Book/Printed Material Wen xuan 文選

[ Volume 1 ]

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[ Volume 2 ]
[ Volume 3 ]
[ Volume 4 ]

About this Item


  • Wen xuan

Other Title

  • 文選

Translated Title

  • The Annotated Literary Anthology by Xiao Tong.


  • Wen xuan (Selected literature) is one of the earliest collections of Chinese poetry. It includes verse from the Qin dynasty (221--207 BC), the Han dynasty (206 BC--220 AD), and later. It was compiled around 520 during the Southern and Northern Dynasties (420--589) by Xiao Tong (501--31), the eldest son of Emperor Wu of Liang (but who died before ascending to the throne), and a group of scholars he had assembled. Many annotated editions of the Wen xuan appeared after Xiao Tong's death, of which the seventh-century version by Li Shan is considered the most authoritative. Another annotated edition, Wu chen zhu wen xuan (Annotated Wen xuan by five officials) was issued by five court officials during the reign of Emperor Xuanzong (713--41) of the Tang dynasty. That edition was simpler and less complex than Li Shan's earlier work and it was not officially adopted by academics of the day. During the reign of Emperor Xiaozong of the Song dynasty (1174-1189), the poet You Mao (1127--1202) printed a version of Li Shan's annotations that had a lasting effect on later readers. Shown here is the only extant copy of a Song edition of Wu chen zhu wen xuan, which was printed in 1161 in Jianyang, Fujian Province, by Chen Balang in his printing house, Zonghua Shufang, some 19 years before You Mao's version. The title is not listed in the catalogue of Si ku quan shu (The complete collection of the four treasuries), the largest collection of Chinese books. One of its noteworthy features is that a number of characters in the book are circled in red. These characters, including xuan, jiong, zhen, shu, and xu, represent taboo names, the use of which was to be avoided during the Song dynasty. The work was originally in the collection of Ji gu ge, the library and printing shop of Ming scholar Mao Jing (1599--1659). It has a number of seal impressions. In 1903, book collector Wang Tongyu (1856--1941) acquired it, and it eventually became part of Mi yun lou, the library of the famed bibliophile Jiang Ruzao (1877--1954).


  • Xiao, Tong, 501-531 Editor.

Created / Published

  • Jianyang, Fujian Province : Conghua Shufang, 1161.


  • -  China
  • -  221 to 1161
  • -  Chinese poetry
  • -  Essays
  • -  Poetry


  • -  Title devised, in English, by Library staff.
  • -  Original resource extent: 30 juan in 16 volumes.
  • -  Original resource at: National Central Library.
  • -  Content in Chinese.
  • -  Description based on data extracted from World Digital Library, which may be extracted from partner institutions.
  • -  Title revised per Asian Division.--cc28 2023-01-06


  • 1 online resource.

Source Collection

  • Chinese Books, Manuscripts, Maps, and Prints

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2021666336

Online Format

  • compressed data
  • pdf
  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

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Credit Line: [Original Source citation], World Digital Library

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Xiao, Tong, 501-531 Editor. Wen Xuan. Jianyang, Fujian Province: Conghua Shufang, 1161. Pdf.

APA citation style:

Xiao, T. (1161) Wen Xuan. Jianyang, Fujian Province: Conghua Shufang. [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Xiao, Tong, 501-531 Editor. Wen Xuan. Jianyang, Fujian Province: Conghua Shufang, 1161. Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.