Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Plum in the Golden Vase or, Chin P'ing Mei: Vol. One: The Gathering” as Want to Read:
The Plum in the Golden Vase or, Chin P'ing Mei: Vol. One: The Gathering
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Plum in the Golden Vase or, Chin P'ing Mei: Vol. One: The Gathering (The Plum in the Golden Vase #1)

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  187 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
This first of five planned volumes begins David Roy's long-awaited complete and annotated translation of an anonymous sixteenth-century Chinese novel, the famous Chin P'ing Mei. A work known primarily for its erotic realism, the Chin P'ing Mei is also a landmark in the development of narrative art not only from a specifically Chinese perspective but in a world-historical c ...more
Paperback, 714 pages
Published April 6th 1997 by Princeton University Press (first published 1610)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Plum in the Golden Vase or, Chin P'ing Mei, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Plum in the Golden Vase or, Chin P'ing Mei

Jane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëPride and Prejudice by Jane Austen1984 by George OrwellThe Odyssey by HomerThe Complete Works by William Shakespeare
Clifton Fadiman's Lifetime Reading Plan
189th out of 211 books — 89 voters
Hamlet by William ShakespeareMacbeth by William ShakespeareDon Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes SaavedraParadise Lost by John MiltonKing Lear by William Shakespeare
Best Books of the 17th Century
92nd out of 147 books — 466 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,090)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Jun 27, 2016 Nathan "N.R." Gaddis added it
Recommends it for: Hsi-men Ch'ing Everywhere
Recommended to Nathan "N.R." by: Mr Moore
Chin P’ing Mei, or
The Plum in the Golden Vase, or
Gold Vase Plum, or
Plum Blossoms in a Golden Vase, or
The Glamour of Entering the Vagina, or
Welcome to China, “N.R.”!!
i.e., ‘s about damn time.

And so here we go, volume one of a five volume novel (100 chapters), one novel of six (classic, Chinese), most of which are about as gargantuan. I get sucked into this thing by a marketing ploy performed by the amazonian overladies --; buy volume one for a mere ten bucks (add enough other stuff to get the FR
It is deplorable, but man’s heart is
More venomous than a snake;
Who is aware that the eye of heaven rolls as
Relentlessly as a wheel?

A deceptive book, apparently a titillating soap opera about a dissolute 12th century merchant and his love affairs, but really a complex structure of criticisms of the author’s 16th century world, a corrupt state heading for eventual defeat by the Manchus. The author is so accomplished that it reads beautifully either way. You can enjoy the trickery, eroticism, succu
Mar 10, 2014 Nick rated it it was amazing
The first 25 chapters of the least well known (and, at the same time, most notorious) of the four masterworks 四大奇书 of Ming dynasty vernacular fiction. David Roy's translation project is the stuff of legends: after teaching the novel for 20 years he took another 30 years to complete an unabridged translation. Suffice it to say, this is a very dense novel, with many layers of meaning. Roy has done his utmost to translate (and annotate) every pun, allusion, song, and poem. At the same time there is ...more
Dec 10, 2013 Michael rated it really liked it
"Crazy Rich Asians, the Ming Dynasty Edition." Considering this book was written 500 years ago, and is set in China circa 1100AD, it's pretty darn readable. No mistake, it is a challenging read, though not the most difficult book I've read (that distinction goes to "Mason and Dixon," which I had to put down after I couldn't remember why I wanted to read it in the first place).

The society, as depicted by the author, was so darn corrupt. There was only one redeeming character in the whole narrativ
Dec 28, 2012 Peter rated it it was amazing
So far this is the one of the best novels I've read in a long time. Extremely skillfully constructed, great pacing, and an irresistible combination of high poetry and vulgar vernacular. No idea if the translation is accurate, but the translator's got a fantastic ear. Really enjoying this.
Jun 23, 2016 Whitaker marked it as owned-not-yet-read
Shelves: canon, china
Reviewed by NYRB
David Paradis
Nov 21, 2014 David Paradis rated it really liked it
In the way that it interweaves prose and poetry, the anonymous sixteenth-century Chinese novel Chin P’ing Mei is unlike any other novel I’ve read. For the most part, the prose is straightforward objective narrative from the point of view of an omniscient narrator. It is in a style similar to the style used in 19th and 20th century realism. The poetry (which the translator indicates by indenting it from the narrative-prose portion of the text) is sometimes narrative, sometimes lyrical, and it giv ...more
Mar 30, 2015 Zadignose marked it as partially-read
Shelves: chinese-to-read
I'm promoting my note to a "review," as I'm not likely to return to this for a while. My summarized complaint, at the moment, is:

-The hype about it being a scandalous book has probably been a dishonest marketing ploy at least since the 17th century!
-It's part of a long Chinese tradition of cliche collage-work
-If today's marketing were more honest, instead of saying banned and censored for centuries because it's obscene, they would instead say ignored for centuries because it's derivative.

Feb 26, 2013 Helmut rated it it was amazing
Shelves: china
Großartige Neuübersetzung mit neuen Einblicken

Nun bin ich also endlich bei einem weiteren der großen chinesischen Klassiker gelandet, dem Jin Ping Mei. Wurde es früher zu den "Großen 4" gezählt, hat es seinen Platz heutzutage an das Hongloumeng verloren. Wieso es nur 4 große und nicht 5 große Romane geben darf, kann man sich nur durch die typisch chinesische Abscheu vor Traditionsbrüchen erklären, denn zweifellos gehört das Jin Ping Mei qualitätsmäßig in die gleiche Riege wie das Sanguoyanyi, Xi
Peter Wibaux
Mar 23, 2014 Peter Wibaux rated it really liked it
Chin P'ing Mei brought back memories of my many trips to China over the past fifteen years.

The book is billed as explicit, even pornographic, but it doesn't even come close to scenes you might read in a Ken Follett novel, or even in one of my own books such as Atmos Fear. And neither of those have anything to do with pornography.

The translation by David Tod Roy is superb; the book describes the life, and with it the love, conflict, betrayal, and general (dis)function of the household of an afflu
Oct 14, 2007 Jessie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: alltimebest
The Jin Ping Mei is possibly the best thing I have ever read in my entire life. I wish I had studied more classical Chinese lit at UM.
Pengsheng Chiu
Aug 10, 2012 Pengsheng Chiu rated it it was amazing
an adult but very popular novel published and read since sixteenth-century China.
A. Sacit
Apr 10, 2016 A. Sacit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, classical
David Tod Roy’s extensively annotated translation of The Plum in the Golden Vase (Chin P’ing Mei), Volume 1, from Chinese is most impressive as it required in depth knowledge of the Chinese language, history, culture, and literature. After reading the book, my impression was that the intent of the anonymous author of this 16th century Chinese classic was the education of masses in morality; and explicit sex, heavy drinking and merry making were used cleverly as common themes throughout the book ...more
Sep 07, 2015 Stezsen rated it it was amazing
saia blom nge rate ini? owowowow
baca repiu2 orang2 jadi pengen baca ulang bukunya :v :v :v

biasanya saia kasih full 5 bintang buat sesuatu yg saia suka banget, tapi karena kadar ero di buku ini terlalu parah, kuturunin satu bintang mwehehehehe

klo bagian ero2nya di skip, ceritanya keren sangat.
karakter2nya epik.
segitu epiknya sampe saia punya char paling dibenci di sini dan char paling favorit di sini jugak

mungkin para penulis sinetron harus baca buku ini supaya bisa bikin char antagonis super j
Jul 20, 2015 Tannis rated it really liked it
besides the sexual sentences, there r lots of poems and life principle to learn. we can also see the life status in Ming destiny.
Sep 06, 2015 Sophielee rated it it was amazing
Amanda Bennett
An amazing book, amazing translation. Vulgar, popular... the story of day to day life -- food, clothing, manners, habits, sex -- of a wealthy nouveau merchant in 17th century China. Just finished volume I. On to volume two .... Ximen Cheng has just taken his sixth wife, which seems about to finally throw the other five into terminal disarray.
Apr 01, 2013 Alex marked it as to-read
Shelves: asia
According to Gerard, a fifth great Chinese novel that was banned due to its eroticism. So that sounds intriguing. Although I should maybe get the first four under my belt first.
lézengő reader
Feb 22, 2011 lézengő reader rated it really liked it
Shelves: chinese
I read this book when I was nine and almost finished when my mother noticed it was missing from her shelf, so she thought it was too late to take it away from me ;~)
Jul 26, 2016 Oliver rated it liked it
Surprisingly accessible and meticulously annotated. I don't think I'll start the next volume soon, but I'd eventually like to.
May 11, 2013 Irka rated it liked it
Good story about life of Simen. Interesting plot with load of romantic scenes. Easy to read.
Daniel Burton-Rose
A wonderful work in a vibrant translation!
Laszlo Hopp
Nov 18, 2013 Laszlo Hopp rated it really liked it
Review of all 5 volumes under Volume 5.
John marked it as to-read
Aug 23, 2016
Joe D M-H
Joe D M-H marked it as to-read
Aug 22, 2016
Monika Igevska Rizova
Monika Igevska Rizova marked it as to-read
Aug 22, 2016
Juwon Kim
Juwon Kim marked it as to-read
Aug 19, 2016
Jan marked it as to-read
Aug 16, 2016
Whtvrs marked it as to-read
Aug 14, 2016
Robert marked it as to-read
Aug 13, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 36 37 next »
  • The Dreamer Wakes (The Story of the Stone #5)
  • Outlaws of the Marsh (Vol. 1-4)
  • The Journey to the West, Volume 2
  • Records of the Grand Historian: Qin Dynasty
  • Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio
  • Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Vol. 2
  • The Scholars
  • The Peony Pavilion: Mudan ting
  • The Carnal Prayer Mat
  • A Dictionary of Maqiao
  • The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch
  • The Real Story of Ah-Q and Other Tales of China: The Complete Fiction of Lu Xun
  • Poems of the Masters: China's Classic Anthology of T'ang and Sung Dynasty Verse
  • The Song of Everlasting Sorrow: A Novel of Shanghai
Lanling Xiaoxiao Sheng (Chinese: 蘭陵笑笑生) or "The Scoffing Scholar of Lanling", a clear pseudonym.

Jin Ping Mei (Chinese: 金瓶梅; pinyin: Jīn Píng Méi), translated as The Plum in the Golden Vase or The Golden Lotus, is a Chinese naturalistic novel composed in vernacular Chinese during the late Ming Dynasty. The anonymous author took the pseudonym Lanling Xiaoxiao Sheng (蘭陵笑笑生), "The Scoffing Scholar of
More about Lanling Xiaoxiao Sheng...

Other Books in the Series

The Plum in the Golden Vase (5 books)
  • The Plum in the Golden Vase Or, Chin P'Ing Mei: Volume Two: The Rivals
  • The Plum in the Golden Vase Or, Chin P'Ing Mei, Volume Three: The Aphrodisiac
  • The Plum in the Golden Vase or, Chin P'ing Mei: Volume Four: The Climax (Princeton Library of Asian Translations)
  • The Plum in the Golden Vase or, Chin P'ing Mei: Volume Five: The Dissolution

Share This Book

“It is made up of one character each from the names of three of the major female protagonists of the novel (P'an Chin-lien, Li P'ing-erh, and P'ang Ch'un-mei) that would literally mean Gold Vase Plum; it can be semantically construed as The Plum in the Golden Vase, or Plum Blossoms in a Golden Vase; and it puns with three near homophones that might be rendered as The Glamour of Entering the Vagina.” 0 likes
More quotes…