Wang Wei Additional Biography


(World Poets and Poetry)

Wang Wei (also known by his cognomen, Wang Mojie, and his courtesy name, Wang Youcheng) was the eldest child of a prominent family in Shanxi Province. He became known for his precocious poetic, musical, and artistic talents and was well received by aristocratic patrons of the arts in the two capital cities of the empire. After placing first in his provincial examinations at the age of nineteen, Wang went on to pass the most literary of the three main types of imperial civil-service examinations in 721, one of the thirty-eight successful candidates that year. (Typically, only 1-2 percent of the thousands of candidates recommended each year for this highly competitive examination would pass.) He received the jinshi...

(The entire section is 660 words.)


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

The Tang Dynasty (618-907) in China was a golden age of poetry in Chinese civilization, in which more than fifty thousand poems were composed by twenty-three hundred poets. In part this was because of the policies of a woman named Wu Zhao, originally the young concubine of the Emperor Tai Zong and later, beginning in 690, the only woman in Chinese history to rule as sovereign in her own right. As a way of enlarging the social base of the governing classes, and of eroding in the process the power of the traditional aristocracy that had opposed her rise to power, Wu Zhao reformed the examination system through which scholars became officials. She made it more open to all, and she also made the composition of poetry a major part of...

(The entire section is 907 words.)