Common Knowledge of Chinese Culture

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Poetry

The Chinese are passionately fond of poetry. They have been the worshippers of Nature for centuries and millenniums, both in the literal and figurative sense of the term. The Chinese language lends itself readily to the poetic art - harsh consonantal sounds are wanting, and the combination of consonants and vowels is often musical. Though largely monosyllabic, the diphthongs give a somewhat disyllabic character to many of the words. The cadence and modulation required are to be found in the tones of the Chinese language, and every word takes the place occupied by a metrical foot in the Western poetry.

Poetry flourished most in the Tang Dynasty (A.D. 620-907) in the 9th and 10th centuries, which have been described as the Augustan age in China of poetry and letters. Among the most celebrated poets of this time are Li Tai-bo (A.D. 720), Du Fu (A.D.712-770), and Han Yu (A.D. 768-824). Another famous poet was Su Tong-bo (A.D. 1036-1101) of the Song dynasty.

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