Li Qingzhao
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Li Qingzhao 1
The Li Qingzhao Memorial Hall in Jinan2            
Li Qingzhao (1084 - ca.1151), a major Song dynasty poet, is also perhaps China's most famous female poet.3 Although one of her poems might suggest that she herself played guqin, actual and specific connections between the qin and her have not been studied.4 So the reason she has a separate page on this site is mainly because the structure of many of her ci poems was later used as lyrics for qin songs.

Li was born in the Jinan region of Shandong province, hence the museum in her honor now in Jinan. Biographical information is readily available online. She was a daughter of the distinguished literatus 李格非 Li Gefei, and the wife of another literatus and senior official, 趙明誠 Zhao Mingcheng. The marriage was apparently a happy one. In 1127, when she was 43 and as the Northern Song dynasty was collapsing, she and her husband moved south. Her husband died shortly after this, after which her life was quite difficult.

Although Li Qingzhao is said to have written a great many poems, only a few have survived. Almost all are ci. Some sources credit her with as many as 100 ci, but the more conservative count given below is 43: other poems "attributed" to her are said to attest more to her popularity than to hard evidence. See also further details).

Relevant translations of Li Qingzhao's poems can be found in:

Musical settings of Li Qingzhao's own ci poetry
Only one of her ci poems seems to have been set directly for qin, and it was set twice:

Qin songs set to ci patterns previously used by Li Qingzhao
Many 17th century qin songs have lyrics that follow a ci pattern that Li Qingzhao had used earlier. In these cases, of course, one should also be able to substitute Li's own lyrics. Examples include the following:

There may also be other examples where Li's poetry can be set to later tablature. In addition, the following qin melodiy also has a connection to her poetry:

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. 李清照 Li Qingzhao (1084 - ca.1151) (Wikipedia)
14819.1038 no image; nicknames 易安居士 Yi'an jushi and 樕玉 Suyu,

2. 李清照纪念堂 Li Qingzhao Memorial Hall
Near Jinan's Rinsing Jade Spring (漱玉泉 Shu Yu Quan, now a part of a public park in the center of Jinan named after Baotu Spring (趵突泉); there are a number of an ancient springs in and around the park. Although Li Qingzhao was from Jinan there is nothing directly associating her with the springs here.

There is no image of Li Qingzhao in the 三彩圖會 Sancai Tuhui. There is an image of her in the Beijing National Palace Museum by a Qing dynasty painter named 崔錯 Cui Cuo and one can also find numerous modern images of Li Qingzhao online, including of a statue at the memorial hall in Jinan, but all seen to interpret her through modern ideas of glamor.

3. Most famous?
Compare Zhu Shuzhen.

4. Li Qingzhao and the qin
The main evidence suggesting Li Qingzhao herself played the qin is the following line in her poem Huan Xi Sha, also quoted above:

"倚樓無語理瑤琴 High in my chamber and without a word I play (lit. 'arrange') my jade (-studded) qin."

However, this line has no pronouns and Wang, p.15 translates it "someone plucking a jade zither".

Perhaps connected to this, there is a guqin in the collection of 龔一 Gong Yi that some people say once belonged to Li Qingzhao.

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