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Chinese poem illustration: 李延年歌 or 佳人曲/ Li Yannian’s Song or Song of Beauty by Li Yannian

李延年歌

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Li Yannian was a royal musician for the renowned Emperor Wu of Han(汉武帝). He introduced his sister to the emperor by this song. The fact how the emperor adored his sister can still be proved by their afterlife arrangment: the tomb of Lady Li(李夫人), his sister was the closest to the mausoleum of Wu of Han, the second closest is the famous general Huo Qubing(霍去病), the three pyramid shaped tomb are still stand there 20km northeast of Xian city, the former Han capital Chang’an city.

Like other songs/poem in the same period, the writing is still in its primitive and simple stage, but they laid the foundation of Chinese literature mainly in two ways: the vocabulary, the literate image and allusion: a glance by the beauty can crush a town, a country!?

李延年歌/佳人曲
李延年

北方有佳人,绝世而独立。
一顾倾人城,再顾倾人国。
宁不知倾城与倾国?佳人难再得。

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