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Ji Kang (223–262), sometimes referred to as Xi Kang, courtesy name Shuye, was a Chinese writer, poet, Taoist philosopher, musician and alchemist of the Three Kingdoms period. He was one of the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove who engaged in separating themselves from the dangerous political situation of third century China in favour of devoting themselves to a life of art and leisure. Ji Kang is noted as an author and famous for having been a composer and zither-player.

Ji Kang
嵇康
Xi Kang.JPG
Attendant Counsellor (中散大夫)
In office
? (?) – ? (?)
Monarch Cao Mao / Cao Huan
Personal details
Born 223
Suixi County, Anhui
Died 262 (aged 39)
Luoyang, Henan
Spouse(s) Cao Lin's daughter
Relations Ji Xi (brother)
Children
Father Ji Zhao
Occupation Writer, poet, philosopher, musician, alchemist
Courtesy name Shuye (叔夜)
Ji Kang
Chinese 嵇康

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LifeEdit

As a thinker, Ji Kang wrote on longevity, music theory, politics and ethics. Among his works were Yangsheng Lun (Essay on Nourishing Life), Shengwu Aile Lun (on the Absence of Sentiments in Music), Qin Fu (A Composition on the Qin), and Shisi Lun (Discourse on Individuality). As a musician, Ji Kang composed a number of solo pieces for the qin.

Ji Kang was highly critical of Confucianism and challenged many social conventions of his time. As such, he was considered scandalous and seditious. He married Cao Cao's granddaughter (or great-granddaughter according to some). Ji Kang assumed a post under the Cao Wei state, but was not particularly interested in government work. When the regent Sima Zhao came to power, he intended to grant Ji Kang a position as a civil official. However, Ji Kang was uncooperative and behaved insolently towards Zhong Hui, whom Sima Zhao sent to convey his offer. Later, one of Ji Kang's friends was imprisoned after being framed. Ji Kang defended him and testified in his case, and was also sent to jail as a result. Following Zhong Hui's advice, Sima Zhao sentenced Ji Kang to death. 3,000 scholars signed a petition to release him, but the appeal was denied. Before his execution, Ji Kang asked for his zither and played his swan song, the famous guqin masterpiece Guangling san, which music is presumed to be forever lost.[1]

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