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Title: The patterns and changes of literary patronage in the Han and Wei
Authors: Su, J.-L. 
Issue Date: 2010
Citation: Su, J.-L. (2010). The patterns and changes of literary patronage in the Han and Wei. Interpretation And Literature In Early Medieval China : 41-62. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Literary patronage in ancient Greece can be traced to as early as the fifth century B.C.E. and is often associated with autocratic rulers.1 By the first century C.E., literary patronage by the powerful Roman families had attracted both Greek and Roman intellectuals to Rome.2 In China, the accommodation of learned scholars or guests with special skills at one's own household also has a long history, although belle lettres did not attain prominence until the Han dynasty (206 B.C.E.-220 C.E.).3 The most important belletristic works before the Han are the Shijing (Book of Poetry) and part of the Chuci (The Songs of Chu) corpus. However, the former collection was usually read for its moral or political intent instead of being appreciated for its aesthetic value. During the Qin dynasty (221 -206 B.C.E.) and the early years of the Han, refined literature was not valued at court. Not until Liu Che , posthumously known as Emperor Wu (r. 141-87 B.C.E.), did the Han imperial court become a magnet for men of literary talents. In the Wei dynasty (220-265), it became more common for men of letters to gather around a royal patron. The attitude of the patron toward literature and his protege poets and the interaction between patron and client played a critical role in deciding literary tastes, forming important literary genres, and charting new directions for literature. This essay will attempt to trace the changing patterns of literary patronage from the Han to the Wei dynasty and how they impacted on Chinese literature of these periods and later generations. © 2010 State University of New York. All rights reserved.
Source Title: Interpretation And Literature In Early Medieval China
ISBN: 9781438432175
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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