The notion of qingbai dictated the segregation of men and women in public venues, and, ideally, male actors played metaphysical female roles.1 However, the intimate relationship between the stage and the page in Chinese culture also meant that Chinese writers in general, and librettists in particular, were proficient in creating metaphysical feminine characters. The literary contributions of writers who developed metaphysical heroines served to enrich this cultural archetype, particularly in quyi texts. The corpus of metaphysical heroines in narrative libretti represents a literary androgyny-a male appropriation of feminized characters, metaphors, and associations that embody the idealized perfection of metaphysical femininity. The resulting exemplary metaphysical female characters are particularly evident in the narrative literature written by male authors and staged by male performers in the late Qing dynasty and the early Republic.