Every Rock a Universe: The Yellow Mountains and Chinese Travel Writing

The Yellow Mountains (Huangshan) of China’s Anhui Province have been famous for centuries as a place of scenic beauty and inspiration for poets, painters, and travelers, and remain a hugely popular tourist destination today. A “golden age” of Yellow Mountains travel came about in the 17th century, especially after the traumatic Manchu invasion of China in 1644 led to the overthrow of the Ming dynasty. The mountains subsequently became an important symbol for loyalists protesting the new Qing dynasty and hoping for a reaffirmation of native governance and ideals. Among them was poet and artist Wang Hongdu (1646–1721/1722), who dedicated himself to traveling to each and every peak and recording his impressions. His resulting masterpiece of Chinese travel writing was printed posthumously in 1775, but has since remained obscure and available only in Chinese.

In this lecture, Professor Jonathan Chaves will present his new book, Every Rock a Universe: The Yellow Mountains and Chinese Travel Writing, which is the first complete translation of Wang’s work into a Western language with extensive annotations. Wang’s newly rediscovered poetry is also translated, showing him to be one of the most accomplished poets of his day. The book’s introductory essays explore the history of scholarly and religious pilgrimage to the area, and the role of the Yellow Mountains as the center of a yearned-for spiritual and cultural renaissance in the great Neo-Confucian, Buddhist, and Daoist revivals of the early Qing period.











When: Tue., December 17, 2013 at 6:30 pm
Where: China Institute
100 Washington St.
212-744-8181
Price: $15
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The Yellow Mountains (Huangshan) of China’s Anhui Province have been famous for centuries as a place of scenic beauty and inspiration for poets, painters, and travelers, and remain a hugely popular tourist destination today. A “golden age” of Yellow Mountains travel came about in the 17th century, especially after the traumatic Manchu invasion of China in 1644 led to the overthrow of the Ming dynasty. The mountains subsequently became an important symbol for loyalists protesting the new Qing dynasty and hoping for a reaffirmation of native governance and ideals. Among them was poet and artist Wang Hongdu (1646–1721/1722), who dedicated himself to traveling to each and every peak and recording his impressions. His resulting masterpiece of Chinese travel writing was printed posthumously in 1775, but has since remained obscure and available only in Chinese.

In this lecture, Professor Jonathan Chaves will present his new book, Every Rock a Universe: The Yellow Mountains and Chinese Travel Writing, which is the first complete translation of Wang’s work into a Western language with extensive annotations. Wang’s newly rediscovered poetry is also translated, showing him to be one of the most accomplished poets of his day. The book’s introductory essays explore the history of scholarly and religious pilgrimage to the area, and the role of the Yellow Mountains as the center of a yearned-for spiritual and cultural renaissance in the great Neo-Confucian, Buddhist, and Daoist revivals of the early Qing period.

Buy tickets/get more info now