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Wuling Chun
Proper name Qi Huizhen 1
Sketch of Wuling Chun by Wu Wei 2    
According to an essay about Wuling Chun by her famous contemporary Nanjing literatus and painter, Xu Lin,3 Wuling Chun was a well-known courtesan in the Jiangnan area during the 15th century. She played qin and was herself able to write down melodies.4 She also sang, usually old poetry, but would not play zheng or pipa for guests.

She had a love affair with a Mr. Fu for five years, but then he was exiled for some offense. She spent a great deal of money in an effort to save him, but when this failed she became depressed and died.

Wu Wei based his painting on this essay. He reflected the praise for her artistic skills by depicting her with qin, books, calligraphy brush and ink stone.5






Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Wuling Chun (武陵春)
武陵春 16623.255 mentions only the opera (which tells a story most famously associated with Tao Yuanming) and cipai of this name, but it is also the name of a qin melody (see below). As for the lady named Wuling Chun, her original name was apparently Qi Huizhen (齊慧真 49553.xxx). There is no further information about her lover, 傅生 Mr. Fu. The essay mentioned here that Xu Lin wrote about her is as follows:


The above was included in an online article in .pdf format found by searching for "武陵已矣". The same file also quoted another essay saying her name might actually have been 齊景雲 Qi Jingyun.

Qin melody 武陵春 Wuling Chun
According to the Zha Guide
37/---/533 this title occurs only in 1907 (XXIX/22; 3 sections; no commentary or lyrics). However, Zha groups it with 武林春 Wulin Chun (16623.140 only wulin), the name for lyrics accompanying an unrelated melody in the ci pattern 武陵春 Wuling Chun, which survives only from 1687 (XII/387). The most famous poem in this ci pattern is probably the one by Li Qingzhao (風住塵香花已盡....); compared to the example here, which has the pattern [7+5] x 4, it adds an extra character at the end, making the last line 7+6. Here the Wulin Chun lyrics by 許田 Xu Tian (莘野錢塘人) for the Wuling Chun melody are as follows:


However, there is no reason to think there is any connection between either of these melodies and the lady called Wuling Chun. On the other hand, perhaps she took, or was given, her nickname because of the association of Wuling Chun (as a ci pattern) with the famous lady poet 李清照 Li Qingzhao (1084 - ca.1151).

2. Sketch of Wuling Chun by Wu Wei (1459-1508) 吳偉武陵春圖
See whole image. The original is in the Palace Museum, Beijing; there are many online copies. The inscription on the full painting is as follows:


I do not know who was the Dong Jing Retired Scholar (洞涇居士 Dongjing Jushi 17777.xxx; likewise for 洞淫居士 Dongyin Jushi) who 頓書 dashed this off. This is followed by seals with the name of Wu Wei.

3. Xu Lin 徐霖 (1462-1538)
Bio/1942 徐霖,字子仁,號九峰道人、髯仙,又稱徐山人。明蘇州府長州人,徙居金陵。戲曲家。

4. Was able to write down melodies (自能譜調 zi neng pu diao)
It is not clear from the essay above the actual meaning of 譜調 pu diao (36833.xxx; also see the definition of pu). Literally it seems to suggest that she could transcribe what she or others played on the qin, but it could also mean that she composed melodies (without necessarily writing them down), could write down her own original melodies, or perhaps even that she could play from tablature, without having a teacher.

5. 琴、書、筆、硯

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