What kind of person was Wang Wei?
China can be said to be a “country of poetry.” Among the numerous poetry literature, the Tang Dynasty was the best golden age for Chinese poetry, and Wang Wei was a master of Tang Dynasty poetry, and a great poet who had a huge influence on the overall development of future Chinese poetry. Some interesting points about him is, Wang Wei was not just a poet, but he was a painter, musican as well during the Tang Dynasty in China. He was famous for poetry early enough to write poetry when he was nine years old, but he was so versatile that he showed talent in music as well, yes he was just a genius.
Wang Wei, the eldest son, lost his father when he was young and grew up in a bad environment with his younger siblings under his single mother. Wang Wei was usually very filial and friendly with his wife. Additionally, he was such a talented person in many things such as calligraphy, music, painting, etc. In particular, his musical talent was so outstanding, which made him as different from others. For example, he was such an amzaing person that he saw only the musician in the painting and accurately guessed what song the musician was playing in the painting. I think the words are too insufficient to describe him as a poet. He was more than a poet, and therefore, his poems gave him a feeling of something complex and diverse rather than ordinary and monotonous poems.
Wang Wei’s Poems.
Just as Wang Wei’s life and thoughts do, the subject of poetry is relatively complex. For example, there are poems of active nature, while there are also passive tendencies. He’s idea of thought can be divided into three periods: early, middle, and late period. Wang Wei’s poems show a distinct difference between the first, second, and third periods. While the poems of the early period are based on the life of the city, the later poems are mainly composed of works that represent the atmosphere of life and nature. Let’s look at one of his poems called ‘House in the Bamboo Grove.’
“Sitting alone in a bamboo grove
Plucking a zither, whistling along
Deep in the forest, in a spot unknown
Waiting for a bright moon to come”
Wang Wei’s poems are mostly short, and this poem is not a poem that feels so long. However, even if it was short, he properly revealed his presence in each poem by using various expressions.
What do you think of after reading this poem? It is a poem depicting a poet who whistles while playing a zither under the moonlight in a quiet bamboo forest. Do you all get what does this poem try to give us a message or anything? While reading this poem, I imagined the main character, and when I thought of the main character playing a zither alone in the bright moonlight, I felt at ease without even realizing it. I hope other readers also can feel like this with his amazing poem.
Let’s take a look at another poem by him. Like this poem, Wang Wei’s poem which is called ‘Deer Enclosure’ is also based on nature.
“Empty mountain. No one in sight
Only the echo of voices in the air
Glimmers and glints return to the forest depths
Once more, the green moss filled with light.”
Likewise, this poem is a very short poem, and it’s pretty similar to the poem that we just looked. However, as mentioned earlier, the length of his poem is not important, and it is right to focus more on what content is contained in the poem, what message is delivered to readers.
How do you feel when you read this poem? This poem is also talking about the nature just like the first poem. From my perspective, I can vividly imagine such a scene walking alone in a quiet mountain where no one is there. Explain this feeling more would be like, It’s very quiet, and you can’t hear anything other than your own voice, but you keep walking in the mountains and trying to maintain that feeling.
We just looked the two poems from Wang Wei. The characteristics of this two poems or his poems in gerneal is, it mostly talks about natures. Poetry that mainly deals with nature is called Sansu Poetry or Nature Poetry. The meaning of Sansu is a combination of mountains and water, which is represents our nature. As mentioned earlier, it is no exaggeration to say that China’s Sansu or Nature poetry reached the highest level at that time, and that Wang Wei was the best poet among Sansu poetry at the time.
To add additional explaination, most of Wang Wei’s natural poems were built during his post-middle age period, and he was a person who was related not only to poetry but also to politics at that time. However, he was forced to live a proper political life due to political disappointment. However, whenever he had time, he left the world and pursued spiritual “given up” in the arms of Mother Nature. In short, Wang Wei was immersed in the atmosphere of natural poetry, wiped his body and nurtured his nature to relax his mind and body. At the same time embodied his relaxed and peaceful emotions, and put his emotions into his wonderful poems.
At the conclusion, Wang Wei is widely known as the best natural poet in Chinese literature using the diversity of literary and artistic achievements at its beginning. He excelled in literary embodiments of a noble spirit out of the world through a high degree of political and economic fusion in poetry. He describes the nostalgic mountains and clear streams, expressing the joy of being intoxicated by the beautiful scenery and satisfaction of escaping from worldly anguish, and captures the feelings of hatred for dark and corrupt real politics in poetry.
Information of Wang Wei https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/wei-wang
Photo of Wang Wei. https://www.laphamsquarterly.org/contributors/wang-wei
Photo of bamboo street. https://100tangpoems.wordpress.com/2021/02/01/in-a-bamboo-grove-%e7%ab%b9%e8%a3%8f%e9%a4%a8/
Photo of an Empty Mountain. https://www.wallpaperflare.com/photo-of-grass-field-and-mountains-empty-green-field-with-mountains-wallpaper-zhudl
The House in the Bamboo Grove. https://100tangpoems.wordpress.com/2018/04/30/bamboo-house-wang-wei/
Deer Enclosure. https://www.tupeloquarterly.com/translation/deer-enclosure-by-wang-wei-and-pei-di-translated-by-dan-veach/