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Zuo Si 1 左思

Zuo Si (ca. 253–307 CE), style name 太仲 Taizhong, was a scholar and poet from 齊 Qi, a region now part of Shandong province; at that time (Three Kingdoms Period, 184/220–280) Qi was part of the 魏 Wei Kingdom (220–265; capital Loyang). In 265 Wei was succeeded by 晉 Jin (the Western Jin ruled 265 to 316, with its capitals in Luoyang and Chang'an).3 In 272 CE his younger sister 左芬 Zuo Fen (herself an accomplished poet) became a concubine of the Wei emperor, apparently prompting Zuo Si's own move to Luoyang. He lived there the rest of his life.4

Although QSDQ, Folio 14 has a biography for Zuo Si, there is little mention of the qin other than that he "was broad in book learning and played qin".5

On the other hand, there are several qin compositions sometimes associated with Zuo Si. These include,

    You Lan
    Zhao Yin
    Qiuyue Zhao Maoting
    Shanzhong Si Youren
    Gukou Yin

Zhang Hua (232 - 303), mentioned in Zuo Si's biography below, wrote about Zuo Si in Bowu Zhi.

Zuo Si's biography in the History of Jin can be summarized as follows,6

Zuo Si, literary name 太沖 Taichong, was from 臨淄 Linzi in the country of 齊 Qi (an old name for the northern Shandong area). When young he showed great learning in written history. He was ugly and stammered, but (he wrote in) an elegant and grand style. To write a fu poem about the capital city of Qi (next to his home town) took him one year. He also wrote a fu about three capitals (apparently not the capitals of the Three Kingdoms), 乃詣著作浪張載 about visiting lang Zhang Zai (Bio/1229, older brother of Zhang Xie), and 訪岷邛之事 inquiring into the affairs of Min Mountain and Qiu River (in Sichuan), investigating and thinking about it for 10 years. His home was very messy, with pens and paper everywhere, (so that) as soon as he thought of a sentence he could write it down. Once it was finished Zhang Hua wrote with regret, powerful and wealthy families, struggle-mutual-carry on-write, making paper in Luoyang very expensive. He rose to the position of 秘書浪 (25540.xxx) Secretary.

More to be added.7

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. References for Zuo Si (ca. 250–305 CE) (Wiki)
Qinshu Daquan, Folio 14 (QQJC V/317). See also QSCB, Chapter 3.A. (p.28). There is a good biography in Nienhauser, The Indiana Companion to Traditional Chinese Literature, Vol.1, p.806. See also Giles: Tsuo Ssu.

3. 晉 Jin
The Western Jin (265–316) had its capital in Luoyang; the Eastern Jin (317–420) had its capital in Nanjing. Zuo Si's fu poem about three capitals apparently did not concern Luoyang, but rather 鄴 Ye, near Kaifeng, then part of Qi; 南陽 Nanyang, apparently in the south of what is today Henan; and an area around Chengdu.)

4. Zuo Si in Luoyang
Zuo Si's fu poem about three capitals apparently did not concern the three political centers of that day (which would have included Luoyang), but rather 鄴 Ye, near Kaifeng, then part of Qi; 南陽 Nanyang, apparently in the south of what is today Henan; and an area around 成都 Chengdu in Sichuan.)

5. "Broad in book learning and played qin"

6. Zuo Si in the History of Jin
The above is a tentative attempt to translate text found at 8922.199 左思 Zuo Si. Reference is to History of Jin, Chapter 92, but it seems to be only a summary. The complete History of Jin text is as follows. The QSDQ text seems to consist of only the first paragraph.




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