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Baguwen (Eight-Part Essay)


During the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644-1912), candidates sitting at imperial examinations were required to write essays in accordance with a rigid eight-part form.

The eight-part essay was the form adopted for the explication of the Confucian classics, which formed the basis for a reinstatement of the examination system. Thus, the eight-part essay and imitations of the classical literary language of the earlier eras of Chinese cultural greatness became the major written genres of the time.

There were no further breakthroughs in literary writing, except for a style of artistically heightened descriptions of everyday life experiences, calledXiaopinwen(little essays), which emerged in the 15th and 16th centuries.

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