Discover your future in China,
where education knows no bounds.

Han Yu: The Life and Times

Han Yu: The Life and Times

In 768, Han Yu was born in the city of Heyang (modern day Nanmeng) inside the province of Henan. Many of his ancestors were government officials. His grandfather was the city mayor of Guizhou, and his father was a small town mayor. All were known as being honest and incorruptible. Han’s father was friends with both Li Bai and Du Fu. In fact, Li Bai wrote his father’s tombstone epitaph.

When Han Yu was three years old his father died. He was thus forced to live with his father’s oldest brother, Han Wei, who along with the two other uncles were low level government officials. This oldest uncle taught him many of the Confucian ways and views.

In 777, Han’s older brother was exiled to the Guangdong province, which in those days was very remote, and was essentially a death sentence for most. And in fact, two years later he did die. Han was now forced to live with his sister-in-law. By the age of thirteen, the whole household walked back to live in Henan Province. But he eventually had to move again, this time with relatives in Jiangnan because of civil war violence.

At the age of nineteen, in 786, Han Yu traveled to take the imperial exam in the capital city of Chang’an. Not having any sponsors, not having guangxi, or social connections, Han took and failed to pass the exams over the next six years. Then one of his cousins networked with an army general, Ma Shui. Han waited for the general to enter a tunnel entrance into the palace. He asked for the general’s assistance. Ma invited Han over to his house, where the general discovered that he knew of the Han family. Several of children had in fact studied for the exams with Han Yu.

In 792 Han Yu took the test for another try, this time with connections he passed with the thirteenth highest score. For the next two years he unsuccessfully waited for a government appointment. In despair, Han then went out of the capital by himself to find some government employment. By 797 Han wound up in the city of Bianzhou (Henan) with a low level government position. He worked there for two years when the man who hired him passed away.

Han’s next stop was the city of Xuzhou. Here he met a man, Mr. Zhang, who was impressed with Han Yu’s poems and calligraphy skills. During holidays Han traveled to the capital Chang’an where he made more connections for his expanding network. Not impressed with the idle rich and pace of the capital, he returned back to Xuzhou.

Then in 801, at the age of 32, he took and passed a higher level imperial exam. A higher government appointment soon followed. He was now an advisor to the emperor, one of the highest offices he ever held. Han also began to enjoy more and more fame and renown for his literary skills. However, it did not take long for him to run afoul of the palace power structure. Han was therefore sent into exile to Yangsan city in the province of Guangdong. Back in those days Guangdong was a very remote location within the empire. During this time Han Yu facilitated many good projects to benefit the people and community.

Tang Emperor Zedong died in 805. His son, Liyong took over the throne, but he soon became ill and had to turn the power over the his son, Li Chan. The palace political situation then swung back again into the favor of Han Yu. He was called back to a post in Qizhou, Hunan Province, closer to the capital. Then in the next year, 806, Han was recalled to the capital. He worked preparing exam candidates for their imperial tests. After two years he was
reassigned to the eastern capital of Luoyang with a similar job.

During this time period, Han Yu wrote many letters and poems to friends, family, and students. He became known for his new writing style called “Old Classic Writing”. In 811 he went back to the capital in Chang’an for a new appointment as an advisor to an army general. Han advised both the general and the emperor to stop bribing the hostile nomads to the north, and instead to face them on the battlefield. A battle was subsequently fought at Huixi, on the northern border where the imperial army scored a significant victory. To honor Han, the emperor ordered a stone stele to be erected. As expected this action created an angry blowback from those who were his political rivals which lead to it be taken down and destroyed.

In 819 the emperor Tang Xianzong brought back to China one of the Buddha’ relics, a bone. This lead to many celebrations and much fanfare. Han Yu was critical, saying that the imperial treasure should be spent on the living, and not the dead. This criticism greatly upset the emperor. His connection with the army general save Han from execution. Instead he was exiled to Qiaozhou. At the age of 52, Han Yu never thought that he would ever return to the capital. Once again he helped the local people and community to improve their circumstances. He wrote metaphorical poems comparing the emperor to a crocodile.

After writing a letter of apology for being too explicit and abrupt in his criticism of the emperor, Han was brought back into imperial favor. This time he was appointed a position in Yichuan (Yuangzhou), Jiangxi Province. With the emperor’s death, his son Muzong was elevated to the throne. He asked Han Yu to return to the capital. Han was placed in charge of the many Confucian rites and festivals.

After another successful military campaign, Han Yu was promoted again to the mayor of Chang’an, his highest position. He initiated an anti-crime campaign, hoping to control the crime and corruption in the city. In 824 emperor Muzong died, and his son Jingzong was made emperor. In June Han Yu fell ill and went into the suburbs for rest. Han died before the new year at the age of 56.

Han Yu was later well like by the famous Song Dynasty poet Su Dongpo. He admired Han’s use of his brain, instead of brawn, to combat his enemies. Su also noted that Han had created a new literary culture for his times. The middle Tang time period in which Han lived, was a time of empire, literature, and Confucian influence decline. Han Yu wrote poems to encourage the people to develop good Daoist actions and feelings. He strove to write poems that were clear and direct, without being heavily footnoted.

未经允许不得转载:STUDY IN CHINA GLOBAL (SCG) » Han Yu: The Life and Times
分享到: 更多 (0)

评论 抢沙发

  • 昵称 (必填)
  • 邮箱 (必填)
  • 网址

"Acquire Global Skills with a Degree from China."