A Chinese Examination Paper

Paper of Ch'en Shih-jui, who graduated as 261st among the 314 successful candidates receiving their chin-shih, or doctor's degree, in the Chinese national examination of May 25, 1894, held in Peking. For this examination he wrote two essays and one poem. Reproduced is the first one of the essays, dealing with the famous Confucian philosopher, Hsün Tzu, of the third century B.C. It reveals the beautiful handwriting required from any successful candidate. The question for the essay was received at 10:00 A.M. and had to be answered in about two thousand words by sunset, that is, around 7:30 P.M. In the nine and one-half hours thus permitted, the candidate first had to compose a rough draft of his essay and then copy it into the stylized characters here shown. The copying alone, even for rapid writers, required about seven hours. The original of Ch'en's paper is in the Library of Congress.

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