Emperor Kangxi’s Poetical Reflections on Russia
(53rd Annual Meeting of the PIAC, St. Petersburg 2010)
Emperor Kangxi (A.D. 1654–1772) wrote several poems reflecting his thoughts and policies about the Russian culture and government between 1682 and 1689, when he personally visited the frontier town of Wula in Jilin and when the Treaty of Nerchinsk between Russia and China was finally signed by both parties. As the emperor was closely involved in the strategic plans of the battles at Albazin in 1685-1687 and the diplomatic negotiations with the Russian government during and afterwards, these poems were generally composed on special military occasions and with specific subjects about the people. They provide a different perspective of the emperor’s feelings and understandings of Russia than those given in the imperial decrees and directives.
This paper will identify, translate, and analyze the poems included in The Collection of Royal Works of Emperor Kangxi. Its aim is to study the emperor’s personal emotions which are hidden behind the major political decisions with regard to Russia as shown in those poetical works.