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Chinese Literature
Qinglouji 青樓集 "A Collection About the Green Houses"


The Qinglouji 青樓集 "Collection about the Green Houses" is a collection of biographies of singsong girls entertainment quarters (qinglou 青樓, "redlight district") in Dadu 大都 (modern Beijing), Jinling 金陵 (modern Nanjing 南京, Jiangsu), Weiyang 維揚 (modern Yangzhou 揚州, Jiangsu) and Wuchang 武昌 (modern Wuhan 武漢, Hubei) written by the Yuan period 元 (1279-1368) scholar Xia Tingzhi 夏庭芝, courtesy name Xia Bohe 夏伯和, style Xuesuo diaoyin 雪蓑釣隱 or Xuesuo yuyin 雪蓑漁隱. He came from Huating 華亭 (modern Songjiang 松江, Shanghai) and lived in the last half of the 14th century. The short book describes the lives of northern opera (zaju 雜劇) singers like Zhulianxiu 珠簾秀, Li Zhixiu 李芝秀, southern opera (nanxi 南戲) singers like Longloujing 龍樓景 or Danxixiu 丹墀秀, performers of arias (zhugongdiao 諸宮調) like Zhao Zhenzhen 趙真真 or Yang Yu'e 楊玉娥, or of "slow songs" (manci 慢詞) like Wang Yumei 王玉梅. The author describes the individual strengths of each girl in all kinds of musical and colloquial entertainment and gives some information about their lives and relationships with customers, particularly when officials dedicated a poem to their beloved singer. He also describes some of the performance houses, their history and some customs there. Only a small number of about 30 male singers is mentioned. The Qinglouji is an important source for the history of the early Chinese opera during the Yuan period and the social history of singsong girls and their customers.
It was first circulating in manuscripts, but was later also printed in many different editions, for instance, in the collectanea Gujin shuohai 古今說海, Shuofu 說郛, Shuoji 說集 or Shuangmeijing'an congshu 雙楳景闇叢書. The most common edition is to be found in the collection Zhongguo gudian xiqu lunzhu jicheng 中國古典戲曲論著集成, published in 1959 by the Zhongguo xiqu yanjiu yuan 中國戲曲研究院. In 1957 the Gudian wenxue press 古典文學出版社 published the Qinglouji in a joint edition with the books Jiaofangji 教坊記 and Beilizhi 北里志.


Sources:
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe, vol. 2, p. 2152.
Mo Shuyi 麼書儀 (1986). "Qinglouji 青樓集", in: Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo wenxue 中國文學, Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe, vol. 1, p. 629.
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August 14, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail