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Kallie Szczepanski

Drawing Inspiration from Tang Dynasty Poets

By October 15, 2012

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Li Bai, who was of Central Asian origin, became a beloved Chinese poet in the 8th century.

Even in the hustle and bustle of 21st century China, people still draw inspiration from two great poets who lived 1300 years ago - Du Fu and Li Bai.

These amazing chroniclers of life from the Tang era had different life trajectories, although they shared a love of wine. Li Bai was of Central Asian ancestry, and he became a celebrity in 8th century China. In contrast, the prickly Du Fu, who wrote poems highly critical of the government, struggled all his life in poverty. He also had to flee the unrest of the An Lushan Rebellion (755-763 CE), which nearly brought down the Tang Dynasty.

Today, Chinese people of all ages remember and quote the words of this unlikely pair. Both the moon-lit romantic and the quarrelsome gadfly have become icons of Chinese art and culture.

Painting of Li Bai by Liang Kai, c. 1210 CE. Via Wikipedia.

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