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Wall carvings, elixirs, and the celestial king: an exegetic exercise on Du Fu's poems on two palaces.

National crises and personal plight set the murky tone of Du Fu's [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (712-70) poetry after the An Lushan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (d. 757) rebellion, which began to cause havoc in the Tang empire in the winter of 755-56, especially when the Tang emperors were later forced for a time to abandon the capital Chang'an, which had been occupied by the rebels. At the court of Emperor Suzong [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (r. 756-62) in Fengxiang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (modern Fengxiang, Shaanxi), Du, then Reminder of the Right, protested against the emperor's decision to demote Fang Guan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (697-763) as punishment for having suffered a military defeat at the hands of the rebels. For remonstrating this way Du Fu received the death penalty, which he avoided due to a successful appeal on his behalf by Zhang Hao [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (d. 764). Fang Guan was demoted, (1) and Du Fu was "granted" a leave of absence. In the autumn of 757, our poet wrote two poems on his visits to two palaces, namely, the Jiucheng [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Nine-Tier (2)) and the Yuhua [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Jade Flower), on his long journey to rejoin his family in Fuzhou [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (modern Fuxian [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Shaanxi).

The present study discusses the sentiments Du Fu might have meant to evoke in the two poems in question. (3) These poems seem to suggest that Du Fu was the first to turn the motif of palace poetry from panegyric to lyric. (4) But what kind of lyric sentiment is expressed in these poems? Were they composed as satire? If so, who or what was the target?

The poetic dichotomy of panegyric and lyric reflects a theoretical distinction between what David McMullen calls the "two bodies" of the Tang sovereigns.(5) "The first 'body' or role," notes McMullen, "was that of the immortal sovereign." This "immortality" was a constant attribute of the emperor in panegyric works on palaces. McMullen's definition of the "second body" of the Tang sovereigns may be seen to suggest a motive behind Du Fu's poems on the two palaces:
 They were individuals; they had their passions, their crises of
 authority; they aged as other men; they feared death. They lived in
 large palace communities that embodied the highest standards of
 luxury; they spent resources, took political decisions, lavished
 patronage on religious figures of their own choice, and had
 favourites ... (6)

Du Fu, as we shall see in the discussion below, transformed poetry on palaces to focus on the carnal instead of the immortal. This switch from the "first body" to the "second body" represented Du Fu's doubts about the sovereign's immortality and the impregnability of the dynastic house.


The two poems that concern us are both in the "ancient" style. Here they are:





Two Tang emperors, Taizong [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (r. 626-49) and Gaozong [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (r. 649-83), were closely associated with these palaces. The Jiucheng Palace was originally built in the Sui dynasty and called the Renshou [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Palace. In the early years of the Tang, it was in danger of being dismantled because of its association with the extravagance of the Sui. After discussions between Taizong and his ministers, however, it was allowed to remain. On his visit to this palace in 632, Taizong is said to have discovered a sweet spring (liquan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) on its grounds, which was interpreted as a propitious sign. Consequently, a commemorative stele was erected at the spot. Wei Zheng [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] composed the inscription and Ouyang Xun [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] transcribed it onto the stele for engraving. In the history of Chinese calligraphy, this stele enjoys high renown (see appendix 1). Several lines in the piece condemn the waste associated with the building of the palace, including the following:
 This [i.e., the Jiucheng Palace] was formerly the Renshou Palace of
 the Sui. ... We observe that the construction was a result of moving
 mountains following along brooks. Its extreme extravagance was a
 result of [employing the labor of] the people to satisfy the desire
 [of the rulers]. This is indeed to be condemned. (9)

The content of this inscription and its didactic tone became a guideline for later compositions on the palace, including Wang Bo's [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (650-ca. 676) eulogy and poems presented to emperor Gaozong and a poem by Li Shangyin [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (ca. 813-858). (10) A standard feature is reference to King Mu of Zhou [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] as a monitory example of debauchery and the pursuit of immortality. The critical tone adopted in these works assists us in reading Du Fu's poem on the same topic.

The survival and later maintenance of the Jiucheng Palace seem to have brought great pleasure to Taizong and Gaozong. As recorded in Du Fu's poem and in dynastic histories, officials were appointed to oversee the palace. Taizong's frequent visits reveal his enjoyment of it. (11) The name of the palace was changed to Wannian [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Palace between 651 and 667. The Jiu Tangshu records a flood threatening it in 654, when Gaozong was on site; he managed to survive with the help of Xue Rengui [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (614-683). (12) This incident did not deter Gaozong from future visits, which numbered seven more over the next two decades. (13) The last imperial sojourn was in 678, when heavy rain and severe cold caused the death of soldiers. (14) The palace was no longer in use when Du Fu visited the site. It was finally destroyed by a flood in 836. (15)

The construction of the Yuhua Palace was completed in 648 at Taizong's behest. The usual view is that the palace was a refurbishment of the Renzhi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Palace, built by emperor Gaozu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (r. 618-626) in 624. However, it might better be regarded as a new project. (16) Taizong claimed in an imperial edict that fragility was to be observed during the construction project, and that it had two purposes. First, the Cuiwei [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Palace, newly built to the south of Chang'an, was too small to accommodate his officials at levee. Second, with the emperor's health declining he needed a cool refuge, especially in the summer. After years of effort founding and strengthening the dynasty, Taizong argued, he deserved a simple, unsophisticated resort for himself. His insistence on frugality resulted in only the main basilicas being roofed with tiles while all the others were thatched. (17)

Two years after Gaozong ascended the throne (651), the Yuhua Palace was turned into a Buddhist monastery. This later became the famous monk Xuanzang's [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (602-664) base for most of his translation projects. Xuanzang had returned to Chang' an in 645 from a sutra-procuring pilgrimage to India. He had been received by Taizong at Yuhua when the palace was completed, in 648. Having begun his translation project in the capital, Xuanzang was frequently disturbed by pious, eager visitors. In 653 he requested the use of Yuhua for his project, and the request was granted by Gaozong. (18) Here Xuanzang did most of his important work. The sect associated with him was therefore called the Yuhua zong [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] more commonly known as Faxiang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] zong. (19)


The semblance of being a frugal ruler was well maintained in Taizong's early years but it completely unraveled later on. Upon making the decision to keep Jiucheng Palace, Taizong ordered that extravagance be curtailed. Wei Zheng records in his stele inscription:
 Thereupon, we sought lack of adornment by chopping the carved
 objects. Reduction after reduction, [we aimed to] get rid of
 excessive [extravagance]. We repaired the broken and ruined [parts],
 putting sand and gravel on the cinnabar-red stairways of the
 basilica, covering the white walls with mud plaster. The jade-
 embellished sections connect with earthen stairs. Emerald chambers
 lead up to thatched roofs. Looking up at the magnificence and pomp,
 one can make it a mirror of the past [as a warning]; looking down at
 the humbleness and frugality, one can [thereby] bequeath a precept to
 posterity. (20)

Gestures towards frugality such as this in the construction of the Luminous Hall had been practiced since ancient times. (21) For Taizong, it was perhaps the price he paid to keep the Jiucheng Palace.

Historical records yield evidence that Taizong's words in his edict ordering the construction of the Yuhua Palace were but a "defense" for anticipated charges against him of extravagance. One example is a memorial presented by Xu Hui [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (627-650), one of his consorts who exposed his pretensions, saying in part:
 When the north watchtowerof the palace had just been completed, Your
 Highness began building the Cuiwei Palace in the south. Before long,
 you started the construction of Yuhua Palace. Although the structure
 depended upon mountains and waters, it could not be erected and
 constructed without labor. [Despite] reduction after reduction [in
 costs], it was [still] rather wasteful in manpower. In the end you
 manifested frugality with thatched roofs, but the work that had to be
 done in wood and stone was still wearisome. You conscripted workers
 by officially hiring them, and thus caused disturbance. (22)

In addition to Xu's testimony, Taizong's extravagance is reflected in his frequent construction of palaces. Below is a chronology of his unceasing construction projects.


Especially in the last decade of his life, Taizong grew prodigal and indifferent, adopting a tyrannical attitude towards officials who dared to point out his wrongdoings. (23) Apart from the feng and shan sacrifices, originally scheduled for 648, having to be postponed due to these enormous expenses, (24) the Yuhua per se was remarkably costly. The palace comprised nine basilicas and five gateways when it was first constructed. (25) The Tang huiyao records:
 The front gateway was called South Breeze Gate [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE
 IN ASCII]. The basilica, named Jade Flower Basilica [TEXT NOT
 REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], was the dwelling of the Crown Prince. East of
 the South Breeze Gate was a front gateway called Fine Rituals Gate
 [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. Its basilica was called Solar

Yan Lide [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] drew a site map of the Yuhua upon its completion, (27) but it is no longer extant; for details of the palace we must rely on written records. In the Buddhist catalogue Kaiyuan shijiao lu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], we find the names of the following buildings:
 Sucheng Basilica [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (or Sucheng

There is no record that any of these buildings was among the thirteen additional basilicas built after the completion of the main structure. The Song-dynasty encyclopedia Cefu yuangui [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] records the following:
 The construction of various objects did indeed disturb the market
 from which supplies were taken. The cost of buying labor from army
 service and corvee was in the hundreds of millions of cash. When the
 emperor paid his imperial visit, he ordered the chief steward Wang
 Xiaoji [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] to build thirteen basilicas
 [collectively] named Grand Tenuity [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]
 in front of the Dao Manifestation Gateway [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN
 ASCII]. [These buildings were decorated with] patterned bricks and
 heavy bases, and were lofty, spacious, and imposing. As soon as he
 saw them the emperor was delighted. (29)

These records dovetail with archeological discoveries. Materials such as bricks and beams used in the construction of the Yuhua Palace were all of fine quality. They were not made of trees and clay from the local area but were transported from such places as Luoyang and Chang'an. According to archaeological studies, the South Breeze Gateway measured sixty meters by thirty meters, undoubtedly a large construction project in the Tang. (30)

The construction of Yuhua Palace must have been an enormous burden on the local people and the empire. Realizing this, Taizong issued an edict exempting Yijun district from taxes upon completion of the project. (31) His order of thatched roofs was but a gesture, a veneer for his extravagance. Taizong's early advocacy of frugality as recorded in Zhenguan zhengyao [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and the policies he later advocated in his "Model of an Emperor" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], written in 648 for his sons, seem hypocritical. In fact, he admitted his fault in delivering the "Model." (32)


Historical records yield only meager hints as to the sentiments in Du Fu's two poems. One may reasonably surmise that, after barely surviving the death sentence for his confrontational remonstration with emperor Suzong, he would have been more cautious in discussing the "second body" of the Tang emperor(s) in his writings. However, it seems that he maintained the same bluntness in these poems. The Tangshu biographies of Du Fu describe him as "narrow-minded" and "short-tempered." (33) Apparently, even after his near escape from death, he still dared to register his criticisms of the Tang royal house.

A line from one of Du Fu's most famous poems, "Spring Gazing" (Chunwang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), presents a peculiar take on his concern for the Tang empire. The line reads, "The empire has fallen, but mountains and rivers remain." This poem was written in the spring of 756, when Chang'an had already fallen to the An Lushan rebels. (34) The sentiment the poet displays in this poem may be described as "displacement." (35) In Du Fu's poetic presentations there is an obsession for the disordered, as if things were in the wrong place. Records and remarks on current disorders thereafter became prominent in his writings.

His poem "Jiucheng Palace" seems to be criticizing the Sui dynasty, but it actually points to the Tang. After Wei Zheng wrote his inscription, the palace was written of as a symbol of debauchery and extravagance, and we may understand from Du Fu's poem that the following Tang emperors inherited these failings. The poem contains an allusion to King Mu of Zhou (11. 19-20). According to legend, King Mu once had an audience with the Western Queen Mother [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] at Turquoise Pond [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], a mythological palace supposedly far to the west of China. (36) During this audience the Western Queen Mother bade the King: "If you do not die, we will see each other again." However, the mortal king did not manage to live long enough for her promise to be fulfilled. This tale gave rise to the poetic motif that the meeting at Turquoise Pond stands for the pursuit of immortality. (37) This is enhanced by Du Fu's mention of the locally produced numinous mushroom (1.7), an edible plant for prolonging life. (38) It was evidently no accident that Taizong set up a new military unit called the Turquoise Pond Area Command (Yaochi dudufu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in the far west of Tang China in the last year of his life (649). (39) His wish for immortality also figures into the end of Du Fu's poem on "The Yuhua Palace," as we shall see below.

Du Fu's allusion to the legend of King Mu is a criticism of extravagance, (40) as was Chen Ziang's [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (661-702) use of the same legend in his poem "Ganyu" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. (41) From Chang' an to the Jiucheng Palace is not as far as King Mu's trip to Turquoise Pond but for Du Fu it was just as extravagant. The rich meaning of the phrase "carved walls" (diaoqiang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) is an important clue to our reading of Du's lines. (42) The earliest occurrence of this phrase is in "Songs of the Five Brothers [of Taikang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]]" (Wuzi zhi ge [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in the Shangshu:
 Indulgence in sweet wine and music;
 Building imposing edifices and decorating walls--
 He who pursues any of these
 Will certainly perish. (43)

The next occurrence of diaoqiang is in the description of Duke Ling of Jin [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (r. 620-607 B.C.), whose debauched and tyrannical rule was said to be a direct cause of the fall of the Jin ancient state. James Legge's translation of the relevant lines reads:
 Duke Ling of Jin conducted himself in a way unbecoming a ruler. He
 levied heavy exactions, to supply him with means for the carving of
 his walls [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] ... (44)

The term diaoqiang was also used by Taizong in his edict, dated 647, on the construction of the Yuhua Palace, (45) with the same connotation of extravagance as its occurrences in Shangshu and Zuozhuan. Although Du Fu uses the word "trace" (ji [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], translated above as "record" to suit the context of the poem), which seems to imply the wall carvings were no longer in evidence by the time Du Fu visited the palace, we can be sure that these "wall carvings" would have been well maintained throughout the period. Du Fu's poem attests that there were officials who were "assigned [to] and stationed" at the palace, and their duties would certainly have included maintenance of such palace adornment. This claim finds support in the dynastic histories:
 Supervisor-general [office] at the Jiucheng Palace. [Officials
 include:] one Supervisor, consequent fifth grade, lower rank; one
 Vice-Supervisor, consequent sixth grade, lower rank; one Aide,
 consequent seventh grade, lower rank; one Assistant Magistrate,
 consequent ninth grade, upper rank. They are in charge of maintenance
 of the palace gardens, and presentation of the refined elixir.


Additionally, as the most important summer palace of Taizong and Gaozong, this palace, including the wall carvings, would surely have been well kept up.

In his poem on the Jiucheng, Du Fu brings out the theme of displacement. The palace might well have been abandoned with Du Fu visited it, and all imperial activities might have ceased after Gaozong's last visit in 678. In the eyes of Du Fu, this palace, which had fallen out of imperial favor, was a mere "trace" of its past. It was autumn when Du arrived in the area. The imperial visits by Taizong and Gaozong to this summer palace usually ended at that period of the year. These two emperors, who had enjoyed their stays in Jiucheng, naturally become the subject of the poet's reminiscences. The great reign-eras of Zhenguan (627-649) and Yonghui [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (649-655) contrast with the present, when "My visit takes place during a time of crisis" (1. 21). This contrast leads us to apply Du's comment on the Suit to the current situation of the Tang: "Should their dynasty have not ended, / How could it have been taken over by our Great Tang?" (II. 15-16). This invokes the recurring theme of a dynasty's downfall in the cycle of history: the Tang rulers once took over the palace but they too have now lost their capital.

Another allusion in the final couplet invites different interpretations. The "heaven-ordained, or celestial king" (tianwang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) (47) is glossed almost unanimously as referring to emperor Suzong, who was then stationed (shou [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) at Mount Taibai. The penultimate line contains a historical reference to the Chunqiu (Xi 28):
 The celestial king is now hunting in Heyang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN

Although the word shou [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], rather than its variant shou [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], (48) is found in most early editions of Du Fu's collected works, the common practice of allusion convinces us of Du Fu's intent in borrowing the complete episode from the Chunqiu. In addition, the two characters are often used interchangeably in this kind of context. (49) The Zuo commentary gives details of the Heyang meeting, which James Legge translates as follows:
 As to the assembly here, the marquis of jin called the king to it,
 and then with all the princes had an interview with him, and made him
 hold a court of inspection. Zhongni (i.e., Confucius) said, "For a
 subject to call his ruler to any place is a thing not to be set forth
 as an example." Therefore the text says,--"The king held a court of
 reception at Heyang." The text thus shows that here was not the place
 for the king to hold a court, and also illustrates the excellent
 service of the marquis of Jin. (50)

Du Fu uses the "formula" tian wang shou X not to reveal any "excellent service" but to depict the displaced emperor, as well as the fact that ''here (i.e., Taibai) was not the place for the king to hold a court." Like the Zhou king, the Tang emperor has been forced to remain outside the capital, center of monarchic power.

Who is this Tang emperor who is now displaced? Commentators gloss Taibai as having been in the jurisdiction of Fengxiang in the Tang and thus assert that this "celestial king" is Suzong. Geographically, Mount Taibai is quite far from the temporary capital at Fengxiang (see appendix 2). Could Taibai instead be a synecdochic reference to the deposed emperor Xuanzong, who was then far away in Shu? This hypothesis is suggested by the High Tang notion that Taibai marked the division between Shu and Qin [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (where Chang'an was located). (51) If this hypothesis fails to hold, then Du Fu's line, along with other similar references to Taibai in his poetry, seems to indicate that Suzong settled his exile court at Taibai (52)

The poem's ending has traditionally been understood as a description of Du Fu himself; but might it refer to the emperor in flight or in exile? The line lacks a pronoun; literally: "Halting the horse and moreover scratching the head." The phrase saoshou [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is an allusion to Shijing 42, "Jingnu" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], the beginning of which reads:


Here the "I" is playfully tricked during a tryst and thus expresses a feeling of being tanta lized, as his lover was hiding behind the wall.

The context of Du Fu's line perfectly accords with this feeling, although it is unclear whether the head is Du Fu's or the Tang emperor's. The allusion suggests an eagerness to attain something that is currently unattainable. The common understanding of this line is that prior to his arrival in the Jiucheng Palace, Du Fu borrowed a horse from his friend Li Siye [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (d. 759), who was then in Binzhou [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (modern Binxian [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]Shaanxi). (54) However, according to the Song editions of Du Fu's works, he wrote "Traveling to my home on foot" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in which he implored Li to loan him a horse, after composing "The Jiucheng Palace." (55) Geographically, in his northeast-bound itinerary Du must have reached Linyou [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], where the palace was located, before arriving in Binzhou (see appendix 2). Therefore, Du Fu would not have had a horse when he reached the Jiucheng Palace. It should therefore be the fleeing emperor who scratches his head on horseback, although it is Du Fu who is imagining this. In addition, it would be an unnatural switch if the subject suddenly changed from the "celestial king" to the poet.


In his poem on the Yuhua Palace, Du Fu expresses his worldview via his focal point of the vanishing vestige. One main problem in the reading of "The Yuhua Palace" concerns the interpretation of line three: bu zhi he wang dian [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. Chen Yixin summarizes the three different interpretations that have been offered of line three as follows. First, Du Fu did not know to which king the building belonged. Second, the local people did not know the truth, but Du Fu did. Third, it is not that Du did not know the truth, but he could not bear to tell it. (56)

Since early times, the line has been read as Du Fu's avoidance of direct imperial criticism. The Song commentator Zhao Cigong, for instance, says:
 The poem has a line: "It is now known whose regal basilica it is: /
 Its remaining structure is located below a cliff edge." Why? The poet
 is being profound here ... Taizong was the founder of the dynasty.
 During the Zhenguan reign-period when governance was in regular, good
 order, he worked the people hard and wasted revenue on construction
 projects. He went on outings and indulged in enjoyment at detached
 palaces. Therefore, the poet covered up for Taizong and said: "It is
 now known whose regal basilica it is." (57)

As mentioned above, the frequent construction of new palaces in his later life gained Taizong a bad reputation. This is therefore a reasonable explanation of Du Fu's line.

The second opinion noted by Chen Yixin seems unacceptable but it may be of great significance. Zhu Heling [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1606-83), whose view was criticized by Pu Qilong, offers the following paradoxical argument:
 The Yuhua Palace was built in the Zhenguan period, only a century
 before Du Fu's time. But Du says: "It is not known whose regal
 basilica it is." Why? According to the Biographies of Eminent
 Buddhist Monks, Xuanzang once translated sutras there. My guess is
 that the palace had long since been turned into a monastery, and that
 its status was different from the Jiucheng Palace, where officials
 were assigned to their stations. Therefore, no one knew whose
 basilica it used to be. It is not that Du did not know its history.

To clear up these doubts, Shi Hongbao [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1804-71) gives the most straightforward explanation: "If Du did not know that it used to be a palace, why was the poem entitled 'The Yuhua Palace'?" (59)

Du Fu's motive in writing the poem might have been to preserve the history of this palace. Interestingly, he mentions nothing about Yuhua Monastery, the relics of which must have been obvious for him to see. Zhu Heling's conjecture finds support in historical and religious sources. We know that in 651 Yuhua was turned into a Buddhist monastery. Two years later Gaozong decreed that Xuanzang should have this monastery for his translation project. In 664, according to the Abhidharmadhatukayapadasastra:
 There was then an imperial edict announcing: "Now that Reverend
 Xuanzang of the Yuhua Monastery is deceased, his sutras translation
 project has ended. [It is ordered that,] following previous practice,
 the completed translations are to be transcribed by officials; the
 untranslated ones are all to be kept and managed by Cien Monastery
 [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], which is not to lose or damage any
 of them. The disciples of Xuanzang and all the monks participating in
 the translation project who were not Yuhua monks should be sent back
 to the monasteries with which they were originally affiliated."

This is the last record of the glorious history of Yuhua. No one knows if Yuhua was still being regularly managed by monks, but it was surely in ruins during Du Fu's visit. The ruined structures must have been those of the monastery rather than of the palace. It was most likely Du Fu's intention to write a poem that would restore the Yuhua's profile as a palace.

This "professed ignorance of its history," in Hans Frankel's words, emphasizes a theme of "vanity of vanities" (as William Hung puts it), which became a feature of huaigu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] genre poetry. (61) Du Fu saw through the scene of a monastery, the ruined site, and presented the faded, fleeting glory of Taizong. No trace of Taizong's great deeds was preserved at the site except the lifeless stone horses. Evanescent mortal activities, not matter how luxurious, had all ceased to exist. The true identity of the remaining stone horses had also been over shadowed, as the palace had been converted into a monastery. In his endeavor to "dig out" relics of the palace, Du Fu "found" the imaginary beauties and their rouge, as well as the actual stone horses. These are an indication of the palace's history. The former points to the emperor's enjoyment; the latter could be a sign of Taizong's fondness for fine horses or his great triumphs in the battles he fought. (62)

The theme of impermanence also comes through in Du Fu's depiction of the tiles. Archeological studies identify the building in the north area as the main structure, named Sucheng Basilica. The "cliff edge" (juebi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) around the site fits Du Fu's depiction of the palace he visited (see appendix 3). As discussed above, only the main basilicas were roofed with tiles, while the minor ones had thatched roofs. Although tiles have been unearthed in other areas, (63) this does not gainsay our reading of Du's line. Du Fu might have intentionally mentioned the tiles to hint at Taizong's order for the construction project, in which he said that the main basilica should have a tiled roof. All Du Fu saw now were mice skulking through the tiles of the past (1. 2). This physical structure is arbitrarily assigned the status of Taizong's main basilica.

These feelings of huaigu and impermanence reinforce the theme of displacement. And placing the poem in the larger context of contemporary events, the An Lushan rebels had captured Chang'an, executing some members of the Tang ruling house and forcing others to flee the capital. Would the great history of the Tang be remembered? This contemplation of history must have been responsible for Du Fu's tearful lament.


In both poems, it was his lament for the heyday of the Tang that brought about Du Fu's tears. His agony was caused by the fact that, as he said: "My visit takes place during a time of crisis" (1.22. "Jiucheng gong"). His visits to the palaces at this critical time prompted him to state the lesson that extravagance results in the termination of glory. Du Fu extended in these poems his personal lament for his own life to a lament for the mishaps of the Tang empire. (64)

Du Fu's sigh over impermanence reveals the late Taizong's pursuits for longevity and his failure. The final couplet of "The Yuhua Palace" reads:
 On the journey of gradual changes,
 Who is the one who lives long?

This inquiry is open-ended. Is Du Fu referring to himself, to Taizong, to the empire, or to people in general?

Taizong's interest in Daoist mantic skills and immortality might help us understand this couplet. We have seen earlier that one of the duties of officials of the Jiucheng Palace was to "present the refined elixir." Taizong's imperial edict on the construction of the Yuhua Palace, as well as other relevant documents, reveals his concern with his deteriorating health. This seems to have prompted his pursuit of longevity:
 Zhang Daohe [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] was a native of Pingji
 [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. In his early years he roamed the
 famous mountains and learned the art of consuming drugs. He then
 lived among mortals and used to make a salve made from gold. In the
 nineteenth year of the Zhenguan reign-period (645), leaving his
 chariot in Pingji, emperor Taizong brought fortune to Zhang's hut [by
 paying him a visit]. Zhang was given clothes. He was then 646 years
 old. (65)

This record reveals Taizong's interest in techniques of longevity. His regular consumption of elixirs is reflected as early as the early Zhenguan period when it was incumbent upon officials of the Jiucheng Palace to present the elixir. For instance, when Gao Shilian [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (575-647) died, Taizong insisted on attending the funeral. Fang Xuanling [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (579-648) and Zhangsun Wuji [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (d. 659) objected, however. Zhangsun stopped the emperor's horse and said: "Your Highness has been taking the metal-stone [elixir]. According to the recipe, if you have taken it you are not allowed to attend funerals. Why do you not preserve yourself for the sake of your ancestors and your people?" (66)

In later life Taizong was in dire need of relief from his illness. This was an important motive behind his 647 edict on the construction of the Yuhua Palace. The Yuhua "was then considered far cooler in temperature than the Jiucheng." (67) It would be sheer speculation to assert that Taizong had consumed the so-called jade powder elixir, one side effect of which is heat syndrome. (68) But his quest for a cool resort is evident as early as 632, as recorded in Wei Zheng's inscription on the Jiucheng Palace. (69) It is not known what illness caused these symptoms, which appeared when Taizong was in his early thirties. However, his desire for a cool place in which to seek recuperation and longevity is prominent in this edict:
 In recent years my worries and labors have suddenly increased. My
 wandering arthritis and hemiplegia have become increasingly chronic.
 Alas, for my strength to salvage the world: the affliction bends my
 body and is uncontrollable. My might in changing heaven and earth:
 pains gather in me and cannot be removed. It is worse when the
 sunlight is ablaze as flowing gold, and when the wind blows a humid
 heat. I stagger with difficulty between table and mat, and my
 exhaustion is intensified at dawn and dusk. ... Therefore, I [issue
 the order to] build the Yuhua. ... I do not mean to make the people
 labor and deplete our manpower, nor am I fond of magnificent edifices
 and embellished walls (diaoqiang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). I
 simply wish to use it for nourishing my inner nature and preserving
 my life--but this is not for my personal and private interest. I want
 o nurture my spirit and pray for a long life, indeed for the sake of
 the empire and the people. (70)

In the fifth month of 648, just ten months after he ordered the Yuhua palace built, the emperor found among some two thousand captives taken from the Indian state of Dinafudi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (in Bihar province), a wonder-worker named Narayanasvamin [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] who was allegedly proficient in making life-prolonging elixirs. The emperor ordered the adept to make an elixir for him. Officials were sent as far as India to gather the rare ingredients necessary for the concoction. (71) Some sources claim that this elixir was directly responsible for Taizong's death. (72)

In Du Fu's poem on the Yuhua, the emperor's former glory, his failure to achieve longevity, and, above all, the ruined structure of the palace all center on the theme of the failure to attain immortality. This can allow for different interpretations, including lament for the country, or a lament for the poet's personal predicament. (73) But Taizong's eager quest for longevity fits well in the poem on a palace most directly associated with the late emperor. The multi-layered, derived meaning seems to have been based on this sentiment.


Historical references offer a profile of the two palaces as a symbol of imperial over-indulgence, which warrants credibility in our reading of Du Fu's poems. It is surely no accident that the Yuhua, Cuiwei, and Jiucheng palaces were either turned into monasteries or renamed when Gaozong ascended the throne,74 for then they were no longer associated with Taizong. The Jiucheng palace was the only one of the three to regain its original name, after having been known for sixteen years as Wannian palace. During his visits to the Yuhua and Jiucheng, Du Fu was presented with two symbols of extravagance and the pursuit of immortality.

Taizong's pursuit of immortality was obliterated when Yuhua became a Buddhist monastery and eventually the landmark of a new Buddhist school. The emperor's anti-Buddhist policies ostensibly negated any Buddhist element in the function and naming of Yuhua palace. Rather than compensating for his father's wrongdoings by decreeing that the Yuhua be turned into a Buddhist monastery and granting it to Xuanzang for his translation project. Gaozong was in fact offering a "somewhat reluctant patronage of Buddhism established under his father." (75) Thereafter, any Daoist (or at least non-Buddhist) features of the palace were, willy-nilly, given a Buddhist rechristening.

The Jiucheng palace underwent even more complicated displacements. The fact that emperor Wen of the Sui (r. 581-604) died at the palace, which was at that time called Renshou, became Gaozu's excuse for refusing to visit this inauspicious place, despite Taizong's frequent invitations. (76) The two Sui emperors had been devoted believers in Buddhism; the Renshou palace was meant to achieve ren (humaneness) and shou (longevity) in a Buddhist sense. Ironically, however, the Sui dynasty was short-lived because it was "inhumane" according to traditional Chinese views. After Taizong decided to keep this palace, one duty of the officials there, as we have seen, was to present elixir; (77) the palace then had a Daoist function. When Du Fu visited the palace, however, it appeared to have lost favor and had possibly been abandoned.

Nowadays, the name Yuhua Palace is used at the site, although Xuanzang's deeds in the history of Chinese Buddhism are featured prominently. This displacement and negation of Daoist references assumes a more profound meaning in Du Fu's line, "One would not recognize whose palace this used to be." Today's tourists are directed to recall Xuanzang's Buddhist activities, in the newly built Xuanzang Memorial Hall. The same selective memory pertains in regard to the Jiucheng palace, the remains of which have long been buried under the soil. Rather than the palace itself, it is Ouyang Xun's calligraphy on the stele inscription (appendix 1) that eventually attained immortality, as it has come to be regarded as a masterpiece of Chinese art.



All dynastic histories cited in this paper are based on the Beijing Zhonghua shuju typeset editions.

Appendix 1:

First few lines of the "Inscription on the Sweet Spring." composed by Wei Zheng, transcribed by Ouyang Xuc

Source:Song ta "Jiuchenggong bei" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Rpt., Beijing: Zhongguo shudian. 1988.

Appendix 2:

A map of Du Fu's itinerary on his journey from Fengxiang to Fuzhou (The outline of this map is based on Tan Qixiang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], ed., Zhongguo lishi ditu ji [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], vol. 5 [Shanghai: Ditu chubanshe, 1982].)




For enabling me to visit the historical site of the Yuhua Palace in Tongchuar. [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] district, 142 miles north of the city of Xi'an, I am grateful to the Faculty of Arts Seed Funding Scheme 2004. University of Sydney, and also the China National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language under the "Visiting Program for Foreign Scholars of Sinology to China." I am thankful to Xu Wenjun [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Puhui [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], and Liu Linkui [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] assistance during my visit. I also thank Stephan Kory for polishing early versions of some of my translations, and Tyler Pike for editing an early draft of the paper.

(1.) XTS 201.5737; William Hung, Tu Fu: China's Greatest Poet (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1952), 109-10. Quoting Pan Deyu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1785-1839), Hung points out that "the express charge was only Fang's association with an undesirable character, and Du Fu's argument in Fang's defense was that an association, how ever undesirable, constituted no guilt." Hung, A Supplementary Volume of Notes for Tu Fu: China's Greatest. Poet (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1952), 66. The character in question was a lute player named Dong Tinglan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Pan, Yangyizhai Li Du shihua [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in Du Fushihua jiaozhu wuzhong [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] ed. Zhang Zhonggang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] | (Beijing: Shumu wenxian, 1994), 270-71.

(2.) According to Lu Yin [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1100-1176) and Cai Mengbi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII].comps. Du Gongbu Caotangshi jian [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Congshu jicheng end.), 11,414, "[The palace was on] a mountain that has nine tiers; therefore it is called 'nine-tier.'" The phrase also means the completion of a performance of nine sets of music; see Shangshu (SSJ), 5.32a, Kong Yingda's [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (574-648) commentary. The meaning of "nine-tier" finds support in the terrain of the palace's location, which is in modern Xincheng, Linyou district, a plateau in the mountains at an altitude of nearly 1100 meters. See Zhongguo shehui kexueyuan kaogn yanjiusuo Xi'an Tangcheng gongzuodui [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] "Sui Renshougong Tang Jiuchenggong 37 hao dianzhi de fajue" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 37[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Kaogu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 339 (1995): 1084. Two poems on the palace suggest that jiucheng is a description of the towering palace. Du Fu has "storeyed palace" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1. 3, see poem below). Shangguan Yi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (608-64) has "Towering, towering is the Nine-storied Terrace [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] see "Chou Xue Sheren Wanniangong wanjing yuzhi huaiyou" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] QTS 40.506. Wei Zheng [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (580-643) describes the terrain and the building as: "At the peak crest was built a high basilica" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]"Looking up, one sees it (i.e., the structure) soaring to a height of one hundred xun" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] see "Jiuchenggong liquan bei ming" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], QTW 141.13b. Wei Zheng and Shangguan Yi visited the palace when it was still in use. Their testimonies are thus most credible, although jiu may not be the actual number of stories but simply a word meaning "many." See Ma Rong [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (79-166), "Changdi fu" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] WX 18.2a, Li Shan's [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (ca. 630-90) commentary quoting Guo Pu's [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (276-324) commentary on the Shanhai jing [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. The phrase jiucheng is translated literally as "Nine Perfections" and "Nine Times Perfected" in, respectively, Howard J. Wechsler, Mirror to the Son of Heaven: Wei Cheng at the Court of T'ang T'ai-tsung (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1974), 130, and Suzanne E. Cahill. Transcendence and Divine Passion: The Queen Mother of the West in Medieval China (Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 1993). 138.

(3.) Western scholars show a greater fondness for Yuhua than for Jiucheng. As a result, there have been numerous English translations for the former poem but none of the latter.

(4.) Pre-Tang examples of panegyrical palace poems include those by emperor Jianwen of Liang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (r. 549-51), emperor Ming of Northern Zhou [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (r. 557-59), and Yin Keng [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (mid to late sixth cen tury). See Ouyang Xun [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (557-641) el al., comps., Yiwen leiju [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Shanghai: Shanghai guji, 1985), 62.1113. Bao Zhao also wrote the poem "Cong guo jiugong" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in a similar tone. Bao Canjun ji zhu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] ed. Qian Zhonglian [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Shanghai: Shanghai guji, 1980). 5.302. The Jiucheng palace became an important topic in the genre during the early Tang. Works on the Jiucheng are without exception in a laudatory, flattering tone and an ornate style. Examples include Wang Bo's [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (650-ca. 676), "Jiucheng gong song" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], in Jiang Qingyi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (mid to late nineteenth century), comm., Wang Zian ji zhu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Shanghai: Shanghai guji, 1995), 13.341-42 (preface), 13.373-76 (poems 4-10); also in WYYH. 777.1b (preface), 777.7b-8a (poems 4-10); Shangguan Yi, "Chou Xue Sheren," QTS, 40.506; Li Jiao [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (644-713), "Fengjiao zhuifu Jiuchenggong tuzhong kouhao" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], QTS, 57.686. Taizong's poems on palaces differ from his officials' in tone simply because he was emperor. Despite the lyrical elements, their style is basically ornate. See, for example. "Xing Wugong Qingshangong" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], "Qiuri Cuiweigong" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], QTS, 1.4. 1.14.

(5.) David McMullen, "Recollection without Tranquility: Du Fu, the Imperial Gardens and the State," Asia Major 3rd ser. 14. 2 (2001): 191, applying in his discussion Ernst H. Kantorowicz's theory of "the king's two bodies."

(6.) Ibid., 191-92.

(7.) DSXZ. 5.386-88.

(8.) Ibid., 5.389-90.

(9.) Wei Zheng, "Jiuchenggong liquan bei ming," QTW 141. 13b. For a discussion of the historical background and content of Wei Zheng's inscription, see Wechsler, Mirror, 130-32.

(10.) Wang Bo, op. cit., Li Shangyin, "Jiucheng gong," QTS, 539.6162.

(11.) Five visits are recorded in dynastic histories. They took place in the summers of 632, 633, 634, 639, and 644. See JTS 3.42, 3.43, 3.50, 3.56; XTS 2.33-35, 2.43, 2.44.

(12.) JTS 83.2780-81; XTS 111.4140. ZZTJ 199.6285.

(13.) Gaozong's visits to the Jiucheng Palace took place in the summers of 654, 655, 668, 669, 670, 673, 676, and 678. See THY 30.556; JTS 4.72, 5.91-95, 5.97-98, 5.101, 5.103, 28.1049; XTS 3.55, 3.66-68, 3.70-74, 36.935. Although its name was changed back to Jiucheng in 667, the palace was still referred to as Wannian in a poem by Lu Zhaolin dated to 673. See "Zeng Xu Zuocheng congjia Wannian gong" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], QTS 42.528. Modern scholarship agrees unanimously that 673 is the date of the poem's composition. See, e.g., Ren Guoxu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Lu Zhaolin ji biannian jianzhu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Harbin: Heilongjiang renmin, 1989), 180-81; Zhu Shangshu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Lu Zhaolin ji biannian jianzhu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Shanghai: Shanghai guji, 1994), 3.144.

(14.) XTS 36.935.

(15.) When Yang Zuozhong [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (d. 756) was Prime Minister in 747, he concurrently held more than forty titles of shi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (commissioner), one of which was that of the Jiucheng Palace. ZZTJ 216.6890, Hu Sanxing's [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1230-1302) commentary quoting Hong Mai [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1123-1202), Rongzhai suibi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. During Dezong's [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] reign (779-805), an incense burner in the shape of a rampant animal was presented from the Jiucheng; see JTS 12.323; XTS 7.185. Gaozong's visit to the Jiucheng in 678 was the last imperial visit. The palace went out of favor late in Gaozong's reign, mainly because Luoyang became a new political center when Empress Wu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (r. 690-705) was in power. In addition, the Jiucheng lost favor after Xuanzong [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (r. 712-56) built the Wenquan Palace al Mount Li, which later became Huaqing Palace. Jie Yongqiang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], "Guanzong Tangdai xinggong kao" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Zhongguo lishi dili luncong [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 3 (2000): 202; Zhongguo shehui kexueyuan kaogu yanjiusuo Xi'an Tangcheng gongzuodui, "Sui Renshougong," 1083.

(16.) It is generally accepted that the Yuhua Palace was a refurbishment of the Renzhi Palace, which was first constructed, on Gaozu's order, in 624 in Yijun [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] district (in modern Tongchuan District) in support of defense from northwest invaders. According to this theory, the refurbishment took several months and was not extravagant. The refurbishment work was ordered by Taizong, who assigned Yan Lide (d. 656) as architect-in-chief to take charge of the project. Upon its completion, Taizong renamed it Yuhua Palace. This assumption is made in Gu Zuyu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1624-80), where it is asserted that Renzhi Palace was re-named Yuhua after the refurbishment. See Dushi fangyu jiyao [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Shanghai: Shanghai shudian, 1998), 57.23a. See Lu Jianguo [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] "Shaanxi Tongchuan Tang Yuhuagong yizhi diaocha" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Kaogu 159 (1978): 380; Mu Weisheng [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], "Tang Yuhua gong xingshuai kaolue" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Xibei daxue xuebao [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 34.4 (2004): 89. No early historical records, however, assert that the two palaces were one and the same. Yan Gengwang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] treats the two names as two different palaces. Renzhi was in Yijun district; Yuhua was in Fenghuang Valley, four linorth of Yijun according to Yan, Tangdai jiaotong tu kao [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Zhongyang yanjiuyuan lishi yuyan yanjiusuo, 1985), 232-33. Yan's source is JTS, 37.970. A Tang gazetteer records that "the site (where the Yuhua Palace was built) was originally an abode of Qin Xiaolong [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], a native of the district. Taizong said, As the small dragon (Xiaolong) moves out, the large dragon (i.e., the emperor himself) moves in'"; Li Jifu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (758-814), Yuanhe junxian tuzhi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Beijing: Zhonghua, 1995), 3.73. Hu Sanxing, who customarily glosses place-names with reliable sources, do not provide a note to the effect that Yuhua was a refurbished version of Renzhi; ZZTJ, 190.5983, 191.5984, 198.6248, 6253. Another Song source treats the two palaces as two different structures. See Cheng Dachang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1123-1195), Yonglu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Beijing: Zhonghua, 2002), 4.86-87.

(17.) Tang Taizong, "Jian Yuhuagong shou zhao" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], QTW, 8.14a-15b; ZZTJ, 198.6248, 6253; THY, 30.555; CFYG, 14.4b.

(18.) JTS, 191.5109. Huili [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (b. 615), Da Tang Da Ciensi Sanzang fashi zhuan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (T 2053), 50.255a6, 275c20-22.

(19.) This new school is commonly known as Faxiang zong [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] founded by Xuanzang and Kuiji [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (632-682). Since both completed their most important translation projects at Yuhua, the school is also called Yuhua zong. See Wang Zhongde [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Xuanzang yuanji hou [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Xi'an: Shaanxi renmin, 1999), 12-16.

(20.) Wei Zheng, "Jiuchenggong liquan bei ming," QTW I41.14a/b.

(21.) Lushi chunqiu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Zhuzi jicheng [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] edn.), 7.246: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] I thank Derek Herforth for alerting me to this source.

(22.) JTS, 51.2168; THY. 30.555; XTS, 76.3472. For more on Xu Hui, including a full translation of the memorial, see Paul W. Kroll, "The Writings of Xu Hui (627-50). Worthy Consort, at the Early Tang Court."

(23.) ZZTJ, 193.6078,6088, 194.6106,6125, 195.6154,212.6757, 198.6246, 6248, 6253. On Taizong's indulgent and extravagant building (and abandoning upon completion) of palaces and his attitude toward those who remonstrated with him, see Howard J. Wechsler, "T'ai-tsung (reign 626-649) the Consolidator," in Cambridge History of China, vol. 3: Sui and T'ang China, 589-906, part I, ed. Denis Twitchett (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press. 1979), 192-93

(24.) Wechsler, "T'ai-tsung," 192, quoting ZZTJ, 198.6248.

(25.) Zhang Min [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Song), "You Yuhuashan ji" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] quoted in Guo Zengxin [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1855-1929), Du Du zhaji [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Shanghai: Shanghai guji, 1984), 68.

(26.) THY, 30.555.

(27.) XTS, 59.1560.

(28.) Zhisheng [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (fl. 730), Kaiyuan Shijiao lu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (T 2154), 55.560b27, 561a7, Abhidharmadhatukayapadasastra [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (T 1540), 26.625c 18; Huili, Da Tang Da Ciensi Sanzang fashi zhuan, 50.276b15.

(29.) CFYG, 14.5a.

(30.) Lu Jianguo, "Shaanxi Tongehuan Tang Yuhuagong," 383; Chen Xiaojie [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], "Yuhuagong santi" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Wenbo [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 2001.5: 41-42.

(31.) "Yuhuagong cheng qushe Yijunxian zhi" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], in Song Minqiu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1019-1079), comp., Tang da zhaoling ji [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (SKQS), 108.4b-5a.

(32.) See. e.g., Wu Jing [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (670-749), Zhenguan zhengyao (Shanghai: Shanghai guji, 1981), 5.185-88, 6.206 12. On Taizong's writing and distribution of the "Difan," see ZZTJ, 198.6251; CFYG, 40.18b-19a. The "Difan" in twelve chapters is preserved in various sources. For an annotated edition, see Wu Yun [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and Ji Yu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], comms., Tang Taizong quanji jiaozhu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Rpt. Tianjin: Tianjin guji. 2004), 591-622. For an English translation, see Denis Twitchett, "How to Be an Emperor T'ang T'ai-tsung's Vision of His Role." Asia Major 3rd ser. 9 (1996): 1-102.

(33.) JTS, 190C.5054; XTS, 201,5738.

(34.) DSXZ, 4.320.

(35.) A term borrowed from Sigmund Freud, who states that "what appears in dreams, we might suppose, is not what is important in the dream-thoughts but what occurs in them several times over." Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams (rpt. New York: Avon Books, 1965), 340-43.

(36.) Gu Shi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] identifies this mythical place as a lake named Daria-i-namak south of Tehran. See Gu, Mu Tianzi zhuanxizheng jiangshu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Beijing: Zhongguo shudian, 1990), 153, map between pp. 174 and 175.

(37.) Mu Tianzi zhuan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (SKQS), 3.1 a/b. Li Shangyin, "Jiucheng gong." QTS, 539.6162.

(38.) For explanations and variant names of zhi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], see G. A. Stuart, Chinese Materia Medica (rpt. Taipei: Southern Materials Center, 1987), 271. Numinous mushrooms have long been regarded as an important ingredient for longevity.

(39.) JTS, 3.62.

(40.) In a poem that contains a stanza on Xuanzong's extravagant pleasures in the hot springs at Huaqing palace, Du Fu uses "Turquoise Pond" to refer to the venue of imperial enjoyment. See "Zi Jing fu Fengxianxian yonghuai wubaizi" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], DSXZ, 4.268.

(41.) Chen Ziang's poem is "Ganyu," no. 26, QTS, 83.893. For a discussion of the diverse themes of Chen's "Ganyu," see Chan, "The 'Ganyu' of Chen Ziang: Questions on the Formation of a Poetic Genre," T'oung Pao 87 (2001): 14-42.

(42.) Suzanne E. Cahill has proposed a different reading of Du Fu's "Jingcheng gong." She observes a theme of "celebrating dynastic conquests." Her translation of the couplet in question thus goes: "Although the imperial circuit did not reach the Turquoise Water, / Still divine traces are right here, behind these carved walls." Continues Cahill, "although the rulers may not have gone to the Western Paradise, even their residence shows a holy aura," concluding that "Du also demonstrates how flexible and rich with associations the image of the Turquoise Pond had become in his day." See Cahill, Transcendence and Divine Passion, 138-39.

(43.) Shangshu, 7.45a.

(44.) Zuozhuan, in Chunqiu jingzhuan yinde [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (HY), Xuan 2.4. Legge, trans., The Ch'un Ts'ew with The Tso Chuen, in The Chinese Classics, with a Translation, Critical and Exegetical Notes, Prolegomena, and Copious Indexes, vol. 5 (rpt. Taipei: Southern Materials Center Publishing Inc., 1991), 290, romanization changed to pinyin here as elsewhere when quoting from Legge.

(45.) Taizong, "Jian Yuhuagong shou zhao," QTW, 8.14a-15b. The edict is entitled "Jian Yuhuagong yu Yijunxian Fenghuanggu zhao" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], in Tang Da zhaoling ji, 108.3a/b.

(46.) XTS, 84.1262; JTS, 44.1888. Translations of official titles are adopted from Charles Hucker, A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China (Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 1985), s.vv. The Tang bureaucratic ranking is based on Paul W. Kroll, "Basic Data on Reign-Dates and Local Government," T'ang Studies 5 (1987): 104.

(47.) It is interesting to note that at the relic site of basilica 37 of the Jiucheng Palace, the phrase tianwang and a character [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] are found shallowly carved on a door-axle stone-base. It is assumed that the markings were made in the Song dynasty after the building collapsed. But why did the Song carver do this? Did he have Du Fu's line in mind? Zhongguo shehui kexueyuan kaogu yanjiusuo Xi' an Tangcheng guozuodui, "Sui Renshougong," 1092.

(48.) As noted in WYYH, 311.2a. Qiu Zhaoao notes the variant in Song editions; DSXZ, 5.388.

(49.) The Chunqiu jingzhuan yinde Xi 28.17, notes a variant shou [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in the Guliang commentary edition. See also Chunqiu Guliang zhuan zhushu (SSJ), 9.38b.

(50.) Zuozhuan, Xi 28.18; Legge, The Ch'un Ts'ew with The Tso Chuen. 212.

(51.) Li Bai, "Shudao nan" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] QTS, 162.1681. There is another Mount Taibai in the Shu area. Although Xuanzong evidently fled to Shu along the Chencang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] route, which did not take him past this Taibai, Du Fu might simply have used it as a loose indication of that flight. ZZTJ, 218.6978-91. For the location of Taibai in Shu, see Yuanhe junxian tuzhi, 22.574; Tan Qixiang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Zhongguo lishi dituji [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] vol. 5 (Shanghai: Ditu chubanshe, 1982), 65, x3y5. For the routes between Chang'an and Shu, see Chan, "Restoration of a Poetry Anthology by Wang Bo," JAOS 124 (2004): 509 (map); Feng Hanyong [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], "Tang Wudai shi Jiannandao de jiaotong luxian kao" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Wenshi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 14 (1975): 45, 62 (map).

(52.) "Xizeng Wenqing Qin Shaoweng duan'ge" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] "Song Wei Shiliu Pingshi chong Tonggujun fangyu panguan" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] DSXZ, 6.505. 5.356.

(53.) Bernhard Karlgren. The Book of Odes: Chinese Text, Transcription and Translation (Stockholm: Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, 1950), 28. The character ai in line 3 is treated as a loan-word of ai [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], meaning "to hide." See Ma Ruichen [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1782-1853), Maoshi zhuan jian tongshi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Beijing: Zhonghua, 2004), 4.157.

(54.) Du, "Tubu guixing" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] DSXZ, 5.385-86. According to Zhao Cigong [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (early to mid-twelfth century), Li Tejin [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Lord Li. Specially Advanced), whose name appears in a note under the poem title, and to whom Du presented this poem, was Li Siye. See Zhao, Dushi Zhao Cigong xianhou jie jijiao [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] ed., Lin Jizhong [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Shanghai: Shanghai guji, 1994), "yi" Z, 4.210. Li is addressed as Tejin by Duan Xiushi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (719-783) in 766; ZZTJ, 218.6987.

(55.) This assumption is reflected in the sequence in which Du Fu's poems appear in two Song editions, namely Dushi Zhao Cigong (dated 1134-47), "yi" 4.210; Lu and Cai, Du Gongbu Caotangshi jian (dated 1201), 11.416-17. In another Song edition, the sequence is "Tubu guixing," "Yuhua gong," "Jiucheng gong": Du Gongbu ji[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in Xu Guyi congshy [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (rpt. Yangzhou: Jiangsu Guangling, 1995), 2.6a-7a. Although printed in the early Shaoxing [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] reign-period, which began in 1131, in a stemmatic sense this edition is descended from the compilation by Wang Zhu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (997-1057), first published in 1059. According to Zhang Yuanji [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1867-1959), this edition became the exemplar for all later editions of Du Fu's collected works. However, the chronological sequence of the three poems in Wang's edition is dubious on two grounds. First, poems in Wang's edition are arranged by genre, rather than by year of composition; thus, these three poems are in the section for "ancient-style poems" (gushi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) Second. Wang's edition is fragmentary. After the sixty-juan edition of Du's works was lost. Wang gathered fragments of Du Fu's works from ninety-nine juan of materials from nine different sources. The sequence of Du's poems in the Wang recension is therefore by no means the same as it would have been in the sixty-juan edition. The note under "Tubu guixing" that reads [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] appears as early as two Song editions: Du Gongbu ji, 2.6a, and Fenmen jizhy Du Gongbu shi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (SBCK) (dated 1195-1224), 11.4a. In the latter edition, this note (in which [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is erroneously used instead of [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is attributed to Wang Dechen [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], whose annotation of Du's corpus was finished in 1113. This note was inadvertently incorporated in the poem's title in the Lu and Cai edition. Publication dates and other details of editions in the discussion above are based on Wang Qi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (fl. 1034). "Houji," in Du Gongbu ji, 20.22b; Zhang Yuanji, "Ba," in "Duji ba," in ibid., la; Zhou Caiquan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Du ji shulu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Shanghai; Shanghai guji, 1986), 6-7, 17, (quoting Zhang Jusheng [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). 22, 68: William Hung, "Dushi yinde xu" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in Dushi yinde (HY), 16-17; Lin Jizong. "Qianyan" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], in Dushi Zhao Cigong, 3.

To resolve the geographical problem of Du's borrowing a horse from Li, Chen Yixin [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] argues that it took place in Fengxiang, not Binzhou; see Chen, Du Fu pingzhuan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Shanghai: Shanghai guji, 1982), 370.

(56.) Ibid., 374. Some commentators even treat the site as the graveyard of Fu Jian [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (338-85); see Lu and Cai Du Gongbu caotang shi jiam, 11.417. Pu Qilong [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1679-1762), holds the latter view and explains: "If Du clearly says the frugality of the Zhenguan reign-period (627-50), then the extravagance of the Tianbao [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (742-56) would have been manifested"; Pu, Du Du xinjie [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Beijing: Zhonghua, 1981), 1.1.39.

(57.) Zhao, Dushi Zhao Cigong, "yi," 4.211, n. 2; also in Guo Zhida [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (fl. 1181). Jiujia jizhu Dushi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Dushi yinde, 3.51a. Chen Yixin was the first to offer a different reading of the line, with a detailed explanation. He agrees with Pu Qilong's reading that Du did know whose basilica it was, but disagrees with Pu's view that Du lamented Taizong's "virtue of frugality and the final ruination [of the palace]"; see Chen, Du Fu pingzhuan, 374.

(58.) Guo Zengxin, Du Du zhaji, 68, quoting Zhu Heling.

(59.) Shi, Du Dushi shuo [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Beijing: Zhonghua, 1962), 5.45.

(60.) Abhidharmahatukayapadasastra, 26.278a10-15.

(61.) Hans H. Frankel, "The Contemplation of the Past in T' ang Poetry," in Perspectives on the T'ang, ed. Arthur F. Wright and Denis Twitchett (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1973), 351, quoting Hung, Tu Fu, 110.

(62.) "Xing ci Zhaoling" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] has the term "iron steeds" (tiema [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), or the variant "stone steeds" (shima [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), as in WYYH, 306.5a. The term is glossed as referring to the military deeds of Taizong; DSXZ, 5.410. Wei Zheng is said to have criticized Taizong in his later life for "seeking fine horses from ten thousand li away"; Zhenguan zhengyao, 10.296. Relief sculptures of Taizong's six favorite steeds were placed at his mausoleum. See photographs by Adachi Kiroku [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1871-1949) in his Chang'an shiji yanjiu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], tr. Wang Shuanghuai [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Dan Yicheng [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], and Jia Yun [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Xi'an: San Qin chubanshe, 2003), 265-68.

(63.) Archeological data based on Lu Jianguo, "Shaanxi Tongchuan," 382.

(64.) DSXZ, 5.388. 390.

(65.) CFYG, 928. 10951.

(66.) JTS, 65.2444-45; XTS, 95.3840-41.

(67.) Yuanhe junxian tuzhi, 3.73.

(68.) Baopuzi neipian jiaoshi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] ed. Wang Ming [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Beijing: Zhonghua, 1988), 11.204, Jade is not recorded as a poisonous ingredient of elixirs; poisonous materials include cinnabar, mercury, lead, and silver. See Ho Ping-yu and Joseph Needham, "Elixir Poisoning in Mediaeval China", Janus 48 (1959): 236.

(69.) Wei Zheng, "Jiuchenggong liquan ming bei," QTW 141.14a.

(70.) "Jian Yuhuagong shou zhao," QTW, 8.14a-15b; Tang da zhaoling ji, 108.3a/b.

(71.) JTS. 3.61: ZZTJ, 200.6303.

(72.) Wan Jun [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 'Tang Taizong (Shanghai: Xuexi shenghuo chubanshe, 1955), 83. Two sources support this claim. The first is Hao Chujun's [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (607-81) remonstrance against Gaozong's plan to take an elixir likewise prepared by an Indian adept. As a negative example, Hao mentions Taizong's death resulting from Narayanasvamin's potion; see ZZTJ, 201.6356. The second is Li Fan's [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (754-811) response to emperor Xianzong's (r. 805-20) query about immortality, "Emperor Wen (i.e., Taizong) took the life-prolonging elixir made by a barbarian monk, became seriously ill, and could not be cured"; JTS, 14.432. However, ZZTJ 200,6303 also reports that Narayanas-vamin did not complete the elixir before he was sent back to his home country.

(73.) The poem has been seen as moving from a lament for the emperor to sympathy for oneself. See, e.g., Jin Shengtan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1608-61). Dushi jie [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Shanghai: Shanghai guji, 1984), 1.47; Chen Yixin, Du Fu ping chuan, 376-77; Frankel, "Contemplation," 351. Stephen Owen. The Golden Age of Chinese Poetry: The High T'ang (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1981), 224, reads the imagery in the poem as "mocking signals of human mortality."

(74.) ZZTJ. 199.6275, Mu Weisheng argues that Gaozong tried to remedy his father's wrongdoings by ceasing military activities and terminating the extravagant practices in the late Zhenguan reign-period. See his "Tang Yuhuagong," 91.

(75.) Denis Twitchett and Howard J. Weehsler " Kao-tsung (reign 649-683) and the Empress Wu: The Inheritor and the Usurper," in Cambridge History of China. 3: 263. For Taizong's anti-Buddhist policies and privileging of Daoism (mainly because Taizong claimed the Tang ruling house descended from Laozi), see Wechsler, "T'ai-tsung," 217-19; Arthur F. Wright, "T'ang T'ai-tsung and Buddhism," in Perspectives on the T'ang, 252-55; Tang Yongtong [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. Sui Tang fojiao shi gao [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Beijing: Zhonghua, 1988), 13-18. Kenneth Ch'en takes the opposite view of Taizong's and Gaozong's attitudes toward Buddhism, in his Buddhism in China (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1964), 216-19.

(76.) ZZTJ, 194.6106.

(77.) It is interesting, and contradictory, to note that in Gaozong's early reign, Buddhism was dominant in the vicinity of the Jiucheng palace, when Gaozong ordered the Cishan monastery'smonastery's [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Buddhist cave-shrines to be built near the Jiucheng (then named Wannian). See Chang Qing [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 'Shannxi Linyou Cishansi shiku de chubu diaocha [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Kaogu 301 (1992): 913.
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Author:Keung Chan, Timothy Wai
Publication:The Journal of the American Oriental Society
Date:Oct 1, 2007
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