and my sons collected a number of them. The poem by Ou-yang Hsiu was engraved in stone inside the temple. There was also an envoi by Chang Wenchung,[15] which said:


How mighty the ox
with his great spiritual power.
He carted giant rocks here,
hundreds, thousands, millions of them,
like swords and halberds, like teeth.
Piled-up tall beside the river,
they block and agitate the waves,
perilous beyond measure.
They threaten the boatmen,
who are so frightened they lose color.
They kill lambs and offer up wine,
sacrificing at the temple
    for the past thousand years.

His Excellency Chang's idea seems to be that the god piled up the rocks to block the flow in order to threaten man and extort sacrifices. If this was the god's real intent, how could there have been such august sacrifices to him for a thousand years? No doubt, this theory is far-fetched.

In the evening, the boatman told us not to strike the watch, saying, "There are many tigers in the hills about the temple and they come out when they hear the sound of drums."[16]


Fan Ch'eng-ta (1126–1193)
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Fan Ch'eng-ta, from P'ing-chiang, Wu-chün (modern Su-chou, Chiang-su), was born into an official family. At the age of seventeen, he was identified as a promising young talent and asked to submit poetry to the Ministry of Rites. In 1154, he became a Metropolitan Graduate and, two years later, began serving in local posts. Fan was a dedicated Confucian official concerned with the welfare of the people, the military strengthening of the state, and the recovery of the north from the Chin dynasty. By 1166 he had quickly risen to the position of vice-director in the Ministry of Personnel, causing political opponents to claim that he had been promoted above his rank; he was therefore dismissed and sent home. After two years in retirement, he returned to office, gaining the confidence of the Emperor Hsiao-tsung (r. 1162–1189) as a member of the irredentist faction He successfully carried out a diplomatic mission to the Chin in 1170, which resulted in the first of his travel diaries, Grasping the Carriage Reins (Lan-p'ei lu ), along with a cycle of seventy-two poems on the events of this journey. He subsequently lost power at court for opposing a favorite of the emperor and again retired in 1171. Fan returned to public life in 1173 to serve in Kuang-hsi; he recorded his investigations of the area around Kuei-lin in a local gazetteer and in another travel diary, Riding in the Luan-bird Chariot (Ts'an-luan lu , 1173). The following year he served as military commissioner in Szu-ch'uan, where he employed Lu Yu. Returning to the capital in 1177, Fan took over the Ministry of Rites and, in 1178, became Examination Administrator and Participant in Determining Government Matters, an important policymaking position. A few months later he was again impeached by a jealous censor. After



Fig. 34.
Sung Hsü (1525–?),  Eyebrows Mountain After a
 (1605). Nanking Museum, Nanking.


returning to government in 1180 for one final period of service, he retired in 1183 owing to ill health; he lived on at Stone Lake (Shih-hu) in the Su-chou area for another ten years.

Later canonized as one of the Four Masters of Southern Sung poetry, Fan worked largely in the field-and-garden genre. He brought to its tradition of reclusiveness, assertion of moral purity, and transcendental longings a thorough realism, conveyed through objective observations about moral and social life in the countryside. Some poems have a quality of egoless impersonality and sudden shifts in perspective, reflecting his interest in Ch'an Buddhism. His monumental Gazetteer of Wu-chün (Wu-chün chih , 1192–1193) was considered a model work. In his lyric travel records, he was influenced by the descriptive style of Liu Tsung-yüan and the philosophical attitudes of Su Shih, particularly in two accounts of his outings on Stone Lake. Fan was also regarded as an outstanding calligrapher.

Diary of a Boat Trip to Wu (Wu-ch'uan lu ) was written following Fan Ch'eng-ta's service in Szu-ch'uan. In June 1177, he set out on his return to Hang-chou at a leisurely pace that enabled him to stop at scenic places along the river route. The following selection describes the 10,165-foot Eyebrows Mountain (O-mei-shan), located in modern O-mei District, Szu-ch'uan. One of the four sacred mountains of Buddhism in China, its patron being the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra, it has been a site of religious pilgrimage since the T'ang. Even earlier, during the Eastern Chin, the calligrapher Wang Hsi-chih had viewed it from a nearby mountain and praised its beauty. Fan moored his boat at Chia Prefecture (modern Le-shan, Szu-ch'uan) and spent three days making the seventeen mile ascent to the summit, where pilgrims and sightseers could visit an ancient shrine and view "Buddha's Halo." His descriptive style is clear and reportorial, revealing his curiosity about the observable world and his interest in "the classification of things"; some of his explanations of natural phenomena, though, would be considered unscientific today.

From Diary of a Boat Trip to Wu: Eyebrows Mountain

On the day i-wei [July 24, 1177], the sky cleared after a snowfall. . . . We passed New Station, Eighty-four Slopes, and Sala[*] Plateau.[1] The wood and leaves of the sala[*] -tree resemble the hai-t'ung , and it is also like the yang-mei .[2] Its flowers are red and white, blossoming in spring and


summer. It grows only on this mountain. I saw them as soon as I climbed halfway up, but when I reached this point, they covered the whole mountain. In general, all the plants, trees, birds, and insects on Greater Eyebrow Peak differ from those found in the world below. Previously, I had only heard descriptions of them; now I have been able to investigate them for myself. I came in the last month of summer.[3] Several days before, there was a heavy snowfall, and there were still fresh traces of it on the tree leaves. Among the rare plants, there is one that resembles the Eight Transcendents hydrangea, except that it is a deep purple. Another is like the morning glory, but several times larger. Yet another resembles smartweed but is a pale green. I have heard that rare flowers are especially plentiful in spring, but at this season it is cold on the mountain and few can be seen. As for rare herbs, there are so many I could not enumerate them all. The mountain is high and windy, so trees cannot grow tall. Their branches all hang downward. Old moss clings to the trees like disheveled hair, hanging down several tens of feet and touching the ground. There is also the pagoda pine, shaped like a fir but with leaves that are round and small. It, too, cannot attain great height but grows erect in stages, like a pagoda. They are especially plentiful on the summit. Furthermore, there are no birds at all, probably owing to the mountain's elevation, for they cannot fly this high.

From Sala[*] Plateau I passed the Pavilion for Contemplating Buddha, Soft-Grass Plateau, and the Stream for Cleansing Feet before finally arriving at the Temple of the Brilliant Image on the summit. Though it contains several tens of wooden chambers, no one lives there. In the middle is a small chapel dedicated to the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra.[4] I began the climb at the beginning of the hours of mao [5:00–7:00 A.M.]; now, it was already past shen [3:00–5:00 P.M.]. At first I wore summer linen, but it gradually grew colder as I ascended. At Eighty-four Slopes, it suddenly became quite cold. And when I reached the summit, I had to quickly don a double layer of silk-padded clothes as well as a woolen gown and a camel-hair jacket. This exhausted the clothing I had brought along in the trunks. I wrapped a turban around my head in several layers and put on felt boots. Still, it was shiveringly cold, quite unbearable. So I burned charcoal in a brazier, which I clutched as I sat up straight. There is a spring on the summit, but the water cannot boil rice. The kernels remain hard like grains of sand. I knew that water from ancient ice and snow cannot be used to cook with,[5] so I had a jar of water brought along from down below, and this was enough to sustain me.


A while passed, then I braved the cold and went up over the Bridge of the Celestial Transcendent to Brilliance Cliff, where I lit some incense. The chapel there is covered with a roofing of bark. The Vice-Grand Councillor Wang Chan-shu[6] once had the roof tiled, but the snow and frost seeped in and within a year the tiles had all cracked. Later it was reroofed with bark that at least lasts for two to three years. Someone said to me, "Buddha's Halo always appears at the hours of wu [11:00 A.M.–1:00 P.M.]. Now it is past shen [3:00–5:00 P.M.]. We had better return to our lodgings and come again tomorrow." While we were hesitating, suddenly clouds arose below the cliff from a valley to the side, just where Thunder Cave Mountain is located. The clouds paraded by vigorously like an honor guard. When they encountered the cliff, they paused for a short while. From the top of the clouds, a grand halo appeared containing several rings of various colors. I stood exactly opposite it and saw an inky shadow in its center, like a Transcendent or a sage astride an elephant.[7] In the time it would take to drink a cup of tea, the halo vanished, while beside it appeared another halo just like the one before. It, too, vanished after a while. From the clouds there then appeared two rays of golden light, which extended along the waist of the cliff. People call it the "Lesser Manifestation." By sunset, the clouds had all dispersed, and the surrounding mountains became quite tranquil. By the second night watch [9:00–11:00 P.M.], lights appeared all over below the cliff. When viewed from a distance, they seemed to number in the many hundreds, perhaps even a thousand. At night, the cold was intense; I could not stand outside for long.

The next day, ping-shen [July 25], I again ascended Brilliance Cliff for the view. Behind the cliff were the many layers of the Mount Min range. Slightly to the north was Tiled House Mountain, located in Ya Prefecture.[8] A bit to the south was Greater Tiled House Mountain, close to the area of Nan-chao.[9] Its shape looked just like a one-room house with a tiled roof. There was also a halo at Lesser Tiled Roof Mountain, known as the "Manifestation of Self-Enlightenment."[10] Behind these mountains are the Snowy Mountains of the Western Region.[11] Lofty, rugged, carved, sliced; scores, perhaps a hundred peaks in all. When the rising sun first illuminates them, the snow glistens like shiny silver, shimmering in the light of the dawn. From antiquity to the present, this snow has never melted. These mountains extend all the way to the land of India and to tributary kingdoms along the border for a distance of I don't know how many thousands of li . It looks like it is spread out on a table before one. This spectacular, unique, unsurpassable view was truly the crowning one of my entire life.


I returned to the chapel on the cliff to offer up a prayer. Soon, a dense mist arose on all sides, blending everything into a single whiteness. A monk said to me, "This is the 'Silvery World.'" After a while, a heavy rain fell and the mist dispersed. The monk said, "This is the 'Rain That Cleanses the Cliff.' 'Buddha's Halo' is about to appear." Flossy clouds once again spread out below the cliff, billowing upward until they reached only several tens of feet below the top. The clouds smoothed themselves out like a floor of jade. There was a sudden rain, and droplets flew about. I looked down at the middle of the cliff—there was a large halo lying on top of the smooth clouds. Encircling it were three rings, each containing blue, yellow, red, and green colors. The center of the halo was empty, bright, dense, and clear. Each observer could see his form appear in the empty, bright area without the slightest degree of obscurity, just like a mirror. When one raised one's hands and moved one's legs, the reflection indicated this without showing anyone else's form. The monk said, "This is the 'Halo That Captures the Body."' When this halo vanished, winds arose from the mountains in front and the clouds quickly drifted away.

From the midst of the wind and clouds appeared yet another large halo. It stretched across several mountains and contained many unusual hues, all gathered together in a multicolored light. Peaks, plants, and trees were so fresh, gorgeous, brilliant, and glittering that I couldn't look at them directly. When the clouds and mist dispersed, this halo remained to shine alone. People call it the "Pure Manifestation." When Buddha's Halo is about to appear, clouds must gather first, forming what is known as the "Flossy World." It is from out of these clouds that the halo appears. But when it appears without the help of clouds, it is called a "Pure Manifestation" and is extremely rare. After the time it would take to have a meal, the halo gradually shifted westward past the mountain. I glanced to the left above Thunder Cave Mountain and again saw a halo just like the one before, only slightly smaller. After a moment it, too, flew off beyond the mountain, moving over toward the plateau, where it hovered just opposite the cliff. Its colors had all changed, and it became the "Golden Bridge," similar to the Rainbow Bridge over the Wu River[12] except that the two ends of this "bridge" were supported by purple clouds. Between the hours of wu [11:00 A.M.—1:00 P.M.] and wei [1:00–3:00 P.M.] the clouds all disappeared, and this is called "The Final Scene at the Cliff." Only Golden Bridge remained visible until after yu [5:00–7:00 P.M.], when it vanished.[13]


Chu Hsi (1130–1200)
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Chu Hsi was the major formulator of Neo-Confucianism, which absorbed concepts of metaphysics and consciousness from Buddhism and Taoism into traditional Confucian ethics. His comprehensive views on the classics were accepted as orthodox thought by the end of the Southern Sung and became the basis of the examination system when it was reinstated in the late Yüan. During the Ming and Ch'ing dynasties, he was canonized as a Sage and sacrificed to in temples along with Confucius and Mencius. His career, however, followed a pattern similar to that of many officials: public service in a variety of offices alternating with periods of political disfavor. While he lived, there was little indication of the extraordinary veneration he was to be accorded throughout the later Chinese empire.

Chu Hsi grew up in Ch'ung-an, Chien-yang, in what is today Fu-chien, in an official family originally from Chiang-hsi. His father was demoted for opposing Ch'in Kuei's appeasement policies and died when Hsi was fourteen; subsequently, Hsi continued to espouse his father's patriotic views and suffered similar punishments during his own career. He earned the Metropolitan Graduate degree in 1148 and began to serve in local positions. Meanwhile, he attracted disciples and developed his own program of Confucian education. In 1163, under Emperor Hsiao-tsung, he was granted an audience and argued for war against the Chin. Though appointed to a number of positions both in the provinces and in the capital, he often refused to accept appointments because of policy differences, or served only briefly before retiring or being demoted. During a fifty-year career, he spent only nine years in office and about forty days at court. His influence was greater through the educational institutions he sponsored.



Fig. 35.
Portrait of Hsi . (n. d.) National Palace Museum, Taipei.


He helped to restore the White Deer Cave Academy in 1179 while serving in Chiang-hsi and the Academy at the Foothills of the Sacred Mount in 1194 while serving as military commissioner in Hu-nan. By the end of his career in 1195 he had become an edict attendant in the Han-lin Academy, but, after angering the powerful official Han T'ochou, he was finally impeached. His remaining years were spent back in Chien-yang writing and teaching.

Chu Hsi's aesthetics asserted the absolute identity of literature and the Tao , in contrast to more conventional formulations, which saw writing as but an expression or vehicle of the Tao . For Hsi, they were one and the same, unified through the moral cultivation of the individual. Similarly, he espoused the view, stated in the "Mao Preface" to The Book of Poetry , that poetry was simply the expression of the moral will. His poems, for which he achieved some note, conveyed an archaistic temperament, employing few allusions or metrical intricacies in favor of direct, uncomplicated emotions and objective observations of the world. His prose, as might be expected, was largely didactic and pragmatic. Among the more influential texts associated with him is the Collected Sayings of Master Chu (Chu-tzu yü-lei ), which transmitted his remarks on philosophy and literature. It came to be looked upon as a literary model for its inclusion of colloquial elements that captured a sense of actual speech.

The following travel piece is undated, but it must have been written before 1185, when one of his traveling companions, Liu P'ing-fu, died. That it has been often anthologized is probably due to the prestige of the writer, for it is a conventional, though well-wrought, travel account. Like many travel narratives, it was originally written in conjunction with poems. Chu Hsi represented his experience of a journey as a linear progress through a world of concrete appearances and sensations with only brief autobiographical and lyric elements. The piece reveals a restrained imagination focused on "the classification of things," recording immediate observations of the environment.

The Mountain a Hundred Chang High

After ascending the Mountain a Hundred Chang High[1] for about a mile, I peered down to the right at a deep valley and braced myself on the left against an overhanging cliff. Stones had been stacked to form stairs. I climbed all ten or so of them. The scenic beauty of the mountain began from here.


I followed more stairs eastward and encountered a small stream; a rock bridge spanned it. Everywhere were aged vines and ancient trees. Although it was the height of summer, it was not hot, even at noon-time. The water was completely clear and deep. It splashed down from higher up with splattering sounds—"chien-chien ." I crossed the rock bridge, followed alongside two cliffs, winding my way higher until I reached the outer gate of a temple. It was a small building with three rooms, hardly capable of accommodating ten or so people. Still, from the front it surveyed the stream below; in back, it faced a rock pond. Wind comes wafting through two gorges all day long without respite. Inside the gate, one passes over a pond by another rock bridge. Crossing it and turning northward, I climbed up many stone steps to arrive at the temple. The temple itself was an old building of several rooms—small, low, cramped, and narrow—not much to look at. Only its western pavilion offered a scenic view. Water flows out from the valley to the west, then through a fissure in the rock, and shoots out from beneath the pavilion. Southward, it meets the stream from the valley to the east and flows into the pond. When it leaves the pond, it becomes the small stream mentioned earlier. The pavilion occupies a position upstream, just where the onrushing water and steep rocks confront each other, a most enjoyable site. But a wall was built behind it, so there is nothing further to see. I spent the night upstairs in the pavilion alone. Below my bed was the gurgling of water—"chan-chan "—throughout the evening. After a long while, the sounds became increasingly melancholy; it was all quite charming.

Exiting through the temple gate eastward ten or so paces, I came upon a rock terrace. Below, it extended to a steep cliff, which was deep, dark, dangerous, and inaccessible. I gazed to the southeast through a dense grove and saw a cascade from a rock cave in front shoot out into the air and then drop down for several tens of feet. The foam was like scattering pearls and exhaled mist: as the sunlight illuminated it, the luster was so striking that I couldn't look at it directly. The terrace occupies an open spot on the southwest of the mountain. In front it greets Reed Peak Mountain,[2] whose single peak soars handsomely while for several hundred li about peaks and pinnacles, high and low, one by one, are displayed before one's eyes.

As the sun drew near to the mountains on the west, its twilight rays glowed across the sky. Purple and emerald green intermingled—an indescribable sight. When I arose at dawn and looked down below, white clouds formed a river rising and falling like waves in the ocean. All the mountains, far and near, protruded through the middle. They seemed


to fly and float, back and forth, now surging, now engulfed. In but a short while, a myriad transformations occurred. East of the terrace, the path ended. Local people have cut stairs into the rock in order to pass. They have placed a shrine to the east of it In times of drought, they offer up prayers to it. Those who are frightened by the dangerous steepness dare not cross, though beyond this point there is nothing more worth viewing on the mountain anyway.

I traveled here with Liu Ch'ung-fu, Liu P'ing-fu,[3] Lü Shu-ching, and my cousin Hsü Chou-pin. We all wrote poems to mark the scenic spots. I also wrote this description of the sequence of sights. Those most worth viewing are the stone stairs, the small stream, the temple gate, the rock terrace, the West Pavilion, and the cascade. Because these places are so distinctive, I composed a short poem to record each one and offer them to my fellow travelers as well as to those who would like to journey here but cannot.



Yeh-lü Ch'u-ts'ai (1189–1243)
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Yeh-lü Ch'u-ts'ai, an ethnic Khitan descended from a son of the founder of the Liao dynasty, served the Chin and the Yüan dynasties as an important official. His father had been Right Aide in the Department of State Affairs under the Chin, and Yeh-lü Ch'u-ts'ai soon rose to vice-director in the Left and Right Offices of the same department. In 1215, the Mongols conquered Yen-ching (modern Peking), the Central Capital of the Chin, after a ten-month siege, the Chin emperor having previously fled southward to the Southern Capital at Pien-ching (modern K'ai-feng). Yeh-lü remained in Yen-ching, but the shock of the ensuing destruction and pillaging by the Mongols led him to retreat from the world to study Buddhism with the Ch'an master Wan-sung Hsing-hsiu (1166–1246). Three years later, in 1218, Chinggis Khan (r. 1206–1227) summoned Yeh-lü Ch'u-ts'ai to an audience at his camp in Mongolia; Yeh-lü quickly gained his confidence both as an able official who could aid the Mongols in administering their growing conquests and as a skilled astrologer.

From 1219 to 1224, Yeh-lü Ch'u-ts'ai accompanied Chinggis Khan on his Western Campaign, the goal of which was the defeat of Shan Mohammed II of Khwarazm (d. 1220). With fewer than one hundred thousand men, Chinggis destroyed the numerically superior Moslems, and Yeh-lü witnessed the capture of the wealthy cities of Bokhara and Samarkand in 1220. It was in Samarkand the following year that he became acquainted with another eminent traveler from China, the Taoist master Ch'iu Ch'u-chi (Ch'ang-ch'un, 1148–1227), head of the Ch'üan-chen sect. On Yeh-lü's recommendation, Ch'iu had been summoned by Chinggis Khan, who wished to hear him expound his religious views. Ch'iu so impressed Chinggis that the khan conferred



Yeh-lü Ch'u-ts'ai's Journey through the Western Region, 1218–1227


numerous privileges on him and his disciples, which emboldened the Taoists to seek control over their Buddhist rivals. Despite a surface cordiality between the two men, Yeh-lü, who believed in the underlying unity of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism, soon regretted his sponsorship of Ch'iu.

When Chinggis Khan returned to Mongolia in 1224, Yeh-lü remained for a while in the Western Region. He then rejoined Chinggis for his campaign against the Hsi-Hsia Kingdom before making his way back to Yen-ching in 1227. Although slighted by Mongol historians, he was highly regarded by the Chinese, who credited him with helping to arrange the succession of Ogödei (Emperor T'ai-tsung of the Yüan, r. 1229–1241) under whom he rose to secretariat director. A man of wide scholarly and literary interests, Yeh-lü Ch'u-ts'ai strove to civilize the victorious Mongols by persuading them to establish many administrative and economic institutions based on Chinese patterns. He also sought, when possible, to alleviate some of the cruelties of Mongol rule.

Yeh-lü Ch'u-ts'ai wrote Record of a Journey to the West in 1228 and privately printed it the following year. It consists of two distinct sections with a preface. The preface presents an argument against sectarian conflict and heterodoxy. The first section, which is translated here, is a report of the cities he visited; it is, in fact, one of the few extant descriptions of the Western Region in the centuries following Hsüan-tsang's account. The second, longer section, in the form of a dialogue, is an attack on the reputation of Ch'iu Ch'u-chi, in which Yeh-lü, as an eyewitness, offers ten specific criticisms of Ch'iu's character and dismisses claims about Ch'iu's spiritual and intellectual powers. This appears to have been the real motivation behind Yeh-lü's text, for as the abuses of the Ch'üan-chen sect grew, Yeh-lü felt obliged publicly to disassociate himself from the Taoists, something that became possible for him only after the deaths of both Chinggis Khan and Ch'iu Ch'u-chi in 1227. Around the same time, a detailed, hagiographical account of Ch'iu's journey, titled The Perfected Master Ch'ang-ch'un's Journey to the West (Ch'ang-ch'un chen-jen hsi-yu chi , ca. 1228–1230), appeared. It was written by his disciple Li Chih-ch'ang (1193–1278), an important Taoist prelate, and was designed to promote the interests of the Ch'üan-chen sect by recording the patronage of Chinggis Khan and the miracles performed by Ch'iu. (It was translated into English in 1931 by Arthur Waley as The Travels of an Alchemist .) Yeh-lü Ch'u-ts'ai may well have been aware of an early version of this work and decided to respond to its extravagant claims.

Yeh-lü's text was not widely disseminated after his lifetime,


perhaps because one of his sons was devoted to Taoism. The two parts were separated by later editors and reassembled only in 1926, when a complete version was discovered in Japan. Although Yeh-lü Ch'u-ts'ai describes his journey in terms of a string of cities, in many places the account does not reflect his actual itinerary. He mostly accompanied Chinggis Khan's camp and in between traveled back and forth between places on missions for the khan. One must thus rely on other sources, such as his poems and official histories, to suggest his probable route.

From Record of a Journey to the West

In the spring of the year wu-yin , the day after the moon reached its height in the third month [April 12, 1218], I, the Lay Scholar of Profound Clarity,[1] was commanded to be in attendance on a journey to the West. After the Imperial Army returned victoriously, in the winter of the year ting-hai [1227–1228], I was ordered to collect books and records, and my route brought me to Yen.[2] There, I was resting when a guest felicitously arrived and directly asked me, "Your journey to the West must have taken you over thousands of miles. Could I hear something of the events of this journey?"

I replied, "I set out from the Tomb of Eternal Peace, went through the Chü-yung Pass, passed through Wu-ch'uan, went forth east of Yün-chung, arrived north of the Celestial Mountains, traversed great sandhills, and crossed over the Desert.[3] In less than a hundred days, I reached the Traveling Court.[4] Mountains and rivers crisscrossed; how lush was the verdant land! The covered wagons were like clouds; the army, like rain drops. Horses and oxen covered the plains; foot soldiers and troops in armor emblazoned the sky. Fires and smoke viewed each other from afar; fortified camps stretched for thousands of miles. Never has there been such magnificence throughout all history!

"In the following year [1219], the Imperial Army commenced its Western Campaig,[5] the route passing through the Golden Mountains.[6] It was just at the height of summer, yet snow flew about on the mountain peaks and the accumulated ice was more than a thousand feet high. His Majesty commanded that the ice be cut through to create a road for the army. The springs in the Golden Mountains number somewhere in the many hundreds; pines and junipers reach the sky, while flowers and grass fill the valleys. I viewed it from the summit: all the peaks competed in beauty, streams struggled with each other to flow through the rugged ravines—truly a most magnificent view! West of the Golden


Mountains, the rivers all flow westward into the Western Ocean. Thus has Heaven defined the boundary between East and West!

"In the southern corner of the Golden Mountains is a city of the Uighurs called 'Beshbalik.'[7] It has a T'ang stele known as the 'Desert-Ocean Army Stele.'[8] The 'Desert-Ocean' is more than a hundred miles northwest of the city. There are 'islands' in this 'ocean' that are covered by the feathers left by birds. More than seventy miles west of the city is Bugur;[9] there is a T'ang stele there. One hundred seventy-five miles south of the city is Qoco, known as 'Kao-ch'ang' during the T'ang, also called 'I Prefecture.'[10] Around twelve hundred miles west of Kaoch'ang is the city of Khotan, known as the kingdom of Yü-t'ien during the T'ang.[11] The Black and White Jade rivers emanate from here.[12]

"After traveling about three hundred fifty miles beyond the Desert-Ocean Army Region, there is the city of Bolat,[13] which controls several other towns nearby. South of Bolat are the Dark Mountains,[14] which stretch for some three hundred fifty miles east to west and seventy miles north to south. On the summit is Round Lake,[15] around twentyfive miles in circumference. After passing Round Lake, descending to the south are groves of apple trees whose lush shade keeps out the sun. After coming out of the Dark Mountains, there is the city of Almalik.[16] When men of the Western Region saw these apple groves they called it 'Almalik,' for the entire surrounding area contains apple farms, and it is from these that it derived its name. It controls eight or nine cities where many grapes and pears can be found. They also raise the five kinds of grain,[17] just like in the Central Plains of China.

"Farther west is a great river named the 'I-lieh.'[18] West of this river is a city named 'Gus Ordo,' which was the site of the capital of the Western Liao dynasty.[19] It controls several tens of cities.

"Farther west more than a hundred miles is the city of Talas.[20] Farther southwest more than a hundred forty miles are the cities of Khojend, Pap, Kasan, and Pa-lan.[21] Khojend has many pomegranate trees; the fruits are as large as two hands clasped together, and are sweet with a tinge of sourness. Three to five pieces yield about one large cup of juice, excellent for quenching thirst. Beside the city of Pa-lan are pa-lan groves, hence the name. The flowers of the pa-lan are like those of the common apricot tree, but somewhat lighter in shade; the leaves are like those of the peach tree, but smaller. Every winter they blossom; by the height of summer, the fruit ripens. It is shaped like the flat peach, but the flesh is not fit to eat, only the pits are consumed. The large watermelons of Pa-p'u weigh as much as sixty-five pounds; a mule can carry only two at a time. Their flavor is sweet, cool, and delicious.

"About one hundred seventy-five miles farther northwest of


Khojend is the city of Otrar,[22] which controls more than ten neighboring cities. The leader of this city murdered our dynasty's ambassador and a number of his entourage as well as more than a hundred merchants, plundering their goods. This was the initial reason for this Western Campaign.

"More than three hundred fifty miles west of Otrar is a great city named 'Samarkand.'[23] 'Samarkand' means 'fertile' among the men of the Western Region, and this place was so named because of its fertile soil. The Western Liao named this city 'the Superior Prefecture of Hochung' because of its proximity to the river.[24] Samarkand is extremely rich. They use gold and copper coins without holes or raised edges; all merchandise is weighed out by scales. There are gardens everywhere in the surrounding outskirts, stretching for several tens of miles. Every house must have a garden, and these gardens are always fascinating in design. They all employ canals and fountains, square ponds, and round pools; cypresses grow next to willows, and peach trees intertwine with plum, creating one of the most impressive scenes today. Large melons are the size of a horse's head and long enough to contain a fox. Of the eight kinds of grain, they lack millet, glutinous rice, and soybeans, but they have all the others.[25] At the height of summer there is no rain, so they transport water by means of canals. Every third acre of land is irrigated with over two hundred gallons of water. They ferment grapes, the flavor resembling the 'Nine Fermentations Wine' of Chung-shan.[26] Though there are plenty of mulberry trees, few people know how to raise silkworms, so silk is extremely rare and they all wear cotton. The local people consider white an auspicious color, while black clothing is worn at funerals, so everyone wears white.

"Between two hundred and two hundred fifty miles west of Samarkand is the city of Bokhara.[27] The produce here is even more plentiful, and the cities and towns quite numerous. Samarkand was the capital of the Shan of the Moslems.[28] Bokhara, Khojend, and Otrar were subject to it.

"West of Bokhara is a great river named the Amu Darya, slightly inferior to the Yellow River, which flows west into the Great Sea.[29] West of this river is the city of Urgenj, where the mother of the Shan lived.[30] Its wealth surpasses that of Bokhara.

"Farther west along this great river is Bactria, which is quite prosperous.[31] Farther west is the city of T'uan, which is also magnificent.[32] In the city can be found many items made of lacquer that bear the mark of Ch'ang-an.

"I proceeded directly west of here, arriving at the city of Black India.[33] The people of this kingdom also have a written language, but it


differs in alphabet and sound from that used in the Buddhist kingdoms. There are many Buddhist statues throughout this kingdom. The people do not butcher cows or goats but do drink their milk. According to their custom, when the husbands die first, their wives are cremated together with them. I inquired about the location of the Buddhist kingdoms, and they indicated that they lay to the southeast. After investigation, I concluded that this kingdom is not northern India proper; the inhabitants are a border people on the north of India. The local inhabitants have never seen snow. There are two harvests of wheat every year. At the height of summer, they set out pewter utensils in the sand and are immediately able to solder them. When the dung of horses falls to the ground, it begins to boil. The moonlight shines down on people like the summer sun in the Central Plains of China. In the evening, they often escape the heat in the shadows of the moonlight. South of this kingdom is a great river as broad as the Yellow River, as cold as ice and snow, whose swirling current is swift and dangerous. It comes from slightly west of here and flows directly south and slightly east. I would reason that it must enter into the Southern Ocean. Furthermore, the land produces much sugarcane on fields as wide as those which grow millet. The local people squeeze out its juice, fermenting it into wine and boiling it to make sugar.

"Northwest of Black India is the kingdom of Kipchak.[34] For a thousand miles there are calm rivers everywhere without any hills. Ah, it is a strange place indeed! There are no cities, and the people mostly raise goats and horses. They make wine from honey, but the flavor is not too different from the wine of the Central Plains of China. In this kingdom, the days are long while the nights pass quickly. Before the shoulder of a lamb is fully cooked, the sun rises again. It tallies exactly with what the History of the T'ang Dynasty records about the kingdom of Quriqan;[35] however, the names of these kingdoms are different. Could it be that after so long a time, the sounds of these names have become confused? Samarkand is almost seven thousand miles from the Central Plains of China, India is the same distance from Samarkand, and Kipchak is the same distance from India.[36] Even though the road is circuitous and winding, I would not consider these places nearby, for they are I don't know how many tens of thousands of li away.

"When the year fell on chün-t'an [1224], the Imperial Army set forth on a campaign. The Hsi-Hsia had betrayed our trust and violated treaties,[37] so, in the second month of spring of the year ping-hsü [March 1226], the entire Six Armies attacked in successive waves and in one blow conquered it. Their leader was executed, but the common people were allowed to dwell in peace.


"Sha Prefecture and Kua Prefecture were established by the Han dynasty.[38] Su Prefecture is equivalent to Shan-shan.[39] Kan Prefecture is equivalent to Chang-yeh.[40] Ling Prefecture is equivalent to Ling-wu.[41] Ah! Traveling toward the horizon to the corner of the sea where no man ventures was indeed an extraordinary series of events. This, in general, was what I saw on my journey to the West."[42]


Yüan Hao-wen (1190–1257)
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Yüan Hao-wen, considered the greatest poet of the Chin dynasty, was from Hsiu-jung, T'ai-yüan (modern Hsin District, Shan-hsi). He traced his lineage back to a non-Chinese T'o-pa clan that ruled during the Northern Wei dynasty; he was also a descendant of Yüan Chieh. His uncle, who adopted him, served the Chin and often took the young Yüan Hao-wen with him to his posts. As a child of seven, he was already writing poetry and regarded as a prodigy. The period of his youth represented the peak of the Chin dynasty. In 1211, though, when he entered his twenties, the Mongol army under Chinggis Khan began to attack, capturing his home three years later. His elder brother was killed, and Yüan fled to safer areas, eventually settling for several years in present-day Ho-nan, where he compiled the first of a number of poetry anthologies preserving Chin literature. There followed about a decade of respite as Chinggis Khan shifted his attention toward Central Asia. The Chin appeared to revive and even gained military victories over the Southern Sung. After several attempts, Yüan Hao-wen became a Metropolitan Graduate in 1221, but he did not immediately hold office. In 1224, after passing the Literary Erudite examination, he was given the title of Gentleman Confucian and appointed to the Historiography Academy as a junior compiler. He served in various local offices for the next few years, during which he compiled works reflecting his study of the poetry of Tu Fu and Su Shih. In 1231, he was called to serve as an official in the capital, Pien-ching (modern K'ai-feng, Ho-nan), just before the Mongols renewed their attack. The city surrendered in 1233. During the collapse of authority, Yüan appealed in a letter to Yeh-lü Ch'u-ts'ai to intercede with the Mongols and spare some fifty-four leading cultural figures. Yüan himself was interned for


two years in Liao-ch'eng in what is today Shan-tung during which he began to compile an anthology of Chin poetry. Upon his release, he adopted the role of a survivor of a fallen dynasty. His literary and historical projects designed to preserve Chin culture were supported by certain Yüan dynasty officials, and he was free to travel widely in northern China gathering material. Much of his data was later used in the official History of the Chin Dynasty (Chin shih , 1343–1344).

Yüan Hao-wen left some 1,366 shih poems, 377 tz'u , and a considerable amount of prose. Even before entering government, he had attracted the notice of high officials with his early poetry expressing activist ambitions and with his critique of the poetry tradition. In general, he attempted to distinguish between "correct" and "heterodox" writers; he especially valued the sincerity of the poets of the Chien-an era (196–219) at the end of the Eastern Han dynasty, while he deplored subsequent styles based on courtly artifice and imitation. The poems of his middle period extended his realist focus to the events of dynastic collapse, the horrors of war, and the suffering of the common people. It was in his last phase that he turned to landscape poetry and wrote travel accounts based on his journeys to scenic places.

A Trip to Chi-nan was written in 1235, the year Yüan Hao-wen was released from internment. It is primarily in the documentary mode as the writer displays his erudition to record the famous mountains, springs, and other notable sites in a dignified, historical style. Interwoven are brief indications of his own movements and occasional lyric descriptions that convey an element of personal experience. As Yüan mentions at the end, he originally appended fifteen poems about his journey as well as ones by his friends; this piece, therefore, can also be considered in the genre of prefaces, even though its conventions are clearly those of the independent travel account.

A Trip to Chi-nan

When I was a child, I followed my adoptive father to Yeh District when he went to serve in office there.[1] We passed through Chi-nan, but I could remember only the general appearance of the city. As an adult, whenever I heard others talk of the scenic beauty of the region and its wealth of sights, I always regretted not being able to travel there.

In autumn, during the seventh lunar month of the year i-wei [July


17-August 15, 1235], it had already been some three years since I had come north of the Yellow River.[2] Then, I had occasion to go to Chinan on account of an old friend, Li Fu-chih, and I compiled this record of my travels over a twenty-day period for all those who enjoy such things.

First, I arrived at Ch'i-ho District, where I met Tu Chung-liang, and we both proceeded east. The mountains alongside the road were connected to the Supreme Mountain to the south, but this day it was overcast so I could not see it. When we reached Chi-nan, Fu-chih and his colleague Ch'üan Kuo-ch'i arranged a banquet at the original site of the Pavilion Below Mount Li.[3] This pavilion is located behind the Official Residence and has existed since the state of Ch'i during the Chou dynasty.[4] Nearby are pavilions named "Encircling Waves," "Magpie Mountain," "Northern Isle," "Misty Ripples," "Water's Fragrance," "Westerly Water," "Frozen Waves," and "Frolicking Seagulls."[5] Both a terrace and a bridge are called "Wonderland of a Hundred Flowers";[6] a hall is named "Quietude"; a waterside pavilion, "Famous Scholars."[7] Below Westerly Water Pavilion is a lake named "Brilliance," whose source is Shun's Spring.[8] It is so large that it occupies one third of the city's area. The autumn lotuses were just in full bloom, red and green interwoven like embroidery, making one think that in its vastness, one is seeing islands in the Wu region.[9] Indeed, when times were peaceful, no place could compare with Chi-nan's architecture. But after twenty years of chaos,[10] only thorns, brush, roof tiles, and rubble remain, just like the former Palace of Abundant Virtue in the Southern Capital,[11] which has lain in ruins for what looks like a century. Situated among streams, brooks, grass, and trees, it has taken on a certain charm of cold desolation and unobtrusive antiquity. Although once there were high roofs with painted beams, it can never be restored. Still, Nature's skill lives on; it never depends on exterior decoration, yet it continues to seem wonderful.

Near Northern Isle Pavilion, one can see five solitary peaks in the northwest. One is named "K'uangs' Mountain."[12] The Ch'i River Road begins below it. It is generally believed that Li Po once studied here. Another is named "Millet Mountain," and another, "Medicine Mountain," which derived its name from its "sun stone."[13] Another is named "Magpie Mountain." The mountain folks say, "Every year around the seventh or eighth lunar month, magpies gather on its top." There is yet another mountain similarly named "Season of Magpies." This is how they got their names.[14] And there is another named "Flower Calyx."[15] Li Po's poem goes,



Fig. 36.
Sailing on Bright Lake in Chi-nan . From Linch'ing,  Hung-hsüeh yin-yüan t'u-chi ,
vol. 1 (Peking: Pei-ching ku-chi ch'u-pan-she, 1984; rpt. of 1847 ed.).


In a former year, I traveled
   to the City Below Mount Li
   and climbed Flower Calyx Peak.
How majestic and flourishing this mountain:
   blue and emerald like a lotus.[16]

This poem is truly a portrait of Flower Calyx Peak.

Brilliance Lake flows out from North Water Gate, where it merges with Relief River and spreads out boundlessly.[17] I gazed at this mountain in the distance, and it seemed to be in the water as well. This is the most scenic point in the City Below Mount Li.

East of Flower Calyx Mountain is Recumbent Ox Mountain.[18] Directly east some fifty miles in the southern part of Tsou-p'ing District are the Long White Mountains.[19] It is where Fan Chung-yen's schoolhouse, also known as Collegiate Hall, is located.[20] More than three miles east of the range are North and South Marvelous Mountains. Min Tzu-ch'ien's grave is located between these two peaks.[21] To the southwest is Buddha's Head Mountain, at the foot of which is a temple.[22] West of Thousand Buddhas Mountain is Container Mountain, about seven miles long containing some ninety valleys.[23] It forms the northern foothills of the Supreme Mountain. The Supreme Mountain is as close to the city as thirty miles but is blocked from view by Container Mountain. On clear days, one can make it out faintly from Northern Isle Pavilion. Mount Li is about two and a half miles from the city. A stele on the mountain says, "This mountain, tall and extensive, produces an inexhaustible supply of timber." But today, it is just a flat-topped hill. In the southwest after a small gap there is Candle Mountain, which stretches east from the southern mountains, extending for some three hundred fifty miles until it connects with the mountainous isles in the sea.

Eruption Spring is in the southwest of the city.[24] It is the source of the Lo River.[25] The mountain streams converge at Thirsty Horse Cliff, where the water forms eddies and seems to stop flowing. But when it reaches the city, it surfaces as this spring. Some people who were curious once tested this by dropping some chaff in the water, and it proved to be so. Formerly, the water overflowed its banks; it was barely knee deep, so the spring would gush more than three feet high. But now, grass and trees obstruct the flow and its depth reaches from seven to about ten feet. Consequently, the spring only gushes two or three inches above the surface of the water.


Recently, a prefect changed the spring's name to "Fenced-in Spring" and built a "Fenced-in Spring Arch," alluding to a theme in The Book of Poetry .[26] But natives still call it "Eruption Spring" as before; Eruption Spring is also called "Leaping Spring," according to Tseng Kung.[27] Golden Thread Spring has a line like a golden thread undulating back and forth on the pool's surface.[28] Nowadays, located by the spring is the Cloister by Spirit Spring. The Taoist, Kao, has a marvelous talent for playing the ch'in zither. People call him "Zither Kao." He invited me to stay over for two nights. The Metropolitan Graduate Hsieh Fei-ch'ing enjoys fine company and takes pleasure in good deeds; he is a cordial, generous, and considerate man. He joined me in my travels for more than ten days and said that one day he saw what is called the "golden thread." Minister An-wen Kuo-pao said, "If one uses a bamboo pole to restrain the water so that it does not flow forth, one may be able to see it." Hsieh and I wandered back and forth to the spring again and again for three or four days, but we never saw it. Tu K'ang's Spring has been paved over, but a native was able to point out its location for me.[29] The spring is located below the western veranda of Shun's Temple. It is said that Tu K'ang had manufactured wine from this spring. Someone took some water from Cold Spring by the Long River and compared it.[30] Each sheng of Cold Spring water weighed twenty-four chu , but this spring's water was lighter by one chu . If it were used to brew tea, it would not prove inferior to any of the waters ranked by Lu Yü.[31]

There are two "Shun's Wells,"[32] and there is a poem by Ou-yang Hsiu engraved in stone in large characters. The chapter on "Springs in the City Below Mount Li" in Writings from the Sweet Dew Garden[33] says:

The source of the Relief River is quite distant. It begins at King's Chamber Mountain in Ho-tung,[34] where it is called the Yen River. It flows into the Ch'in Marsh,[35] where it sinks down into the ground, reemerging at Unity Mountain,[36] where it begins to be called "Relief." Therefore, "The Tributes of Yü" states that Yü led the course of the Yen River eastward.[37] It passes Wen District and the city of T'ui-ch'eng and enters the Yellow River, where it becomes a torrential flow at Hsing-yang, then it turns into whirlpools between Ts'ao and P'u. Then it flows out north of T'ao's Hill, merges with the Wen River, and passes north of the Lo River m the City Below Mount Li before flowing eastward.[38] Moreover, Relief River is considered a "tu "[39] —a great river that flows into the sea—together with the Long, the Huai, and the Yellow rivers, which arc similar in size and equally noble. It is because the Relief River is obstructed by the Grand


Row Mountains[40] and separated from the Yellow River that it flows into the sea on its own—otherwise it does not deserve to be called a "tu ." The paths of the Long, Huai, and Yellow rivers flow above the level of the land, demonstrating the constant nature of water, but the Relief River sometimes flows below the level of the land, showing the adaptable nature of water.

I like this concept of water as "adaptable" and "constant," for it matches my own mind on the subject. Therefore, I have transcribed this passage.

Pearl Spring[41] now lies within Drafter Chang's garden. Twenty years ago, my friend Lei Hsi-yen wrote a poem about it.[42] I realized the skillfulness of this poem only when I visited the spring myself. In all, there are seventy-two famous springs in Chi-nan. Eruption ranks as the best, then Golden Thread, and then Pearl. As for Jade Bracelet, Golden Tiger, Black Tiger, Willow Catkins, Imperial Glory, Carefree, Washing the Alms Bowl, and Crystal Pond,[43] it isn't that they lack beauty but that they cannot be equated with the top three springs. During this journey, I visited Eruption Spring six or seven times, stayed at the Cloister by Spirit Spring on three occasions, and made two excursions by boat on Brilliance Lake.

I then turned eastward and passed through wooden barricades on the river. The name of this waterway is Embroidery River,[44] and it originates at the foot of the Long White Mountains, winding its way around for ten or fifteen miles. Regional Councillors Chang Tzu-chün and Chang Fei-ch'ing entertained me with wine at the Embroidery River Pavilion. We floated on a boat through more than three miles of lotuses, and the songs we sang were in the old style of the capital. There were lively discussions, and the hearty drinking ended only when evening fell. I stayed there for five days and then returned. The road passed by the estate of Drafter Wang. By the side of the road was a stone inscription that read:

Epitaph of Ch'ien Chen written in the twelfth lunar month of the year ping-wu during the K'ai-huang era of the Sui dynasty [January 15–February 12, 587]: He was a man from Wu-ch'ang in Pa Commandery,[45] was well versed in the Three Teachings of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, and content to remain in the country, where he lived to a ripe old age.


The language of the inscription was crude and the character pa was written as szu , no doubt a popular confusion of similar characters passed down from the Northern Chou and Sui dynasties. It also said that he was buried west of Pao's Mountain, from which I could discern that the small hill to the southwest was Pao's Mountain.[46] I calculated the years from ping-wu , the sixth year of the K'ai-huang era of the Sui, to chia-wu [1234–1235] today: the stone stele has stood by the grave for 649 years.

South of the road was the Schoolhouse of Vice-Minister Chang Shan[47] of the Dragon Diagram Hall, who personally attended the Jentsung Emperor [r. 1022–1063]. The characters for "Schoolhouse" were written by Su Shih, and there was a regulated verse by Fan Ch'unts'ui,[48] both of which were engraved in stone. Chang Shan's courtesy name was Shu-wen.[49] He himself wrote,

After I began my career, whenever I visited my family while on official business, I would meet my nephews who lived in the countryside. We would get thoroughly drunk, stopping only' when we felt completely happy, and would note each time the month and the year.

Shu-wen gained a reputation for his writing and had a successful official career, but because of his fame he was able to return to visit his family only three times during his life. This is the degree to which a famous official must labor; it makes one sigh with regret.

I arrived at Chi-nan, where I stayed another two days, making an excursion by boat on Brilliance Lake. I waited for Tu Chung-liang, who failed to arrive. The next day, I took the Ch'i River Road. After a light rain, the peaks of the Supreme Mountain could all be clearly distinguished. On either side, small mountains could be seen, layers upon layers of them. Clouds and mist appeared and disappeared, but I had no time to observe it all. I regretted that no fine words came to me so that I might write them down.

In all, I was able to write fifteen poems, to which I add those written in response by my friends, transcribing them as follows.[50]



Fig. 37.
Geese Gate Pass . From  San-ts'ai t'u-hui  (1609), Richard C. Rudolph
East Asian Library, University of California, Los Angeles.


Ma Ko (fl. ca. 1224–1239)
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Ma Ko was born in Yü-hsiang (modern Yung-chi, Shan-hsi) and grew up in Lo-yang. Little is known of his life beyond what he states in this piece, but it was recorded that during the Cheng-ta era (1224–1231) toward the end of the Chin dynasty he withdrew to the mountains of Nei-hsiang in what is today Ho-nan, where he wrote poetry. His works gained him sufficient fame to attract students. With the establishment of the Yüan dynasty, he migrated north as far as Chüyen in present-day O-chi-na Banner, Inner Mongolia. In 1239, he attended the official examinations in Wu-ch'uan (modern Hsüan-hua, Ho-pei) and returned back north through the Hun-yüan Mountains in modern Shan-hsi. It was on this journey that he visited the home area of his friend Liu Ch'i (1203–1250), a former diplomat under the Chin, and met Wei Yü-feng, Liu's uncle and a recluse. Together with an unidentified friend named Kuo, they formed a travel party to explore the local scenery of Hun-yüan. Ma Ko's sensitive observations and original discussions reinforce an autobiographical thread running through the piece. The writer notes how what he viewed has engendered a change in his attitude toward the scenery of the northern frontier, hitherto considered inferior, and attempts to draw broad moral conclusions from his journey. This piece was preserved in Liu Ch'i's Memoirs from Retirement (Kuei-ch'ien chih ), a miscellany containing much valuable information about Chin culture and which became a source for the official History of the Chin Dynasty .


Dragon Mountain

I was born amidst the Central Chain Mountains, Mandarin Valley, and Five Elders Mountain.[1] For a long while, I served my parents. I traveled west to view Lotus Mountain. Then I wound my way east to visit Lo-yang, where I made my home to escape the turmoil. I had long grown tired of climbing such peaks as Lady's Table, Wu-ch'üan, and White Horse;[2] I had had my fill of their summits and exhausted their secluded depths.

After the change of dynasties[3] I traveled from Geese Gate, crossing over the northern part of Generation Ridge.[4] The scenery suddenly took on a different look. Many mountains blocked the way, their color everywhere was like dead ashes. Even the grasses and trees lacked the appearance of greenery. I have often felt a profound sense of melancholy, sighing over the division of north and south, which is not limited to just this mountain range. When the subterranean arteries of energy are severed, does it not appear completely disrupted like this?[5]

I then went to live for a while at Chü-yen.[6] My friend Liu Ch'i of Hun-yüan[7] had sent me a poem extolling the scenic beauty of the springs, rocks, forests, and foothills of his native place. Hun-yüan is actually north of Tai District, so at first I was doubtful of his claims. Nevertheless, my friend always wrote with future readers of the world in mind, so he would not have exaggerated. I only regretted that I had not yet traveled there.

In the summer of this year [1239], I went to Wu-ch'uan[8] to take the official examination, and on my return followed the route of the Turbid River.[9] I called on the honorable Wei Yü-feng. He was dressed casually in ordinary attire and received me in a front chamber. Before we had begun to talk in depth, he suddenly turned to speak of the various mountains in the vicinity: "I have already been to South Mountain and Cypress Mountain[10] but have missed the magnificent scenery of Dragon Mountain. Such an occasion requires some literary men as companions. Luckily you have arrived. This is indeed a pleasure!" So we chose an auspicious day and made preparations, inviting along some friends. Setting out on horseback, we traveled more than three miles southwest from the district seat before reaching the base of the mountain.

The mountain has no foothills. Immediately upon entering the valley, we found nothing extraordinary. As we followed along a stream, winding our way for about a mile, the plants and trees gradually appeared more flourishing. The mountain magnificently arose, exposing its blade. As the tinkling sound of water reverberated between two


peaks, I began to appreciate how extraordinary it all was. We then rambled over the mountain for more than three miles to where four mountains suddenly converged and seemed to bow politely as they encircled and protected us. Fine trees and rare plants covered them, a luxuriant viridian suffused with fragrance. The wind began to blow through the tips of the branches, agitating and jolting them. Mountain and trees seemed to exchange glances while falling, frightening me out of my wits and causing me to feel dizzy. We traveled about a mile farther and found a spring that was deep and limpid, that lingered and accumulated. It emerged from the ground through a fissure in the rock, then it became excited and flowed rapidly on. Dense trees shaded its head, thick grasses entangled its feet. My companions wanted to rest here and they all said, "This place is perfect." So we got off our horses, parted the grass, and sat down upon the rocks. Some students warmed up wine and served it to us. After several rounds, one guest pointed to a large rock to the west, saying, "This is where we could leave an inscription." I was appointed. I took up a brush and wrote down each traveler's name and the date of our journey here.

We traveled more than three miles farther, taking a coiling trail up each peak and a winding path along each stream. The mountain's form became increasingly fantastic and precipitous, while the forest expanded—fir, juniper, and cypress, with none of the ordinary species. The flowers by the stream were of many kinds—embossed with gold, laced with white jade. Aromatic fragrances entered my nostrils, suffused from a distance and quite delightful. Creepers and pine needles clung to my clothes. We meandered for another mile or so until we came across a high hill, which we climbed up, for our horses' strength was not up to the task. We descended through a lush forest for another two and a half miles. Two ridges seemed to have been cleft to form the path between them. In the middle was a Buddhist monastery named "Temple of the Great Clouds." A number of monks came out to greet us and invited us in. We stayed in the Eastern Pavilion of the temple. Forests, peaks, trees, and rocks were arranged in order like the teeth of a comb, extending straight as a railing; and all of this was spread out below our seats. We rested past noon, then paid a call on the Abbot Ying. Together, we hiked up the western range to Mañjusri's[*] Cliff. Many tall firs stood erect in front of the cliff, and there were steps projecting out from it. I gazed down below at the bottomless ravine: awesome peaks and fantastic rocks, spiked and steep, skillfully grappling with one another. When I tried to approach the edge, my hair stood on end and I felt chilled to my bones.

To the south, I saw the peaks of Five Terraces Mountain[11] looking


as if joined together without a gap. I looked to the northwest: a peak became visible; a river, clearly defined. Villages and towns were somewhat obscured in the distance, arranged like a formation of chess pieces. I walked about for quite some time. I climbed up to the Abbot's Quarters to the west and looked at the poem engraved on a rock by the former Marquis and Transport Commissioner, Lei Szu,[12] as well as inscriptions left by Liu Ch'i and others. Returning by way of North Ridge, I climbed to Day Lily Slope, which is the summit of Dragon Mountain. The mountaintop is steep and inaccessible: no road leads up to it. I hiked through the grass, which was thick, soft, and quite slippery. I had to cling to branches and grasp hold of vines, becoming extremely fatigued before reaching the top. From there, I gazed in all directions at the mass of trees, all emerald firs and blue-green junipers reaching the clouds a thousand feet high, as infinite as the mountain itself. This spot provided a complete view of Dragon Mountain's scenic beauty.

We descended and again sat below Mañjusri's[*] Cliff, where we set out some wine and drank a bit. After the sunset, a light mist and floating clouds blended with the evening color. In a while, the moon appeared. Its cold, dim light spread over the rocks. The sound of pine trees arrived from a myriad ravines. The guests were all startled when they looked, becoming hushed as they listened. I felt my thoughts wander ever farther as the surroundings became more pure. After a while, we said to each other, "Could there be any pleasure in the world greater than this?" We became drunk from the wine and engaged in a swarm of disputations. Each asserted the superiority of the scenery of his native place. Kuo maintained that Lotus Mountain was best; Liu, this place; I, Mandarin Valley and Five Elders Mountains, as we derided and criticized each other without conceding anything. Yü-feng occupied the seat of honor and enjoyed a laugh at this scene. For it was just what The Book of Poetry meant by

Oh, how he could ridicule
Without becoming cruel![13]

During the second watch [9:00–11:00 P.M.], we returned and slept in the Eastern Pavilion.

At dawn, we came back. Each wrote a poem, which was inscribed


on a rock. Luncheon was hosted by the abbot in his quarters. Afterward, we followed along the ridge eastward. The path was quite narrow, for the trees grew extremely dense: it was only wide enough for horses to pass through. After another two and a half miles we arrived at the Temple of the Jade Spring. The form of the mountain gradually sloped, the trees gradually thinned out. Here, it hardly compared with Dragon Mountain. The peak to the west of the temple is called "Observation Terrace." It is quite dangerous, and the abbot led the ascent. We made our way up its towering heights, sat down on huge rocks beside which all the peaks stood in an array, some crouching, some erect, some about to tumble, some grouping together, and some separating. They proffered their fantastic qualities and displayed their unusual appearances of every kind. To the north, I gazed at the mouth of the river, which was so very wide. Solid cities and broad plains neatly demarcated could be clearly distinguished. The Mulberry River wound about them like a chüeh-disc .[14] I looked out over this and felt expansive, for this is the most scenic place by the Temple of the Jade Spring.

From here we returned along a road so steep that we could not ride on it; we had to descend by foot all the way down. We crossed a series of streams and lofty ridges, which appeared more and more fantastic as we advanced. By evening we had finally reached fiat ground and spent the night at the Li family's lodge.

As I lay down, I could not fall asleep, for I thought about the wealth of experiences during this journey and compared them with what I had seen on other trips in the past. This mountain lacks the majesty of Lotus Mountain, the intricate beauty of Five Elders, the attractive dignity of Lady's Table, and the disciplined severity of Wuch'üan and White Horse. But this mountain is by no means lacking in a sense of mystery and profundity, and in forests luxuriant and abundant, which cannot be exhausted in a single viewing. It is, no doubt, human nature to choose this and reject that, to use what one had seen and not what one has not seen. This is a universal shortcoming. Recently the prime minister, the Lay Scholar of Profound Clarity, wrote about the Western Region and praised the exquisiteness of the Golden Mountains.[15] Li Tzu-wei, in a letter to his friend, discussed the scenic beauty of Karakoram as surpassing that of the Central Plains.[16] I wonder how many Dragon Mountains exist along the six coordinates between Heaven and Earth.[17] I observed this mountain and have gained something from it. But my literary ability is shallow and narrow;


moreover, my journey was all too hasty, so that I have failed to express fully the secrets of this landscape. Another time, I will take along two or three companions and, wrapping simple cloth around my head and grasping a bramble staff, travel about at random, stopping frequently whenever I find a beautiful spot. Furthermore, I will bring paper and brush along with me and write down whatever comes to me. Then I might come close to capturing a likeness of this mountain.



Chou Mi (1232–1298)
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Many writers and poets since the T'ang have mentioned the tidal bore along the Ch'ien-t'ang River as an awesome phenomenon. Known to Westerners during the last century and a half as the "Hangchow Bore," it is a series of high waves that occurs near the first and middle of each month, with an average crest height of five to six feet. The two occurrences nearest the spring and autumn equinoxes, however, can reach a height of eighteen to twenty-five feet. These events used to be the cause for festivities; here, Chou Mi vividly describes the autumnal one in the eighth lunar month during the Southern Sung.

Chou Mi's family originated in Chi-nan in what is today Shantung, but they migrated to Wu-hsing in present-day Che-chiang after the fall of the Northern Sung. Chou Mi was able to enter official service at the end of the Southern Sung thanks to privileges accorded his father, a poet, art collector, and bibliophile who had served as magistrate of Fu-ch'un in modern Che-chiang. Chou Mi also became a magistrate in I-wu, modern Che-chiang, in 1276 but resigned when the Mongol armies arrived. During his lifetime, he was best known as a writer of tz'u and shih poetry, especially the former. Many of his pieces are "descriptions of objects" (yung-wu ) in the formalist style, which emphasized elevated diction and careful attention to metrics. He largely ceased writing these after the fall of the dynasty. Following the unification of the country under the Yüan in 1279 he remained in retirement as a Sung loyalist and moved to Hang-chou when his family business burned down in Wu-hsing. His later years were spent preserving Sung literature and culture. He also wrote several unofficial histories, including Recollections of Wu-lin (Wu-lin chiu-shih , ca. 1280), an



Fig. 38.
Observing the Tidal Bore . From Hai-nei ch'i-kuan  (1610), Deutsche Staatsbibliothek, Berlin.


extensive and detailed record of life in the Southern Sung capital. It contains a variety of short descriptions such as this one, in addition to poems, lists of noteworthy things, and selections from other sources covering not only court life but also popular culture, scenic places, and the daily life of the common people.

Today, the height of the tidal bore has diminished because of dams, and it can no longer be seen from the city as in the past. One must travel forty miles away to Hai-ning on Hang-chou Bay for the best view; there, the sixty-mile wide bay narrows to two miles and the incoming tide confronts the outgoing flow of the Ch'ien-t'ang River.

From Recollections of Wu-lin: Observing the Tidal Bore
(ca. 1280)

The tidal bore on the Che River[1] is one of the great sights of the world. It reaches its full force from the sixteenth to the eighteenth of the month. When it begins to arise far away at Ocean Gate,[2] it appears but a silver thread; but as it gradually approaches, it becomes a wall of jade, a snow-laden ridge, bordering the sky on its way. Its gigantic roar is like thunder as it convulses, shakes, dashes, and shoots forth, swallowing up the sky and inundating the sun, for its force is supremely vigorous. Yang Wan-li described this in a poem:

The ocean surges silver to form a wall;
The river spreads jade to gird the waist.[3]

As in every year, the governor of the capital appeared at the Che River Pavilion[4] to inspect the navy. Warships in the hundreds were arrayed along both banks. Suddenly, they all rushed to divide into "quintuple formation." Moreover, there was equitation, banner waving, spear juggling, and sword dancing while afloat, just as on land. In an instant, yellow smoke arose on all sides, and people could barely see each other. The explosions on the water were deafening and earthshaking; the sounds were like those of mountains collapsing. When the smoke dispersed and the waves calmed, there was not a trace of a hull: all the "enemy ships" had been burned by fire and had disappeared under the waves.


There were several hundred youths of Wu who were expert at swimming. They had loosened their hair and had tattoos on their bodies. In their hands they held colored banners some twenty feet in size and raced against each other with the utmost exertion, swimming against the current, floating and sinking in the leviathan waves a myriad jen high. Their leaping bodies executed a hundred different movements without getting the tail of the banners even slightly wet—this was how they showed off their skill. Prominent commoners and high officials competed to bestow silver prizes.

Up and down along the river banks for more than three miles, pearls, jade, gauze, and silk flooded the eyes; horses and carriages clogged the roads. Every kind of food and drink cost double the normal price, and yet, where viewing tents were rented out, not a bit of ground was left for even a mat. The palace viewed the scene, as customary, from Nature's Picture.[5] From this high terrace, the bird's-eye view made it all appear as if in the palm of one's hand. The people of the capital gazed up at the yellow canopies and feathery fans above in the empyrean, just as if it were the Flute Terrace or the Island of P'eng-lai.[6]


Teng Mu (1247–1306)
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Teng Mu was born in Ch'ien-t'ang (modern Hang-chou, Che-chiang) and was active as an intellectual at the end of the Southern Sung. He is said to have been critical of the dynastic decline, and even envisioned a utopian society in which the people ruled themselves without officials. At the age of thirty-two, upon the collapse of the Sung, he retired to nearby Great Purification Mountain (Ta-ti-shan), regarded by Taoism as the Thirty-fourth Celestial Cave. There, he dwelled in a Taoist temple and maintained his opposition to the Yüan dynasty as a Sung loyalist. It was during this period that he became an avid traveler to scenic places. Among his close friends was Chou Mi.

Snow Gorge Mountain (Hsüeh-tou-shan), at 2,640 feet above sea level, is the peak of a range adjoining Four Brilliances Mountain (Szuming-shan) in the west of modern Feng-hua, Che-chiang. It was the site of one of the ten major Ch'an Buddhist temples during the T'ang, and later attracted literary travelers such as Wang An-shih, who wrote a poem on viewing its waterfall. The mountain derived its name from the effect of the waterfall, which, as Teng Mu mentions, resembles falling snow.

Snow Gorge Mountain

It was in late spring of the year kuei-szu [1293] that I traveled to Eastern Yung.[1] I had heard that the scenery of Snow Gorge Mountain surpassed all other mountains and so I went to view it.

On the twenty-fourth [May 1], I boarded a boat on Stone Lake and



Fig. 39.
Snow Gorge Mountain . From  Ku-chin t'u-shu chi-ch'eng  (1725), Gest Oriental Library, Princeton University.


sailed about eight and a half miles down past North ... Embankment,[2] reaching the river. I journeyed on the river rounding many turns before reaching its mouth. Then I headed west. A large bridge spanned the stream, and there was a structure on top of it. We passed beneath the bridge into the stream and, after many turns, reached Mouth-of-the-Spring. The passage of boats always depends on the rise and fall of the tides. At high tide, they can travel more than ten miles in an instant. But when the tide is out, human labor must be used to pull the boats along, making it arduous and slow. First, the wide stream curved closely around the mountains through a gorge deep and secluded. There was a place called "Transcendent's Cliff," which is a huge rock beside the water like someone seated with his legs hanging down. There was a place called "Golden Cock Cave." Legend has it that while men were quarrying rock from the mountain, a golden cock cried out and flew away. I don't know what year this occurred in.

The water grew increasingly shallow, and the boat could not be pulled any further. I had to travel more than two miles by land before arriving at the Temple of the Medicine Buddha.[3] The temple is built against Purple Fungus Mountain. Many of the monks here are literate, unlike those in the cities. I passed two nights here, then followed a small stream and came out again to the left of the mountain. As I crossed over the stream, the mountains encircled me on all four sides. I looked into the distance at this white snake twisting and turning as it flowed down toward the large gorge. The stream probably emanates from a ravine. Mulberry patches and wheat fields adjoined each other, above and below. A farmer's house was hidden amid bamboo and trees. Woodcutter boys and ox-herding boys shouted and chased each other, truly creating a scene out of a painting. I wished to ask about the names of the places I was passing through, but the sedan chair bearers were rustic fellows and I could not understand their Wu dialect too well. Sometimes, they tried hard to answer me, sometimes their responses did not fit my questions. I only obtained answers to two or three out of ten.

Next I crossed a wide stream over a bridge of wooden planks joined end to end. It was more than three feet wide and about one hundred paces long. Only the country folk can cross it with great speed. I reached the city of Hsi-k'ou.[4] Many of the large residences were abandoned. Yet the sound of reciting texts emanated from the wings of some of them. I listened for a long while, unable to identify which book it was. Could it have been The Rabbit Garden Manual ?[5]

Slowly, I ascended, climbing through the forest at the foot of the mountain. The path became increasingly steep, then I saw the pine


forest below my feet. Pollen, encountering the wind, was blown about, becoming a yellow dust that stuck fast to my clothes. No other fragrance is so pure.

I crossed two hills. On the first, there was a pavilion right across the path. The characters "Snow Gorge Mountain" were written in lacquer. From the inner depths of the mountain I looked up at the sky, but it was so narrow that I felt as if I had fallen into a well. Suddenly, when I came out beyond the forest's edge, the view opened up, becoming bright and clear. I could see thirty miles in a glance.

The next pavilion was called "Hidden Elegance," screened off by a myriad fir trees. The sounds of the stream wafted around the foot of the pavilion before leaving the mountain. The next one was called "Winter Flowers." Many inscriptions had been left there, which I had no time to read. Several paces away, just opposite, was the Pavilion for Washing Jade. It is built over a spring whose opening is small, yet it is possible to draw water from it, which is sweet to the taste. And next came a grand pavilion that the road goes straight through before forking. Imperial calligraphy from the former dynasty, "The Famous Mountain Which Appeared in Our Dream," was written above and engraved in stone below. Emperor Li-tsung had traveled to a faraway place in a dream.[6] When he commanded that paintings of all the famous mountains in the world be submitted to him, this was found to have been the place. I turned sharply to the left onto a path through pine trees. The path led directly to Snow Gorge Temple.[7] I made a turn to the right and entered. On the road beside a bridge there was a pavilion named "Brocade-edged Mirror." Below the pavilion is a round pond with a straight path to it more than a hundred feet in length. Crabapple trees had been planted around the pond. When in bloom, they cast their reflections around the edge of the water so brilliantly that it resembles brocade, hence the name. Passing the pavilion, I followed a small path and arrived right at the temple, though it followed a circuitous way. The abbot, Shao-yeh, was famous for his poetry. He set out wine and food to refresh his guests and we chatted about old friends in Ch'ien-t'ang. He urged me to pass the night, but I foresaw that it was going to rain the next morning so I didn't stay over.

After leaving the temple from the right side we climbed Thousand Chang Cliff. A waterfall issues forth from Brocade-edged Mirror. It dropped down a sheer wall of rock into an unfathomably deep pond. I walked out to the edge of the cliff and, grasping hold of a tree, peered down. It made my eyes dizzy and my heart skip a beat. At first, the water resembled a large piece of white satin, but when it encountered the cliff it spurted forth like rapidly falling snow flying about. Thus, on


top there is a "Flying Snow Pavilion." I rested at this pavilion and felt intoxicated. I wanted to engage in Pure Conversation and discuss Mystical Learning. Words rose in my throat and I was about to utter them, but there was no one around intelligent enough for me to converse with. Then I thought of my lifelong friends and felt disappointed for a long while.

The rice fields before the temple are ample and extensive. Surrounded by mountains and forests, it seemed like being on fiat ground. Yet to the side I saw villages several thousand feet below, while, looking up, I could see peaks and summits equally far away.

Next was Marvelously High Terrace, where lofty rocks thrust out from the edges of cliffs. Looking down, I observed the foot of the mountain, which appeared enclosed, so that I could not see the route we had taken here. When I gazed around at all the other mountains, some were violet, others viridian; some, like inverted basins, others, like discarded caps, like dragons leaping, like animals crouching. I could not describe every shape. On the distant ones, mist floated upward toward the clear sky like a virgin at her most captivating age, when she moves her eyebrows revealingly. Although she may not intend anything by it, it is naturally provocative. Every place I climbed or ascended to provided a dazzling scenic view.

A local told me, "There is also a 'Little Snow Gorge,' a 'Tin Temple,' and a 'Celestial Cave of the Four Brilliances.'" But I had already exhausted my enthusiasm and had no more time to journey to these places.[8]


Sa-tu-la (Sa T'ien-hsi, ca. 1300-ca. 1380)
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Sa-tu-la, whose Chinese name was Sa T'ien-hsi, was a Moslem, his family originating in Central Asia. His grandfather and father had gained favor with the Mongols because of their military prowess and were stationed in the area of present-day Shan-hsi. Sa-tu-la was born in Yen-men (modern Tai District, Shan-hsi). Though his family was poor, Sa-tu-la managed to travel to central China and the lower Yangtze areas. In 1327, he became a Metropolitan Graduate and held a series of low-ranking posts in the Yüan dynasty. Known as an upright official who sought to alleviate economic suffering, he was demoted when, as an administrator in the Chiang-nan Censorate, he impeached a powerful official. It was also said that he joined the cause of Fang Kuo-chen (1319–1374), a powerful local warlord in southeast China. From 1348 to 1367, Fang alternatively revolted against the Mongols and then reached accommodations with them before eventually surrendering to Chu Yüan-chang (1328–1398), thunder of the Ming dynasty. Sa-tu-la traveled widely with companions such as the Taoist Leng Ch'ien (ca. 1310-Ca. 1371), who was also an acquaintance of Liu Chi (1311–1375). He is believed to have later retired to Hang-chou and to have lived to the age of eighty.

Sa-tu-la, like Yeh-lü Ch'u-ts'ai, was an example of a talented nonHan Chinese who made distinctive contributions to Chinese literature under the Mongols. He is best remembered for his poems about the landscapes of the Long River and the northern frontier, all furnished with keenly observed detail, as well as for poems celebrating leisure, reclusion, and religious transcendence. In addition, he wrote some pieces about social and political matters. He was also a writer of



Fig. 40.
The Feng-hsien Temple Grotto at Dragon Gate (built 672–675). Photograph from  Lungmen shih-k'u  (Peking, 1961).

nostalgic tz'u poems and a calligrapher skilled in the regular mode.

Dragon Gate (Lung-men) is located about four miles from the modern city of Lo-yang, Ho-nan. It is a complex of Buddhist caves, sculptures, and pagodas begun around 493 when the Northern Wei moved their capital to Lo-yang. Over a period of four hundred years, some 2,100 caves were hollowed out and decorated with more than 100,000 Buddhist images and 3,600 inscriptions; there were also some forty pagodas. Nearby is the tomb of Po Chü-i. Though severely


damaged in places over the centuries, Dragon Gate is still an impressive site of monumental proportions.

As a Moslem, Sa-tu-la came from a religious background notably hostile to Buddhism and its use of images. Traveling to view the awesome and costly religious monuments at Dragon Gate provokes the writer to argue that such expenditures of wealth not only are futile, but they violate the ascetic and transcendental values of Buddhism. In this highly expository piece, Sa-tu-la appears impervious to the aesthetic


qualities of the sculptures and to their historic value as a legacy of an age of faith.

Dragon Gate

About eight miles south of Lo-yang are two mountains facing each other, sheer cliffs with rock walls, called Dragon Gate. The I River flows out between them northward into the Lo River. It is also called the "I Gatetowers." This is where Yü is said to have diverted the river through the I Gatetowers.[1]

At the foot of these two mountains, several springs extremely pure and cold issue forth from crevices in the rocks; only three springs north and then slightly east are hot during the winter months: these are called the "Hot Springs." West and then slightly north, below the river bank, is a pool, extremely deep. According to legend, there is a divine animal living in it, so it is called "Black Dragon Pool." Along both river banks, men in the past bored into the rock to make large caves and small shrines no less than one thousand in number. They sculpted out of the rock sacred images of various Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Mahasattvas, Arhats, Indestructibles, Heavenly Kings, and Dharma-protecting Gods. There are full-length statues and busts projecting from the cliff. The large ones are some sixteen feet tall; the smallest ones are but slightly more than an inch. Those seated cross-legged, standing, and in attendance are also no less than ten thousand in number. But all of these stone statues were damaged long ago. They have been defaced by people. Some have heads broken off, some have lost their bodies; their noses, ears, hands, and feet are missing, either partially or completely. The gold and jade ornaments have been scraped off: few are completely intact.

In the past, there were eight temples; not one remains today. The summit of the eastern cliff has two sites with piles of stones; the others cannot be identified. There are many stone steles. Most are lying on the ground; only one or two remain standing. The inscriptions, all sayings of Buddha, were obliterated and cannot be read. I had no time to determine their origin. From observing their design, it would seem that they were not produced in a single period. The cost of such efforts must be unknown millions. Undoubtedly, the largest sculptures must have been commissioned by sovereigns; the next size must have been by princes,


dukes, and other members of the aristocracy; and the next size must have been commissioned by wealthy persons, in order for them to have been created.

Although I am ignorant of Buddhist books, I have heard that Sakyamuni[*] was a sage from the Western Region who was born in a royal palace, the crown prince of a country. He abandoned his noble status and took up a humble life, forsaking his grand residence for a lowly abode, abandoning elegant beauty for unadorned clothes, disliking the rich and attractive while preferring the plain and simple. He practiced through strict discipline to attain Buddhahood. In his own words: "no self-existing characteristics"; "all forms are empty"; "joy in nirvana."[2] His mind was totally devoid of desires, so how could he have wanted to waste other people's wealth, exhaust their energies, chisel and carve into the structure of mountains, mutilate their Primal Energy, and take senseless rocks, decorate them with gold, and paint them in colors in order to frighten people?

Indeed, those who practice Buddhism are following false views and are confused as to the truth. Already deluded, they say that the highest degree of splendor is necessary to make man reverential and pay homage to the power of Buddha. Moreover, they manipulate the theories of reincarnation and cause-and-effect to say that wealth and nobility, poverty and degradation, longevity or early death, intelligence or stupidity, all result from a former existence, and that whatever one receives in this life is due to this. If one would only engage in such-andsuch practices and perform such-and-such charities, one could escape the evils of Hell and seek blessings in Heaven, obtaining good karma in future lives. But the past cannot be seen, and the future is unknown. This misleads people along a dim and murky path. So those enthusiastic followers of Buddhism become mired in these theories, unwittingly believing in them deeply and willingly accepting such delusions, to the extent where they commit suicide, set fire to their arms, and disperse their wealth so as to attain ultimate merit.

If Buddhahood were gloriously manifest in the world, those who achieve it would certainly be rewarded and those who harm it would certainly receive retribution. The eight temples here would be standing in imposing grandeur. All the statues would be well maintained. There would be morning bells and evening drumwatches. The priesthood would celebrate and praise the Buddha. Votive lights would stretch without end. Yet how could these edifices be overgrown with weeds, the statues damaged or destroyed, everything desolate and silent like this? It is not realized that Buddha praised as a humane king him who


feels kindness and compassion in his heart, who benefits all living things, who certainly does not pursue selfish interests and bring down calamities on the people, and, moreover, who does not glorify such images to deceive people.

I have therefore recorded a general description of this place and then added an essay on it in order to dispel the confusion of Buddhists. Furthermore, I wish to caution those who practice Buddhism not to violate their master's doctrines by seeking Buddhahood in external things while not seeking the Buddha within. By illuminating the mind and seeing into one's nature, one can come closer to being a disciple of the Buddha.[3]


Sung Lien (1310–1381)
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When Chu Yüan-chang, the future Emperor T'ai-tsu of the Ming (r. 1368–1398), conquered Chin-hua Prefecture in present-day Chechiang in 1359, he interviewed the Confucian scholar Sung Lien. Impressed by Sung's broad learning, he appointed him director of the local academy. In April 1360, Chu invited Sung Lien and other scholars to Nanking to serve in his government. Sung was appointed Provincial Director of Confucian Studies and Tutor to the Heir Apparent, becoming a personal advisor to Chu Yüan-chang, an influential advocate of Ancient Style prose and one of the outstanding scholars of the early Ming.

This piece, written after his arrival in Nanking, records a journey of two days on Bell Mountain (Chung-shan). The mountain, some 1,450 feet high, is a long, coiling formation with three peaks located in the eastern part of the city. It was recognized by the prime minister of Shu-Han, Chu-ko Liang (181–234), as one of the strategic points of the city when he spoke of "Bell Mountain, a coiling dragon and the Stone Citadel, a crouching tiger." During the Six Dynasties period, it was the site of more than seventy Buddhist temples. It was later selected for the tomb of Chu Yüan-chang and other important figures because of its protective geomantic influences. Sung Lien recorded Nanking's past role as a capital, and his account is replete with descriptions of the historical sites on Bell Mountain. The piece, indeed, is among the more learned of travel accounts; it reflects the increasing tendency of Ming and Ch'ing travel writers to perceive a place as defined by the enduring presence of its past. It also conveys a yearning to dwell reclusively in Nature apart from public life, as Sung Lien did in his earlier years. He subsequently went on to serve as chief editor of the History of the Yüan



Fig. 41.
Nanking . From San-ts'ai t'u-hui  (1609), Richard C. Rudolph East Asian Library, University of California, Los
Angeles. The city appears as it looked during the late Ming. Bell Mountain is located in the upper right.


Dynasty (Yüan shih , 1369–1370) as well as Han-lin Academician Recipient of Edicts, a post m which he was involved in drafting imperial documents. Despite his prestige and close relations with the emperor, he was demoted several times; each time, however, he managed to regain Chu Yüan-chang's favor. In 1379, though, he was implicated in the treason case of the prime minister, Hu Wei-yung (d. 1380) and was exiled to remote Szu-ch'uan. He died on his journey there.

Bell Mountain

Bell Mountain is also known as "Golden Mount."[1] At the end of the Hah dynasty, the Commandant of Mo-ling, Chiang Tzu-wen,[2] died at the foot of this mountain while pursuing bandits. The August Emperor of Wu enfeoffed him as "Marquis Chiang."[3] Since the personal name of the August Emperor's grandfather was "Chung" [Bell], which became taboo, he further named this mountain "Chiang's Mountain," that it should serve as a guardian of the capital of the Yang Region.[4] This is the place which Chu-ko Liang referred to as "Bell Mountain, a coiling dragon."[5]

On the day kuei-mao , in the second lunar month of the year hsin-ch'ou [March 28, 1361], I set out on a journey there with Liu Po-wen and Hsia Yün-chung.[6] During the hours of ch'en [7:00–9:00 A.M.], we departed through the East Gate and passed by the Temple in Gratitude for Tranquillity at Halfway Mountain. The temple was the former residence of Wang An-shih.[7] The Hill of His Excellency Hsieh stood hidden at the rear of the site.[8] To the west, it faced an earthen mound. This mound was probably the spot where a canal was dug to drain water into the river by the city wall when Wang An-shih fell ill from the humidity. To the south was Lu Hsiu-ching's Dogwood Garden and the Broad View Park of the Crown Prince of Literary Wisdom during the Ch'i dynasty.[9] The white mist cooling the grass, everything overgrown and drooping, made me linger, unwilling to leave. Alongside the road were many venerable pines: some were like emerald canopies, tilted or upturned; some had coiling bodies and uplifted heads, resembling a king viper attacking a man; some were as nimble as wild gibbons stretching out their arms to drink from a waterfall. Legend has it that originally there were few trees here. They were planted during the Chin and [Liu] Sung dynasties on imperial command by regional


inspectors and commandery governors who had been relieved of office. They have endured down to the present.

We reached the Gate of All-encompassing Enlightenment. The gate was built during the Sung dynasty by the monk K'o-ch'in and is where the Temple of Universal Peace and National Prosperity is located.[10] Before the Liang dynasty, there were some seventy Buddhist monasteries here, all of which have since disappeared. Only this temple still flourished. Recently, though, it was destroyed by soldiers, and just the outer three gates remain. Left of the gates, we turned north and entered the Abbot's Quarters of Extensive Charity, where we called on the Venerable Ch'in. The Venerable came out, and we three guests introduced ourselves to our host. We happened to arrive just as the pine flowers were blossoming. Yellow pollen from long stamens brushed off on us. We picked up a brush to write a linked poem on pine flowers, but we were unable to compose it.

I took a walk by myself along the brick path and encountered Chang San-i, who had just arrived.[11] We walked hand-in-hand to the Greenery Pavilion. We ascended the Peak That Toys with the Pearl Moon. The peak is actually Lone Dragon Knoll.[12] In the Liang dynasty, it was the site of the Temple of Benevolence. The Divine Pao-chih is buried here, and Princess Yung-ting erected a five-story pagoda over his tomb.[13] Later people constructed a hall whose four caves bore bronze figures resembling Pao-chih appearing in the pagoda. On occasion, the pagoda emanates a multicolored aura. Formerly, the Divine's sandals were preserved here, but in the beginning of the Shen-lung era [705–706], Cheng K'o-chün removed them to Ch'ang-an. East of the hall is the Branch-Tip Studio, named by Wang An-shih, which gazes down at the foot of the mountain as if it were the bottom of a well. We left it and passed by the Pavilion of the Foremost Mountain. The placard had been written by Mi Fei.[14] To the left of the pavilion was a stupa enshrining the eminent monk Lou Hui-yüeh.[15] The stone forming the upper part of the stupa was in the form of a round pillar. Its middle part was squared off, while two carved demons supported the structure. The inscription on the stupa reads, 'The Tomb of the Buddhist Master Ts'ao-t'ang of the Liang Dynasty." It displayed a fluid command of calligraphy, and I judged it to be by a man of the Liang.

We then turned again to the west and entered a pavilion housing steles. There were many rows of them, including ones with a painting of a Buddhist Divine by Chang Seng-yao, an envoi by Li Po, and calligraphy by Yen Chen-ch'ing.[16] People call these the "Three Perfections." Then, turning eastward, we crossed a small stream. In front of


it below was the site of the Pacified Forest Villa, where Wang An-shih once lived. After the villa was torn down, the Snowy Bamboo Pavilion was built there. It and the image of Wang An-shih by Li Kung-lin[17] and the Pool for Washing Inkstones are all gone. Then, turning northward, we reached the Spring of Eight Virtues. During the T'ien-chien era [502–519], the foreign monk T'an-yin came to the mountain to dwell in retreat and a dragon presented this spring to him.[18] Now the sides have been bricked to form a square pool, above which is the Pavilion of Universality. Behind the pavilion is Screen Ridge, whose jadegreen rocks and viridian trees make the scene appear distant and secluded as in a painting. In front is the site of the Temple of Brilliant Blessings, where, during the Ch'en dynasty, Yao Ch'a[19] received the Bodhisattva ordination.

Then, turning east, we walked to Tao-ch'ing's Cliff. "Tao-ch'ing" was the courtesy name of Yeh Ch'ing-ch'en,[20] who often visited here, hence the name. There was a monk who was sitting peacefully with eyes closed below the cliff. I called to him, but he only stared at me and did not respond. Just then, a pheasant was brooding. When it heard the sound of humans, it flapped and fluttered up from the grass on the cliff. From here, we went to the Altar of Tranquillity, where there were many sites connected with Tsang Chin.[21] We turned westward again and crossed Peach Blossom Vale and paid a visit to the Aura-of-the-Tao Spring. The pine planted by Wang An-shih has disappeared; only the spring remains a clear, purplish tint, as deep as ever. It was becoming evening, and Chang San-i departed on his horse. I went back to the Temple of Extensive Charity. My two companions were sound asleep but awoke just then. So we had a lantern lit and sat down to chat about the achievements of ancient heroes, interspersing some rather dangerous remarks that shocked those who overheard us.

The following day, chia-ch'en [March 29], my two companions and I traveled to the Temple for Invoking Blessings. It was built when Emperor Wen resided here before his accession.[22] We went down to the Garden of Eternal Spring through the western gallery. Though the garden is small, all kinds of plants have been installed. A bent cypress is shaped like a deer. Its needles had reached a frightful length; their emerald color was lustrous and delightful. My two companions became tired of walking, so they took off their jackets and lay them over the "deer" and hung their hats on the "mouse catalpa" tree, then sat down on the rocks. The Abbot Ch'üan-shih set out a jug of wine and cups, but as I cannot drink wine I excused myself from my two companions to travel farther. Hsia became alarmed and said, "There are tigers on the mountain. Recently, while a monk was gathering tea leaves, a tiger


tried to enter his house. The monk shut the gate against it, but the tiger clawed his cheekbones and left a scar as proof. But if you are not afraid, go ahead!" I suspected Hsia was fooling me. I took along two servants and climbed to the Pavilion of Refined Beauty. "This Pavilion is Perfect for Distant Views;" "Refined Beauty, Eternal Spring"—these inscriptions were originally written by Emperor Wen and painted in gold.

I turned east and the road became increasingly hazardous. I put on straw sandals and had to lean on the shoulders of the servants as I dragged myself along. I was panting for breath, emitting sounds through my lips like sawing wood. Extremely weary, I could think only of resting, but heedless of the steepness and wetness I walked on with small steps as I stumbled. I could see a dry, fiat spot only a few feet ahead, but my two feet would not obey. After a while, I started walking again. There were two terraces, several hundred feet wide, the upper one able to accommodate a hundred men seated. It was the Northern Altar from the [Liu] Sung dynasty, where forty-four spirits were sacrificed to.[23] I inquired as to the location of Chiang's Tomb and Madame Pu's Grave, but no one knew, though someone said they were on the Hill of Sun's Tomb.[24] By this point I had thought of returning many times, but it was already far from where I had started out, so I summoned up the strength to proceed, climbing up a moderate slope. Thick grass spread out like a carpet; there were few trees. One could rest here, and I thought of borrowing a mattress and pillow so as to nap, for I did not want to go on. The slope was the site of the Pacified Forest Villa. I gazed at the summit of the mountain barely fifty bow-lengths away; it seemed no less than a thousand li distant. I exerted myself and bounded ahead for some tens of paces, then suddenly stopped. I gathered my breath, then went on bounding up this way six or seven times until I finally reached there. The Great River was like an encircling belt of jade. Triple Peaks Point and White Egret Isle could be clearly distinguished.[25] Such peaks as Celestial Gatetower and Lotus appeared and disappeared amid the clouds.[26] At the foot of Chicken Cage Mountain was Falling Star Stream, whose water surged on by.[27] Black Warrior Lake had long ago silted up.[28] Three Spirits Mountain completely vanished in the wind and rain.

I gazed to the west for a long while. Beating a rhythm against a rock, I sang out loudly and, when finished singing, felt melancholy. After another long while I searched for the Spring for One Person on a cliff to the side. The spring surfaces through a small opening, producing just enough for one person to drink from, yet it continues to serve hundreds without becoming exhausted. I followed the spring west past


Black Dragon Pool.[29] The pool is about as large as a basin. If there were a dragon there, it could easily be killed![30] Beside it is the Temple of the Dragon Demon, which is rather inferior. I walked upward from the pool. A grove of bamboo had overgrown the path. I had to part it with both hands while walking in between. It closed back together as soon as I had passed through. Suddenly I was struck by the smell of newly killed meat. A flock of birds were screaming—"wa-wa "—and I thought of what Hsia had said about a tiger. I felt uneasy and hurried by. It seemed as if I were being followed. Moreover, thorns caught my clothes, and I stumbled many times. My throat and lips became parched. Fortunately, I arrived at the Monastery of the Seven Buddhas. This monastery is where Hsiao T'ung lectured on the sutras.[31] There is a spring the color of milk. I knelt down by it, dipped in a ladle, and drank. My sleeves fell into the water, but I couldn't help it. After thrice drinking, my spirit slowly recovered. Behind the monastery is the Crown Prince's Cliff, also known as the Luminous Crown Prince's Writing Terrace.[32] As I was about to explore the cliff, a monk from the monastery came out to greet me. His face had been recently scarred. I questioned him about it, and he turned out to be the one who had been gathering tea leaves. I was shocked, abandoned any idea of the cliff, and asked about an alternate way back. Nor did I seek out White Lotus Pond, Meditation Rock, Sung Hsi's Spring, Tide Well, Playing-the-Zither Rock, Drowning Pond, or Cinnabar Lake Grotto.[33]

When I returned to the Garden of Eternal Spring, I saw the remains of food all over the ground. A young boy was standing by the flowers. I asked him where the two guests were, and he replied, "They waited for you, but you did not come. So they poured out wine from the jug and drank, wrote poetry, and had many laughs. When the wine was finished, they left by the path." I went back to Extensive Charity, and my two companions greeted me. Hsia asked, "Your expression seems different. Could it be a tiger has frightened you?" I laughed and did not answer. Liu said, "That's it! Luckily, you were not trapped in the belly of a tiger. We should call for some wine. It will wash away your fright." So we all drank together. We drank until we were fairly intoxicated. Liu sat placidly until the second watch [9:00–11:00 P.M.]. We shook him, teased him, and made strange noises to frighten him, but he remained impassive. Then Hsia and I grew tired and could no longer keep our eyes open, so we went to sleep. The next day, i-szu [March 30], the abbot, who had left, had not yet returned. We wanted to visit the Cottage Temple,[34] but it was drizzling. We decided not to go and returned home.


According to geographical records, Transverse, Hermitage, Reed, and Chiang's are particularly singled out among famous mountains south of the Long River.[35] Chiang's Mountain does not possess a lofty form a myriad chang high. The reason why it is praised along with the other three mountains is, no doubt, because it has long been revered through sacrifices. Moreover, Hsieh Shang of the Eastern Chin dynasty; Lei Tz'u-tsung and Liu Mien of the [Liu] Sung; Chou Yung, Chu Ying, Wu Pao, and K'ung Szu-chih of the Southern Ch'i; Juan Hsiao-hsü and Liu Hsiao-piao of the Liang; and Wei Ch'ü-mou of the T'ang all lived in retirement here.[36] One may seek traces of them today, but they have vanished like birds and scattered like clouds; most people do not know where their locations are. One sees only boys gathering wood and herding oxen, jumping and shouting m the cold, windy twilight. It only increases one's melancholy thoughts. Moreover, in human affairs, there are a myriad changes in a day. Why should a wise man with a "grand view" of things be deeply concerned with these? Fortunately, with my two companions I was able to release my feelings among these mountains and streams. I would not trade this joyful experience for a thousand pieces of gold. If the spirits of the mountains are aware, may they allow me to travel to all the famous mountains south of the Long River. Though I might grow old and die among the smoke and mists, I would have no regrets. What else could I desire? What else could I desire?

Mr. Chang invited me to travel again, but it was not possible. So I recorded these events, sending a copy to my two companions and one to the abbot.[37]



Fig. 42.
Ch'iu Ying (ca. 1494–1552),  Pine Pavilion and
. National Palace Museum, Taipei.


Liu Chi (1311–1375)
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Liu Chi began his career in the service of the Yüan dynasty but later joined with Chu Yüan-chang to become one of the founders of the Ming and a powerful court official. He was born in Ch'ing-t'ien in present-day Che-chiang into a family of scholars and teachers. In 1331 he became a Metropolitan Graduate and served in a series of local posts under the Mongols but resigned owing to a minor political conflict. When Fang Kuo-chen began to revolt in 1348, Liu Chi was recalled, but he disagreed with the policy of appeasement and favored military suppression; once again, he was removed and spent his leisure traveling and writing. He continued for some years to accept posts in which he attempted to defend the Yüan only then to resign because of policy differences. When Chu Yüan-chang attacked southeast China in 1360, Liu Chi and Sung Lien opportunely joined his cause, providing critical leadership for Chu's military victories over other contenders. With the establishment of the Ming dynasty in Nanking in 1368, Liu became a pivotal figure at court and was much relied upon by Chu, the Emperor T'ai-tsu. He rose to the position of Academician of the Hungwen Palace and was ennobled as the Earl of Sincerity (Ch'eng-i-po). Like many scholar associates of the emperor, however, he fell prey to T'ai-tsu's suspicions, which in turn were incited by the jealousy of Hu Wei-yung, the prime minister whose subsequent execution for treason also led to the exile of Sung Lien. Liu, though, was allowed to retire in 1371, and he spent his last years in angry frustration over his political fate. It has even been suggested that he was poisoned by Hu Wei-yung. Liu Chi posthumously became a character in popular fiction and drama, often being portrayed as a seer.

As a writer, Liu helped to shape literati taste by reintroducing


Ancient Style prose. He was also influential in institutionalizing the Ancient Style within the Ming examination system, by selecting the Confucian corpus of the Four Books and the Five Classics (Szu-shu wu-ching ) as the basis for essays, and by advocating stylistic values in prose that later were codified in the "Eight-legged Essay" (Pa-ku-wen ). These remained standard elements of official recruitment for the more than five centuries of the Ming and Ch'ing dynasties. He produced most of his important literary work during the Yüan, criticizing the decadence at the end of the dynasty and the suffering of the common people. He addressed these issues in a collection of over 180 essays entitled Master of Enlightenment (Yü-li-tzu ), which contains far-ranging discussions and debates, some of which employ allegory in the mode of the Chuang-tzu and the T'ang-Sung Masters. While his writing became more conventional under the Ming, a notable exception is a long poem of more than twelve hundred characters entitled "Two Ghosts" (Er-kuei ), in which two mythical spirits in charge of the Sun and Moon (representing Liu Chi and Sung Lien) anger the Emperor of Heaven and are banished from Heaven. The poem expresses the hope that they will be pardoned and return to the court.

Liu Chi wrote a number of travel records both in and out of office. The following two pieces were composed while he was serving the Yüan, about five years before he met Chu Yüan-chang. They are sensitive responses to the natural stimuli encountered at the Wind-in-the-Pines Pavilion. The first is more expository, as Liu objectively considers the philosophical meanings of natural phenomena; in the second, he responds more lyrically to the concrete features of the environment.

The Wind-in-the-Pines Pavilion I

Rain, wind, dew, and thunder are all produced by Heaven. Rain and dew have a form, and things depend on them for nurture. Thunder takes on no form but has a sound—only wind is similar.

Wind cannot create sound on its own: it sounds only in connection with things. It is unlike the ferocious clamor of thunder, which rumbles through the void. Since wind sounds only in connection with things, its sound depends on the thing: loud or soft, clear or vague, delightful or frightening—all are produced depending on the form of the thing. Though it may come into contact with earthen or rock pedestals in the shape of tortoises,[1] sounds are not produced. If a valley is empty


and immense, its sound is vigorous and fierce; when water gently flows, its sound is still turbulent and agitated—neither achieves a harmonious balance, and both cause man to feel fearful and frightened. Therefore, only plants and trees can produce suitable sounds.

Among plants and trees, those with large leaves have a muffled sound; those with dry leaves have a sorrowful sound; those with frail leaves have a weak and unmelodic sound. For this reason, nothing is better suited to wind than the pine.

Now, the pine as a species has a stiff trunk and curled branches, its leaves are thin, and its twigs are long. It is gnarled yet noble, unconstrained and overspreading, entangled and intricate. So when wind passes through it, it is neither obstructed nor agitated. Wind flows through smoothly with a natural sound. Listening to it can relieve anxiety and humiliation, wash away confusion and impurity, expand the spirit and lighten the heart, make one feel peaceful and contemplative, cause one to wander free and easy through the skies and travel along with the force of Creation. It is well suited to gentlemen who seek pleasure in mountains and forests, delighting in them and unable to abandon them.

There are three pines on Golden Cock Peak[2] that are I don't know how many hundreds of years old. When a slight wind vibrates them, the sound is like an underground spring— "sa-sa "—as it emerges to flow quickly over rocky shoals. When the wind is slightly stronger, it sounds like ancient court music. And when a great wind arrives, it is like stirring up waves, or like pounding drums with faint traces of a rhythm.

The Venerable Fang-chou built a pavilion below and named it "The Wind-in-the-Pines Pavilion." I stayed there while on route and was so contented that I wanted to remain and forget about returning. Perhaps it is because though situated amid a mountain forest, it is still not far removed from people. In summer, the heat is not unbearable; in winter, the cold is not so bitter. Gazing at the pines soothed my eyes; listening to the pines soothed my ears. I escaped from my duties and with this leisure time wandered free and easy here and there without any worldly concerns to perplex the mind. I can feel happy here and pass the entire day this way. So is it really necessary to wash in the Ying River to feel exalted or climb Mount Shou-yang to feel pure?[3]

I have dwelled in every part; my movements and domiciles are never predictable. Yet I cannot forget the feeling I have for this pavilion, so I wrote this out as an account upon bidding farewell to the Venerable on the ninth day of the seventh month of the fifteenth year of the Chih-cheng era [August 16, 1355].[4]


The Wind-in-the-Pines Pavilion II

The Wind-in-the-Pines Pavilion is located below Golden Cock Peak, above the source of the Effervescent River. I arrived here for the first time this spring and stayed for two days. It rained the entire time. I could hear only the sound of waves day and night and was unable to view its marvelous sights completely. This time, I came and stayed at the pavilion for more than ten days and became thoroughly familiar with its changing appearance over time.

The peak behind the pavilion stands highest among the group of other peaks. Also, there are pines on its summit. I gazed up at them, and they resembled a feathery canopy above the mountain's head.[1] Just when the sun reached its height, a wind rustled the branches, and they became like dragons and feng -birds soaring in dance, their "feathers" moist and coiling around, intertwining as they moved about. Shadows fell among the roof tiles; gold and green wove themselves into a brocade. Whoever observes it finds his vision becoming more acute. The sound was like a hsün ocarina or a ch'ih flute;[2] like passing rain; and like water striking against a cliff; or like armed cavalry charging, swords and spears grinding and clashing. Then, suddenly, it became like insects chirping insistently—"ch'ieh-ch'ieh "—now loud, now faint; seemingly distant and yet close by. No description could fully capture it. Whoever listens to it finds his hearing becoming sharper.

I asked the Venerable about this. He replied, "I have no awareness of it at all. Our Buddha considers the neutralization of the Six Defilements[3] as the basis for enlightening the mind. Whatever enters the eyes and ears is empty and false." I said, "Yet you named the pavilion after such things. Why?" The Venerable laughed and said, "It just happened by chance."

I lingered at the pavilion for another three days, then returned.



Kao Ch'i (1336–1374)
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Though he lived only seven years into the Ming dynasty and suffered a gruesome execution on orders of Emperor T'ai-tsu, Kao Ch'i was later regarded by many critics as one of the four great poets of the Wu Region during the early Ming. His almost three thousand poems helped to chart the prevailing literary taste for works modeled on styles from the past. In contrast to later exponents of literary orthodoxy who narrowed the use of sources, Kao Ch'i assimilated influences from a wide range of earlier poetry without succumbing to overt imitation. His poems express both lofty emotions and details of rural life, and they were esteemed for their directness, liveliness, and formal discipline.

Kao was born in Ch'ang-chou (modern Su-chou, Chiang-su) into a family of modest means. In 1356, Su-chou became the capital of a contender for the throne, Chang Shih-ch'eng (1321–1367), who proclaimed himself "Prince of Wu" in 1363; he was the last major obstacle to Chu Yüan-chang. Chang had attracted the support of many literati as well as of the local populace, a fact that resulted in severe retribution on the part of Chu after his victory over Chang in 1367. Although Kao Ch'i probably had some connection to Chang Shih-ch'eng, he managed to avoid close association with Chang by retiring to a family estate in nearby Green Hill (Ch'ing-ch'iu) in 1362.

Upon the establishment of the Ming, Emperor T'ai-tsu summoned Kao Ch'i to Nanking in 1368 to aid in compiling the History of the Yüan Dynasty and as tutor to the imperial princes. Kao, however, had little taste for court politics and retired in 1370, declining an official appointment as Right Vice-Minister in the Ministry of Revenue. In



Fig. 43.
Attributed to Wen Cheng-ming (1470–1559),  Traveling to Flat-Top
 (1508). Musée Guimet, Paris. This is one of several copies
of an original no longer extant. The colophon records a journey made to
the mountain by Wen and two friends on March 17, 1508, followed by four
poems on the journey. Represented in the lower right is the Temple of the
White Clouds, where Fan Chung-yen is buried.


1374, Kao naively contributed a poem to commemorate the reconstruction of the Su-chou Administration Office by the energetic magistrate Wei Kuan (d. 1374). Because this building was erected on the old foundations of Chang Shih-ch'eng's palace, Wei was accused of sedition and summarily executed. Kao Ch'i was among others implicated and also executed in the same year, his body sliced in half at the waist. Later, the emperor regretted his hasty judgment and posthumously rehabilitated Wei; Kao's verdict, however, remained unchanged. His martyrdom exemplified for many the repression of the literati class under the paranoid Emperor T'ai-tsu, and may have contributed to the subsequent lackluster quality of the poetic scene, which lasted until the rise of the orthodox poets a century later.

Flat-Top Mountain (T'ien-p'ing-shan) is located about ten miles west of the city of Su-chou. Though not particularly high at 750 feet, it dominates the other mountains in the vicinity. Its summit is a plateau that affords a fine view of Great Lake. According to one local legend, the peak was flattened by the tail of the Dragon King of the Eastern Sea as he struck at a dragon son-in-law who had mistreated the king's daughter and who was hiding on the mountain. It is particularly associated with Po Chü-i, who named a famous spring and temple "White Clouds" (Pai-yün), and with Fan Chung-yen, who was given possession of this mountain by the court and who located family graves here. Fan himself was buried at the temple and donated his property nearby to endow his clan.

This piece was written in the same year that Kao Ch'i moved from the city to Green Hill. Among his traveling companions were probably officials serving Chang Shih-ch'eng, who is praised for maintaining order in the area during a time of chaos.

Flat-Top Mountain

On the ninth day of the ninth lunar month[1] in the twenty-second year of the Chih-cheng era [September 27, 1362], the unremitting rains ceased and the atmosphere became clear and tranquil. A pledge I had made with like-minded friends to climb a mountain could no longer be neglected, so we prepared some refreshments and packed along some wine. We pointed to Flat-Top Mountain and decided to travel there.

The mountain is southwest of the city, ten miles by water. Upon arriving, we left our boat and changed to a carriage, crossing a forested


plain and a vale. The roadside was screened off by bamboo and rocks. There was a spring there, but it was concealed by the growth and we could not see it. It emitted the limpid sounds of a ch'in or chu zither[2] —"ling-ling ." Delighted, I stopped the carriage to listen and lingered a long while before departing. We arrived at the Temple of the White Clouds and visited the Wei Shrine, resting at the Yüan Monastery.[3] Then, from the foothills, we began our climb, like monkeys grasping onto poles. There are many strangely shaped rocks on the mountain: some seem to be lying down; some, standing erect; some clashing, some gnawing; and some, coiling around, enticing, grasping, or leaning on one another—I could not describe them all. There was another spring, which gushed forth among the scattered rocks, named "White Clouds Spring." Like threads or arteries, it wove itself into a net as it plunged down into a pool. I dipped a ladle in to taste it: its flavor was extremely sweet and cold. There is a pavilion above the spring of the same name. Plants and trees, flourishing and moist, provide shade and rest. After one passes through here, the peak twists about as the stone steps wind around. After every ten paces, there is a sharp turn. We climbed upward in a zigzag until we reached Dragon Gate. Its two cliffs stood straight; they seemed to be joined together, but one can pass between them. The path was narrow, dangerous, deep, and dark. Travelers must plant their feet steadily. Above, there are two stone chambers: the larger can seat ten people; the smaller, six or seven. Both are cavities in the rock, open holes covered by a broad rock forming the chambers. As soon as we entered, we all became fearful that the rock was about to crush us, so we left. When we arrived at this point, we had ascended about halfway up the mountain.

Then I took leave of my companions and our attendants to seek out more remote places of scenic beauty. I climbed, rested, chanted, sang forth, felt exhausted and panted for breath, felt afraid and cried out, felt delighted as if pleased by something, then dissatisfied and momentarily depressed as if saddened by something. Though these experiences differed, I found each one worthwhile. I stayed ahead of the others. The more I ascended, the more I felt the rocks become stranger in shape, the path become narrower, the mountain views more fantastic, while my strength was increasingly exhausted. I glanced toward those in back: they were no longer following me, so, on my own, I hiked up my clothes and with broad steps reached the top of the mountain, where I stopped. At the summit, it became broad and even with flat rocks on the ground. I brushed off a rock to sit down on and saw clouds billowing around the mountain and wind gusting—"liu-liu "—in


the sky. How vast Great Lake appeared! I felt transcendent, as if about to fly; tranquil, as if all desires had ceased. Then I knew that the mountain had not disappointed me on this journey.

When I decided to descend, I found that I had forgotten the original path. Trees hid it, rocks obscured it. The more I searched, the more confused I became. Finally I became stuck among brush and thickets of bamboo. It was turning to evening, and a strong wind suddenly arrived. The ravine was abyssal; birds cried out and animals roared. My heart grew frightened; I looked down and shouted. A woodcutter heard me and led the way out. I arrived at the Temple of the White Clouds, where I met up with my companions again. Everyone complained about my excessive curiosity, while I laughed at their fear of falling down, for they were unable to experience the finest beauty of this mountain.

And so we picked some chrysanthemums and poured out the wine. In the midst of our joyous drinking, I arose and said to everyone, "At present, the world is suffering from oppression.[4] For the past decade, nobles have not been able to protect their territories, nor gentry able to protect their families, while many are those who have fled to every direction. Yet you gentlemen and I, thanks to our ruler,[5] have managed to remain peacefully on our land. Taking advantage of the arrival of a festival, we climbed a famous mountain for a view of the distance. We can raise our winecups and drink heavily—all this is not so easy to achieve! I only fear that prosperity and decline are inconstant and that separation and togetherness are difficult to guarantee. Let us inscribe this on a rock so that next year when we come here again we will have something to examine." Everyone said, "Agreed!" and so I wrote this down to record it.[6]


Chang Chü-cheng (1525–1582)
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Of all the writers represented in this anthology, Chang Chü-cheng enjoyed the greatest degree of political power as the leading grand secretary during much of the Lung-ch'ing (1567–1572) and early Wan-li (1573–1620) eras. Born into a military family in Chiang-ling in what is today Hu-pei, he became a Metropolitan Graduate in 1547 and entered the Han-lin Academy. Later, he became tutor to the heir apparent, Chu Tsai-hou (1537–1572), the future Lung-ch'ing Emperor. With the change in reigns, Chang rose rapidly and by 1568 had reached the highest level of officialdom. He became increasingly influential among the other grand secretaries, and achieved dominance by 1572 through timely alliances with the powerful eunuch Feng Pao (fl. 1530–1582) and the Empress Dowager Tz'u-sheng (1546–1614). During the minority of the Wan-li Emperor, Chang virtually ruled the country. He achieved notable success in such areas as border defense and diplomacy with the Mongols, rehabilitation of the Grand Canal and grain transport system, streamlining the bureaucracy to increase efficiency, and increasing tax revenues. Yet his autocratic methods and such repressive measures as the closing of private Confucian academies made him widely disliked within the scholar class. His attempts to curb the profligate spending habits of the Wan-li Emperor also provoked resentment, which surfaced quickly after Chang's death in 1582. Following a number of accusations, the emperor confiscated his considerable estate, posthumously stripped him of all titles, and cruelly punished his family. It was not until the end of the Ming that Chang's reputation was restored and his family rehabilitated.



Fig. 44.
Transverse Mountain . From  Hai-nei ch'i-kuan  (1610), Deutsche Staatsbibliothek, Berlin.


Chang Chü-cheng left a large body of writings and was active in editing several official literary projects. He was, above all, a highly successful politician. And yet because his policies often adversely affected the entrenched scholar class, his unpopularity in that quarter limited his influence as a writer. The present piece is a highly concrete narrative of his journey to Transverse Mountain (Heng-shan), reflecting the Ming revival of Chu Hsi's Neo-Confucianism with its emphasis on "the classification of things." It is notable for its attitudes of love of Nature and aversion to the world of officialdom, sentiments one might expect to be voiced by a man in exile or retirement. Although he did not indicate the year of his visit, Chang had already begun his successful career as an official when he wrote this piece. His statements indicate the degree to which the travel account, like the major genres of poetry, had become a formalized set of conventions, useful for expressing a wide range of emotions and ideals.

Transverse Mountain is the Sacred Mount of the South, actually a range of mountains stretching more than a hundred miles in central Hu-nan. The tallest of its seventy-two famous peaks, Chu Jung (Chu Jung-feng), stands about 4,230 feet high. It was said to have been visited by the sage-king Shun and the Hsia emperor Yü, and was the site of state sacrifices through the centuries. The temple at its foot, originally built in 725, was the largest of those at the five sacred mounts. In addition to its scenic attractions, its many temples were active in the dissemination of Buddhism to Japan and Southeast Asia.

Transverse Mountain

In Guideways Through Mountains and Seas , Transverse Mountain is listed in "Guideways Through Mountains of the Central Region" and not classified as a Sacred Mount.[1] Could it have failed to meet the standards of Yü when "he established the precedence of the Sacred Mounts and the Great Rivers"?[2] Yet according to the "Records of Shun," "On his Southern Inspection Tour Shun went to the Sacred Mount of the South."[3] In the present-day Hsiao-Hsiang and Ts'ang-wu areas[4] are many traces of Shun. Was it not only after he brought order to the world and accomplished his plans that he instituted sacrifices to the mountain? I declared, "I will ascend Transverse Mountain to obtain a grand view of the world."


On the day chia-wu in the tenth lunar month, I reached the Temple of the Sacred Mount from the foothills. For ten miles the stone path snaked around, coiling about with dragonish pities and old cassia trees bordering it. The surrounding mist spiraled up from the dew; everything was flourishing and luxuriant. It certainly lacked any resemblance to the human world. I arrived first with Mr. Li I-ho of Ying-ch'eng and, after completing our devotions to the god of the mountain, sat in the Hall That Scatters the Clouds. Mr. Wang Hui-sha of Hsiang-t'an and Mr. Chang Tseng-shan of Han-yang also arrived by allother route. Together, we spent the night here. That night I felt as if I were being elevated within an immensely spacious chamber. I ascended a rainbow staircase, rode on a mighty wind to where a dazzling vision of gold and jade emanated from a palace gate, where magic fungi and cornelian branches glittered and filled my grasp. Probably my mind possessed some memory of these images, and contact with these surroundings produced such thoughts.

On the morning of the day i-wei , we turned right from beside the temple and ascended. The narrow road seemed to appear and then disappear, stone steps were stacked between overhanging cliffs and gigantic valleys—I dared not glance to the side. I made nine turns for every ten paces; my chest filled with panting breaths. Pulling oneself up through the clouds and feeling one's way along the sky must be as difficult as this. By noon, I arrived at Half-Way Pavilion, which is five miles from the Temple of the Sacred Mount. Five peaks support it from behind as a sea of clouds surges—it is indeed a scenic spot. I took a meal at a monk's hermitage, rested a bit, then went another five miles and arrived at Chu Jung's Peak.[5] At first, as I traveled through the mountain, I gazed at Lotus, Smoke-and-Mist, Rock Bin, and Celestial Pillar,[6] all of which scraped the empyrean and pierced the clouds, standing sternly like an array of halberds, contending for uniqueness and competing in beauty, none willing to submit to the others. Chu Jung, however, is concealed among them and reveals its summit like a topknot. When I ascended to the tip of the peak, all the others appeared to be below my feet, greeting me or withdrawing, bending down or bowing politely. The Hsiao-Hsiang and Cheng rivers[7] formed an encircling belt. And so I recalled the lines from Li Po's poem about the bright snow on the Five Peaks and the flying blossoms at Grotto Lake.[8] This is undoubtedly the genuine scene.

I glanced sideways at Mount Ts'ang-wu, also known as the Mountain of the Nine Comparables,[9] and espied the Long and Han rivers. I encompassed the six directions, where nothing escaped my wide-open


eyes. Below, I looked at the connected ridges and the separate mountains which resembled mounds and anthills, but they hardly merited further observation. My traveling companions were five; all of us inscribed our names on a rock. We spent the night at Kuan-yin's Cliff. The cliff is less than half a mile from the summit. In the night, I observed the constellations in the upper region of the sky. The larger ones were like cups or basins, unlike their appearance ordinarily.

In the morning, we climbed to the Temple of the Upper Realm to view the sea of clouds. When the sun first emerged, the golden light was purified as when the lid is removed from a caldron of elixirs. In a short while, a red "wheel" bubbled up from beneath the "sea," a fiery pearl leaping out of an immense furnace. It revolved like a millstone, becoming more brilliant throughout the vastness of the sea of clouds. After hovering for a minute or so, it attracted the floating particles in the air as it rose. How utterly amazing! How unique! And how magnificent! A monk from the mountain said that this sun was pure and clear—it had not been like this for several months. Previously, there had been enthusiasts who waited up to ten days but still could not catch this sight and so departed. Yet we were able to catch this delightful sight at the end of autumn, when the mountain appears clearly and the weather is brisk, owing, no doubt, to Heaven's favor. However, we began to feel fearful and apprehensive and could not linger here for long. So we descended to Tusita Temple[10] and arrived at South Terrace, went past the Yellow Chamber Monastery, and climbed the Rock Where Lady Wei Rose to Heaven.[11] We traveled west fourteen miles to the Temple of the Universal Teachings. The temple is located below Lotus Peak; four peaks wrap around like petals, and the temple is situated in the middle. Here there are many resonant waterfalls whose sounds extend for a mile; the large ones are like thunder claps, the more delicate ones, like musical strings. Remote shrubs and rare plants line secluded paths; a brocade of rocks of variegated colors dazzles as in a painting. Of the scenery on Transverse Mountain, Chu Jung's Peak stands out for its height; the Temple of the Universal Teachings stands out for its uniqueness. Yet the road through the ravines is dangerous and steep, the cliffs and valleys are secluded and distant, so few people reach here. In the evening we visited the shrine commemorating the two worthies Chu Hsi and Chang Shih,[12] and spent the night at the Hall of Happy Encounters. During the night it rained. When we arose at dawn, clouds and mist obscured everything in the distance. The peak before us, though barely a foot away, was indistinguishable; the path also appeared cut off. I was completely unaware of affairs below and told myself that I no longer resembled a man of this world.


I spent three days here until Mr. Li dragged me down through the clouds. We proceeded for a mile or so before unexpectedly sighting the clear sun suddenly bursting forth through the azure clouds. I asked someone down the mountain, who said that it had been especially clear for days, and so I realized that we had been dwelling amid the clouds during this while. Then, from beside the Temple of the Sacred Mount, we turned east for more than three miles and came upon Vermilion Mount Cave—it is said that this is where the Exalted Emperor of the Vermilion Mount dwells.[13] A waterfall splashes down composed of watery curtains of many layers suspended from the clouds, hanging down like strings of pearls, forming a drizzle like chips of jade, like flying blossoms or scattering snowflakes, swirling about anti splashing one's clothes. Beside a cliff is a broken-off rock as much as ten feet in diameter. We "sat down in order of precedence,"[14] removed our hats and washed our feet, poured wine and sang out boisterously, At this moment, with happy thoughts and our minds at ease, we enjoyed the kind of pleasure one gets from "enjoying the breeze on the Rain Altar and bathing in the I River."[15] I had indeed forgotten about the many tribulations of official life and the dust and entanglements of worldly affairs. On this day, Li Shih-t'ang also arrived from Ch'ang-sha and joined us at the Temple of the Sacred Mount. We all returned together.

From the day chia-wu to hsin-ch'ou , eight days in all, we wandered among these peaks. Our feet became weary from climbing; our spirits tired from sightseeing, and yet we had not exhausted the entire plan of the mountain but had come to know only its major points. Mr. Chang said, "In the past, Hsiang Tzu-p'ing waited until he had married off his children before he felt he could journey to all five sacred mounts."[16] Alas! When in life can one ever bring worldly affairs to a close? One can only take advantage of a break in time to seek out what pleases. Although unworthy, I set out on an official career while still in my early twenties and have not failed to achieve success. Yet I feel unsuited to worldly responsibilities. Whenever I discover a place among mountains and streams that touches my heart, I forget about returning. This, no doubt, is my true nature. It is the case with everything that one can endlessly desire only that which satisfies one's nature. Now my teeth are still firm and my energy remains strong. Even if I cannot "travel through the vast universe and meet beyond the Nine Heavens,"[17] I can still visit all the scenic places in this world. I shall "let my eyes roam and my feelings become excited"[18] so as to fulfill my lifelong yearning. Now I have begun my journeying here at Transverse Mountain, and I hereby proclaim this to the Spirit of the Mountain.[19]


Wang Shih-chen (1526–1590)
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Wang Shih-chen was a leader of the orthodox movement in Ming literature who dominated the literary scene for more than two decades at the end of the sixteenth century. Born into a distinguished family of officials in T'ai-ts'ang in what is today Chiang-su, he became a Metropolitan Graduate in 1547. His official career began promisingly, and soon he had risen to the position of director in the Ministry of Justice. He often opposed the powerful ministers Yen Sung (1480–1565) and Chang Chü-cheng; indeed, his own father, a military commander, was executed by Yen in 1560 for failing to prevent a Mongol border incursion. Wang's own career subsequently suffered, although he later held office as minister of justice in Nanking.

His literary career was marked by lifelong success and widespread influence. Upon arriving in the capital, he was recognized for his literary talent by Li P'an-lung ( 1514–1570), the acknowledged leader of a group of poets known as the "Later Seven Masters," who continued the archaist position established by the "Early Seven Masters" several decades before. Among their goals was to define literary orthodoxy by selecting the prose of the Ch'in and Hah dynasties and the poetry of the High T'ang as correct models. Wang wrote a major work of criticism, Overflowing Words from the Garden of the Arts (I-yüan chih-yen , 1558–1565), that established his reputation. His ideas, however, were broader than those of Li P'an-lung and the other members of this circle: he went beyond their strictly formalist emphasis on imitation of the past to argue for a connection between the individual artist's concept (szu ) and poetic form (ko-tiao ). In his later years, he moved even further from a strictly orthodox position, accepting a wider canon and



Fig. 45.
Shen Chou (1427–1509),  Chang-kung Cave (Chang's Cave)  (1499). Wan-go H. C. Weng Collection. Appended to the painting is a
travel account and poems in the artist's calligraphy recording a journey to the cave with a companion, Wu Ta-pen, on April 30, 1499.


displaying an interest in Buddhism and Taoism. Wang was also an influential drama critic and theorist. He published his collected works, The Mountain Dweller of Yen-chou's Writings (Yen-chou shan-jen szu-pukao ), which includes this travel account, in 1575.

Chang's Cave (Chang-kung-tung) is located some fourteen miles southwest of modern I-hsing, Chiang-su. A number of legends are associated with it: that it was the dwelling place of the hermit Kengsang Ch'u, a fictional character in the Chuang-tzu ; that the founder of Taoism, Chang Tao-ling (d. 156), engaged in religious cultivation here; and that, in the T'ang, it was a retreat used by Chang Kuo-lao, one of the Eight Transcendents of Taoism, who was said to have appeared here during the T'ang. Consequently, it has been revered as the Fifty-eighth Blessed Place of Taoism. The front and rear caves together cover an area of about 32,280 square feet, and the entire route through them is about two-thirds of a mile long. Within are numerous smaller caves, of which seventy-two have received particular names. The rear cave, which Wang Shih-chen preferred to enter because of its superior scenic attractions, can accommodate from four to five thousand people.

Chang's Cave

From I-hsing, I sailed east to East Nine Lake.[1] "Nine" refers to its length of nine li (three miles) from north to south. The water is a bright green throughout. Two mountains on either side accost it. Screening it from the glare are lofty trees; like yellow clouds are the fields with their harvest. It is even more wonderful in the twilight.

I finally moored at Hu-fu.[2] Hu-fu is where the road to the cave begins. In the middle of the night, a heavy rain suddenly fell and dripped down through the awning on the boat. I arose and pondered it for a long time. It cleared up only at daybreak. Those accompanying me were my younger brother Ching-mei, Mr. Li from Yen, Mr. Ch'eng from She District, and Messrs. Shen and Chang of this locality.[3]

At this time, I had a foot injury. Mr. Li was also ill, and a sedan chair was found for him. Including one for my brother, we took along three bamboo sedan chairs and formed a party. The other three formed another party. It was only a little more than a mile until we reached the cave, which had a prominent appearance like a mound of earth over-turned.


Mr. Chang, who had traveled here before, said I should enter through the rear of the cavern, not through the front. The reason was because the front path is too wide: a single glance quickly exhausts one's curiosity, and there is nothing more to sustain interest. After one's curiosity is satisfied, one penetrates further past a barrier along a passageway quite dangerous and narrow; by the middle of it, one feels regret upon realizing that one cannot reach the end. So I determined to enter from the rear. With numerous torches brought along to lead the way, we squeezed our bodies through an opening and descended into it, one by one, like a line of fish. As we gradually descended, it became more and more slippery; furthermore, the slanting steps could not accommodate our feet. The foot in back had to wait for the one in front to be firmly planted before moving, and we were forced to hold on to each other's shoulders to steady ourselves. The stairs ahead were even more narrow, so one could not even grab hold of others' shoulders. It was like this for almost a hundred steps. I could barely see the person in front of me, for he appeared like a bird in the fog. Moreover, whatever I heard sounded like someone speaking in a jar. When a torch was lit, I cried out in surprise: a myriad giant stalactites all hung suspended, like mountains high and low, shaped like bronze vessels, forming an intricate design, crystalline and gleaming–it was beyond description. Generally, its color was like fine jade from Yü-yang[4] but even more lustrous. Slightly to the southwest was a large flat rock with stalagmites lying sidewise on top. Next to it was what is known as the "Stone Bed," "Elixir Stove," and "Salt Bin."[5] Slightly to the east, the earth sloped downward and was wet; when I stepped on it, it became even wetter, for it was a mire of unknown depths, what is known as the "Field of Transcendents."

I looked back at the opening I had come through—I don't know how many thousands of feet away it was—and it flickered like "the small stars when the sun is eclipsed,"[6] now visible, now extinguished. After a while, the path practically ended. Farther down, I passed through a place no more than two feet wide. I had to crawl through it, then go up and down more than a hundred stairs. Suddenly, it opened up into a spacious area where a myriad people could sit. The stalactites hanging down became more and more fantastic; naturally multicolored, the cinnabar on them shimmered and struck one's eyes. The large ones resemble pillars of jade. Some reach down to the ground, while those that do not quite touch are barely a foot above it. Some stalagmites erupt upward, while those that do not touch the ceiling are also but a foot below it. Some growing upward and some growing downward are separated from each other by only a hair. The rocks are


shaped like submerged, hornless dragons, like leaping, horned dragons, like dashing lions, like crouching elephants, like lotuses, like bells and drums, like flying Transcendents, like foreign Buddhist monks—there are so many varieties that I could not record them all.

At the time, my tired feet found it increasingly difficult to walk; I had to concentrate my energy in order to ascend. When I reached the rock terrace I peered down at it, all aclearly illuminated. The scenic beauty of the cave reached its height at this point. It so happened that the food and wine brought along had been lost on the way, so I called for some water, drank it, and then departed.

"Chang" was neither Chang Tao-ling of the Hah dynasty nor Chang Kuo, as some have said.[7] Chang Tao-ling's movements in Szuch'uan are well documented. Hsü Yüan-yu,[8] in a letter to Wang Hsichih, wrote, "Among golden halls and jade chambers, and the divine fungi and herbs of Transcendents, can be found many of Tso Tz'u's followers who attained the Tao at the end of the Han dynasty."[9] Could this, indeed, be such a place? I say, the "Stone Bed," "Elixir Stove," "Salt and Rice Bin," and "Chessboard" that I saw just happen to resemble such things. How could one possibly speak of them as signs of Transcendents?[10]


Yüan Hung-tao (1568–1610)
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Together with his brothers Tsung-tao (1560–1600) and Chung-tao (1570–1624), Yüan Hung-tao formed the vanguard of the Individualist movement in Ming literature, a group opposed to the orthodoxy of Wang Shih-chen and the poetic canon of the "Early and Later Seven Masters." Born in Kung-an in present-day Hu-pei, their poetry, prose, and criticism defined the core of the "Kung-an school" of letters and represented one of the important trends of late Ming culture. Yüan Hung-tao, the most influential of the brothers, showed youthful promise, organizing a literary society at the age of fifteen. He became a Provincial Graduate in 1588 but failed his first attempt at the Metropolitan Graduate exam the following year. He then visited the iconoclastic thinker Li Chih (1527–1602) and became his disciple. Li's courageous advancement of the concept of the individual self, his revisionism of Confucianism and of official history, and his appreciation of unorthodox literary genres such as fiction and drama became key elements in Yüan Hung-tao's own thought. After becoming a Metropolitan Graduate in 1952, Yüan maintained a lifelong ambivalence toward government service, rarely holding any office for long and retiring frequently. In 1595, he served as magistrate in Wu District (Su-chou) and was later commemorated as an outstanding official even though he resigned after a year or so to travel. He then visited West Lake and other areas in what is today Che-chiang, while further refining his literary views. In 1598, he joined his brothers in Peking in forming the Grape Society (P'u-t'ao-she) to further their literary views. Yüan Hung-tao briefly returned to the government as a secretary in the Ministry of Rites but retired after a few months and returned home. The shock of his elder brother's early death in 1600 led



Fig. 46.
Tiger Hill . From  T'ien-hsia ming-shan sheng-kai chi  (Hong Kong, n.d.; rpt. of Ch'ung-chen era
[1628–1644] ed.). The canal in the foreground is the one ordered dug by Po Chü-i. The plateau m the
center is Thousand Men Rock, with Sword Spring to the upper left of it beneath the covered bridge.

him to embrace Buddhism more deeply. He retired to a religious community in his native city and continued to travel and write. In 1606, he again returned to office and held a series of positions in the Ministry of Personnel; he also served as chief examiner of the provincial examinations in Shaan-hsi in 1609. Yüan died the following year at the age of forty-two.

The fundamental program of Yüan Hung-tao and the Kung-an school was based on developing authentic (chen ), individual styles of


poetry and prose to convey the writer's "personal sensibility" (hsingling ) and on recognizing the inevitability of historical change in literary styles. The school opposed the archaist position of orthodox writers, considering such practices as imitation and stylistic revival irrelevant to the present. Yüan was a master of the "prose miniature," particularly in his influential travel writing. Indebted to the miniatures of Su Shih, he represented the traveler as an autonomous consumer of sensual scenes who has liberated himself from court politics and Confucian moralism. In Tiger Hill , Yüan appears as an observant tourist and as a connoisseur of elegant, aesthetic scenes. Unlike Ou-yang Hsiu, whose enjoyment of a place among the common people signified the achievement of moral order, Yüan noted with some irony that his status as magistrate had been a barrier to his participation in the lyric scene. Yüan Hung-tao also wrote a historical novel, edited dramas, and experimented with new forms of poetry. Yet he was also strongly criticized by his opponents. Some of his works were later proscribed under the Ch'ienlung Emperor (r. 1735–1795) and rejected by orthodox bibliographers, such as the editors of the officially sponsored Complete Edition of the Four Libraries (Szu-k'u ch'üan-shu , 1772–1782).

Tiger Hill

The city of Su-chou had long been a favored destination of the sophisticated traveler and was celebrated along with Hang-thou as an earthly paradise. Tiger Hill, a scenic park dominated by a hill only ninety-eight feet high, is one of its most famous spots, located about two miles outside the city walls to the northwest. The ingenious placement of ponds, paths, and pavilions gives the park the appearance of spaciousness once one is within the grounds. According to legend, it is the burial place of King Ho-lü of Wu (r. 514–496 B. C.) and three thousand of his swords; a white tiger was observed crouching on his gravemound three days after the internment, hence the name. Another theory bases the name on the shape of the hill, said to resemble a crouching tiger. Originally, during the Six: Dynasties period, it was a private estate; later it was converted into a Buddhist temple. Through the centuries, the buildings were destroyed and rebuilt some seven times. Its most outstanding edifice is the pagoda finished in 961, which dominates the flat countryside. Tiger Hill is said to have been visited by the First Emperor of Ch'in, who unsuccessfully tried to find the


entrance to Ho-lü's tomb. It was a favorite retreat for Po Chü-i when he was magistrate; in fact, he ordered the canal constructed in front of its entrance. Its famous sites noted here by Yüan earned it the name "Number One Scenic Attraction in Wu."

Tiger Hill is only about two and a half miles from the city. The hill lacks tall cliffs or deep valleys, but because it is near the city not a day passes without flutes and drums sounding and pleasure boats gathering. On moonlit nights, on blossom-filled mornings, on snowy evenings, visitors come and go, crisscrossing like the weave of a tapestry. It is especially crowded on the Mid-Autumn Festival.[1]

Whenever this day arrives, so does every family in the city, shoulder to shoulder. From fine ladies and elegant gentlemen down to shanty dwellers, all put on their finery, and the women don makeup. They spread out layers of mats and drink wine by the roadside. From Thousand Men Rock to the Temple Gate,[2] they crowd together like teeth on a comb, like scales on a fish. A hill could be formed from all the sandalwood clappers; the wine drains from goblets like rain from clouds. Observed from a distance, it looks like geese flocking along sandy banks, like mist blanketing the Long River, like thunder rumbling or lightning crackling—I could not fully describe it.

At first, just after the mats have been spread out, there are as many as a thousand singers. Their sounds are like a swarm of mosquitoes: it is impossible to distinguish any one of them. They divide into groups and compete against one another with their loud singing. As both refined and crude voices are displayed, the beautiful singers distinguish themselves from the ugly ones. Before long, there are only several tens or so whose heads are swaying and feet are tapping. By then the bright moon has floated up in the sky and the rocks glisten like satin. All the "clamoring of earthen crocks"[3] falls into silence. A group of only three or four gathers and harmonizes: a vertical hsiao flute, a short horizontal flute, and someone slowly beating the clappers while singing. Bamboo instruments and voice perform together, the purity of the sound penetrates so that listeners feel their souls melting. As the night deepens, the moon shadows elongate, plants and flowers appear to blend in confusion. By then, flutes and clappers are put aside. Someone takes the stage as the audience holds its breath. The sound of his voice is like a delicate strand of hair, yet its resonance reaches the clouds. Every word seems to last for fifteen minutes. Flying birds circle about him, brave men listen and weep.


Sword Spring is so deep it is unfathomable.[4] The soaring cliffs seem like they were sliced. Thousands of Acres of Clouds serves as a table for Celestial Pond and other mountains whose peaks and valleys vie with one another for beauty,[5] It is a perfect spot for inviting guests for wine drinking. But past noon the sun's rays beat down, and it becomes unbearable to sit for long. The Pavilion of the God of Literature[6] is also fine, for the evening trees are especially worth viewing. Opposite it to the north is the old site of the Hall of Unbroken Distance—an empty, vast, endless view—only the speck of Mount Yü is visible.[7] The hall has long since been demolished, and I discussed with Chiang Chin-chih how it might be rebuilt.[8] I wanted to enshrine Wei Ying-wu, Po Chü-i, and others in it,[9] but illness forced me to abandon the project. I retired from office and fear that Chin-chih's enthusiasm has also waned. Indeed, the flourishing and decline of a scenic place can only occur at its proper time.

I served as an official in Su-chou for two years and climbed Tiger Hill six times. The last occasion was with Chiang Chin-chih and Fang Tzu-kung. We awaited the moon at Tao-sheng's Rock.[10] When the singers there heard that the magistrate had come, they all fled. So I said to Chin-chih, "How awful! This is due to the brutality of officials and the crudeness of their clerks. Someday when I leave office, I swear by the moon above that I will hear the songs sung at this rock!" Now, fortunately, I have been granted release from official life and can call myself just a traveler in Su-chou. I wonder if the moon at Tiger Hill still remembers my oath?[11]

Heaven's Eyes Mountain

Heaven's Eyes Mountain (T'ien-mu-shan) is located in modern Lin-an District in northwest Che-chiang. It is composed of two ranges, eastern and western, which culminate m two majestic peaks. According to one legend, lakes on the summit of each peak appear to be gazing at each other, hence the name "Heaven's Eyes." Its highest point stands at about 5,080 feet. Known for its waterfalls, which Yüan Hung-tao also celebrated in a poem, the mountain was regarded by the Taoist religion as the Thirty-fourth Celestial Cave. The following is one of two accounts Yüan wrote about the mountain. It is primarily an expository piece that uses the occasion of a journey to define aesthetic criteria for appreciating scenery, thus demonstrating his approach to traveling as that of a connoisseur.



Fig. 47.
Heaven's Eyes Mountain . From  T'ien-hsia mine-shan sheng-kai chi
(Hong Kong, n.d.; rpt. of Ch'ung-chen era [1628–644] ed.).

I can hardly describe the secluded, remote, extraordinary, and ancient character of Heaven's Eyes. It is only a little less than seven miles from the village[1] to the summit. Most mountains that are deep and out of the way are desolate and overgrown; those that are sheer and precipitous lack curiously winding and twisting forms; when they are ancient, then there is an insufficiency of fresh beauty; and when their structure is massive, they are absolutely devoid of delicate intricacy. Moreover, mountains that are too high and lack streams, and rock that is outsized so that the greenery is parched—all these constitute defects in mountains.


Heaven's Eyes is filled with valleys where cascading streams sound "ts'ung-ts'ung ," appearing like a myriad bolts, of white satin: these are its first perfection. The color of the rock is a lustrous blue-green, its structure is inscrutably ingenious, with winding stone paths and sheer cliffs standing erect: these are its second perfection. The architecture of every temple is exquisite, though they are located in secluded valleys or by overhanging cliffs: these are its third perfection. I don't like to listen to lightning, but the sound of lightning on Heaven's Eyes is quite muted, like the cry of a baby: this is its fourth perfection. At dawn, I arose to view the clouds, which were at the bottom of a deep valley. They were white and pure as silk, rising up like waves until the whole land had become a glass sea. The sharp tips of the mountain pierced through the clouds like blades of floating sea-grass: these are its fifth perfection. However, the changing shapes of the clouds were most unusual, and the sight of them was extraordinary to the extreme. Unless one dwells for a long time on the mountain, one cannot possibly come to know all their forms. The large trees on the mountain are practically forty handspans around. The pine trees are shaped like parasols. A single tree, though no more than a few feet in height, would be worth more than ten thousand cash: these are its sixth perfection. The flavor of the firstpick tea leaves is far superior to the tea from Dragon Well.[2] The flavor of its bamboo shoots resembles that of the shoots from Broken Pond in Shao-hsing[3] but far surpasses them in lightness: these are its seventh perfection. I maintain that south of the Long River no place surpasses this for spiritual cultivation and dwelling in retirement, for it makes one long to escape the bondage of mental turmoil and become a monk. After spending the night at the Temple Where Illusions Abide, I arose in the morning to view the clouds and then, after a while, climbed to the summit, where I spent the night at the Gateway to Death on Tall Peak. The next day I descended by the same path from the Temple of the Living Entombment. It had been very clear for several days following a rain. The monks on the mountain took this for an auspicious sign, and as I descended the mountain they all came to greet me. The more than four hundred monks on the mountain were extremely courteous and competed to offer me food. As I was about to depart, the monks said, "This rustic mountain is isolated and small, unworthy of your exalted gaze. But what can we do about it?" I said, "I feel like I am but a child of Heaven's Eyes Mountain. If you do not speak so humbly about it, then I will not flatter it before you." Thus we parted, laughing heartily.[4]


An Evening Stroll to the Six Bridges to Await the Moon

West Lake in Hang-chou, the scenic focus of the former Southern Sung capital, increasingly became a mecca for literati, who immortalized its famous scenes and helped create a demand for literature, paintings, prints, and guidebooks representing its well-known spots. The Six Bridges (Liu-ch'iao) were located along Su's Embankment (Su-ti), the causeway on the west side of the lake built by Su Shan when he was magistrate. They were named "Reflecting Ripples" (Ying-po), "Locking the Waves" (So-lan), "Gazing at the Mountain" (Wang-shan), "Supporting the Embankment" (Ya-ti), "Controlling the Shore" (Shup'u), and "Archang Rainbow" (K'ua-hung). Yüan's piece is a typical example of a prose miniature and resembles a souvenir album-leaf in its brevity. Here, he further presents traveling as a mode of aesthetic cultivation. The literatus reveals his authentic sensibility by inscribing lyrical landscapes and participating in elegant social scenes, in contrast to the implicit vulgarity of the common tourist.

The finest scenes at West Lake are in springtime and in the moonlight. And within a single day, the best are the morning mist and the twilight haze around the mountains. This year, the snow at the beginning of spring was especially plentiful. The plum blossoms, prodded by the cold, flowered along with the apricot and the peach, one after the other, making an especially wonderful sight. T'ao Shih-k'uei[1] said to me several times, "In Chamberlain Fu's garden, the plum blossoms are the ones that belonged to Chang Kung-fu's concubine, Glistening Jade.[2] Let's go quickly and view them." But at that time I was so captivated by the peach blossoms that I couldn't bear to leave them.

Across the lake from Broken Bridge to Su's Embankment[3] is green mist and red haze spreading for almost seven miles. Songs to the sounds of flutes form a breeze; powdered drops of perspiration fall like rain. There are numerous people clad in gauze and silk, many of them on the grass lining the embankments. They are the epitome of seductive beauty. Yet the people of Hang-chou make outings on the lake only during the hours of wu, wei , and shen [11:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.]. Actually, the most perfect reflection of the greenery on the lake's surface and the most marvelous colors of the haze on the mountains occur when the sun first rises and just before it sets. This is when they reach



Fig. 48.
Misty Willows by the Six Bridges  (detail) from Hai-nei
 (1610), Deutsche Staatsbibliothek, Berlin.


the epitome of richness and attractiveness. The moonlit scene is particularly indescribable. The gestures of the blossoming flowers, the feelings of the swaying willows, the face of the mountains, and the sentiments of the water hold a special kind of charm. These pleasures are meant for the mountain-dwelling monk and for the traveler. How could one explain it to ordinary people?[4]


Ch'ien Ch'ien-i (1582–1664)
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Ch'ien Ch'ien-i was a major writer and critic during the turbulent decades at the end of the Ming and the beginning of the Ch'ing dynasties. Born in Ch'ang-shu in what is today Chiang-su, he became a Metropolitan Graduate in 1610. Ch'ien entered the government as a junior compiler in the Han-lin Academy but had to retire to go into mourning. He returned to office a decade later, becoming affiliated with the Eastern Forest Society (Tung-lin) which sought to revive the faltering Ming dynasty. In 1628, he became vice-minister of the Ministry of Rites but was suddenly purged because of Tung-lin opposition to the powerful grand secretary, Wen T'i-jen (d. 1638). When the dynasty collapsed in Peking in 1644 and a restoration was attempted in Nanking several months later, he was recalled and became minister of the Ministry of Rites; however, the short-lived regime disintegrated within a year as the Manchu conquest advanced southward. Unlike many loyalist scholars who committed suicide, went underground, or fled to other centers of resistance, Ch'ien Ch'ien-i surrendered the southern capital of Nanking and accepted a position in the Ch'ing dynasty as vice-minister in the Ministry of Rites. This move earned him considerable criticism from loyalist scholars, and he became emblematic of the dilemma of Chinese who chose to serve the Manchus while still maintaining a personal allegiance to the Ming. In 1645, he briefly assisted in the first attempt to compile the official History of the Ming Dynasty (Ming shih , published 1739), retiring in 1646 because of ill health. Despite his collaboration, he was arrested in 1647 and imprisoned for two years when suspected by the Manchus of maintaining contacts with Ming loyalists. Among his protégés were



Fig. 49.
Mei Ch'ing (1623–1697),  Mañjusri's[*]  Temple . From  Album of Scenes on
Yellow Emperor Mountain
 (1691–1693), Palace Museum, Peking.

Ch'ü Shih-szu (d. 1650) and Cheng Ch'eng-kung (1624–1662), both important anti-Ch'ing activists; and Ch'ien, in his poetry, occasionally voiced loyalist sympathies as well. His remaining years were spent writing at his estate, which contained an outstanding library destroyed in a fire in 1650.

Ch'ien Ch'ien-i maintained an independent position in the literary politics of the late Ming, supporting neither the archaist program of the orthodox faction nor the rigorously individualist position of the Kungan school and its followers. Rather, he considered both tradition and the writer's personality as the basic components of literary creativity. A prolific writer and editor of anthologies of T'ang and Ming poetry, Ch'ien had wide-ranging intellectual interests, including philosophy, history, Buddhism, and literary theory. He was also an avid travel writer and an admirer of the intrepid travel diarist Hsü Hung-tsu, whose biography he compiled.


Yellow Emperor Mountain (Huang-shan), one of China's premier scenic places, was discovered by such T'ang writers as the poet Li Po, but it became popular only in the seventeenth, century after the Ch'an monk P'u-men established a temple there in 1606 and opened roads to its many unusual sights. Hsü Hung-tsu in 1616 and Ch'ien Ch'ien-i several decades later were among the writers who visited this inaccessible place in the late Ming. It also began to attract painters in the An-hui school who were inspired by its fantastic rocks and "sea of clouds." During the Ch'in dynasty, this area of some ninety-seven square miles covering four counties in modern An-hui was named Mount I; it received its present name in 747, during the T'ang, when it was said that the Yellow Emperor had manufactured elixirs here. Its numerous attractions include two lakes, three waterfalls, twenty-four streams, and groups of thirty-six and seventy-two famous peaks. Ch'ien Ch'ien-i visited it while out of office at the end of the Ming dynasty in 1642. He wrote a lengthy record of his journey in nine sections, of which this selection is the third, celebrating the "Sea of Clouds." It was among his most widely read prose pieces and was included in his collection Early Studies from the Shepherd's Studio (Muchai ch'u-hsüeh chi ), published in 1643.

From Yellow Emperor Mountain

From the Temple of the Lucky Charm I crossed the Rock Bridge and proceeded north, passing by the Temple of Compassionate Light.[1] Traveling about a mile, I passed the Cinnabar Retreat and climbed upward.[2] To the east is Purple Rock Peak, fourth of the Thirty-six Famous Peaks. Together with Azure Luan -Bird and Celestial Capital peaks,[3] they form one mountain. After passing by here, I took the road between Alms Bowl[4] and Old Man Peaks. The foothills of the peaks are connected such that the two cliffs appear as layers. The more I gazed at them, the more they seemed to have been sliced by knives—one can't see even a crack between them. I brushed against the cliffs as I walked until they opened up like a gaping mouth. In the wide expanse all was revealed, as if a door had been pushed open. This is where travelers up the mountain really begin their journey.

After less than half a mile I rested at Kuan-yin's Cliff. The cliff slants like a tilted parasol. I passed by Old Man Peak, where the rock


looks like the hunched back of an old man. There are many unusual pines extending out beyond the cliffs. They break through the rocks to grow forth and form a cover with their intertwining branches. The luxuriant white clouds rushed up on the pines. A monk said, "The clouds are about to spread out and form a sea; why not wait awhile to see it?"

I therefore rested at a pavilion that faced the peaks. From the heights of this mountain I had a complete view of the vast landscape of mountains and rivers: it all became a sea. When it is about to rain, the clouds collect in a bunch around the mountain. When it is about to clear, the clouds disperse and return into the mountain. This collecting and dispersal throughout the vast landscape of mountains and rivers is what is called the "Sea of Clouds."[5] The clouds first rise like balls of cotton, swirling around the waist and spine of Old Man Peak. In a while they obliterate the summit and feet of the peak, moving back and forth, prodded and agitated as they merge into each other, stretching far, swirling around; the sea becomes clouds as clouds become a sea. Openings are pierced by light, then the clouds rush forward and brush against each other, looking like hundreds of towers and pavilions, like galloping horses, like sailboats—racing, leaping, retreating, merging—I could not describe it all. They flowed toward my chest and brushed my face. My body was in the midst of layers of clouds and I became another "Old Man Peak"! After a time the clouds dispersed like waves in the ocean, expanding out in all four directions like a victorious army and cavalry returning. Then suddenly they collapsed and disappeared without a trace. I looked back at Old Man Peak: he was stooped over as before, as if respectfully awaiting a guest. Proceeding along the foot of Celestial Capital Peak and turning westward, I arrived at Mañjusri's[*] Temple and spent the night there.[6]

On Yellow Emperor Mountain, as one proceeds upward from Kuan-yin's Cliff, old trees choke the path and venerable vines spread over the rocks. Green bamboo and verdant grasses envelop as they intertwine. The sun's rays suddenly pierce through. A waterfall unexpectedly splashes. The shady darkness deepens—it no longer seems to be in the human world. On a mountain, the part "before reaching the top" is called "verdant growth."[7] Doesn't that describe this? When one ascends Old Man Peak, the sky appears vast: clouds and all things are below it. The Thirty-six Peaks reveal themselves all woven together. In a daze, I felt I had experienced an entire lifetime. It was only from this point on that I understood Yellow Emperor Mountain.[8]


Hsü Hung-tsu (1586–1641)
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Hsü Hung-tsu, better known by his artistic name, Hsia-k'o (Mistlike Traveler), has been canonized as the ultimate Chinese traveler. He possessed a rare commitment to an unencumbered life devoted exclusively to traveling, and produced monumental diaries that dwarf all other efforts. Hsü was born in Chiang-yin, in present-day Chiangsu, into an old scholar family that had fled south after the fall of the Northern Sung. His immediate forebears were men of some literary reputation who declined to enter the government during the turbulent politics of the late Ming, preferring to lead leisurely, comfortable lives as local gentry on their estates. His father, Hsü Yü-an, about whom the connoisseur Ch'en Chi-ju (1558–1639) wrote a biography, enjoyed traveling to nearby scenic places. He died in 1604 from wounds inflicted by marauding bandits near his home.

After a youth in which he pored over books on geography, travel, history, and Taoism, Hsü Hung-tsu decided at the age of twenty-two to devote his life exclusively to visiting the places he had read about; he never even bothered to take the official examinations. Rather, for thirty-three years until his death at the age of fifty-five he traveled to more than sixteen of the modern provinces, often venturing on foot and facing robbers, desertion of servants, the death of companions, lack of food and shelter, inclement weather, and illness. In between journeys, he returned home for brief periods, during which he married twice, raised a family, and was particularly devoted to his mother. Indeed, she was extraordinary for encouraging his unconventional ambitions and even accompanied him on one of his shorter journeys at the age of eighty. With her death in 1625, Hsü felt free to roam more widely; his most strenuous travels thus took place in his later years.



Fig. 50.
Wu Pin (active ca. 1583–1626),  Mount T'ien-t'ai (Terrace of Heaven Mountain)  (detail, 1607).
Honolulu Academy of Arts, Honolulu, HAA 3678. 1. To the left is the Rock Bridge.

Although Hsü saw himself in the tradition of epic figures such as Hsüan-tsang and Yeh-lü Ch'u-ts'ai, he differed from them in the purity of his motivation. He traveled neither for religious merit nor out of political necessity but in the idealistic spirit of Taoist "free and easy wandering" as well as an insatiable curiosity about the natural world. Initially, he was attracted by scenic beauty and the aura of these places in the literary tradition. In his later journeys, he became more interested in geographical questions, and a number of his hypotheses about such features as cave formations have since been validated by modern scientists. Hsü enjoyed a wide range of acquaintances, including many prominent scholars, who regarded him as something of a legend. They valued highly the hand-copied sections of his travel diary that they were able to read.

Hsü's diary was compiled over the course of his travels. He would write at the end of each day, if possible, or several days later, relying on his excellent memory to preserve the details of what he had seen. His entries ranged from about 250 characters to over 4,000. Although


some diaries were lost, those that were preserved cover a period from 1613 to 1639 and amount to over 600,000 characters. The diaries were basically notes that Hsü kept on the road for his own benefit. Unlike the other travel writing in this anthology, they were not polished literary pieces intended for publication in their original form. He did in fact plan to publish them eventually, but he died unexpectedly from an illness contracted on the road and was unable to edit them. At first, therefore, they were hand-copied by his friend Chi Meng-liang in 1642. Subsequently, one of his sons recovered more diaries, printing them in a 1684 edition that is no longer extant. In 1776, Hsü's grandson published another corrected edition. Further printings throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries popularized the diaries.

The literary appeal of the diaries lies in their spontaneous, unfinished form. Lacking a commemorative occasion or a moralistic intent, they present a relatively objective, unmediated vision of the world in the tradition of "the classification of things." Hsü's narration of his journey, which is recorded with meticulous detail in a concise prose style, conveys the experience of a direct encounter with the landscape. Though his diaries do not project a strong sense of personality, they capture the reality of travel more than other writers had, even to the point of noting the food consumed and the condition of his lodgings. Hsü's prose is rich in figurative expressions, and his descriptions include visionary perceptions of Nature as an everfascinating texture of interacting phenomena. He incorporates lyric responses to the environment in short, poetic phrases. Occasionally, there are subjective opinions and even moments of humor. The sheer magnitude of his diaries and their accuracy have earned them considerable documentary credibility. Whether retracing his footsteps or engaging in "recumbent traveling," readers have considered his diaries to be the ultimate example of aesthetic realism in Chinese travel writing.

From The Travel Diaries of Hsü Hsia-k'o

Terrace of Heaven Mountain

Terrace of Heaven Mountain (T'ien-t'ai-shan) is located in the north of modern T'ien-t'ai, Che-chiang. Though not especially difficult to climb, it was originally considered remote and mysterious. Sun Ch'o


(314–371), a member of Wang Hsi-chih's circle, was among the first to celebrate it in his imaginary "Rhapsody on a Journey to Terrace of Heaven Mountain" (Yu t'ien-tai-shan fu ). The Taoist alchemist Ko Hung (284–362) also praised it as a suitable place for manufacturing elixirs. But it was largely developed as a spiritual site by Buddhists; indeed, it was the place of origin of the T'ien-tai school, founded by the monk Chih-i (530–597), which later spread to Japan. In his twenty-three years on the mountain, Chih-i built twelve temples. The major one was the Temple of the Peaceful Nation (Kuo-ch'ing-szu), which Chih-i dreamed would bring tranquillity to the country. It was completed in 598. Later, in the eighth century, the temple was home to the three reclusive monks Feng Kan, Han-shan, and Shih-te. It had been lavishly restored twelve years before Hsü's visit.

The mountain is actually a range that extends from Transcendent's Mist Mountain (Hsien-hsia-shan) northward to the Chou-shan Archipelago. Its highest point, 3,732-foot Lotus Summit (Hua-tingshan), is encircled by lesser peaks. The mountain contains eight famous scenes, of which the arched Rock Bridge (Shih-liang) is the most notable, extending twenty-three feet across a waterfall 140 feet high; its narrowest section is only one-half foot wide. The following selection records Hsü Hung-tsu's first visit to the mountain together with the monk Lien-chou; he returned for another visit in 1632.

The last day of the third month in the year kuei-ch'ou [May 19, 1613]: Left Ning-hai[1] through the West Gate. The clouds had dispersed and the sun was shining brightly. My mood appeared joyful along with the mountain's glow. After ten miles, reached Guardian Liang's Mountain.[2] Heard that tigers were stalking the roads hereabout and had injured several tens of people in a month. Therefore, I decided to spend the night here.

The first day of the fourth month [May 20]: It rained in the morning. Traveled five miles, and came upon a fork in the road. Our horses headed west toward Terrace Mountain,[3] and the sky gradually cleared. Another three miles and we arrived at Pine Gate Ridge.[4] The mountain became steep and the road slippery, so we dismounted and proceeded on foot. Though we had crossed over several ridges since Feng-hua,[5] we had merely been following the foothills. Now the road began to wind around as we ascended along the spine of the mountain. Meanwhile, it had cleared after the rain so that the sound of springs and the colors of the mountains were transformed all over. The azaleas blazed


forth among the emerald growth, making me forget about the difficulty of the climb. After another five miles we had a meal at the Sinewy Bamboo Monastery. On the summit, wheat was being grown everywhere. Proceeded south from Sinewy Bamboo Ridge and turned onto the wide road leading to the Temple of the Peaceful Nation.[6] We happened to meet a monk from the temple, Yün-feng, and dined with him. He told me that this road led to the Rock Bridge[7] but that the mountain becomes more dangerous, the road is long, and it would be difficult to bring along luggage. He suggested I travel lightly and have the heavier things brought to the temple to await me. I agreed and had the porters follow Yün-feng to the temple while I and the venerable monk Lien-chou[8] took the path to the Rock Bridge. Traveled one and a half miles over Sinewy Bamboo Ridge. There are many short pines along the ridge. Their old trunks are bent and twisted with beautiful blue-green needles—just right for the kind of potted trees one sees in Su-chou. Another ten miles or so and we arrived at the Amitabha Monastery. Above and below it stood high hills. It is deep in the mountains, and the land is barren and desolate. (All the trees and shrubs have been burned away for fear that they might conceal tigers.) Cascades thundered, and the wind gusted; there were no travelers along this lonely stretch. The monastery lies on a plateau amid a myriad hills, and the road to it is long and barren. Located halfway up, one can dine there and spend the night.

The second day of the fourth month [May 21]: After lunch, the rain finally stopped. We then waded along the swamped roads and clambered up over the ridges; the streams and rocks appeared increasingly secluded. After seven miles, reached the Temple of the Celestial Realm[9] by evening. As I lay in bed, I wondered about the ascent to the summit the next morning and hoped that clear weather would be an auspicious sign. For the past few days, it had cleared up in the evening but there was no sun the next morning. As I lay dreaming during the fifth watch [3:00–5:00 A.M.], I heard a voice say that there were bright stars filling the sky and was so happy I could not go back to sleep.

The third day of the fourth month [May 22]: Arose early. The sun was indeed glorious. I set my goal on mounting the summit. Ascended for about a mile, arriving at the Monastery of the Lotus Summit;[10] after another mile, just as we were approaching the summit, there was the Li Po Hall[11] —but neither place was anything worth looking at. I had heard that below to the left of the cottage was the Cave of the Yellow Court Scripture ,[12] so we followed a narrow path for less than a mile to where I gazed down upon a rock boldly protruding and found it quite exquisite and flourishing. When we arrived, there was a retreat


built by a long-haired monk in front. He had sealed up the cave's entrance with rocks to block the draft from the cave. I sighed deeply, filled with regret. Then I climbed back up to Li Po Hall and followed the path to the very summit. It was dense with wild grass. At this height, the winds were biting. More than an inch of frost lay on the grass. Meanwhile, jadelike flowers and trees glistened on the mountainsides, creating an intricate splendor wherever I looked. The wildflowers were in full bloom along the edges of the ridges, but the summit, in contrast, exuded no color, constrained, no doubt, by the cold at this height. Returned back down to the Monastery of the Lotus Summit, crossed a small bridge beside a pool, traveled over three ridges. A stream wound about as the mountains enclosed a scene where the trees and rocks were magnificent and beautiful. Every turn produced some unique sight, satisfying all my expectations. After seven miles, passed the Upper Monastery of the Universal Teachings[13] and arrived at the Rock Bridge. Worshipped Buddha at the Pavilion of the Udumbara Blossom[14] but had no time to inspect the waterfall. Went down to the Lower Monastery and gazed up at the Rock Bridge and the waterfall. They both appeared to be way up in the sky. I had heard that Broken Bridge and the Curtain of Pearls[15] were especially scenic. A monk told me that if we started right after lunch there would be time to go there and return. Later, we proceeded from the Bridge of the Transcendent's Raft toward the rear of the mountain, where we crossed a ridge and followed a stream for about three miles. A waterfall dropped down from a stone gate, winding its way in three stages. The uppermost is Broken Bridge, where two rocks meet, leaning against each other. The water splashes between them, then swirls down into a pool. In the middle stage, two rocks stand opposite each other like a doorway. The water is forced through this doorway and becomes extremely agitated. At the lowest stage is a pool whose mouth is quite wide. Where the water flows out resembles a threshold. From there the water flows along a cavity and descends to the side. Each of the three levels rises several tens of feet high, and every one is absolutely fantastic. But when I descended by the steps alongside, there were places where the path turned and my sight was blocked so that I could not get a complete view of it all. After less than half a mile, there was the Curtain of Pearls. Where the water falls is broad and fiat, which slows its force so that it flows steadily to the sounds of "ku-ku ." Barefooted, I bounded through the grass, swung around trees, and followed along cliffs. Lien-chou was unable to follow me. We returned only when dusk had fallen all around us. Rested at the Bridge of the Transcendent's Raft. Gazed at the Rock


Bridge, shaped like a rainbow over the waterfall, which spat out snow-flakes. I almost lost all desire to go to sleep.

The fourth day of the fourth month [May 23]: The sky and the mountain were a single shade of blue-green like mascara. No time for breakfast. Quickly crossed the Bridge of the Transcendent's Raft and ascended to the Pavilion of the Udumbara Blossom. The Rock Bridge stands just beyond. It is more than a foot wide and thirty feet long. It is suspended between two hills. Two cascades issue forth to the left of the pavilion. On reaching the bridge, they converge and drop down for more than a hundred chang with the thunderous roar of a river that has burst through a dam. I walked over the Rock Bridge and looked down at the deep pool. It was both hair-raising and bone-chilling. At the end of the bridge was a giant rock, which blocked me so that I could not reach the mountain in front. I had to cross back. Passed the Pavilion of the Udumbara Blossom and entered the Upper Monastery of the Universal Teachings. Followed the stream in front of it and arrived again at the giant rock that had blocked my way to the mountain. Sat down and observed the Rock Bridge. A monk from the Lower Monastery urged me to eat, so I went. After eating, went another five miles and reached the Temple of Eternity. Visited the Repository for Buddhist Sutras, a two-story hall with a set each of Northern and Southern School sutras.[16] There are many ancient firs in front of and behind the monastery; it would take three men with outstretched arms to encircle one of their trunks. Cranes make their nests on top. Their cries reverberated, yet another ethereal sound in these mountains. On this day, I wanted to visit the Paulownia and Cypress Monastery[17] and view the Jade Terrace and the Double Gatetowers,[18] but after several attempts I could not find the way and finally changed my plans in the direction of the Temple of the Peaceful Nation. It is fourteen miles from the Temple of Eternity, and between them is the Hall of the Dragon King. Each time I descended a ridge I thought I had reached fiat ground, but after several such descents it had still not leveled out. I thus realized how high the Lotus Summit is—not far from Heaven, indeed! At dusk, reached the Temple of the Peaceful Nation. Was met by Yün-feng, and it seemed like encountering an old friend. Discussed with him the marvelous sights I planned to visit. Yün-feng said, "The finest scene is by the Two Crags.[19] Though far off, we can ride there. First we can visit the Two Crags, then walk to Peach Spring[20] and reach Paulownia Monastery. This would include the Emerald Cliffs and the Red Citadel."[21]

The fifth day of the fourth month [May 24]: Disregarded signs of rainy weather and took the road to the Two Crags, "Cold" and


"Bright," leaving the temple through the west gate, where we hired horses. As soon as our horses arrived, so did the rain. After seventy miles, arrived at Pu-t'ou Village. The rain stopped and we sent the horses back. After less than a mile, entered the mountain, where the winding peaks were reflected in the water. The trees were flourishing, and the rocks, extraordinary—I took great pleasure in the scene. A stream flowed from Tung-yang District with a strong current, as wide as the Maiden Ts'ao River.[22] Looked all around but could not find any ferry, so I crossed on the back of a servant. The depth of the water rose past his knees. Then we had to cross a torrent, which took nearly an hour. After a mile, arrived at Bright Crag. Bright Crag was where Han-shan and Shih-te lived in retreat.[23] Here, two mountains twist and turn toward each other to form what the local gazetteer calls "Eight-Inch Pass."[24] Entered through the pass to find sheer cliffs surrounding me on all four sides like a city wall. At the end was a cave several tens of feet deep that could accommodate several hundred people. Outside the cave were two crags to the left, both located halfway up the cliffs. On the right was a rock shaped like a bamboo shoot jutting upward. Its top was even with one of the cliffs and separated from it by no more than a hairline. Green pines and purple flowers flourished on top. It complements perfectly the crags to the left—it could certainly be called a marvel. Exited through Eight-Inch Pass, climbed up another crag, also on the left. I looked up at it as I approached and it resembled a cleft, but when I reached the top it was spacious enough to hold several hundred people. There was a well in the middle named "Transcendent's Well"—shallow and yet inexhaustible. Beyond the crag was a particularly unusual rock several tens of feet high with a forked top resembling two men. The monk described it as "Han-shan and Shih-te." Stopped at the monastery there. After a meal, the clouds dispersed and the new moon appeared in the sky. I stood on the summit of this undulating cliff and watched the pure light flood the rock walls.

The sixth day of the fourth month [May 25]: Departed from the temple at the break of dawn. After more than two miles, reached Cold Crag. Its rock wall stood straight up as if hewn. Looked up at it in the sky and saw that it had numerous caves. There was one such cave halfway up the crag about eighty paces wide and more than a hundred paces deep—level, spacious, and bright. Proceeded along the right side of the crag and climbed up through a cleft in the rock. There were two rocks facing each other, rising straight up in the cave. They were separated below but joined together at the top—a "Bridge of Magpies."[25] It could rival the Rock Bridge by the Monastery of the Universal


Teachings, but it lacks the cascade plunging straight down. Returned to the monk's quarters for lunch, then found a ferry and crossed a stream. Followed this stream down the mountain along a strip of sheer cliffs and jagged precipices overgrown with plants and trees hanging down from their tops. Among them were crabapple and redbud trees. Their reflections covered the stream as sweet breezes wafted toward me. Magnolias and fragrant plants were everywhere. In no time, reached the entrance to a mountain. Rock walls stood perpendicular, extending down to a torrent at their feet. The torrent was deep and its flow swift. There was no land on either side of it. Holes had been bored into the rock wall to aid in crossing, but only half of my foot could fit into each hole. I shuddered as I pressed my body against the wall to pass. From Cold Crag it was five miles to Pu-t'ou Village, then followed a small path to Peach Spring, which is beside the Temple Guarding the Nation.[26] The temple has been destroyed, and none of the locals remember anything about it. Followed behind Yün-feng along a winding road choked with tall grass. The sun had already set, but we could find no place to spend the night until we finally asked the way to Plateau Pond. The pond is only seven miles from Pu-t'ou Village, but we had been taking this small path that wound about for more than ten miles. Spent the night there. Now I believe how Peach Spring can cause travelers to lose their way.[27]

The seventh day of the fourth month [May 26]: Proceeded along the winding road from Plateau Pond for more than ten miles. Crossed a stream and entered a mountain. Another one and a half miles and the opening to the mountain gradually narrowed. There is a lodge there named "Peach Blossom Vale."[28] Followed alongside a deep pond. The water was a clear blue-green. A waterfall poured down into it from above. This was the Ringing Jade Torrent.[29] The torrent follows the winding shape of the mountain, and I followed wherever the torrent led. The mountains on both sides were like skeletons of rock. Patches of emerald foliage grew among the clustered peaks. Everywhere I looked was delightful. Its scenic beauty ranks somewhere between that of Cold and Bright Crags. The road breaks off where the torrent ends. A waterfall crashes down from a hollow in the mountain with ferocity. I left, dined at the lodge, and proceeded southeast through the vale; crossed over two ridges to search for what is called the "Jade Terrace" and the "Double Gatetowers," but no one knew where they were. About a mile farther on, learned they were on the summit. Followed the road there with Yün-feng, pulling ourselves up until finally we reached the top. Looked down at sheer peaks, which encircled us just


like at Peach Spring but these emerald cliffs were loftier by far. On top of the peak there is a break in the middle: this forms the Double Gatetowers. What they surround and enclose is the Jade Terrace. Three sides of the terrace are precipitous cliffs, and the rear is connected to the Double Gatetowers. I stood facing the "gatetowers," but dusk had fallen and there was not the time to climb them. However, I had been able to view all the other famous sights in one day. Then descended the mountain behind Red Citadel and returned to the Temple of the Peaceful Nation, traveling ten miles in all.

The eighth day of the fourth month [May 27]: Left the Temple of the Peaceful Nation. Went one and a half miles along the rear of the mountain. Ascended to Red Citadel. On its summit a rounded cliff rises prominently. When viewed from afar, it resembles a city wall, and the color of the rock is a pale cinnabar red. The caves have been converted into monks' dwellings at random, obscuring their natural beauty. The Cave of the Jade Capital, Gold Coin Pond, and the Well for Cleansing Intestines[30] are all of no particular interest.[31]

Seven Stars Cavern

From 1636 until 1640, Hsü Hung-tsu carried out his last and most extensive journey, this one to southwestern China. His leisurely route took him through the present-day provinces of Che-chiang, Chiang-hsi, Hu-nan, Kuang-hsi, Kuei-chou, and Yün-nan. The diaries completed during these years are more than ten times the length of all those written previously and represent a distinct phase of his travel writing in which the search for geographical knowledge became more important than aesthetic pleasure. The southwest did not contain an abundance of historical sites but was rich in unusual natural formations, particularly caves. It was his observations about these—of which he visited over one hundred in the course of his travels—that has attracted most interest from modern scientists.

Seven Stars Cavern (Ch'i-hsing-yen) remains one of the major scenic attractions in the city of Kuei-lin in Kuang-hsi, an area renowned for the picturesqueness of its karst mountains. Seven peaks form a group on the left bank of the Li River (Li-chiang), and their arrangement is said to resemble the Big Dipper. Seven Stars Cavern, located at the midlevel of the mountain, was formed by an underground river. Its widest part measures 141 feet, and it is 89 feet high. The route through the cave is about one-half mile long. It became a tourist attraction in the late sixth century during the Sui dynasty, and numerous inscriptions by literary travelers attest to its long popularity.


Hsü's southwest travels were filled with difficulties; his servants deserted him, and his traveling companion, the monk Ching-wen, died. Although he may originally have intended to go as far as Tibet, this final journey ended when his own health deteriorated. He had to be carried back home, where he died in 1641.

The second day [of the fifth month in the year ting-ch'ou : June 23, 1637]: After breakfast, together with the monk Ching-wen and my servant, Ku, packed provisions, took along bedding, and departed eastward through Pontoon Bridge Gate. Crossed Pontoon Bridge,[1] then turned east again to cross Flower Bridge.[2] East of the bridge, turned north and proceeded toward the mountain. (By the cliff on the east side of Flower Bridge is a small rock that protrudes,[3] abutting the end of the bridge—it beautifies the stream and connects the scene with the village; it also catches the eye of anyone traveling east.) A jagged mountain stands northeast of Flower Bridge. Though its rocky heights cannot compare to the peaks that line the road on the southeast,[4] this is where Seven Stars Cavern is located. It is about half a mile from Pontoon Bridge. The cavern faces west; below it is the Temple of the Buddha of Longevity, and we began our climb up the mountain by the left side of the temple. First we came upon "a pavilion with eaves like wings," which greets the traveler. Called "Plucking Stars,"[5] it was built and inscribed by Ts'ao Neng-shih.[6] Above it was a cliff that jutted out horizontally with space enough only for one's feet, but the view looking down at the city walls and the western mountains was quite exhilarating. To its left was a Buddhist hermitage, which stood at the mouth of a cavern. Upon entering, one is unaware that there is a cavern. I asked a monk from the temple where exactly it was. He pushed open a door at the back and led me inside. We climbed up steps for about thirty feet—his hermitage had concealed the entrance to the cavern. It was pitch black, then suddenly we turned to the northwest and the space grew brighter as it opened up before us. It had an arched ceiling over fiat ground with numerous "bamboo shoots" and suspended "pillars"[7] clustered in the center. They created a pure and intricate beauty. This, the upper cave, is Seven Stars Cavern.

Descended by stairs to the right and entered the lower cave, known as the Cave Perched on Mist.[8] This cave is gigantic, luminous, magnificent, and spacious. Its opening also faces northwest. Gazed up at its loftiness and majesty. Across the ceiling ran a fissure. A rock in the shape of a carp was suspended from the fissure, leaping downward,


head to tail covered in "scales" and "bristles." If one tried to carve such a thing, one could hardly obtain a closer resemblance. Next to it were rocks that were coiled up, knotted together, twisted around, and that formed canopies with their many colors aglow. To the northwest were layered terraces stacked high. Climbed up a set of stairs—this was Lao-tzu's Terrace.[9] North of the terrace, the cavern was clearly divided into two areas. Proceeded west along the high terrace, then east through the middle of a deep valley. Walked further up from the terrace and through an opening straight north into a dark area. Above, the arched ceiling appeared endless; below, the ground dropped down into a pool: cavernous, precipitous, and fissured. What had been level suddenly became dangerously steep. Just then, the guide I had hired earlier lit a torch of pine twigs at the bottom of the cave and entered another cave. He didn't come by the terrace, so I couldn't follow him. Nor could I tell where he was, for it was too dark. So I descended from the terrace and returned to the floor of the cavern. The guide preceded me, holding the torch. We passed along the east side of the terrace through a valley and only then saw that the walls of the terrace were compacted and fractured, forming interweaving patterns that contained all sorts of phantasmal shapes. I recalled that I had just descended to this place from above. Went directly north and entered a "Celestial Gate"[10] of stone pillars standing erect but that admitted only one person at a time. After entering, found it to be another arched space, lofty and extensive, with balustrades of rock on the left. Below, it dropped down into a deep blackness so obscure that no bottom was visible: this was Otter's Pool.[11] The guide said that it is so deep it connects with the ocean, but this is not necessarily so. From Lao-tzu's Terrace northward down to the lower level here, heights and depths kept shifting, dense formations meshed with open expanse, creating yet another realm. Within this I passed through two more "Celestial Gates." The path gradually turned to the northeast and contained such rock formations as "Sprig of Bamboo in a Flower Vase," "Fisherman's Net," "Chessboard," "Eight Transcendents," "Steamed Buns," and images of the divine youth Sudhana[12] on both sides with the Bodhisattva Kuan-yin in the middle. The guide hurried on. Even though I forced him to linger so that I could study things more carefully, for everything I observed I had to neglect something else. However, what I really wanted to see was not located here.

Again we crossed over a cliff while ascending. To the right was a pool, abyssal and black just like Otter's Pool but its area was greater: this one is called "Dragon River."[13] It is probably connected to Otter's Pond. Walked further northward, then turned east past "Red Carpet"


and "White Carpet":[14] like hanging fur robes and suspended rugs whose patterns resembled textiles. Then, eastward, we passed "Feng - and Huang -Birds Playing in the Water." As soon as I had passed through an opening, a cold wind came whistling by—"sou-liu ." The torch was extinguished, and my skin felt raw. Because the wind had entered the cave from outside, upon reaching this opening it had become compressed and its force increased. (Windy Cave on Layered Colors Mountain is also like this.[15] Formerly it was not called "Windy Cave," but this is what people now call it. Whether there was a "Windy Cave" here in the past no one knows today.)

Exited and suddenly saw a halo of white light that illuminated the deep valley inside, creating an expansive atmosphere like the sky at daybreak. Then went east out of the rear cave. There was a stream from the north of the cave, which circled around and entered the cave from the south. I think it must become the Dragon River farther on. A small rock bridge spanned it, constructed by the Sung minister Tseng Pu.[16] Crossed the bridge and wiped off a spot on the cliff to the right of the mouth of the cave: it bore an inscription by His Excellency Tseng. Thus I learned that this cave was formerly called Cold Water Cavern. When Tseng served as a military commander in Kuang-hsi he built this bridge in his search for marvelous sights, and the name was changed to "The Cave of His Excellency Tseng." It is undoubtedly connected underground with Perched on Mist forming a single cavern: only the two gateways separate them.

I stood for a long while on the bridge and saw someone washing clothes and fetching water from the stream. I inquired, "This stream flows here from the northeast. Can one enter by following it upstream?" He replied, "By following along the water channel, one can enter more than a mile deeper. Compared to the outer cave, the road is twice as long, and the sights are twice as fantastic. But the depth of the channel is unknown—only during the winter months can one wade across it—now is not the right season." So I took him on as a guide.

He went back to get a torch, and I followed him outside the cave, then to the right, where I arrived at the Monastery of the Forest of Blessings.[17] Left the pack I had been carrying there and had the monastery prepare a meal to await us on our return. Then I followed the guide, going in, as before, through the narrow opening of the eastern entrance. Passed by Feng - and Huang -Birds Playing in the Water, reached Red and White Carpets, and then turned northward at the fork in the path. Along the way was a "lion" playing with a ball, an "elephant" with a coiled trunk, and a "camel" with a long neck and a rounded hump. There was an earthen tomb with sacrificial offerings


such as hog bristles and goose feet arranged before it. There was a vegetarian "Arhat's Feast," with golden winecups on silver trays arranged below. In the honored place was the God of the Mountain, about a foot or so high, seated on an overhanging cliff. In a recess was a figure of the Buddha only seven inches high, seated in a formal position next to a Bodhisattva situated halfway up the cliff. There was a meditation couch and a small shrine—the couch was suitable for sitting cross-legged and meditating. In front of Kuan-yin on her throne was a prayer wheel that, it seemed, was about to start spinning. Farther back was another deep, dark pool facing a bridge over a flowing stream. At this point, the guide dared not enter any farther, saying, "Even with lamps and torches, several days would not be enough to cover it all. No one ever goes beyond here. Moreover, once the water rises, how could we protect ourselves against it?" So we turned back, passing by Red and White Carpets and Feng - and Huang -Birds Playing in the Water before exiting. I calculated that the route from the Cave Perched on Mist to His Excellency Tseng's Cavern was less than a mile; from Tseng's Cavern farther in and then back out along this circuitous route was about a mile. However, not a single sight in these two caves escaped my view.

After exiting from the cave, I lunched at the Monastery of the Forest of Blessings and gazed upon Wife's Peak to the east, which I had seen upon my arrival. Hurried down a side path and found to the west a hollow at the foot of the peak. Some vegetable gardeners had built their houses in it. (They raise a golden-colored tobacco that can be smoked.) To the north of this are many more caves. These surround His Excellency Tseng's Cavern and are quite numerous. At this point, I followed along the southern foothills of Seven Stars Mountain, turned north through wild grass, and went through three caves in succession. I calculated that the Cave of the Springtime Visit[18] ought to be located north of here and that it could be reached by crossing a hill.

I thus headed north in the direction of a hollow in the hill and came across a small path. After half a mile, arrived at the summit where the rock was steep and protruded—there was barely enough room to get a foothold. And the small fissures in the rock were concealed by brambles and thorns, so climbing up became more and more difficult. From a distance, the unique shape of the rock slabs and the strange forms of the petal-like peaks seemed to conceal while supporting each other; as I approached, though, they increasingly opened up and revealed themselves, leaving me in a daze. After another half mile, crossed over the hill and descended by means of the stairs that had been cut into the rock. At the foot of the stairs was the Cave of the Springtime Visit. It


contains three caves in succession, all facing northeast. Surging clouds arose by the westernmost one. Entered deep into the cave. There was a rock suspended in the middle like a hanging lung. Penetrated westward, then turned south. The cave gradually darkened. Unfortunately, there were no inhabitants, and I could not obtain a torch to penetrate further. However, I had heard that there was nothing extraordinary inside, so there was no need to go in any farther.

On the right side of the cave was an opening that led to the middle cave. This cave located in the center is wide in front, but one cannot penetrate far into it. In the front are rocks that resemble a suspended, forked tree and an upside-down dragon. On the right side of the cave was an opening leading to the eastern cave. In this easternmost cave, the suspended rocks are even more abundant. One side of the cave, moreover, contained a fissure. A clear spring flowed down into a pool whose cold, green surface was mirrorlike. I had my servant Ku watch over the packs in the middle cave while I went with Ching-wen from the front of the cave along a cliff, eastward. Above, rocks standing erect were like people; those crouching low, like animals. In the eastern part, rocks like roof tiles touched the sky—I looked up at them, and they seem to have been cleaved. Below, a clear stream wound around—it is called Sword's Trail River (also known as the Kuei River).[19] It originates at Yao's Mountain.[20] From the northeast, it reaches the northern foothills of the mountain and flows out west under Old Ko's Bridge[21] and thence westward into the Li River.[22]

At this point, I turned and reached the eastern corner of the mountain and looked up to find at the middle of the cliff row upon row of grottoes as if the clouds had exhaled a curtain of gauze. Where a file of three such grottoes were, I imagined that if they were joined inside so that these three were one it would resemble an elegant many-storied pavilion in the middle of the sky whose white jade eaves would be visible through the clouds—this would be a marvelous sight! And yet, it did not seem possible to reach it. We wandered back and forth below it before we cleared away some undergrowth among the rocks, cut some stairs into the overhanging cliff, and climbed up from one level to the next. Finally reached a grotto, and as expected it led into a middle grotto. However, this middle one was so low that I couldn't raise my head up. I had to cross it around the outside as if it were a pavilion on a terrace, and not through its interior space. Then I reached the third grotto and entered through a narrow fissure. Went to the rear, where there was a shrine with a window in front. There was a "jade pillar" suspended in the window. To the left of the pillar was another shrine with an arched roof above and a platform beneath. I sat down on it in


a meditative position and all my limbs felt perfectly relaxed—even if someone set out to carve this, he could not create something so marvelous! Its front was opposite the jade pillar. There was a small stalactite hanging down; a spring of watery pearls kept on dripping. Ching-wen and I crouched down in front of the jade pillar in the space of the window and looked down the precipitous cliff. The passersby below looked up at us and kept walking around in circles below; some lingered, unable to leave. After a bit, two wood gatherers from the village looked up at us for a long while and finally clambered up. One said to me, "This would be a fine place to build a cottage, for my village is nearby and I could always look out on it." I said, "This pavilion in the sky is, I regret, a bit too shallow and narrow. If it were only slightly more spacious and deeper, one could reside here." He replied, "Above the middle grotto is another cave that is quite spacious." He wanted me to climb up to it, but although I tried for a long while, I couldn't reach it. So I descended and rested against a shady pine. Just where the two wood gatherers had gazed up at me, I now gazed up at them. They grasped hold of some branches and searched for stairs but finally were blocked by a precipice and found no way to climb up any farther.

After a while, once more went west into the eastern cave of the Cave of the Springtime Visit and entered the middle cave. Followed along the western waist of the mountain and entered the western cave, which contained many inscriptions by men of the present carved on the walls. Exited the cave going west and came across yet another cave. Its entrance, which faced north, was about fifty feet high. Inside, I descended slightly, turning west. Although it gradually grew darker, its lofty and spacious proportions increased greatly, But without a torch I could not penetrate further. This was indeed an ancient cave! On a cliff to the left was inscribed in large characters the phrase "The Five Excellences and the Four Evils,"[23] written by Chang Nan-hsüan in his heroic and consummate style of calligraphy.[24] How sad that no one appreciates it; moreover, even the name of the cave cannot be determined. It could be the "Cave of the Encountered Transcendent"[25] or "Pellet Cavern." I brushed off the wall of the cavern, only to find an inscription by Ch'en Fu of P'u-t'ien during the Sung dynasty,[26] which read, "Islet Cave."[27] Is this because the cave is located on an islet in the Kuei River? West of the cave, the Sword's Trail River flows straight from the northeast, pressing along the foot of a cliff. The cliff becomes increasingly arched and sheer, its height piercing the empyrean while extending down into a deep pool—how majestic and powerful!

A rock bridge spans the water leading westward, so that both the cliff and the river are to the south of the road. This spot is the northeast


corner of Seven Stars Mountain, and the cliff's name is Pellet Mountain.[28] From Springtime Visit to here is less than half a mile. From its southwest corner I crossed over Elders' Bridge. (Elders of various towns had it constructed, hence its name.) Looked at the summit of the cliff and saw a cave located high up. Above and below it, the rock was extremely steep and sheer: it must have been the entrance to the Cave Perched on Mist. When I focused my sight to its left, I saw yet another cliff with a hermitage among the clouds, quite different from the one at the rear entrance to Seven Stars Cavern. Hurriedly turned east to climb the mountain. At the foot, I first encountered a temple. No doubt it, along with the Temple of the Buddha of Longevity and the Seven Stars Monastery,[29] stands in front of mountains that are like three legs of a tripod along a north-south axis. On the south is Seven Stars Monastery—above it to the east is Seven Stars Cave; in the middle is the Temple of the Buddha of Longevity—above it to the east is the Cave Perched on Mist; in the north is this temple—above it to the east is Morning Clouds Cave.[30]

Climbed with bent knees while lock, king upward, then walked straight up several hundred stairs until I finally entered Morning Clouds Cave. It faces west, lies to the north of Perched on Mist, and is less than half a mile farther from Elders' Bridge. The mouth of the cavern was situated high up; inside, the cavern turned to the north and was extremely lofty. The monk T'ai-hsü of Hui-chou[31] had piled up stairs and erected a pavilion at the entrance. It soars up along the sheer cliff and gazes down over the City of Rivers,[32] happily greeting the Western Mountains in the distance. By then, however, the late sun's rays were falling on the cliff and so I struggled to climb farther, hard pressed by panting and sweating. I had barely thrown myself at the foot of the Buddha to offer a prayer when suddenly a monk called to me—it was Jung-chih.

Previously, I had met Jung-chih at Antiquity Plateau on Transverse Mountain[33] and again at the Green Bamboo Monastery in Heng-chou.[34] Jung-chih left first to return to Kuei-lin, and we planned to meet at Seven Stars Cavern. When I arrived here, I asked anyone I met about him, but no one knew anything. After going through Seven Stars Cavern, I told myself that I would never be able to find him. Then when I arrived here, I suddenly encountered him most unexpectedly. So I spent the night in his cave I asked about the pathway to the higher cave to the north, and Jung-chih said, "Although this cave is lofty and stands to the right of the cliff, there have never been any stairs going up to it. However, the south wall of this cave is separated by only ten feet or so from the northern base of that one. One might bore


a hole through from inside this cave, since outside there is no place to support a stairway." I leaned against a railing and gazed off to the north. The cave was blocked by rocks, so I was unable to observe it from a closer distance. There was nothing left but to undo my hair and gaze toward the Western Mountains to identify the various peaks.

(The Western Mountains from north to south: at the extreme north is Yü's Mountain;[35] south of it is East Town Gate Mountain;[36] and south of this is Dragon Tree Cave Mountain and Windy Cave Mountain, also known as Cassia Mountain;[37] further south is Fu-po's Mountain[38] —all of these form a range east of the city. West of Yü's Mountain at the extreme north is Flowerscape Mountain;[39] south of it is Lingering Horse Mountain;[40] south of this is Retirement Mountain;[41] and south of this is Marquis Mountain and King of Good Fortune Mountain.[42] These form a range to the west of the city. Between Fupo's and Retirement Mountain stands Unique Beauty;[43] opposite it to the south by the mouth of the river are Mount Li and Pierced Mountain.[44] All of these are west of the Li River, hence the name "Western Mountains.")

The third day of the fifth month [May 24]: Stayed in the pavilion at Morning Clouds Cave. Sat facing the west as I recorded the events of the past several days in my diary. At twilight, bade farewell to Jung-chih and descended the mountain. Passed the Temple of the Buddha of Longevity and Seven Stars Monastery to the south, traveling less than half a mile in all. Westward crossed over Flower Bridge, then went less than half a mile again, crossed Pontoon Bridge, and entered East River Gate. Three hundred yards south and I arrived at the Chao Residence, where I spent the night.[45]


Chang Tai (ca. 1597–ca. 1679)
inline image

Chang Tai was the scion of a prominent family of Shan-yin (modern Shao-hsing, Che-chiang). Like a number of wealthy literati during the late Ming, he did not pursue an official career; instead, during the first half of his life he led a charmed existence as an aesthete and socialite. During the final four decades of the Ming, he was able to travel extensively in comfort and observe many of the fashionable scenes of the time. At some point he took the artistic name T'ao-an (Studio of Contentment). After the collapse of the dynasty in 1644, his fortunes declined as the world he knew vanished. During the remaining fortyor-so years of his life, he lived in much-reduced circumstances as a recluse and wrote his memoirs in the form of miscellanies. Dreamlike Memories from the Studio of Contentment is his best-known collection, containing short, epigraphic narratives of the travels of his youth as well as vignettes of personalities, customs, and various cultural pursuits. His style continued the individualism and miniaturism of the Kung-an school of the late Ming. It conveys his own sensuality, humor, and delight in the unusual, in addition to his melancholy, irony, and nostalgia. The details he provides recapture the manifold pleasures of a lost world from the vantage point of a once-privileged tourist now left with few illusions.

From Dreamlike Memories from the Studio of Contentment

The Juniper in the Temple of Confucius

With the establishment of Confucianism as the official ideology during the Western Han dynasty, the city of Ch'ü-fu in Shan-tung, the home



Fig. 51.
The Confucian Shrine at Ch'ü-fu . From San-ts'ai t'u-hui  (1609). Richard C. Rudolph East Asian Library, University of California,
Los Angeles. The juniper of Confucius is located within the city walls to the right of the center of the illustration, beside the
Confucian Temple. Above behind the circular wall is the Confucian Grove, where Confucius, his disciples, and his descendants
are buried. In the far distance in the upper right is the Supreme Mountain.


of Confucius, became a shrine. Embellished over the centuries by imperial largess, the ancient town grew into a complex of temples, monuments, and sacred objects celebrating the Confucian cult, presided over by his descendants in the aristocratic K'ung family. Located not far from the Supreme Mountain, Ch'ü-fu attracted emperors and commoners alike, who made pilgrimages to sacrifice in the grand Confucian Temple and view the many sights associated with historical events and personalities. By Chang Tai's time, it had also become a tourist spot visited by sightseers interested in the curiosities displayed at the shrine. Many of these, the juniper of Confucius among them, were of dubious historical origin, though such objects as the Han dynasty steles were undoubtedly genuine. After several decades of neglect, Ch'ü-fu has been undergoing restoration in recent years and once again attracts visitors.

In the year chi-szu [1629], I arrived in Ch'ü-fu and visited the Temple of Confucius. One must pay admission before entering through the gate. Towers thrust up above the palacelike walls. A placard read, "The Place Where Liang Shan-po and Chu Ying-t'ai Studied."[1] I was startled by its inappropriateness. I entered through the Gate of Ritual Ceremony and saw the juniper that Confucius himself had planted.[2] This juniper has endured for several thousand years, through the Chou, Ch'in, Han, and Chin dynasties. In the third year of the Yung-chia era [309], during the reign of Emperor Huai of the Western Chin, it withered. It remained withered for 309 years. However, the descendants of Confucius continued to tend it, so it was not destroyed. In the first year of the I-ning era [617], during the reign of Emperor Kung of the Sui dynasty, it revived. Fifty-one years later, in the third year of the Ch'ien-feng era [668], during the reign of Emperor Kao-tsung of the T'ang, it withered again and remained withered for 374 years until the first year of the K'ang-ting era [1040], during the reign of Emperor Jen-tsung of the Sung, when it flourished again. In the third year of the Chen-yu era [1215], during the reign of Emperor Hsüan-tsung of the Chin, it was scorched in a fire set by soldiers. Its branches and leaves were all burned; only its trunk survived, a little more than twenty feet high. Eighty-one years later, in the thirty-first year of the reign of Emperor Shih-tsu of the Yüan [1294], it sprouted forth again. In the year chi-szu [1389], the twenty-second year in the reign of the Hung-wu Emperor, it sprouted numerous branches of lush foliage, which fell off ten years later.[3]


I felt its trunk. It was smooth, moist, firm, and shiny. The pattern of its bark swirled to the left. When struck, it produced a sound like that of metal or stone. The descendants of Confucius have always regarded its flourishing and withering as a sign of the times. I proceeded further, to a large pavilion with a toppled stele. The two characters "Apricot Terrace"[4] had been written on it in the calligraphy of Tang Huai-ying.[5]

At the edge of the pavilion is a bridge where the Chu and Szu rivers meet.[6] I crossed it and entered the Grand Hall. This hall is magnificent and beautiful. The Expositor-Sage Confucius, his Four Attendant Spirits, and the Ten Philosophers[7] were all represented by statues wearing crowns with strands of jade beads. On the altar were arranged three bronze tripods in the shape of a bullock, an elephant, and a pi-hsieh .[8] Their styles closely followed those of antiquity. Their entire bodies were an emerald verdigris; and they were nailed down to the altar table. Below the stairs were arranged in a file the steles of emperors of various dynasties. That of the Yüan dynasty stood out for its enormity. It was made of burnished bronze and had a tortoise base more than ten feet high.

The hall on the left is three bays large, slightly smaller in scale than the Grand Hall. It is the Temple of the K'ung Clan. The east and west walls were lined with encomiums by emperors of various dynasties, written on small wooden tablets. In a corner of the western wall is the Hall of Emperor T'ai-tsu of the Ming. None of the titles bestowed by the Ming dynasty are used in the temple. One can gauge by this the nobility of the K'ung clan. One clan member said, "There are only three great clans in the world—ours, the Changs of Chiang-hsi, and the Chus of Feng-yang.[9] The Chiang-hsi Changs have the odor of Taoists, while the Feng-yang Chus are upstarts with the airs of a common family."[10]

An Inn in T'ai-an

The subprefecture of T'ai-an, Shan-tung, is not far from Ch'ü-fu, and Chang Tai must have visited it around the same time, in 1629. The town lies at the foot of the Supreme Mountain, where the Temple to the Sacred Mount of the East is located. The temple is the starting point for pilgrims ascending the mountain. What in ancient times had been an arduous and dangerous climb had been developed over the centuries into a scenic route lined with shrines dedicated to deities of various cults. Long before Chang Tai's visit, the central path up the



Fig. 52.
Ascending the Supreme Mountain to OfFer Sacrifices (Chia-ch'ing era [1796–1820]). From Wang
Shu-ts'un, ed.,  Yang-liu-ch'ing nien-hua tzu-liao chi  (Peking, 1959). This popular woodblock
print shows an affluent Ch'ingdynasty gentleman on his way up to the summit.

mountain had been paved with stone steps, and affluent travelers could be carried up in comfort in open sedan chairs. While emperors and officials continued to make sacrificial pilgrimages, the Supreme Mountain had already become a prime tourist destination catering to a wide range of guests of all classes. These visitors were motivated not only by religious devotion but also by the desire to experience in their leisure time one of the natural wonders of the Chinese world.

Chang appears to have availed himself of a package tour, and his account is a rare glimpse into the circumstances of commercialized travel in later Imperial China. Not only does he describe the impressive establishments that catered to those who could afford them, but he also reveals the pleasurable customs involved in such "sacrificing." Throughout, there is an attitude of irony and amusement at the worldliness of what originally had been a state occasion of the utmost


seriousness. Compared to Ma Ti-po's account, Chang Tai's report is without the slightest intimation of hardship or spiritual awe.

I shall never again regard the inns of T'ai-an as merely inns. I had come to sacrifice at the Supreme Mountain, and less than half a mile or so before reaching the inn I saw twenty or more stables for mules and horses. As I got closer, there were more than twenty dwellings housing actors. And closer still were discreet doorways and concealed houses all belonging to courtesans engaged in their seductive profession. I thought that these must serve the entire subprefecture—I didn't realize they were just for a single inn.

When arriving at the inn, one first enters a reception room to register. Someone collects the basic rate of three ch'ien , eight fen in silver; then someone collects the tax for climbing the mountain, of one ch'ien , eight fen . There are three grades of rooms. The lowest provides only a vegetarian meal in the evening and another one the next morning. Lunch is taken on the mountain, where the pilgrim partakes of ordinary rice wine and nuts; this is called "Reaching the Summit." By evening he arrives back at the inn where a feast of congratulations is held. It is said that after burning incense, if he prayed to become an official, then he will become one; if he prayed for sons, then he will receive them; if he prayed for money, he will obtain it. Therefore it is called "congratulations." There are also three grades of "congratulations." The first consists of a table for one with sweet cakes, five kinds of fruit, ten kinds of meat, nuts, and an opera performance. The next grade provides a table for two, also with sweet cakes, meat dishes, nuts, and an opera. The lowest grade is a table for three or four people, also with sweet cakes, meat dishes, nuts, but no opera, though it includes a singer with lute. At the inn I counted more than twenty places for opera performances, while those for singers were beyond counting. There were more than twenty kitchens preparing food and between one and two hundred servants running about serving the guests. After descending from the mountain, one can eat and drink and enjoy the courtesans to one's heart's content—all this in one day.

Guests arrive day after day to ascend and descend the mountain in this way. Yet the rooms of the new and departed guests are never confused, the nonvegetarian and vegetarian meals are never mixed up, and the staff who welcome the guests and the staff who see them off are each different. All this precision is quite incomprehensible. In the single subprefecture of T'ai-an, there are five or six inns just like this one, which is even more amazing.[1]


West Lake at the Midsummer Festival

Chang Tai was a frequent visitor to West Lake, whose scenic beauty, prosperity, and sophisticated social scene attracted all kinds of travelers. In his later years, he wrote a collection of nostalgic travel pieces, In Search of My Dreams of West Lake (Hsi-hu meng-hsün) , twenty-eight years after he had last visited it. In the following selection from Dreamlike Memories , Chang Tai, like Yüan Hung-tao before him, defined travel as a demonstration of individual taste. How one travels and with whom are essential elements in experiencing a place, as significant as lyrical perceptions of the landscape or recognition of its historical meanings. He defines his own self by means of a typology of aesthetic consciousness. Avoiding exuberant vulgarity as well as conventional forms of sophistication, Chang Tai avows the simpler, understated tastes traditionally extolled in literati culture.

At West Lake at the Midsummer Festival,[1] there is nothing worth watching except those who come to watch the midsummer moon. One can distinguish five types worth watching:

One type: those on spacious pleasure boats where music is played, wearing formal dress, enjoying magnificent banquets under lantern lights, entertained by actors as sounds and sights dissolve into one another. They call this "watching the moon," though they never really see it. They themselves are worth watching.

Another type: those on pleasure boats as well as those in pavilions along with celebrated beauties, accompanied by pretty boys, laughter and shouting spreading among them, seated in a circle on terraces, gazing this way and that. Their bodies are located under the moon, though they really never look at it. They, too, are worth watching.

Another type: those who are also on pleasure boats who are singing, accompanied by famous courtesans and Buddhist priests, sipping wine and singing softly to subdued flutes and mellow strings, bamboo instruments and voices accompanying each other. They are also under the moon and they watch it, and they want others to watch them watching the moon. They are worth watching.

Another type: those who ride neither boats nor carriages, wear neither gowns nor hats, are drunk with wine and stuffed with food, forming groups of three or five, shoving their way through the crowds by the Temple of Glorious Blessings and Broken Bridge[2] yelling and screaming, pretending to be drunk, and singing discordant songs. They



Fig. 53.
Viewing the Moon on West Lake  (detail). From Hsi-hu shih-ching  (Shanghai,
1979; rpt. of Wanli era [1573–162O] ed.). The title of this print, "Viewing the
Autumn Moon on Placid Lake," describes one of the ten famous scenes of
West Lake and was later the name of a pavilion on Solitary Hill.


watch the moon, they watch those watching the moon, they watch those not watching the moon, but actually they see nothing. They are worth watching.

Another type: those on small boats with thin cloth curtains who heat a stove on a clean table, set up a teapot and boil tea, delicately serving it in white porcelain cups to good friends and beautiful women all seated together on an outing to watch the moon, and who may hide in the shadows beneath the trees or flee from the clamor to the Inner Lake.[3] They watch the moon, but others cannot see how they watch it, and, moreover, they do not watch it self-consciously. They are worth watching.

When Hang-chou people visit West Lake, they usually set out during the hours of szu [9:00–11:00 A.M.] and return at yu [5:00–7:00 P.M.], avoiding the moon as if it were an enemy. But this evening is famous, and they come out m droves. Many tip the guards at the city gate with money for wine. The sedan chair bearers carry torches and line up to wait for them along the banks. Once on board, they urge the boatman to hurry toward Broken Bridge so as to make it to the festivities. Up until the second watch [9:00–11:00 P.M.], the sounds of voices and instruments are like a bubbling over, like a tremor, like crying out from a nightmare, like murmuring in one's sleep, so deafening that it makes one seem mute. The boats, great and small, all mass along the bank. Nothing can be seen except poles striking poles, boats colliding with boats, shoulders rubbing against shoulders, faces looking into other faces.

After a while, the excitement dies down. The parties of officials disperse as the government runners shout to clear the way. The sedan chair bearers alert those on the boats, warning that the city gates will shut. Lanterns and torches, like stars strewn in the sky, one by one gather into clusters and depart. Those onshore also swarm toward the gates. The crowd gradually thins, and soon everyone has dispersed.

This is when our boat approaches the shore, when the stone steps on Broken Bridge have cooled off. The mats are laid out there, and the guests are bid to drink freely. Now the moon is like a newly polished mirror. Again the mountains adjust their finery as, once more, the lake cleanses its face. Those who had been sipping wine and singing softly come out; those who hid in the shadows beneath the trees also come out. We go and make contact with them, urging them to sit down with us. Elegant friends come by, famous courtesans arrive, cups and chopsticks are laid aside as bamboo instruments and voices sound forth. When the moon is pale and cool, and it begins to grow bright in the east, the guests finally depart. We let our boat drift and fall asleep



Fig. 54.
Fan Ch'i (1616-ca. 1695),  The Ch'in,-huai River . From  Five Views of Chin-ling , Shanghai Museum, Shanghai.

among the lotus flowers, which stretch for several miles. Their fragrance caresses us and our dreams are sweet.[4]

The Riverside Houses Along the Ch'in-Huai

The Ch'in-huai River (Ch'in-huai-ho) originates in modern Li-shui, Chiang-su, and flows along the southern edge of Nanking before entering the Long River. Since the Six Dynasties, many spots along its length have become celebrated in literature and painting for their associations with famous literati and courtesans. In the late Ming, one particular stretch of the Ch'in-huai in the city was lined with elegant residences, inns, and courtesan houses where could be found the leading celebrities of the time. The entire neighborhood seemed dedicated to art and pleasure, and the social scene rivaled that of West Lake.


Along with Chang Tai, a number of other writers at the end of the seventeenth century wrote nostalgic accounts of Ch'in-huai in its heyday. Yü Huai (1616–1696), for example, in Random Notes from the Planked Bridge (Pan-ch'iao tsa-chi , published in 1697), recorded the unique customs and leading personalities of the quarter. In K'ung Shang-jen's (1648–1718) historical drama The Peach-Blossom Fan (T'aohua-shan , 1699), the Ch'in-huai of the 1640s is recreated as the setting for the romance between the courtesan Li Hsiang-chün and the scholar Hou Fang-yü (1618–1655). In painting as well, scenes along the Ch'inhuai River were nostalgically depicted by artists, such as Shih-t'ao (1642-ca. 1710) in his album Reminiscences of Ch'in-huai (Ch'in-huai i-yu , ca. 1685).

The riverside houses along the Ch'in-huai were convenient for lodging, for social intercourse, and for carousing. The rates were exorbitant, yet not a day went by when they weren't filled with guests. Decorated boats with their sounds of music passed back and forth, winding in circles by the houses. Outside each house were terraces with vermilion balustrades and latticed windows, bamboo shades and gauze curtains. In summer, people relaxed on the terraces after bathing, while from the pavilions along both banks a jasmine breeze would arouse the men and women with its pungent fragrance. The ladies held round fans and wore fine white silk. Their flowing sidelocks and tilted hairbuns attracted the men with their soft allure.

Every year on the day of the Dragon Boat Festival[1] the place was filled with the ladies and gentlemen of the capital,[2] who would come to view the lantern boats. Enthusiasts would assemble about a hundred small sailboats, with lanterns shaped like the horns of rams hung from the sails like strings of pearls. The boats were tied stem to stern so that as many as ten or more were joined in a file. They resembled fiery dragons and flaming clam-monsters, coiling, writhing, undulating, meandering. The water became agitated as the lights flashed. On board, cymbals and bells sounded while festive songs sung to strings and flutes rose up like frothy bubbles. The ladies and gentlemen, leaning against the balustrades, would break out in laughter. The sounds and sights were so dazzling that one no longer felt in control of his own eyes and ears. After midnight, they tired of songs and only a few lanterns remained lit. Like the stars, one by one, they disappeared. Chung Po-ching has written a "Rhapsody on the Lantern Boats of Ch'inhuai,"[3] which is consummate and quite captures the scene.[4]


Romance at Twenty-Four Bridges

Chang Tai describes one of the principal attractions for many male travelers of such southern cities as Yang-chou. Noted for the charm and beauty of its women, who were also highly desired as actresses and concubines, Yang-chou possessed several courtesan quarters. The origin of the name "Twenty-four Bridges" (Er-shih-szu-ch'iao) is obscure. It may originally have referred to twenty-four bridges throughout the city. In the T'ang, the poet Tu Mu (803–852) celebrated Twenty-four Bridges as a courtesan quarter, whereas by Chang Tai's time the name clearly denoted a specific neighborhood on the street leading to the West Gate of the old city. The writer surveys the scene with a sense of fascination, pity, and realism as he focuses on the courtesans of the lowest rank. While his account is intriguing for its details of the customs of the quarter, it dispels all romantic illusions in its observations of the blemished streetwalkers and its awareness of the sad fate of the unsuccessful ones, only to end on a perversely comic note.

Of the romantic scene at Twenty-four Bridges in Yang-chou, something was still preserved along Han Canal.[1] One circled around for about three hundred yards past Currency Gate to where there were nine alleys. There were originally nine, but almost a hundred alleys now encircle and zigzag between these to the left and right, front and back. The entrances to these alleys were narrow and winding. Standing neatly alongside each other were exquisite houses with secret doorways where both famous courtesans and ordinary streetwalkers dwelled. The famous courtesans would never appear themselves; one required the services of a guide to gain entry. There were as many as five or six hundred streetwalkers. Every day toward evening they would come out to the entrances to the alleys all bathed, perfumed, and made up, leaning against or sitting around the teahouses and taverns. This was called "standing sentry."

A hundred gauze lanterns lined the fronts of these teahouses and taverns. The girls screened themselves from the glare, half-concealing themselves between the lights. Those scarred masked themselves behind curtains; those crippled did not venture out beyond the threshold. If viewed before the lanterns or under the moonlight, not a single one could be found unblemished. The power of powder proved the saying, "A stroke of white covers a hundred defects."


Roamers and travelers came and went like the movements of a weaving shuttle. They rubbed their eyes and stayed on the lookout. When someone struck their fancy, they rushed forward and led her away. But suddenly the girl would remember her position and humbly allow the customer to go first while she followed behind at a slow pace. When they reached the entrance to the alley, a spotter would call through the doorway, "Miss X has a guest!" From within erupted a response like thunder and torches were instantly brought out. One by one, the girls would disappear; only about twenty or thirty were left remaining.

As the night grew heavy, by the second watch [9:00–11:00 P.M.] lanterns and candles were nearly burned out. The teahouses went dark and silent. "Professor Tea" was embarrassed to make the girls leave; all he could do was yawn. But the girls would gather some money and buy short candles from "Professor Tea" while they waited for late customers. Some would seductively sing tunes like "The Axe Breaks Jade"; some would tease each other and roar with laughter, deliberately making a scene to stir things up a bit. Yet this raucous laughter gradually took on a tinge of desperation. By midnight, they had to leave. Quietly, they groped their way through the darkness like ghosts. When they encountered the old madams, the girls might be starved or beaten—one had no way of knowing.

A younger cousin of mine, Cho-ju, had a handsome set of whiskers, was compulsively romantic, and fond of joking. Whenever he went by Currency Gate, he had to find a courtesan and once chortled to me, "My pleasure today is no less than that of kings and nobles!" "How is that?" I asked. He said, "Kings, nobles, and great men have several hundred concubines waiting on them. When evening comes they all passionately yearn to be chosen, but only one person is favored. When I pass by Currency Gate, there are several hundred beauties who eye me and tempt me and who regard me as a P'an An.[2] I need only signal with an expression to choose whomever I wish. I can always find someone appealing, call out to her, and she will serve me. How are kings, nobles, and great men better off than I?" Then he guffawed loudly, and I along with him.[3]

The Yü Garden

It was not only natural landscapes that attracted literary travelers, but also the artificial landscapes of gardens. The cities of the Chiang-nan region were particularly noted for outstanding examples of these, many of which had been developed over centuries. Ingenious rock formations


were the focus of these microcosms of the universe, with rocks from the Great Lake often preferred for their fantastic shapes. The garden was an important part of the art of living, a demonstration of aesthetic taste, a place for contemplation as well as entertainment. It could also confer social distinction.

Kua-chou (modern Chiang-tu, Chiang-su) is located on the north bank of the Long River at the mouth of the, Grand Canal, just below Yang-chou. In the late Ming, Yang-chou and its neighboring cities were among the most prosperous, owing in part to their role in the salt trade. The merchants of this area enjoyed unusual prestige and often cultivated literati tastes to demonstrate their status. The visit by Chang Tai and his uncle the vice-magistrate to the merchant Yü Wu's garden reveals how the garden could serve as a point of informal contact between social classes. It also demonstrates how wealthy merchants, traditionally relegated to a lower order, could win the approval of the official class.

The Yü Garden was located by Five-Li Station in Kua-chou. It was built by a man of wealth, Yü Wu. The gate was never unlocked unless the visitor was a man of distinction. When my uncle Pao-sheng served as vice-magistrate of Kua-chou, he took me there, and the owner treated us hospitably in every way. The marvel of the garden lay exclusively in its constructions of rocks. A rock slope by the front hall was twenty feet high. On top, many fruit and pine trees were planted, while along the side of the slope were peonies. One could not climb it, but it was marvelous because of its realism. The rear hall overlooked a large pond, in the middle of which were fantastic peaks and deep valleys. It was a steep climb up and down them. When one walked below the level of the pond and looked up, one could see lotus flowers that appeared to be in the sky—it was marvelous because of its use of space. Beyond the balustrade of a bedchamber, a valley wound about below like a wasp—it was marvelous because of its remoteness and seclusion. And farther back was a waterside pavilion, long in shape like a punt. It spanned a miniature river that watered groves of entangled trees on all sides where birds warbled. It was just like being deep in the mountains or in a thick forest. Sitting amidst all this was like relaxing in a green, isolated place.

All the gardens in Kua-chou were noted for their artificial mountains. They were pregnant with rocks, which were delivered with the


assistance of artisans skilled in these constructions. These "boys and girls," when cut and polished and carefully selected by the owner, should have had no regrets over being in the Yü Garden. The Wang Garden in I-chen[1] had carted-in rocks costing some forty to fifty thousand. The greatest effort was spent on "The Peak That Flew Here."[2] Overly shaded and slimy, it seemed to elicit only derision. On its vacant lot I found a white rock about ten feet high and twenty feet wide that had a foolish appearance—but it was marvelous because of this foolishness; and I saw a black rock eight feet wide and fifteen feet high that appeared skinny—but it was marvelous because of this skinniness. It would have been enough to use just these two rocks. The owner could have saved twenty or thirty thousand and lived off the interest. Would it not have been better to preserve these two rocks from generation to generation?[3]

The Relic at King Asoka[*] Temple

King Asoka[*] Temple (A-yü-wang-szu) is located in present-day Yin District, Che-chiang, about twelve miles east of the city of Ning-po. According to legend, in 282 Liu Sa-ho discovered a small reliquary here in the shape of a pagoda containing a bone. The reliquary was said to be one of the eighty-four thousand constructed at the order of the Indian king Asoka[*] (r. 268–232 B.C.), an early patron of Buddhism who, according to tradition, sponsored missionaries to China. The bone was believed to come from the Sakyamuni[*] Buddha and was widely revered as a powerful relic. A temple was first built in 425 and the name bestowed in 522 during the Liang dynasty. It was designated a Ch'an temple in 1382 during the Ming, and its many buildings have been restored over the years, most recently in 1980. The relic is now housed in an impressive hall inside three pagodas of stone, jewelencrusted wood, and another of wood believed to be the original one discovered by Liu Sa-ho.

The pursuit of the strange and the unusual was a prime motivation for travel among literati. In his reminiscences, Chang Tai records a number of marvelous sights that produced enlightening breakthroughs vis-à-vis more rational modes of perception. The relic, with its apparent ability to predict death, reminds the reader of the magical nature of the traditional Chinese world. The mystical power of such objects was even capable of inspiring faith in a traveler as worldly as Chang Tai.


King Asoka[*] Temple is a Buddhist monastery remote and tranquil. Before the front steps are eight or nine old pines, all quite majestic with an air of antiquity. The main hall is located at some distance from the outer gate. A misty light among the shady trees shines through the gate so that one can look up at the sky and perceive a brilliance that is icy, cold, crystal clear, and penetrating. To the right, one winds toward the gate to the abbot's quarters, where there are two sala[*] -trees so high they pierce the empyrean. A hall to the side contains a sandalwood Buddha and, in the middle, a bronze pagoda whose patina is quite old. It is a reliquary donated by the Empress Dowager Tz'u-sheng during the Wan-li era [1573–1620]. The relic often emits a light, dense and multicolored, radiating in all directions through the openings in the pagoda. Every year this is witnessed on three or four occasions. Whenever someone prays to the relic, it produces all kinds of visions according to the person's karma; but if it remains dark as ink and nothing is seen, the person will certainly die. In the past, the monk Chan visited the temple. He did not see any visions from the relic and died later that year. There have been numerous confirmations of this power.

The morning after my arrival, when the sun had just begun to shine, a monk escorted me to it where I offered prayers to the Buddha. He opened the bronze pagoda. A purple sandalwood shrine contained a smaller pagoda shaped like a hexagonal brush holder, though of neither wood, nor mulberry bark, nor leather, nor lacquer. Its top and bottom were covered with hide. It was pierced all around with ornamental designs, and the corners were decorated with Sanskrit letters. The relic was suspended from the top of the pagoda and hung down, swaying back and forth. One stared intently through the openwork, then turned one's eyes upward to look at the relic to discern its shape. At first glance, I saw three pearls strung together like Sakyamuni's[*] Chain flickering brilliantly.[1] I bowed down again and sought a vision. When I looked at it once more, I saw a small image of White-robed Kuan-yin[2] whose eyebrows and eyes were clearly defined and whose sidelocks were clearly visible. Ch'in I-sheng looked at it again and again but in the end saw nothing. He trembled with fright, turned red, and left weeping. Indeed, Ch'in I-sheng died in the eighth month of that year. What an amazing confirmation of its power![3]


Ku Yen-wu (1613–1682)
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Ku Yen-wu was a Neo-Confucian intellectual and Ming loyalist with broad scholarly interests. Born in K'un-shan in modern Chiang-su, he matured during the decline of the Ming and was influenced by members of his family, particularly his father and foster mother, who were committed to the activist moral principles of orthodox NeoConfucianism. Although he prepared for the examinations, he did not seek office; instead he joined the Restoration Society (Fu-she), a political movement of concerned literati who sought in vain to save the faltering dynasty by means of practical reforms. Yet even though its leading members were eventually purged by powerful court eunuchs and such societies were later banned under the Ch'ing, the Restoration Society and its predecessor, the Eastern Forest Society (Tung-lin), had established in Ku the intellectual foundations he later developed in his extensive researches.

With the collapse of the Ming in 1644, Ku changed his personal name from Jiang (Descend) to Yen-wu (Blazing Warrior) and became actively involved in military resistance, often traveling incognito. His foster mother in K'un-shan had starved herself rather than live under the Manchus, and two of his brothers also lost their lives during the turmoil. Ku himself participated in several uprisings. He joined the short-lived restoration in Nanking in 1645 and that of the prince of T'ang, whom he briefly served in a minor official capacity. In 1656 he left K'un-shan and traveled extensively in the north, where he continued to make contact with Ming loyalists and undertake research, the goal of national recovery always in his mind. He wrote several monumental geographical works, including most notably Strategic Advantages and Disadvantages of Commanderies and Kingdoms in the World



Fig. 55.
Five Terraces Mountain . From  San-ts'ai t'u-hui  (1609), Richard C. Rudolph East Asian Library, University of California, Los Angeles.


(T'ien-hsia chün-kuo li-ping-shu , 1662), which surveyed the economic and military value of various areas, comparing his findings to the information found in historical sources. He adamantly refused to participate in the compiling of the official Ming History and, in 1668, was briefly arrested, then released through the influence of friends. Ku spent the remainder of his years involved in scholarly projects, still hoping for a restoration of the Ming.

As a scholar, Ku maintained a stringently pragmatic position, and his rigorous methods of research earned him the informal title of founder of the "School of Practical Learning" (P'u-hsüeh) during the early Ch'ing. He was a leader of the reaction against the subjectivist ideals of Wang Shou-jen (Yang-ming; 1472–1528), whose emphasis on discovering the intuitive knowledge of the individual mind was influential during the late Ming. Ku, in contrast, helped set the course of later Ch'ing scholarship by creating objective, factual knowledge of the world, originally intended For social and political ends. He resisted metaphysical issues, but instead pioneered studies in classical philology, phonology, and epigraphy. As a poet, he earned some recognition because of the vivid historical content of his poems, which document the gruesome sufferings of the Chinese population during the Manchu invasion. Ku Yen-wu's travel writings usually maintained the highly impersonal, objective tone characteristic of official historiographical narrative. In the present piece, however, he employed historical knowledge with a vengeance in order to demystify the traditional origins of the Buddhist shrine at Five Terraces Mountain (Wu-t'aishan). The essay was intended to reinforce the kind of orthodox Confucian position earlier articulated by Han Yü, who argued in his influential essay "The Original Tao " (Yüan-tao ) that Buddhism was a danger to society and the state.

Five Terraces Mountain is one of the four sacred Buddhist mountains in China and was dedicated to Mañjusri[*] . Located in the district of Wu-t'ai in the northeast corner of Shan-hsi, the entire mountain range extends for more than sixty miles and covers an area about 150 miles in circumference. Surrounding a plateau filled with temples are five flat-topped peaks, the highest, on the north side, rising 10,030 feet above sea level. The first temples are recorded as existing as early as the Yung-p'ing era of the Eastern Han (A.D. 58–75); by the Sui-T'ang period, the mountain had become a flourishing religious center maintaining contacts with Central Asia, India, and Japan. Today, only thirty-nine temples remain on the plateau, and eight outside.


Five Terraces Mountain

Five Terraces Mountain is located forty miles northeast of the seat of Wu-t'ai District, and its distance northwest from Fan-chih District is forty-three miles. Shih Chao wrote in his commentary to the Comprehensive Mirror for Government : "Five Terraces Mountain is located in Wu-t'ai District in Tai Prefecture."[1] The mountain is formed by five peaks. It is traditionally believed to be where Mañjusri[*] appeared.[2] The commentary to the Flower Garland Sutra states:

Pure and Cold Mountain is the same as Five Terraces Mountain near Geese Gate in Tai Prefecture. Over the years, firm ice has accumulated; in the summer there are still flumes of snow, and it has never been torrid, so it is called "Pure and Cold." Five peaks soar above; their summits have no trees. They resemble terraces formed by piling up earth, hence the name "Five Terraces."[3]

I investigated what men before me have said about Five Terraces and found it to be much exaggerated. One said that the circumference at the base is as much as one hundred seventy miles. Another said that four outer "terraces" are each forty miles from the central one. "The Eastern Terrace was climbed by Chao Hsiang-tzu when he surveyed the state of Tai."[4] "The Southern Terrace is where Emperor Yao encountered a flood and tied logs together to make a boat." "The Northern Terrace, also known as 'Summer House Mountain,'[5] is where Emperor Hsiao-wen of the Latter Wei dynasty[6] stopped on tour." "The Western Terrace, also known as 'Celestial Pond,' is where Emperor Yang of the Sui escaped the summer heat in the 'Dragon and Feng -Bird Towers"'[7] —all of these explanations are too farfetched and lacking in factuality. Only what recent gazetteers say about Five Terraces Mountain is close to the truth.

The Northern Terrace is the tallest, and later men named it "Merging with the Dipper." It contains "Dragon Falls"; seven miles to its east is Flower Garland Ridge. And seven miles farther east is the Eastern Terrace, from whose summit one can view the sunrise. To its east is the road to Dragon Spring Pass. Seven miles south of the Northern Terrace is the Central Terrace. Northwest of its summit is Great Lotus Spring, and five miles farther west is the Western Terrace. West of this are layers of ridges for many miles. To the north is Hidden Devil's


Cliff;[8] southeast is Pure and Cold Ridge. Only the Southern Terrace is rather distant, about seventeen miles from the Central Terrace.

These five peaks encircle like a city wall. The wind on their summits is quite fierce and one cannot dwell there, so five or six of the larger Buddhist temples are located in the valleys. The land is cold and does not produce any of the five grains. Of trees, there is the pine, but not the cypress. There are also common people who engage in gathering firewood and in hunting for a living.

When this was a kingdom in antiquity this land must have belonged to the Royal Forester,[9] but since the Middle Ages[10] those of our people who have escaped into Buddhism have dwelled here. In this way, the mountain was named and was subsequently taken over by this religion. But according to my investigations, Five Terraces was designated "Luszu District" in the Hah, and the name of the mountain first appeared only during the Northern Ch'i dynasty. The construction of its Buddhist temples would have begun during the Latter Wei. However, the followers of this religion believe that when Kasyapa-matanga[*][11] came from India he dwelled here. They do not realize that the Pure and Cold Terrace where Emperor Ming had the images painted was in Lo-yang and not here.[12]

According to my further investigations, The History of the Northern Ch'i Dynasty states only, "When the T'u-chüeh tribes invaded, the two governors of the Tai and Hsin prefectures escaped from the plunderers along with several tens of thousands of horses to Juniper Valley north of Five Terraces Mountain."[13]The History of the Sui Dynasty states no more than that "Lu T'ai-i fled to Five Terraces Mountain, where the land produced many kinds of herbs. He lived with disciples in a cottage beneath a cliff, dwelling in quietude and cutting themselves off from the world in the belief that they could become Transcendents." [14] The "Biography of Wang Chin" in The History of the T'ang Dynasty is the first to state that "there was a Temple of the Golden Pavilion on Five Terraces Mountain. Bronze rooftiles were cast and gold applied to their surface. They shone brilliantly throughout the valleys and consumed a huge amount of many hundreds of millions. Wang Chin was the prime minister. He issued a directive to the Secretariat that ordered several tens of monks on Five Terraces Mountain to disperse through the commanderies and districts, gathering audiences and lecturing on the sutras to raise funds."[15] And so the name of this mountain became known in foreign parts. As for the statement "The Tibetans sent an envoy to request a painting of Five Terraces Mountain . . . ," this appears in the annals of Emperor Ching-tsung.[16] In The History of the Five Dynasties , it


is written that when some foreign monks visited Five Terraces Mountain, "Emperor Chuang-tsung dispatched envoys to entertain them with a lavish feast, which sent the entire city into a frenzy."[17] It was also written that a monk on Five Terraces Mountain, Chi-jung, had served as chief minister for Dependencies under Liu Ch'eng-chün: "He could lecture on the Flower Garland Sutra . From all corners of the world they came with offerings, and much was accumulated for the kingdom's use. Five Terraces Mountain was on the border with the Khitan tribe. Chi-jung often obtained horses From them to present to the court, which were called 'Horses for the Capital.'"[18]

In The History of the Yüan Dynasty , it is furthermore written that in the second month of the Chih-ta era of Emperor Wu-tsung, "On the day kuei-hai [March 21, 1309], the Empress Dowager visited Five Terraces Mountain." On the day chi-ch'ou in the third month [April 16], "The King of Korea was commanded to accompany the Empress Dowager to Five Terraces Mountain." On the day chia-shen in the fifth month of the second year of the Chih-chih era of Emperor Ying-tsung [June 20, 1322], "The imperial carriage visited Five Terraces Mountain." On the day keng-yin [June 24], "A sacrifice to the stars was held on Five Terraces Mountain to avert disasters."[19] Now, the events involving Wang Chin as prime minister and Chuang-tsung, Wu-tsung, and Ying-tsung as sovereigns are known, yet none of these are recorded in the local gazetteers. When I inquired of elders here, none knew of any traces of these events. They had occurred between three and four hundred years ago and are already forgotten. Is this not even truer of the arrival of Kasyapa-matanga[*] and the appearance of Mañjusri[*] ?

On this mountain, a brilliant blaze occasionally erupts on rainy nights. The Book of Changes says: "Fire in the Marshes: Revolution."[20] In this deep mountain with its huge valleys, there are often places that are not Buddhist, but they are not worth discussing. Alas! Mr. Han, in "The Original Tao ," went so far as to advocate, "Return them to secular life, burn their books, make housing out of their retreats,"[21] while Li Te-yü as prime minister ordered Chang Chung-wu to seal off Chü-yung Pass and refused to admit escaping monks from Five Terraces Mountain.[22] Such is the extent to which the Noble Man carries out the Tao of the sovereign. Yet I maintain that when men's minds have long been mired in superstition, even if a sage were reborn among them, he could not effect a sudden revolution. Therefore, it is preferable to choose a rustic, perilous, secluded, and remote place like Five Terraces Mountain and let them dwell there, not allowing them to mix


with the four classes of people.[23] It is far better not to permit them to live in towns and villages, where these two groups would ruin each other beyond control. Thus I wrote "A Record of Five Terraces Mountain."[24]


Chu I-tsun (1629–1709)
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Chu I-tsun was a leading scholar, essayist, and poet whose writings and anthologies had a significant effect on the literary scene of the early Ch'ing. Born in Hsiu-shui (modern Chia-hsing, Che-chiang) into an impoverished family descended from a grand secretary of the Ming, he was of the generation who willingly entered the Ch'ing government despite ambivalence over serving the Manchus. Chu was one of the outstanding talents recruited in the special Erudite Literatus (Po-hsüeh hung-tz'u ) examination of 1679 and was appointed an examining editor in the Han-lin Academy. He was soon attached to the Southern Study, the personal secretariat of the K'ang-hsi Emperor (r. 1661–1722). Later he was involved in the ongoing compilation of the History of the Ming Dynasty , and he also directed the provincial examination in Chiang-nan.

As a poet, Chu I-tsun specialized in tz'u and was regarded as the leading master of the Western Che-chiang school. He produced an anthology in 1678 of some 2,250 pieces selected from the T'ang through the Yüan, which had considerable influence on contemporary taste. As a prose writer, Chu I-tsun was eclectic in his choice of models. He was also an important author on geographical and historical subjects and produced a comprehensive history of Peking, A History of the Capital (Jih-hsia chiu-wen , 1687). His use of over 1,400 sources covering a wide range of topics on urban life from antiquity to the late Ming made this a basic source, which was later enlarged by his son and again expanded and reprinted under the sponsorship of the Ch'ien-lung Emperor (r. 1735–1795).



Fig. 56.
The Chin Temple . From  T'ai-yüan hsien-chih  (Taipei, 1976; rpt. of 1826 ed.). The Shrine of the Holy Mother is located to the
left of center, and the smaller building on its left is the Temple of T'ai-t'ai. The temple to Shu-yü of T'ang is at the extreme right.


The Chin Temple (Chin-tz'u) is actually a group of several shrines built around the source of the Chin River at the foot of Suspended Jar Mountain (Hsüan-weng-shan), located about fifteen miles southwest of T'ai-yüan, Shan-hsi. As Chu I-tsun records, the temple is associated with Shu-yü, the younger son of King Wu who founded the Chou dynasty in the eleventh century B.C. Shu-yü was enfeoffed with the state of T'ang, and his son changed the name of the state to Chin, after the river that originates at this site. A temple dedicated to Shu-yü is first mentioned in Li Tao-yüan's Guide to Waterways with Commentary . During the Northern Ch'i dynasty, one of whose capitals was at nearby Chin-yang, it was also the site of pleasure palaces. The area flourished under subsequent northern dynasties and was the starting point of the military uprising led by Li Yüan (566–635), who founded the T'ang dynasty in 618 and reigned as Emperor Kao-tsu (618–626). In 979, Chin-yang, then the center of the rival Northern Hah dynasty, was destroyed by the Sung, and the city of T'ai-yüan was begun. The Chin Temple escaped damage, but later, during the T'ien-sheng era (1023–1031) of Emperor Jen-tsung, the cult of Shu-yü was superseded by that of I-chiang, the mother of Shu-yü, canonized as the "Holy Mother" (Sheng-mu). She was believed to grant prayers for rain, and her shrine has dominated the Chin Temple complex ever since. Chu I-tsun's intellectual approach to travel writing is apparent in his focus on documenting the history of the place before indicating an autobiographical context. Only then does the scenic beauty produce a response, which seems to be one of relief at being able to rest from the rigors of the road.

The Chin Temple

The Chin Temple is dedicated to Shu-yü of T'ang. It is located less than three miles southwest of T'ai-yüan District. Shu-yü is called the "King of Eastern Fen" and "King of Prosperity and Peace," for these are titles bestowed on him through the ages.[1] The temple faces south. To the west, lofty mountains conceal it; below these mountains is the Shrine of the Holy Mother, facing east. A stream flows forth from beneath a pavilion and passes before the Chin Temple. And to the southwest there is a spring called "Eternal Youth."[2] It merges with the stream, then the water divides as it flows off into channels and irrigation ditches. It irrigates thousands of acres of land. This is what the


Guideways Through Mountains and Seas refers to when it mentions that "The Chin River originates from Suspended Jar Mountain."[3] The river flows on until it meets the Fen,[4] where the level of the earth is lower than that under the Temple by several tens of feet. This is what is meant when The Book of Poetry says, "The River Fen, damp and lowlying."[5] I do not know about the beginnings of the Shrine of the Holy Mother. The local people pray to her when a drought occurs, and she always answers them. So her shrine is particularly imposing, while Shu-yü's appears to be merely standing alongside. This is the place where the Sui generals Wang Wei and Kao Chün-ya intended to assassinate Emperor Kao-tsu as he prayed for rain.[6] South of the shrine is the Temple of T'ai-t'ai, who was identified by Tzu-ch'an as the God of the Fen River.[7] To the east is the Chin Temple stele by Emperor T'aitsung of the T'ang.[8] And fifty paces east of that is a stele from the T'aip'ing hsing-kuo era (976–984) of the Northern Sung dynasty. Many ancient trees encircle the temple, all about a thousand years old. This is what Li Tao-yüan referred to when he wrote, "Beside the river is a cool pavilion; a Flying Bridge extends over the water. To the left and right, varieties of trees intertwine to form a cover through which one barely sees the sunlight."[9] Earl Chih diverted this river to flood the city of T'ai-yüan,[10] and the Sung Emperors T'ai-tsu and T'ai-tsung used the same method to subdue the Northern Han dynasty.[11] However, the Fen River flows at an even level with T'ai-yüan, while the level of the Chin River is higher than the Fen's, so diverting the Fen alone is not sufficient to destroy the city walls. Only by combining both rivers can the city be flooded.

In the second lunar month of the year ping-wu [March 1666], while I was traveling to Celestial Dragon Mountain,[12] the route passed by the Chin Temple, where I stopped and rested. I wandered freely on a stone bridge: the grass was fragrant, the spring clear; the shrubs were dense and low; minnows swam about in schools,[13] chirping birds sang endlessly. It seemed as if I was viewing the scenic beauty of my native place, perhaps because I had been a traveler for so long. I had wandered from Yün-chung some two hundred forty miles to T'ai-yüan.[14] Yellow dust was blown about by the wind, blinding my eyes so that I was unable to distinguish rivers from valleys. The raging waters of the Mulberry and Hu-t'o rivers were like bubbling broth.[15] There were no pontoon bridges or ferryboats for crossing. My horse had to walk through deep mud, so I was unable to look around on either side. By Geese Gate and Winding Current Mountains,[16] the road was rough and dangerously narrow. What I formerly regarded as scenic beauty seemed


only to increase my anxious, miserable, and exasperated thoughts. Only when I arrived at the temple was I able to relax and enjoy its pleasures.

From the time of Shu-yü of T'ang to the present is some three thousand years, while T'ai-t'ai was a descendant of the sage-king Chint'ien,[17] whose time was even more distant. Such pure, fine worlds among mountains and streams were not enjoyed just by travelers. Even gods and spirits choose such places as their dwellings and never leave. Is this not the natural order of things? I have written this down not merely to record the date of my journey here but to inform future travelers.[18]


Shao Ch'ang-heng (1637–1707)
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Shao Ch'ang-heng, from Wu-chin (modern Ch'ang-chou, Chiang-su), was primarily an essayist in the orthodox tradition of the Eight Masters of T'ang and Sung Prose. This corpus of models had been defined by his fellow local T'ang Shun-chih (1507–1560), who, together with Kuei Yu-kuang (1507–1571) and others, argued for the superior "methods" (fa ) of T'ang and Sung styles. They opposed a rival orthodoxy based on Ch'in and Han masters, whom they considered to have been less self-aware as writers. Nevertheless, both Kuei and T'ang tended to abandon the lofty Neo-Confucian moralism of their predecessors, instead evolving personal voices that emphasized naturalness, simplicity, and casual, intimate subject matter. In this sense, they were also heirs to the individualism of the late Ming. Shao Ch'ang-heng left some three hundred pieces, many of which were in this individualistic vein, though he also wrote about historical and philosophical issues. Unable to pass the provincial examinations, he joined the establishment of Sung Lo (1634–1713), then governor of Chiang-su, and helped him edit an anthology, Selections from Three Prose Masters of the Ch'ing Dynasty (Kuo-ch'ao san-chia wen-ch'ao ), for which he wrote a preface praising these masters' respective qualities of "vital force" (ch'i ), "forcefulness" (li ), and "method" (fa ). Shao especially valued one of them, Hou Fang-yü, with whom he identified as someone who, though unable to gain official position, had influenced his generation through his prose.

Shao Ch'ang-heng wrote a number of travel pieces, but his essay on Solitary Hill (Ku-shan) at West Lake is among the most atmospheric. Solitary Hill stands 122 feet high and was originally an



Fig. 57.
A Complete View of West Lake . From Hsi-hu shih-ching , (Shanghai, 1979; rpt. of Ch'ung-chen era [1628–1644] woodblock print).
Solitary Hill is the island to the right of center, joined to the land by Western Coolness Bridge above and Pai's Embankment below.
Extending horizontally across the middle is Su's Embankment and the Six Bridges. At the bottom, parts of the city wall of
Hang-chou arc shown.


island that separated the inner and outer areas of West Lake; its ends were connected to the land by bridges and causeways so that one could stroll along its length. For centuries it was the site of numerous garden villas and famous for its pavilions and other attractions. Against this background of scenic beauty Shao and his brother, whose villa was named after Wang Wei's famous estate, surround themselves with historical meanings. Their walk along the base of Solitary Hill is a peregrination through the past as Shao consoles himself with thoughts of the vanitas of official life and the paradox of fame exemplified by Lin Pu (957–1028), a local recluse during the Northern Sung, whose reputation had triumphed over that of the once-powerful minister Chia Szu-tao (1213–1275). This piece, praised by a contemporary as capturing the "untrammeled" (i ) quality of Ou-yang Hsiu and Su Shih, was probably written before 1695. It appeared in an edition of his collected works printed in 1700–1702.

An Evening Stroll to Solitary Hill

Since I arrived at West Lake I have been staying at the Hall of the Four Acceptable Things at Wheel River for half a month. Wheel River is the villa of my elder brother, whose artistic name is Chieh-an [The Abstinence Studio].[1] The hall faces Solitary Hill, but the weather was sweltering so I could not visit it. Five days after the Double Seventh Festival[2] there was a slight cooling after a rain, and the peaks ringing the lake were a clear emerald green as if newly washed. I watched the bright moon rise above the highest peak in the southeast and undulate in the ripples. The lake was a jade green, the sky, an azure blue; everything was clear and limpid. My enthusiasm for traveling soared, so I joined my brother, summoned a small craft, and crossed the lake to the foot of Solitary Hill. We followed a servant and climbed up to the Pavilion for Releasing Cranes[3] and wandered about below the tomb of the hermit Lin Pu.[4] Having dismissed the boat, we followed a path through a damp, low-lying marsh to the Pavilion for Viewing the Lake. Leaning against the railing, I gazed in all four directions, while the lake appeared round as a mirror; the Two Eminences, South Screen, and all the other peaks converged like a great ring,[5] for this pavilion is suitably situated between the lake and the mountains and is especially scenic on moonlit evenings. But the pavilion has fallen into


disrepair, and now it has become the Shrine of the Dragon King.[6] We walked westward past the Shrine of Lu Chih.[7] Dwelling to the left and right were several tens of households; the light from their lamps could be seen through the forest thicket.

We walked alongside the lake for almost a mile until my feet started to tire a bít, so we sat down on the stone balustrades of Western Coolness Bridge. My brother pointed and said to me, "The original site of Chia Szu-tao's Garden of Deferred Pleasures[8] was at the present Ko's Ridge.[9] And it is also recorded that the Water-and-Bamboo Villa[10] was south of Western Coolness Bridge. It grasped hold of Solitary Hill on the left and Su's Embankment[11] on the right—it must have been right here!" Alas! The mountain shadows reflected in the lake are no different today than then. And yet Chia's fearsome power blazing forth in the politics of those times and the extravagant beauty of his seductive courtesans dancing in the waterside pavilions have all vanished long since into cold smoke. At the mere mention of his name even children but three feet high spit, while Lin Pu, a commoner, has endured in memory for more than six hundred years, and his traces, on the contrary, still remain. Why is this so? Together we wistfully sighed over this for a long while. Coming back from Solitary Hill, we passed six or seven monks' hermitages where the Buddhist chanting had fallen silent. I heard only the desolate sounds of the bell of Feng -Bird Forest Temple.[12]

I wrote out this account on the day after the journey.[13]


K'ung Shang-jen (1648–1718)
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K'ung Shang-jen, from Ch'ü-fu, Shan-tung, was a sixty-fourth-generation descendant of Confucius. He is remembered as an outstanding playwright, an exponent of "Empirical Studies" (K'aocheng-hsüeh ) in scholarship, a genealogist, art collector, and active participant in literary circles. A noted poet as well who published three collections, he espoused the late Ming ideal of expressing "personal sensibility" (hsing-ch'ing ) while also writing realistic poems filled with irony and moral criticism. K'ung Shang-jen was not born into the highest level of the K'ung clan whose members inherited titles and official positions. Despite his expert knowledge of the ritual classics, he never passed the provincial examinations. Hence, like many literati of the later dynasties, he spent his early years in frustration as he vainly attempted to gain entry into official life. It was during this relatively unoccupied period of his life that he often visited Stone Gate Mountain (Shih-men-shan), located about fifteen miles northeast of Ch'ü-fu, where he built a studio.

K'ung was another scholar who, despite nostalgia for the native Ming dynasty, willingly served the Manchus as an official. A few years after he wrote this piece K'ung's life underwent a major change owing to a fortuitous contact with the K'ang-hsi Emperor (r. 1661–1722). In 1684, when the K'ang-hsi Emperor came to Ch'ü-fu to sacrifice to Confucius, K'ung Shang-jen was chosen as lecturer and guide. He made a favorable impression on the emperor and was immediately appointed an Erudite at the National University in Peking, after which he entered the government. It was while serving as a river control



Fig. 58.
Wang Hui (1632–1717),  The K'ang-hsi Emperor's Second Tour of the South  (detail). Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, The Dillon
Fund, 1979. This long handscroll painted on imperial commission by Wang Hui and his studio records the K'ang-hsi Emperor's 1689 tour, which took
him to the Supreme Mountain. This section reflects the scenery of nearby mountains such as Stone Gate.


official in Yang-chou that he was able to research his greatest work, The Peach Blossom Fan (T'ao-hua-shan , 1699), which used authentic sources to recreate the key characters and events of the fall of the Ming. Not long after the appearance of this work, today considered China's greatest historical drama, he retired from office over a minor political conflict. He spent his final years pursuing his creative interests and revisiting Stone Gate Mountain.

Like the Supreme Mountain nearby, Stone Gate is a place of rugged beauty and ancient historical associations, yet it is not too difficult a climb for the casual traveler. K'ung's account is long and complex—an encyclopedic summary of earlier styles and themes, in which he is fully conscious of the generic tradition of travel writing. The account contains, for example, the realistic detail of Hsü Hung-tsu as well as considerable poetic lyricism, while also expressing exilic and reclusive emotions. In addition, there are moments of ironic perception and an autobiographical presence characteristic of K'ung's other writings. The immediate occasion for the piece was to record a specific visit and the memory of a friend who subsequently died. As K'ung mentions, he had a nephew who was a noted painter append a landscape illustrating the mountain, but this has been lost.

Stone Gate Mountain

Stone Gate Mountain is a fistlike rock possessing the majesty of the Five Sacred Mounts. Travelers cannot survey every view, nor can their feet cover even that which they can see. Compared to the Five Sacred Mounts, it is even more extraordinary and fantastic. And yet for generations no one has bothered to ask the way, though it is barely twenty miles from Ch'ü-fu. I can well understand how the fisherman's tale fell on deaf ears, but Peach Blossom Spring lies not in Heaven, so how could the original path have been forgotten?[1]

I entered the world of the mountain with Mei-yüan and Ching-szu[2] three days after the Double Ninth Festival in the year wu-wu [October 27, 1678].[3] Perched on hills, we peered down into valleys in what was the most enjoyable trip of my entire life. I feel as if I now have one more brother: Stone Gate. Wine was poured on the earth and a pledge


made with my two friends: "If any of us should someday forsake this mountain, may he sink like this wine into the ground." That evening we stayed at Mei-yüan's cottage and fortified our determination to retire to these hills. Mei-yüan had to return home the next morning to take care of some matters, but Ching-szu persuaded me to journey farther. Just like circling around Flower Calyx three times,[4] every aspect of the mountain's vitality unfolded before us.

We awaited the moon by the Terrace of the Chinned Pearl.[5] Deep in the mountain autumn had well advanced. Realizing that our bedding would not protect us, we made our way beneath the moonlight shadows for about ten miles before reaching an inn. Wine was brought and we rewarded our efforts. Though there was a variety of side dishes, it was the surrounding peaks and streams on which we munched. We chatted and laughed, laughed some more, and then hooted, our boisterousness awakening all the other sleepers. We two, however, stayed up all night long. When we got back we told Mei-yüan about it, and it made a great tale indeed. After this, scarcely a day went by that we didn't meet for intimate conversation along with dignified Stone Gate. Appearing there before us in its imposing grandeur, its pavilions, terraces, trees, and rocks seemed continually to change in appearance.

A few weeks later, Ching-szu became delirious and died, babbling on about Stone Gate on the very eve of his death. Mei-yüan wept with grief and said that the mountain contained a "stele of falling tears"[6] and that we should never visit it again. But I replied that the spirit of Ching-szu would flow through the mountain for a thousand autumns: to cut ourselves off from Stone Gate would be to cut ourselves off from Ching-szu. Therefore, I have sorted out the famous spots and arranged images of the land and the flora. Although I could not mention even one out of a hundred, still, certain high places, remote spots, things old, rustic, grand, and imposing appeared like clam-monsters and mirages rising out of the sea or worlds fabricated out of thin air. Of these I made a record and had my nephew Yen-shih[7] illustrate it. Should anyone come and ask about the mountain and find me too exhausted to reply, I would show him these comments and sketches. Then he could understand Stone Gate as though he had been there.

Stone Gate appears to be a continuation of the Mountain of the Nine Transcendents, but it is in fact separate. As soon as I left the northern outskirts of Ch'ü-fu, I began to feel invigorated. I crossed the Chu and Szu rivers and wound my way toward the northeast. After traversing a number of hills and plateaus, I came across a mountain. It


was shaped like thin-waisted gourds arranged on their sides in a row of three, all looking alike—what one would call "painting gourds by imitating the same model."[8] One tends to dislike all objects that are identical, and isn't this truer when it comes to scenery? Known as "Commonplace Mountain," there is little that can be done to cure it. Still, it serves Stone Gate as a loyal official, if more like the ugly counterpart of the beauty, Hsi Shih.[9]

After this I entered a large valley that sustains the majesty of the mountain, where shadows flicker and dazzle the eyes—already I could see the true face of the land. A peak appeared from the east. Dangerous and fierce, it lay athwart and was the forward barrier before Stone Gate itself. It can be entered, however, from the southwest by penetrating a crack in it, for, like a virgin, it cannot hide its beauty. Fording the Asarum River, I ascended up along the crisscrossed field paths as vapors rose from the ripening millet. Here, one can drop the reins and relax as if not ascending a mountain at all. A glance back at the city reveals it already enveloped in smoke and mist: truly, one feels drawn into a place of scenic wonders. To the side of the road was a cliff of yellow earth luxuriantly verdant, graceful and alluring. How absolutely marvelous! One can just imagine what everything else around it was like. From here on, the rocks all appear to be painted in the "ancient style," and every tree seems delineated by uncommon brush strokes. One continues up along stone steps, craning one's neck all around like a puppet on a stage with no control over the strings. Here I would like to pile up some rocks and build a gateway off to the right, inscribing "An Exquisite Landscape." But I prefer not to attract gawking tourists.

The peaks turned as the road wound around and I crossed a small stone bridge named "Entering Scenic Wonders." Suddenly a vista opened up and I focused on a clear, jade-green pond. This is where Tu Fu, Judge Liu Chiu, and Mr. Cheng, who was posted in Hsia-ch'iu, held a banquet. Tu Fu's poem went:

The autumnal water's purity is unfathomable.
Its quietude cleanses a traveler's heart.
Your Honors, with the rapture of the untrammeled,
have ridden over to this wild forest:
Two worthy officials meeting like the halves of a jade tally
at this banquet costing more than an ounce of gold.
Night approaches to a fine flute melody,
and a dragon chants from the watery depths.[10]


So I named the pond "Autumnal Water" and the pavilion "Quietude," not knowing when I should ever be able to reach its spring.

Farther ahead is situated the Monastery of Absolute Truth. There is a stele from the Yüan dynasty still recognizable, and monks have long flocked here. It is my responsibility to protect the world from the philosophy of Yang Chu or of Mo Ti.[11] Their neighbor is the Temple of the Jade Spring. During the Yung-lo era [1403–1424], a Ch'an master named Tsu-yung sought refuge and later died here. The temple reached its zenith at the end of the Ming dynasty. Such local luminaries as Kuo Lu-ch'uan and Li Lan-kao have written accounts about it. Now its roof tiles are broken and covered with thorns, like the Lucerne Hall owned by my clan. Farther on is where Confucius studied the hexagrams.[12] Legend has it that just prior to the ting sacrifice,[13] a descendant in the clan, K'ung Sheng-yu,[14] cast a divination to find out what kind of sacrificial offering should be made. The fortune-teller replied, "The gods will enjoy a sacrifice of pine fragrances offered up by boys." Later, at the expected time, he saw a number of herd-boys gathering pine flowers and juniper seeds and offering them up in this spot, thus convincing him of the fortune-teller's powers. At present I am planning to establish an academy and am struggling to find a place for it among these "two elders."[15] The mountains and streams in this realm of Lu will surely provide a seat.

Suddenly I stood face to face with Yellow Stone Mountain—he who had blocked me before by his danger and ferocity. But now that I entered his home, how could we not help looking at each other with smiling faces? Stone Gate has an abundance of feathery growth, while Yellow Stone is of indigo rock streaked with yellow patterns, sleek and brilliant. Yellow Stone by no means imitates Stone Gate. In many places, Yellow Stone looks as if it has been painted with the brush strokes of Huang Kung-wang. [16] The more I looked, the more I fell in love with it—it held me transfixed for a long while. A monk said, "Further on is the Grotto of Banners. When Huang Ch'ao's rebellion broke out in Lu,[17] the rebels occupied this very ridge." But I had no time to investigate it.

The site for the academy is flat and wide: in front it overlooks the Terrace of the Chinned Pearl, and in back it leans against Emerald Screen Peak. Surrounded by pearls, encircled by emerald green—all this lies here for our enjoyment. On the left-hand side is the central peak, an interweave of rocks and trees whose dense verdure pulsates with energy. The curved things are the trees; the straight things, the


rocks. Rocks fill in the cracks of the trees; trees plug up the fissures in the rocks. Halfway up the summit two cliffs issue forth, revealing themselves beyond the tips of the trees. They resemble two vertical bolts of Geese Creek silk[18] and can be seen for more than three miles. I would like to polish a cliff and engrave an "Inscription on Stone Gate Mountain," but perhaps it would seem boastful.

The traveler who climbs this far sighs deeply, satisfied that he has seen it all, not knowing that this is only the first peak of the mountain. I proceeded along the ridge, passing the Hill of the Singing Feng -Birds, where, in the second year of the Ti-chieh era of the Western Han [68 B.C.], feng - and huang -birds sang. There are many wu-t'ung trees on its southern slope. Clambering on, I came to the Peak of Small Lu,[19] from which the realm of Lu below looked like an anthill. And still farther on was the Peak of Jade Bamboo Shoots: a thicket of swords and halberds, a ranking of bayonets and a salute of knives, all of which made me feel terribly alarmed. It was quite different from the ethereal scene by the River Wei.[20] As for what is called "Tiger Peak," I avoided climbing to the top for fear that there might be some hiding in wait there.

Below lay Forked Spring Ridge, where the water rose as high as my chest and followed a winding path from Peach Blossom Valley to a point facing Fishing Terrace. And just like sweat streaming down someone's back, all the springs, streams, pools, and torrents in the mountain flowed in waves—"ts'ung-ts'ung se-se "—down a myriad courses. Their source, it seems, could only have been Heaven itself. Continuing upward and turning north I saw the Peak That Strokes the Azure Sky. As I climbed to the top, my servants hesitated. They were even afraid to breathe for fear of trespassing on the Jade Emperor's throne.[21] I looked off to the east toward the boundless sea; silver flowed down across embossed emerald inlaid with purple and embroidered with blue. I stared transfixed beyond the gleaming white rays, unable to tell if it was the ocean or not, for all became an amorphous expanse of cosmic energy. I had reached Yüan-ch'iao and Fang-hu, the isles of the Transcendents![22]

In front there is a flat slope known as "The Temple of the White Clouds," where sacrifices used to be made to the Jade Emperor. Right in the middle of the path is a rock shaped like a table for burning incense, and I regretted that I was not an official so I could preside there. Turning northwest, I saw a small peak called "Cliff of the Earth God"[23] —I suspect it refers to the Earth God of Lu. Descending through Breezy Gorge, I came across the former site of a temple to the Azure Emperor[24] and turned west, continuing upward to the Peak


Bowing to the Sacred Mount. It bowed respectfully to the northwest as if circling about an old man in hope of gaining some pears and chestnuts. By descending westward I came to the site of the ancient stone gate that forms the back door to the mountain and is the actual boundary of the capital of Lu. People passed through here bound north and south along what was considered a thoroughfare. Proceeding along the route from Lingering Stream to the Bridge of Scenic Wonders, one can reach Lu by going westward, and Pien by going eastward.[25] The single road forks, and thus there are actually three stone gates, the central one acting as the junction. In Biographies of Eminent Men , written during the Han, a native of Lu known as the Morning Gatekeeper is described as being in charge of guarding the stone gate to Lu, overseeing its opening and closing.[26] There is no other stone gate in Lu, so this is where the disciple Tzu-lu carried rice to sustain his parents and shouldered his satchel of books while he followed his teacher.[27] For those who are vexed by life in Lu or Pien, where else should they dwell but here? Taoist priests seek out the stone gate in order to sacrifice to Black Warrior.[28] It occupies the most scenic location, and its western side is particularly broad, firm, and sloping. The ancient rocks and hoary trees of Twin Cinnabar Peaks are revealed more brilliantly by the white clouds, subtly exuding the atmosphere of Transcendents. Sometime in the future I would like to come here with just a gourd and a bamboo hat and practice breathing exercises. While I might not attain immortality, at least I could avoid an unexpected death.

Originally we started out from the central peak and trod along a ridge for more than three miles, crossing over thirteen other peaks before arriving here at the end, whereupon we found ourselves back within a few feet of the central peak again. Mei-yüan called it "like two jade tallies joined together." Ching-szu said, "It is like a string of pearls." I cried out, "It is definitely like a coiled dragon." The nostrils touch the tail as it breathes in and out, and thus the surface of these two peaks is especially abundant with "scales" and "bristles."

Cultivation Peak resists enclosure by Cage Peak. Its blue-green and emerald growth rises erect, while a single face of stone is suspended high up. A study belonging to an ancient scholar lay in ruins, and I rebuilt it as a hermitage, for Ching-szu had selected this spot. I consulted the hexagrams and drew "The secluded person perseveres and gains good fortune."[29] So, borrowing from Tu Fu's poem "The Secluded Person," I took the phrase "Solitary Cloud" as the name of the cottage.[30] Within the cottage itself I've placed a wooden couch, cloth curtains, tea bowls, and an incense burner. I consider myself to have


had my share of good luck: I regret only Ching-szu's poor fate. Often I would point out the distant city to Mei-yüan and laughingly say, "Those who strive for fame and are lured on by profit, entangling themselves in endless lawsuits, are but a speck in the white mist. They cannot see me and I cannot see them. We are far more distant than 'a hundred feet.'" T'ao Ch'ien wrote:

How lofty the Hundred-Foot Tower
With its clear view of the Four Wilds.
At evening, an abode for returning clouds;
In the morning, a hall for flying birds.
Mountains and rivers fill my eyes;
The flat plain stretches to the beyond.
Famous warriors in ancient times
Struggled heroically on this field.
Then, on the day their lives ended,
They all returned north to the Mang Hills
.    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    [31]

I wish I could raise a tower with high rafters where I would recite this poem day and night. There is another pleasurable aspect of this place: my hermitage is about a hundred paces from water, so I had to trouble a servant to go out each time and fetch some for my inkstone or to brew tea with. But closer by I used a bamboo staff to part the grass and found a spring to the west of the cottage. Once this "breast" was revealed, it provided for my every need. When the sun's rays strike the sandy soil, they highlight its golden color, so I named the spring "Golden Powder"[32] as a perfect complement for the jade liquid. With great care I removed the rocks from about the spring so it could bubble up for an inch or so. A Buddhist monk came by, looked at it, and said, "It became blocked after the dynastic chaos and has been depressed, unable to flow freely for decades. Without the help of this staff of yours today, its sorrow would have killed the mountain."

Later on I viewed Cultivation Peak and found it even more alive. Its waist is wrapped in luxuriant emerald growth and, because it contains a mountain spring there, it is even more luxuriant and emerald—it should have a Luxuriant Emerald Pavilion. At the foot of the Cinnabar Peaks is a rock plateau that can accommodate one thousand men. I sat down there, gazing up at the entire aspect of Cultivation Peak, which resembled a lotus pod in the midst of lotus petals. Fragrant dew freshly glistened; its beautiful sleekness was most extraordinary. None of the


other peaks could match it, for all of its skills have been perfected. This is the fourteenth peak of Stone Gate. I particularly counted them as I rode along the back of the mountain. To spy out their "treasure house," one should enter circuitously where the head and tail meet. I traveled by boat, crossed bridges, clambered up the mountain by grasping onto branches, and rode on horseback to my heart's content, but there was no way for my carriage to turn back toward home.

The entrance to the valley is narrow. A waterfall cascades down to meet the oncoming water and then departs with it as it flows away. Crossing the stream and turning westward, I saw a curtain of wisteria vines wrapped over the rocks at the foot of the Cinnabar Peaks. The rocks appeared softened by its branches; the wisteria seemed hardened by the bones of the rocks. Both wisteria and rocks fused to become indistinguishable from one another. Proceeding halfway along a cliff, I came across the old path of Golden Powder Spring. Following it up northwest led to my hermitage on Cultivation Peak. Feeling my way eastward down the winding stone steps, I reentered a gorge. In the middle, there is a spring that is unfathomably deep, a fitting complement for Golden Powder. The water runs down from the north and creates a magnificent scene at this point. I gazed up toward the east at a peak a thousand jen high: a solitary wall of rock stroked the sky. Looking through the myriad flora that formed an umbrageous cover revealed a line of greened sky. The water flows along the earth below, while man stands above it. He cannot merge with it, but neither can he take leave of it. Although this is called the "Ch'i-Lu Thoroughfare," it seems close by the kingdom of Ts'an-ts'ung and Yü-fu.[33]

When I finally exited from the mouth of the valley, another world appeared. Directly facing was a large creek that blocked the way. Beyond it stood peaks, trees, and dwellings. Add some fallen petals, and the inhabitants would certainly have been people of Ch'in.[34] It had long been clogged up by marsh weeds, and Mei-yüan wanted to clear them away. We thought it ought to be named "Mei -Berry Creek." Continuing along to the east, a woodcutter's path narrows and deepens, branching off like unraveling threads, which then wind back together again; one can reach all the peaks on the southeast this way. I would like to toss pinecones all about the valley to produce myriad trees of refreshing shade whose emerald coolness would drench one's clothes. This could not be accomplished for years, though, so what can I do? I'll just have to use peach and apricot seeds as a substitute!

Northward, I crossed the Bridge of Karma and entered Lingering Valley. It resembles Wang Wei's Wheel River Estate and Cheng Tzuchen's Mouth of the Vale,[35] and is part of the eastern road of Stone


Gate. To the side is the place where Tzu-lu passed the night. One should sacrifice to him along with the Morning Gatekeeper, appropriately uniting warm enthusiasm with cool-tempered words. To the west is the Ridge with Clouds Across; to the east, Tiger-Killing Cliff. Because of Confucius's remark about "he who would kill a tiger with his bare hands," Tzu-lu went on to achieve a heroic reputation for filial piety.[36] It rather makes one laugh. I exited from the valley and turned eastward, where a stream dribbled through rocky teeth—now visible, now hidden—as it soaked down along the bones of the mountain into a cyan stillness, for which reason it is called "Azure Dragon."[37] Farther up I reached the Spring Where Three Friends Gargled. We three once washed ourselves here, and some monks on the mountain named it after us. Li Po's

They axe the ice to gargle the frigid stream:
Three gentlemen sharing a pair of sandals[38]

is a better source for the name, though. West of the spring are the ruins of His Excellency Lü's[39] mansion, which has become the Dreaming of Cranes Pavilion. There are statues of cranes sleeping here, of children sleeping here, and of Transcendents also sleeping here, so upon arrival I felt extremely fatigued and likewise lay down to nap opposite them. One feels tranquilized amid the emptiness of the mountain; water flows by as flowers fade. Is not slumbering here for a thousand years better than looking at the mortal world with open eyes?

I climbed to the east, where there is a Snow Veil Precipice with water cascading over the edge like pearls and crystals. The common sort of traveler inevitably calls it "The Cave of Watery Curtains," yet on a clear day the "curtains" cannot be seen. So where are the Transcendents then? To the south, a pagoda has been placed that subdues the tail of Tiger Peak. It seems undoubtedly real, and yet it is just rock, so when I arrived alongside it I could not pet it. If one wishes to view the peaks on the northeast, one should take the path that turns north; to view the peaks on the northwest, take the path that turns west. But both have no place to rest one's feet. Only below Dragon Peak is there a small "Peach Blossom Spring," called the Valley of the Leaping Dragon. It is blocked by a group of peaks and to enter it is not easy. Years ago it was filled with peach blossoms, but now it is barren, so one need not bother entering it at all. Along this trip through the mountain, I also


noted its weather, discerned its physical appearance, and gathered information from all whom I met. Though I could not cover every inch of the mountain, how could it conceal its real self from me?

Then I crossed the Bridge to Scenic Wonders and ascended the Terrace of the Chinned Pearl to the south. The rocky terrace is about half an acre wide. Its sinews and bones protrude grotesquely. When one sits here, the precipitously high and the flattened distance seem as close as one's lapel and belt. The scene is suitable on a clear day, in the rain, and especially under the moonlight. At the end of the terrace is a single rock standing erect like a stele and occupying the "throne" of the mountain. The mountain's spirit must indeed desire recognition, for it awaits someone to inscribe "Stone Gate Mountain" in huge characters on it. In the north part of the terrace hangs an ancient wisteria, below which I saw a shrine to a Buddhist priest. It is where Tsu-yung experienced enlightenment. East of it is the Pavilion for Cleansing Ears,[40] where a torrent crashes against the rocks as it flows down, with a death-defying roar. It seems to be hastening toward some great, urgent business like a speeding comet, impossible to slow down. It bewilders the observer's senses while his body remains agile, like the man whose ax handle slowly rotted away.[41] And there is in fact a studio located off to one side called "The Lodge of the Rotted Ax Handle."

I crossed the torrent and visited the monks quarters of the Monastery of the King of the Underworld. looking out over the water through an open window, I titled the scene "Snowy Waves." Ah, the water! How can I not feel sad at the passing of things? In back of the monks quarters is the eastern road leading to the front of the temple. It turns south toward the gate by a pass. Engraved in stone is "A True Painting," which mirrors "An Exquisite Landscape," for this is the left "throat" of the mountain and one of the so-called Three Stone Gates. I opened it and gazed eastward at the road, as broad as a highway and capable of accommodating two carriages abreast. The scenic power of the western road lies in its ups and downs and sudden turns; that of the eastern road, in its level straightness. It is quite a rare thing to find a level, straight road in the mountains. I rested for a while under the shade of the trees and faced Yellow Stone Mountain again, gazing at him with a warm sense of familiarity. He looked like a spotted tiger whose tail stretched out straight from his arched back as a pair of eyes glared. Then I suddenly realized that while Stone Gate was a coiled dragon, Yellow Stone was a crouching tiger. Together with the accumulation of wind and clouds, both serve as a magnificent setting for the sages and worthies who have dwelled to the southwest—how could this scene exist by mere chance?


I circled the central peak and continued northward, entering Wut'ung Tree Valley where the god Shao-t'ung attained the Way. Now it is dedicated to the god Tzu-t'ung.[42] Though they are two different gods, they are identified here as one. At the mouth of the valley was a small field of mulberry and hemp where smoke and mist from several dwellings delicately wavered about. I inquired of a local and learned that this was where Mr. Chang lived in seclusion.[43] Mr. Chang, whose courtesy name was Shu-ming, was one of the "Untrammeled Scholars of Bamboo Stream" with the rank of Student of Lu. Tu Fu became friends with him through Li Po and visited him twice, writing poems on each occasion. One goes:

The spring mountain is without a companion;
alone, I seek you out.
Sounds of woodcutting—"cheng-cheng "—
as the mountain grows more secluded.
Winter clings to the road through the ravine
as I cross over ice and snow:
Sunset rays fall on the Stone Gate
as I reach a wooded hill.
I seek not emanations of gold and silver
which appear in the night;
And distance such harm by observing the deer
at their morning play.
Enraptured, I forget completely whence I came.
I gaze at you—can we be floating
on a boat through the limitless void?

And the other:

I often come by to see you
And you keep me to enjoy the evening.
The sturgeon teem in the azure pond
Deer frolic amongst the spring grass.
Tu brings the wine, insisting we drink:
Chang supplies the pears, no need for anything else.
The road is steep to the village ahead
But I'm always carefree when returning drunk.[44]

Such friendship among the ancients seems hardly attainable today. I would sacrifice to all three of them, each a leg of the tripod that is this mountain.


Eastward, I crossed over Leopard Ridge and gazed off at Solitary Mountain and Wild Beast Mountain, all projecting like claws from Stone Gate. Then I reached Peach Blossom Valley, where there is a Cave of the Queen Mother of the West.[45] The path of stone steps goes straight on to the Temple of the White Clouds, which is not the entrance via the stone gate. It is called the Eastern Temple. I exited northward through the mouth of the Ridge with Clouds Across. It faced the back of the mountain, which was high and level like the top of a lofty rampart. The spiritual power it exuded was like the mansion of a noble whose vermilion gates, tightly locked, possess a solemnity that inspires fearful respect. Proceeding westward, I came across Dogteeth Mountain, a group of lesser peaks clustered together, entirely different in character from Stone Gate. Someone characterized them as "in-laws," but Stone Gate does not deign to recognize them. I left them behind and continued downhill to the south. The landforms that connect with peaks arise, while those that connect with gorges submit: arising, they become ridges, submitting, they become valleys. They all have names, but it is not necessary to know them completely. To the southwest is a valley called Reed Valley, where the giant rocks are multitudinous, and the smaller ones adamantine, making it hard on the sandals. Climbing up halfway, one can enter the Hall of the Holy Monk and view Laotzu's Furnace. The valley ends where one enters the Temple of the Moon's Reflection in the Water. This is called the Western Temple and is likewise not entered via the stone gate. Now, the stone gate stands on the main road between Ch'i and Lu, so it has never been possible to enter the Eastern and Western Temples from it. It is necessary that they have their own private gates, but obviously, the Noble Man of Confucius would not enter through them.

I then passed between Twin Cinnabar Peaks and saw the Valley of Bubbling Cinnabar, blocked off by blazing mountains where it is narrowest. Beyond here I could not tell what realm of existence it was. Expansive clouds severed a ridge, and suddenly I came upon an old acquaintance, for I had finally reached the western road of Stone Gate. I had mounted it, descended it, gone inside and outside it, crisscrossed and encircled it, wearing out ten pairs of sandals before I was able to encompass the entire mountain in my heart. For it is not just the fresh blossoms and extraordinary birds that constitute its gorgeous beauty: its gorgeous beauty lies in its pristine form. It is not just the dense trees and thick clouds that constitute its hoariness: its hoariness lies in its atmosphere. It is not just the red leaves and clear streams that constitute its purity: its purity lies in its structure. It is not just the withered trees and awesome rocks that constitute its detachment: its detachment lies in


its spirit. This prevents those who arrive from leaving it, while those who have left cannot forget it. It is like meeting a beauty who, in a few words, understands one's heart and pleases in every way. How could one not want to engage her affections with a gift of fine hair oil? Or it is like encountering a polished gentleman whose lofty brilliance transcends the vulgar and whose friendship and trust can be relied upon. How could one not want to share one's inkstone and place with him?

But when there is a year of famine on Stone Gate, the bandits are no longer quiet and one's home becomes endangered. It is an isolated place, so worthy men do not come by and it is difficult to gain recognition. The monks are lazy and make no effort to raise funds, so it is difficult to erect new buildings. The officials are far away, offering little protection or support, so it is difficult to produce anything. Once, after I had finished talking about the mountain with Mei-yüan, I opened my eyes, gazed around, and let out a great sigh at how truly difficult things can be here.[46]


Tai Ming-shih (1653–1713)
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Tai Ming-shih was a scholar and essayist from T'ung-ch'eng, An-hui, a town that later gave birth to an orthodox literary school whose ethical ideals were to dominate prose writing during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Because his family was impoverished, he became a teacher at the age of twenty, instructing students in ancient prose and history. An avid traveler who left several travel accounts, he also collected much information on the history of the Ming dynasty and wrote a number of historical essays that expressed nationalist sentiments. It was not until 1709, at the age of fifty-six, that he became a Metropolitan Graduate and was appointed a junior compiler in the Han-lin Academy. Two years later, however, he was caught up in a major literary inquisition when it was found that his Collected Works from South Mountain (Nan-shan chi ) contained the reign era of one of the Ming pretenders. Tai was imprisoned and later executed along with several hundred others involved in the purge. His writings were also ordered destroyed, and it was not until a century later that a descendant rescued scattered literary remains and reprinted them.

Tai Ming-shih's literary ideals had a formative influence on later T'ung-ch'eng writers, for he considered ethical meaning (i-li ) as the foundation of literary values and held that verbal style was secondary to "coherence" (ching ), "spirit" (shen ), and "vital force" (ch'i ). Tai, however, was another member of that ambivalent generation of late-seventeenth-century Chinese scholars: although he remained highly critical of the moral and intellectual failings of his class, which he felt had contributed to the fall of the Ming, he found no alternative to collaborating with the Manchus as the best hope for preserving order and traditional Chinese values.



Fig. 59.
Arriving in the Capital. From Fu Tse-hung,  Hsing-shui chin-chien  (1725), British Library, London. The travelers in the
lower left are crossing the Reed Channel (Marco Polo) Bridge, arriving in Peking along the same route as Tai Ming-shih.


Tai kept a travel diary of a 1695 journey from Nanking to the Ch'ing capital in Peking. Though in the tradition of the Sung dynasty diaries, his differs in several respects. For one thing, it is written in a far more subjective vein, reflecting the growth of autobiographical consciousness in the seventeenth century. The personality of the traveler is revealed in a number of incidents in which a variety of people are encountered; their interaction is captured in vivid dialogue, and a moral is drawn in each case. Tai's vision of the world is also much broader than that of earlier diarists, approaching that of a novelist or the painter of genre scenes. Like a narrative handscroll, his journey depicts a sequence of dramatized episodes. History (including recent events of the late Ming), lyrical Nature, a primitivist longing for rural life, social realism, political critique, personal anxieties, vignettes of people from different classes, as well as deception and discomfort all shape Tai's experience of travel. His realism includes ironic perceptions: unexpected joys alternate with the rigors of the road to produce contrasting moods. The diary ends on a fulminating note as Tai informs us that its function was to record the actuality of his trip, especially his final humiliation by customs officials in the capital.

Diary of a Journey North in the Year I-hai

On the ninth day of the sixth month [July 19], I crossed the Long River at Chiang-ning.[1] Prior to this, Liu Ta-shan of P'u-k'ou[2] had visited me and invited me to accompany him on a journey to Yen,[3] but I lacked the funds to cover expenses and could not go. This time, Hsü Wei-san and his younger brother, Wen-hu, came to see me off. Shortly afterward, Kuo Han-chan and Wu Yu-hsien also arrived. We took a boat at Chin-ling Lock, which was a few dozen or so paces from my home. On board, I bowed and bid farewell to these friends, while the Hsü brothers escorted me farther to the Bridge of Military Pacification before disembarking, an expression of their unwillingness to see me depart. On this day the wind was favorable, and before noon I reached P'u-k'ou, where I spent the night at Liu Ta-shan's home. Ta-shan had other business and could not accompany me. But Cheng P'ang-jo of Chiang-ning just happened to be staying at Ta-shan's home. P'ang-jo said that he possessed a technique for manufacturing gold and silver, telling me, "My friend, you are about to brave the summer heat and travel in order to sell your writings and support your parents. This


world is vast indeed. Will anyone truly understand you? But if you practice this skill of mine successfully, my friend, will you ever have to worry about poverty?" I laughed and nodded.

The next day [July 20], I stayed at Morning Hill. I had traveled a mile or so when I saw grain glistening in the fields on all four sides. Old and young, men and women, were all weeding in the fields. It is the custom north of the Long River for women also to work in the fields. Compared to the way men in the northwest loaf about unproductively, this is certainly a fine custom. At one point, I dismounted and walked along, passing a farmhouse where the man was carrying night soil to fertilize the garden while the wife was drawing water from a well and washing clothes. By the gate were trellises with bean and melon vines as well as a number of trees in full flourish. Boys and girls were laughing and screaming; cocks were crowing, dogs barking. I gazed longingly at them and thought that this family possessed everything it needed. I regretted how far inferior my condition was compared to theirs.

The next day [July 21], I reached Ch'u Prefecture[4] and crossed Vermilion Dragon Bridge, the place where Minister Lu and General Tsu defeated Li Tzu-ch'eng.[5] My ambition to take an active role in the world was stirred. I crossed Gateway Mountain and encountered Chu Tzu-lü of Su-sung and Tsan Yüan-yen of Huai-ning,[6] who had come from Shaan-hsi. We had not met for three years and we were overjoyed to see each other. Setting out on foot together, hand in hand, we walked over to a house along the road where we engaged in animated conversation. The villagers all came and stood around us to listen. After a long while we parted. I crossed Millstone Mountain. Its form was steep and precipitous, layered, and winding around, hence its name. It is a strategic place in Ch'u Prefecture. That evening, I stayed at an inn at Mount Tai Station in Ting-yüan.[7]

The next day [July 22], I stayed at Yellow Clay Hill in Feng-yang.[8] On the road I met Ts'ai Chi-sheng from T'ai-p'ing,[9] who was coming from the north. At dusk I said to the horseman, "It has been insufferably hot these past few days. All the other travelers have been going by night. We should proceed in the moonlight." So we set out at the third watch [11:00 P.M.—1:00 A.M.]. After traveling about a mile and a half I saw clouds arising in the northwest. After a while they filled the entire sky. There was much thunder and lightning and a huge rain fell like a river. Though I hurried to don rain clothes, my garments were already soaked through. We proceeded to General Station as the rain grew heavier. We knocked on the doors of all the inns thereabouts, but none answered. The horseman managed to find a thatched shelter in the


darkness and we sought protection beneath it for a while. By the time the rain stopped it was already dawn, but the roads had been completely inundated to the point where even the field paths could not be distinguished. I sighed to myself over how impossible it is to govern the world if the power of water is not controlled. But with an able official, this district could be well governed. Unfortunately, no one is concerned about this.

I looked up at how beautiful the clouds were. Some resembled people; some, lions and elephants; some, mountains; some, grotesque rocks; some, trees, as they suddenly changed into myriad forms. I used to maintain that viewing clouds is best at sunset and after a rain. I never realized that clouds viewed at sunrise can also be beautiful. On this day we traveled only fourteen miles or so, reaching Lin-huai.[10] I sent someone into the town to call on Chu Chien-hsüeh, but he happened to have gone out. At twilight, I took a walk outside the city wall and saw lotuses in the moat just then in full bloom. A cool breeze faintly stirred them so that their fragrance struck me. I walked back and forth around them for a long while, finally reaching the inn, where I spent the night.

The next day [July 23], I crossed the Huai River. Previously there was a pontoon bridge at Lin-huai that all travelers used. But now the bridge is in disrepair, and the boatmen here have slyly profited quite a bit from this. I crossed and, as I disembarked, a man sank down into the mud helping me ashore. I almost fell in myself before several men onshore came and together pulled me up, so I was saved. On this day I traveled thirty miles, spending the night at Long Wall Village in Ling-pi District.[11]

The next day was Full Moon [July 25].[12] I traveled more than twenty-five miles and stayed at Wilderness Village in Su-chou.[13] The rooms were damp and cramped, the walls were crumbling, and there were no doors. The horseman was a friend of the innkeeper, so he insisted on staying here. I refused, but the innkeeper said, "It's only for one night, why insist on comfort?" So I gave in. It had been threatening to rain all day long but never did. When I arose at the third watch, the innkeeper kept on demanding an exorbitant payment. I traveled ten or fifteen miles under the moonlight, and suffered so in my bowels that I could not eat anything. I spent the night in an inn in Ch'u Village Station.

On the seventeenth [July 27], I crossed the Yellow River and spent the night on the north bank. During the night I passed Min-tzu Township, where Min-tzu's Temple is located.[14] It was the hometown of Empress Hsiao-tz'u of the Ming.[15] In the Hsü-chou-Su-chou area, the mountains twist and turn, the atmosphere is dense. Along the


banks of the Yellow River in Hsü-chou the landscape is particularly majestic, forming a protective screen around the southeast. In the future, a man of distinction will undoubtedly arise from here. I looked off at the Terrace of Sporting Horses;[16] it seemed to have collapsed in ruins. In the past, when Su Shih served as prefect of Hsü-chou, he said, "A thousand men could be stationed on the Terrace of Sporting Horses and it would form a defensive wing for the prefecture."[17] But to hold Hsü-chou, it is necessary first to hold the Yellow River. On this day it was extremely hot, and when I reached the inn I drank several pints of water. Suddenly, the sound of crashing thunder broke out, violent wind and rain arrived, a coolness arose, and my thirst was quenched. That evening, the condition of my bowels worsened and I could not fall asleep—I kept on sweating profusely. The next day [July 28], I spent the night at Benefit the Nation Station.[18] I recall how, in the sixth month of the year chi-szu [July-August 1689], I traveled to Peking from Chi-nan along with Liu Yen-chieh of Wu-hsi. Yen-chieh was corpulent and feared the heat. He envied my ability to endure the hardships of winter and summer. That was only six years ago, but on this journey I felt quite weary and fatigued. Time just slips by, passing rapidly as my vitality starts to weaken. How can I hope to exert myself further so as to play a role in the world? I felt my thighs getting fat[19] and grasped my wrist in consternation as I dolefully uttered three sighs.

The next day [July 29], I spent the night at a place called Sandy River Inn in T'eng District.[20] And the next day [July 30], I spent the night at a place called East Bank Inn in Tsou District.[21] On this day I passed the Temple of Mencius,[22] which I entered and paid homage to him. I wanted to climb Mount I,[23] but it was extremely hot, and moreover I was thirsty, so I could not make the climb. The next day [July 31], I spent the night in Wen-shang.[24] Formerly when I passed through Wen-shang I wrote poems on the theme of "lamenting antiquity," but I lost the manuscript. I can still remember two lines:

How pitiful, the lady of Ch'i traveling on the road to Lu;
How could a disciple of Confucius submit to Chi-sun![25]

I cannot remember the rest. The next day [August 1], I spent the night in the old district town of Tung-o.[26] It rained that day. On the other side of the wall at the inn I could hear a group drinking and playing a guessing game. Before long they started shouting and fighting. I went out to have a look and saw two men thoroughly drunk. They were


brawling in the mud, which was smeared all over their faces so that they were unrecognizable. The wives of each of them stood up for their husbands and reviled each other. It only broke up toward evening. I realized that there was indeed good reason behind an ancient king's injunction against groups of people becoming drunk.[27]

The next day [August 2], I spent the night at Ch'ih-p'ing.[28] And the day after that I passed through Kao-t'ang[29] and spent the evening at Waist Station.[30] From Ch'ih-p'ing northward, the road was completely inundated. Each day I had to make unexpected detours. I heard that the water damage was even more severe in the Yen and Chao areas[31] and that all northbound travelers were suffering from its ravages. On the twenty-sixth [August 5], I spent the night at Fu-ch'eng.[32] At night I dreamed of old Miss P'ei. I owed a debt of gratitude to her and had not been able to discharge it. In the second month of this year (March—April) she fell ill and died in her home. I was in Chiang-ning and unable to attend her funeral. I often feel regret about her deep in my heart. From the second month up to now, she has appeared many times in my dreams.

On the twenty-seventh [August 6], I spent the night at Shang Family Grove;[33] the twenty-eighth [August 7], at Jen-ch'iu;[34] the twenty-ninth [August 8], at White Channel,[35] which was formerly the border between the Sung and Liao kingdoms. On the first day of the seventh month [August 10], I spent the night in Liang Township.[36] On this day I passed through Cho Prefecture[37] and called on Fang Pao at his home,[38] but just then he had gone into the capital. In Chin-ling we used to visit each other every day, but now we had not met for four months. I had planned on spending two nights of conversation with him, but it was not to be. When I got to the capital, Fang Pao had already returned to Cho Prefecture. Because the flood waters had blocked the roads, we each took a different detour and missed each other.

North of Jen-ch'iu the rivers had overflowed; bridges had collapsed all over so that travelers had to take boats for ten or fifteen miles before coming upon land. And after traveling on land for a few miles, or for some ten or fifteen miles, a boat had to be taken again. In the past, during the T'ien-ch'i era [1621–1627], Tso Kuang-tou[39] from my home district served as a censor in charge of the State Farms Bureau. He developed projects for water control in the north like those employed in the Chiang-nan area. After Tso's death, these projects were abandoned—truly a pity!

On the second day of the month [August 11], I reached the capital. At Reed Channel Bridge[40] and the Gate of Manifest Rightness, there


were guards who subjected travelers to excessive demands for money. For the slightest failure to please them, even the wrappings around one's baggage would be taxed. This is the way customs officials always behave. The traveler fears being delayed, so he willingly pays up to satisfy them. Only travelers on foot are exempt. As for this highway robbery carried out practically in front of the emperor, some may consider it a minor matter not worth worrying about, but they do not realize that the problems of the world all originate in "things not worth worrying about." That day it rained heavily. My boxes of books all wrapped up with cloth had been opened by the customs inspectors and were soaked through. Smeared with mud, I arrived at the residence of His Excellency Chang, Minister of Rites.[41] This is the fourth time I have visited the capital and I cannot begin to express my sense of humiliation and regret! I therefore took up a brush by lantern light and wrote down the outline of these events.[42]



Fig. 60.
Geese Pond Mountain . From  T'ien-hsia ming-shan sheng-kai chi
(Hong Kong, n.d.; rpt. of Ch'ung-chen era [1628–1644] ed.).


Fang Pao (1668–1749)
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Fang Pao, who was a close friend of Tai Ming-shih, also traced his roots to T'ung-ch'eng, An-hui, but was born and lived mostly in Nanking. He was regarded as the first leader of the T'ung-ch'eng school of prose. Despite early political misfortunes, he rose to high official position and was involved in a number of important literary projects, both official and private. Through his activities he was able to influence prose standards in favor of the orthodox models of the Confucian tradition and the Eight Masters of the T'ang and Sung.

Fang placed first in the prefectural examination and enrolled in the Imperial University in Peking. He also placed first in the 1699 provincial examination and became a Metropolitan Graduate in 1706. The death of his mother and, soon after, of his father interrupted his career as he observed the prescribed periods of mourning. Fang had innocently contributed a preface to the volume of writings that led to Tai Ming-shih's arrest and execution for treason. Because of this, in 1711 he and his entire family were suddenly imprisoned in the literary inquisition, whereupon they were all sent north as bond servants in the Han Army Banner. Fang, however, was saved by friends and by his literary reputation. Instead of exile, he was ordered to serve in the K'ang-hsi Emperor's Southern Study, where he did editorial work. Pardoned under the succeeding Yung-cheng Emperor (r. 1722–1735), he served in a number of positions in the capital. Under the Ch'ienlung Emperor (r. 1735–1795), he edited anthologies of examination essays and standard editions of the thirteen Confucian classics. Fang eventually rose to the positions of Academician of the Grand Secretariat, Right Minister in the Ministry of Rites, and director-general of the Office of Classics and History before retiring in 1742.


Fang Pao lacked a poetic sensibility, and his reputation stemmed almost exclusively from his prose writings and edited anthologies. Generally speaking, he emphasized the ideals of ethical meaning and correct method as the foundations of literature. He championed the intellectual orthodoxy of the Ch'eng-Chu school of Neo-Confucianism and regarded its canonical texts as the correct models, while opposing imitation of the past for purely stylistic purposes. Similarly, he relegated emotional expression to a lesser position of importance in favor of conveying "purity, authenticity, elegance, and correctness" (ch'ing, chen, ya, cheng ). Perhaps as a result, his writings were regarded by some as too austere and lacking in naturalness, for he resisted the taste for ornamentation, allusions, and unusual vocabulary.

By the Ming, Geese Pond Mountain had become quite celebrated, though it was still difficult to visit. Fang Pao's travel account is fairly representative of his literary sensibility. An expository piece, it construes the mountain as a metaphor for moral character, identifying qualities of antiquity, purity, dignity, and detachment in its natural formation. The tone is straightforward and unambiguous, representing travel as an act of Confucian moral self-cultivation. Like Ku Yen-wu, he expressed an opposition to Buddhism. He seems to have especially valued the mountain because it escaped the fate of other sites of literary and religious pilgrimage of being inscribed.

Geese Pond Mountain

On the day before the height of the moon in the second month of autumn in the year kuei-hai [October 1, 1743], I entered Geese Pond Mountain, spent two days there, and then returned. Most of the ancient sites were overgrown with brush and could not be reached, but the shape of the mountain and the color of its cliffs were something I had never laid eyes on before.

My nephew Pao K'ung-hsün said, "Why not write an account of it?" I replied, "This mountain cannot be recorded. The mountains of Yung and Liu prefectures were but hills and valleys in a remote corner of the world. Liu Tsung-yüan[1] was banished there, and he sought out such secluded spots to while away the time. Therefore, he was able to describe their form in detail. But this mountain is located at the junction of the mountain ranges of east and west Che-chiang and the sea. It is secluded, fantastic, steep, and sheer, with strange forms and bizarre


shapes, gigantic and numerous indeed. If I were to carve or paint it realistically, its shape and color would be just like what people describe as a 'famous mountain.' There is simply no way to distinguish the particular cliffs and valleys of this mountain." And yet, two things have I been able to obtain from this mountain alone.

Among the mountains I have previously seen, such as Floating Mountain in T'ung-ch'eng, An-hui, Assistance Mountain in Nanking, and the Peak That Flew Here in Hang-chou,[2] it is not that their cliffs and caves lack beauty, but that ignorant monks have carved many figures of Transcendents and Buddhas into them, while vulgar scholars have engraved their names and poems. Like sores, they are shocking when they come into sight. Only this mountain has completely preserved its ancient appearance up to the present. This is because it is a wall standing a thousand jen erect that cannot be climbed. And its location is isolated and distant. Those with wealth, position, or power have no reason to come here. Even if they do, they cannot linger long enough to hire workmen to erect scaffolds so as to show off by inscribing their names. So the mountain has never been humiliated by the scraping and gouging of ignorant monks and vulgar scholars.

Moreover, all attractive landscapes can cause travelers to feel delighted and happy. But this mountain has cliffs hidden deep and sheer walls. By gazing upward and peering downward, my mind unconsciously became serious, respectful, calm, and rectified. Upon arriving here, a myriad emotions ceased, a hundred thoughts were voided, and my original mind[3] joined with the spirit of the Universe.

If one investigates the mountain from these two viewpoints, then one can comprehend that learning whereby the cultivated man protects his character while acting in the world, and that Way by which sages perfect themselves as they perfect other things.[4]



Fig. 61.
Lo P'in (1733–1799),  Portrait of Yüan Mei  (1781). Collection of
Shimada Shujiro. This unflattering portrait apparently did not
please Yüan Mei. He wrote a humorous colophon above it
complaining about the lack of resemblance and indicated that
he was returning the picture to the painter.


Yüan Mei (1716–1798)
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Yüan Mei personified the elegant, sophisticated aesthete during the last great period of Chinese imperial power and prosperity. Born in Hang-chou, Che-chiang, he became a Metropolitan Graduate in 1739 and served in several magistracies, including that of Chiang-ning (modern Nanking). At the age of thirty-two he retired to pursue his varied cultural interests. Among these were poetry, literary criticism, education, cuisine, collecting ghost stories, and the theater. His home in Nanking, the Sui Garden, had formerly belonged to the textile commissioner and patron of the arts Ts'ao Yin (1658–1712). Yüan was among those who maintained that it was the basis for the Grand View Garden in the novel A Dream of Red Mansions (Hung-lou-meng , published 1791), written by Ts'ao Yin's descendant, Ts'ao Hsüeh-ch'in (ca. 1715–ca. 1763). After he reconstructed the Sui Garden it became a social center for scholars during the latter half of the eighteenth century, establishing Yüan Mei as a cultural arbiter. As a poet and critic, he espoused expressive theories similar to those of the late Ming individualists, advocating the ideal of "personal sensibility" (hsing-ling ) in literature. Throughout his life he traveled extensively to scenic places, often with actors from his household troupe as companions, and he left a number of travel accounts. These convey his perceptive wit, lively curiosity, and a connoisseur's pursuit of beauty and pleasure.

Yellow Dragon Mountain

Yellow Dragon Mountain (Huang-lung-shan) is located about four miles west of the seat of Chin-yün District, Che-chiang. It is described


in local gazetteers as a wall of rock, steep and sheer, with marvelous stone formations. According to legend, in ancient times a yellow dragon dwelled at the foot of the mountain in a pond whose water was famed for its sweet taste. At the end of the T'ang, a local warlord, Lu Yüeh, constructed fortifications on its summit. Its heights were also a base for the soldiers of Keng Tsai-ch'eng (fl. ca. 1359), a supporter of Chu Yüan-chang in the revolt against the Yüan. Ruins of these were still visible in the Ch'ing. Yüan Mei's travel record dwells on neither scenic qualities nor historical sites nor Confucian ideals. Rather, it reveals his independence and sense of humor as he uses the occasion of his visit to speculate about the role of chance in the creation of the natural world.

In the fourth month of the year jen-yin [May-June 1782], after traveling to Terrace of Heaven and Geese Pond mountains, I traveled to Yellow Dragon Mountain in Ch'u Prefecture.[1] The mountain is formed entirely by huge round boulders piled up—"half-hidden and obstructed"[2] —each one treading on another rather like Mount I in Eastern Lu[3] and quite different from Terrace and Pond Mountains.

Someone assumed that the Creator-of-Things[4] arranged it this way to show off his fantastic skill. But I informed him by saying, "How could he have intended this? If he had had such an intention, he certainly could not have created these forms. And even if he had, he could not have achieved this fantastic quality. The natural transformations of cosmic energy were generated by chance and just happened to form this. I am afraid that not only did the Creator-of-Things not intend this but, on the contrary, he would be incapable of producing it."

Why is this so? When I was young, I was quite playful. I liked to set out a basin of water and pour molten pewter into it. There was a hissing sound. In a while, there were pieces that stood erect, crouched, reclined, and piled up one upon another; huge, expansive ones, fragmented, irregular ones, slanted ovals leaning to one side, and ones that seemed to fight with each other and yet please each other—there was every kind of shape. In appearance, they resembled lions, elephants, dragons, horses, chickens, insects, and various other things. It formed every kind of famous place such as Lotus Mountain, Eminent Mountain,[5] and the Supreme Mountain. How could I have intended all this? I knew how to pour the pewter into the water, but I did not know that it would form such shapes. If you were to ask the pewter, it could


not have known this. If you were to ask the water, it also could not have known this.

Why should the way of forming mountains be an exception? Before Indigo Heaven and the Yellow Earth divided, primordial energy pervaded everywhere: mountains, water, earth, and sand were blended together into one slab. Rocks were like soft breasts, scattered throughout. Then, one day, Heaven floated upward and the Earth sank, sand flew about and the waters gathered, winds followed each other, agitating and bending all things. The stars spread across Heaven, and rocks spread over the Earth. Some of their strange shapes and extraordinary forms were revealed when the cosmos split open, some awaited discovery by men who later searched them out and climbed them. Over a long period of many years, their inner development was enriched and their shapes became more fantastic. Nowadays, people look at the summits and see boats, boxes, houses, and rotted coffins. How could anyone really have flown up and put them there? They seem thus because of the reason l just gave. Regrettably, man is minuscule, and the years of his life rush by. He is born after the world came into being and dies before it will disappear. He cannot sit and wait in the hope of clearly observing it all. Yet its principle is nothing more than this.

Someone said, "This is a theory of mountains, not an account of a mountain—what does this have to do with Yellow Dragon?" I replied, "By observing one corner, one can comprehend the other three,[6] and, moreover, one can comprehend a million others. Because I journeyed to Yellow Dragon Mountain, I suddenly gained this insight. Therefore, I have written about what I have seen. Moreover, when I traveled to Terrace and Pond, I wrote poems in both cases; but when I traveled to Yellow Dragon, I wrote no poems. So I have written this down to substitute for poems on visiting Yellow Dragon Mountain."[7]

Yellow Emperor Mountain

After its discovery in the seventeenth century by literary travelers such as Hsü Hung-tsu and Ch'ien Ch'ien-i and by painters of the An-hui school, Yellow Emperor Mountain entered a period of popularity that reached its peak in the Ch'ien-lung era (1736–1795). Even so, it remained remote and inaccessible compared to other scenic mountains. Yüan Mei's journey here at the age of sixty-seven testifies to his


intrepid spirit of curiosity. He selectively recorded sights encountered during three days out of a journey of seven that took him on a climb along a difficult route of almost twenty miles. Yet the itinerary he describes covered almost all the major sites on the mountain, which had became standard subjects for souvenir albums, such as the one by the An-hui painter Mei Ch'ing (1623–1697; see cover and fig. 49). Perhaps the most fantastic of China's scenic mountains, Yellow Emperor Mountain possesses few historical sites; Yüan therefore focuses on his direct perceptions and experiences. His description of the porters—known as "seahorses" (hai-ma ), supposedly because of how they moved through the "Sea of Clouds"—noted a unique custom that later died out in the nineteenth century after travel to Yellow Emperor Mountain declined. Today, the mountain is among the most popular destinations for Chinese tourists and has become a national symbol.

On the second day of the fourth month in the year kuei-mao [May 2, 1783], after I had visited White Mount, I went to bathe in the hot springs of Yellow Emperor Mountain.[1] The springs are sweet and pure, located below overhanging cliffs. I passed the evening at the Temple of Compassionate Light.[2]

The next morning, a monk told me, "The paths on this mountain are steep and dangerous—even a sedan chair could not be used. If you, sir, were to walk it, it would prove too strenuous. But fortunately, there are locals who are capable of carrying travelers on their backs—they are called 'seahorses'—and you can hire one." He brought over five or six strong, good-looking lads, all of whom held strips of cloth several tens of feet long. I laughed to myself, "Is a weak old man going to revert to being a bundled-up baby?" At first I forced myself to walk on my own, but when I became terribly fatigued I had myself tied to a lad's back, and this way I alternated equally between walking and being carried. When we reached the Nest-in-the-Clouds,[3] the road ended and we had to ascend by wooden steps. A myriad peaks stabbed the sky. The Temple of Compassionate Light had already sunk to the bottom of this "caldron." That evening we arrived at Mañjusri's[*] Temple,[4] where we spent the night. It rained and was terribly cold. Though nearly the season of the Dragon Boat Festival,[5] we still had to wear layers of clothes and warm ourselves by a fire! The clouds entered and took over our dwelling. In a minute, everything turned into a


nebulous vagueness. Two people seated could distinguish only each other's voices. After the clouds dispersed we walked to Snow Terrace, where there is an ancient pine. Its roots were growing toward the east, but its body tumbled toward the west, while its head turned southward. It grew through the rock, splitting it open to emerge outside it. The rock seemed to be alive, and its center seemed to be empty, so the pine could secret itself inside it and grow together with it. Moreover, the pine seemed to be in fear of Heaven, so it dared not grow taller. It was some ten spans about, but not more than two feet high. So many other pines are like this that I could not record them all. In the evening, the cloudy atmosphere became clear; all the peaks seemed to be bowing down like children. Sections of Yellow Emperor Mountain have been named "Front" and "Rear Seas";[6] the two "seas" can be viewed together by looking to the left and to the right.

The next day we turned sharply left of the terrace and descended, down One Hundred Steps Through the Clouds,[7] after which the road again ended. Suddenly I saw a rock as big as a giant sea tortoise with a gaping mouth. I could not help but walk into this tortoise's mouth, pass through its stomach, and come out onto its back into another world. I ascended Cinnabar Terrace and climbed up to Brilliant Summit, which, together with Lotus and Celestial Capital peaks,[8] form "three legs of a bronze tripod," standing tall and facing each other. The high winds blast one so that it is impossible to keep standing. Fortunately, pine needles cover the ground more than two feet thick, so soft that one can sit down on them. By evening we had reached the Lion Grove Temple,[9] where we spent the night. I took advantage of the remaining sunlight to climb to Seeing-Is-Believing Peak.[10] There are actually three pinnacles. From a distance, two appear close together, but when scrutinized closely yet another is found to be hiding behind them. The pinnacles are tall and precipitous, dropping down to a bottomless gorge. I stood on the summit and stuck my foot out a bit over the edge. The monk was terrified and pulled me back. I laughed and told him, "Even if I were to fall, it wouldn't matter." He asked, "How is that?" I said, "The gorge is bottomless, so anyone falling down into it would never reach the bottom. He would just float about to who knows where! And if it has a bottom, it will take a while to reach it, so there would be time to save oneself. Unfortunately, we did not bring a long rope with iron weight to measure it and find out how deep it is." The monk let out a huge laugh.

The next day I climbed to Great and little Pure and Cold Terraces. Beneath the terraces are peaks like brushes, arrows, bamboo shoots,



Fig. 62.
Viewing the Pines from Seeing-Is-Believing Peak on Yellow Emperor Mountain . From Lin-ch'ing,
Hung-hsüeh yin-yüan t'u-chi , vol. 1 (Peking: Pei-ching ku-chi ch'u-pan-she, 1984; rpt, of 1847 ed.).


bamboo groves, knives and halberds, boat masts, and those which resemble weapons from an armory strewn about the earth by the Celestial Emperor in jest. In the time it would take for a meal, a white satin wrapped itself around the trees. The monk gleefully told me, "This is the Sea of Clouds!" At first, it formed a vast obscurity, like melted silver or like cotton spread out. After a long while it blended into one sheet through which the sharp tips of green mountains exposed themselves. It resembled a large platter of bamboo shoots protruding erect through congealed cooking fat. In an instant it dispersed, and a myriad peaks in bunches recovered their original forms. I sat above the tops of the pines and broiled in the cruel sun. But suddenly, a sheet of clouds arose and formed a protective cover. So I learned that clouds vary in height and are by no means limited to just one type. At twilight, I went to the Gate to the Western Ocean[11] to watch the sunset. The grass here is taller than a man and the path also ends. I called for several tens of workers to mow it down and then proceeded. To the east, peaks formed a screen; on the west, some angrily erupted from the earth. Between them, scattered in confusion, were tens of peaks like Jade Terrace on Terrace of Heaven Mountain. As the red sun was about to sink, a peak supported it with its head, as if to swallow or hold it. I could not wear a hat—it would have been blown off by the wind. I could not wear socks—they would have become soaked through. I could not use a staff—it would have stuck in the soft sand. Nor could I gaze upward—the rocks might have come tumbling down on me. Gazing to the left, glancing to the right, searching ahead, looking behind, I regretted that I couldn't transform myself into a million bodies and visit every single peak.

The "seahorse" carried me with the agility of a monkey, rushing ahead, speedily treading. The myriad mountains also imitated people running, and they appeared to surge like the tide. When I peered down, the deep ravines and bizarre peaks stood beneath my feet awaiting me. If he had but lost his step, the result would have been unthinkable. But this being the situation, it was useless to fear. Had I restricted him to going slow, I would have felt like a coward. I had no choice but to entrust this "orphan" to him and place my fate in his hands,[12] letting him decide where to go while I felt as if I had been transformed into a Transcendent. The Huai-nan-tzu speaks of "turning the gall bladder into clouds."[13] I believe it.

On the ninth day of the month [May 9], I descended behind Celestial Pillar Peak and followed along White Sand Trail to Cloud Valley, where relatives met me with a sedan chair. I had walked for more than seventeen miles, spending, in all, seven days on the mountain.[14]


The Cascade Pavilion at Gorge River Temple

The Cascade Pavilion (Fei-ch'üan-t'ing) is located behind a temple situated on a mountain along a scenic, half-mile section of the Gorge River (Hsia-chiang), one and a half miles north of the seat of modern Ch'ing-yüan District, Kuang-tung. The temple was established during the reign of Emperor Wu of the Liang (r. 502–549) by two monks, Chen-chün and Jui-ai, and is popularly known as the Temple That Flew Here (Fei-lai-szu). One legend attributes the name to its having been blown to its location in a storm from Shu-ch'eng, An-hui, by a son of the Yellow Emperor. Another legend connects it with a T'ang monk, Li Fei. According to this story, Li Fei, after building the temple, stated that he, Fei (literally, "to fly"), had come to this spot to establish a temple to be named "Fei-lai" (literally, "Fei has come here"; also, "that which has flown here"). A number of literati, Su Shih among them, visited the temple and left poems and accounts.

In recent years, I have viewed many waterfalls. After arriving at the Gorge River Temple, I found it difficult to leave, and this is because of the Cascade Pavilion.

It is human nature to be incapable of lingering for long where the eyes experience pleasure but the body feels discomfort. The waterfall at Terrace of Heaven Mountain is a hundred paces away from the temple, whereas there is no temple at all beside the one at Geese Pond. As for those at Hermitage and Floating Gauze mountains, and at Stone Gate Mountain in Ch'ing-t'ien District,[1] it isn't that these waterfalls are not fantastic. The traveler must bake in the sun or crouch on top of high cliffs, so that he cannot observe them in comfort as if they were friends met on the road. Though the sight of them might be pleasant, it is easy to depart.

But Gorge Mountain in eastern Kuang-tung is less than half a mile high, with winding stone steps and a cover of ancient pines so that one does not broil in the summer sun. After one crosses a stone bridge, there are three exceptional trees that stand erect like the legs of a bronze tripod. Unexpectedly, when they reach into the midst of the sky, they fuse into one. Trees generally have roots that are joined together and then divide into branches. Only these have separate roots yet their branches unite. How extraordinary!

I climbed midway up the mountain to where the waterfall thundered as it fell through the air. Beside it is a building, which is the Cascade Pavilion. Its length and width are slightly more than ten feet each


way, with eight windows letting in bright light. Close the windows and one can hear the waterfall; open them, and the waterfall itself arrives! One can sit, lie down, sit down with legs outstretched, recline in comfort, set out brush and inkstone, and prepare and serve tea. One can relax by relying on the water's efforts, which brings this "Silvery River from the Nine Heavens"[2] over to one's seat to enjoy. Was he not a Transcendent who built this pavilion long ago?

The monk Ch'eng-po is a talented player of chess. I ordered Hsiashang[3] to serve as an opponent. The sounds of water, chess pieces, pines, and birds together combined into an orchestration. After a while, the sound of a staff dragging came through the clouds. It was the old monk, Huai-yüan, who had brought a collection of poems about a foot long and had come to ask me to write a preface. So this led to sounds of chanting poetry and to the writing of more poems. The sounds of "the piping of Heaven" and the "piping of man"[4] harmonized and transformed each other. I had not expected that the joy of observing a waterfall could reach such heights. This pavilion's merit is great indeed!

After we had sat for some time the sun set, and I had no choice but to descend from the mountain. I spent the night in Jade Belt Hall, which faced South Mountain. The clouds and trees were luxuriant; through their midst flowed the lengthy river.[5] Boats sailed back and forth, but, marvelously, not a single person wanted to dock and come to this temple. A monk told me, "Gorge River Temple is popularly called 'The Temple That Flew Here.'" I laughed and replied, "How can a temple fly? Though perhaps my spirit might one day fly here in a dream." The monk replied, "Believe nothing without evidence! Since you, sir, love this place, why not write an account of it?" I answered, "Of course." And so I wrote down these lines, one copy for myself and one for the monk.[6]


Yün Ching (1757–1817)
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Yün Ching was born in Yang-hu (modern Ch'ang-shu), Chiang-su, and became a Metropolitan Graduate in 1783. He was an instructor in Peking before serving twice as a magistrate, in which positions he distinguished himself for his incorruptibility, strict enforcement of the law, and prison reforms. His career abruptly ended when he was unjustly impeached. His early interests were in textual scholarship, and he cultivated the parallel prose style. Later, when he came under the influence of the T'ung-ch'eng school, he, together with several fellow locals, formed an offshoot known as the Yang-hu school. Yün's literary views, however, differed somewhat from T'ung-ch'eng practices. He continued an interest in the more decorative aesthetics of parallel prose, which he felt enriched the blandness of T'ung-ch'eng writing, and he felt the orthodox canon of models too restricted. However, like Fang Pao and his followers, Yün Ching emphasized scholarship and didacticism. His travel account about his journey to Hermitage Mountain follows the diary format and was written toward the end of his life.

Hermitage Mountain

Hermitage Mountain stands at the convergence of the Hsün-yang River and Lake P'o-yang.[1] Water completely surrounds it on three sides. In general, when great mountains are situated by water, those that can confront the water's massive power and cause it to surge and gush are the most spiritually potent. But rivers and lakes ebb and flow more



Fig. 63.
Shih-t'ao (1642-ca. 1710),  Viewing the Water-fall at Mount Lu
(Hermitage Mountain)
 (detail, ca. 1700). Izumiya Museum, Kyoto.


calmly, acting quite differently from oceans. Thus, mountains beside oceans are mostly strong and majestic, while Hermitage Mountain has a relaxed and untrammeled appearance.

On the day chi-mao in the third month of the eighteenth year of the Chia-ch'ing era [April 12, 1813], my affairs obliged me to cross Lake P'o-yang. My boat moored at Left Bank.[2] On keng-ch'en [April 13] we docked at Hsing-tzu,[3] and so I decided to make an excursion from there. On this day I went to White Deer Grotto and gazed from there at Five Elders Peak.[4] I passed through the Lesser Three Gorges[5] and stayed at the Pavilion Facing the Mountain Alone. I had the doors unlocked and stopped briefly at the Hall for Literary Gatherings. There was a peach-blossom tree there just in bloom and a banana plant to its right whose leaves had just opened fully. After the moon appeared, I followed the Stream That Threads through the Tao[6] past Fishing Terrace Rock and Sleeping Deer Field. Turning to the right I reached the rear of the mountain, where tens of thousands of pines and firs formed a "roof beam" across the feet of Five Elders Peak.

On hsin-szu [April 14], I climbed from Three Gorges Torrent to the Happiness Pavilion.[7] The pavilion is in disrepair and the path is quite steep. I searched for the site of Mr. Li's Mountain Lodge,[8] but I couldn't find it. I climbed the Ridge That Bites Hold of Lake P'o-yang.[9] A strong wind whistled along the back of the ridge and came through a tunnel. When the wind stopped, I climbed my way up to Great Monad Peak.[10] To the southeast, I could see the city of Nan-ch'ang and, slightly to the north, P'eng-tse,[11] both separated by the lake. Through its glimmering surface, the lake was deep and clear. In a while the land rolled up like a mat, slowly vanishing; and then this extended to the middle of the lake; and then to the lake's shore, while the foot of the mountain vanished. Thus I realized how a cloud cover arrives from a distance. Then everything became agitated all around the mountain. Thousands and thousands of giant clouds arranged themselves for battle, rose up behind the mountain, and pursued each other across the sky, where they took up position and began raining. So I did not proceed to Five Elders Peak but descended instead to observe the Pool of the Jade Abyss and rest at the Temple of Perching Worthies.[12] I looked back at Five Elders Peak. The setting sun pierced the clouds; it and the mountain seemed to lean against each other. I returned and spent the night at the Hall for Literary Gatherings.

On jen-wu [April 15], I walked to the Temple of Myriad Firs[13] and tasted the water of Three-forked Pond. Less than half a mile before Flourishing Peak Temple[14] I saw the Waterfall cascading in the midst of the sky. When I reached the temple gate, I gazed at Green Jade Gorge


to the west and scrutinized Incense Burner Peak.[15] I washed my hands in Dragon Well, then searched for Li Po's Study but couldn't find it.[16] I returned and spent the night at Flourishing Peak Temple.

On kuei-wei [April 16], I went to the Temple That Gazes at the Clouds.[17] The roundabout road circled White Crane Monastery[18] and soon arrived at the temple, where I viewed Wang Hsi-chih's Pond for Washing Away Ink. Proceeding westward, I searched out the Rock for Drunken Slumber at Grain Village.[19] The rock was larger than a house and blocked the flow of a stream. I wanted to visit Chien-chi's Monastery but didn't go.[20] I returned and spent the night at Flourishing Peak Temple, where I met the monk I-wei.

On chia-shen [April 17], Wu Lan-hsüeh came, bringing Liao Hsüehlu and the monk Lang-yüan. They laughed heartily as they burst through the doors. We all climbed to Yellow Cliff. Treading awkwardly, we went beyond to Mañjusri's[*] Terrace, from where we enjoyed peering down at the Waterfall and witnessing its complete transformation as it descended. We called at Yellow Cliff Temple[21] and scrambled over scattered rocks to find the source of the Waterfall. We traced it back to Han-yang Peak,[22] where the path ends. Then we turned back and spent the night at Flourishing Peak Temple. Wu Lan-hsüeh went off to the Temple That Gazes at the Clouds; I-wei left for Chiu-chiang. That evening it rained heavily. I had already been on the mountain for five days.

On the morning of the day i-yu [April 18] I gazed at the Waterfall, which was twice as large as before the rain. Almost two miles after I left the mountain I reached Sacred Grove Harbor, from where the Waterfall appeared even more clearly. The entire mountain appeared deep and remote, a viridian green. The cliffs and valleys seemed to have been chiseled and smoothed. After a while, a hank of clouds arose below Incense Burner Peak and proceeded to form round tufts biting hold of one another; and then the entire mountain was surrounded by these tufts; and then they all merged into one. The mountain's entire waist was enshrouded, while above and below remained the same viridian green—I had never seen anything like it in my life. For clouds are a harbinger of rain exuded by the spirit of a mountain.

I have recorded in general what I experienced on this journey. With particular regard to clouds I have noted their strange transformations that brought such delight and pleasure so as to pass this on to future enthusiasts.[23]


Kung Tzu-chen (1792–1841)
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Kung Tzu-chen was one of the major poets writing just after the peak of the Ch'ing dynasty, before Western imperialism and the destruction of the T'ai-p'ing Rebellion (1851–1866) irrevocably altered Imperial China. Although not very influential during his lifetime, he was rediscovered a half-century later during the late Ch'ing when the dynasty's failure to defend and modernize the country increasingly preoccupied officials and intellectuals. In hindsight, Kung was regarded as a seer who had clearly identified the sources of China's decline. His thoroughly historical viewpoint regarding the traditional culture and his concern about social, economic, and military problems made him seem, if not actually the first modern intellectual in China, at least a prototype thereof.

Born in Jen-ho (modern Hang-chou), Che-chiang, into a family of scholars and officials, Kung Tzu-chen was considered a child prodigy and was tutored by his maternal grandfather, the great linguist Tuan Yü-ts'ai (1735–1815). Kung started publishing his poetry and essays while in his teens but failed the provincial examination in 1819. Nevertheless, he managed to enter the government, serving in the Grand Secretariat. After six attempts, he became a Metropolitan Graduate in 1829 and subsequently held a series of low-ranking positions in the Ministry of Rites before retiring in 1839, the year of this piece. He returned south where he taught for two years before his early death during the second year of the Opium War (1840–1842) with Great Britain.

Although China still seemed to many to be fundamentally stable and prosperous, Kung observed the growing internal and external weaknesses of the country. The widening gap between rich and poor,


the failure to resist British military encroachment, the expanding drug problem, and the sloth and corruption of the official class were themes that pervaded his poetry and prose. He wrote some six hundred poems, mostly in his later years. These largely focused on the concrete issues of his time, for his inspiration came from his own contact with social reality. His poetry expressed a range of emotions: solitude, melancholy, alienation, moments of heroic self-abandon, and desire for Buddhist transcendence. Despite the influence of a monumental cycle, Poems from the Year Chi-hai (Chi-hai tsa-shih , 1839), during his lifetime he was more highly regarded as a prose writer. Kung more or less abandoned the orthodox influence of the Eight Masters of T'ang and Sung Prose for the simpler formulas of pre-Ch'in and Han writers, particularly the styles of the classical historians. He put this to practical use when Lin Tse-hsü (1785–1850) was appointed to curb the opium traffic in Kuang-tung, for Kung wrote a number of letters to him containing intelligent proposals. Later, when war broke out between China and Great Britain, Kung attempted to volunteer in the defense of Shanghai shortly before his death.

After retiring from office, Kung passed through Yang-chou, Chiang-su, and recorded his experiences and emotions in the sixth lunar month (July—August) of 1839. He had often visited the city whenever he returned south, and his memories of its wealth and gaiety stretched back over some two decades. The piece is suffused with characteristic melancholy and an ironic lyricism. Despite his affirmation of the city's continuing vitality and his rejection of the extreme comparison to the "Weedy Citadel," there is an atmosphere of disquiet as he notes telltale signs of its decline. Kung's strong autobiographical presence is an attempt to reconcile the process of aging with the historical flow of time. The writer concludes on an optimistic note that both he and the city are in their "early autumn," a statement that belies the ambivalent mood of the piece. Kung himself was to die unexpectedly two years later at the age of forty-nine; Yang-chou later suffered extensive damage during the T'ai-p'ing Rebellion. When the new railroad bypassed the city owing to local protest that it would disturb the graves of ancestors, its economy further declined. The city never recovered its former eminence.

Passing through Yang-chou Again in the Sixth Month of the Year Chi-hai

When I was serving in the Ministry of Rites, a visitor once said to me, "Do you, sir, know what Yang-chou is like nowadays? Just read Pao


Chao's 'Rhapsody on the Weedy Citadel'[1] and you will see it described!" I felt depressed over what he said.

The following year, I requested leave from office and traveled south. Upon reaching Yang-chou, my funds were exhausted and I was obliged to find a solution. So I disembarked and put up at an inn. Once settled in my quarters, I strolled along the eastern wall of the inn, came across a small bridge, and peered down from it at a stream: the stream was clamorous. Crossing the bridge, I came to a parapet on the city wall and found an opening in it where I could climb up. Once I had climbed it, I could see the city of Yang-chou for ten miles, its head and tail, its meandering, twisting parts, its high and low places. Morning rain bathed the houses; the roof tiles were like fish scales. There were no collapsed walls or piles of rubble. So I doubted the truth of what the visitor at the Ministry of Rites had said.

I went to the marketplace for some cooked meat: the market was clamorous. After I obtained the meat, the innkeeper provided a jug of wine and a basket of shrimp. I got drunk and sang. I sang lyrics, long and short ones, from the Sung and Yüan dynasties. As I looked out the windows, my voice rang out until I startled a woman across the street, waking her up in the middle of the night. Then I stopped.

A visitor came and invited me to tour the sights on Shu Hill.[2] Our boat moved quite speedily. Its curtains were covered with embroidered designs. I thought the windows were made of sea shells, but when I examined them closely I found they were of multicolored glass. The boatman frequently pointed to the banks on both sides, saying, "This is the site of the former So-and-so Garden." "This is the site of the former So-and-so Tavern"—there were about eight or nine such places. Actually, only the Garden That Rests on Rainbows[3] has been demolished. In the West Garden,[4] where I had formerly spent some nights, the gate remains, the inscriptions remain, and they can still be read. There are still eight or nine places there to visit. On the hillsides there are cassia flowers; in the water, water lilies, water chestnuts, and chicken-head.[5] It is located in the northwest corner beyond the city wall of Yang-chou on the highest and most beautiful spot. Southward, one can survey the Long River, and northward, the Huai. Of the tens of departments and districts between the Long and Huai rivers, none is as affluent as this place. When I recalled what was said in the capital, I realized that it was by no means true.

I returned to the inn. The scholars of the locality all knew that I had arrived and there was a great clamor. Some asked me to clarify difficult points in the classics; some came with questions about historical events; some came to inquire about recent affairs in the capital; some presented



Fig. 64.
Springtime at Red Bridge . From Lin-ch'ing,  Hung-hsüeh yin-yüan t'u-chi , vol. 1 (Peking: Pei-ching ku-chi ch'u-pan-she, 1984;
rpt. of 1847 ed.). The garden at Red Bridge in Yang-chou was famous as a gathering place for literati. This view is from the first
of three volumes of an unusual autobiographical work by the Manchu official Lin-ch'ing (1791–1846) that recorded his travels
in illustrations and short essays. Kung met the author and contributed a preface to the second volume in 1841.


me with their essays, poems, miscellanies, lyrics, and various writings, or requested prefaces and calligraphed titles for collectanea. Some had prepared the biographies of their ancestors and requested epitaphs; some requested my calligraphy in albums and on fans. The pile of their gifts blocked my doorway and windows. It was just like in the days of the Chia-ch'ing era [1796–1820]. Who could say that this is not a time of peace and prosperity? Still, outside my window the boats keep passing by, but there are no sounds of pitch pipes or the p'i-p'a lute. And when there are, they do not last until the dawn. Some courtesans with only the gardenia flowers in their greying hair as a gift came by seeking my calligraphy. We exchanged inquiries along with calligraphy, paintings, and jade pendants. There were three women. An atmosphere of lonely perfume and sorrowful beauty wafted around the bridges, pavilions, and pleasure boats. Though the waves were tranquil, that night my soul was agitated beyond control. I spent four nights in Yang-chou, enjoyed its romantic gaiety, and wrote some rhymes. Where would I have witnessed "soughing winds and whistling rain," "flying squirrels and simians sorrowing," and "ghosts and spirits weeping"?[6]

At the end of the Chia-ch'ing era, I had written some romantic poems here with Sung Hsiang-feng.[7] I heard that he had taken ill, but did not know whether he was alive or not. I also inquired about the poems he had written but could not find any, so I felt full of regret. As I lay down and pondered it, I realized that I was close on fifty years old. To feel melancholy about the passing of time is natural. Of the beauties and famous scholars of antiquity, how many enjoyed wealth, nobility, or longevity? How could any of this be related to the rise or decline of Yang-chou? Shouldn't I just release these melancholy feelings by the banks of the Long River? I am, perhaps, too old to write romantic poems. But I am not too old to take as my mission in life investigating what has been written about people and things, and collecting and editing literary works.

Of the four seasons in the world, nothing is worse than an oppressive summer, and nothing is finer than early autumn. It cleanses away summer's perplexities while leaving one feeling cool and clear, comfortable and invigorated. Refreshing and chilly without suddenly provoking feelings of melancholy over the vast, lonely emptiness—that is early autumn! Isn't Yang-chou now in its early autumn? Though it has been my fate in this life to have to seek money for food, I am confident that I shall not suddenly die. Am I not also encountering my early autumn?

Thus I have written Passing through Yang-chou Again in the Sixth Month of the Year Chi-hai.[8]



Introduction: The Rise of Chinese Travel Writing

1. For a recent study from this perspective, see Dennis Porter, Haunted Journeys: Desire and Transgression in European Travel Writing (Princeton, 1991).

2. See Mary B. Campbell, The Witness and the Other World: Exotic European Travel Writing, 400-1600 (Ithaca, 1988), pp. 47-86. Campbell characterizes this and other "wonder books" as "a kind of perverse Scripture, an upside-down map of the moral universe" (p. 53) in which the combination of the grotesque and the informational stands in opposition to the laws that govern the medieval world order. Significantly, she notes that "documentary accounts by pilgrims and crusaders . . . included little or nothing of the monstrous until their journeys began to spill across the borders of the scriptural lands" (p. 85).

3. A selection covering travel accounts from 890 to 1596 has been reprinted in Richard Hakluyt, Voyages and Discoveries , ed. Jack Beeching (Harmonds-worth, Middlesex, 1972).

4. Donald E. Pease, "Author," in Critical Terms for Literary Study , ed. Frank Lentricchia and Thomas McLaughlin (Chicago, 1990), p. 107.

5. See, for example, the influential travel account Russia in 1839 (1843) by Astolphe de Custine, a French aristocrat and supporter of absolutism who visited Russia under Czar Nicholas l and returned to France a confirmed liberal. The better known example of Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America (1835-1840) similarly advocated progressive political institutions for the Old World.

6. See Rebecca D. Catz, ed. and trans., The Travels of Mendes Pinto (Chicago, 1989).

7. For discussion of the role of parody in linking travel writing and the novel, see Percy Adams, Travel Literature and the Evolution of the Novel (Lexington, Ky., 1983), pp. 272-275. Fictional travel writing also had a reverse effect on first-person accounts. When the Scottish traveler John Bell (1691-1780) asked a university historian for advice turning his travel notes into publishable form, he was told, "Take Gulliver's Travels for your model and you can't go wrong" (J. L. Stevenson, "Introduction," in John Bell, A Journey from St. Petersburg to Pekin [Edinburgh, 1965], p. 24).

8. For some postmodernist thoughts on the ineaning of travel, see James Clifford, "Notes on Theory and Travel," in Traveling Theories: Traveling Theorists , ed. James Clifford and Vivek Dhareshwar, vol. 5 of Inscriptions (Santa Cruz, Calif., 1989), pp. 177-188. Clifford suggests an etymological root in the Greek term theorein as "a practice of travel and observation, a man sent by the polls to another city to witness a religious ceremony" (p. 177).

9. See Samuel Beal, trans., Si-yu-ki: Buddhist Records of the Western World. Translated from the Chinese of Hiuen Tsiang (A.D. 629) (London, 1884); as well as a later study, Thomas Watters, On Yuan Chwang's Travels in India, 629-645 A.D . (London, 1904-1905); also James Legge, trans., A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms; Being an Account by the Chinese Monk Fâ-hien of His Travels in India and Ceylon (A.D. 399-414) in Search of the Buddhist Books of Discipline (Oxford, 1886). The Chronicle of Mu, Son-of Heaven (Mu T'ien-tzu chuan) , the ritual tour of a Chou dynasty emperor, was first published in translation by E.J. Eitel in 1888 in China Review 17, no. 4, PP. 223-240; and no. 5, PP. 242-258.

10. A study of travel diaries by travelers to territory ruled by non-Chinese dynasties appeared in Édouard Chavannes, "Voyageurs chinois chez les Khitan et les Joutchen," Jornal asiatique , 9th ser., 9 (1897): 377-442 and 11 (1898): 361-439; also idem, " Pei Yuan Lou , Récit d'un voyage dans le nord," T'oung Pao , 2d ser., 5 (1904): 163-192. Wu Lien-teh, in an address titled "Early Chinese Travellers and Their Successors," printed in Journal of the North China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society , 2d ser., 64 (1933): 1-23, discussed thirty-five figures all of whom traveled to foreign places. A more recent anthology, Jeannette Mirsky, ed., The Great Chinese Travelers (Chicago, 1964), similarly focused exclusively on journeys beyond China proper. During the past few decades, however, studies of more literary works of Chinese travel writing have begun to appear in the West. For a brief definition of "travel record literature" ( yu-chi wen-hsüeh ) and a short bibliography, see James M. Hargett, " Yu-chi wen-hsüeh ,'' in William H. Nienhauser, Jr., ed., The Indiana Companion to Traditional Chinese Literature (Bloomington, 1986), pp. 936-939; amore extensive survey of Chinese travel literature up to the Sung appears in Hargett, On The Road in Twelfth Century China: The Travel Diaries of Fan Chengda (1126-1193) (Stuttgart, 1929), pp. 9-69.

11. The Four Libraries system (classics [ ching ], history [ shih ], philosophy [ tzu ], and belles lettres [ chi ]) was formalized in the bibliography chapter of the History of the Sui Dynasty ( Sui shu chin g-chi chih , 636). Prior to this, the earliest bibliography in the dynastic histories, that included in the History of the Western Hah Dynasty ( Hah shu i-wen chih , ca. A.D. 82), lacked a category for geography and included only one work of travel writing, the Guideways Through Mountains and Seas ( Shan-hai ching , ca. 320 B.C. - A.D. 200), considered a guide to physical forths and spiritual beings found in the landscape.

12. In prose anthologies such as the Finest Flowering of the Preserve of Letters ( Wen-yüan Yint,-hua , 987), devoted largely to T'ang prose, and the great Ch'ing collection of the T'ung-ch'eng school, A Clasified Compendium of Ancient Style Prose and Verse ( Ku-wen-tz'u lei-ts'uan , 1799), travel accounts were classified as "records" ( chi ). Travel accounts were also well represented in the still-popular anthology The Finest of Ancient Prose ( Ku-wen kuan-chih , 1695). These were organized by dynasty and author and placed alongside other kinds of prose selections. In the Ch'ing encyclopedias Exemplary Models Arranged by Categories ( Yüan-chien lei-han , 1701) and Complete Collection of Books and Illustrations Past and Present ( Ku-chin t'u-shu chi-ch'eng , 1725), travel writings were sometimes included within the entries on geographical places.

13. Po Chü-i originally visited the cave with his brother Po Hsing-chien (775-826) and the poet Yüan Chen (779-831), together known as the "Early Three Travelers" ( Ch'ien san-yu ). Later, in the Sung, Ou-yang Hsiu (1007-1072), Su Shih (1036-1101), and his brother Su Ch'e (1039-1112), the "Later Three Travelers" ( Hou san-yu ), also visited it, among others. See Lu Yu's account (chapter 24 in the present volume), which is particularly concerned with the inscriptions he encountered.

14. See Yüan Hung-tao, Ch'i-yün , in Yüan Chung-lang ch'üan-chi 2:493-494 (Taipei, 1976 rpt.). A partial translation can be found in Chih-p'ing Chou, Yüan Hung-tao and the Kung-an School (Cambridge, 1988), pp. 108-109.

15. As this anthology demonstrates, the Chinese landscape contains many places that are identically named, the result of applying symbolic terms from various cultural discourses, for example: Toist (Elixir Terrace [Tan-t'ai], Cave of Transcendents [Hsien-jen-tung], Lao-tzu's Stove [Lao-chün-lu]); Buddhist (Mañjusri's * Terrace [Wen-shu-t'ai], Lotus Peak [Lien-hua-feng], Buddha's Light [Fo-kuang]); historical (Yellow Emperor's Mountain [Huangshan], Shun's Well [Shun-ching], Pavilion for Cleansing Ears [Hsi-er-t'ing]); mythological (Black Dragon Pool [Hei-lung-t'an], Terrace of Heaven [T'ient'ai], Feng and Huang -Bird Terrace [Feng-huang-t'ai]); lyrical (Wind-in-thePines Pavilion [Sung-feng-ko], Water's Fragrance Pavilion [Shui-hsiang-t'ing], Jade Spring [Yü-ch'üan]); animal (Tiger Peak [Hu-feng], Magpie Mountain [Ch'üeh-shan], Recumbent Ox Mountain [Wo-niu-shan]); and literati (BrushHolder Peak [Pi-chia-feng], Ink Pond [Mo-ch'ih], Pavilion of the Constellation of Literature [Wen-ch'ang-ko]). The act of inscription did not necessarily require the engraving of an entire piece; often, a flew characters naming the site were sufficient. An inscription could even be commissioned from a notable writer some time after his visit. Fan Chung-yen's (989-1052) Pavilion of Yüehyang (1046) * was written partly from the memory of earlier excursions and also from a painting supplied by the patron who requested a piece to be engraved there celebrating the pavilion he had built. In some cases, a text was posthumously inscribed at the site because later readers felt it had become a vital constituent of the meaning of the place.

16. For a recent description and photographic record of these and other literary shrines by a modern Japanese pilgrim, see Aoyama San'u, Koanyu * : Chugoku * bunjin fudoki * (Tokyo, 1983).

17. See Su Shih's calligraphed versions of Ou-yang Hsiu's The Pavilion of the Old Drunkard (1046) * and The Pavilion of Joyful Abundance (1046) * [fig. 24]. The former was engraved at the site in 1091, and the latter is believed to date from the same period. The original Sung engravings, which survive only through rubbings, were destroyed and the texts were engraved again in the Ming. Versions by later calligraphers were also engraved at places other than at the original site and further circulated in rubbings. For a brief discussion of Su Shih's calligraphy of these texts, see Wang Hsüeh-tung, "'Tsui-weng-t'ing chi' yen-chiu shu-p'ing," Yü-wen tao-pao (Hang-chou ta-hsüeh chunk-wen-hsi) (1986. 12): 139.

18. The text is now in the National Palace Museum, Taipei.

19. See the National Palace Museum (Taipei) catalog to an exhibition of paintings and decorative objects that reflect the cult of Su Shih's Red Cliff , in Ch'ih-pi fu shu-hua t'e-chan (Taipei, 1984). While these particular objects largely represent Ch'ing imperial taste, such decorative motifs were appreciated at practically all social levels and were also applied to inexpensive handicrafts and objects of everyday use. For a discussion of the painting tradition of Red Cliff , see Daniel Altieri, "The Painted Versions of the Red Cliffs," Oriental Art , n.s., 29, no. 3 (1983): 252-264.

20. Although China had long had an active foreign trade, as evidenced by records from as early as the reign of Emperor Wu of the Western Han (r. 14187 B.C.), the preoccupation of the literate class with maintaining bureaucratic control in the imperial state rather than with developing private capitalist enterprises provided little motivation for engaging in and writing about commercial trading ventures. Unlike the English Crown, which was a successful investor in Sir Francis Drake's voyages, the Chinese court mounted its expeditions primarily to demonstrate military power, collect intelligence, and obtain luxury goods for itself through exchange of products under the rubric "tribute for the court" ( ch'ao-kung ); sea trade with foreigners was of minor importance for the rulers of a largely self-sufficient continental empire. The secret records of the eunuch-admiral Cheng Ho's seven voyages from 1405 to 1433 were destroyed owing to power struggles between palace eunuchs and Confucian of ficials. The plays, novels, and accounts that celebrated his exploits had little cultural influence. The most detailed account by those who accompanied Cheng Ho, Ying-yai sheng-lan (1433) by Ma Huan (ca. 1380-1460), was poorly preserved over the centuries. Despite the great commercial potential unlocked by these voyages, such large-scale expeditions were subsequently abandoned when the Ming court realized that China did not face a military threat from the sea. For studies of these unusual journeys, which were largely forgotten by the Chinese, see J.J.L. Duyvendak, China's Discovery of Africa (London, 1949); also, Ma Huan, Ying-yai sheng-lan: The Overall Survey of the Ocean's Shores (1433) , trans. J.V.G. Mills (Cambridge, 1970), pp. 5-34.

21. The Finest Flowering of the Preserve of Letters contains the largest selection of travel accounts of any major prose anthology, but these arc classified under thirty-seven subcategories of "records" ( chi ), such as architecture, geographical features, Buddhist temples, and historical events. The largest subcategory, and the one that contains the most personal travel accounts, has seven sections and is titled "Feasts and Travels" ( Yen-yu ).

22. See Yu-chih hsü-pien ( A Continuation of Accounts of Travels [Taipei, 1977 rpt.]), compiled by T'ao Tsung-i (1316-1403), which contains eighty pieces from the T'ang through the early Ming. It includes the preface and table of contents of an earlier collection, Yu-chih ( Accounts of Travels , 1243), compiled by Ch'en Jen-yü. No longer extant, the latter work anthologized eighty-nine pieces of travel writing. T'ao Tsung-i also included some excerpts of Sung travel diaries in his Shuo-fu ( The Environs of Fiction ), first printed in the fifteenth century. 'Travel themes were arguably recognized as defining genres as early as the Selections of Refined Literature ( Wen hsüan , ca. 526), at least as far as fu rhapsodies and shih poems are concerned. They were classified under such categories as "Recounting Travel" ( Chi-hsing ), "Sightseeing" ( Yu-lan ), and "Journeying" ( Hsing-lü ).

23. A number of anthologies of travel literature have appeared in recent years China. The following are among the most comprehensive: Ni Ch'i-hsin et al., eds., Chung-kuo ku-tai yu-chi hsüan , 2 vols. (Peking, 1985); Teng Chin-shen et al., eds., Li-tai ming-jen jih-chi hsüan (Kuang-chou, 1984); and Yeh Yu-ming and Pei Yüan-ch'en, eds., Li-tai yu-chi hsüan (Ch'ang-sha, 1980). Specialized anthologies by period or place have also appeared, such as Ch'en Hsin et al., eds., Li-tai yu-chi hsüan-i: Sung-tai pu-fen (Peking, 1987); and Ts'ao Wen-ch'ü et al., eds., Hsi-hu yu-chi hsüan (Hang-chou, 1983). Individual works have been reissued as well, for instance Hsü Hung-tsu, Hsü Hsia-k'o yu-chi , ed. Ch'u Shao-t'ang and Wu Ying-shou (Shanghai, 1980). In addition, a periodical, Lü-yu wen-hsüeh (K'ai-feng, 1983- ), has appeared containing articles on both classical and modern travel writing.

24. The important role of historiography in the elite culture of Imperial China has been a topic of considerable interest to Western scholars. Discussions of the characteristics of Chinese history writing appear in W. G. Beasley and E. G. Pulleyblank, eds., Historians of China and Japan (London, 1961); Charles S. Gardner, Chinese Traditional Historiography , Harvard Historical Monographs 11 (Cambridge, Mass., 1961); and Burton Watson, Ssu-ma Ch'ien: Grand Historian of China (New York, 1958). Intellectual issues in history writing are discussed in David Nivison, The Life and Thought of Chang Hsüh-ch'eng (1738-1801) (Stanford, 1966). The role of historical writing in more fictional narrative is discussed in several essays included in Andrew H. Plaks, ed., Chinese Narrative (Princeton, 1977): Kenneth J. DeWoskin, "The Six Dynasties Chih-kuai and the Birth of Fiction," pp. 21-52; Andrew H. Plaks, "Towards a Critical Theory of Chinese Narrative," pp. 309-320 passim; John C. Y. Wang, "Early Chinese Narrative: The Tso-chuan as Example," pp. 3-20. The development of the Chinese novel as a movement away from historiography has been discussed in Martin Weizong Huang, "Dehistoricization and Intertextualization: The Anxiety of Precedents in the Evolution of the Traditional Chinese Novel," Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews 12 (1990): 45-68. The negative effects of historical conventions on the development of the chuan form of biography and autobiography are discussed in Pei-yi Wu, The Confucian's Progress: Autobiographical Writings in Traditional China (Princeton, 1990), pp. 1-14.

25. For a discussion of these two concepts as definitive characteristics of Chinese lyricism, see Yu-kung Kao, "Lyric Vision in Chinese Narrative Tradition: A Reading of Hung-lou-meng and Ju-lin wai-shih " in Plaks, ed., Chinese Narrative , pp. 227-243.

26. See Shang-shu: Yao-tien 1:126-128 ( Shih-san ching chu-shu ed.). This is one of the earlier chapters, dating prior to 400 B.C. The later travels of the Hsia emperor Yü as he surveyed his territories are recorded in Shang-shu: Yü-kung 1:146-153 ( Shih-san ching chu-shu ed.). This chapter is believed to date from the Warring States period. A typical entry:

Between the sea and Mount Tai is Ch'ing-chou. Yü-i was defined. The Wei and Chi Rivers were conducted. Its soil is white and fiat. Along the shores of the sea are wide salt-lands. Its fields are of the lower first class, its revenues are of the upper second class. Its tribute is salt, fine cloth, sea products of various kinds, the Tai valley's silk, hemp, lead, pine-wood, and strange stones. The Lai-i barbarians are herdsmen. In the province's baskets there is mountain-mulberry silk. He [Yü] floated on the Wen River and reached the Chi.

Translated in Bernhard Karlgren, "The Book of Documents," Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities 22 (1950): 14.

27. This anonymously authored text was buried in the tomb of the King of Wei, who died in 296 B.C. It remains highly controversial among scholars who continue to hypothesize about its generic nature, the circumstances of its rediscovery in A.D. 281, its many textual corruptions, and even its authenticity. During the premodern era, however, it was generally treated as a factual account, and when studied, it was usually to confirm its geographical data. For important modern studies, see Ku Shih, ed., Mu T'ien-tzu chuan hsi-cheng chiang-shu (Taipei, 1976 rpt.); Rémi Mathieu, Le Mu tianzi zhuan. Traduction annotée, étude critique (Paris, 1978); Wei T'ing-sheng, Mu T'ien-tzu chuan chin-k'ao (Yang-ming-shan, 1970). A translation by Cheng Te-k'un appeared in Journal of the North China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society , 2d ser., 64 (1933): 124-142; 65 (1934): 128-149.

28. See David Hawkes, "The Quest of the Goddess," Asia Major , n.s., 13 (1967): 82-83.

29. Translated from Ku Shih, Mu T'ien-tzu , pp. 13-16.

30. See note 39.

31. Emperor Mu's travels were evaluated from a Taoist perspective in the Lieh-tzu (ca. A.D. 300), where he persuades a wizard from the distant west to take him on a journey to the heavens that ultimately proves too exhilarating for his mortal capacities. Upon returning, the emperor realizes that it all occurred in a brief span of time while his physical form remained on earth, and decides to set out on the journey described in The Chronicle of Mu, Son of Heaven . As in The Chronicle , he voices the fear that his traveling may be no more than a hedonistic indulgence. The writer of Lieh-tzu concurred and considered Emperor Mu to have traveled in vain, having derived littie spiritual benefit from his experiences. Unlike the Yellow Emperor, who ultimately became a Transcendent, Emperor Mu remained earthbound and merely lived to old age. See Lieh-tzu 3:1a-4b ( SPPY ed.).

32. See Ku Shih, Mu T'ien-tzu , p. 163. The huai -tree mentioned is generally considered a kind of sophora . The Queen Mother of the West (Hsi-wang-mu), mythologized as a fearsome spirit in the Shan-hai ching and later as a beautiful goddess in religious Taoism and other popular religions, is here represented as a tribal chief without supernatural powers.

33. The Chronicle of Mu does not record the actual text, but the genre of imperial inscriptions can be seen in examples from the ritual tours of the First Emperor of Ch'in (r. 221-210 B.C.). See Shih chi 1:242-243 (Peking, 1959 ed.).

34. In the earliest mention of it in Han shu i-wen chih (ca. A.D. 82), written four centuries after its earliest stratum, it was apparently read as a purely descriptive account of the physical and magical features of the landscape as expounded by the philosophical School of Destiny ( Shu-shu ), leading some modern scholars to conclude that it was intended for literate wizards and shamans. See Han shu 2: 1774-1775 (Peking, 1975 ed.). Later Chinese scholars regarded it as the precursor of the geographical account, a genre devoted to documenting the salient physical features of an area as a guide for travelers or as a source of military and political information for rulers. For a modern annotated version, see Yüan K'o, ed., Shan-hai thing chiao-chu (Shanghai, 1980). A recent collection of scholarly studies has appeared in Chung-kuo Shan-hai ching hsüeh-shu t'aolun-hui, ed., Shan-hai ching hsin-t'an (Ch'eng-tu, 1986).

35. Translated from Yüan K'o, ed., Shan-hai ching , pp. 6-8.

36. Translated from ibid., pp. 406-407. This section contains another carly reference to the Queen Mother of the West. Here, she is represented as a fearsome half-human, half-beast. By the time of the Han dynasty she had assumed her later form as a beautiful goddess who offers longevity to privileged guests.

35. Translated from Yüan K'o, ed., Shan-hai ching , pp. 6-8.

36. Translated from ibid., pp. 406-407. This section contains another carly reference to the Queen Mother of the West. Here, she is represented as a fearsome half-human, half-beast. By the time of the Han dynasty she had assumed her later form as a beautiful goddess who offers longevity to privileged guests.

37. See "Tu Shan-hai ching " in Ching-chieh hsien-sheng chi 12b-17b ( SPPY ed.); translated in James Hightower, trans., The Poetry of T'ao Ch'ien (Oxford, 1970), pp. 229-248. The cycle of poems also refers to The Chronicle of Mu , which T'ao read as well. Both works enjoyed a vogue among Taoists and those interested in Mystical Learning ( Hsüan-hsüeh ). For a study of T'ao's reading of these texts, see Lung Hui, "T'ao Yüan-ming yü Shan-hai ching ," in Chung-kuo Shan-hai ching , ed., Shan-hai chine hsin-t'an , pp. 346-354.

38. The "horary stems" system denotes each year, month, and day by two characters, one selected from a set of ten Heavenly Stems ( t'ien-kan ) and one from a set of twelve Earthly Stems ( ti-chih ), the cycle being repeated after sixty combinations. The pervasive use of this structure of time in Chinese narrative texts is an indication of the close relationship between historiography and calendrical calculation in antiquity. Early court historians were expected to perform in both capacities, among others.

39. In the Tso Commentary , the official Tzu-ko refers to Emperor Mu while remonstrating with King Ling of Ch'u (r. 540-529 B.C.): "Formerly, Emperor Mu wished to indulge himself and journey on a circuit throughout the world so that his horses and carriage would leave tracks everywhere. Mou-fu, Duke Chi, wrote the ode 'Ch'i-chao' in order to restrain him, and as a result the emperor died a natural death in the Chih Palace." Unfortunately, King Ling, despite hearing the same ode recited for his benefit, was unable to restrain himself and later met with disaster. The commentary concludes with Confucius's critical judgment of King Ling, which in the context can be extended to Emperor Mu's desire to travel. In Confucius's view, the king demonstrated a lack of humaneness and an inability to "restrain the self and return to li ." The Tso Commentary suggests that Emperor Mu abandoned his desire to travel under pressure from his court, in contrast to the account in The Chronicle of Mu, Son of Heaven . See Ch'un-ch'iu 379: Chao 12:9 Tso .

40. See Lun-yü 11:6:23: "Confucius said, 'The wise man delights in streams; the humane man delights in mountains. The wise man is active; the humane man tranquil. The wise man is happy; the humane man enjoys longevity.'"

41. See a similar image of Confucius in Hsün-tzu 103:28:26:

Confucius was contemplating a river as it flowed east when Tzu-kung asked, "What does it mean to say, 'The Noble Man should contemplate a great river whenever he sees one?'" Confucius said, "When a river is great, it brings life to all kinds of living things, for, by its unwilled activity, it resembles Virtue. Its current flows humbly along a winding course always following natural principle, so it resembles Rightness. It gushes ceaselessly, resembling the Tao . When it breaks through an embankment, overflowing with a ferocious sound and rushing fearlessly into a valley a hundred jen deep, it resembles Courage. In always reaching an even level upon flowing into a space, it resembles Law. When full, it requires no adjustment, resembling Uprightness. As it becomes gentle and reduced to make its way into the smallest cavity, it resembles Perspicacity. Becoming purified as it flows in and out, it resembles Moral Improvement. Despite myriad twists and turns, it flows ever eastward, resembling Ambition. That is why the Noble Man should contemplate a great river whenever he sees one."

In another well-known statement in Lun-yü 21:11:24, a group of disciples state their political ambitions before Confucius. Finally, the disciple Tscng Hsi simply states: "'In late spring when the new spring clothes have been made, I would like to bathe in the I River along with five or six adults and six or seven youths and feel the breeze on the Rain Altar, then return home singing.' Confucius sighed deeply and said, 'I agree with Tien [Tseng Hsi],'" Although Confucius's affirmation of natural simplicity in this case is sometimes cited to indicate his unconditional love of Nature, in the text it was the last alternative after he found fault with all the other disciples' visions of public service.

42. See Meng-tzu 52:7A:24: "Mencius said, 'When Confucius climbed to the top of East Mountain, he saw how small the State of Lu was. When he climbed to the top of the Supreme Mountain, he thought the empire appeared small. Thus it is difficult for a river to satisfy someone who has seen the ocean, and it is difficult for mere words to satisfy someone who has studied with a sage.'"

43. For a brief survey of the term ta-kuan (grand view or total vision) in Chinese literature, see Andrew Plaks, Archetype and Allegory in the "Dream of the Red Chamber" (Princeton, 1976), pp. 178-182. The term can be traced back to The Book of Changes (I ching) and appeared in descriptions of gardens as well as in travel literature.

44. See Lun-yü 25:13:3:

Tzu-lu said, "If the Lord of Wei entrusted the administration to you, what would you carry out first?" Confucius said, "It would be necessary to rectify names." Tzu-lu said, "Really? How circuitous you are, Master. Why bother to rectify names?" Confucius said, "How provincial you are! A Noble Man should hold his tongue when he is ignorant. If names are not rectified, then what is said will not make sense, and if what is said does not make sense, then affairs cannot be successfully concluded. If affairs cannot be successfully concluded, then rituals and music will not flourish. If rituals and music do not flourish, then punishments will not fit the crimes. If punishments do not fit the crimes, then the people will be at a loss as to how to act. Therefore, the Noble Man applies names so that he can speak sensibly and speaks sensibly so that he can act successfully. The Noble Man is never improper when he speaks.''

As a historian traditionally credited with editing the Spring and Autumn Annals (Ch'un-ch'iu) , Confucius was regarded as a progenitive writer carefully employing certain nouns and verbs to name characters and incidents so as to reveal their moral quality. For example, substituting actual ranks for usurped titles and using pejorative verbs to identify assassination were regarded as acts of rectification.

45. See Chuang-tzu 3:1:42: "Hui-tzu said, 'The King of Wei gave me the seed of a great gourd. I planted it, and the fruit was so big it could hold five tan . When I tried to use it as a water container, it was so heavy I could not lift it. I split it to use as ladles, but they were too big for anything to contain them. It wasn't simply because the gourd was so extraordinarily large—I considered it useless, so I smashed it into pieces.' Chuang-tzu said, 'You, sir, arc indeed incapable of making use of a great thing. . . . Why didn't you think of it as a buoy and float with it on the rivers and lakes? You worried that it was too big for anything to contain it. That just shows how overgrown with weeds your mind is!'"

46. Szu-ma Ch'ien, as Grand Historian during the reign of Emperor Wu of the Western Han (ca. 145-ca. 85 B.C.), noted that he had personally accompanied such ritual tours to sacrifice at sacred mounts and subsequently devoted himself to studying the documents relating to wizards. His chapter in the Historical Records narrating the history of the feng and shan sacrifices held at the Supreme Mountain by various emperors marks a further development of historiographical writing about travel. See Shih chi 1:242-243, 4:1355-1404, 4:1366-1370, for entries on the First Emperor of Ch'in's (r. 221-210 B.C.) pilgrimage to the Supreme Mountain, the Sacred Mount of the East, and other travels in search of Transcendents ( hsien ). These and similar ritual progresses resulted in inscriptions at the various sites. For a study of the religious cult that developed around the Supreme Mountain, see Édouard Chavannes, Le T'ai chan; essai de monographie d'un culte chinois (Paris, 1910). The tradition of climbing this mountain as a theme in medieval poetry is discussed in Paul W. Kroll, "Verses from on High: The Ascent of T'ai Shan," in The Vitality of the Lyric Voice: Shih Poetry from the late Han to the T'ang , ed. Shuen-fu Lin and Steven Owen, Studies on China 6 (Princeton, 1986), pp. 167-216. Various essays on religious pilgrimages in China appear in Susan Naquin and Chün-fang Yü, eds., Pilgrims and Sacred Sites in China (Berkeley, 1992). The significance of mountains is explored in Paul Demièville, "La Montagne dans l'art littérature chinois," France-Asiü 183 (1965): 7-32; and Kiyohiko Munakata, Sacred Mountains in Chinese Art (Urbana-Champaign, 1990).

47. See Kenneth De Woskin, Doctors, Diviners, and Magicians of Ancient China: Biographies of "Fang-shih" (New York, 1983), pp. 1-42. The cult of Transcendents, which grew in popularity during the Han, retained a powerful effect on the imaginations of real travelers, either because of a literal belief in them or as figures who had achieved liberation from the human condition.

48. See Shih chi 4:1355-1404.

49. See Yü Yüeh, "Hsüeh Hsin-nung 'Pei-hsing jih-chi' hsü," in Ch'un-tsai-t'ang tsa-wen san-pien 3:29b, in Ch'un-tsai-t'ang ch'üan-shu 66 (1902 ed.). Ma Tipo's piece was preserved as a commentary to the chapter on sacrifices in the History of the Latter Han Dynasty ; see Hou-Han shu 11:3166-3168 (Peking, 1965 ed).

50. For a discussion of these poems, see Hawkes, "Quest of the Goddess," pp. 71-94.

51. This spatialized cosmology was depicted on the backs of bronze mirrors during the Han as well as on archaeological remnants such as the painted textiles of the Ma-wang-tui tombs. For a study of these objects, see Michael Loewe, Ways to Paradise: The Chinese Quest for Immortality (London, 1979). For a discussion of mystical journeys, see Livia Kohn, Early Chinese Mysticism (Princeton, 1992), pp. 86-116.

52. For a discussion of this characteristic of fu rhapsodies, see Dore Levy, "Constructing Sequences: Another Look at the Principle of Fu 'Enumeration,'" Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 46, no. 2 (December 1986): 471-494.

53. See Chang Ts'ang-shou, "Han fu yü shan-shui wen-hsüeh," An-ch'ing shih-yüan hsüeh-pao: she-k'o pao (1987.3): 65-71.

54. For translations of these and other fu rhapsodies, see David R. Knechtges, trans., Wen xuan, or Selections of Refined Literature , vols. 1-2 (Princeton, 1982, 1987).

55. See Hans H. Frankel, The Flowering Plum and the Palace Lady (New Haven, 1976), pp. 41-49, 104-143.

56. The following is an example of parallel construction from "Encountering Sorrow" ( Li sao ):

In the morning I started on my way from Ts'ang-wu;
In the evening I came to the Garden of Paradise.
I wanted to stay a while in those fairy precincts,
But the swift-moving sun was dipping to the west.
I ordered Hsi-ho to stay the sun-steeds' gallop,
To stand over Yen-tzu mountain and not go in.
Long, long had been my road and far, far was the journey.
I would go up and down to seek my heart's desire.
I watered my dragon steeds at the Pool of Heaven,
And tied the reins up to the  Fu-sang  tree.
I broke a sprig of the  Jo -tree to strike the sum with:
I wanted to roam a little for enjoyment.
I sent Wang Shu ahead to ride before me;
The Wind God went behind as my outrider;
The Bird of Heaven gave notice of my comings;
And the Thunder God told me when all was not ready. . . .
       David Hawkes, trans.,  Ch'u Tz'u: The Songs of the South  (Boston, 1962), p. 28.

For a historical discussion of the distinction between "parallel prose" and "free-style prose" ( san-wen ), see Ts'ao Tao-heng, "Kuan-yü Wei Chin Nanpei-ch'ao te p'ien-wen ho san-wen,'' Wen-hsüeh p'ing-lun ts'ung-k'an (1980.10): 238-268. For a generic definition, see James R. Hightower, "Some Characteristics of Parallel Prose," in Studia Serica Bernhard Karlgren Dedicata , ed. S. Egerod (Copenhagen, 1959), pp. 60-91.

57. The relationship between Mystical Learning and landscape literature is discussed in Chung Yüan-k'ai, "Wei Chin hsüan-hsüeh ho shan-shui wenhsüeh," Hsüeh-shu yüeh-k'an (1984.3): 60-67.

58. See Liu I-ch'ing, Shih-shuo Hsin-yü: A New Account of Tales of the World , trans. Richard B. Mather (Minneapolis, 1976), for a translation of the major work that cataloged the types of figures engaged in "Pure Discourse." Among the ideals they avowed were an affected nonconformism, reclusion, humor, intellectual speculation, and the extension of longevity. The philosophical ethos of this period is discussed in Tu Wei-ming, "Profound Learning, Personal Knowledge, and Poetic Vision," in Lin and Owen, eds., Vitality of the Lyric Voice , pp. 3-31.

59. See Susan Bush, "Tsung Ping's Essay on Painting Landscape and the 'Landscape Buddhism' of Mount Lu," in Artists and Traditions , ed. Christian Murck (Princeton, 1976), pp. 132-164. For a survey of painting criticism during the Six Dynasties, see Susan Bush and Hsio-yen Shih, eds., Early Chinese Texts on Painting (Cambridge, Mass., 1985), pp. 18-44. For a Taoist guide to traveling to mountains for spiritual cultivation in the tradition of Guide-ways Through Mountains and Seas , see chapter 17, "Ascending Mountains and Crossing Streams" ( Teng-she ), of The Master Who Embraces Simplicity ( Paop'u-tzu ) by Ko Hung, pp. 284-364, translated in James Ware, trans., Alchemy, Medicine, Religion in the China of A.D. 320: The Nei P'ien of Ko Hung (Paop'u-tzu) (Cambridge, Mass., 1966), pp. 279-300.

60. See Lu Chi, "Essay on Literature," trans. Shih-hsiang Chen, in Anthology of Chinese Literature , ed. Cyril Birch, vol. I: From Early Times to the Fourteenth Century (New York, 1965), pp. 204-214; and Liu Hsieh, The Literary Mind and The Carving of Dragons , trans. Vincent Yu-chung Shih (Taipei, 1970). The latter work, in the first chapter, "On Tao, the Source" ( Yüan-tao ), pp. 9-15, defined two connected aspects of wen (patterns)—metaphysical and human.

61. See Kang-i Sun, "Description of Landscape in Early Six Dynasties Poetry" in Lin and Owen, eds., Vitality of the Lyric Voice , p. 107.

62. See Liu Hsieh, Literary Mind , pp. 348-354. The concept of "the physical world" ( wu-se ) is discussed in Chang Shao-k'ang, " Wen-hsin tiao-lung te wu-se lun," Pei-ching ta-hsüeh hsüeh-pao (1985.5): 94-101; Chiang Tsu-i, "Wen-hsin tiao-lung wu-se p'ien shih-shih," Wen-hsüeh i-ch'an (1982.2): 29-38; T'u Kuang-she, "Tsao-ch'i wu-se miao-hsieh te yen-chin yü san-chung hsiehching feng-ko te hsing-ch'eng,'' Liao-ning ta-hsüeh hsüeh-pao (1985.6): 81-85.

63. For translations, see Hightower, T'ao Ch'ien , pp. 254-258; also Birch, ed., Anthology 1:167-168 (trans. Birch). In "T'ao-hua-yüan chi p'angcheng," Ch'ing-hua hsüeh-pao 11, no. 1 (January 1936): 79-88, Ch'en Yin-k'o hypothesized that the talc may have been inspired by the actual discovery at the time of such a community in north China that had long isolated itself from the surrounding world to escape foreign invasion and civil war.

64. See "Yu hsieh-ch'uan ping-hsü" in Ching-chieh hsien-sheng chi 2:5b; also translated in Hightower, T'ao Ch'ien , pp. 56-58; and H.C. Chang, trans., Chinese Literature , vol. 2: Nature Poetry (New York, 1977), p. 35. Many elements in the preface and poem remain problematical to commentators, including the date and precise location of the stream. It is generally assumed to be somewhere on Hermitage Mountain, referred to here as "South Mountain" (Nan-fu). The "Divine Mountain" (Ling-shan) is the mythological Mount K'un-lun. The "Many-storied Citadel" (Tseng-ch'eng) is traditionally part of the Mount K'un-lun range, but it may also denote an actual place on Hermitage Mountain. For a more metaphorical reading and discussion of these issues, see A. R. Davis, T'ao Yüan-ming (A.D. 365-427): His Works and Their Meaning (Cambridge, 1983), 1:48-52.

65. See Stephen Owen, "The Self's Perfect Mirror: Poetry as Autobiography," in Lin and Owen, eds., Vitality of the Lyric Voice , pp. 71-102.

66. For studies of Hsieh's life and poetry, see J. D. Frodsham, The Murmuring Stream: The Life and Works of the Chinese Nature Poet Hsieh Ling-yün (385-433), Duke of K'ang-Lo , 2 vols. (Kuala Lumpur, 1967); also idem, "The Origins of Chinese Nature Poetry," Asia Major , n.s., 8, no. 1 (1960): 68-104; Richard Mather, "The Landscape Buddhism of the Fifth-Century Poet Hsieh Ling-yün," Journal of Asian Studies 18 (1958-1959): 67-79; Francis A. Westbrook, "Landscape Transformation in the Poetry of Hsieh Ling-yün," Journal of the American Oriental Society 100, no. 3 (July-October 1980): 237-254.

67. See Kang-i Sun Chang, Six Dynasties Poetry (Princeton, 1986), pp. 51-52.

68. See "Shan-chü fu" in Yen K'o-chün, ed., Ch'üan shang-ku san-tai Ch'in Han San-kuo Liu-ch'ao wen (Peking, 1958 rpt.), 3:2604-2609. An annotated version can be found in Hsieh Ling-yün, Hsieh Ling-yün chi chiao-chu , ed. Ku Shao-po (Ho-nan, 1987), pp. 318-319. For a study of this rhapsody, see Francis A. Westbrook, "Landscape Description in the Lyric Poetry and 'Fuh on Dwelling in the Mountains' of Shieh Ling-yunn" (Ph.D. diss., Yale University, 1973). Another influential rhapsody of this period was by Sun Ch'o (314-371), "Wandering on Terrace of Heaven Mountain" ( Yu t'ien-t'ai-shan fu ). Sun, a devotee of Taoism and Buddhism, had a desire to retire to this mountain, which was also a religious center. While serving as governor of Yung-chia (modern Wen-chou, Che-chiang) he had a painting made of the mountain and imagined a journey there that he described as if it had been an actual journey. Sun Ch'o's approach is largely that of "mystical poetry,'' which celebrates spiritual concepts and perceptions. For a translation, see Burton Watson, trans., Chinese Rhyme-Prose: Poems in the Fu Form from the Han and Six Dynasties Periods (New York, 1971), pp. 80-85; also translated and discussed in Richard Mather, "The Mystical Ascent of the T'ien-t'ai Mountains: Sun Ch'o's Yu-T'ien-t'ai-shan Fu ," Monumenta Serica 20 (1961): 226-245.

69. A short reconstruction of Travels to Famous Mountains ( Yu ming-shan chih ) is reproduced in Yen K'o-chün ed., Ch'üan shang-ku 3:2616. Another reconstruction with annotation can be found in Hsieh, Hsieh Ling-yün (Kuo ed.), pp. 272-284. Despite the tradition that regards Hsieh as a progenitive travel writer in prose, what remains of this text does not justify this judgment. His fame as a traveler, like that of T'ao Ch'ien, rests on his poetry.

70. Hsieh, Hsieh Ling-yün (Kuo ed.), p. 272. The allusions at the end refer to Hsieh's motivations in leaving office and traveling: Caldron Lake (Ting-hu) is where the Yellow Emperor is traditionally believed to have risen to Heaven on a dragon to become a Transcendent; Fan Li (n.d.) served King Kou-chien of Yüeh (r. 497-465 B.C.) as prime minister and helped him to destroy the rival kingdom of Wu. However, he then resigned his office owing to his disapproval of the king and later went to T'ao in what is today Shan-tung, where he took the name "Vermilion Duke" (Chu-kung) and made a fortune in commerce; Chang Liang (d. ca. 189 B.C.) was a general who helped to establish the Han dynasty and was enfeoffed as Marquis Liu.

71. Li Chi noted in her study of Hsü Hung-tsu (Hsia-k'o) (1586-1641) that although Hsü spent a lifetime traveling and compiling his diaries, he said virtually nothing about his family, friends, or current events; see Li Chi, trans., The Travel Diaries of Hsü Hsia-k'o (Hong Kong, 1974), p. 22.

72. Fu-yang roughly corresponds to modern Fu-yang County, Che-chiang; and T'ung-lu, to modern T'ung-lu County, Che-chiang. Both areas are located along the Abundant Spring River (Fu-ch'un-chiang).

73. See Shih ching 60:239:3, "The Foothills of Mount Han" ( Han-lu ): "The sparrow hawk soars to Heaven; the fish leaps in the chasm." The sparrow hawk signifies a man of ambition, and Heaven, the imperial court.

74. See I ching: Chun 1:1:7b: "Clouds and Thunder: the hexagram of 'Initial Difficulty.' The Noble Man orders the affairs of the world."

75. Wu Chün (469-519) was a writer and official who was patronized by Emperor Wu of the Liang (r. 502-549). He was known as a poet whose distinct style was characterized by a sense of antiquity, use of allusion, clarity of expression, and animated scenes. He was also a historian who once angered the emperor for compiling an unauthorized history of the preceeding Ch'i dynasty. This fragment of Wu Chün's letter is only 144 characters long. It is reprinted in Liu-ch'ao wen-chieh 3:4a-4b ( SPPY ed.) and briefly discussed in Kao Shan, "Sao-ch'u fu-yen tan-jan wu-ch'en-Wu Chün yü Chu [Sung] Yüanszu shu shang-hsi" San-wen (1987.10): 32-33. For translations of this and several similar letters, see H. C. Chang, trans., Chinese Literature 2:12-19.

76. See Liu Hsi-tsai, I-kai (Shanghai, 1978 ed.), p. 18. The influence of The Guide to Waterways on later travel writing is discussed in Jen Fang-ch'iu, " Shuiching-chu yü yu-chi wen-hsüeh," Wen-shih chih-shih (1984.7): 20-25.

77. For studies and translations, see W.J.F. Jenner, Memories of Loyang: Yang Hsüan-chih and the Lost Capital (493-534) (Oxford, 1981); Yang Hsüan-chih, A Record of Buddhist Monasteries in Lo-yang , trans. Yi-tung Wang (Princeton, 1984).

78. A Record of Buddhist Kingdoms documents Fa-hsien's journey beginning in 399 when he departed from Ch'ang-an at the age of sixty-five. After following the Silk Road through Central Asia, he turned southward into modern Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, where he visited the Buddhist centers along the Ganges. He returned to China by sea routes that took him to modern Sri Lanka and Indonesia, eventually reaching Lao-shan in Shan-tung in 412 at the age of seventy-eight. The following year, he settled in Chien-k'ang (modern Nanking) and completed this record of more than thirteen thousand characters by 416. Fa-hsien's Record is broad in content, including not only geographical data but also information about Buddhist sites, legends, local customs, political institutions, and economic life. See Legge, trans., A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms . Two other Buddhist pilgrims, Sung Yün and Hui-sheng, went to gather sutras in Udyana and Ghandara from 518 to 522. Sung Yün's account was retold in third-person, historiographical style; it can be found preserved in Yang Hsüan-chih's The Temples of Lo-yang . For a translation, see Yang, Record of Buddhist Monasteries , pp. 215-246 (trans. Wang); also Édouard Chavannes, "Voyage de Song Yun dan I'Udyana et le Gandhara," Bulletin de l'École Française d'Extrême-Orient 3 (1903): 379-441. Both Sung Yün's account and that of Hui-sheng were also reprinted in the dynastic histories of the Sui and T'ang dynasties. For a study of this genre, see Nancy E. Boulton, "Early Chinese Buddhist Travel Records as a Literary Genre" (Ph.D. diss., Georgetown University, 1982).

An earlier example of the geographical travel account was compiled by Chang Ch'ien (n.d.), who was sent on two diplomatic missions by Emperor Wu of the Western Han, the first from 139 to 126 B.C. He submitted a report of these kingdoms, now lost, which became the basis of the historical account by Szu-ma Ch'ien in Shih chi 10:3157-3169. A translation of the latter appeared in Friederich Hirth in "The Story of Chang K'ién, China's Pioneer in Western Asia," Journal of the American Oriental Society 37 (1917): 89-116. An extended biography of Chang Ch'ien, including another description of his travels, appeared in Pan Ku's History of the Former Han Dynasty ; see Han shu 9:2687-2705.

79. Dennis Twitchett and John K. Fairbank, eds., The Cambridge History of China , Vol. 3: Sui and T'ang China 589-906, Pt. 1 (Cambridge, 1979), p. 13.

80. For a study of the background of T'ang writers, see Hans H. Frankel, "T'ang Literati: A Composite Biography," in Confucian Personalities , ed. Arthur F. Wright and Dennis Twitchett (Stanford, 1962), pp. 65-83. The relationship of literati and the T'ang court is considered in detail in David McMullen, State and Scholars in T'ang China (Cambridge, 1988).

81. See the section of the mural dated 713-762 in Cave no. 103 in Tun-huang in modern Kan-su, which depicts the "Parable of the Illusory City" ( Huanch'eng yü-p'in ) from the Lotus Sutra ( Lieu-hua ching ); the scene represents Buddhist pilgrims traveling through Central Asia. Reproduced in Dunhuang Institute of Cultural Relics, ed., Art Treasures of Dunhuang (Hong Kong, 1980), ill. 75. Another representation of traveling during the T'ang, which now exists only in a later copy, is the anonymous painting Emperor Ming-huang's Journey to Shu ( Ming-huang hsing-shu t'u ) in the National Palace Museum, Taipei; it depicts the emperor's flight to safety in what is today Szu-ch'uan during the An Lu-shan Rebellion (755-763). Reproduced in James Cahill, Chinese Painting (Geneva, 1960), pp. 28, 57. More generalized landscapes that have survived from the T'ang have been found as decorations on biwa mandolins in the Shosoin, Nara; these arc discussed in Wen Fong et al., Images of the Mind (Princeton, 1984), p. 23.

82. These are "vertical perspective" ( kao-yüan ), "deep perspective" (shen-yüan), and "flattened perspective" ( p'ing-yüan ), which remained the basic compositional arrangements in Chinese landscape painting. See Fong et al., Images , pp. 20-27, for a discussion and illustrations of the three perspectives.

83. See Chang Yen-yüan, Li-tai ming-hua chi (Peking, 1963 ed.), pp. 15-17. A partial translation appears in Bush and Shih, eds., Early Chinese Texts , pp. 66-67. Po Chü-i's "Record on Painting" is translated in Bush and Shih, eds., Early Chinese Texts , p. 25.

84. Chang Yen-yüan recorded that he had seen a mural of the Wheel River Estate by Wang Wei at the Temple of the Pure Source (Ch'ing-yüan-szu); see Chang, Li-tai , p. 191. No original painting of this theme by Wang survives; however, a handscroll of his estate traditionally attributed to him has been transmitted through later copies and engravings, the earliest dating from the Sung. A version by Kuo Chung-shu (d. 977) was later engraved and widely reproduced. For more reproductions of various interpretations of the Wheel River tradition, see Kohara Haranobu, ed., O I , Bunjinga suihen, Chugoku hen, no. 1 (Tokyo, 1975), pp. 1-84.

85. See, for example, such fictional tales as Yuan Chcn's (775-831) "The Story of Ying-ying" ( Ying-ying chuan ), Po Hsing-chien's (775-826) "The Courtesan Li Wa" ( Li Wa chuan , 805), and Shen Chi-chi's (ca. 740-ca. 800) "The World Inside a Pillow" ( Chen-chung chi ), all of which eraplot journeys of young, ambitious literati along the "official road.''

86. For a study of the Ancient Style movement, see Yu-shih Chen, Images and Ideas in Chinese Classical Prose: Studies of Four Masters (Stanford, 1988), esp. pp. 1-13, 155-162.

87. See the "Valediction to Li Yüan on His Return to Meander Valley" ( Sung Li Yüan kuei p'an-ku hsü , 801), translated and discussed in ibid., pp. 23-28. A comparison of Han Yü and Liu Tsung-yüan's aesthetics appears in Yü Yüan, "Han Yü Liu Tsung-yüan mei-hsüeh szu-hsiang pi-chiao," Wen-i lum-ts'ung 22 (1985.9): 343-364.

86. For a study of the Ancient Style movement, see Yu-shih Chen, Images and Ideas in Chinese Classical Prose: Studies of Four Masters (Stanford, 1988), esp. pp. 1-13, 155-162.

87. See the "Valediction to Li Yüan on His Return to Meander Valley" ( Sung Li Yüan kuei p'an-ku hsü , 801), translated and discussed in ibid., pp. 23-28. A comparison of Han Yü and Liu Tsung-yüan's aesthetics appears in Yü Yüan, "Han Yü Liu Tsung-yüan mei-hsüeh szu-hsiang pi-chiao," Wen-i lum-ts'ung 22 (1985.9): 343-364.

88. The fall of the reformist faction of Wang Shu-wen affected these two writers, who otherwise felt a close affinity for each other, in opposite ways. It was because of opposition to Wang Shu-wen that Han Yü was exiled in 803. Liu Tsung-yüan, on the other hand, was an active supporter of Wang in the capital. When Wang fell in 805, their positions were reversed—Han Yü was recalled, while Liu was sent into exile—thus revealing the complex connections between dynastic politics and literary polemics. It is worth noting that both Han and Liu came from families whose members had previously experienced exile. Han Yü as a youth followed his elder brother into exile in Kuangtung, where the brother died in 800. And Liu Tsung-yüan's father had been exiled during his official career.

89. The anthologizing of Ancient Style prose written by the eight leading writers of this movement (Han Yü, Liu Tsung-yüan, Ou-yang Hsiu [1007-1072], Su Hsün [1009-1066] and his sons, Su Shih and Su Ch'e [1039-1112], Wang An-shih [1021-1086], and Tseng Kung [1019-1083]) began as early as the Southern Sung with Lü Tsu-ch'ien's (1137-1181) A Key to Ancient Prose ( Ku-wen kuan-chien , ca. 1160-1180), but it was in the sixteenth century during the Ming that these eight in particular were selected as primary models by such anthologizers as T'ang Shun-chih (1507-1560) and, especially, Mao K'un (1512-1601) in his Collection of the Prose of the Eight Masters of the T'ang and Sung ( T'ang Sung pa-ta-chia wen-ch'ao , 1579).

90. Scholars have not yet been able to determine when these eight pieces were first considered a set, but they appear to have been accepted as such by the Sung, even though Ho-tunq hsien-sheng chi , the Shih-ts'ai-t'ang edition of Liu's collected works published in the Sung, included a ninth, "The Stream of the God Huang" ( Yu huang-hsi chi , 813). For some reason, most critics and editors of prose anthologies did not include this piece in the set. The actual name, "Eight Pieces from Yung-chou" ( Yung-chou pa-chi ), may date only from the Ch'ing. See Ho P'ei-hsiung, Liu Tsung-yüan Yung-chou pa-chi (Hong Kong, 1974), pp. 17-20.

91. These features are discussed in Shimizu Shigeru, "Ryu Sogen no seikatsu taiken to sono sansuiki" Chugoku bungakuho 2 (April 1955): 45-74. See also William H. Nienhauser, Jr., "Landscape Essays," in Nienhauser et al., Liu Tsung-yüan , Twayne's World Authors Series: A Survey of the World's Literature, 255 (New York, 1973), pp. 71-74.

92. An earlier use of the term yu-chi appeared in the title of a work by Wang Hsi-chih, An Account of a Journey to Four Commanderies ( Yu szu-chün chi ), of which only a fragment survives; see Hargett, On the Road, p. 35, n. 51.

93. See Nienhauser, "Landscape Essays," in Liu Tsung-yüan , p. 75.

94. See Wu Na, "Wen-chang pien-t'i hsü-shuo," quoted in Ch'en Hsin et al., eds., Li-tai yu-chi hsüan-i , p. 3.

95. The question of whether the Sung bureacracy was essentially a meritocracy open to outsiders or an entrenched class of prominent families who perpetuated their status has been debated by scholars for the past several decades. For a critical review of some recent studies that continue this debate, see Patricia Ebrey, "The Dynamics of Elite Domination in Sung China," Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 48, no. 2 (December 1988): 493-519. In general, she views the elite as fairly continuous, but they had to manipulate the rules of examination recruitment to maintain their status. On the one hand, the objective grading of examinations and the granting of a degree through the state school system served the cause of meritocracy. On the other, the proliferation of hereditary privilege, the importance of patronage and intermarriage, and the benefits of residing in the capital of K'ai-feng, where almost half of the Metropolitan Graduate degrees were awarded, favored the offspring of official families.

96. See John W. Chaffee, The Thorny Gates of Learning in Sung China: A Social History of Examinations (Cambridge, 1985), pp. 34-35. The figure of four hundred thousand is out of a total population of some sixty million and represents 2.5 percent of the adult male population; also see Ebrey, "Elite Domination," p. 50l.

97. The chin-shih degree changed in nature during the Sung. Originally it emphasized literary ability and was but one of several "doctoral" degrees, and not necessarily the most important. In the 1060s, it was broadened in content and subsequently became the most prestigious degree, required for entrance to higher office. This anthology follows the nomenclature in Charles O. Hucker, A Dictionary of Qfficial Titles in Imperial China , (Stanford, 1985), p. 167, by translating the earlier chin-shih degree as "Presented Scholar" and the post-1060s degree as "Metropolitan Graduate."

98. For a concise survey of the concept of "the classification of things" in the Sung, see Hoyt Cleveland Tillman, "The Idea and the Reality of the 'Thing' During the Sung: Philosophical Attitudes Toward Wu," Bulletin of Sung and Y-an Studies 14 (1978): 68-82. Various positions were taken by Sung philosophers as to whether principles should be primarily sought for in the external world or recognized in the mind through sincere introspection. By the end of the Southern Sung, however, Chu Hsi's more externally oriented system was canonized by the dynasty as orthodox thought; it was to play an even greater ideological role during the Ming and Ch'ing dynasties.

99. For an example of one of the earliest personal diaries from the Sung, see Huang T'ing-chien (1045-1105), At Home in I Prefecture During the Year I-yu ( Ichou i-yu chia-ch'eng , 1105), pp. 1-19 ( TSCC ed.). This daily log written while in exile in I Prefecture, (modern I-shan County, Kuang-hsi) recorded simple activities over eight months ending a month prior to his death in 1105.

100. Ching Hao, Pi-fa chi , in Hua-lun ts'ung-k'an , ed. Yü An-lan, vol. 1 (Hong Kong, 1977), p. 8. Although the depiction of mountains in Sung painting was often based on local terrains, these were rarely identified in the titles, for artists preferred to evoke universal and symbolic meanings. It was apparently not until the fourteenth century that topographical painting became popular, particularly images of scenic places in the Chiang-nan area. See Kenneth Ganza, "A Landscape by Leng Ch'ien and the Emergence of Travel as a Theme in Fourteenth-Century Chinese Painting," National Palace Museum Bulletin 21, no. 3 (1986): 1-17.

101. This account inspired further records of fallen cities after the capture of Lin-an by the Mongols in 1279, such as Record of a Millet Dream ( Men g-liang lu , ca. 1300) by Wu Tzu-mu and Recollections of Wu-lin ( Wu-lin chiu-shih , ca. 1280) * by Chou Mi (1232-1298).

102. For studies of embassy diaries, see Herbert Franke, "A Sung Embassy Diary of 1211-1212: The Shih-Chin Lu of Ch'eng Cho," Bulletin de l'École Française d'Extrême-Orient 69 (1981): 171-2O7; also idem, "Sung Embassies: Some General Observations," in China Among Equals: The Middle Kingdom and Its Neighbors, 10th-14th Centuries , ed. Morris Rossabi (Berkeley, 1983), pp. 116-148.

103. For an annotated translation of Lu Yu's diary, see Chun-shu Chang and Joan Smythe, South China in the Tweelfth Century: A Translation of Lu Yu's Travel Diaries, July 3-December 6, 1170 , Institute of Chinese Studies, Chinese University, Monograph Series no. 4 (Hong Kong, 1981); also Ch'un-shu Chang, "Notes on the Composition, Transmission, and Editions of the Ju-Shu Chi," Bulletin of the Institute of History and Philology (Academia Sinica, Taipei) 48 , no. 3 (1977): 481-499. Two other diaries by Fan Ch'eng-ta are translated as Register of Grasping the Carriage Reins ( Lan-p'ei lu ) and Register of Mounting a Simurgh ( Ts'an-luan lu ) in Hargett, On the Road , pp. 147-247. Another notable work from the Sung period is Hsü Ching's (1091-1153) An Illustrated Account of My Route as an Envoy to Korea During the Hsüan-ho Era ( Hsüan-ho feng-shih kao-li t'u-ching , 1124), based on a journey the previous year. Not printed until 1167, it contains a rich source of geographical and ethnographic information similar to the Buddhist records of the Western Region.

104. For discussions of Liu K'ai, see Ronald Egan, The Literary Works of Ou-yang Hsiu (1007-72) (Cambridge, 1984), pp. 14-16; also Kuo Shao-yü, Chung-kuo wen-hsüeh p'i-p'ing-shih , vol. 1 (Taipei, 1971 rpt.), pp. 306-310.

105. The Current Style ( Shih-wen ), which had gained influence during the 1030s and 1040s, and the subsequent "Transformed Style" ( Pien-t'i ) were both Sung versions of Ancient Style prose. The leading practitioners of the latter, Mu Hsiu (979-1032) and Shih Chieh (1005-1045), advocated the value of uniqueness promoted by Hah Yü. But whereas Han had seen such uniqueness as a characteristic of the Six Classics , these practitioners created striking effects based on their subjective inclinations. The Transformed Style was initially advanced by reformers, including Fan Chung-yen and the emperor, as an antidote to the vacuity of the Current Style. However, there was considerable protest when Shih Chieh, serving as an examiner, required all candidates to write in the Transformed Style. Its pursuit of novel and clever effects failed to satisfy the moral program of Ou-yang Hsiu and his circle of Ancient Style advocates. Their opposition to the T'ang pursuit of uniqueness derived from their disapproval of the Transformed Style, which was ultimately discredited.

106. See Michael Fuller, Review of The Literary Works of Ou-yang Hsiu (1007-72) , by Ronald C. Egan, Bulletin of Sung and Yüan Studies 19 (1987): 50-73.

107. See Chung Hsiao-yen, "Liu Tsung-yüan yü Ou-yang Hsiu shan-shui-chi pi-chiao," Wen-shih-che ( Shan-tung ta-hs-eh ) (1986.3): 12-21.

108. For a study of Ou-yang Hsiu's prosody, see Hung Pen-chien, "Lun Ouyang Hsiu san-wen te chü-shih ho hsü-tz'u t'ung ch'i ch'ing-kan te kuan-hsi," Hua-tung shih-fan ta-hsüeh hsüeh-pao (1984.3): 59-65.

109. For a discussion of Su Shih as an Ancient Style writer, see Chen, Images and Ideas , pp. 133-153; also Kuo, Chung-kuo wen-hsüeh 1:339-350.

110. For a general discussion of the role of the landscape in Su Shih's writings, see Andrew L. March, "Self and Landscape in Su Shih," Journal of the American Oriental Society 86 (1966): 377-396. The Buddhist clements in Red Cliff I are discussed in Huang Chin-te, "Ts'ung 'ch'ien ch'ih-pi fu' k'an Su Shih yü fo-hsüeh," Yang-chou shih-yüan hsüeh-pao: she-k'o-pan (1987.1): 84-89.

111. Su Shih wrote about excursions he made to Red Cliff on at least seven occasions during his exile in Huang Prefecture; the first rhapsody on Red Cliff was written after his fifth visit there. See Jao Hsüeh-kang, "'Ch'ien hou ch'ihpi fu' yu-tsung k'ao," in Su Shih men lun-ts'ung , ed. Su Shih yen-chiu hsüehhui (Ch'eng-tu, 1986), pp. 115-121.

112. The site of the battle was actually located elsewhere along the Long River in modern Chia-yü, Hu-pei. The origin of the name "Red Cliff" for Su Shih's place remains obscure, some suggesting that its original name was a homonym, "Red Nose" ( Ch'ih-pi ), referring to the cliff's color and shape. Elsewhere, Su appears to have been unsure about the original site of the battle.

113. Su Shih's friend Chang Shun-min, who had served at the front, visited Su just a month before he wrote this piece and acquainted Su with the details of the Sung debacle. The comparison of Ts'ao's defeat with that of the Sung is Su Shih's rather risky comment on contemporary politics. It is one of the reasons why Su felt that this piece might be regarded as subversive; he did not widely circulate it after it was written. See Chu Ching-hua, "'Ch'ien houch'ih-pi fu' t'i-chih hsin-t'an," in Chu, ed., Su Shih hsin-lun (Chi-nan, 1983), p. 98. Chu discusses a colophon that Su Shih added to a handwritten copy which he sent to his friend and fellow politician Fu Yao-y- urging Fu to conceal it. Chu cites as another proof of Su's awareness of the subversive nature of the piece the fact that he did not refer to Yang Shih-ch'ang or others by name, calling them only "guests" ( k'o ).

1— Ma Ti-po (n.d.)

1. The Han city of Lo-yang was slightly east of modern Lo-yang, Ho-nan.

2. The Han commandery of Lu covered an area in the southwest of modern Shan-tung; its capital was in Ch'ü-fu.

3. Kuo Chien-po was a eunuch official of the Palace Gate.

4. The Liu clan were members of the Han imperial family; the K'ung clan were the recognized descendants of Confucius, whose head, the marquis of Pao-ch'eng, is referred to later. The Ting clan were descendants of Chiang Tzu-ya (fl. mid-eleventh century B.C.), a general who helped found the Chou dynasty and who was enfeoffed in the area as duke of Ch'i. Hsia-ch'iu was located in the west of modern Tz'u-yang District, Shan-tung.

5. Feng-kao was located in the northeast of modern T'ai-an District, Shantung.

6. Court Gentlemen Brave as Tigers were members of the imperial bodyguard.

7. In 110 B.C., Emperor Wu of the Western Han had also made an Eastern Tour and offered up the feng and shan sacrifices at the Supreme Mountain.

8. Based on the date of the emperor's arrival at Feng-kao, the date of Ma's ascent may be either the seventeenth or the following morning.

9. The Midway Temple (Chung-kuan) was located about midway up the mountain toward the Celestial Gate (T'ien-men), the site of the feng sacrifice.

10. The Celestial Pass (T'ien-kuan) was located between the Midway Temple and the Celestial Gate.

11. Another reference to Kuo Chien-po; see above, note 3.

12. Chao-ling, Ju-nan, was located east of modern Yen-ch'eng, Ho-nan.

13. The First Emperor of Ch'in made an Eastern Tour and offered up the feng and shan sacrifices in 219 B.C. He had a stele erected extolling the virtues of the Ch'in dynasty and a stone entrance constructed at the site of the feng sacrifice.

14. A reference to Emperor Kuang-wu.

15. The implication is that such officials infringed on the emperor's prerogative by first offering sacrifices on their own.

16. Ch'in Vista (Ch'in-kuan) is located southeast of Sunrise Vista (Jih-kuan). Ch'ang-an, modern Hsi-an, Shaan-hsi, refers to the capital of the Western Han dynasty, located near Hsien-yang, the former capital of the Ch'in dynasty. Wu Vista (Wu-kuan), another peak, offered a view in the direction of Kuei-chi Commandery, which included the southern part of modern Chiang-su, eastern An-hui, and most of Che-chiang and Fu-chien provinces, and was administered from Wu District (modern Su-chou, Chiang-su). Chou Vista (Choukuan), referring to the Chou dynasty, offered a view in the direction of the ancient state of Ch'i, in what is today Shan-tung.

17. This is the Tai Temple (Tai-miao) to the Sacred Mount of the East, located at the foot of the mountain in modern T'ai-an, Shan-tung.

18. Lesser Celestial Gate (Hsiao-t'ien-men) is located near the main Celestial Gate.

19. See Shih chi 1:242 (Peking, 1959 ed.).

20. Translated from Yen K'o-chün, ed., Ch'üan shang-ku san-tai Ch'in Han San-kuo Liu-ch'ao wen 1:632-634 (Peking, 1958 rpt.); Hou-Han shu 11:3166-3168 (Peking, 1965 ed.); Ni, Yu-chi 1:1-7.

2— Wang Hsi-chih (ca. 303–ca. 361)

1. The Bathing Festival (Fu-hsi) was originally an ancient festival of purification held in the first ten days of the third lunar month when the people would go to sacrifice and bathe in a nearby river or lake. During the Six Dynasties period it lost its religious significance and often became a social occasion for literati to gather and write poetry.

2. See Chuang-tzu 12:5:5: "Confucius said, 'Life and death are the greatest of matters, indeed, but he [Wang T'ai] is unaffected by them. Although Heaven may overturn and the Earth might sink, it is no loss to him. He carefully observes whatever is pure and does not let things influence him. He recognizes as fate the transformation of things and holds fast to their guiding principles.'" Here, Confucius is ironically made to espouse Chuang-tzu's philosophy by praising a cripple, Wang T'ai, who had his foot cut off as a penalty yet was said to have gathered as many disciples as Confucius himself.

3. See Chuang-tzu 5:2:52: "No one has lived longer than Shang-tzu, and P'eng-tsu died young." Chuang-tzu paradoxically reverses the common belief that P'eng-tsu lived for eight hundred years, longer than any other man, and that Shang-tzu died in his youth.

4. Translated from Chin shu 7:2099 (Peking, 1974 ed.).

3— Lay Scholars of Hermitage Mountain (fl. ca. 400)

1. Seven Ridges (Ch'i-ling) is another name for Hermitage Mountain.

2. The Celestial Pond (T'ien-ch'ih), also known as Celestial Chasm (T'ienyüan), is a group of ten stars.

3. Nine rivers flow out of the Long River in the Hsün-yang area.

4. The original Divine Vulture Peak (Ling-chiu-shan; Sanskrit: Grdhrakuta) is located near Rajagrha, India, and is the site where Sakvamuni Buddha is believed to have preached the Lotus Sutra ( Lien-hua ching ). Here, it refers to the Buddha-world in general.

5. The Many-storied Citadel (Tseng-ch'eng) is a mountain of nine layers in the legendary K'un-lun range in the Western Region, believed to be eleven thousand li high. See also Introduction, note 64.

6. The Heaven of Great Purity (T'ai-ch'ing) is the nearest of the three heavens of Taoism. It is where gods and Transcendents dwell and is regarded as limitless, formless, and composed of pure, condensed energy.

7. The Classic of Mystery ( T'ai-hsüan ching ; also Hsüan-chung ching ) by the Han scholar Yang Hsiung (58 B.C.-A.D. 18) was a metaphysical treatise influenced by The Book of Changes , which emphasized observation of the natural world.

8. Translated from Ku-shih hsüan 5:6a-7a ( SPPY ed.).

4— Pao Chao (ca. 414–466)

1. "Three Islets" (San-chou) is a literary reference to a section of the Huai River near Pao Chao's home in Tung-hai (modern Lien-shui, Chiang-su).

2. Nine Tributaries (Chiu-p'ai) refers to Pao Chao's destination, the city of Chiang-chou, where nine rivers flow into the Long River.

3. Martial Pass Mountain (Wu-kuan-shan) in the northwest of modern Shang-nan, Shaan-hsi, was regarded as the Earthly Gateway (Ti-men). It marked the southern frontier of the ancient state of Ch'in. Advancing through it, Liu Pang (256-195 B.C.) conquered the Ch'in capital of Hsien-yang and established the Western Han dynasty. Fiere, Pao Chao's description of this place as impassable refers to the division of China into northern and southern dynasties. The "great ambition" he later mentions was to participate in a military expedition to reunify China.

4. The ends of the eight directions mark the farthest extent of the four points of the compass and the four points in between.

5. The jo -tree ( jo-mu ) is a mythical tree growing where the sun rises. lts blossoms are said to emit a glow. See Ch'u tz'u: T'ien-wen 1:12 ( TSCC ed.).

6. Purple Empyrean Peak (Tzu-hsiao-feng) is one of the famous peaks of Hermitage Mountain.

7. The Hsiang River (Hsiang-chiang), the largest river in Hu-nan, originates in modern Ling-ch'uan, Kuang-hsi, and flows into Grotto Lake (Tung-t'inghu). The Han River (Han-shui), the largest tributary of the Long River, originates in modern Ning-ch'iang, Shaan-hsi, and enters the river at modern Wu-han.

8. Wild Boar Island (Hsi-chou) is traditionally believed to be a place where wild boars go to die.

9. Great Fire (Ta-huo) is the second star in the constellation Mind (Hsinhsiu), known in the West as the planet Mars.

10. The water tiger ( shui-hu ) is described as about the size of a three- or fouryear-old child. It has scales, a head resembling a tiger, and claws. In autumn, it likes to sun itself on the sand and often submerges underwater. See Ni, Yu-chi 1:22. It is also mentioned in Shui-ching-chu 28:15b ( SPPY ed.).

11. The "swallow-sieve" ray ( yen-chi ) has a sharp head like a swallow and is flat like a grain sieve.

12. An ancient legend stated that magpies entered the water in autumn to become transformed into clams. See Li chi: Yüeh-ling 6:84.

13. "Crooked teeth" ( ch'ü-ya ) were fish with teeth that protruded from their mouths.

14. The crescent moon is referred to as "becoming a bow" on the twenty-third day of each lunar month.

15. Translated from Pao Chao, Pao-shih chi 9:10a-12b ( SPPY ed.).

5— Li Tao-Yüan (d. 527)

1. Ku-ch'eng in Pei-ch'ü District is located in the northern part of modern Chi District, Shan-hsi.

2. Windy Mountain (Feng-shan) is also located in modern Chi District, Shan-hsi.

3. See Yüan K'o, ed., Shan-hai ching , p. 90.

4. See Huai-nan-tzu 8:5b. The extant edition of Huai-nan-tzu differs somewhat from this quote.

5. See Ku Shih, ed., Mu T'ien-tzu chuan , p. 249.

6. Shen Tao (350-275 B.C.), also known as Shen-tzu, was a legalist philosopher. See Shen-tzu: I-wen 2a ( SPPY ed.).

7. Translated from Li Tao-yüan, Shui-ching-chu 4:1a-2a ( SPPY ed.).

1. This passage about Divine Giant (Chü-ling) does not appear in the extant editions of Dialogues from the Feudal States ( Kuo-yü ), a collection of speeches from 990-453 B.C. traditionally, but erroneously, attributed to Tso Ch'iuming (ca. 6th-5th century B.C.). It does appear in a slightly different form in Kuo Yüan-sheng, Record of a Distant Journey ( Shu-cheng chi ), a Chin dynasty work. See Ni, Yu-chi 1:32.

2. The Opening Up of Lotus Crag with Illustrations ( Hua-yen k'ai-shan t'u ) was the name of an apocryphal text from the Eastern Han dynasty, now lost. It apparently combined a mythological and geographical description of the mountain with a guide to divination.

3. The writer mistakenly confuses two allusions. One, from Chang Heng (78-139), "Rhapsody on the Western Capital" ( Hsi-ching fu; Wen-hsüan 2:2a [ SPPY ed.]), reads: "Divine Giant, with his mammoth power, raised high his hands and great distances tread." The other, from Tso Szu (ca. 253-ca. 307), "Rhapsody on the Capital of Wu" ( Wu-tu fu; Wen-hsüan 5:4a) reads: "Giant Tortoise, with his mammoth power, bore as a crown the sacred mount." The latter is a mythical animal who was ordered by the Emperor of Heaven to support the five sacred mountains on his back.

4. This probably refers to Divine Giant's Hand (Chü-ling shou-chang-yin), located on the Eastern Peak of Lotus Mountain. See figure 13.

5. The Temple of the Sacred Mount of the West (Hsi-yüeh-miao) was established during the reign of Emperor Wu of the Han.

6. Celestial Well (T'ien-ching) is a cave that leads to the summit.

7. The Temple on the Summit (Shang-kung) was dedicated to the God of the Sacred Mount of the West.

8. Translated from Li, Shui-ching-chu 4:9a-11a.

1. Broad Stream Gorge (Kuang-hsi-hsia) is another name for Ch'ü-t'ang Gorge.

2. Ch'ang Ch'ü (fl. latter 3d century) served as an official in the kingdom of Shu and wrote A Gazetteer of Lands South of Lotus Mountain ( Hua-yang-kuo chih ), one of the earliest examples of a geographical record. Here, Li expands on a statement in Hua-yang-kuo chih 1:9a ( SPPY ed.) referring to the area known as the White Emperor's Citadel (Pai-ti-ch'eng).

3. A reference to a line in Tso Szu's "Rhapsody on the Capital of Shu" ( Shutu fu; Wen-hsüan 4:11a). The original text speaks of a marsh-dwelling dragon who sends rain at the sound of drums.

4. The Min River (Min-chiang) originates in modern Sung-p'an, Szu-ch'uan.

5. A line from "Rhapsody on the Long River" ( Chiang fu ) by Kuo P'u (276-324), courtesy name Ching-ch'un. See Wen-hsuan 12:7a. "Hsia Emperor" refers to Yü, founder of the Hsia dynasty and traditionally credited with bringing floods and rivers under control. Translated from Li, Shui-ching-chu 33:19b-20a.

6. Tu Yü proclaimed himself "Emperor Wang" and became king of Shu at the end of the Chou dynasty. His semimythical prime minister, Ao-ling, is credited with opening up the Three Gorges as a passage for the Long River. Later, Tu Yü yielded the throne to Ao-ling and retired to a mountain where he died and was said to have metamorphosed into a bird.

7. Kuo Chung-ch'an lived during the Chin dynasty and was the author of a geographical work, A Record of Ching Region ( Ching-chou chi ). "Treatise on Geography" ( Ti-li chih ) refers to the one in the History of the Former Han Dynasty . See Han shu 8a:1566-1567, which records Wu District in Nan Commandery. It is Ying Shao's (fl. late 2d century) commentary which states that Shaman Mountain lies in the southwest of the district.

8. Mount Min (Min-shan) stands about 15,000 feet above sea level in northern Szu-chuan, forming the border between that region and modern Kan-su province. Eyebrows Mountain (O-mei-shan), at 10, 165 feet, is located in the southwest of modern O-mei District, Szu-ch'uan; Transverse Mountain (Heng-shan), the Sacred Mount of the South, stands 4,230 feet high and is in modern Nan-yüeh District, Hu-nan; Nine Similar Peaks (Chiu-i-shan), where the sage-king Shun reputedly died, is located in the south of modern Ningyüan District, Hu-nan.

9. See Yuan K'o ed., Shan-hai ching , p. 277. Ch'i was a son of the Hsia emperor Yü. Meng T'u was originally sent to Pa (modern eastern Szu-ch'uanwestern Hu-pei) to resolve legal disputes. Cinnabar Mountain (Tan-shan) is located in the west of modern Pa-tung, Hu-pei.

10. See the commentary of Kuo P'u (Ching-ch'un) to this passage in the Shanhai ching , the extant edition of which is slightly different from this quotation. The city of Tan-yang was located in the east of present-day Tzu-kuei District, Hu-pei.

11. Sung Yü (ca. 290-ca. 223 B.C.), was a poet in the state of Ch'u. He was traditionally credited with the ''Rhapsody on the Kao-t'ang Belvedere" ( Kaot'ang fu ) in which he describes King Huai of Ch'u's (r. 328-299 B.C.) encounter in a dream with the divine maiden from Shaman Mountain while at the Kaot'ang Belvedere. Modern scholars have raised doubts about Sung Yü's authorship. The mention of the plants and divine fungi at Shaman Mountain here is not found in his extant works and may derive from later mythology.

12. See "Kao-t'ang fu" ( Wen-hsüan 19:1b-2a), which differs slightly from this quotation.

13. The White Emperor's Citadel (Pai-ti-ch'eng) marks the beginning of the Three Gorges and is located along Ch'ü-t'ang Gorge in the eastern part of modern Feng-chieh, Szu-ch'uan. It was built facing the river on a mountaintop by Kung-sun Shu (d. A.D. 36), who proclaimed himself "White Emperor" in A.D. 25 in an unsuccessful attempt to establish a kingdom in Szu-ch'uan. During the Three Kingdoms period, it became a stronghold of the forces of Shu-Han under Liu Pei (161-223).

14. Modern Chiang-ling, Hu-pei.

15. "Eastern Pa" (Pa-tung) here refers to the modern districts of Yün-yang, Feng-chieh, and Wu-shan in Szu-ch'uan.

16. Translated from Li, Shui-ching-chu 34:2a-3a.

17. Yüan Shan-sung was a writer, music expert, and official of the Eastern Chin dynasty who wrote a history of the Eastern Han dynasty. The reference here is from another work of his, A Record of I-tu ( I-tu chi ).

18. This quote is actually from A Record of Mountains and Rivers in I-tu ( I-tu shan-ch'uan chi ) by a Mr. Li. See Ni, Yu-chi 1:43.

19. Translated from Li, Shui-ching-chu 34:5b-6b.

6— Yang Hsüan-chih (fl. ca 528–547)

1. For a discussion of this line, see Jenner (trans.), Memories of Loyang , pp. 279-280. It has also been translated as "It is eight li in circumference," as in Yang, Record of Buddhist Monasteries , p. 181 (trans. Wang). Jenner argues that this figure is not compatible with other measurements provided by Yang or with archaeological evidence. In fact, Yang does describe two wards in each of the four directions around the bazaar plus an additional two further to the north.

2. Princess Terrace (Huang-nü-t'ai) was named after a daughter of the Eastern Han emperor Ming (r. 57-75), who was buried beside it. Liang Chi (d. 156) was a powerful figure under Emperor Shun (r. 125-144); he was related to the imperial family and, as Yang states, held the rank of general-in-chief. He influenced the accession of three emperors and was subsequently executed under Emperor Huan (r. 146-167).

3. The site of the town was located in the west of modern Meng District, Ho-nan.

4. Hou Kang, from Lo-yang, entered palace service during the reign of Emperor Hsüan-wu (r. 499-515) because of his expertise in cuisine and later rose to high rank. See Wei shu 6:2004-2006 (Peking, 1974 ed.).

5. See Hou-Han shu 5:1178-1187. East and West Mount Hsiao (Hsiao-shan) are a pair of peaks in western Ho-nan.

6. The "Copper Mountain" (T'ung-shan) alludes to Teng T'ung, who was given a copper mine in modern Szu-ch'uan as a gift from the Western Han emperor Wen (r. 180-157 B.C.) and permitted to mint his own currency. Though his name became synonymous with wealth, all his money was confiscated by the succeeding Emperor Ching (r. 157-141 B.C.), and Teng died in poverty. As for the "Cave of Gold" (Chin-hsüeh), Kuo K'uang, a brother-inlaw of Emperor Kuang-wu of the Eastern Han (r. A.D. 25-57), received so many gifts of cash from his relative that his house was called by that name.

7. The "Warrior's Song" ( Chuang-shih ko ) may refer to the general Ch'en An at the end of the Western Chin dynasty; "Hsiang Yü's Lament" ( Hsiang Yü yin ) was a tragic song sung by the hero Hsiang Yü (232-202 B.C.) of Ch'u after being defeated in battle by Liu Pang.

8. Ts'ui Yen-po (d. 525) left the south and entered the service of the Northern Wei during the T'ai-ho era (477-499). He was highly regarded as a strategist and distinguished himself on the western border. See Wei shu 5:1636-1639.

9. Modern Ku-yüan, Ning-hsia.

10. Mo-ch'i Ch'ou-nu (d. ca. 528-529), from Kao-p'ing, started out as a minor general under the Northern Wei but rebelled. In 528 he proclaimed himself emperor but was soon defeated during the Yung-an era (528-529). Ching-ch'uan is in modern Ching-ch'uan, Kan-su; Ch'i Region is in modern Feng-hsiang, Shaan-hsi.

11. Chang Fang was a general during the Western Chin who may have quartered his troops here during a campaign. The site was a frequent place for seeing off nobles and officials leaving the capital. The Sunset Pavilion (Hsiyang-t'ing) was named after a farewell party for Chia Ch'ung (217-282), father-in-law of Emperor Hui of the Western Chin (r. 290-306), which lasted from dawn to sunset.

12. Yü Po-ya was a skillful player of the ch'in zither during the Spring and Autumn period. He ceased to make music when his close friend Chung Tzuch'i died, feeling that there was no one else who could completely understand his art.

13. Ts'ui died in 525 along with about ten thousand of his soldiers after they were led into a trap by the rebels.

14. Modern An-i, Shan-hsi.

15. Mao Hung-pin was also commander of the strategic border garrison at T'ung Pass under Emperor Hsiao-wu (r. 372-396), the frontier destination referred to here. Ch'ing Region refers to modern I-shui, Shan-tung.

16. Translated from Yang Hsüan-chih, Lo-Yang ch'ieh-lan chi chiao-shih , ed. Chou Tsu-mo (Peking, 1963), pp. 156-161.

7— Hsüan-tsang (ca. 600–664)

1. Baluka * (also Aksu; Chinese: Pa-lu-chia) was located in modern Wen-su, Hsin-chiang. In the T'ang, it was designated part of Ku-mo Prefecture under the military jurisdiction of the Ch'iu-tz'u Area Command.

2. Kucha * (Ch'ü-chih), modern K'u-ch'e, Hsin-chiang, was the headquarters of the An-hsi Area Command during the T'ang. Hsüan-tsang noted in his description of Kucha * that it followed Buddhist practices from India and had adopted Sanskrit as the official written language.

3. The Lesser Vehicle (Sanskrit: Hinayana * ; Chinese: Hsiao-sheng), is the earlier form of Buddhism that originated in India which emphasizes personal salvation in contrast to the goal of universal salvation espoused by the Greater Vehicle (Mahayana * ; Ta-sheng). The latter system, to which Hsüan-tsang subscribed, became more popular in China. The School of All Existing Phenomena (Sanskrit: Sarvastivada * ; Chinese: I-ch'ieh yu-pu) asserts the reality of all things produced by karmic action.

4. The Icy Mountains (Bedal; Chinese: Ling-shan, also Pa-ta-ling) are located northwest of modern Wu-shih, Hsin-chiang, and derive their name from their treacherous glaciers. It took Hsüan-tsang seven days to cross them, during which nearly two-fifths of his traveling party froze or starved to death, along with many horses and mules.

5. The Onion Range (Ts'ung-ling) refers to the Pamir plateau and the surrounding mountains, an important route between China and the Western Region. The T'ang stationed a defense detachment at Onion Range.

6. It was believed that such dragons could stir up sandstorms and heavy rains if angered.

7. Great Pure Lake (Ta-ch'ing-ch'ih), modern Issyk Kul, now lies in the northeast of Kirghizstan, having been gained by Russia in a treaty with the Ch'ing dynasty in 1864. One hundred fifteen miles long and 35 miles wide, it lies about 5,300 feet above sea level and was located 110 miles northeast of Baluka * . It was also called "Hot Sea" (Chinese: Je-hai) in the T'u-chüeh language because it stood opposite the Icy Mountains yet did not freeze over; its water, however, is not high in temperature.

8. The city of Tokmak (Su-yeh shui-ch'eng) was situated near modern Tokmak, in the northern part of Kirghizstan. It was also known as Sui-yeh after the Sui-yeh River, now the Ch'u River. The T'ang dynasty stationed a military detachment here. According to some scholars, it was also the birthplace of the poet Li Po (701-762).

9. The T'u-chüeh was a Turkish tribe that gained ascendancy in northern China during the Six Dynasties. In later centuries it was defeated by other tribes and split into eastern and western branches. Hsüan-tsang here refers to the latter branch, which reestablished itself in the west.

10. The land of Kasanna (also Kesh; Chinese: Chieh-shuang-na) was located south of modern Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

11. Sogdian, the language of Sogd (Su-li), was widely used in Central Asia during this time and remained popular until the Mongol conquest in the thirteenth century. It utilized twenty-five letters and was written either vertically or horizontally.

12. Bing-yul (Chinese: P'ing-yü; also Ch'ien-ch'üan, literally "Thousand Springs") was located at the northern foot of the Kirghiz Mountains in modern Kirghizstan. In the T'ang, it was under the military jurisdiction of the Mengch'ih Protectorate.

13. The Snowy Mountains (Hsüeh-shan) referred to here lie south of Bingyul, in contrast to the Himalayas and Hindu Kush mountain ranges, which were also known by this name.

14. The city of Talas (also Aulia-Ata; Chinese: T'an-lo-szu) was located in modern Dzhambul, Kazakhstan.

15. The city of Pai-shui (also Isbijab, literally "White River") was located northeast of Tashkent and five miles east of modern Chimkent, Uzbekistan. It is now known as Sayram.

16. The exact site of the city of Kung-yü has not yet been found, but it stood in what is now an uninhabited area between the Chirchik and Angren rivers, both tributaries of the Syr Darya.

17. Nejkend (Nu-ch'ih-chien) was located east of Tashkent. Hsüan-tsang proceeded to describe it as a large territory about 330 miles in circumference with rich farmlands and plentiful fruit and grapes. Though nominally one country, it was composed of more than one hundred semi-independent cities, each under a chief who prevented travel and communication between the different territories.

Translated from Hsüan-tsang, Ta-T'ang Hsi-yü chi chiao-chu , ed. Chi Hsien-lin et al. (Peking, 1985), pp. 66-81.

8— Wang Po (ca. 650–ca. 676)

1. Nan-ch'ang was the administrative center of the commandery of Yüchang during the Han. In the T'ang, the area was redrawn and the name changed to Hung Prefecture.

2. The constellations Wings (I) and Crossbar (Chen) occupy a southern area of the sky that was believed by astrologers to be in sympathetic correspondence with the ancient state of Ch'u and the Ching Region. Transverse Mountain (Heng-shan), the Sacred Mount of the South, is located in modern Nanyüeh, Hu-nan.

3. Man-ching refers to the area of ancient Ch'u generally corresponding to modern Hu-pei and Hu-nan; Ou-yüeh refers to the area of eastern Che-chiang.

4. An allusion to a pair of magical swords, Dragon Spring ( Lung-ch'üan ) and Great Mount ( T'ai-o ), which emitted a purple energy into the sky near these constellations during the reign of Emperor Wu of the Western Chin dynasty (r. 265-290). This was noticed by the official Chang Hua (232-300), who was told by Lei Huan that the brilliance originated in the city of Feng-ch'eng in Yü-chang (later Hung Prefecture). Lei was then dispatched to the city as magistrate, where he uncovered the gleaming swords beneath the foundation of an ancient prison. He presented one to Chang and kept the other for himself. After the deaths of both men, the swords leaped into a lake and became dragons. See Chin shu 4:1075-1076.

5. Hsü Chih (97-168), courtesy name Ju-tzu, was from Nan-ch'ang, Yü-chang, in what is today Chiang-hsi. He was known as a righteous scholar who refused to serve in the corrupt court of Emperor Huan (r. 146-167) during the Eastern Han dynasty. The governor of Yü-chang, Ch'en Fan (d. 168), generally discouraged guests except Hsü Chih. He provided a special couch for Hsü, which no one else was permitted to use. See Hou-Han shu 6: 1746.

6. Yü-wen Chün was an official recently appointed metropolitan governor of Li Prefecture in present-day Hu-nan.

7. The swords "Purple Lightning" ( Tzu-tien ) and "Pure Frost" ( Ch'ing-shuang ) allude to lines in Hsiao Ming's "Letter to Wang Seng-pien [d. 555]" ( Yü Wang Seng-pien shu ), later preserved in T'ai-p'ing yü-lan 299:5a. Here, the lines praise the military ability of General Wang, who, along with Academician Meng, remains unidentified.

8. References to Li Yüan-ying, Prince of T'eng.

9. Lake P'o-yang (P'o-yang-hu), the largest freshwater lake in China, now covers about 1,300 square miles and is located m the northern part of modern Chiang-hsi province. The text refers to it by an ancient name, "P'eng-li."

10. Modern Heng-yang, Hu-nan. The Peak of the Returning Geese (Hui-yenfeng) stands just south of the modern city of Heng-yang and is considered the first of the seventy-two peaks forming Transverse Mountain, the Sacred Mount of the South. Geese were said to stop their migration here in winter before returning north.

11. An allusion to a fable in Lieh-tzu 5:15b ( SPPY ed.), where a tragic song sung by the singing master Ch'in Ch'ing was said to have shaken the forest and halted the clouds.

12. The Sui Garden (Sui-yüan) was built in Sui-yang in the south of what is today Shang-ch'iu District, Ho-nan, by Liu Wu, Prince Hsiao of Liang, during the Western Han dynasty. Celebrated for its abundant green bamboo, it was the site of many gatherings of noted writers and poets. "The Magistrate of P'eng-tse," a town located in modern P'eng-tse District, Chiang-hsi, refers to the lyric poet T'ao Ch'ien, who served in this position and who often wrote of his fondness for wine.

13. The former city of Yeh, located in the west of present-day kin-chang District, Chiang-hsi, became Ts'ao Ts'ao's (155-220) capital when he was made prince of Wei in 213 and later became one of the five capitals of the Wei dynasty. It was one of the major cities of the central plains area until destroyed by war in 580. The poet Ts'ao Chih (192-232), Ts'ao Ts'ao's third son, wrote a poem at Yeh, "At a Banquet" ( Kung-yen shih ), which included the line "Autumn orchids cover the long slope; vermilion lotus burst forth in the green pond." Lin-ch'uan was a commandery whose administrative center was located in the west of modern Lin-ch'uan, Chiang-hsi. "The Governor of Lin-ch'uan" may refer to the calligrapher Wang Hsi-chih, who served in this position; however, some commentators believe it refers to the poet Hsieh Ling-yün, who also held office in Lin-ch'uan as an administrator.

14. The "four excellent conditions" ( szu-mei ), mentioned in Hsieh Ling-yün's "Preface to Eight Poems Written in Imitation of the Poetry Gathering of the Crown Prince of Wei at Yeh" ( Ni Wei T'ai-tzu yeh-chung-chi pa-shou ping-hsü ), are a fine day, beautiful scenery, a delighted heart, and a happy occasion. The "two rarities" ( er-nan ) are a worthy host and elegant guests.

15. "Ch'ang-an" refers to the T'ang capital to the northwest; "Wu-kuei" refers to the area of Wu Commandery to the east, administered from what is now Su-chou, Chiang-su. "Beneath the sun" ( jih-hsia ) and "among the clouds" ( yün-chien ) play on additional names For Ch'ang-an and the Wu area, respectively.

16. "Southern Ocean" (Nan-ming) refers to Wang Po's destination, Chiaochih. The group of five stars known as "Celestial Pillar" (T'ien-chu) and the "North Star" (Pei-ch'en) are used as conventional references to the emperor and the imperial court. Here, they refer to Wang's hopes of an official career in the capital.

17. The Proclamation Hall (Hsüan-tien) was the central audience hall in the Wei-yang Palace, where Emperor Wen of the Western Han (r. 180-157 B.C.) received the Confucian scholar Chia 1 (200-168 B.C.) after he was recalled from exile. They are said to have discussed supernatural phenomena such as ghosts and spirits.

18. Feng T'ang served in a number of positions in government throughout his life, ultimately rising to administrator of Ch'u. At the age of ninety he was finally recommended as a worthy to serve Emperor Wu of the Western Han, but he had to decline because of old age. Li Kuang was a general during the Western Han who achieved a number of victories over the Hsiung-nu tribe but was never rewarded with a fief.

19. Chia I was a reformer highly regarded by Emperor Wen of the Western Han, who intended to appoint him to high office. However, he was slandered by conservative officials, and the emperor demoted him instead to Grand Mentor to the Prince of Ch'ang-sha. Four years later he was recalled from exile and granted an audience m the Proclamation Hall (see above, note 17). Liang Hung was an eremite who offended Emperor Chang of the Eastern Han (r. 75-88) in a satiric poem when he visited Lo-yang. He and his wife were forced to change their names and live secretly along the coast of modern Shantung to avoid arrest.

20. The Spring of Avarice (T'an-ch'üan) was said to be located in Stone Gate (Shih-men), about six miles north of modern Kuang-chou, Kuang-tung. Drinking from it was supposed to stimulate insatiable greed, although the official Wu Yin-chih, while posted to this area, drank from it without being affected. See Chin shu 89:2341.

21. An allusion to a fable in Chuang-tzu 73:26:7-11, where a fish stranded in a dry carriage rut signifies being caught in a difficult situation.

22. An allusion to the mythical p'eng -bird mentioned in Chuang-tzu 1:1:1-8 that transforms itself from the k'un -fish in the Northern Sea and rides the wind ninety thousand li to the Southern Sea. The p'eng -bird became a conventional symbol of the man of ambition. Flying in the reverse direction toward the north, as mentioned here, implies journeying to the capital to obtain an official position. In Hou-Han shu 3:646, the Eastern Han general Feng I's victory over rebels was described as a case of having succeeded in the west, where the sun sets over the mulberry and elm trees, after having failed in the eastern corner of the world, where the sun rises. With this sentiment, Wang Po expresses his hope that he can achieve official success in later years despite the obstacles he has so far encountered in his youth.

23. Meng Ch'ang was a governor with a virtuous reputation during the reign of Emperor Shun of the Eastern Han (r. 125-144). He was not, however, appointed to a high post under the succeeding Emperor Huan, though he was highly recommended.

24. The poet Juan Chi (210-263) was a member of a group of eccentric figures known as the "Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove" (Chu-lin ch'i-hsien). His strange behavior was a strategy to avoid dangerous political involvement at a time when the Szu-ma clan was usurping power at court toward the end of the Wei dynasty. In addition to frequently seeking refuge in wine, he would ride about in his carriage and, upon encountering an obstacle in the road, become despondent and return home.

25. Chung Chün (140-113 B.C.), while still in his twenties, was sent as an emissary to the Nan-yüeh Kingdom during the Western Hah dynasty. He requested that the emperor give him long reins, which he would use to bind the King of Nan-yüeh, bringing him back to the capital as a prisoner. "Requesting reins" ( ch'ing-ying ) became a conventional phrase meaning to gain political power.

26. An allusion to Pan Ch'ao (32-102), who, while serving as a scribe during the Eastern Han, decided to cast aside his occupation and join the army in order to earn a fief. After achieving success in campaigns in the Western Region, he was enfeoffed as Marquis Who Pacified Distant Regions (Ting-yüan-hou). Tsung Ch'üeh was a general under Emperor Wen of the [Liu] Sung dynasty (r. 424-453) who was enfeoffed as marquis of T'ao-yang. In his youth, he was asked by his uncle what his ambition was, and he replied that he wished to ride on a great wind and smash the waves for ten thousand li .

27. An allusion to a clever reply by General Hsieh Hsüan (343-388) to his uncle, the aristocratic Chief Minister Hsieh An (320-388), recorded in Shih-shuo hsin-yü: shang A:46a. When Hsieh An asked why everyone hoped for sons, Hsieh Hsüan compared them to "fragrant irises and jade trees" ( chih-lan yü-shu ) that people desired to cultivate in their courtyards. The mother of the philosopher Mencius moved three times in order to raise him in a proper environment. Eventually she settled near a school. See Lieh-nü chuan 1:10a-11b ( SPPY ed.).

28. A reference to Lun-yü 34:16:13, which records Confucius stopping his son Po-yü as he hastened across the courtyard to urge him to study the Book of Poetry and the Book of Ritual . Here, Wang Po is restating his intention to visit his father in Chiao-chih.

29. Dragon Gate (Lung-men) is a point on the Yellow River in the northwest of modern Ho-chin District, Shan-hsi. It was said to have been opened up as a passage for the river by the Hsia emperor Yü. According to popular legend, carp that manage to make it upstream beyond here turn into dragons; see T'aip'ing kuang-chi 466:8. Thus, "passing through Dragon Gate" ( teng lung-men ) came to signify fame and success in official life. Those who received support from the patron Li Ying during the Eastern Han dynasty, for example, were said to have accomplished that feat; see Hou-Han shu 8:2195.

30. Yang Te-i, who served as director of the palace kennels under Emperor Wu of the Western Han, recommended the writer Szu-ma Hsiang-ju (179-117 B.C.) to the court. When the emperor read his "Rhapsody on the Great Man" ( Ta-jen fu ), he is said to have felt like he was "soaring among the clouds" ( ling-yün ). Here, Wang Po is referring to the quality of his own preface.

31. See 6. Yang Hsüan-chih, The Bazaar of Lo-yang , note 12. Chung Tzu-ch'i once praised Yü Po-ya's playing for its evocation of lofty mountains and flowing water.

32. The Orchid Pavilion refers to Wang Hsi-chih's gathering there in 353. The Catalpa Garden (Tzu-tse) was an estate to the northwest of Lo-yang owned by the poet Shih Ch'ung (249-300), where literary gatherings were also held.

33. See Han-shih wai-chuan 7:14a ( CTPS ed.): "Confucius said, 'The Noble Man feels compelled to express himself when he ascends to great heights.'"

34. The critic Chung Hung (ca. 465-518) in his Evaluation of Poetry ( Shih-p'in , ca. 513-517) compared the talent of Lu Chi (261-303) to an ocean and that of P'an Yüeh (247-300) to a river.

35. South Bank (Nan-p'u) is located in the southwest of modern Nan-ch'ang.

36. West Mountain (Hsi-shan) is ten miles northwest of Nan-ch'ang.

37. A reference to the Kan River (Kan-chiang).

38. Translated from Ch'u-T'ang szu-chieh wen-chi 5:11a-12a ( SPPY ed.).

9— Wang Wei (701–761)

1. The Proselytizing Temple (Kan-p'ei-szu) was located in the main town of Lan-t'ien District, Shaan-hsi.

2. The Pa River (Pa-shui) flows from the eastern part of Lan-t'ien into the Lan River (Lan-shui) and the Wheel River (Wang-shui), forming a route to Wang Wei's estate. The "murky Pa" (hs üan-pa ) alludes to P'an Yüeh's, "Rhapsody on a Western Journey" ( Hsi-cheng fu ): "The murky Pa and the lucid Ch'an." See Wen-hsüan 10:9a.

3. Hua-tzu Hill (Hua-tzu-kang) was a scenic spot located on Wang Wei's estate, later celebrated in his poems and depicted in his handscroll (fig. 16).

4. Huang-nieh is the bark of Phellodendron amurense , used as a medicinal herb to cure intestinal, eye, and skin disorders.

5. Translated from Wang Wei, Wang Yu-ch'eng chi-chu 10:7b-8a ( SPPY ed.).

10— Yüan Chieh (719–772)

1. Tao Prefecture roughly corresponded to modern Tao District, Hu-nan.

2. Ying Stream (Ying-hsi) originates in the south of modern Ning-yüan, Hunan, and eventually flows into the Hsiang River in Ling-ling.

3. Translated from Yüan Chieh, Yüan Tz'u-shan chi 9:5b ( SPPY ed.). The ming inscription mentioned has not survived.

1. Chiang-hua (modern Chiang-hua, Hu-nan) was located in Tao Prefecture. Yüan Chieh was first appointed prefect of Tao Prefecture in 763 and reappointed in 766. His inspection of Chiang-hua occurred in the summer of the latter year.

2. Ch'ü Ling-wen was recorded by Yüan Chieh as an expert in seal-style calligraphy; see Yüan Tz'u-shan chi 6:5b.

3. A reference to the Hsiao River (Hsiao-shui).

4. Translated from Yüan, Yüan Tz'u-shan chi 9:7a-7b.

1. My Own Terrace (Wu-t'ai) was built beside My Own Stream (Wu-hsi) in the north of Ch'i-yang District, Yung Prefecture (modern Ling-ling, Hu-nan). Yüan Chieh had built a house in Ch'i-yang beside the stream, and wrote a short preface and ming inscription dated July 15, 767. He signified possession of these places by modifying the character for "my own" ( wu ), adding the water radical for the stream and the mountain radical for the rock.

2. Translated from Yüan Chieh, Yüan Tz'u-shan chi , ed. Sun Wang (Peking, 1960), pp. 152-153.

11— Han Yü (768–824)

1. Wang Chung-shu (d. 823), courtesy name Hung-chung, was from modern T'ai-yüan, Shan-hsi. In 804, he was demoted to revenue manager of Lien Prefecture (modern Lien District, Kuang-tung).

2. See Shih ching 79:298:1,2, ''Stalwart" ( Yu-pi ), where the image of white egrets stirred to flight is traditionally interpreted as the joyful attitude of the scholar in office.

3. See Shih ching 26:128:3, "The Small Chariot" ( Hsiao-jung ), where the adjective "regulated" ( chih-chih ), applied to virtuous sounds, signifies the qualities of discipline and intelligence.

4. See Shih ching 81:300:7, "Lovely" ( Na ). The phrase "joyous feasts" ( yen-hsi ) puns the line "the feasts of Duke Hsi" (r. 659-627 B.C.). The duke is the "Marquis of Lu" referred to here, who is praised in the poem for bringing harmony and longevity to his family, enjoying feasts with his officials, establishing peace among the upper classes, and maintaining prosperity in his state.

5. Lan-t'ien near the T'ang capital of Ch'ang-an was located in what is today Lan-t'ien, Shaan-hsi. Shang Prefecture covered an area extending south of the Ch'in Ridge Mountains (Ch'in-ling-shan) in Shaan-hsi. Lo-yang was the secondary, eastern capital of the T'ang. The Hsi River (Hsi-shui) flows through modern Ho-nan. The Hah River (Han-shui) flows into the Long River at modern Wu-han, Hu-pei. Steep Mountain (Hsien-shan) is located in modern Hsiang-yang, Hu-pei. The Square Citadel (Fang-ch'eng), a fiat-topped mountain named after an ancient city nearby, is in the southeast of modern Chu-shan District, Hu-pei. Ching Gate (Ching-men) is a mountain in the northwest of modern I-tu, Hu-pei, on the south bank of the Long River, traditionally the western frontier of the ancient state of Ch'u. The Mien River (Mien-chiang) forms part of the Han River and also refers to a stretch of the Long River below modern Wu-han. Grotto Lake (Tung-t'ing-hu) is a large body of water in Hu-nan. The Hsiang River (Hsiang-shui) originates in modern Kuang-hsi and flows into Grotto Lake. Chen Prefecture covered modern Nan-chen District, Hu-nan. The ridge referred to here leading into Lien Prefecture is Cross-Country Ridge (Ch'i-t'ien-ling), one of five major passes leading into Ling-nan (modern Kuang-tung).

6. See Introduction, note 40.

7. See I ching: Ch'ien 33:53: "Nine in the highest line means the wild goose gradually ascends to the cloudy heights. Its plumes can be used in the sacred dance. Good fortune." Han Yü alludes to the "sacred plume dance" ( yü-i ) to predict that Wang will become an official in the capital.

8. Translated from Han Yü, Ch'ang-li hsien-sheng chi 13:9a-10b ( SPPY ed.).

1. King Chao of Ch'u (r. 515-498 B.C.). The Ch'u capital of Ying-ch'eng was located south of the T'ang city of I-ch'eng, then known as Yen-ch'eng. When Ying-ch'eng was captured, the king shifted the capital to Yen-ch'eng for a brief time until Ying-ch'eng was recovered.

2. The local belief about the poisonousness of the water lasted for centuries. In 734, however, the governor of Hsiang Prefecture, Han Ch'ao-tsung, addressed a memorial to the spirit of the well, and subsequently the water was found to be potable. The name of the well was then changed to "Han's Well" (Han-kung-ching). See Hsin T'ang shu 14:4373 (Peking, 1975 ed.).

3. In 279 B.C., King Chao of Ch'in (r. 306-251 B.C.) ordered his general Po Ch'i (d. 257 B.C.) to attack major cities in Ch'u. The following year, Po Ch'i conquered Yen-ch'eng by damming up the nearby waters and inundating the city.

4. Chiao -dragons ( chiao-lung ) were mythical animals believed to dwell in deep underwater abysses. They benefited man by producing clouds and rain. However, as Han Yü notes, they could also be regarded as harmful.

5. Yü Ti (d. 8 18) was a powerful local warlord who served as military commissioner of the Shan-nan Southern Circuit from 799 to 808 and also as prefect of Hsiang Prefecture, with headquarters in modern Hsiang-yang. The court was often forced to adopt a conciliatory policy toward such figures, whom Hah Yü regarded as usurpers of imperial authority. The Emperor Hsien-tsung (r. 805-820) was later able to assert a greater degree of control. Yü Ti accepted the position of grand councillor at court and was later demoted.

6. The elder P'ing, named Chi, died resisting the An Lu-shan Rebellion. His son, P'ing Feng, commissioned a eulogy from Han Yü in praise of his father's virtue.

7. Translated from Han, Ch'ang-li hsien-sheng chi: wai: 4:5b-7a.

12— Li Ao (772–836)

1. Yang Yü-ling (753-830), a highly successful official, was appointed military commissioner of Ling-nan (modern Kuang-tung and Kuang-hsi provinces) and prefect of Kuang Prefecture. He became a patron of Li Ao through the recommendation of Han Yü and appointed Li as an administrative assistant in charge of his office staff. Li Ao later composed his epitaph.

2. Rewarding Goodness Ward (Ching-shan) was a precinct in Lo-yang. The Transport Canal (Ts'ao-ch'ü), also known as the Canal of Widespread Sustenance (Kuang-chi-ch'ü), was developed under the Sui dynasty and eventually linked the capitals of Ch'ang-an and Lo-yang with the Yellow River and the agricultural areas of the Huai and Long rivers.

3. Lo-yang was the Eastern Capital of the T'ang.

4. Li Ao had studied literature with Han Yü, courtesy name T'ui-chih, and had married into his family. Shih Hung (771-812), original surname Wu-shihlan, courtesy name Chün-ch'uan, was, like Han Yü, from Ho-yang (modern Meng District, Ho-nan). He held the Classicist degree and had served as an administrative supervisor in Kuei-chou before retiring from office for a decade; he returned to serve as subeditor in the Academy of Scholarly Worthies.

5. Old Lo-yang (Ku-lo-tung) was just east of the Han and Wei city some six miles west of the T'ang capital. It was the site of the city built in the early Western Chou period by the duke of Chou (fl. mid-late 11th cent. B.C.). Meng Chiao (751-814), courtesy name Tung-yeh, was from Wu-k'ang, Hu Prefecture (modern Te-ch'ing, Che-chiang). A poet and later an official, he was close friends with Li Ao and Hah Yü. In his youth, he retired to Eminent Mountain (see below, note 8); later, at around age fifty, he finally took the official examinations and held various offices, in some cases on the recommendation of Li Ao.

6. Canal Mouth (Ts'ao-k'ou) was where the Transport Canal joined the Lo River.

7. Luminous Clouds Mountain (Ching-yün-shan) is located in the south of modern Yen-shih, Ho-nan.

8. Eminent Mountain (Sung-shan) rises to 4,720 feet. Located in the north of modern Teng-feng District, Ho-nan, 113 miles south of Lo-yang, it is said to have received this name during the time of the Hsia emperor Yü and was considered the Sacred Mount of the Center as early as the Eastern Chou period.

9. Kung Dist