Literary Patronage

Richard G. Wang

in The Ming Prince and Daoism

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199767687
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950607 | DOI:
Literary Patronage

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Chapter 6 treats the Ming princes’ literary patronage of Daoism. Due to their lifestyle, Daoism became one of the most important themes for the Ming princes. For most of the time during the Ming, the princes followed the traditional pattern of royal patronage of literature, supporting disfranchised lower-status literati, or shanren (mountain men), and the princes’ subordinate officials/functionaries serving at their princely courts. This general picture of the relations between Ming princes and writers, however, underwent a change in the latter half of the sixteenth century. With the rise of the “Later Seven Masters” and the Archaist movement, these famous poets served as the masters of the princes and inspired them to write. The original hierarchy between the princes and nonimperial writers was turned upside down. Against this background, the chapter classifies the Ming princes’ literary patronage of Daoism into four categories: chanting of the Dao in their literary salons, writing in such Daoist genres as the “Poetry of Wandering in Transcendence” (youxian shi) and the “Stanza on Pacing the Void” (buxu ci), discourses on self-cultivation in verse, and publishing their lyrics on Daoist sacred sites.

Keywords: literary patronage; civil service examinations; shanren; Later Seven Masters; Wang Shizhen; literary societies; youxian shi; buxu ci; temple stelae; collected works

Chapter.  9863 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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