Lecture 3-Chuci - L ect ur e 3 – Chu Ci Por t r ait of Qu...

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Unformatted text preview: L ect ur e 3 – Chu Ci Por t r ait of Qu Yuan (ca. 340 278) A bove: Ancient char act er for Chu Right : Bamboo-slip v er sion of t he L i Sao B ackgr ound • St at e of Chu is lar ge in size and st r ong in power , St locat ed in t he sout her n par t of China. l ocat • T he Sout her n ancest or of Chinese poet r y, not as old as The B ook of Odes fr om t he Nor t h, is par t ially der ived fr om it . it • T hink of t hem as t wo separ at e sour ces, cont r ibut ing Think i n equal measur e t o t he new kind poet r y t hat began t o emer ge in t he 2nd Cent ur y C.E. emer • Bot h t r adit ions or iginat ed in music and dance. B an Gu in his H i stor y of the H an w r ot e of Chu: “ Chu is a land of lakes and r iver s, of well-for est ed Chu m ount ains and of t he wide lowlands of Jiangnan…The people live on fish and r ice. H unt ing, fishing and woodpeople gat her ing ar e t heir pr incipal act ivit ies. Because t her e is gat always enough t o eat , t hey ar e a lazy and impr ovident f olk, laying up no st or es for t he fut ur e…They have no f ear of cold or hunger ; on t he ot her hand, t her e ar e no r ich households among t hem. They believe in t he power of shamans and spir it s and ar e much addict ed t o lewd r eligious r it es.” I n t er ms of r eligion, Nor t her n China was influenced by Confucius’s idea t hat “r espect t he ghost s spir it s and r efr ain fr om t hem” wher eas t he Sout h maint ained t r adit ional beliefs in ghost s and spir it s. I n t he wr it ings of Qu Yuan we see a ver y st r ong influence of Daoism. i nfluence Songs of Chu wr it t en using local linguist ic pat t er ns w hich differ ed gr eat ly fr om t he language used in t he Odes. Odes. N at ur al envir onment of in t he sout h played a major r ole in t he imager y and passions expr essed in Qu Yuan’s wr it ings. Y uan’s Qu Yuan ser ved as an impor t ant and favor ed officer in Chu. Chu. Polit ical dilemma: join Qi and fight Qin or befr iend Qin. Qin. Qu Yuan pr efer r ed t he 1st , however , ot her officials and t he concubine of t he Chu king pr efer r ed t he 2nd. Qu was event ually dr iven out of t he palace. Result was Qin at t acked Chu, capt ur ing t heir king who died aft er 3 year s of impr isonment . w ho D ur ing his exile Qu began t o wr it e poet r y and wit h a new king on t he t hr one, he r et ur ned. n ew Chu king mar r ied Qin king’s daught er and Qu was D ur ing his final per iod of exile in 278, he commit t ed suicide by dr owning himself in t he M iluo r iver . suicide I n r emembr ance of t his event , Chinese people eat st icky-r ice dumplings and r ace dr agon boat s dur ing t he Duanwu F est ival. D uanwu An ant hology of wr it ings cont aining 17 pieces. An Or iginal wor ks of Qu Yuan, wr it t en in “elegy” st yle ar e: ar L i Sao “Encount er ing Sor r ow” Jiu Ge “Nine Songs” J iu Tian Wen “H eavenly Quest ions” T ian Chuci poems use longer lines t han t he Odes and m ake fr equent use of t he r efr ain wor d xii x . x T he ent ir e collect ion was compiled and edit ed by Wang Yi dur ing t he lat e H an dynast y. W ang The mast er piece of t he ent ir e collect ion. T he An epic poem of 373 lines. An E mploys met aphor s and similes wit h appr opr iat e classes of compar ison: classes B ir ds of beaut y and fr agr ant her bs ar e mat ched w it h loyalt y and int egr it y; beast s t hat pr owl and t hings in nat ur e t hat offend wit h t heir foul smell ar e made t o bet oken t he slander ous and t he wicked. w icked. Pr inces ar e likened t o fair ladies, and able m inist er s ar e compar ed t o women of beaut y; v ar ious fabulous dr agons and phoenixes ar e employed as vehicles t o suggest good per sons; f leet ing clouds and r ainbows st and for t he Fr om beginning t o it s end, t he poem descr ibes t he lifeFr and-deat h st r uggle bet ween t he beaut iful and ugly, and-deat exposing t he king’s er r or s and t he evil of his minist er s. m inist Poem st ar t s by int r oducing t he poet , pr oceeding t o t he t heme of t he poem: t he poet ’s sincer it y, int egr it y, w or t h, and desir e t o guide and assist t he king (t he “Fair One”). “ Fair N ext , he int r oduces one of t he char act er ist ic allegor ical devices of t he poem: t he use of fr agr ant plant s and flower s t o symbolize his own vir t ue and abilit y. abilit I am a descendant of Emper or K ao-yang; am M y fat her 's name was Po-yung. When t he const ellat ion She-t i point ed t o t he fir st mont h of t he year , On t he day K eng-yin I was bor n. M y fat her , obser ving t he aspect of my bir t h, Divined and chose for me auspicious names…. H aving fr om t he fir st t his inbor n beaut y, I added t o it fine ador nment s, Picking selinea and angelica t o wear And t wist ing aut umn or chids for a belt . I hur r ied on, as t hough I could never cat ch up, Afr aid t hat t he year s would leave me behind. I n t he mor ning I plucked mount ain magnolias; At evening I gat her ed sedges on t he islet s. Days and mont hs sped by, never st opping; Spr ings and aut umns gave way t o each ot her . I t hought how t he flower s wer e falling, t he t r ees gr owing bar e, And fear ed my Fair One t oo would gr ow old. H old fast t o yout h and cast away t he foul Why will you not change your ways? M ount br ave st eeds and gallop for t h Come, I will go befor e and show you t he way. The conspir at or s st eal t heir heedless pleasur es; T he Their r oad is dar k and leads t o danger . What do I car e of t he per il t o myself? I fear only t he wr eck of my lor d's car r iage. I hast ened t o his side in at t endance To lead him in t he st eps of t he ancient kings, But t he Fr agr ant One would not look int o my hear t ; I nst ead, heeding slander , he t ur ned on me in r age. …… All your women ar e jealous of my fair face; They chat t er and gossip and call me want on. K un wit h his st eadfast ness for got his own safet y And in t he end per ished on t he plain of Yu. Why be so pr oud, so fond of beaut y? Why must you alone have such fine ador nment s? Thor ns and weeds fill t he palace now; Why st and apar t and r efuse t o compr omise? Can you go fr om door t o door convincing ot her s? Will you say t o t hem, "L ook int o my hear t "? I f ot her s band t oget her and love t heir cliques, Why must you st and alone, ignor ing advice? Yoking four jade dr agons t o a phoenix car r iage, Y oking I r ose on t he wind and jour neyed abr oad. I n t he mor ning I set out fr om Ts'ang-wu; By evening I r eached t he H anging Gar dens. I want ed t o r est a while by it s spir it gat es, But t he sun hur r ied on t o it s set t ing. I or der ed H si-hou t o slacken his pace, To linger by Yen-t zu and not pr ess on. L ong, long t he r oad, far t he jour ney, But I must go sear ching high and low. I or der ed my phoenixes t o fly aloft And cont inue onwar d day and night . Whir lwinds gat her ed t oget her t o meet me; L eading clouds and r ainbows, t hey came in gr eet ing, Joining and par t ing in wild confusion, Rising and falling in jumbled ar r ay. I commanded H eaven's por t er t o open for me, But he leaned on t he gat e and eyed me wit h scor n. Deep wit hin his palace chamber s D eep The wise king slumber s and will not wake. I must hold back my t hought s and not speak t hem, Yet how can I go on like t his for ever ? …… I t hought t hat or chid could be t r ust ed, But he is fait hless and a br aggar t . H e t ur ns fr om beaut y t o follow t he vulgar , Yet expect s t o be r anked among t he fr agr ant flower s. Pepper is all flat t er y and insolence. I cur bed my will and slackened my pace, cur M y spir it soar ing high in t he dist ant r egions. I played t he Nine Songs and danced t he Shao music, St ealing a lit t le t ime for pleasur e. But as I ascended t he br ight ness of heaven, Suddenly I looked down and saw my old home. M y gr oom was filled wit h sadness, and t he hor ses in t heir longing l onging Pulled about in t he r eins and r efused t o go on. …… I t is over ! Ther e is no one in t he kingdom who knows me! Why long for my old cit y? Since t her e is no one wor t hy t o join me in just r ule, I will go t o P'eng H sien in t he place wher e he dwells. E leven pieces in t ot al: 9 ar e shamanist ic songs, 1 is a h ymn t o soldier s fallen in bat t le, and 1 is a cer emonial hymn. h ymn. T he Songs wer e composed dur ing Qu Yuan’s banishment , basing many of t hem off his sor r ow and longing for his king and home. l onging T hey ar e in t he for m of invocat ions by shamans t o deit ies and por t r ay t he dr ess/appear ance of t he shaman/deit y. shaman/deit U sed t o accompany act ions of r it ual or invocat ion and involved er ot ic imager y t hat shocked lat er Confucians. i nvolved I bat he in or chid wat er , wash my hair wit h scent s bat Put on color ed r obes, flower -figur ed. The spir it , t wist ing and t ur ning, Poised now above, r adiant and shining I n endless glor y, comes t o t ake his ease I n t he Temple of L ong L ife, and wit h t he sun and moon To pair his br illiance, r iding his dr agon char iot , Dr awn like a god, he hover s and soar s, Roaming t he vast ness: spir it majest ic, But now descended, swift ly r ising Far off t o t he clouds, he looks down on Chi-chou, The r egions beyond; cr osses t o t he four seas; What land does he not visit ? I t hink of you, L or d, sighing. You afflict my hear t , sor ely, sor ely. [Song No. 2] I spor t wit h you by t he Nine River s. spor Fier ce winds r ise, dashing waves. I r ide a wat er char iot wit h lot us canopy, Dr awn by t wo dr agons bet ween a pair of r iver ser pent s. I climb K un-lun and gaze at t he four quar t er s, M y hear t bounding upwar d, r est less and ast ir . Though t he sun is set t ing, in my gr ief I for get t o go. Thinking of t hat dist ant shor e, I lie awake longing. Of fish scales is his house, wit h dr agon halls, Gat es of pur ple cowr ie, palaces of pear l. What does t he Spir it do, down in t he wat er ? H e r ides a whit e t ur t le, by speckled fish at t ended. I spor t wit h you among t he r iver isles. Wild ar e t he wat er s t hat come r ushing down. You t ake my hand and jour ney east , Escor t ing your fair one t o t he sout her n shor e. Waves, sur ge on sur ge, come t o gr eet us; Fishes, shoal on shoal, t o be my br idesmaids. [Song No. 8] Said t o have been wr it t en aft er Qu Yuan saw images of deit ies, sages, and ot her -wor ldly cr eat ur es paint ed on t he walls of his ancest r al t emple. on A ser ies of 186 quest ion gr oups on t he or igin of t he u niver se, t he nat ur e and movement of t he st ar s and planet s, and legends of t he past . planet I t s value is not lit er ar y but hist or ical for it gives us i nsight int o t he r ich and var iegat ed myt hology of ancient China. ancient W hat manner of t hings ar e t he dar kness and light ? H ow did yin and yang come t oget her , and how could t hey or iginat e and t r ansfor m all t hings t hat ar e by t heir commingling? commingling? W her e do t he nine fields of heaven ext end t o and wher e do t hey join each ot her ? The ins and out s of t heir edges must be ver y many: who knows t heir number s? be W hen H igh God in heaven confer s his mandat e, how does h e give not ice of it ? When he has best owed dominion over t he wor ld on one, why does he t ake it away and give it t o anot her ? anot ...
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This note was uploaded on 07/18/2010 for the course EAS eas256 taught by Professor Davidchai during the Summer '10 term at University of Toronto- Toronto.

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