Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove

Seven Sages Of The Bamboo Grove

Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove

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The Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove () were a group of Chinese Taoist Qingtan scholars, writers, and musicians who came together in the 3rd century CE. Although the individual members all existed, their interconnection is not entirely certain. Key members of the seven were linked with the "Taoist" Cao Wei; they found their lives to be in danger when the avowedly "Confucian" Jin Dynasty came to power. They wrote Taoist poems, poems criticizing the court and the administration, and manuals on Taoist mysticism and fangshi. It would be a mistake to assume that all members had similar views, however, and while some members tried to negotiate their difficult political positions by self-consciously adopting the roles of ale-fuelled pranksters and eccentrics, others eventually capitulated and joined the Jin dynasty (most notably Wang Rong). Although it is unknown how much they personally engaged in Qingtan, they became the subjects of it themselves in the Shishuo Xinyu (Chinese: 世說新語 "A New Account of the Tales of the World").

As is traditionally depicted, the group wished to escape the intrigues, corruption and stifling atmosphere of court life during the politically fraught Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history. They gathered in a bamboo grove near the house of Xi Kang (aka Ji Kang) in Shanyang (now in Henan province) where they enjoyed, and praised in their works, the simple, rustic life. This was contrasted with the politics of court. The...
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