Zhou Bangyan (Chinese: 周邦彥; 1056–1121) was a Chinese musician, poet, and politician of the Northern Song Dynasty. He was from Qiantang (in modern Hangzhou). His courtesy name was Meicheng (Chinese: 美成; pinyin: Měichéng), and his art name was Qingzhen Jushi (Chinese: 清真居士; pinyin: Qīngzhēn Jūshì). He left a two-volume poetry anthology called either the Qingzhen-ji or the Pianyu-ci.

Zhou Bangyan
Traditional Chinese周邦彥
Simplified Chinese周邦彦

Biography edit

Birth and early life edit

Zhou Bangyan was born in 1056.[a] He was a native of Qiantang (錢塘/钱塘 Qiántáng, modern-day Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province).[1][2]

Political career edit

At the age of 23, Zhou went to live in the capital Bianliang as a student at the National Academy.[3] In 1083 he published "Rhapsody on the capital" (汴都賦 Biandu fu), which described the bustle of Bianliang[4] while also praising the Song dynasty's accomplishments.[3] The poem pleased Emperor Shenzong, and Zhou was appointed Supervisor at the National Academy (太學正/太学正 taixuezheng).[5][2]

In 1087, at the age of 31, Zhou was sent to Lu Prefecture in Anhui where he worked as an instructor (教授).[3] He stayed in the provinces for ten years, mostly as Sub-prefect of Lishui County in Jiangsu, before Emperor Zhezong recalled him in 1097 to be Registrar of the National Academy (國子主簿).[3] He found favour with Emperor Zhezong and his successor Emperor Huizong,[3] and thereafter rose through the ranks in the central government.[3] He left the capital in 1112 to serve as Prefect of Longde-fu (隆德府, in the area of present-day Changzhi) and Mingzhou (明州), before returning in 1116 to become Director of the Palace Library (秘書監), the highest position he received.[6]

Later life and death edit

In 1118 Zhou was again assigned a prefectural post.[3] After three transfers, he died in Nanjing (present-day Shangqiu) in 1121, aged 66.[b]

Names edit

His courtesy name was Meicheng, and his art name was Qingzhen Jushi.[1][2]

Works edit

Zhou is especially famous as a composer of ci,[1][2] a form of poetry that began in the Tang era and flourished during the Song Dynasty.[1] His complex and elegant poetic style is noted for its polished and elaborate form, and has been praised as "simple and honest, and elegant" (渾厚和雅).[1] His two-volume poetry anthology is called the Qingzhen-ji (清真集) or the Pianyu-ci (片玉詞).[1][2]

Zhou was a noted composer of tunes and lyrics, working in close association with the imperial Music Bureau (大晟府 Dashengfu),[7][c] which presided over court music. He was a proficient musician, and set many of his own poems to music.[2]

Reception edit

He became known as the "Patriarch of Ci Poets" (詞家正宗),[2] and is listed along with Liu Yong, Xin Qiji and Jiang Kui as the "Four Great Ci Poets".[2] His poetry served as a model for ci poets of later eras,[8] with many imitators among the Southern Song literati.[4] One example is the He Qingzhen-ci (和清真詞) by Fang Qianli (方千里).[1]

Chen Yuanlong (陳元龍) of the Southern Song composed a ten-volume commentary on his poetry entitled Pianyu-ji (片玉集).[1]

Notes edit

  1. ^ Sargent (2001, paragraph 19), Murakami (1994), Britannica Kokusai Dai-Hyakkajiten and Hightower (1977) citing Wang Guowei give 1056, but Murakami (1998) gives 1058.
  2. ^ Sargent (2001, paragraph 19), Murakami (1994), Britannica Kokusai Dai-Hyakkajiten, and Hightower (1977) citing Wang Guowei give 1121, but Murakami (1998) gives 1123.
  3. ^ Previously it was thought that he rose to the position of superintendent of the bureau, and Hightower (1977), Murakami (1994, 1998) and Britannica Kokusai Dai-Hyakkajiten cite this as fact, but recent research cited by Zhou Huarao (2014, p. 5) indicates that this was not the case.

References edit

Works cited edit

  • "Zhou Bang-yan (Shū Hōgen in Japanese)". Britannica Kokusai Dai-Hyakkajiten (in Japanese). Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. 2014. Retrieved 2017-09-18.
  • Hightower, James R. (1977). "The Songs of Chou Pang-yen". Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies. 37 (2): 233–272. doi:10.2307/2718675. JSTOR 2718675.
  • Murakami, Tetsumi (1994). "Zhou Bang-yan (Shū Hōgen in Japanese)". Encyclopedia Nipponica (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved 2017-09-18.
  • Murakami, Tetsumi (1998). "Zhou Bang-yan (Shū Hōgen in Japanese)". World Encyclopedia (in Japanese). Heibonsha. Retrieved 2017-09-18.
  • Sargent, Stuart (2001). "Chapter 15: Tz'u". In Mair, Victor H. (ed.). The Columbia History of Chinese Literature. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-10984-9.
  • Zhou Huarao (2014). The Lyrics of Zhou Bangyan (1056-1121): In between Popular and Elite Cultures (PDF) (PhD thesis). University of Toronto. Retrieved 2017-09-18.