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Yangzhou huafang lu 揚州畫舫錄

Oct 7, 2019 © Ulrich Theobald

Yangzhou huafang lu 揚州畫舫錄 is a book on the "flower boats" of the amusement centre of Yangzhou 揚州, Jiangsu, written during the mid-Qing period 清 (1644-1911) by Li Dou 李斗 (1749-1817), courtesy name Aitang 艾塘 or Beiyou 北有, from Yizheng 儀征, Jiangsu. His collected poems are called Yongbaotang shiji 永報堂詩集, a collection of songs written in the music bureau style is called Aitang yuefu 艾堂樂府. He wrote the theatre plays Qisuanji 奇酸記 and Yuexingji 歲星記.

In 18 juan, the author describes the live in the merchant quarters of Yangzhou. The book has also a diachronical sequence by narrating the development of Yangzhou, its city walls, markets, and quarters, its character as a hub at the Grand Canal and the location at the Yellow River (which was flowing south during that period), temples and shrines, gardens (16 famous parks), buildings (including technical guidelines Gongduan yingzao lu 工段營造錄) winehouses, festivities and performances by jugglers and acrobats. The text quotes from ancient books and theatre plays (quoting Huang Wenyang's 黃文暘 catalogue Quhai mu 曲海目), and mentions the inspection tours (nanxun 南巡) of the Kangxi 康熙帝 (r. 1661-1722) and the Qianlong Emperor 乾隆帝 (r. 1735-1796).

The book was first printed in 1795 by the Ziran Studio 自然庵, and again in 1872 by Fang Junyi 方濬頤 (1815-1888). It is classified as of fictional genre (xiaoshuo lei 小說類) in the catalogue Guangutang cang shumu 觀古堂藏書目. It is part of the series Shenbaoguan congshu 申報館叢書.

Table 1. Contents of the Yangzhou huafang lu 揚州畫舫錄
1-2 草河錄 "Grass" canals
3-5 新城北錄 Northern parts of the new city (with information on theatre)
6 城北錄 Northern parts of the city
7 城南錄 Southern parts of the city
8 城西錄 Western parts of the city
9 小秦淮錄 Little Qinhuai quarter
10-11 虹橋錄 Rainbow Bridge quarter
12 橋東錄 East of the bridge
13 橋西錄 West of the bridge
14 岡東錄 East of the hill
15 岡西錄 West of the hill
16 蜀岡錄 Shu Hill quarter
17 工段營造錄 Construction standards
18 舫匾錄 Nameplates of [painted] boats
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