An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Guyueyuan 古樂苑

Jun 10, 2022 © Ulrich Theobald

Guyueyuan 古樂苑 is an anthology of ancient poetry compiled by Mei Dingzuo 梅鼎祚 (1553-1619). The collection of 52 juan length took Guo Maoqian’s 郭茂倩 collection of yuefu 樂府-style poetry, Yuefu shiji 樂府詩集, as a model, and was compiled as a kind of supplement to Guo’s book, which ends at the late Tang period 唐 (618-907). However, Mei only assembled poetry until the late 6th century. He also made use of a similar anthology, Guyuefu 古樂府 by Zuo Keming 左克明 (mid-14th cent.).

Mei’s collection suffers from two critical shortcomings, namely wrong attributions of authorship, and the inclusion of five-syllable poetry not belonging to the style of yuefu. A third critical point is the lower quality of many pieces, even if they were written by renowned authors like Prince Zhaoming 昭明太子 (Xiao Tong 蕭統, 501-531) or Shen Yue 沈約 (441-513).

Chen, Jing (2017). "Reinventing the Pre-Tang Tradition: Compiling and Publishing Pre-Tang Poetry Anthologies in Sixteenth-Century China", Journal of Chinese Literature and Culture, 4 (1): 91-128.
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文郁, eds. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 2, 2919.
Wang Huibin 王輝斌 (2016). "Mei Dingzuo yu Guyueyuan de yuefu tijie piping 梅鼎祚與《古樂苑》的樂府題解批評", Xueshu luntan 學術論壇, 2016 (1): 106-111.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1994). Zhongguo gu wenxian da cidian 中華古文獻大辭典, Vol. Wenxue 文學卷 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 134.