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              The Book of Songs
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              the book of songsHistory:
              As the first collection of poems in china, The Book of Songs (shī jīng 詩經) recorded a total of 305 poems created over a period of 500 years or so, from the early Western Zhou Dynasty (xī zhōu 西周) (11th century BC-771BC) to the middle of the Spring and Autumn Period (chūn qiū shí qī ?春秋時期). It was said that specific officials were appointed with a sole role of collecting poems among the mass. There was also a rule requiring officials to compose poems and present them to the emperor at that time. The anthology came into being after further compilation. According to the story, all the poems in The Book of Songs were lyrics of the ancient days.
              At the very beginning, The Book of Songs was known as Poems (shī 詩) or Three Hundred Poems (shī sān bǎi 詩三百). The great thinker Confucius (kǒng zǐ 孔子) used it as a textbook to teach his disciples. It was named as The Book of Songs after the Han Dynasty (hàn cháo 漢朝).

              Structure
              The Book of Songs was written in four-character lines. All the songs?were original in wording, harmonious in rhythm, concise in style, and pleasant to read. The three major literary figures or styles employed in the poems?were Fu (fù 賦), Bi (bǐ 比) and Xing (xīng 興). It is divided into four main sections:the book of songs
              ??? 1. GuoFeng (guó fēng 國風)(Lessons from the States):
              ??????? Poems or folk songs from ordinary people.
              ??? 2. XiaoYa (xiǎo yǎ 小雅)(Minor Odes of the Kingdom):?
              ??????? Poems or songs concerning life of the nobility.?
              ????3. DaYa (dà yǎ 大雅)(Greater Odes of the Kingdom):
              ??????? Poems or songs of praise of the rulers and their life.?
              ????4. Song (sòng 頌)(Odes of the Temple and the Altar):
              ??????? Hymns written for religious ceremonies of the court.

              Contents
              The Book of Songs?was rich in contents, which?was also the source of Chinese verse and the starting point of the Chinese epic. Including history poems, satirical poems, narrative poems, love songs, odes, seasonal songs and work songs, It covered all aspects of the society of the Zhou Dynasty, such as work and love, war and corvée, oppression and resistance, customs and marriage, sacrifices and feasts, astronomical phenomena and landforms, animals and plants. Therefore, The Book of Songs?was not only a mirror reflecting the Zhou Dynasty (zhōu cháo 周朝), but also the most valuable and important material in the study of the Chinese language from the 11th century to the 6th century B.C.
              The Book of Songs has spread widely in China and abroad. It has been translated into many foreign languages such as English, French, Japanese, and Russian. Jacob Lee's The Chinese Classics is the earliest translation in English, which was published during 1861-1871 in Hong Kong. Arthur Waley’s The Book of Songs, though published later (in 1954), is a better version.

              Appreciation

              the book of songs

              The Reeds and Rushes (part)
              《秦風· 兼葭》(節選)
              When reed and rush grew green, grew green,
              蒹葭蒼蒼,
              And dews to hoar-frost changed,
              白露為霜。
              One whom they speak of as "that man"
              所謂伊人,
              Somewhere the river ranged.
              在水一方。
              Upstream they went in quest of him,
              溯洄從之,
              A long and toilsome way;
              道阻且長。
              Downstream they went in quest of him;
              溯游從之,
              In mid-stream there lay!
              宛在水中央。


              《詩經》

              the book of songs

              ????? 《詩經》是我國第一部詩歌總集,共收入自西周初年至春秋中葉大約五百多年的詩歌三百零五篇?!对娊洝饭卜诛L(160篇)、雅(105篇)、頌(40篇)三大部分。它們都得名于音樂。“風”的意義就是聲調。古人所謂《秦風》、《魏風》、《鄭風》,就如現在我們說陜西調、山西調、河南調、“雅”是正的意思。周代人把正聲叫做雅樂,猶如清代人把昆腔叫做雅部,帶有一種尊崇的意味。大雅小雅可能是根據年代先后而分的。“頌”是用于宗廟祭的樂歌。
              思想內容 《詩經》全面地展示了中國周代時期的社會生活,真實地反映了中國奴隸社會從興盛到衰敗時期的歷史面貌。其中有些詩,如《大雅》中的《生民》、《公劉 》、《綿》、《皇矣》、《大明》等,記載了后稷降生到武王伐紂,是周部族起源、發展和立國的歷史敘事詩。?
              ?????有些詩,如《魏風• 碩鼠》、《魏風• 伐檀》等,以冷嘲熱諷的筆調形象地揭示出奴隸主貪婪成性、不勞而獲的寄生本性,唱出了人民反抗的呼聲和對理想生活的向往,顯示了奴隸制崩潰時期奴隸們的覺醒。有些詩,如《小雅• 何草不黃》、《豳風• 東山》、《唐風• 鴇羽》、《小雅 • 采薇》等寫征夫思家戀土和對戰爭的哀怨;《王風• 君子于役 》、《衛風• 伯兮》等表現了思婦對征人的懷念。它們從不同的角度反映了西周時期不合理的兵役制度和戰爭徭役給人民帶來的無窮痛苦和災難。有些詩,如《周南• 芣苢》完整地刻畫了婦女們采集車前子的勞動過程;《豳風• 七月》記敘了奴隸一年四季的勞動生活;《小雅• 無羊》反映了奴隸們的牧羊生活。?the book of songs
              ????? 還有不少詩表現了青年男女的愛情生活,如《秦風• 兼葭》表現了男女之間如夢的追求;《鄭風• 溱洧》、《邶風• 靜女》表現了男女之間戲謔的歡會;《王風• 采葛》表現了男女之間痛苦的相思;《衛風• 木瓜》、《召南• 摽有梅 》表現了男女之間的相互饋贈;《鄘風• 柏舟》、《鄭風• 將仲子》則反映了家長的干涉和社會輿論給青年男女帶來的痛苦。另如《邶風• 谷風》、《衛風•氓》還抒寫了棄婦的哀怨,憤怒譴責了男子的忘恩負義,反映了階級社會中廣大婦女的悲慘命運。
              ????? 《詩經》以四言為主,兼有雜言。在結構上多采用重章疊句的形式加強抒情效果。每一章只變換幾個字,卻能收到回旋跌宕的藝術效果。在語言上多采用雙聲疊韻、疊字連綿詞來狀物、擬聲、窮貌。“以少總多,情貌無遺”。此外,《詩經》在押韻上有的句句押韻,有的隔句押韻,有的一韻到底,有的中途轉韻,現代詩歌的用韻規律在《詩經》中幾乎都已經具備了。
              ????? 《詩經》是中國現實主義文學的光輝起點。由于其內容豐富、思想和藝術上的高度成就,在中國以至世界文化史上都占有重要地位。它開創了中國詩歌的優秀傳統,對后世文學產生了不可磨滅的影響。

               

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