YE GUANGQIN (1948— )
YE GUANGQIN (1948— ). Fiction and prose writer. Born into a Manchu family that counts among its ancestors numerous empresses and royal concubines during the Qing dynasty, the most famous being the notorious Empress Cixi, who presided over the empire during one of its most disastrous and vulnerable periods, Ye Guangqin has written about the descendants of that illustrious family and the remnant traditions gleaned from the decay of a collapsed empire.
Her best-known work is a novel Cai sangzi (Picking Mulberry Seeds), which is composed of 10 independent novellas telling the individual stories of 14 members of a Manchu noble family who were thrust into the whirlwind of the political and cultural upheavals in the 20th century. Ye’s other notable works include Shui fan Yuefu qiliang qu (Memories of a Bleak Past), also dealing with family history, and Xiaoyao jin (A Laid-back Life) about life in the old Beijing neighborhoods that used to be occupied by descendants of the Manchu nobilities. Many of her stories have won prizes, including “Huanglian houpu” (Two Chinese Herbal Medicines), “Zui ye wuliao” (Bored while Drunk), and “Meng ye he ceng dao Xie Qiao” (No Return to Xie Qiao Even in a Dream), all cultural vignettes of traditional Beijing. Ye is admired for her graceful and sophisticated language as well as her unique ability to capture the scenes and sights of a bygone era. Ye has been living in Xi’an since 1968 and is the deputy director of the Xi’an Writers Association. See also WOMEN.