Incorporating fantastic, mythical, celestial, and sacred imagery, the hermeneutically vexing collection of Chu-style verse known as Chu ci 楚辭 is a fountainhead of the Chinese literary tradition as well as an essential source for studies of early religion. Authorship of the core poems is attributed to the legendary ur-poet Qu Yuan 屈原 (fourth–third century b.c.e.?), exiled nobleman of the Warring States kingdom of Chu 楚; but it was not until centuries after Qu Yuan's death that Wang Yi 王逸 (second century c.e.) of the Eastern Han dynasty established the basis of the now traditional interpretation of the collection. Because Wang Yi's Chu ci zhangju 楚辭章句 commentary edition is the earliest received text of the Chu ci, and because its composition was historically and geographically closest to the original poems, the Chu ci zhangju remains an essential, inevitable source. The interpretation presented in the Chu ci zhangju is certainly not the only possibility, yet due to its unique status, its subtlest peculiarities have staggering implications for literary history.