Tang Xianzu

Tang Xianzu (September 24 1550July 29 1616), courtesy name Yireng (義仍), was a Chinese playwright of the Ming Dynasty.

Tang was a native of Linchuan, Jiangxi and his career as an official consisted principally of low-level positions. He successfully participated in the Provincial examinations at the age of 21 and at the imperial examinations at the age of 34. He held official positions in Nanjing, Zhejiang province, Guangdong province etc.. He retired in 1598 and returned to his hometown where he focused on writing.

His major plays are collectively called the Four Dreams, because of the decisive role dreams play in the plot of each one. All of them are still performed (in scenes, or in adapted full versions) on the Chinese Kun opera (kunqu) stage. Generally considered his masterpiece, the Mudan Ting is one of two of his works available in print in English, the other being Nanke Ji.


Works available in English

  • The Peony Pavilion (Cyril Birch). Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1980 Boston
  • Tang, Xianzu and Zhang, Guangqian (2003). A Dream Under the Southern Bough. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press. ISBN 7-119-03270-4.


External links

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