Zuo Si
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Zuo Si 1 左思

Zuo Si (3rd c. CE), style name 太仲 Taizhong, was a scholar and poet during the Western Jin dynasty.3 Although QSDQ, Folio 14 has a biography for him (quoted below, first paragraph), there is little mention of the qin other than that he "was broad in book learning and played qin".4

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

As suggested by the titles of these melodies (see in particular Zhao Yin, alternatively "Seeking Seclusion" or "Seeking a Recluse"), Zuo Si was noted for advocating escape from the entanglements of society. See, for example, this poem in connection with seeking seclusion. And a story from Shi Shuo Xin Yu tells of Wang Huizhi being inspired to go see Dai Kui while humming to himself Zuo Si's poem.

In addition, here are two couplets at the end of the fifth of his Yong Shi 詠史 Poems on History (translation by Zhang Yue, source).

被褐出閶闔,     Clothed as a commoner, I go out the palace gate,
高步追許由。     With long strides, I pursue
Xu You.
振衣千仞岡,     I shake my clothes on the steep cliff edge.
濯足萬里流。     I bathe my feet in the long flowing river.

However, as yet I have read little of him actually being one himself.

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,5

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 the three capitals (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.6

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Zuo Si references (Wikipedia) (Wiki)
Qinshu Daquan, Folio 14 (QQJC V/319). See also QSCB, Chapter 3.A. (p.28). See also Giles: Tsuo Ssu, and there is a good biography in Nienhauser, The Indiana Companion to Traditional Chinese Literature, Vol.1, p.806. A more recent article is,

張月 Yue Zhang, Self-Canonization in Zuo Si’s "Poems on History", Journal of Chinese Humanities; copied at brill.com (online Publication Date: 06 Jul 2020).

See also a comment about him living 深山 deep in the mountains.

3. 晉 Jin
The Western Jin (265–316) had its capial in LUoyang; the Eastern Jin (317–420) had its capital in Nanjing.

4. "Broad in book learning and played qin"

5. 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.




6. (Return)

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