Su Shi

From Academic Kids

Su Shi (蘇軾) (1037-1101) was a writer, poet, artist, calligrapher and statesman of the Song Dynasty, one of the major poets of the Song era. His courtesy name is Zidan (子瞻), self-titled Dongpo Jushi (東坡居士, The one lived in Dongpo) and is often referred to as Su Dongpo (蘇東坡).

Life

He was born in Meishan in what is now Sichuan province. His brother Su Zhe (蘇轍) and his father Su Xun (蘇洵) were both famous literati. In 1057, he and his brother passed the civil service examinations to attain the degree of jinshi, a prerequisite to holding high government office at that time. Throughout the next twenty years, he held a variety of government positions throughout China; most notably in Hangzhou, where he was responsible for constructing a pedestrian causeway across the West Lake that still bears his name.

He was often at odds with a political faction headed by Wang Anshi. This faction's rise to power eventually resulted in Su being exiled twice to remote places; first (1080-1084) to Huangzhou (now in Hubei province), and the second time (1094-1100) to Huizhou (now in Guangdong province) and Hainan island. In Huangzhou, he lived at a farm called Dongpo (the "Eastern Slope"), from which he took his literary name. He died in Changzhou, Jiangsu province.

Missing image
Su_shi-calligraphy.jpg
Calligraphy by Su Shi

Work

Su Dongpo excelled in the shi, ci and fu forms, as well as prose, calligraphy and painting; some of his notable poems include Chibifu (赤壁賦 The Red Cliffs, written during his first exile) and Shui diao ge tou (水調歌頭 Remembering Su Zhe on the Mid-Autumn Festival). The bulk of his poems (around 2400) are shi, but his poetic fame rests largely on his 350 ci. He founded the haofang school, which cultivated an attitude of heroic abandon. In both his written works and his visual art, he combined spontaneity, objectivity and vivid descriptions of natural phenomena. He also wrote essays on politics and governance such as Liuhoulun (留侯論).

eo:Su Ŝi fr:Su Shi ja:蘇軾 de:Su Dongpo zh-cn:苏轼

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