SSU-Kung Tu

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

SSU-K’ung T’u


(also called Piao-sheng T’u). Born 837; died 908. Chinese poet.

Ssu-k’ung T’u lived during the decline of the T’ang dynasty. His refined, contemplative poetry consists largely of descriptions of nature, which is contrasted to the imperfect world of man. Ssu-k’ung T’u believed that the way to moral perfection lay in spontaneity, simplicity, and a withdrawal from worldly vanity. He was influenced by the poetry of T’ao Yüan-ming and Wang Wei.

Ssu-k’ung T’u’s poetic theories, expressed in the narrative poem Categories of Verse and in other works, viewed poetry as a mystery and the highest embodiment of the absolute (tao). Ssu-k’ung T’u believed that the greatest good consisted in transcending the visible world and seeking an elusive inner essence, in order eventually to achieve the sublime happiness of union with the tao. Approximately 500 of his poems and 69 works in other genres have survived. Ssu-k’ung T’u had an important influence on Chinese poetry and literary criticism.


Ssu-k’ung Piao-sheng shih chi. In the publication Ssu-pu ts’ung-k’an, vol. 768. Shanghai, 1937.


Alekseev, V. M. Kitaiskaia poema o poete: Stansy Sykun Tu. Per. i issledovanie. Petrograd, 1916.
Fedorenko, N. T. Problemy issledovaniia kitaiskoi literatury. Moscow, 1974. Pages 282–304.
Tsu Pao-ch’üan. Ssu-k’ung T’u shih p’in chieh-shuo. Hofei, 1964.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.