Top of page

Book/Printed Material Si sheng yuan 四聲猿

About this Item


  • Si sheng yuan

Other Title

  • 四聲猿

Translated Title

  • The Four Cries of the Gibbon


  • Si sheng yuan (The four cries of the gibbon) is a collection of four dramas written by Xu Wei (1521--93) of the Ming dynasty. This edition includes the text and commentaries written by Yuan Hongdao (1568-1610). It was printed in the 42nd year (1614) of the Wanli reign by Zhong Renjie. Xu Wei, original courtesy name Wenqing, later changed to Wenchang, style name Tianchi, also in later years assumed other pseudonyms, among them Qingteng Jushi (Resident of the Green Vine House). He was born in Shanyin, Shaoxing Prefecture (present-day Shaoxing, Zhejiang). Among his extant works are the four dramas presented here, which were written separately. They are: Kuang gu shi Yuyang san nong (The history of the mad drummer of Yuyang), Yu chan shi Cuixiang yi meng (A Zen master's dream of the Land of Green Jade), Ci Mulan ti fu cong jun (The heroine Mulan goes to war in her father's place), and Nü zhuang yuan ci huang de feng (The female top graduate gives up a phoenix-hen and obtains a phoenix-rooster). Here they form the collection entitled Si sheng yuan. Xu Wei was a catalyst in the restoration of Yuan drama during the Ming dynasty, when this work was already considered an outstanding representative of Yuan drama. Chen Jiru, a late-Ming writer, painter, and calligrapher, wrote in juan 3 of Taiping qing hua (Pure words from a world of peace and tranquility) that "among the recent Yuan dramas, only Xu Hui (Wei), Tianchi, and Wang Heng, Chenyu, stand out. The most excellent ones are Heroine Hua Mulan and the Mad Drummer Mi Heng Cursing Cao Cao." Tang Xianzu praised Xu Wei as "a flying general on the stage of southern drama" and remarked "how could one be like Wenchang, one would love to extricate his tongue." The learned publisher Zhong Renjie, courtesy name Ruixian, was born in Qiantang during the late Ming dynasty. At one time he was a student of Huang Ruheng, a late-Ming literary author, and had extensive social connections. He published Xu Wenchang wen ji (Literary works of Xu Wenchang), which played a large role in spreading Xu Wei's works. The book is illustrated, with one illustration for each drama. Each illustration straddles a double-page spread, forming a horizontal picture.


  • Xu, Wei, 1521-1593 Author
  • Yuan, Hongdao, 1568-1610 Commentator

Created / Published

  • Lin'an, Zhejiang : Zhong Renjie, 1614.


  • -  China--Zhejiang Province--Hangzhou
  • -  1540 to 1593
  • -  Chinese classics
  • -  Chinese drama
  • -  Chinese literature
  • -  Drama


  • -  Title devised, in English, by Library staff.
  • -  Original resource extent: 1 volume : stitch-bound ; 25.8 x 16 centimeters.
  • -  Original resource at: National Library of China.
  • -  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.

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2021666506

Online Format

  • compressed data
  • pdf
  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

Rights & Access

The Library of Congress is unaware of any copyright or other restrictions in the World Digital Library Collection. Absent any such restrictions, these materials are free to use and reuse. Researchers are encouraged to review the source information attached to each item. For information on contacting WDL partner organizations, see this archived list of partners

The Library asks that researchers approach the materials in this collection with respect for the culture and sensibilities of the people whose lives, ideas, and creativity are documented here.

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

More about Copyright and other Restrictions

For additional information and contact information for many of the partner organizations, see this archived capture of the World Digital Library site from 2021.

For guidance about compiling full citations consult Citing Primary Sources.

Cite This Item

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

Chicago citation style:

Xu, Wei, Author, and Hongdao Yuan. Si Sheng Yuan. Lin'an, Zhejiang: Zhong Renjie, 1614. Pdf.

APA citation style:

Xu, W. & Yuan, H. (1614) Si Sheng Yuan. Lin'an, Zhejiang: Zhong Renjie. [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Xu, Wei, Author, and Hongdao Yuan. Si Sheng Yuan. Lin'an, Zhejiang: Zhong Renjie, 1614. Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.