Wang Wei (17th-century poet)

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Wang Wei
Native name 王微
Born 1597
Jiangdu District, Yangzhou, Ming China
Died 1647 (aged 49–50)
Qing China
Pen name Caoyi daoren 草衣道人 (Taoist in the straw coat)
Occupation Poet, writer
Language Chinese
Nationality Chinese

Wang Wei (Chinese: 王微) (1597 – 1647) was a Chinese poet. Her courtesy name was Xiuwei (Chinese: 修微).[1]


At age seven, Wang was orphaned and she became a courtesan in Yangzhou.[2] In later life she was twice married and twice widowed, before becoming a priestess with the name "Taoist Master in the Straw coat". Thereafter she travelled throughout central China on a boat writing poems celebrating nature. She travelled to West Lake in Hangzhou,[3] a hotspot for literati at the time. She later travelled to Japan for monetary endeavors and ended up in a brothel again because of finances.


Wang was a writer and anthologist of travelogues.[4] Tina Lu has argued that nature was only the secondary topic of her work, with the primary focus being a, 'landscape of nostalgia,' that Wang used to express her identity as a traveller.[5]

Her poetry appears in the anthology of late Ming-early Qing female poets Zhong Xiang Ci.[1]

Wang's shi poems were described by Qing Dynasty commentators as comparable to those of Li Qingzhao and Zhu Shuzhen in their beauty and serenity.[2][1]



  1. ^ a b c Xu (1909).
  2. ^ a b Zhong & 1621-1644, p. 36.1a.
  3. ^ Lei (1916), p. 上.13a.
  4. ^ Xu (1909), "王微常經船載書往來五湖問自傷".
  5. ^ Lu (2011), p. 97.

Works cited[edit]

  • Lei Jin 雷瑾, ed. (1916). "王微" [Wang Wei]. 青樓詩話﹕二卷(雷瑨輯) [Poetry from the pleasure quarters: 2 volumes (edited by Lei Jin)] (in Chinese). Saoyeshan fang yinben 掃葉山房石印本. 
  • Lu, Tina (2011). "The literary culture of the late Ming (1573–1644)". In Kang-i Sun Chang; Stephen Owen. The Cambridge History of Chinese Literature. Volume 2: From 1375. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 63–151. ISBN 9781139095426. doi:10.1017/CHOL9780521855594. 
  • Xu Naichang 徐乃昌, ed. (1909). "王微" [Wang Wei]. 閨秀詞鈔﹕十六卷(清徐乃昌輯) [Lyrics of well-bred young ladies: 16 volumes (edited by Xu Naichang in the Qing Dynasty)] (in Chinese). Xiao tanle shi keben 小檀欒室刻本. pp. 6.12a. 
  • Zhong Xing 鍾惺, ed. (1621–1644). "王微" [Wang Wei]. 名媛詩歸﹕三十六卷(鍾惺點次) [Collection of poems by ladies of note: 36 volumes (compiled by Zhong Xing)] (in Chinese). 

External links[edit]