Li Bai,
Great Poet
of the
Tang Dynasty

Emperor Cheng (37-2BC) of the Tang Dynasty (AD618-907), long recognized as China's age of poetry, produced a number of outstanding poets who had greatly enriched the legacy of Chinese literature with their brilliant works.


The great poet Li Bai (AD701-762) was a young man during the golden years of the dynasty when the empire, untited and stable, boasted thriving agriculture, commerce and handicraft industry. In the later years of his life, fierce rivalries for power among the ruling forces gave rise to internecine wars, and border disputes with other nationalities led to intermittent armed conflicts. As a result, many of the common people had to fell from their homes, and their lives became unbearable

Born into a rich merchant family, Li Bai was able to follow intellectual pursuits, and at an early age, he showed great talent in a number of good poems which won him both distinction and popularity.  Then he served as an imperial court official for three years. A man of high ideals, he had wanted to devote himself to the well-being of the nation, but a degenerate court rejected any recognition of his lofty purpose. The frustrated poet afterwards wandered throught the beautiful countryside south and north of the Changjiang River to end his days in misery and solitude.

 Li Bai was a prolific writer of poems, of which about a thousand have survived.They express the poet's love of his country, his compassion for the common people, and his condemnation of the arrogance and decadence of the rulers. None can read his poems without recognizing his contempt for feudal power and influence, and the deep sincerity of his quest for freedom. For centuries, people have recited and admired his poems because of his clearly delineated loves and hatreds and the unrestrained, refreshing style of his works. These are treasured jewels which have been handed down to the Chinese people.

About a hundred of Li Bai's poems are specially directed against the injustices inflicted on women. In poignant, subtle tones, the poet describes the distressing plight of women under feudal oppression, voices their aspirations, praises their good intentions and innocence, and laments their frustrations. His heart goes out to the oppressed, humiliated and distressed - the deserted women and the wives of traders and conscripted men.

Li Bai was an assiduous student of his forbears. He inherited and learned much from the fine tradition of ancient poetry and created his own artistic style on this basis. In the history of Chinese literature, he stands pre-eminent as a man who assimilated what was good of the cultural heritage and passed it on to posterity. His literary works greatly influenced the development of literature during the Tang Dynasty and have continued to enrich subsequent generations.

On the
following page are a number of paintings Li Bai's heroines.  They are the work of Pan Jiezi of the Beijing Painting Studio. An admirer of Li Bai's poems, he made a thorough study of the history and cultural relics of the Tang Dynasty. During trips to caves and temples, the artist copied scores of murals which enabled him to depict true to life the people of that period. The artist specializes in portraits, and his style is characterized by rich color, close attention to detail, beauty of form and a combination of realistic and decorative elements.


 "Tune of Rainbow Cloud" video clip

Li Bai poem - animation

tribute to LiBai

Yang Guifei and Emperor host banquet for Li Bai -video clip

Tang poet Gao Pian's  "Ode to Summer"

The Way" - animated poem

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