- Education and Science
Who is Qu Yuan? Poet, Statesman and Ideologist
Qu Yuan is From the Warring States Period of Chinese History
Situated on the banks of the mighty Yangtze River, at Xiangjiaping, 1.5km from Guizhou Town, Zigui County in Hubei Province, stands this impressive memorial and shrine to the famous poet, statesman and Ideologist of Chinese history, Qu Yuan. The recent flooding of the river for the 3 Gorges Dam project threatened its very existence, but the Chinese Government introduced measures to preserve this historical shrine. Brick by brick and piece by piece, the entire site was moved to a hillside nearby to ensure the river would not engulf it! Nowadays, Qu Yuan is remembered mainly for his connection to the Dragon Boat Festival, held in the middle of the year. Read on to find out more about this interesting statesman from ancient China...
Image: drs2biz | Lens Updated: November 28th, 2013 @ 8:10 pm Beijing time.
Qu Yuan Lived in the Warring States Period
... and lived from 340 to 278 BCE
Read About Qu Yuan on Wikipedia
Read what the online reference source has to say...
Qu Yuan (ca. 340 BCE - 278 BCE) was a Chinese scholar and minister to the King from the southern Chu during the Warring States Period. His works are mostly found in an anthology of poetry known as Chu Ci. His death is traditionally commemorated on Duanwu Festival, which is commonly known in English as the Dragon Boat Festival or Double Fifth (fifth day of the fifth month of the traditional Chinese calendar).
... read the rest of the Wikipedia article.
He forfeited his own life in the name of his country
The "Dragon Boat Festival" is celebrated each year in his name
His poetry is inspiring and is celebrated to this day
Dragon Boat Festival on Wikipedia
Read About The Connection With Qu Yuan...
The best-known traditional story holds that the festival commemorates the death of poet Qu Yuan (c. 340 BC - 278 BC) of the ancient state of Chu, in the Warring States Period of the Zhou Dynasty. A descendant of the Chu royal house, Qu served in high offices. However, when the king decided to ally with the increasingly powerful state of Qin, Qu was banished for opposing the alliance. Qu Yuan was accused of treason. During his exile, Qu Yuan wrote a great deal of poetry, for which he is now remembered. Twenty-eight years later, Qin conquered the Chu capital. In despair, Qu Yuan committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River on the fifth day of the fifth month.
It is said that the local people, who admired him, threw food into the river to feed the fish so that they would not eat Qu Yuan's body. This is said to be the origin of zongzi. The local people were also said to have paddled out on boats, either to scare the fish away or to retrieve his body. This is said to be the origin of dragon boat racing.
Zong Zi Tradition on Double Fifth Festival
Read about this tradition in Wikipedia...
Zongzi (or zong) is a traditional Chinese food, made of glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings and wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves. They are cooked by steaming or boiling. They are known in Japanese as chimaki. Laotians, Thais, and Cambodians (known as Nom Asom) also have similar traditional dishes influenced by zongzi. In the Western world, they are also known as rice dumplings or Chinese tamales. Among the Filipino-Chinese people in the Philippines, zongzi is more popularly known as machang (POJ: bah-chg) in the Lan-nang dialect.
Zongzi is traditionally eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival (Mandarin: Duanwu; Cantonese: Tuen Ng) which falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese calendar (approximately early to mid-June), commemorating the death of Qu Yuan, a famous Chinese poet from the kingdom of Chu who lived during the Warring States period. Known for his patriotism, Qu Yuan tried unsuccessfully to warn his king and countrymen against the expansionism of their Qin neighbours. When the Qin Dynasty general Bai Qi took Yingdu, the Chu capital, in 278 BC, Qu Yuan's grief was so intense that he drowned himself in the Miluo river after penning the Lament for Ying. According to legend, packets of rice were thrown into the river to prevent fish from eating the poet's body. Another version states that zongzi were given to placate a dragon that lived in the river.
Yangtze River From the Qu Yuan Museum - The Yangtze River, from the balcony of the museum...
Image from the balcony of the Qu Yuan museum in Xiangjiaping, by drs2biz!
Here's a Watercolour Image of Qu Yuan
Water Colour Image of Qu Yuan, displayed in the museum, captured by drs2biz!
Qu Yuan "An Introduction to Chinese Literature" - by Liu Wu-chi (Indiana University Press) ---
"Qu Yuan [Chu Yuan ] (circa 340-278 b.c.e.), the chief poet in the Songs of Chu, was a member of the ruling house, a statesman and diplomat. In his youth, he had a brilliant official career and was made a court minister and at one time the Chu envoy to Chi (in Shantung), a great neighbouring state. But Chu Yuan's comet-like success incurred the jealousy of his fellow ministers, who slandered and intrigued against him in the court. As a consequence, Qu Yuan lost the king's favour and was dismissed from office.
There were several ups and downs in his career - after each banishment he was recalled to court, only to be again rebuffed and disgraced. In the meantime, his country was in danger.
Failing to heed Qu Yuan's advice, the king of Chu foolishly went to a conference with the king of Qin (in Shensi), the most powerful military state in that period. He was held there by the Qin army and died in captivity. His son, the new king, instead of avenging his father's death, made a humiliating peace with his enemy. This, however, did not deter the Qin's aggressive designs against Chu, and Qu Yuan, who had started his exile as a result of his political failure, lived long enough to see the capital of his state plundered and ruined by the conquering army of Qin in 278 b.c.e.
At that time, Qu Yuan was already an old man of over sixty, and the fall of the Chu capital was the last straw to his patriotic hope. He does not seem to have long survived his disaster, for the next we hear of him is that he had drowned himself in the river Mi-lo.
Tradition says that his death occurred on the fifth day of the fifth moon (month). Ever since, the day is celebrated as the Day of Dragon Boat Festival to commemorate his drowning.
As the first known and recorded great poet in China, Qu Yuan has been called the father of Chinese poetry and has become, in the opinion of many, a national cultural hero."
Is There Substantial Proof Qu Yuan Was Gay? - Take a look at this and see what you think...
Many of the greatest creative minds in history have been linked with this "alternative lifestyle". Also some of the greatest warriors, such as Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great have been claimed to be bisexual and Richard "The Lion-heart" was reputedly gay. Why not this greatest of China's patriotic statesmen-poets?
Wikipedia states... "In the year 1944, the scholar Sun Cizhou published a work stating that one of the most famous ancient Chinese poets, Qu Yuan, was a lover of his king. Sun cited the poetry of Qu Yuan to prove his claim. In Qu Yuan's most important work Li Sao (Sorrow of parting), Qu Yuan called himself a beautiful man (or woman, Pinyin: beautiful person = mei ren). A word he used to describe his king was used at that time by women to characterise their lovers."
Not that there's anything wrong with that! What do you think?
Quick, what do you think of Qu Yuan?
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