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Li Qingzhao

Li Qingzhao (1084-1155) was a well-known Ci poetess in the Song Dynasty of China and  was recognized as a representative personage of the euphemistic ci poem in Song Ci Poems. Besides, she made an outstanding contribution to historiography and sphragistics.

What is the life story of Li Qingzhao?

Li Qingzhao had received a good education when she was a child and showed her literary talent in the early years. With a woman’s unique emotions and feelings, her works exposed varied plight and sentiment of life  that differed from the works of her  predecessors, which led the euphemistic ci poem to a new pinnacle.

After Jingkang Calamities, she and her husband Zhao Mingcheng came to the

south of Jiangsu from Shandong province, cross south towards Jinling. She

Li qingzhao

poured out calamities caused by wars to women and wrote down quite a good deal of bold and unconstrained patriotic poems and ci poems, which embodied Chinese women’s braveness and justice. After the death of her husband, she was relapsed into difficulties. What’s more, a plenty of ancient books, carved stones, painting and calligraphy works, as well as bronze wares, which were as valuable as her life to her, were damaged or stolen in wars. In 1155, Li Qingzhao died alone.

Sheng sheng man

What was the writing style of Li Qingzhao?

Li Qingzhao claimed that Ci Poem should be elegant, and she also emphasized on the rhythm of Ci Poem and utilization of relatively informal languages in Ci Poem. With a special style, her Ci Poems were reputed as “Yi-an Style”. In her representative work of Slow, Slow Tune, “So dim, so dark, So dense, so dull, So damp, so dank, So dead!” boldly used extremely unusual long bunches of reiterative locutions, and this Ci Poem is actually one of the outstanding works

in the Ci Poem history of China. Her patriotic lines with lofty sentiments of “Be man of men while you are alive; be soul of souls even though you're dead!” has been popular among the patriotic people of the later generations.

There is a sharp change in  Li Qingzhao's lyrics style after she fled to the south after the invasion of the Kin Kingdom in north China. Before she went south, her lyrics mainly recounted the lives of girls and women in their boudoirs. After fleeing south, she endured great hardships in life and the style of her lyric poetry turned deep and pithy.

How to set “delicate restraint” in the lyrics?

Li Qingzhao's lyrics are woven with a "delicate restraint" in the following ways: first, merging intense passion with literary images, creating an artistic conception in which feelings and scenery are well blended; second, using simple but original language, which in Li Qingzhao's lyrics is very natural and expressive. Not many literary quotations sprinkle her lyrics but with much spoken language and common sayings, Li Qingzhao's lyrics have the beauty of music and are easy to recite.

What is the history of “Shu Yu Lyrics”?

The later generation called the collection of her Ci Poems as Shu Yu Lyrics , which took its name from the Shuyu Spring during her former residence in Jinan. It was said that Li Qingzhao used to wash and rinse on the side of the spring in the early years. This spring is still running today, where visitors of all ages come to look with reverence in an endless stream.

What is an excellent woman?

During the several thousand years of feudal society in China, women were invariably placed at the bottom of society, their talent and intelligence were given no chance to develop. Throughout the ages, however, nearly a hundred remarkable women writers succeeded in breaking through the bounds of the feudal ethical code and winning their rightful place in the history of literature. Their artistic achievements were by no means inferior to those of their contemporary male counterparts. Among these illustrious women, Li Qingzhao, a poetess of the Song Dynasty, was the most

Li qingzhao

outstanding and influential.

The abrupt changes of the age and the vicissitudes in her life gave Li Qingzhao's poems a richness of subject matter, a sincerity of feeling and an artistic maturity. Li Qingzhao became an outstanding representative of the "Euphemistic School" in Chinese poetry, whose works are characterized by a depth of meaning and a graceful style of natural simplicity. She was not only an accomplished ci poetess but an outstanding and original theoretician of ci writing as well. Her essay on Ci was the earliest theoretical work on the subject. She was a versatile writer who also excelled in poems and essays.

Though it is difficult for women to become famous in the feudalism society, especially in Chinese Song Dynasty, a period affected deeply by New Confucianism, Li Qingzhao's did remarkable achievements, which made her become the pride of all Chinese women in the feudal ages.

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