Tsao Pei

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ts’ao P’ei


(second name, Tzu-huan; also known as the Wei emperor Wen-ti). Born 187 in P’eikuo Region, in what is now Anhwei Province; died 226. Chinese poet and literary theorist. Emperor of the Wei dynasty (220–226).

Ts’ao P’ei, the son of Ts’ao Ts’ao, spent his entire life waging wars and “suppressing insubordinates.” At the same time, he tried to play the role of a “peace builder” and patron of literature. He wrote about feasts and campaigns and the ephemeral nature of human existence. His verses, picturesque and sentimental, include some of the first examples of seven-word poems, which became the primary verse form in Chinese poetry of the seventh to 20th centuries.

Ts’ao P’ei’s shih and yüeh-fu poems, epistles on literature, and the treatise Dissertation on Literature have been preserved. Despite the strong influence of tradition, the treatise signified a movement away from Confucian rationalism and toward the application of aesthetic criteria to poetry. Keenly aware of the social role of literature, Ts’ao P’ei wrote a comparative analysis of the works of his contemporaries and a short description of the main genres.


In Russian translation:
In Antologiia kitaiskoi poezii, vol. 1. Moscow, 1957.


Cherkasskii, L. E. “Poeziia Tsao Pi i ego traktat.” In his Poeziia Tsao Chzhi. Moscow, 1963.


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