By Edward H. Schafer
Because the early 17th century, Taoism-the local faith of China-has been in general seemed through specialists there as base superstition and very likely subversive. The Taoist poetry of medieval China used to be for that reason neglected through chinese language arbiters of flavor and, till lately, such a lot Western students and translators have accredited this judgment uncritically; a physique of gorgeous verse, with analogues within the poetry of Christian mysticism, has remained nearly unknown in our time. This ebook augments the efforts of some modern Western students to get well the which means and price of this literary history. The eminent sinologist Edward H. Shafer translated all of the surviving verse of the ninth-century poet Ts'ao T'ang, and to the choices released right here has further introductory comments at the resource of the poet's imagery and brief essays on his therapy of figures of the Taoist pantheon. Ts'ao Tang has put those deities and demiurges in a few volatile or ambiguous settings akin to celestial gardens, gleaming palaces at the summits of sacred mountains, and mystery locations of rendezvous on magic islands within the japanese sea. The poet creates an international of illusions, within which it's tricky to differentiate vestments from rainbows, castles from crags, birds from spirits, sea-waves from sea-mounts-even lords from girls. those contrived wonders are all metaphors for a global thoroughly inaccessible to our mortal senses.
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Because the early 17th century, Taoism-the local faith of China-has been in most cases appeared through gurus there as base superstition and most likely subversive. The Taoist poetry of medieval China used to be for this reason overlooked by way of chinese language arbiters of flavor and, until eventually lately, so much Western students and translators have permitted this judgment uncritically; a physique of lovely verse, with analogues within the poetry of Christian mysticism, has remained almost unknown in our time.
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Additional info for Mirages on the Sea of Time: The Taoist Poetry of Ts’ao T’ang
Fells (Lang yuan ). That is, they represent the two extrem1t1es of the world, each with its special avenue ~o the upper rea~~~· The interrelationship is demonstrated m one of ~u Yun s ecstatic visions, where he finds hims_elf at an. immense height in the Void, from w~ich the magic mountains of east and west appear as near ne1ghbors: Now that I glimpse my nearness to Tumbleweed Pot, Who would say that I am far from the Fells of K'un? 34 Wu Yiin's friend Li Po is more earthbound. im"the passage beyond the divine calabash, or as he puts 1t, To surmount the sea-towers of Tumbleweed Pot," 3:.
52 ( 1> 53 She parted from him carelessly three thousand years agoBut has long remembered the time when they shared his jujubes on the river margin. (56) P'ENG-LAI PRINCIPALITIES OF THE SEA wonderlands. [The closer was the floating island-or islands-of P'eng-lai, the analogue of K'un-lun, and also of Mount Lo-fou in southern K wangtung. Half of Mount Lofou had floated in from the sea long ago, to attach itself to its landlocked twin, like the fragment of a tectonic plate merging with a Mesozoic continent; some say that this fragment was part of P'eng-lai itself.
Other water animals, authentic fleshly creatures, had other associations with the giant clams . One such was the Chinese alligator, which haunts the waters of the Yangtze basin- a mutant dragon. 90 This couplet is marked by the unusual matching of a freshwater reptile with the saline mollusc. But there are grounds for withholding criticism. The alligator was a supernatural rain-bringer: when, driven by mating fervor-if alligators may be said to be fervid- it bellowed from its bankside burrow in the late spring, just as the drenching monsoons were swelling northward from the topical seas, people naturally assumed that it was a real dragon calling up the fertilizing rain from his lacustrine crypt.
Mirages on the Sea of Time: The Taoist Poetry of Ts’ao T’ang by Edward H. Schafer