Chinese poem illustration: 小雅 鹿鸣/Xiaoya Deer Sings by Anonymous


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One of the first four poems(诗经四始) in Book of Songs, specifically the first poem in Xiaoya(小雅). Ya is one of the three category poetry in Book of Songs, which believed to be the songs/poetry by Zhou people, the ethnic race founded the the Zhou dynasty. Ya could be interpreted as setting right(正), or center. Setting right is the first principle of Zhou people, and also the term to describe anything of Zhou people. Ya poetry was divided into Xiaoya(小雅) by Zhou aristocracy, and Daya(大雅) by Lord of state, yet an hypothesis by today’s people. Setting right, is purely a political term for Zhou people, which means choose the middle way among the opinions of people, the Zhou Wind(周南 召南) is also called as Zheng Wind(正风).

As the first poem in Xiaoya, the significance of this poem is solid clear to Zhou people and later generations. It described a happy dining party while the archetype and allusion are argued through the history, was designated as the accompaniment for a grand dining party by code of conduct(周礼).





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