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Huang Tingjian 黃庭堅 1
Huang Tingjian as a filial son 2       
Huang Tingjian (1045-1105), from Fenning (modern Xiushui in northwest Jiangxi province), was a famous poet, calligrapher and essayist. He came from a family of noted scholars and artists, including his mother, Lady Li, a skillful painter and qin player.3 Huang Tingjian is said to have been particularly filial towards her (see image at right).

Huang Tingjian was himself a very precocious student, and when his father died in 1058 Tingjian was sent to Anhui to study with a maternal uncle, Li Chang. Tingjian once wrote a poem on the qin playing of his aunt Li Chongde.4

Achieving his jinshi degree in 1067, he was assigned a position in Ruzhou, not far from the Northern Song capital, Kaifeng (Bianqing). Then in 1078 he went to the Imperial Academy in Damingfu (Beijing). In 1081 he held a minor position in Jizhou, central Jiangxi; then in 1084 held another minor position in Depingzhen, Shandong. Because of his association with the "anti-reform faction", which included Su Dongpo, he had never held high position. However, in 1085 "anti-reformers" came to power and Huang was able to return to the capital, where he joined the History Institute then the Academy of Scholarly Worthies (Imperial Library). However, after the reformers returned to power he was sent into exile, in 1094 to Qianzhou in eastern Sichuan, then in 1098 north to nearby Fuzhou. In 1100 he was briefly reprieved and given a position at Ezhou (Wuhan). He traveled there slowly, arriving in 1101, only to be exiled again almost immediately, to Yizhou in Guangxi (1103 - 1105), where he died.

Qinshu Daquan (1590) has several writings by him that concern qin. See in particular,5

Folio 18, #46 (qin inscriptions) and
Folio 19B, #94 - #99 (poetry on listening to various qin players).

He also wrote a poem about Boya and Ziqi.

In addition, he has been associated with several qin melodies, as follows:

  1. At least one handbook (1585) atributes to him a setting of Huangyun Qiusai;
    I do not know of any connection he may have had to northern frontier regions.

  2. Lixing Yuanya includes amongst its 5 melodies for one-string qin a setting of his poem Sai Shang Qu.

  3. Hewen Zhuyin Qinpu (Japan) includes a qin setting of his lyrics Rui He Xian, which evokes in ci form Ouyang Xiu's Zuiweng Ting Ji.6

  4. The 10th section and coda of the melody Li Yun Chun Si in Qinxue Xinsheng Xiepu almost follow the pattern of the separate halves of one of Huang Tingjian's ci poems, Qian Qiu Sui.7

  5. His poem Wind in the Pines Hall Hall, remarkable in part for its political commentary,8 has been discussed in connection with the qin melody Feng Ru Song Ge. However, the lyrics for the qin melody are different, with no apparently political comment.

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Huang Tingjian references
48904.575; Bio/2087 黃庭堅,字魯直 style name Luzhi, also called 涪翁 Fuweng and 山谷道人 Daoist of Shan'gu. He was one of "蘇門四學 Sumen sixue", four leading students of Su Shi. Places mentioned in his biography include 洪州分寧 Fenning (modern 修水 Xiushui in northwest Jiangxi); 汝州 Ruzhou, south of the Songshan mountain range in Henan; 大鳴府 Daming Fu (now Beijing); 吉州 Jizhou in Jiangxi; 德平鎮 Depingzhen in Shangdong; 黔州 Qianzhou, south of 涪州 Fuzhou (涪陵 Fuling, down the Yangzi from Chongqing); 鄂州 Ezhou (now Wuhan) in Hubei; and 宜州 Yizhou (northern Guangxi). Also, 戎州 Rongzhou, south of Chengdu in modern Sichuan province.

Nienhauser, Indiana Companion to Traditional Chinese Literature, pp.447/8, says he was,

"one of the most influential poets of the Northern Song dynasty. He was ranked by his immediate followers as the most important of the five younger disciples of Su Shi and as the father of the Jiang School of Poetry. He is also considered one of the "Four Great Masters" of Song calligraphy."....(His career) was marred by two banishments due to political association with the conservative faction led by Sima Kuang...."

The most complete biography I have found in English for Huang Tingjian is in Alfreda Murck, The Subtle Art of Dissent, pp.158-163. For his calligraphy see Robert E. Harrist and Wen C. Fong, The Embodied Image: Chinese Calligraphy from the John B. Elliott Collection, The Art Museum, Princeton University, 1999. For his poetry see David Palumbio-Liu, The Poetics of Appropriation: The Literary Theory and Practice of Huang Tingjian, 1045-1105, Stanford U. Press, 1993.

2. Images of Huang Tingjian Version from Japan (expand)    
The above image is one by 陳少梅 Chen Shaomei (1909-1954) from a set depicting the 二十四孝 24 Paragons of Filial Piety, the title of a book by the Yuan dynasty scholar 郭居敬 Guo Jujing (details of the book can be found on web pages at Rice and SFSU; Huang Tingjian is #24). There were many such Chinese depictions.

The image at right, by contrast, is from Japan, perhaps based on an Italian (sic.) original, made available by the Kuniyoshi Project. Once again the image is the 24th in a series called "The Twenty-four Chinese Paragons of Filial Piety". Some images are duplicated and they are accompanied by commentary. A sidebar with the Huang Tingjian image says,

Japanese name: Kôkyô
Chinese name: Huang Hsiang
Legend: Kôkyô fanned his widowed father to cool him in the summer and warmed his father’s bed with his own body in the winter. Here Kôkyô is preparing his father’s bed.

From the same source there is also a set of Japanese counterparts. The Kuniyoshi Project, which includes both a Utagawa Kuniyoshi page and a Utagawa Kunisada page, is part of Artsy (see their mission statement).

3. Alfreda Murck, op. cit., p. 158.

4. Li Chongde 李崇德
I do not know the exact relationship between Li Chongde (Bio/xxx), a maternal aunt of Huang Tingjian, and the maternal uncle mentioned here, 李常 Li Chang (Bio/922; 1027 - 90).

5. 琴書大全 Qinshu Daquan is included in QQJC, Vol. V

6. Auspicious Crane Immortal (瑞鶴仙 Rui He Xian, Hewen Zhuyin Qinpu, QQJC, XII/190)
This melody, set to ci lyrics of Huang Tingjian, is called Rui He Xian because it uses a 詞 ci pattern of that name; further details here.

7. 千秋歲 Qian Qiu Sui (A Thousand Autumns)
Huang Tingjian's poem in this ci pattern (compare this 1664 Qian Qiu Shui and coda) is as follows:



This poem has been translated by James Hightower in Mair, Columbia Anthology, p.328; it begins, "The best thing in the world, Is precisely being together like this...."

8. A good discussion of its significance is in Alfreda Murck, op. cit., pp.163-177.


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