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Title: Zhuangyuan  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Imperial examination, Shenzhen Senior High School
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Zhuangyuan (simplified Chinese: 状元; traditional Chinese: 狀元; pinyin: zhuàngyuan), variously translated into English as principal graduate, primus, or optimus,[1] was the title given to the scholar who achieved the highest score on highest level of the Chinese imperial examinations.[2]

In modern Chinese, zhuangyuan is used to refer to anyone who achieves the highest mark on a test, or, more generally, to anyone who is at the forefront of his or her field.[3]

Fu Shanxiang is known as the first (and last) female zhuangyuan (nü zhuangyuan) in Chinese history, but under the Taiping Tianguo, not the regular imperial exams. After the Taipings captured the city of Nanjing, they offered an exam for women in January 1853 in which Fu attained the highest score. [4]


In total, there were 596 zhuangyuan.[5]

Noteworthy zhuangyuan

References and further reading

  • Mao, Jiaqi (Grace Chor Yi Wong tr.) (1998), "Fu Shanxiang", in Ho, Clara Wing-chug, ed., Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Women, Armonk, NY: Sharpe, pp. 43–45,  


  1. ^ * 
  2. ^ 萧源锦,《狀元史話》,重庆出版社,1992,ISBN 7-5366-1648-1
  3. ^ 《现代汉语词典》,商务印书馆,第五版,ISBN 7-100-04385-9
  4. ^ Mao (1998), p. 43.
  5. ^ 萧源锦,《狀元史話》,重庆出版社,1992,ISBN 7-5366-1648-1
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