Wenhsüan

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Wenhsüan

 

(Selections), the first literary anthology in China, assembled in the beginning of the sixth century by the emperor’s son Hsiao T’ung (501-531). The material is divided into 37 genres. The best works of poetry and prose from the Chou epoch to the Liang epoch were selected. A significant part of the Wenhsüan is composed of works of the fu genre—prose poems that occasionally rhyme—and of works of an epistolary genre—decrees, reports to the throne, and so on. Works of popular art and the Confucian classics were not included in the anthology. Orginally, the anthology consisted of 30 chapters (chudns), but later, when many commentaries grew around them, it was divided into 60 chapters. In the 11th century the best interpretations were selected and com-piled into Commentaries of Six Authors, considered to be of major significance even now. The Wenhsüan has preserved many works of antiquity that have been lost in other copies. The Wenhsüan has been published many times.