10. Three Recurring Themes in the Part-Erotic Albums


10. Three Recurring Themes in the Part-Erotic Albums

1. Voyeurism

We have noted, in a number of the paintings and prints already considered. instances of voyeurism as a way of adding participants and thematic variety to the sexual situations depicted. The viewer of an erotic scene can identify unconsciously with a voyeur within it; the presence of voyeurs can add internal lines of looking that cross and complicate our own. The theme is also common in erotic literature and its illustrations; examples from late Ming in which men can be seen spying on women include one in which a young man peers over a fence into a private garden where maids are pushing a girl in a swing, her clothes flying around her,[1] and another (Fig. 62) in which the Tang Emperor Xuanzong peeks into the bed on which his beloved consort Yang Guifei lies sleeping in the nude, her sex exposed, while three maids observe both of them. The latter is similar in subject to Gu Jianlong’s painting  (PUP Figs. 1.4, 5.26) in which Xuanzong watches her bathing. A literary parallel to these is Li Yu’s story, in one of his Twelve Towers series, in which a young man uses a telescope to spy from a distance on girls skinny-dipping in a lotus pond.[2]

Fig. 62

Pictures of a single man peeking through a window or a hole in the wall at women undressing or bathing (e.g. Fig. 91 below) turn up occasionally in erotic albums of the later period (mid to later eighteenth century), and even more in still later examples of a lurid kind; they are never seen in the earlier albums. Scenes of voyeurism, when they occur in the high-quality albums at all, are seldom simple portrayals of men looking illicitly at women’s bodies, Chinese equivalents to the “Susannah and the Elders” type in European painting; they are, rather, scenes in which the voyeurs watch women or couples performing some erotic act. And they follow a more or less fixed pattern: when it is a woman masturbating or exhibiting herself before a mirror, the watcher is a man; when it is a couple having sex the watcher is usually a woman, most often a maid. In the later erotic albums and in lower-class examples, children often appear as voyeurs, watching from close by as their parents engage in sex; these, too, are seldom if ever seen in the earlier and higher-quality albums we have been considering.

The greater prominence of voyeurs is one aspect of the fundamental shift in the early Qing period from the old type of erotic pictures to the new, a shift that again parallels closely those changes in the character of erotic fiction, notably in Jin Ping Mei, that furnish it with new depths and resonances. In seventeenth-century fiction and drama, as Stephen Owen has argued, the inclusion of voyeurs and commentators who are servants and low-class characters serves to contextualize the event in which the upper-class participants are engaged, opening it to a larger outside world, allowing for alternate, sometimes ironic views of its significance.[3] The locus classicus for literature is the late Ming drama Xixiang Ji (The Story of the Western Wing), in which the heroine’s maid Hongniang (“Crimson”) takes this role.[4] Instances in Jin Ping Mei are in chapter thirteen, in which the maid Yingchun pokes a hole in the paper door to watch Ximen Qing and Li Ping’er making love, and in chapter twenty, in which another maid, Chunmei, spies on the same two and reports to Pan Jinlian what she sees and hears.[5] Another example cited by Owen is in the late seventeenth century play The Palace of Lasting Life, where low-class voyeurs watch Xuanzong and Yang Guifei making love in the bath.[6]

Looking back over some of the album pictures by Gu Jianlong and his anonymous contemporary (Figs. 1, 16, 18, 21) reveals that their creation of quasi-narrative structures within their pictures extends to intricate patterns of looking, patterns that tend to follow this model of voyeurism by maids and servants. Instead of returning to analyze those, however, we will introduce some new examples from other albums, in which we can observe imaginative variations on the basic pattern.

A leaf in Album K, by some mid- or later eighteenth century follower of Gu Jianlong, includes a leaf depicting a male voyeur watching a couple making love (Fig. 63). The watcher, portrayed as a lower-class character, too humble in his appearance and demeanor to be read as a vengeful cuckold, pulls up the front of his outer robe, revealing a patched undergarment; perhaps he is stimulated by his ogling to masturbate. The house he spies on is itself poor, with unpatched breaks in the plaster and simple interior furnishings. Like other leaves in this album, the picture challenges us to construct a narrative situation around these unusually explicit pictorial signs.

Fig. 63

More common are female voyeurs, usually maids, whose role is not that of intruder but of sympathetic observer and potential participant. Album H, which I take to be a close copy after a work by Gu Jianlong, includes a leaf in which the male of the copulating couple makes clear eye contact with the maid voyeur (Fig.64). The maid, a young girl, looks at them unabashedly; the woman, although she may be aware of the watcher, seems unconcerned. The implied narrative divides over this point: if the woman knows, the scene may evolve into a threesome; if she does not, it joins the subcategory of the deceived wife, the next we will examine. In either case, the leaf exhibits the not-uncommon device of making the voyeuristic watcher and the watched appear complicit. Pictures of this kind would persuade us that the ones engaged in sex not only made little effort to conceal themselves, but may have welcomed being watched, and that doing so might also arouse the watcher. (Such an assumed complicity must, of course, underlie the many meiren or beautiful-woman paintings, of which examples were introduced in PUP Chapt. 5, in which the single woman looks out at the viewer, implying the possibility of a physical relationship between them.) For a couple to knowingly have sex in the sight of others would seem to represent the ultimate violation of Chinese rules of privacy, modesty, and decorum. Nevertheless, there is evidence for early occurrences of the practice. Stephen Owen reports that "at parties with singing girls in the Tang, sex could be at least semi-public,"[7] and this observation would appear to be confirmed by the passages in the Han Xizai's Night Revels handscroll, ascribed to the tenth century master Gu Hongzhong, in which the participants drink and revel as if oblivious to the lovemaking going on in nearby beds that are open to their view.[8]

Fig. 64

How the use of certain voyeuristic devices could affect the viewer’s reading of the painting can be seen by comparing three compositionally similar leaves from different albums. The first (Fig. 65) is from Album H, presumably a copy after Gu Jianlong, and presents the couple on a low couch on a verandah. She crouches over him, leaning forward on her elbows. The faces of both are turned toward us, the genitalia of both are visible: the two are open to our viewing, hiding nothing, unconcerned about watchers. She gazes at his feet, and strokes one of them with her hand. As an erotic image, however sexually explicit, this is decidedly closer to the cool end. The second, from Album G (Fig. 66), probably by Gu Jianlong himself, is more manipulative of our responses. The artist here places the couple on an open porch outside the man’s study, from which a bookcase protrudes. A maid watches them from behind the bamboo blind in a moon window opening onto a farther room; stimulated by what she sees, with eyebrows raised and eyes narrowed, she touches her little finger to her lips in a gesture used commonly in meiren paintings to suggest erotic arousal. The man gazes at the woman’s bottom, which is concealed from us; she hides her face in her hands, as if out of shame, a gesture that seems to indicate an awareness of the presence of the watching maid, and of us. Their acts of erotic looking engage with ours, tightening the net of relationships within the picture and beyond it.


Fig. 65

Fig. 66

The third, from Album I (Fig. 67), by some artist close to Gu Jianlong, is clearly derived from the second, whether or not directly.  Other leaves in this album (cf. Fig. 41) indicate a painter of some originality who is at pains to separate himself from his models. Here, while following generally the composition of Gu’s leaf, he makes certain changes, anatomically awkward but expressively effective, that heighten the intensity of the erotic scene, catching us up in an even more complex web of illicit looking and pleasure. The woman again crouches over the man, leaning on her elbows, turning her face away from us while resting it in one hand. Here it is clearly a feeling of shame that she projects, awakened by her sense of abasement over her posture, which deprives her of all dignity, and over her awareness that her bottom, anus and all, is exposed both to the man who gazes at it intently (his face unnaturally turned outward so that we see the sharpness of his eyes) and to us. The woman cannot, properly speaking, know of our presence, but she can be aware (since her face is turned that way) of the maid, who here makes little effort to conceal herself or to disguise her fascination with what she sees. The maid in these pictures functions in a simple sense like the foreground figure in a landscape painting, who typically looks into the scene with us and so mediates our experience of it; the maid can serve to represent our presence as onlookers, and to draw us more deeply and insistently into the picture.

Fig. 67

A garden scene in the album by Xu Mei (Album L, Fig. 68) is subtler but no less intricate, and engages the receptive viewer in a like way. The recumbent woman looks out insouciantly, almost at us, as if oblivious to the exposure of her bare bottom through the transparent pantaloons (Fig..69, detail). Her young husband or lover stares fixedly at what she reveals, while fanning the stove, with a corresponding air of calm that is belied by the erection faintly visible through his own pants. The girl servant at right turns back a bit furtively to watch them both, as the cat does more openly. What is arousing, again, is not the sight of the woman's sex, which is scarcely visible, but her exhibiting it to the man, his looking at it, her looking out at us, and our own gaze visually embracing them all, completing the crisscross pattern of looking. Our scopophilic pleasure is intensified by the complicity and reflexivity with which we become implicated in this pattern, while assuring ourselves that our interest is purely aesthetic and scholarly. It is all very pleasurably convoluted.

Fig. 68

Fig. 69 Detail

A subtheme that might have been developed in this section is erotic listening. We observe it already in the Gu Hongzhong “Han Xizai’s Night Revels” scroll, a late Song copy of a tenth century original, where people in a recessed seat are listening to lovemaking going on in the adjoining compartment.[9] In a leaf by the Qianlong Albums Master introduced above (Fig. 57), the maid is listening through the thin wall of a bed to the sounds—both physical and vocal, we imagine--made by the lovers inside.[10] The inscriptions on Japanese erotic prints are often more explicit, transcribing the amorous sounds made by the lovers.

2. Deceiving the Wife

The male ideal of having sex freely with multiple partners underlies, virtually supplies, the basic plot line for erotic novels such as Jin Ping Mei and Roupu Tuan. The designer of sets of illustrations for these can depict the protagonist doing it in picture after picture. The artist painting individual leaves in erotic albums, which (as I have stressed) do not have a serial character, must devise ways to suggest or imply this ideal of multiple-partner sex without being able to portray it directly, making use of the capacity of the pictures to represent situations with implied preludes and aftermaths. Paintings in which this is attempted make up a large and entertaining group. Among the sexually explicit, the simplest type presents a threesome, typically with the older woman helping the man in taking (ravishing, deflowering) a younger one, the assumption being that the older woman, shown in the nude, must herself be available to him as well (cf. Fig. 39); alternatively, one woman is simply helping him in entering another (Fig. 56). Among the merely suggestive, a common type depicts a scene in which the man is flirting with or seducing a maid in the presence of an older woman who may be his wife; in the more explicit he is having sex with her. The older woman can be asleep or awake, aware or unaware of his carryings-on, perhaps pretending not to notice but subtly signaling to the viewer that she does. Despite these variables and ambiguities we can group these latter examples under the category of “deceiving the wife.”

Two scenes of overt flirtation we have seen already: a leaf in the “Qiu Ying” album (Album C, Fig. 23), in which the older woman dozes while her scholar-spouse embraces the maid who is serving tea--and who smiles and leans her head against his as he nuzzles her; the other a leaf in Gu Jianlong’s Album G (Fig. 38) where two older women seated at a table can apparently hear, but not see, an encounter behind the screen between the man and a maid, who here appears distressed. Another leaf in Album G (Fig. 70) represents the simplest kind of secret dalliance: holding hands with the maid behind the chair while playing weiqi with the wife. A copy of this leaf appears in Album H (Fig. 71), with a change of the kind that complicates the picture: instead of being indoors with the garden beyond, the scene is set in the garden, and a rectangular window in the house behind opens into the man's study, from which another woman, perhaps a concubine, gazes out. She can see the secret joining of hands, as the wife cannot, and she holds her sleeve against her face in a gesture of concern, or of being somehow moved. One is made to wonder: whose side is this voyeur on? What does she stand to gain or lose, either way? Situations of this kind can be spelled out in literature--they are common, for instance, in Jin Ping Mei--but can only be left ambiguous, and accordingly provocative, in paintings.

Fig. 70

Fig. 71

Cheating or deceiving the wife, in painting as in fiction, adds to the flirtation a touch of drama and the excitement of risk. But the risk was in fact small. The ideal wife as portrayed in Qing literature was supposed to turn a blind eye to the husband's dalliances; if she tried to hinder his access to maids or concubines or prostitutes, she could be branded a shrew and bring his anger down on herself.[11] In Hong Lou Meng, Wang Xifeng is angry over catching her husband in bed with someone else's wife and is reprimanded by the family matriarch Grandmother Jia: "Young men of his age are like hungry pussy-cats, my dear. There's simply no way of holding them. This sort of thing has always happened in big families like ours."[12] The concept of fidelity to one's spouse was (as elsewhere in the world) lopsided, enforced strictly on women but scarcely on men. Female servants in a household, as noted earlier, were expected to make themselves sexually available to males of higher station; they might be designated as "chamber wives," with some attendant rise in status--in Hong Lou Meng Baoyu's principal maid, Aroma, is taken on in this way as his bed-partner after his sexual awakening[13]--and sometimes might be raised to the position of proper concubines. The domestic situations portrayed in the paintings, then, represent transgressions that would usually have had only fleeting and unthreatening consequences.

A leaf from Album J (Fig. 72), composed with that special grace that this unknown artist displays, has the man in the doorway clutching the maid and reaching under her skirt while the wife, seen through a moon window, sits at a table, her back turned to us, tuning her qin. Elegance is contrasted with coarseness: the older woman’s posture and occupation present her as a woman of refinement, with hair carefully coiffed and a cool profile that contrasts with the maid’s conventionally pretty face. It is to the cultivated mistress that the man will return after a brief fling with the servant.

Fig. 72

Two others take us into the boudoir, and into the sexually explicit. Album M, the one attributed to Leng Mei, includes an entertaining leaf (this is the wittiest of the erotic albums) that is an apres-sex scene: the young man, nude and with penis erect, has risen from the bed where his wife or mistress, seen through a translucent curtain, still lies dozing (Fig. 73). Her limp posture and her smile indicate that she is satisfied. He is not--he leans forward to kiss the maid who is coming through the door. The leaf exemplifies once again the capacity of these paintings to mark telling moments in a narrative, which in this case is both preceded and assumedly followed by sexual encounters.

Fig. 73

The other leaf, from Album H, is cruder in all senses (Fig. 74). Here it is not clear (as it may have been in the original on which this is based--nuances are lost in copying) whether the woman in bed in the farther room is relaxing pensively after sex, or waiting for the man to come. In either case, he is vigorously engaged with another woman in the antechamber. Also unclear is whether or not the older woman is aware of what is happening outside. In original paintings by the best artists such ambiguities are calculated and effective in creating resonances; here they may be inadvertent.

Fig. 74

A leaf by the ever-ingenious artist, a follower of Gu Jianlong, who painted Album K will conclude this section (Fig. 75), The aging master of the household is attempting sex in a garden house with a young servant girl (small of body, without pubic hair), but proves incapable; she lies back bored and unsatisfied. Meanwhile, his withered and white-haired wife, not at all permissive, approaches across the bridge, supporting herself with a crutch and wielding a club. Here, for a change, we are given an image of a strong woman, even if in her time she might have been branded a shrew; there is no question whose side the artist was on.

Fig. 75

3. Love in the Garden

Readers of Ming-Qing fiction and drama, especially those who are familiar also with the woodblock-printed illustrations for them, know that the garden was a favored location for love affairs (“the perfect site for romance,” as Judith Zeitlin calls it)[14] and rivaled the boudoir as the place where the affairs are consummated. The locus classicus is Peony Pavilion, in which the heroine, Bridal Du, sleeping in her garden, dreams of the scholar Liu Mengmei and loses her virginity to him in a garden rockery, not only in dream but also, within the mysterious world of the drama, in reality.[15] The garden was the only outdoor place where a young woman of good family could spend her leisure hours. Garden settings were common in “scholar and beauty” romances; a lush, unsubtle depiction of such a scene was reproduced in PUP Chapt. 5 (Fig. 5.11). The garden represented a sheltered realm, sequestered from the corrupt and dangerous world outside. The greatest celebration of that ideal is of course the Grand View Garden where much of the action of Hong Lou Meng takes place, with Baoyu and his girl companions enjoying interludes closer to pure poetry than any the real world can allow. Mary Elizabeth Scott, in a chapter on the image of the garden in Qing fiction in her unpublished dissertation, points out that social and class distinctions and constraints tended to break down there, and the separation of inner (nei) and outer (wai) was blurred, as intimate acts were “frequently observed by eavesdroppers.” She writes of the garden as “outside history,” a feminine domain in which women, and men so long as they remain within this domain, could entertain the dream of  "avoiding becoming part of what by Qing times was (notwithstanding its almost unparalleled literary and artistic sophistication) a profoundly authoritarian and repressive civilization."[16]

The possibility of being “observed by eavesdroppers” was in fact one of the attractions of the garden as a site for sex; its ambiguous status as both exposed and concealed combined the stimulating “danger” of being discovered with the secure knowledge that anyone who came upon the couple would be a member of the family, or a servant, and unthreatening--indeed, as noted above in the discussion of voyeurism, she might even join them. The momentary unease of such a situation is caught in a leaf in Album H (Fig. 76), set in a garden pavilion; the man, about to enter the woman, pauses and looks around, startled by some sound that also arouses the dog. But this is exceptional: in most sex-in-the-garden scenes, the participants betray no sense of unease at all. An example is a leaf in Gu Jianlong’s album B (Fig. 17) in which the man lies back on a flat rock, the woman atop him: although they are close to the house (a corner of which is seen in upper right) and directly in the path of anyone crossing a nearby bridge, they appear entirely unconcerned. Their significant surroundings are rather the rockery that towers over them and the blossoming flowers below, which together enclose them comfortably.

Fig. 76

Gu Jianlong’s skill in turning elements of the garden to particular expressive purposes becomes apparent if we contrast the function and corresponding treatment of the garden here and in his group portrait of Wang Shimin and his family (PUP Fig.  4.14). There, the rocks and plants, dispersed over a frontal plane and angularly disposed, serve as a screen that emphasizes the privacy of the space beyond, besides symbolizing lofty status (the pine and bamboo.) Nothing in that picture suggests the sensual qualities that these same elements, plants and rocks, can take on in the erotic albums, or the ways in which they can echo the postures of the figures and otherwise interact visually with them. Two leaves from the other album that appears to be reliably from Gu Jianlong’s hand (Album G) reveal some of the ingenious ways he manipulates this expressive imagery.

Fig. 77

In the first (Fig. 77) the caizi-jiaren (scholar-beauty) romance has moved into a carnal stage. The woman leans back against a bolster placed on a stone bench in the garden as the young man, still wearing his scholar-official’s cap, penetrates her. Large rocks in the foreground provide a firm underpinning; vine tendrils hanging from the broad-leafed tree above them (virtually a trademark of Gu Jianlong’s paintings) insistently engage the eye in tight curling movements that are transferred subconsciously by the viewer to the intertwined lovers. All this is set against a rigidly rectilinear frame: the spotted-bamboo railing, the stone bench, the house behind, in which a large moon door serves the familiar function of drawing our gaze back into the interior so as to enhance the sense that we share a space with the figures.  The couple in the other leaf (Fig. 78) might be a husband and wife who are enjoying sex on a verandah overlooking the garden. Here it is the garden rocks and broad banana-tree leaves that reinforce the vigorous leftward pushing of the man, and the jasmine flowers in a tall vase behind the woman that suggest her contrasting fragility. The flesh colors of the two differ: hers more white, his a warm tan. The faces of both are hidden, except for a glimpse of the man’s narrowed eye; the woman’s right arm, clasped by her left hand behind his neck, presses against his face the red-tipped shoe on her tiny bound foot. Throughout these albums we encounter varieties of sensual imagery that will seem foreign to the Western eye without being quite inaccessible.

Fig. 78

A leaf from the album with seals of Leng Mei (Album M) set in a garden (Fig. 79) is another of the scenes of teenage sex of which this artist, or his clientele, appear to have been so fond. The boy’s pants are down, and the girl is taking off hers, while he unties her jacket. He appears younger than she; his smile expresses eager anticipation, hers a touch of uncertainty. Here, too, the contrasts are subtle but effective. Their respective moods and imagined responses are echoed in the energetic thrusts of the garden rock on his side, strongly outlined and colored with heavy blue-and-green pigments (qing, for youth and emotion), and the finely drawn banana trees on hers, the tips of their leaves browning, perhaps intimating the transience of her youth and beauty. The validity of this reading, and others proposed here for these pictures, matters less than recognizing the capacity of the pictures to permit and encourage readings of this kind.

Fig. 79

We conclude this section with a leaf from Album N, by the Qianlong Albums Master, a particularly lovely evocation of the pleasures of love in a garden (Fig. 80). The woman leans against a folding backrest, clasping her arms and wrapping her legs around the torso of the man, who supports himself on his hands and pushes into her. Here, too, their flesh tones are subtly differentiated. Partly because of the lushly verdant setting, the act takes on a cool elegance. Sex in Chinese erotic albums sometimes appears strenuous (although seldom so much so as in Japanese erotic prints); here it seems unhurried and unproblematic. The peonies and other plants, and the garden rocks, accordingly participate less insistently, and the garden serves as a serene ambiance for lovemaking.

Fig. 80

[1] See Guben Xiaoshuo. vol. 8, pl. 898, a leaf from the late Ming  Jingshi Tongyan.

[2] Li Yu, A Tower for the Summer Heat, trans. Patrick Hanan (New York: Columbia University Press, 1992), pp. 3-39.

[3] Stephen Owen, “Salvaging Poetry: The ‘Poetic’ in the Qing,” in Culture and State in Chinese History: Conventions, Accomodations, and Critiques, ed. Theodore Huter, R. Bin Wong, and Pauline Yu (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1997), pp. 109-11. The application of this idea to the erotic albums was first proposed and persuasively developed in a paper by Hajime Nakatani, “Exposed and Out of Control: Voyeurism and the Figure of the Onlooker in 17th and 18th Century Erotic Art,” written for my seminar at the University of Chicago in Spring 1998. I have drawn references such as this one from Nakatani’s paper without adopting his large arguments and conclusions, which, interesting and original as they were, merit publication by himself.

[4] See West and Idema, The Moon and the Zither, pp. 149-50; also pp. 122 ff., in which they analyze the role of Hongniang, writing of her “systematic exposure of deceit and dissimulation throughout the play.”

[5] Roy, trans., The Plum in the  Golden Vase,  vol. 1, pp. 264-66 and 401-3.

[6] Owen, “Salvaging Poetry,”  p. 123. Another good consideration of voyeurism in literature, with close parallels to its uses in painting, is in McMahon, “Eroticism in Late Ming, Early Qing Fiction,” T’oung Pao, vol. LXXIII (1987), pp. 255-58. McMahon considers the device as a way of “framing” the event.

[7]Stephen Owen, The Poetry of Meng Chiao and Han Yü (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1975), p. 167.

[8] See Yang Xin et. al., Three Thousand Years of Chinese Painting (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997), fig. 103, pp. 112-13.

[9] See note 132 above.

[10] A good discussion of the theme of listening and spying maids in Dutch painting, where they similarly occupy spaces separated from those where lovemaking is going on, is in Martha Hollander, An Entrance for the Eyes: Space and Meaning in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Art (Berkeley, Univ. of California Press, 2002) pp 103 ff. and the following chapter on de Hooch. Once more, the question of whether Chinese artists were inspired by seeing this motif in European prints must be left open.

[11]See Yenna Wu, "The Inversion of Marital Hierarchy: Shrewish Wives and Henpecked Husbands in Seventeenth-Century Chinese Literature," Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 48.2 (December 1988), 363-82; and her book The Chinese Virago: A Literary Theme (Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 1995). On this theme, see also R. Keith McMahon, "Shrews and Jealousy in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Vernacular Fiction," in The Power of Culture: Studies in Chinese Cultural History, ed. Willard J. Peterson et al. (Hong Kong the Chinese University Press, 1994), pp. 304-20, and McMahon’s book Misers, Shrews, and Polygamists. An article by Andrew Lo titled "Amusement Literature in Some Early Ch'ing Collectanea" in the same Power of Culture volume includes a partial translation (pp. 280-83) of a facetious "Law Code for the Jealous," prescribing punishments for women who commit these sins. Both Wu and McMahon, however, also cite and discuss arguments against polygamy and more sympathetic to the women.

[12]Hong Lou Meng, trans. David Hawkes, vol. 2, p. 373.

[13] Marsha L. Wagner, "Maids and Servants in Dream of the Red Chamber: Individuality and the Social Order,” in Expressions of Self in Chinese Literature, ed. Robert E. Hegel and Richard C. Hessney (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985), pp. 251-281. For the episode, see Hong Lou Meng, trans. Hawkes, vol. I, pp. 149-50.

[14] Judith Zeitlin, “The Secret Life of Rocks: Objects and Collectors in the Ming and Qing Imagination,” Orientations, May 1999, pp. 40-47. For a discussion of the association in literature of gardens and flowers with love affairs, see also West and Idema, The Moon and the Zither, pp. 141-45.

[15]Tang Xianzu, The Peony Pavilion, trans. Cyril Birch (Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1980), p. 48.

[16] Mary E. Scott, “Azure From Indigo: Hong Lou Meng's Debt to Jin Ping Mei,” Ph.D. diss., Princeton University, 1989. chap. 3, "The Image of the Garden in Jin Ping Mei and Hong Lou Meng, pp. 183-227. The function of the Grand View Garden in Hong Lou Meng is studied in detail in Xiao Chi, The Chinese Garden as Lyric Enclave: a Generic Study of the Story of the Stone (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Center for Chinese Studies, 2001).

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