Akdun’s Poetry on His Journey to Mongolia and Xinjiang

Sherman Han
Brigham Young University, Hawaii

Akdun’s Poetry on His Journey to Mongolia and Xinjiang

47th Meeting of the PIAC, Cambridge 2004

Sui Zheng Ji (隨徵集, A Collection of Poems Composed While Traveling with the Army) consists of 38 poems written by Akdun Zhanjia (1685-1756). They mostly deal with his unique experiences in Mongolia and Xinjiang during his journey while serving as an emissary for Emperors Kangxi (1662–1723) and Yongzheng (1723–1737). Being a high-ranking mandarin and a well acclaimed scholar, Akdun enjoyed considerable respect in the literary circle in the capital. Many works in this collection demonstrate excellent poetic qualities. Their themes can be divided into six categories:

  1. Reiterating his commitment to the assignments with the military;
  2. reporting about the difficulties of his missions;
  3. introducing the ethnic regions and cultures;
  4. depicting the natural beauty in the region;
  5. responding to the poetic epistles from his friends; and
  6. expressing his personal feelings about the military missions.

Those works were never before presented to the Chinese public, let alone to the rest of the world. In this paper I intend to translate into English and analyze by means of the Western critical approaches some of the selected works in the collection.