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Tang Studies 23-24 (2005-06) The Moral High Ground: Two Admonitory Fu by Liu Zongyuan Y. EDMUND LIEN UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON Liu Zongyuan WD %bc (773-819) had more than his share of life in exile compared to other Tang scholar officials. In late 805 or early 806, he arrived at Yongzhou ::7k1H (modern Lingling ~ ~i:, Hunan) to begin a life drastically different from the life of an official in the capital, Chang'an. When Emperor Shunzong JIIW* (r. 805) ascended to the throne in early 805, the Wang Shuwen X *0ZX (753-806) faction quickly gained power and had the freedom to embark on their reforms, which if implemented in full would reduce the influence of the eunuchs at court, among other benefits. Unfortunately for Wang and his faction, Shunzong's reign did not last long: in the eighth month of 805, he abdicated. After Emperor Xianzong _* (r..805-820) took the throne, almost all members of the Wang Shuwen faction were soon sent into exile.! Liu's active participation in the faction proved to be a liability for the rest of his life. Yongzhou at the time was an outcast town with outcast people. Many of the locals came here during the An Lushan rebellion. Liu spent ten years in this remote area, about 1,000 miles south of the capital. He managed to make the best of his life here by traveling and enjoying the scenery in the area and by writing extensively. Among his works during this period are a large number The author would like to express his gratitude to Professor David R. Knechtges for the helpful comments made to an earlier draft. I For a brief account of Shunzong's short reign and the historical background of Liu Zongyuan's exile, see William H. Nienhauser, Jr., et al., Liu Tsung-yiian (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1973), 17-19. See also Jennings M. Gentzler, "A Literary Biography of Liu Tsung-yuan, 773-819" (PhD diss., Columbia University, 1966),85-123. 169 Lien: TheMoral High Ground of landscape prose pieces. Today his reputation as a major literary figute cannot be separated from the prose pieces that he wrote in Yongzhou. In the first month of 815, Liu was summoned to the capital only to be banished again in the third month. This time he was sent to an even more distant location, Liuzhou 1P~ 1\1'[ (in modern Guangxi). Fout years later he died at the age of forty-seven without ever returning to the capital. He entrusted his literary works to his lifelong friend Liu Yuxi ~U~~ (772-842), who was also in exile.2 During his exile, Liu Zongyuan wrote more than just landscape prose. His extant work now covers nearly thirty genres including shi, prose, fu, expository essays, and tomb inscriptions. This paper looks in depth into two pieces he most likely wrote while in exile. They reflect his aspiration as a Confucian scholar and, to some extent, his acceptance of fate. Included in the collected works of Liu Zongyuan are nine pieces in the genre of gufu ~Pj\ (ancient rhapsody). Among them, the "Ping fu" tfIiJt\ (Fu on the Pitcher) and the "Niu fu" 4-Wt\ (Fu on the Water Buffalo) are the only gufu pieces that Uu composed in the tetrasyllabic form.3 A Song commentator remarked that, based on their moral messages, these two pieces were probably written at 2 There are various printings of the collection ofLiu Zongyuan's works, differing in their annotations, which are variously called Liu Hedong quanji TiJP yrig,,! ~~, Hedong xianshengji yl'iJ*:7'G~~,Hedongji yl1J*~, Liu Hedongji 1PPyl'iJ*~, and so on. The extant versions have forty-five juan, with each juan containing works of the same genre; however, a genre may spread over several consecutive juan. In this paper I refer to the Liu Zongyuan ji TiJP*JC~, 4 vols. (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1979). The original version edited by Liu Yuxi is now lost. See Wu Wenzhi :!R:XW, "Jiaodian houji" :tXI!'1M3ttcJ, in Liu Zongyuan ji, 150110 . 3 Separately, Liu also wrote a couple of admonitions in the tetrasyllabic form that had the word zhen ~ in the title. It...


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