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ZHA Pingqiu | From the Imperial Examination Star “Magistrate BAI” to the Seclusive “Hermit of Xiangshan”: On the Evolution of BAI Juyi’s Image from Tang Dynasty to Song Dynasty

Release Date: 2017/3/16 9:45:39

 

ZHA Pingqiu | From the Imperial Examination Star “Magistrate BAI” to the Seclusive “Hermit of Xiangshan”: On the Evolution of BAI Juyi’s Image from Tang Dynasty to Song Dynasty

 

As a cultural icon, BAI Juyi, the popular poet in China was portrayed differently in mainstream culture from Tang Dynasty to Song Dynasty.

 

ZHA Pingqiu | From the Imperial Examination Star “Magistrate BAI” to the Seclusive “Hermit of Xiangshan”: On the Evolution of BAI Juyi’s Image from Tang Dynasty to Song Dynasty

 

 

On the morning of March 14, ZHA Pingqiu, whose main research interest is in Tang poetry, probed into the evolution.

 

Professor Zha started the lecture with a recorded story of how Bai’s fans were fond of his official title “Sheren”(magistrate), a position only the most talented was qualified for. In Tang Dynasty, BAI’s image was shaped basing on his early years when imperial examination culture was prevalent and on the rise, and BAI a multiple-time top scorer of the exam. The image of him as an outstanding talent was also consecrated by the wide-spreading of his works like "Chang hen ge" ("Song of Everlasting Sorrow"), and his long-term communication in the form of poetic exchanges with other poets like YUAN Zhen.

 

While in Song Dynasty, as the imperial exam drifted away from its earlier focus on literary activity and ability, orienting towards bureaucrat professionalization and utilitarianism, BAI’s exam star image became less appealing. People focused more on BAI’s later years when he chose to serve in unimportant positions and to remain in relative seclusion, content and leisurely in nature. That is how “Hermit of Xiangshan”, the successful and happy official image took over, and BAI became the spiritual idol of bureaucrat gentry of that time.

 

ZHA Pingqiu | From the Imperial Examination Star “Magistrate BAI” to the Seclusive“Hermit of Xiangshan”: On the Evolution of BAI Juyi’s Image From Tang Dynasty to Song Dynasty

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