Liu Tsung-Yüan

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
In face of the literary attacks, following his exile, against his widely-acclaimed essays, Liu Zongyuan sighed, "Writing is no easy matter, but it takes more to make a genuine literary friend." (44) In his mind, in comparison with writing or article-appreciating, the hard part is for others to know his own articles, as the result of the thousand-year corrupt customs of honoring the ancient and maltreating the modern, revering the past and despising the present, and pleasing officials and detesting grassroots people at the time of viewing articles or books.
For example, in his studies "South Mountain" by Han Yu (768-824), Owen compares it with "Changgu" by Li He 790-816) and "An Account of Little Stone Ramparts Mountain "by Liu Zongyuan (773-819).
Ancient Chinese literati like Wu Yun ("Poem of the Black Gibbon") (TGIC 54-56), Li Deyu ("Poem of the White Gibbon) (TGIC 56-57), and Liu Zongyuan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (773-819) (21) ("Essay on the Hateful Monkey-breed" or "Zeng wangsun wen") (TGIC 54-56).
(21) Liu Zongyuan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (773-819), famous poet and scholar-official in Tang dynasty.
Writers such as Liu Zongyuan and Han Yu were deeply involved in an intellectual and Confucian movement "to return to antiquity" through the affirmation of moral convictions of the writer and society.
It is highly likely that the historically notable ideas put forward by Han Yu (768-824), Liu Zongyuan (773-819) and their comrades constituted only a minority trend in their times.
It could be added that Liu Zongyuan (773-819) used such phrases, too.
A passage in the Shijing (Book of Odes), composed about 600 BC, during the Zhou dynasty, mentions her "starry loom." In the 8th century AD the Tang-dynasty poet Liu Zongyuan wrote, "She interweaves Template with Armillary/ Warp and woof of starry chronograms." Her influence extended to Earth, where "the patterned embroideries" of mortal weavers had to correspond to the "ways of heaven."
There are quite a few errors, such as (to give just some of the less excusable ones), among names of authors and works, the characters for Gong in Gongsun Longzi, yu in Guo Shaoyu, Liu in Liu Zongyuan, de in Ye Mengde and Zhang in Zhang Xuecheng (both also wrong in the index), Ou in Oubei of Zhao Yi's works, lang in Niulang (Herd Boy), Yan in Yan Ruoju, and last but not least, Zhong in the author's own name (under Kong Qingmao), and cheng for his famous novel Wei cheng (under Yang Jiang).
Liu Zongyuan served as a government official for most of his life, acting with integrity and courage despite his politically motivated exile to minor positions in isolated regions of China.
Liu Zongyuan ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) has a poem that exemplifies this principle perfectly well:
Yuan Jie and Liu Zongyuan are two of the most famous landscape essayists of the Tang period.