Su Shih

Su Shih:

see Su Tung-p'oSu Tung-p'o
, 1036–1101, Chinese poet. He was also called Su Shih. Born in present-day Sichuan prov., he was one of a literary family. Su occupied many official posts, rising to president of the board of rites (which regulated imperial ceremonies and worship).
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Su Shih


(also known as Su Tung-p’o). Born 1036, in the province of Szechwan; died 1101, in the city of Chang-chou. Chinese writer and political figure.

Su Shih took part in the political struggle that centered on plans for governmental reform. After opposing Wang An-shih, Su Shih spent the years 1079 through 1100 in prison and in exile.

Su Shih strongly influenced all the elevated literary genres of his time. Several thousand of his poems and prose works (mainly essays), remarkable for their expressiveness, have survived. His works include political, philosophical, and nature lyrics, as well as depictions of the people’s sufferings. Su Shih’s prose, which reflects the breadth of his interests, is lively and unaffected.


Su Tung-p’o chi, vols. 1–3. Shanghai, 1958.
In Russian translation:
[“Stikhi.”] In Antologiia kitaiskoipoezii, vol. 3. Moscow, 1957.
[“Stikhotv. v proze.”] In Kitaiskaia klassicheskaia proza. Moscow, 1959.
Stikhi, melodii, poemy. Moscow, 1975.


Lapina, Z. G. Politicheskaia bor’ba v srednevekovom Kitae (40–70 gg. XI v.). Moscow, 1970.
Golubev, I. S. “Obviniteli i zashchitniki poeta Su Shi.” Problemy Dal’nego Vostoka, 1973, no. 1.
Lin Yu-tang. The Gay Genius. New York, 1947.
Ling Ch’in-ju. Su Shih ssu-hsiang t’an-t’ao. Taipei, 1964.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Written and illustrated by Demi, "Su Dongpu: Chinese Genius" is the picturebook story of a man named Su Shih in ancient China who as a boy began to write stories and versus expressing an admiration of the natural world.
For example, the great Sungdynasty literatus, Su Shih [CHINESE CHARACTERS NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (or Tung-p'o [CHINESE CHARACTERS NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) (1037-1101) wrote a series of isan to accompany eighteen paintings of Buddhist arhats (perfected monks) by the monk-painter Ch'an-ytieh [CHINESE CHARACTERS NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII].
Two sets of poems by Huang T'ing-chien written in 1086 in response to gifts of incense provide an index of his poetic techniques and an instructive contrast with the techniques of Su Shih. In the first set, Huang sees incense in terms of the process by which it is made or the ways in which it functions in the life of those who use it; there are both social and religious themes.
But although these figures show a new development in T'ang, the real escalation comes in the Sung: Mei Yao-ch'en 143 Shao Yung 30 Ssu-ma Kuang 27 Wang An-shih 11 Su Ch'e 26 Chang Lei 34 Ch'en Shih-tao 16 Ou-yang Hsiu 10 Wen T'ung 22 Liu Ch'ang 11 Su Shih 117 Huang T'ing-chien 147 Ch'ao Pu-chih 12 Ch'ao Yueh-chih 57
The six new pieces, all authored by Yeh, are "Ambiguity and the Female Voice in Hua-chien Songs," "On the Song Lyrics of Su Shih," "On Hsin Ch'i-chi's Song Lyrics," "Ch'en Tzu-lung and the Renascence of the Song Lyric," "Wang Kuo-wei's Character," and "An Interpretation of a Poem by Wang Kuo-wei." The first four of these add notably to Professor Yeh's already impressive contributions in the study of tz'u, and the last two round out her earlier studies of Wang Kuo-wei who, to be sure, figures fitfully in many of her other articles.
The second volume contains eleven articles ("Immortality-Seeking in Early Chinese Poetry," "The Wang Ziqiao Stele," "Ts'ao Chih and the Immortals," "From Scepticism to Belief in Third-Century China," "The Cold Food Festival in Early Medieval China," "Songs for the Gods: The Poetry of Popular Religion in Fifth-centu ry China," "Une Fete chez Su Shih a Huang chou en 1082," "La Poesie de Ji Kang," "Folk Ballads and the Aristocracy," "Xie Lingyun et les paysans de Yongjia," and "The Image of the Merchant in Medieval Chinese Poetry") that appeared from 1980 to 1994.
This poem was written during Su Shih's last and most remote banishment, to Tan-chou (modern Tan-hsien, in Hainan), following his involvement in a factional struggle at court.
Then, Su Kuo's being described as "close to the Way" (chin-tao) refers to the Book of Rites (Li-chi): "If one knows what is first and second, he approaches the Way."(55) Here Su Shih ingeniously puns on the word hsien (first), suggesting the term hsien-shou (first hand).
Let me begin about nine centuries ago, on the evening of the 12th of August 1082 (to be precise), one night after the full moon, when the great poet Su Shih went boating with friends on the Ch'ang Kiang outside Huang-chou in eastern Hupei.
Let us return, then, to Su Shih whom we left speaking of the consolation that comes from a combining or larger vision of ourselves and of the world we have been given.
In the autumn of 1079 the Sung dynasty official and poet Su Shih [UNKNOWN TEXT OMITTED] (1037-1101) stood trial for composing and disseminating writings that criticized Court policy and slandered government officials.
Unlike a routine judicial matter, however, Su Shih's "trial" was conducted at the highest levels of Sung government.