Liu Tsung-Yüan

Liu Tsung-Yüan


Born 773, in Hotung, province of Shansi; died 819, in Liuchou, province of Kwangsi. Chinese writer and philosopher.

Liu Tsung-yiian was dismissed from the royal court for his bold opinions. He renounced the dominant “parallel style” in prose, calling for a return to the natural language of the ancient writings. His allegories are permeated with faith in the abilities of simple craftsmen, whom he held up as an example to the ruling nobility. Following the Chinese philosophers of antiquity, he believed that the ruler must be the servant of the people. Liu Tsung-yiian spontaneously developed materialist views of nature and society; he summarized these views in Answers to “Questions to the Sky.” The dethroning of faith in signs from heaven is seen in Opinions About Heaven and Opinions About Sacrifices to Spirits. The stylistically refined landscape sketches of Liu Tsungyiian are inspired by a humanistic idea: to make man’s life as harmonious and beautiful as nature.


Liu Hotung chi. Peking, 1958. (Russian translation in Kitaiskaia klassicheskaia proza, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1959.)


Ku I-sheng. Liu Tsung-yiian. Shanghai, 1963.