Wang Wei 701-761

Major Tang-dynasty poet, painter and musician. Wang distinguished himself at an early age and served as an official for most of his life. During the An Lushan Rebellion, he was compelled to serve under the puppet government; with the restoration of the imperial family, his life was spared thanks to the intercession of his younger brother Wang Jin. Although Wang's output was small—approximately 400 poems—he has been ezxtolled for his quiescence and his appreciation of nature. Both qualities suggest Wei's involvement with Buddhism. He was a student of the Chan (Zen) master Daoguang for ten years, wrote general essays in praise of the faith, and made part of his estate into a monastery.

Works available in English:

  • Hiding the Universe: Poems. Grossman Publishers, 1973.
  • Laughing Lost in the Mountains: Poems of Wang Wei (Tony
       Barnstone, Willis Barnstone and Xu Haixin). Beijing: Chinese Literature Press,
       1989; Hanover: University Press of New England, 1991.
  • Poems by Wang Wei (Chang Yinnan and Lewis C. Walmsley). Rutland, Vt.:
       Charles E. Tuttle, 1958.
  • Poems of Wang Wei (G.W. Robinson). Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973.
  • The Brushwood Gate: Poems of Wang Wei (Joseph Lisowski). Arlington, Va.:
       Black Buzzard Press, 1984.
  • The Poetry of Wang Wei: New Translations and Commentary (Pauline Yu).
       Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1980.
  • Three Chinese Poets: Translations of Poems by Wang Wei, Li Bai, and Du Fu
       (Vikram Seth). London: Faber and Faber; New York: Harper-Perennial, 1992;
       London: Phoenix, 1997.