Ruan Ji

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Ruǎn Jí (; 210–263) is one of the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove. He is associated with the guqin melody, Jiu Kuang (酒狂 "Drunken Ecstasy", or "Wine Mad") which was believed to be composed by him.

Historical background

Ruan Ji is usually mentioned first among the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove. The other sages were Xi Kang his lover, Shan Tao (山濤), Liu Ling (劉伶), Ruan Xian (阮咸), Xiang Xiu (向秀), Wang Rong (王戎). They created an image of wise men enjoying life rather uninhibitedly, realizing the old dream of a Daoist concord of free men who are gifted with hidden wisdom “to be together, not being together” and “act jointly, not acting jointly”. The wine goblet, which became a symbol of being accustomed to “contemplating many wonders” pertaining to Daoism, united them even more than any principles. Ruan Ji talked in his works about “remote” things but about the “Bamboo Groove” he remained silent, although the group became the main focus of his searches for free and frank friendship.

The life and creative work of Ruan Ji is associated with the crucial and dramatic period in China history, which was followed by large changes in different spheres of life. The Han dynasty had seen a period of virtuous rule in which the norm of ritual piety, philanthropic principles of legendary ancient rulers, aspiration to nurture officials – calm, reasonable, serving for...
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