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Unformatted text preview: L ect ur e 2 - The Book of Odes H ist or ical Cont ext
The Zhou dynasty: Overthrew the Shang in 1046BCE and founded Overthrew the capital in Xian, Shaanxi. the In 771BCE the Zhou king was killed and the In royal family fled east, founding their new capital in Luoyang, Henan. capital Eastern Zhou divided into Spring & Autumn Eastern period (770-476BCE) and Warring States period (476-221BCE). (476-221BCE). Saw the rise of Confucianism and the Saw compilation of the Book of Odes into a homogonous text. homogonous The Spring & Autumn Period: A time in which the King’s power declined to time such an extant he became subservient to the aristocratic class. Traditionally, the nobility of each state would Traditionally, visit the king annually, yet in this period they rarely did so. rarely Most of the inter-state wars were between rival Most noble families. noble The Warring States Period: Also known as the “hundred schools” period Also due to the large number of “advisors” vying with one another for court patronage. with From the original Zhou family there were more From than 100 decendants, five of which were key Dukes during the S&A period. Dukes As the country disintegrated, seven superior As states emerged: Yan, Zhao, Wei, Qi, Chu, Qin, and Han. and The Odes would become one of the Confucian Classics and serves as the fountainhead of Chinese literature. Chinese Total of 305 songs dating from 11th to 6th Centuries BCE. Centuries Stylistic qualities of the songs changed Stylistic constantly until Confucius reputedly compiled an authoritative collection from a pool of 3,000 songs. songs. The Odes were banned by the Qin Emperor and The all copies destroyed. all Memorized and hidden manuscripts survived Memorized and in the Han dynasty four versions were rewritten (only the so-called Mao edition survives). survives). á &‹ Ö k iàªH EE p& ¸ The Odes are divided into three main sections, each having a unique metrical and linguistic structure: structure: State Airs (guo feng): 160 songs, detail daily State life, courtship, undying love, hardship of war. life, Court Songs (ya): 105 songs, divided into Court Major (31 songs) and Minor (74) divisions, composed by musicians for state dinners, entertainment, sacrificial hymns. entertainment, Hymns (song): 40 songs, honor the ruling Hymns houses of the Shang & Zhou dynasties and the state of Lu, performed together with dances or plays at feasts, state sacrifices, etc. plays • Emphasis on t he hist or y of west er n Zhou. Teach t he r uler s and officials how t o r ule t he count r y effect ively and accor ding t o r it ual, like t heir ancest or s. • St at e of L u: home t own of Confucius. • Become secr et language among lit er at i and high class. Recor d of hist or y, ancient daily life and civilizat ion. • The success and failur e of Zhou Dynast y. • Out sider s can st udy t he Odes t o lear n and communicat e wit h t he H ans. • Bet ween t he lines communicat ion: daily conver sat ion using quot es fr om poems. • Poems pr ovide insight s Knowledge of the Odes was common amongst middle-late Zhou ruling elite, thus the text acts as a window to the culture, habits, and attitudes of China’s distant past. China’s Odes consulted for names of birds, animals, Odes plants. plants. Represents a cultural legacy to which each Represents major region linked to the central states contributed. contributed. Regarded as a shared tool of official discourse Regarded that acted as the ultimate distillation of cultural expression. cultural Encapsulates the pre-dynastic genealogy of the Encapsulates Distinguished was Qiang Yuan, Her virtue without flaw. Her The High Lord settled on her, So that without injury or harm, Her time fulfilled, Her She gave birth to Houji, On whom all blessings were conferred. He taught the people to sow and reap... Continuing the work of Yu. Descended from Houji Was the Great King, Danfu, Who made his home south of Qi. There the ruin of Shang began, So that with Kings Wen and Wu Continuing the Great King’s work, Heaven’s purpose was accomplished In the plain at Mu... In [Ode 300] 300] • Rise of Zhou empir e. • H er vir t ue: She’s a vir gin • Cour t ship: r esolve conflict wit h enemies, offer of daught er as a wife -> mar r iage i n exchange of peace. • Polit ical cr it icism: falling of flower s • Est ablishing human bonds: self cult ivat ion t hr ough t he language h h h Since the Odes were written anonymously, attempts to give a precise date and place of composition proved impossible. composition As a result, with the Airs being seen as the As paradigm of the entire anthology, early interpreters emphasized its governmental responsibility and collective compilation. responsibility This is because poetry set to music was regarded This as a spontaneous expression of public sentiment, therefore, the Bureau of Music used the Odes as a measure of public opinion and satisfaction with the king’s rule. the Take, for example, the Ode entitled “Big Rat”: Big rat, big rat, Big Do not gobble our millet! Three years we have slaved for you, Yet you take no notice of us. At last we are going to leave you And go to that happy land; Happy land, happy land, Where we shall find our place. Where Big rat, big rat, Big Do not gobble our corn! Three years we have slaved for you, Yet you gave us no credit. At last we are about to leave you At To go to that happy state; To Happy state, happy state, Where we shall get our due! Where Big rat: corrupted local official or landlord Wishing death to escape the pain of over tax Imperial scholars started to doubt that the Airs were composed by uneducated slaves, coming up with four reasons as to why they could be compositions by social elite: compositions Served as a shared language accepted across Served the nation. the Themes were also of interest to the noble Themes class. class. Best way to persuade commoner people of the Best elite’s vision of social order, especially given the authority of its ceremonial language. the Images found in the poems were adaptable to Images political uses by the ruling house. political • Book of music: t r anscr ipt ion of t he m usical accompaniment • Ancest or war ship: dead pr ot est s, advises and ser ve as a mor al lesson t o be l ear ned. • Ever y poem ser ves as a lesson t o be l ear ned. Common belief that court songs and hymns were either praising the Zhou’s founding or were critical of the later corruption that led to its downfall. This might not be true: downfall. Majority of the hymns do not mention early Majority Zhou institutions whilst the court songs are unreliable sources. unreliable Instead provide a pattern and model for nobles Instead and dignitaries so as to foster cohesion. and Address powerful dead to solicit their blessing Address or appeal to them in times of complaint. or Decry the end of the Zhou ruling house leading Decry to idealization of mythical figures from long Great dignity had Tairen, Great Mother to King Wen. Well loved by Lady Jiang of Zhou, Bride of the noble house. Taisi carried on the fine name. Hence, the multitude of sons. King Wu was graced by the ancestors, The spirits having no cause for complaint; And no occasion for dissatisfaction. He was a model to his chief bride, And to his brothers, young and old, A model in his rule over house and fief. model Affable was he in the palace, Affable Reverent in the ancestral hall. Before his fame, watched over by Heaven. Ever and always in Heaven’s protection. Neither war nor sickness did destroy His bright eminence without a stain. His He was a model before he was taught. He Ready to admit his guilt before a rebuke. Ready [Ode • Emper or : highest man on ear t h: m andat e of haven: a emper or is given t he r ight t o r ule fr om t he haven and begins t he cycle of r ule and cor r upt ion and decline and a new emper or r aises and over t ake t he mandat e and est ablish n ew or der . • Confucius: how be become a vir t uous per son • Expect ed t o spont aneously quot e, pr oduce and finish a poem t o communicat e: a skill t o show one’s Despite knowing next to nothing about the composition and compilation of the Odes, they have always been taken as a vital teaching tool for the aristocracy/officials of China. In other words, the Odes served as a handbook of etiquette. etiquette. Odes were memorized from a young age. Needed to be selected on the spot in any Needed situation. situation. Used to persuade others of one’s erudition and Used perception. perception. Improvising on an Ode to create one’s own Improvising became a skill in itself. As the Odes contained events past and As present, living and dead, male and female, aristocratic and commoner, human and nonhuman, they provided a series of test cases by which a young student could lean their similarities and differences while providing others with a means to indirectly express what was on their mind. was Those who could chant and respond to the Those Odes were considered to be qualified to become a great officer. become Thus, the ability to know people via their Thus, knowledge of the Odes was the most valuable tool of the ruling elite. tool Over time these poems became a kind of Over • Wor ds of t he poem was t he int ent of t he aut hor , r eader s have t o guess t he or iginal meaning • Wr ongly change t he meaning could cause conflict s wit h fr iends and ot her s • The accompanied music r epr esent one’s count r y’s condit ion, degr ee of sat isfact ion wit h it s r uler s • K nowledge doesn’t necessar ily equat e et hical vir t ual. h Confucius was known to recite the Odes, play them on a zither, sing them, and dance to them. There are two well-known anecdotes in the Analects where he points outs the value of ethical training to specific odes. training The first anecdote is in reference to Ode #86 The where Confucius’ disciple Zixia asked the meaning of this line: “Oh, the sweet smile dimpling, The lovely eyes, so black, so white!” The The Master replied, “It means that the painting comes after the plain groundwork.” comes To this Zixia responded, “Then that means that To ceremonies must come after [the basic groundwork has been done to establish humanity, integrity, and respect for others]?” integrity, The Master said, “Zixia, it is you who bears me up The [in my troubles]! At long last, I really have someone with whom I can discuss the Odes!” • Based on good vir t ual: has been done to establish humanity, integrity, and respect for others. respect • The hidden meaning behind the words. The Knowing the words is not enough, must be sincere, honest, passionate when saying it. People can tell if a person is worthy of friendship after exchanging odes. odes. From this example we can see three lessons: From Mastery of politics is only useful when based Mastery on ethics. on Figures in the Odes are metaphors for moral Figures cultivation. cultivation. Cultivating one’s humaneness will attract Cultivating others to do the same. others h The second example involves Zigong asking The Confucius about the following line: Confucius “Poor without cadging, rich without swagger.” “How is that for a line?” Zigong asked. The Master said, “Not bad. But better still would be The ‘Poor, yet delighting in the Way; rich, yet a student of ritual.’” student Zigong said, “I suppose that the Odes saying, ‘Like Zigong [a jade] cut and filed, like one chiseled and polished’ conveys much the same meaning as the lines you have just spoken?” lines The Master replied, “Now, I can really begin to talk The to you about the Odes, for when I mention what came before you know what comes next!” A person improves himself through the studying of odes and music, and elevate morally, overcoming corruption and selfness. Say the words with affects, touching others. Confucius attached ethical value to the odes, reliving the Western Zhou morals. Study of the Odes and their musical accompaniment was credited with the power to raise humanity to higher aspirations. raise
h Music also acted as a way to foster self-restraint Music and self-discipline. Here are a few examples: and (To willingly learn and empower oneself) h The pond at the east gate The seen my lord, Is good for steeping hemp. will sit and will That lady, lovely and fine, That lute. Is good at capping odes. music now or music The pond at the east gate The joy Is good for steeping nettles. pass till we pass That lady, so lovely and fine, That Is good at capping lines. Is [Ode 126] [Ode The pond at the east gate The Is good for steeping rushes. That lady, so lovely and fine, Once I have Once Side by side, we strum the Not to make to feel our Is to let time are too old. h h h Odes were used to initial closer relations, gain the trust of another, effect one’s self-representation. trust Beyond the court, however, the Odes were used Beyond to discover new friends or deepen one’s existing friendship. friendship. This idea of getting to know a friend over a period This of years was a common theme as seen in the lines of this Ode: lines (Harmony: for people to recollect themselves) Takk! takk! thwack the axes. Ying! ying! sing the birds. Out from the valley dark, Up to the treetops high, Ying! goes the cry, Searching out the sounds of friends. Look at those birds. Birds, though they be, They still search out the sounds of friends. How much more, then, shall men Go to seek their friends? Spirits attend to it, hearken to it, For its end is peace and harmony. [Ode 165] 165] Guan-guan, cry the ospreys on the Yellow River isle. River The fetching yet chaste girl; the noble The man’s good match. Long and short, the duckweed. Left and right we cull it. The fetching yet chaste girl; dreaming and waking, he seeks her, seeking her, only to fail. Dreaming and waking with longing. Pining and pining! Tossing and turning in bed. Long and short, the duckweed. Left and right we gather them. The fetching yet chaste girl; the lute and se befriend her. Uneven grow the water-reeds, left and right we pick them. The fetching yet chaste girl; drums and bells to please her. [Ode She tossed me a quince She glow. I returned a girdle-gem. holds holds Not just to requite her, But to pledge eternal love. But he beckons he She tossed me a peach, free with him, free I returned a greenstone. Not just to requite her, But to pledge eternal love. But he holds he She tossed me a plum, plumes, plumes, I returned a jetstone. he beckons My lord is all aIn his left hand, he In the reed-organ, With his right, me to make Oh! the joy! Oh! My lord is carefree. My In his left hand, the dancing With his right, ...
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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.
- Summer '10