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Statue of Li Qingzhao in the Grand Hall of Poets in Du Fu Cao Tang

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Li Qingzhao (Traditional Chinese: 李清照; Simplified Chinese: 李清照, pinyin: Lǐ Qīngzhào; Wade-Giles: Li Ch'ing-chao) (1084–c. 1151) was a Chinese writer and poet of the Song Dynasty, regarded by many as the premier woman poet in the Chinese language.


She was born in Licheng to a family of officials and scholars; her father was a friend of Su Shi.

Before she got married, her poetry was already well known with elite circles. In 1101 she married Zhao Mingcheng, with whom she shared interests in art collection and epigraphy. They lived in the province Shandong. After he started his official career, her husband was often absent. This inspired some of the love poems that she wrote. Both her husband and she collected many books. Her husband and she shared a love of poetry and often wrote poems for each other. They also wrote about bronze artifacts of the Shang and Zhou dynasties.

The northern Song capital of Kaifeng fell in 1126 to the Jurchens. Fighting took place in Shandong and their house was burned. The couple brought many of their possessions when they fled to Nanjing, where they lived for a year. Zhao died in 1129. The death of her husband was a cruel strike from which she never recovered. It was then up to Li to keep safe what was left of their collection. Li described her married life and the turmoil of her flight in Hou hsu. Her earlier poerty portray her carefree days as a woman of high society, and is marked by elegance and vitality. After her husbands death however, her poems depicted her as a grief-stricken woman who was 'too lazy to comb her hair'.

Li subsequently settled in Hangzhou, where the Song government was now established. She continued writing poetry and published her husband's work, Jin shi lu.

Only around a hundred of her poems are known to survive, mostly in the ci form and tracing her varying fortunes in life. Also a few poems in the shi form have survived, the hou hsu and a study of the ci form of poetry. She was regarded as a master of wanyue pai "the delicate restraint".

A crater on Mercury is named after her.

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