Newly Annotated Edition of the Story of the Western Wing, Based on Classic Editions, 6 juan

Ming dynasty (1368–1644), Wanli period (1573–1619)

By Wang Shifu (fl. 1295–1307); edited and annotated by Wang Jide (ca. 1542–1623); illustrated by Ru Wenshu (fl. early 17th century), based on the designs of Qian Gu (1508–ca. 78); engraved by Huang Yingzu (1563/73–1644) and Huang Yingguang (b. 1593)

Shanyin, Zhejiang Province: Wang shi Xiangxue ju, 1614

10 columns per half folio; 20 characters per column; white folding margin at center of folio; single-line borders; overall dimensions of volumes: 27.0 x 17.2 cm; block sizes of text: approx. 21.5 x 14.3 cm; stitched binding

Inventory number: 16229

This work is widely acknowledged not only as the masterpiece of Yuan northern-style zaju (drama, literally "variety show") but the greatest Chinese drama of any period.  It relates the love story of a promising young student, Zhang Junrui, and the lovely but betrothed Cui Yingying.  Through the machinations of Yingying's maidservant, Hongniang, and in spite of the stern Madame Cui's objections and a military revolt, the lovers eventually are united.

No fewer than 60 editions of this work were produced during the Ming dynasty, and many, such as this Wang Jide edition of 1614, included woodblock illustrations in order to make it even more appealing to potential readers.  With the exception of the first picture depicting Cui Yingying, all the other illustrations are in the double-paneled format, treating readers to 21 finely engraved panoramic scenes and intimate vignettes.