|Born||8 January 1037  |
|Died||24 August 1101 64)  (aged|
|Occupation(s)||Calligrapher, essayist, gastronomer, pharmacologist, poet, politician, travel writer|
|Notable work|| Former and Latter Odes on the Red Cliffs ( 前赤壁賦 )|
The Cold Food Observance ( 寒食帖 )
|Parent||Su Xun (father)|
|Relatives||Su Zhe (brother)|
|Traditional Chinese||蘇 軾|
|Simplified Chinese||苏 轼|
|Literal meaning||Little Forward-Looking One|
|Traditional Chinese||東 坡 居士|
|Simplified Chinese||东 坡 居士|
|Literal meaning||East Slope Householder|
|Traditional Chinese||蘇 東 坡|
|Simplified Chinese||苏 东 坡|
Su Shi (simplified Chinese :苏轼; traditional Chinese :蘇軾; pinyin :SūShì;8 January 1037 –24 August 1101),courtesy name Zizhan (Chinese :子瞻),art name Dongpo (Chinese :東坡),was a Chinese calligrapher,essayist,gastronomer,pharmacologist,poet,politician,and travel writer during the Song dynasty.  A major personality of the Song era,at times holding high-level political positions,Su Shi was also an important figure in Song Dynasty politics,aligning himself with Sima Guang and others,against the New Policy party led by Wang Anshi,gaining some level of popular support through his actions,and also sometimes experiencing politically motivated reversals to his government career.
Su Shi is widely regarded as one of the most accomplished figures in classical Chinese literature,having produced some of the most well-known poems,lyrics,prose,and essays. Su Shi was famed as an essayist,and his prose writings lucidly contribute to the understanding of topics such as 11th-century Chinese travel literature or detailed information on the contemporary Chinese iron industry. His poetry has a long history of popularity and influence in China,Japan,and other areas in the near vicinity and is well known in the English-speaking parts of the world through the translations by Arthur Waley,among others. In terms of the arts,Su Shi has some claim to being "the pre-eminent personality of the eleventh century."  Among the topics he wrote on was cuisine,where he is considered to have had a profound influence.  Dongpo pork,a prominent dish in Hangzhou cuisine,is named in his honor.
Su Shi was born in Meishan,near Mount Emei today the Sichuan province. His brother Su Zhe and his father Su Xun were both famous scholar-bureaucrats. His given name,Shi (軾),refers to the crossbar railing at the front of a chariot;Su Xun felt that the railing was a humble,but indispensable,part of a carriage.
Su Shi's early education was conducted under a Daoist priest at a local village school. Later his educated mother took over. Su Shi married at the age of 17. Su Shi and his younger brother Su Zhe had a close relationship,  and in 1057,when Su Shi was 19,he and his brother both passed the (highest-level) civil service examinations to attain the degree of jinshi,a prerequisite for high government office.  His accomplishments at such a young age attracted the attention of Emperor Renzong,and also that of Ouyang Xiu,who became Su's patron thereafter. Ouyang had already been known as an admirer of Su Xun,sanctioning his literary style at court and stating that no other pleased him more.  When the 1057 jinshi examinations were given,Ouyang Xiu required—without prior notice—that candidates were to write in the ancient prose style when answering questions on the Confucian classics.  The Su brothers gained high honors for what were deemed impeccable answers and achieved celebrity status,  especially in the case of Su Shi's exceptional performance in the subsequent 1061 decree examinations.
Beginning in 1060 and throughout the following twenty years,Su Shi held a variety of government positions throughout China;most notably in Hangzhou,where he was responsible for constructing a pedestrian causeway across the West Lake that still bears his name:sudi (苏堤,蘇堤,Su Causeway). He had served as a magistrate in Mi Prefecture,which is located in modern-day Zhucheng County of Shandong province. Later,when he was governor of Xuzhou,he wrote a memorial to the throne in 1078 complaining about the troubling economic conditions and potential for armed rebellion in Liguo Industrial Prefecture,where a large part of the Chinese iron industry was located.  
Su Shi was often at odds with the political faction headed by Wang Anshi. Su Shi once wrote a poem criticizing Wang Anshi's reforms,especially the government monopoly imposed on the salt industry.  The dominance of the reformist faction at court allowed the New Policy Group greater ability to have Su Shi exiled for political crimes. The claim was that Su Shi was criticizing the emperor,when in fact Su Shi's poetry was aimed at criticizing Wang's reforms. It should be said that Wang Anshi played no part in this action against Su,for he had retired from public life in 1076 and established a cordial relationship with Su Shi.  Su Shi's first remote trip of exile (1080–1086) was to Huangzhou,Hubei. This post carried a nominal title,but no stipend,leaving Su in poverty. During this period,he began Buddhist meditation. With help from a friend,Su Shi built a small residence on a parcel of land in 1081. Su Shi lived at a farm called Dongpo ('Eastern Slope'),from which he took his literary pseudonym. While banished to Hubei province,he grew fond of the area he lived in;many of the poems considered his best were written in this period.  His most famous piece of calligraphy,Han Shi Tie,was also written there. In 1086,Su Shi and all other banished statesmen were recalled to the capital due to the ascension of a new government.  However,Su Shi was banished a second time (1094–1100) to Huizhou (now in Guangdong province) and Danzhou,Hainan.  In 1098 the Dongpo Academy in Hainan was built on the site of the residence that he lived in whilst in exile.
Although political bickering and opposition usually split ministers of court into rivaling groups,there were moments of non-partisanship and cooperation from both sides. For example,although the prominent scientist and statesman Shen Kuo (1031–1095) was one of Wang Anshi's most trusted associates and political allies,Shen nonetheless befriended Su Shi. Su Shi was aware that it was Shen Kuo who,as regional inspector of Zhejiang,presented Su Shi's poetry to the court sometime between 1073 and 1075 with concern that it expressed abusive and hateful sentiments against the Song court.  It was these poetry pieces that Li Ding and Shu Dan later utilized in order to instigate a law case against Su Shi,although until that point Su Shi did not think much of Shen Kuo's actions in bringing the poetry to light. 
After a long period of political exile,Su Shi received a pardon in 1100 and was posted to Chengdu. However,he died in Changzhou,Jiangsu after his period of exile and while he was en route to his new assignment in the year 1101.  Su Shi was 64 years old.  After his death he gained even greater popularity,as people sought to collect his calligraphy,paintings depicting him,stone inscriptions marking his visit to numerous places,and built shrines in his honor.  He was also depicted in artwork made posthumously,such as in Li Song's (1190–1225) painting of Su traveling in a boat,known as Su Dongpo at Red Cliff,after Su Song's poem written about a 3rd-century Chinese battle. 
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Su Shi had three wives. His first wife was Wang Fu (王弗, 1039–1065), an astute, quiet lady from Sichuan who married him at the age of sixteen. She died 13 years later in 1065, on the second day of the fifth Chinese lunar month (Gregorian calendar 14 June), after bearing him a son, Su Mai (蘇邁). Heartbroken, Su Shi wrote a memorial for her (亡妻王氏墓志銘), stating that Wang Fu was not just a virtuous wife but also advised him frequently on the integrity of his acquaintances when he was an official.
Ten years after the death of his first wife, Su Shi composed a (cí) poem after dreaming of the deceased Wang Fu in the night at Mi Prefecture. The poem, "To the tune of 'Of Jinling'" (江城子), remains one of the most famous poems Su Shi wrote.   [ failed verification ]
In 1068, two years after Wang Fu's death, Su Shi married Wang Runzhi (王閏之, 1048–93), cousin of his first wife, and 11 years his junior. Wang Runzhi spent the next 15 years accompanying Su Shi through his ups and downs in officialdom and political exile. Su Shi praised Runzhi for being an understanding wife who treated his three sons equally (his eldest, Su Mai (苏迈/蘇邁), was born by Wang Fu). Once, Su Shi was angry with his young son for not understanding his unhappiness during his political exile. Wang Runzhi chided Su Shi for his silliness, prompting Su Shi to write the domestic poem "Young Son" (小兒).
Wang Runzhi died in 1093, at forty-six, after bearing two sons, Su Dai (苏迨/蘇迨) and Su Guo (苏过/蘇過). Overcome with grief, Su Shi expressed his wish to be buried with her in her memorial (祭亡妻同安郡君文). On his second wife's second birthday after her death, Su Shi wrote another cí poem, "To the tune of 'Butterflies going after Flowers'" (蝶戀花), for her.
Su's third wife, Wang Zhaoyun (王朝雲, 1062–1095) was his handmaiden who was a former Qiantang singing artist. Wang was only about ten (eleven sui) when she became his personal servant.  She taught herself to read, having formerly been illiterate. Wang Zhaoyun was probably the most famous of Su's companions. Su's friend Qin Guan wrote a poem, "A Gift for Dongpo's concubine Zhaoyun" (贈東坡妾朝雲), praising her beauty and lovely voice. Su Shi himself dedicated a number of his poems to Zhaoyun, including "To the Tune of 'Song of the South'"(南歌子), "Verses for Zhaoyun" (朝雲詩), "To the Tune of 'The Beauty Who Asks One To Stay'" (殢人嬌·贈朝雲), and "To the Tune of 'The Moon at Western Stream'" (西江月). Zhaoyun remained a faithful companion to Su Shi after Runzhi's death, but died of illness on 13 August 1095 (紹聖三年七月五日) at Huizhou.  Zhaoyun bore Su Shi a son, Su Dun (蘇遁), on 15 November 1083, who died in infancy. After Zhaoyun's death, Su Shi never married again.
Being a government official in a family of officials, Su Shi was often separated from his loved ones depending on his posting. In 1078, he was serving as prefect of Suzhou. His beloved younger brother was able to join him for the mid-autumn festival, which inspired the poem "Mid-Autumn Moon" reflecting on the preciousness of time with family. It was written to be sung to the tune of "Yang Pass." 
Su Shi had three sons who survived to adulthood: the eldest, Su Mai (蘇邁), who would also become a government official by 1084.;  the second, Su Dai (蘇迨); and the third, Su Guo (蘇過). When Su Shi died in 1101, his younger brother Su Zhe (蘇轍) buried him alongside second wife Wang Runzhi according to his wishes.
Around 2,700 of Su Shi's poems have survived, along with 800 written letters.  Su Shi excelled in the shi , ci and fu forms of poetry, as well as prose, calligraphy and painting. Some of his notable works include the First and Second Chibifu (赤壁賦The Red Cliffs, written during his first exile), Nian Nu Jiao: Chibi Huai Gu (念奴嬌·赤壁懷古Remembering Chibi, to the tune of Nian Nu Jiao) and Shui diao ge tou (水調歌頭Remembering Su Zhe on the Mid-Autumn Festival , 中秋節). The two former poems were inspired by the Battle of Chibi, a naval battle of the Three Kingdoms era that occurred in the year 208. The bulk of his poems are in the shi style, but his poetic fame rests largely on his 350 ci style poems. Su Shi also founded the haofang school, which cultivated an attitude of heroic abandon. In both his written works and his visual art, he combined spontaneity, objectivity and vivid descriptions of natural phenomena. Su Shi wrote essays as well, many of which are on politics and governance, including his Liuhoulun (留侯論). His popular politically charged poetry was often the reason for the wrath of Wang Anshi's supporters towards him, culminating with the Crow Terrace Poetry Trial of 1079. He also wrote poems on Buddhist topics, including a poem later extensively commented on by Eihei Dōgen, the founder of the Japanese Sōtō school of Zen, in a chapter of his work Shōbōgenzō entitled The Sounds of Valley Streams, the Forms of Mountains . 
Su Shi also wrote of his travel experiences in 'daytrip essays',  which belonged in part to the popular Song era literary category of 'travel record literature' (youji wenxue) that employed the use of narrative, diary, and prose styles of writing.  Although other works in Chinese travel literature contained a wealth of cultural, geographical, topographical, and technical information, the central purpose of the daytrip essay was to use a setting and event in order to convey a philosophical or moral argument, which often employed persuasive writing.  For example, Su Shi's daytrip essay known as Record of Stone Bell Mountain investigates and then judges whether or not ancient texts on 'stone bells' were factually accurate. 
While acting as Governor of Xuzhou, Su Shi in 1078 CE wrote a memorial to the imperial court about problems faced in the Liguo Industrial Prefecture which was under his watch and administration. In an interesting and revealing passage about the Chinese iron industry during the latter half of the 11th century, Su Shi wrote about the enormous size of the workforce employed in the iron industry, competing provinces that had rival iron manufacturers seeking favor from the central government, as well as the danger of rising local strongmen who had the capability of raiding the industry and threatening the government with effectively armed rebellion. It also becomes clear in reading the text that prefectural government officials in Su's time often had to negotiate with the central government in order to meet the demands of local conditions. 
During the ancient Han dynasty (202 BCE – 220 CE) of China, the sluice gate and canal lock of the flash lock had been known.  By the 10th century the latter design was improved upon in China with the invention of the canal pound lock, allowing different adjusted levels of water along separated and gated segments of a canal.  This innovation allowed for larger transport barges to pass safely without danger of wrecking upon the embankments, and was an innovation praised by those such as Shen Kuo (1031–1095).  Shen also wrote in his Dream Pool Essays of the year 1088 that, if properly used, sluice gates positioned along irrigation canals were most effective in depositing silt for fertilization.  Writing earlier in his Dongpo Zhilin of 1060, Su Shi came to a different conclusion, writing that the Chinese of a few centuries past had perfected this method and noted that it was ineffective in use by his own time. 
Although Su Shi made no note of it in his writing, the root of this problem was merely the needs of agriculture and transportation conflicting with one another. 
Su is called one of the four classical gastronomes. The other three are Ni Zan (1301–74), Xu Wei (1521–93), and Yuan Mei (1716–97).  There is a legend, for which there is no evidence, that by accident he invented Dongpo pork, a famous dish in later centuries. Lin Hsiang Ju and Lin Tsuifeng in their scholarly Chinese Gastronomy give a recipe, "The Fragrance of Pork: Tungpo Pork", and remark that the "square of fat is named after Su Dongpo, the poet, for unknown reasons. Perhaps it is just because he would have liked it."  A story runs that once Su Shi had decided to make stewed pork. Then an old friend visited him in the middle of the cooking and challenged him to a game of Chinese chess. Su Shi had totally forgotten the stew, which in the meantime had now become extremely thick-cooked, until its very fragrant smell reminded him of it.[ citation needed ] Some legends point to the contrary, however, where other villagers simply named the pork dish after him to honour his death, although no concrete evidence points to any conclusion.
Su, to explain his vegetarian inclinations, said that he never had been comfortable with killing animals for his dinner table, but had a craving for certain foods, such as clams, so he could not desist. When he was imprisoned his views changed: "Since my imprisonment I have not killed a single thing... having experienced such worry and danger myself, when I felt just like a fowl waiting in the kitchen, I can no longer bear to cause any living creature to suffer immeasurable fright and pain simply to please my palate." 
The Song dynasty ( was an imperial dynasty of China that began in 960 and lasted until 1279. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Taizu of Song of the House of Zhao following his usurpation of the throne of the Later Zhou. The Song conquered the rest of the Ten Kingdoms, ending the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. The Song often came into conflict with the contemporaneous Liao, Western Xia and Jin dynasties in present-day northern China. After retreating to southern China, the Song was eventually conquered by the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty.
Wang Anshi, courtesy name Jiefu, was a Chinese economist, philosopher, poet, and politician during the Song dynasty. He served as chancellor and attempted major and controversial socioeconomic reforms known as the New Policies. These reforms constituted the core concepts of the Song-dynasty Reformists, in contrast to their rivals, the Conservatives, led by the Chancellor Sima Guang.
Ouyang Xiu, courtesy name Yongshu, also known by his art names Zuiweng (醉翁) and Liu Yi Jushi (六一居士), was a Chinese historian, calligrapher, epigrapher, essayist, poet, and politician of the Song dynasty. He was a renowned writer among his contemporaries and is considered the central figure of the Eight Masters of the Tang and Song. He revived the Classical Prose Movement and promoted it in imperial examinations, paving the way for future masters like Su Shi and Su Zhe.
Cí, also known as chángduǎnjù and shīyú, is a type of lyric poetry in the tradition of Classical Chinese poetry that also draws upon folk traditions. Cí use various poetic meters derived from a base set of fixed pattern forms, using fixed-rhythm, fixed-tone, and line-lengths varying according that of the model examples. The rhythmic and tonal pattern of the cí are based upon certain, definitive musical song tunes (cípái), and in many cases the name of the musical tune is given in the title of a cí piece, in a form such as "after ...." The underlying songs are generally lost or uncertain.
Shen Kuo or Shen Gua, courtesy name Cunzhong (存中) and pseudonym MengqiWeng (夢溪翁), was a Chinese polymathic scientist and statesman of the Song dynasty (960–1279). Shen was a master in many fields of study including mathematics, optics, and horology. In his career as a civil servant, he became a finance minister, governmental state inspector, head official for the Bureau of Astronomy in the Song court, Assistant Minister of Imperial Hospitality, and also served as an academic chancellor. At court his political allegiance was to the Reformist faction known as the New Policies Group, headed by Chancellor Wang Anshi (1021–1085).
Su Song, courtesy name Zirong, was a Chinese polymathic scientist and statesman. Excelling in a variety of fields, he was accomplished in mathematics, astronomy, cartography, geography, horology, pharmacology, mineralogy, metallurgy, zoology, botany, mechanical engineering, hydraulic engineering, civil engineering, invention, art, poetry, philosophy, antiquities, and statesmanship during the Song dynasty (960–1279).
Huang Tingjian was a Chinese calligrapher, painter, and poet of the Song dynasty. He is predominantly known as a calligrapher, and is also admired for his painting and poetry. He was one of the Four Masters of the Song Dynasty, and was a younger friend of Su Shi and influenced by his and his friends' practice of literati painting, calligraphy, and poetry.
The literary inquisition, also known as speech crime (以言入罪), refers to official persecution of intellectuals for their writings in China. The Hanyu Da Cidian defines it as "the ruler deliberately extracts words or phrases from intellectual's writings and arbitrarily accuse him in order to persecute him" ("旧时谓统治者为迫害知识分子，故意从其著作中摘取字句，罗织成罪"). The inquisition took place under each of the dynasties ruling China, although the Ming dynasty was particularly notorious for the practice. In general, there are two ways a literary inquisition could be carried out. First is that the conviction came from the writing itself. That is, the writing was the direct cause of the persecution. The second is that the writing was used as a tool to provide legitimate evidence for a predetermined conviction. Such persecutions could owe even to a single phrase or word which the ruler considered offensive. Some of these were due to the naming taboo, such as writing a Chinese character that was part of the emperor's personal name. In the most serious cases, not only the writer, but also their immediate and extended families, as well as those close to them, would also be implicated and killed.
Dongpo may refer to:
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Su Zhe, or Su Che, courtesy names Ziyou 子由 and Tongshu 同叔, was a Chinese essayist, historian, poet, and politician from Meishan, located in modern-day Sichuan Province, China.
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Wang Shen, courtesy name Jinqing, was a Chinese calligrapher, painter, poet, and politician of the Song dynasty. He is best known for his surviving paintings, poetry, and calligraphy, and for his relationships with prominent statesmen and early amateur literati artists such as Su Shi, Huang Tingjian and Mi Fu.
The Crow Terrace Poetry Trial was a trial on charges including treason and lèse majesté that occurred in the year 1079 of Song dynasty era in Chinese history. The legal action conducted against Su Shi by government prosecutors has abiding interest in the case of government censorship versus artistic freedom. "Crow Terrace" refers to the nickname of the Imperial Office of the Censorate (御史臺), which prosecuted the case, citing Sung Criminal Code, Article 122: "Denouncing the Imperial Chariot". The most prominent figure of the dozens accused was the official and artist Su Shi, whose works of poetry were produced in court as evidence against him.
I Lo-fen is a Taiwanese scholar and writer. She received her Chinese Literature Ph.D. from National Taiwan University. She has been an associate professor in the Division of Chinese in Nanyang Technological University’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences since July 2006, and was the Head of the Division (2014-2016). She had formerly committed in institutes like the National Taiwan University, Tamkang University, Fu Jen Catholic University, and the Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy at Academia Sinica. In addition, she was also a visiting professor at Stanford University in the United States and East Asian Institute at Sungkyunkwan University, South Korea. Her research expertise lies in Text and Image Studies, Su Shi studies, East Asian literature and intercultural exchanges in Classical Chinese, and Singapore literature, history, and arts studies. She is also a board member of the China Su Shi Studies Society, and an international board member of the Korea Society of East Asian Comparative Literature. She is the Founder and Honorary President of the "Text and Image Studies Society"(文图学会) that was official registered in Singapore on 18 December 2017. By integrating the history of Chinese literature and arts, she has accomplished a series of researches on poems in paintings and poetic imagery. She then proposed the idea of the “Text and Image Studies”(文图学) and focused on the relations, comparison and intertextuality between poems and paintings. From there, she has established her literary theory in arts creation and culture of aesthetics. She is also a column writer of Singapore Lianhe Zaobao (2007-), and she hosts podcast "Lofen says".
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