A Glimpse into Luxury: Tsao Chan’s Recollection

Anthony C. Yu, Cao Xueqin, Jonathan D. Spence

When Tsao Chan left Nanking and moved to Peking after his adopted father Tsao Fu was removed as the Textile Commissioner for Nanking by the Yung Cheng Emperor, he was age 13. [ p 290 and 301 Jonathan D Spence].

So, he would have experienced the lavish lifestyle of his family in Nanking.

He recollected the Kang Hsi Emperor’s stay at their estate in chapter 18 of his novel Dream of the Red Chamber. [ p 151).

This was the 5th Southern Tour made in the year 1705 by Kang Hsi.

In the novel, Tsao Chan used the fictional visit by the Imperial Consort Yuan Chun to the house of her parents, the Chia, to describe the visit by Kang Hsi.

He described the meticulous preparations to prepare a residence for Kang Hsi, the stay and the exchange of gifts.

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