Chinese poem illustration: 渭川田家 Farmer Houses Along Wei River by Wang Wei
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Staying with the political career or being a hermit is the ultimate question for an ancient Chinese elite, in Chinese 达则兼济天下, 穷则独善其身, which means : as an elite, you should contribute to the land and people when the situation is positive, or mind your own business only when reaching a dead end.
With such a philosophy , when we look back to this poem which depicted a peaceful, delighted and lively countryside life, it is not just simple jealousy to those farmers by the most famous musician, painter and poet of the time, the hottest celebrity in the great Chang’An city, it is the hardest decision for Wang Wei: to hermit or not. It could be the prelude of the declining of Tang dynasty as well.
Today’s people take this poem as the most vivid, picturesque and accurate description of a traditional chinese countryside. Whenever such situation encountered in real life, this poem would be recited very naturally by a Chinese. Sadly, this joyful encounter becomes less and less.
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