|About the Book|
The Shijing (also known as “Shi” or “Classic of Poetry”, 1100 - 700 BC) was the oldest poetic collection that portrayed the popular culture, the state guardianship and the spiritual sustenance during the Zhou Dynasty (1046 - 256 BC) of ancient China.MoreThe Shijing (also known as “Shi” or “Classic of Poetry”, 1100 - 700 BC) was the oldest poetic collection that portrayed the popular culture, the state guardianship and the spiritual sustenance during the Zhou Dynasty (1046 - 256 BC) of ancient China.“Minor Court Hymns” was the collection of aristocratic odes in regal lyrics and formal language representative of the lifestyle of the upper class of Zhou. As selected in the poem “Crane”, a sage showcased the garden of nature to the honorable guests, and inferred that the dignity of a nation was preserved by the beauty of its backyard, rather than its moral fame, its military trophy, or its morbid power over territory and life.“Genre of the Zhou States” was the collection of folk songs in short lyrics and plain language, representative of the voice of the commoners in each territory of the Zhou Dynasty. The selected poems for interpretations were as follows.“Genre of the south of Zhou States” valued virtue retained from the Xia Dynasty (2070 - 1600 BC), such as ecstasy without overindulgence as in “Peach, Peach” and grief without despair as in “O river of the Han”.Genre of Bei” and “Genre of Wei”, both valued righteousness retained from the Shang Dynasty (1558 - 1046 BC). The equal social status in gender and in birth-right were evident in the heartfelt sorrow over the lover lost (see “Off-green suit”), the lighthearted tease over the lovers’ folly (see “Light is dim, Light is faint”), and the tender love for a strayed youth (see “Foxy lad”).“Genre of the king” consisted of the traditional folk songs in the capital area of Zhou, where the people expressed the fervent longings for the lover in hot pursuit of mundane gains in “The reed-like”, while the leadership continued with the overzealous warfare leading to the demise of the kingdom.Zheng was a buffer zone bordering between the Central Plain and many nomad tribes. “Genre of Zheng” presented a custom in concord with the nomadic cultures, in which sensuality was boldly expressed and vividly described, for example, the joy of marriage in “Lady-love on mine cart”, the jiggles of newly-wed in “Up at mountain, hibiscus tree”, and the panting for reunion with the lover in “Jade-green thy garment”.Located at the north-east coast, Qi was well known for its education, infrastructure, produce and commerce. True to the teachings of Jiang (1028 -1016 BC), the great sage-adviser to the founding kings of Zhou, “Genre of Qi” always rooted for intrinsic values, for example, “Ding, Ding, Ringing” showered unabashed admiration for the proficiency and generosity of a hunter.“Genre of Qin” breathed a fresh air of courage and loyalty. With a humble beginning as the horse rider of the king, Qin was honest and brave while fruitlessly courting the great love of dreams (see “Reeds”), as well as generous and passionate while fondly parting with the beloved friend (see “River-wake”).Chen was situated in the middle of Zhou territories and excelled in converse with its various neighbors. “Genre of Chen” depicted a sensitive and sophisticated style in “By the bank of the lake”, where a lover’s restless longing from day to night slipped into a trance by the gradual transition of the buds, blossoms and seeds of the lotus flower.Cao was enriched by livestock and handicraft at the center of commerce. “Genre of Cao” took off the dignified cloak of trade and peered into the insecurity amid the eddies of commerce.