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Xiao Gang (503-551) : his life and literature Deng, Qingzhen 2013

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Xiao Gang (503-551): His Life and Literature by  Qingzhen Deng B.A., Guangzhou Foreign Language Institute, China, 1990 M.A., Kobe City University of Foreign Languages, Japan, 1996 Ph.D., Nara Women's University, Japan, 2001  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  Doctor of Philosophy in  The Faculty of Graduate Studies (Asian Studies)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA  (Vancouver) February 2013 © Qingzhen Deng, 2013  ii  Abstract This dissertation focuses on an emperor-poet, Xiao Gang (503-551, r. 550-551), who lived during a period called the Six Dynasties in China. He was born a prince during the Liang Dynasty, became Crown Prince upon his older brother's death, and eventually succeeded to the crown after the Liang court had come under the control of a rebel named Hou Jing (d. 552). He was murdered by Hou before long and was posthumously given the title of "Emperor of Jianwen (Jianwen Di)" by his younger brother Xiao Yi (508-554). Xiao's writing of amorous poetry was blamed for the fall of the Liang Dynasty by Confucian scholars, and adverse criticism of his so-called "decadent" Palace Style Poetry has continued for centuries. By analyzing Xiao Gang within his own historical context, I am able to develop a more refined analysis of Xiao, who was a poet, a filial son, a caring brother, a sympathetic governor, and a literatus with broad and profound learning in history, religion and various literary genres. Fewer than half of Xiao's extant poems, not to mention his voluminous other writings and many of those that have been lost, can be characterized as "erotic" or "flowery". Through an analysis utilizing the concepts of genre and intertextuality, I discover that his yuefu titles cover a wide range of old and new topics. This reveals his efforts to revive traditional yuefu writing and to reassert the centrality of the south in Chinese civilization during the Period of Division.  iii  This dissertation analyzes Xiao Gang's writing techniques from a philological perspective. With this methodology, I have been able to clarify some misinterpretations by earlier scholars and provide new evidence about Xiao's unique writing skills and creative originality. Rediscovering Xiao Gang is not just a matter of understanding an individual poet from a long past age. The Six Dynasties period during which he lived was politically chaotic and unstable, but it was also a period when literature flourished. Xiao Gang and his literary works provide valuable resources for studying this fascinating era. The re-evaluation of Xiao Gang undertaken in this dissertation comprises an effort to discover the truth that has been hitherto obscured by undue attention to the checkered political history of the Liang Dynasty.  iv  Table of Contents  Abstract ..................................................................................................................................... ii  Table of Contents..................................................................................................................... iv  List of Tables ........................................................................................................................... vi  List of Abbreviations .............................................................................................................. vii  Acknowledgements................................................................................................................ viii  Introduction .............................................................................................................................. 1  Chapter 1 Xiao Gang's Life ................................................................................................. 13  1.1 Xiao Gang and His Family ......................................................................................... 13  1.2 Education of Emperor Wu's Children ........................................................................ 22  1.3 Xiao Gang's Career .................................................................................................... 29  1.4 Xiao Gang's Difficulties ............................................................................................. 48  1.5 Liang's Decline and Xiao Gang's Final Days ............................................................. 60  Chapter 2 Xiao Gang's Literary Thought ............................................................................ 85  2.1 Critique of Xiao Gang's Poetry as Decadent .............................................................. 85  2.2 Ideas Linking Xiao Gang and the Yutai xinyong ..................................................... 107  2.3 The Date the Yutai xinyong Was Compiled ............................................................. 115  2.4 The "Preface to the Yutai xinyong" and the Purpose of Compiling the Yutai xinyong146  2.5 Xiao Gang's "Letter to the Prince of Xiangdong" .................................................... 170  2.6 Xiao Gang's "Writing Should Be Unrestrained" ...................................................... 197  Chapter 3 Xiao Gang's Yuefu Poetry ................................................................................. 215  3.1 Reputation for Writing Amorous Poetry .................................................................. 215  3.2 Xiao Gang's Yuefu Poems in Group A ..................................................................... 226  3.3 Xiao Gang's Yuefu Poems with Titles Originating from Southern Ballads ............. 240  3.4 Xiao Gang's Yuefu Poems in Group B ..................................................................... 262   v  3.5 Significance of Xiao Gang's Writing Yuefu Poetry .................................................. 291  Chapter 4 Conclusion ........................................................................................................ 296  Tables.................................................................................................................................... 305  Bibliography ......................................................................................................................... 317  Appendix: Xu Chi's Absence from the Yutai xinyong ......................................................... 335   vi  List of Tables Table 1: Xu Ling's Career between 531 and 541 ............................................................ 305  Table 2: Xu Ling's Career in Case of the Department of Learning and Virtue was Established after 535 .......................................................................................................................... 306  Table 3: Statistics of Xiao Gang's Extant Poems (based on Xian Qin Han Wei Jin Nan-bei Chao shi) ......................................................................................................................... 306  Table 4: Xiao Gang's Yuefu Poems in Yuefu shiji ........................................................... 307  Table 5: Emperor Wu's Sons and Their Mothers ............................................................ 316        vii  List of Abbreviations  BS  Bei shi 北史. Comp. Li Yanshou 李延壽. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1974.  CS  Chen shu 陳書. Comp. Yao Silian 姚思廉. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1972.  DTXY  Liu Su 劉肅. Da Tang xinyu 大唐新語. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1984.  HS  Han shu 漢書. Comp. Ban Gu 班固. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1962.  HHS  Hou Han shu 後漢書. Comp. Fan Ye 范曄. Annot. Li Xian 李賢 et al., Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1965.  JS  Jin shu 晉書. Comp. Fang Xuanling 房玄齡 et al. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1974.  LS  Liang shu 梁書. Comp. Yao Silian 姚思廉. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1973.  LQL  Lu Qinli 逯欽立, comp. Xian Qin Han Wei Jin Nan-bei Chao shi 先秦漢魏晋南北朝詩. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1983.  NQS  Nan Qi shu 南齊書. Comp. Xiao Zixian 蕭子顯. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1972.  NS  Nan shi 南史. Comp. Li Yanshou 李延壽. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1975.  SBCK  Sibu congkan 四部叢刊  SKQS  Wenjin ge Siku quanshu 文津閣四庫全書. Beijing: Shangwu yinshuguan, 2005.  SS  Sui shu 隋書. Comp. Wei Zheng 魏徵, Linghu Defen 令狐德棻 et al. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1973.  SSJZS  Shisan jing zhushu 十三經注疏. Comp. Ruan Yuan 阮元. Yangzhou: Jiangsu Guangling guji keyinshe, 1995.  WS  Wei shu 魏書. Comp. Wei Shou 魏收. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1974.  YKJ  Yan Kejun 巌可鈞, comp. Quan shanggu sandai Qin Han Sanguo Liuchao wen 全上古三 代秦漢三國六朝文. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1958.  YFSJ  Yuefu shiji 樂府詩集. Comp. Guo Maoqian 郭茂倩. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1979.  YTXY  Xu Ling 徐陵, ed. Yutai xinyong jianzhu 玉臺新詠箋注. Annot. Wu Zhaoyi 吳兆宜 and Cheng Yan 程琰. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1985.  YWLJ  Yiwen leiju 藝文類聚. Comp. Ouyang Xun 歐陽詢 et al. Beijing, Zhonghua shuju, 1982.  ZZTJ  Zizhi tongjian 資治通鑒. Comp. Sima Guang 司馬光. Zhengzhou: Zhongzhou guji chubanshe, 2003.  viii  Acknowledgements This dissertation would not have been written without a great deal of support from many people. I owe my deepest gratitude to my supervisor, Dr. Jerry Schmidt, whose encouragement, guidance and support from the initial to the final phase enabled me to develop an understanding of the subject and to express myself with more precision than otherwise possible . I am deeply thankful to Dr. Daniel Bryant of University of Victoria, who introduced me to the East Asian academic world of North America, and encouraged and challenged me through my academic program as an important member of my research committee. I am deeply indebted to Dr. David R. Knechtges of University of Washington, who gave me many critical suggestions that helped to develop the dissertation in depth and width. My many thanks also go to Dr. Josephine Chiu-Duke, my research committee member, and two University Examiners, Dr. Steven Taubeneck and Dr. Francesca Harlow, for their valuable comments. I am particularly grateful to Dr. Xiaofei Tian of Harvard University and Dr. Meow Hui Goh of The Ohio State University for their insightful comments and inspiring suggestions. I would like to acknowledge and extend my heartfelt gratitude to Ms. Jing Liu, Ms. Phoebe Chow, and Mr. Shaun Wang of the Asian Library of The University of British Columbia for your assistance.  ix  I would like to show my gratitude to Mrs. Karen Lane and Mr. Bob Lane, my dear friends and my family, who nursed me back to health and continue to stand by me when I was in serious health decline. Without you, I would not have been able to complete my program. My deep appreciation also goes to my loving parents in China and my generous parents-in-law in Canada. Most especially to my husband, Dean Schimpf, words alone cannot express my gratitude for your affection and support during all these years. Without which, it would not have been possible for me to continue my academic journey in Canada. Lastly, I offer my regards and blessings to all of those who supported me in any respect during the completion of this project.  1  Introduction After the brief reunification of the Western Jin Dynasty (265-316), China entered a period of division that had lasted 272 years (317-589). The Liang Dynasty (502-557) alone experienced almost fifty-years of peace under the reign of Xiao Yan 蕭衍 (464-549, r. 502-549), known posthumously as Emperor Wu of Liang, in the south. The Southern Dynasties (420-589) inherited an aristocratic system passed down from the previous Wei (220-265) and Jin Dynasties (265-420). In this system, power shifts occurred within an exclusive and privileged circle, and members of the top-ranking aristocratic families were promised important official positions. They arranged marriages within this circle to protect their privileges, making it difficult for others, including the low-rank gentry class (hanmen 寒門), to obtain upward social mobility. Such an easy and comfortable life inevitably let to decadence1 and it gradually weakened the capacity and power of the aristocracy. This provided opportunities for the military commanders who were from the lower gentry class to seize power and eventually usurp the crown. The Xiao clan of Lanling, which provided the royal families of the Qi and Liang  1  The term "decadence" or "decadent" used in this dissertation is based upon a definition indicating the "behaviour,  attitudes, etc. which show a fall in standards, especially moral ones, and an interest in pleasure and enjoyment rather than more serious things." (Oxford Advanced Learners' Dictionary (Oxford University Press 2011), http://oald8.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/dictionary/decadence). The moral standard in this case refers to the Confucian orthodoxy established during the Han Dynasty (202 B.C.-220), and the Confucian scholars mentioned in this dissertation refer to those who follow this tradition.  2  dynasties, rose to prominence in this manner. Emperor Wu of Liang, an outstanding member of this clan, was the one who made the Liang Dynasty the high point of the entire era of division. Although Emperor Wu rose to power from a military background, he was recognized for his broad knowledge, which crossed the boundaries of Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism. He was viewed as a representative figure that was as cultivated as the Six Dynasties gentry.2 Even his hostile rival in the north, Gao Huan 高歡 (496-547), acknowledged that in the mind of the northern gentry, legitimacy rested in the south with Emperor Wu.3 If his wise military stratagems and keen political sense helped his rise to the throne, then his broad knowledge of literature, religion and arts played an important role in his ruling the empire. Despite the unstable relationship with the north, Emperor Wu was able to create a relatively tolerant and peaceful political environment within his empire, especially in the first half of his reign. He re-established Confucian schools for the younger generations and organized projects of compiling and annotating Confucian classics, the Buddhist canon and Daoist scriptures. At the same time, literary activities became more frequent than ever and literary talent was a bridge to official opportunities. In both the capital and regions, literary  2  Mori Mikisaburō 森三樹三郎, Ryō no Bu Tei 梁の武帝 (Kyoto: Heirakuji shoten, 1956), 4.  3  "There is an old man of Wu at the east of the Yangtze River called Xiao Yan, who wholeheartedly works on  regulations and etiquette. Gentlemen in the Central Plain look towards him and consider that the legitimacy rests in the south with him." 江東復有一吳兒老翁蕭衍者,專事衣冠禮樂,中原士大夫望之以為正朔所在。 See Li Baiyao 李百藥, Bei Qi shu 北齊書,  "Du Bi" 杜弼, juan 24 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1972), 347. Unless otherwise noted, all translations in this  dissertation are my own, whether the originals are in Chinese or in Japanese.  3  salons were patronized by the emperor's sons. Competitions of writing poetry took place at palace banquets and on diplomatic occasions. In line with the aristocratic fads, ornate, sensitive and allusive descriptions were admired in writings more than before. Tonal device, first proposed in the previous dynasty, were zealously practiced. Finally, aestheticism and novelty became the literati's ultimate pursuit, and literary criticism started to blossom. In addition to the achievements occurring in literature, public lectures on Daoist doctrines and grand Buddhist events were held officially and frequently by Emperor Wu and his sons. Painting, calligraphy, game playing, music, and singing and dancing were popular with the upper class. As a result, the aristocracy enjoyed a hedonistic life with little concern for politics.4 Emperor Wu's long peaceful reign allowed religion and literature to flourish, a rare achievement in the history of China. However, his longevity also led to the fall of the dynasty he founded. He was criticized for appeasing his close family members who committed evil deeds. His dependence on a certain flattering courtier led him to make misjudgments in his old age, and it was this relationship, some claim, that was responsible for the chaos that occurred at the end of his reign.  4  Mori Mikisaburō observes that Emperor Wu of Liang conducted the grandest project of compiling the annotation on  Confucian rituals, which took more than twenty years to finish and included 1,176 juan. However, only Zhou li 周禮 (The Zhou Rituals) was given a cold shoulder. Since Zhou li is mainly about a state's official system, Mori remarks that, the disesteem indicates the southern gentry's indifference to the state and politics. See Mori Mikisaburō, Rikuchō shitaifu no seishin 六朝士大夫の精神 (Kyoto: Dōhō sha shuppan, 1986), 117.  4  In his last years, his desire for the reunification of the south and north lured him to accept a cunning surrender from the north. Hou Jing 侯景 (d. 552), who starved the emperor to death after occupying the capital, would eventually leave the Liang fatally damaged. The Liang Dynasty eked out a meagre existence for about eight more years after the emperor's death until the Chen Dynasty (557-589) usurped the throne from Emperor Wu's grandson. Xiao Gang 蕭綱 (503-551), known posthumously as Emperor Jianwen of Liang, was born as Emperor Wu's third son in the second year after the Liang Dynasty was established. He lived almost his entire life under Emperor Wu's reign except the last two years as a puppet emperor after the emperor's death. In every aspect, Xiao Gang's life was deeply connected with Emperor Wu. To Xiao Gang, Emperor Wu was not only the emperor and a father but also a role model for his life. Xiao Gang became Crown Prince upon the death of his older brother, Xiao Tong, in 531. Strongly influenced by his tutor Xu Chi 徐摛 (474-551), he felt passionate about poetic writing from the age of seven.5 Before becoming a crown prince, he served as a governor in multiple regions. He launched a successful military campaign against the northern regime, and the instructions he issued at Yongzhou demonstrate his sympathy for local people and his efforts to make changes in a corrupted and idle officialdom. After he became a Crown Prince, he was fully  5  The ages of individuals in this dissertation follow the traditional manner of the Chinese nominal age (sui 歲), which  counts the first year of birth as one year old, but using the English wording for ages.  5  aware of his duties despite the difficulties of carrying out his ideas due to the adverse political environment in the central government. He was a filial son and acted as a mediator in order to keep the family in harmony. In battles against the rebel Hou Jing, he did his best to support his generals and stood firmly with his soldiers. In his last days, he bore insults in order to survive. But when he realized that he was going to be murdered, he showed no fear but drank wine and enjoyed himself until the last moment. He was murdered at the age of forty-nine. As a Crown Prince, he failed to suppress the rebellion and the failure caused his own death and brought a fatal damage to the Liang Dynasty. However, he was regarded as a distinguished man by contemporary historians. In contrast to this, generations of Confucian historians blame his Palace Style poetry as causing the fall of the Liang because of its "decadence" and lack of morality. Palace Style poetry has been criticized for its ornate diction and amorous themes, and Yutai xinyong 玉臺新詠 (New Songs from a Jade Terrace) has been viewed as its representative anthology for long because it collects poems on the themes of this sort. Since many of Xiao Gang's poems are contained in this anthology and the compiler Xu Ling 徐陵 (507-583) was Xu Chi's son, Xiao is widely believed to be the patron behind the project for the purposes of propagating and amplifying his Palace Style poetry. Soon after Xiao Gang was appointed Crown Prince, the poetic style practiced in his Eastern Palace was named the "Palace Style" and was used to attack him by those who did not want to see  6  him become a crown prince. Some researchers believe that Xu Chi was transferred away from the capital by Emperor Wu in order to maintain a balance between Xiao and his opponents.6 Kōzen Hiroshi speculates that 534 was the year when Yutai xinyong was compiled,7 and I examined this theory by looking into Xu Ling's whereabouts around that time. Although Xu Ling's biography in the historical sources does not provide a clear timeline of his career year by year, I was able to deduce the approximate year he was suspended from the position of Magistrate of Shangyu District by taking Liu Xiaoyi's 劉孝儀 (Liu Qian's 劉潛 courtesy name, 484-550) career as reference, because the years when Liu was at the position of Censor-in-Chief can be identified. Based on this, Xu Ling would still have been at the capital working for the Department of State Affairs as Vice Minister of Revenue in and around 534, and thereby it would have been possible for him to work on the project of compilation for Xiao Gang. In his "Preface to the Yutai xinyong", Xu Ling indicates that this anthology is to be circulated between people living in the palace and treasured by them just like the secret Daoist esoterica. I believe that Yutai xinyong was compiled for private use in Xiao Gang's household with Xiao's approval. Furthermore, 534 was also the year Xu Chi completed his 3-year official term in Xin'an and returned to serve Xiao Gang again in the Eastern Palace. The  6  Luo Yuming 駱玉明 and Wu Shikui 吳仕逵, "Gongti shi de dangdai piping jiqi zhengzhi beijing" 宮體詩的當代批評及其  政治背景, 7  Fudan xuebao [Shehui kexue ban] 復旦學報(社會科學版)3 (1999): 118.  Kōzen Hiroshi 興膳宏, "Gyokudai shin'ei seiritsu kō" 玉臺新詠成立考, Tōhōgaku 東方學 63 (1982): 58-73.  7  timing of Xu Chi's return and the private nature of the compilation of Yutai xinyong indicate the end of Xiao and Xu's confinement brought about by those who were against Xiao and the Palace Style poetry.8 The constitution of poets in the Yutai xinyong reflects that poems with amorous themes by learned poets did not start from Xiao Gang and his fellow Palace Style poets. What they have done was a continuation and a development of this tradition. In his "Preface to the Yutai xinyong", Xu Ling states that amorous songs may be very different from orthodox poems, but are not necessarily unacceptable because in fact, amorous songs are equal to those in The Book of Odes 詩經. Xiao Gang and his fellow poets' innovative poetic writings contributed to the widely spread and long-lasting popularity of their poetic style. I analyzed Xiao Gang's thought on literature based on a few surviving pieces of his literary works. Some researchers believe that his "Letter to Prince of Xiangdong" was written to attack Xie Lingyun's 謝靈運 (Xie Gongyi's 謝公義 courtesy name, 385-433) and Pei Ziye's 裴子野 (469-530) writing styles. However, the strengths and the weaknesses of Xie's and Pei's styles had become common knowledge in the Liang times, and Xiao Gang's intention was not to attack them. In this letter, he expresses his frustration over the popular poetry style in the capital, which unsuccessfully  8  See discussions in Appendix.  8  imitated Xie's and Pei's styles. Xiao disagrees with the verbose capital style that contains no beauty, and in the genre of poetry, he prefers refined writings with exquisite expressions. I maintain that in his letter, Xiao advocates that men of letters should write in accordance with the genres they choose and write in a proper way. The term "fangdang 放蕩" in Xiao Gang's "Letter Admonishing Daxin, the Duke of Dangyang" has often been used as evidence to support the claim that Xiao's writing is "decadent". However, although the term contained the meaning of "debauchery" as it does in modern Chinese, Dang Shu Leung maintains that the term should be interpreted in a contemporary linguistic context.9 Namely, when "fangdang" was used to apply to literature, "unrestrained" writing indicated to compose without following the rules of writing. Dang's remark leads to a new interpretation of this letter. That is, in this letter, Xiao Gang expresses his expectations to his son Daxin, a boy in his early teenage, to grow up as an erudite gentleman with proper conduct by following the teachings of Confucius, while as a man of letters, writing in an unrestrained manner so he can surpass the masters as Xiao Zixian 蕭子顯 (ca. 487-537) had remarked. Xiao Zixian said: "In the case of writing, the most troublesome aspects are mediocrity and oldness. If there is nothing new and unique (xinbian 新變), it is impossible to surpass the masters."  9  Dang Shu Leung 鄧仕樑, "Shi 'fangdang'" 釋“放蕩”, Chūgoku bungaku hō 中国文学報 35 (1983): 37-53.  9  The term "xinbian" that Xiao Zixian used is also found in the same context relating to the innovative Yongming 永明 style that employed tonal prosody, and Xu Chi's distinctive poetic writing. I analyzed the structure of the phrases that contain both of these characters, and concluded that this term is very likely an abbreviation of the terms indicating "new sounds and variant tunes (xinsheng bianqu 新聲變曲)" and "new poems and variant sounds (xinshi biansheng 新詩變聲)". The two characters meaning "new" ("xin 新") and "variant" ("bian 變") in these terms were combined and formed the term "xinbian". Describing the common nature of the various artistic works that is "new and unique", "xinbian " is rendered as a noun meaning "innovation" in those historical entries. There are 284 poems attributed to Xiao Gang in Lu Qinli's Xian Qin Han Wei Jin Nan-bei Chao shi. Among them, 88 are compiled under the category of yuefu (Music Bureau poetry) and 196 are called shi (poem). As a poetic genre that has a tradition of writing to recurring titles, yuefu poetry is an effective instrument for exploring the originality in Xiao Gang's poetic writings. To understand how Xiao Gang pursued new and unique poetic writing, I examined his yuefu poems in the light of comparison with those written previous to his times with the same titles. In addition, I analyzed the distribution of his yuefu titles in Guo Maoqian's 郭茂倩 (1041-1099) categories because it helps to reveal the purposes of his writing in this genre.  10  After examining Xiao Gang's yuefu poems contained in Guo Maoqian's Yuefu shiji 樂府詩集 (Anthology of Music Bureau Poetry), an anthology compiled during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), I discovered that the yuefu titles Xiao Gang wrote to include old and new. Xiao Gang also wrote lyrics based on the southern ballads that originated from the Yangtze River area. No matter what kind of the yuefu titles Xiao Gang wrote to, the themes were always written in accordance with the actual meanings of their titles. Moreover, Xiao Gang's yuefu poems are broadly distributed among the categories in the Yuefu shiji. These factors hint a possible cause of the heated yuefu composition during that time. That is, it was probably for reviving and redeveloping the lost yuefu tradition, which flourished during the Han Dynasty. The overwhelming quantity of citations and literary allusions from the history of the Han Dynasty in Xiao Gang and his contemporaries' yuefu poems attest their longing for that golden age. Their enthusiasm of writing yuefu poetry, as well as for literature as a whole, was a part of Emperor Wu's ambition of rebuilding a strong Chinese empire just like the Han. It was also one way of declaring that the regime in the south was the genuine successor of Chinese civilization, not the north.  Themes involving females are common in folk songs. Xiao Gang wrote yuefu poems only to follow the thematic tradition of folk songs and in accordance with the meanings of the titles. Xiao Gang's reverence for the meaning of titles did not hinder him from writing freely and creatively in his own style. He adopted elements from old yuefu lyrics in his own poetic writings and used them  11  to enrich the contents and increase layers in his own works. As a learned poet, Xiao Gang adroitly used his knowledge of history to write his yuefu poems. Despite being a well educated man of letters, Xiao Gang showed no resistance to adopting colloquial expressions in his yuefu writing, and his innovative writing can also be found in other genres of his literary writings. Xiao Gang was a literatus with broad and profound learning in religion, history and various literary genres. He was also a filial son, a caring brother and a sympathetic governor. As a well-educated poet, Xiao is capable of using his own style to rewrite all kinds of yuefu topics, introducing elegant language and elaborate syntax. Wang Wen-Chin remarks that Xiao Gang and his fellow Palace Style poets added a family's touch on their frontier poetry and this style initiated the basic formula of the frontier poetry during the Tang Dynasty.10 Furthermore, they enthusiastically practiced the newly discovered tonal technique and this contributed to the blossoming of the Regulated Poetry taking place in the Tang Dynasty as well. His poetic writings were not the cause of the fall of the Liang. On the contrary, his yuefu compositions may even have played a politically motivated and ambitious role to rebuild a powerful empire.  10  Wang Wen-Chin 王文進, "Biansai shi xingcheng yu Nanchao de yuanyin" 邊塞詩形成於南朝的原因, in Wei Jin Nan-bei  Chao wenxue yu sixiang xueshu yantaohui lunwen ji 魏晉南北朝文學與思想學術研討會論文集, ed. Guoli Chenggong Daxue Zhongwen xi (Taibei: Wen shi zhe chubanshe, 1991), 63.  12  This dissertation sheds light on Xiao Gang's life and literature. It is an initial attempt to reconsider and rethink Chinese literature of the Six Dynasties from a perspective that privileges a re-examination of primary sources within a historical context.  13  Chapter 1  Xiao Gang's Life  1.1 Xiao Gang and His Family Emperor Wu of Liang, Xiao Yan, had eight sons1 and at least nine daughters.2 His first wife, Xi Hui 郗徽 (468-499), was the daughter of Princess Xunyang, a daughter of Emperor Wen of Song (Liu Yilong 劉義隆, 407-453). She had been famed as a clever lady ever since her childhood, when she showed literary talent and skill at female duties.3 She married Xiao Yan at the end of the Jianyuan 建元 Era (482) of the Qi Dynasty, giving birth to three daughters, Princess Yongxing 永 興公主 named Yuyao 玉姚, Princess Yongshi 永世公主 named Yuwan 玉婉 and Princess  Yongkang 永康公主 named Yuhuan 玉嬛. She died in the eighth month of the first year of the Yongyuan 永元 Era4 (August or September 499) at the age of thirty-two5 when Xiao Yan was a  1  See Table 5 for Emperor Wu's sons and their mothers. For detailed information regarding the origin of the Xiao clan  and Emperor Wu's family, see Cao Daoheng's 曹道衡 Lanling Xiao shi yu Nanchao wenxue 蘭陵蕭氏與南朝文學 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 2004). 2  Besides Princess Yongxing 永興公主, Princess Yongshi 永世公主 and Princess Yongkang 永康公主 who were born to the  first wife Xi Hui, Emperor Wu also had Princess Fuyang 富陽公主 (LS, "Zhang Mian" 張緬, juan 34, 493.), Princess Anji 安吉公主 named Yuzhi 玉 誌 (NS, "Wang Dan" 王誕, juan 23, 623), Princess Changcheng 長城公主 (NS, "Liu Yuanjing" 柳元景, juan 38, 989.), Princess Yongjia 永嘉公主 (NS, "Wang Yu" 王彧, juan 23, 640.), Princess Lin'an 臨安 公主  (YWLJ, juan 55, 996.) , and Princess Xin'an 新 安 公 主 (YKJ, "Zhui zeng Qian Zang ji zi Jie guanyi" 追贈錢藏及子  岊官議,  3474.) .  3  LS, "Gaozu Xi Huanghou" 高祖郗皇后, juan 7, 157.  4  The Chinese lunar calendar is generally used to indicate dates in this dissertation, and the years are converted to the  Western calendar in the parentheses following behind.  14  Regional Inspector of Yongzhou. She was given the posthumous title of Empress De (virtue) after Xiao Yan ascended the throne. One year before Xi Hui's death, Xiao Yan took a fourteen-year-old concubine named Ding Lingguang 丁令光 (485-526) as his second wife. Although she was treated harshly by the jealous Xi Hui, Ding reportedly maintained a humble and respectful attitude towards Xi.6 Ding gave birth to Xiao Yan's first son Xiao Tong 蕭統 (b. 501), third son Xiao Gang (b. 503) and fifth son Xiao Xu 7  蕭續 (b. 506). She was given the title of Honoured Consort (Guipin 貴嬪) after Emperor Wu  ascended the throne. Ding was described as a lady with compassion and benevolence. She lived a  5  LS, "Gaozu Xi Huanghou" 高祖郗皇后, juan 7, 157. Cao Daoheng suspects Xi Hui committed suicide by drowning  herself in a well because of feeling anger and jealousy over Xiao Yan's taking Ding Lingguang as his concubine. See Cao Daoheng 曹道衡, Lanling Xiao shi yu Nanchao wenxue, 127. 6  NS, "Houfei xia" 后妃下, juan12, 339.  7  Xiao Xu's 蕭續 year of birth is not clearly recorded. According to NS (juan 53, 1318-1321), the noble title of Prince of  Luling was conferred on him one year later than his older brother Xiao Ji 蕭績 in the eighth year of the Tianjian Era (509). Yet, LS (juan 23) indicates Xiao Xu and Xiao Ji 績 were given their titles in the same year (Ibid., 427 and 430). For reference, Xiao Zong and Xiao Gang were one year apart in age and their titles of nobility were given in different years; on the other hand, Xiao Yi and Xiao Ji 紀 were the same age and their titles were given in the same year. If both Xiao Ji 績 and Xiao Xu 續 received their titles in the same year as LS states, they should be considered the same age. In that case, since Xiao Ji's 績 birth year is the fourth year of the Tianjian Era (505), Xiao Xu would be born in 505 as well. However, according to LS, Xiao Xu was summoned to the capital for the position of General of Xuanyi in command of the garrison at Shitou in the first year of the Putong 普通 Era (520) (LS, juan 23, 431). Wu Guangxing 吳光興 therefore remarks that, according to the Liang's convention of a prince's coming-of-age ceremony 冠禮, Xiao Xu should have turned 15 that year. Wu argues that the transfer can be considered to be for the purpose of making the ceremony for Xiao Xu (Wu Guangxing, Xiao Gang XiaoYi nianpu 蕭綱蕭繹年譜 (Beijing: Shehui kexue chubanshe, 2006), 259). In this case, Xiao Xu's birth year should be 506, one year later than Xiao Ji's 績. LS's two records expose the confusion and contradiction regarding Xiao Xu's birth year. NS's record and Wu's assertion will be followed here.  15  humble life style and converted to Buddhism, faithfully following Emperor Wu. She died in the seventh year of the Putong 普通 Era (526) at the age of forty-two.8 Although Lady Ding occupied the highest status in the inner palace, she was never given the title of Empress. She was posthumously awarded the title Queen Mother by her second son Xiao Gang after he ascended the throne. Her first son Xiao Tong, as Emperor Wu's first biological son, was appointed Crown Prince in the first year of the Tianjian 天監 Era (502). Both Xiao Tong and Lady Ding's third son Xiao Xu died of natural causes. Emperor Wu's second son Xiao Zong 蕭綜 was the son of Lady of Chaste Beauty Wu (吴淑 媛). He was born in the first year of the Tianjian Era (502). Lady Wu was the previous Qi emperor's  concubine. Being born seven months after his mother was married by Emperor Wu, Xiao Zong was told by his mother later that he was not Emperor Wu's biological son. Xiao Zong defected to the Northern Wei in the sixth year of the Putong Era (525) when he was twenty-four years old and never returned. He died at the age of thirty-one.9 Emperor Wu's fourth son Xiao Ji 蕭績, sixth son  8  NS, "Houfei xia" 后妃下, juan 12, 340.  9  Xiaofei Tian states that Xiao Zong's death was in 529 or 530, but this claim needs further investigation. According to  LS (juan 55, 824), Xiao Zong died at the age of 49 in the second year of the Datong 大通 Era (528). If that is true, Xiao would have been born before the Liang Dynasty was established. WS indicates that Xiao was 31 years old when he died of illness (WS, "Xiao Baoyin" 蕭寶寅, juan 59, 1326). Since Xiao Zong died after Xiao Baoyin's execution and Xiao Baoyin died in the third year of the Yong'an Era (530) (WS, juan 59, 1324.), Xiao Zong's year of death should be after 530. Since Emperor Wu of Liang usurped the throne in the third month of the first year of the Tianjian 天監 Era (LS, juan 1, 25), and Xiao Zong was born seven months after his mother was married by the emperor (LS, juan 55,  16  Xiao Lun 蕭綸, seventh son Xiao Yi 蕭繹 and eighth son Xiao Ji 蕭紀 were born to different concubines.10 The fourth son Xiao Ji 績 died at the age of twenty-five (529) because of illness. Xiao Lun was forced to run for his life during the chaos of Hou Jing's rebellion because Xiao Yi was chasing him. He was killed by the military forces of Western Wei in the second year of Dabao 大寶 Era (551) at the age of forty-four.  11  The eighth son Xiao Ji 紀 was killed by his brother Xiao  Yi in 553,12 in a battle for the throne after the Hou Jing rebellion was suppressed. Xiao Yi, known as Emperor Yuanxiao (r. 552-554), was killed one year after his capital Jiangling was occupied by  823), Xiao Zong must have been born around or after the tenth month of the year 502. If Xiao Zong indeed died at the age of 31, then the year of his death would be 532 (the fourth year of the Zhong-Datong 中大通 Era in Liang's calendar). However, WS also indicates that Xiao Zong's coffin was taken to Luoyang at the end of the Putai 普泰 Era of the Northern Wei (普泰末,敕迎其喪至洛。) (WS, juan 59, 1326), which was around the tenth month of the Chinese lunar calendar (BS, juan 5, 169) in 531. In this case, he would have died at the age of 30 and very close to his birthday. In the Liang's calendar, this is the third year of the Zhong-Datong 中大通 Era. WS's calculation seems more plausible despite the minor confusion. For Xiaofei Tian's claim, see her Beacon Fire and Shooting Star, 262. 10  Both LS ("Gaozu san wang" 高祖三王, juan 29, 431 and 825; "Yuan Di" 元帝, juan 5, 113.) and NS ("Liang Wu Di  zhuzi" 梁武帝諸子, juan 53, 1322 and 1328; "Yuan Di Yi" 元帝繹, juan 8, 234.) indicate that noble titles were conferred on Emperor Wu's youngest three sons in the same year — the thirteenth year of the Tianjian Era (514). Xiao Lun was very likely the same age as Xiao Yi and Xiao Ji 紀. 11  According to LS, Xiao Lun's age of death was 33 in 551 (LS, "Gaozu san wang" 高祖三王, juan 29, 435-436). Note  19 in LS (juan 29, 440) introduces Qian Daxin's 錢大昕 argument that claims the age of Xiao Lun's death in LS should be an error. Qian remarks that in 551, thirty-eight years had passed since Xiao's first conferment took place in 514. Qian speculates Xiao's age in 551 should be 44 or 45. Since Xiao Lun's receipt of his noble title took place in the same year with Xiao Yi and Xiao Ji 紀, Xiao Lun's age at the time of his death is very likely to be 44. See Qian Daxin's argument in his Nian'er shi kaoyi 廿二史考異, v. 9, "Liang shu" 梁書, juan 26, , 11, series of Shixue congshu 史學叢書, v. 25, in Baibu congshu jicheng 百部叢書集成, v. 86, ed. Yan Yiping 嚴一萍 (Taibei: Yiwen yinshuguan, 1964). 12  According to LS, Xiao Ji 蕭紀 died at the age of 46 ("Wuling Wang Ji" 武陵王紀, juan 55, 828).  17  the invaders of the Western Wei.13 His ephemeral reign only lasted about two years, as was the case with the reign of his brother Xiao Gang. Xiao Gang, known as Emperor Jianwen (r. 550-551), was born in the Xianyang Palace 顯陽 14  殿 on the twenty-eighth day of the tenth month in the second year of the Tianjian Era (December  2, 503). He was portrayed favourably in his biography compiled by Yao Cha 姚察 (533-606) and Yao's son Yao Silian 姚思廉 (557-637):15 太宗幼而敏睿,識悟過人,六歲便屬文,高祖驚其早就,弗之信也,乃於御前面試,辭采 甚美。高祖歎曰: “此子,吾家之東阿。”既長,器宇寬弘,未嘗見慍喜。方頰豐下,鬚鬢 如畫,眄睞則目光燭人。16 Taizong (Xiao Gang) was perspicacious since a tender age. His comprehension excelled others. He had already written literary works at the age of six. Gaozu (Emperor Wu) was stunned by his early achievements and would not believe them. Thereupon he interviewed [Xiao Gang] face-to-face. The diction of [Xiao Gang's writing] was quite beautiful. Gaozu sighed: "This son is the Dong'e [Cao Zhi17] of my family." He grew to be dignified and distinguished, displaying neither anger nor pleasure. His cheeks and jaw were square-shaped and ample; his beard and hair were like a painting. When casting a glance sideways, his eyes illuminated others.  13  LS, "Yuan Di" 元帝, juan 5, 135.  14  LS, "Jianwen Di" 簡文帝, juan 4, 103.  15  At the age of thirteen, Yao Cha was invited to Xiao Gang's literary salon in Xiao's residence, the Xuanyou Hall in  the Eastern Palace. The Confucian scholars in Xiao's salon admired Yao's literary endowment and Yao was treated more courteously by Xiao after Xiao ascended the throne. See NS, "Yao Cha" 姚察, juan 69, 1689. 16  LS, "Jianwen Di" 簡文帝, juan 4, 109.  17  Cao Zhi 曹植 (192-232) was Cao Cao's 曹操 (155-220) third son and was famous for his outstanding literary talent.  18  In the same biography, Xiao Gang was described as a fast learner who "reads ten lines at a time" (讀書十行俱下) and who had an outstanding memory.18 He "took no time to compose literary writings and rhapsodies," (篇章辭賦,操筆立成。) and also "understood Confucian books comprehensively and spoke about arcane ideas well." (博綜儒書,善言玄理。)19 Xiao Gang was a handsome man with outstanding qualities even from an early age. However, he was not the only splendid son in his family. For Xiao Tong,20 known as Crown Prince Zhaoming, is also described as being "born perspicacious." (生而聰叡)21 He was also of handsome appearance and behaved properly, reading several lines at a time and remembering all that he saw. He would "compose more than ten rhyming couplets in one poem whenever he attended banquets or farewell parties (每遊宴祖道,賦詩至十數韻 )."22 Sometimes when Emperor Wu ordered him to compose verse with difficult rhymes, he gave it a thought then accomplished the piece in no time  18  "He will certainly remember people of nine walks of life and hundreds of clans photographically." 九流百氏,經目必  記。See  LS, "Jianwen Di" 簡文帝, juan 4, 109.  19  Ibid.  20  Much research has been done on Xiao Tong, especially on topics related to the renowned anthology called Wen xuan  文選. The most recent research in English is by Ping Wang in her "Culture and Literature in an Early Medieval Chinese  Court: The Writings and Literary Thought of Xiao Tong (501-531)" (Ph.D. diss., University of Washington, 2006), http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/docview/304968944; or her newly released book The Age of Courtly Writing: Wen xuan Compiler Xiao Tong (501-531) and His Circle, in Sinica Leidensia, v. 106 (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2012). 21  LS, "Zhaoming Taizi" 昭明太子, juan 8, 165.  22  Ibid., 166.  19  without making any changes.23 In addition, Crown Prince Zhaoming was "gentle and tolerant," and "would not display happiness and displeasure on his face." (性寬和容眾,喜慍不形於色。)24 Xiao Lun, the sixth son of Emperor Wu, was "clever from an early age. He was erudite and good at composing literary writings, especially letters." (少聰穎,博學善屬文,尤工尺牘。)25 Xiao Yi, the seventh son of Emperor Wu, was "clever and handsome, and naturally gifted." (聰悟俊朗,天才英 發。)  26  In response to Emperor Wu's request, he surprised courtiers by reciting the "Qu li 曲禮" in  The Record of Rituals when he was five years old.27 After growing up, he was fond of learning, comprehensively reading various books. The Liang shu states: "As soon as his writing brush touched the paper, he completed an essay; once he started to talk, he made a speech. His quick wit and wisdom were preeminent at that time."28 Xiao Ji 紀, the youngest son of Emperor Wu, was "gentle and tolerant when he was young" and "would not display happiness and displeasure on his face." In addition, he "studied diligently and had literary talent."29 The second son Xiao Zong was also talented, and like his step brothers, he was good at literary writing as well.30 The fourth son 23  Ibid., 166.  24  Ibid., 167.  25  NS, "Liang Wu Di zhuzi" 梁武帝諸子, juan 54, 1322.  26  LS, "Yuan Di" 元帝, juan 5, 135.  27  Ibid.  28  既長好學,博總群書,下筆成章,出言為論,才辯敏速,冠絕一時。Ibid.  29  少而寬和,喜怒不形於色,勤學有文才。See  30  及长有才学,善属文。  Ibid., 1316.  NS, "Liang Wu Di zhuzi" 梁武帝諸子, juan 53, 1328.  20  Xiao Ji 績, who died young, was so smart that he was able to point out a falsification his subordinate made when he was only seven years old.31 In contrast to the brothers mentioned above, the fifth son Xiao Xu was the one who pleased Emperor Wu with his outstanding ability in martial arts. He was compared to Cao Cao's second son Cao Zhang 曹彰 (d. 223), who was famous for his military exploits, by his father Emperor Wu. Xiao Gang married his first wife, Wang Lingbin 王靈賓 (505-549), in the eleventh year of the Tianjian Era (512),32 when he was 10 years old. Wang Lingbin was from one of the two most eminent aristocratic families in the Six Dynasties. Her grandfather Wang Jian 王儉 (452-489) was a representative figure of the Wang clan who had occupied important positions in the previous Song and Qi dynasties. In Emperor Wu's early career as a guard in the military service, Wang Jian was impressed by him right after their first meeting and proposed to the emperor to promote him to the position of Subordinate in Residence Registration 户曹属. He told He Xian 何憲 (n.d.) of Lu Jiang 廬江 that the young Xiao Yan (who later became Emperor Wu) would become Palace Attendant in his thirties, and after that, would be noble beyond description.33 This anecdote shows Wang Jian's foresight about Xiao Yan's future and also reveals the relationship between Wang  31  LS, "Gaozu san wang" 高祖三王, juan 29, 427-428.  32  LS, "Taizong Wang Huanghou" 太宗王皇后, juan 7, 158.  33  NS, "Liang benji" 梁本紀, juan 6, 168.  21  Lingbin's family and Emperor Wu. Being born in an eminent aristocratic family, Wang Lingbin was portrayed as "genial and virtuous" (柔明淑德).34 She gave birth to Xiao Gang's first son Xiao Daqi 大器 (d. 551), known posthumously as the Ill-fated Crown Prince 哀太子, in the fourth year of the Putong Era (523) when Xiao Gang was twenty-one years old. She next gave birth to Prince Nanjun of Dalian 大連 (527-551), and Princess Changshan of Miaolüe 妙䂮 (n.d.). She was given the title Crown Princess when Xiao Gang became Crown Prince in the third year of the Zhong-Datong 中大通 Era (531). She died in the third year of the Taiqing 太清 Era (549) before the rebel Hou Jing occupied the capital Jiankang. She was forty-five years old, and would posthumously be given the title Empress Jian after Xiao Gang ascended the throne.35 Xiao Gang had about twenty sons36 and at least eleven daughters.37  34  LS, "Taizong Wang Huanghou" 太宗王皇后, juan 7, 158.  35  Ibid.  36  Xiao Gang had twenty sons and seventeen of them have their names recorded in NS (juan 54, 1337). From Xiao  Gang's "Grieving for Datong" ("Datong ai ci" 大同哀辭), which he wrote to grieve one of his sons who died in childhood (YKJ, 3026), we know that he had a son who died early named Datong. Datong was among the three sons who are not recorded in NS. 37  Xiao Gang's youngest daughter, who is mentioned in the historical record, is the eleventh daughter of Princess  Anyang 安陽公主 who married Zhang Jiao 張交 (LS, "Zhang Mian" 張緬, juan 34, 504). Besides Princess Anyang and the ninth daughter Princess Haiyan 海鹽公主, only Princess Liyang 溧陽公主, Princess Changshan (named Miaolüe) 長山 公主,  Prince Nansha 南沙公主 and Princess Yuyao 餘姚公主 are mentioned without indication of their order of birth. In  Qian Yong's 錢泳 (1759-1884) Lüyuan conghua 履園叢話, one of Xiao Gang's daughters named Miaoyan 妙嚴 was mentioned. It is not clear whether Miaoyan was one of the princesses mentioned above because her title is unknown. See Qian Yong 錢泳, Lüyuan conghua 履園叢話, "Conghua shijiu, Lingmu, Liang Miaoyan Gongzhu mu" 叢話十九陵墓  22  1.2 Education of Emperor Wu's Children Emperor Wu was an accomplished scholar. He understood very well what education meant to his family and his children. Emperor Wu learned from the past. Several ill-fated juvenile emperors had destroyed their ancestors' regimes in the previous dynasties, and Emperor Wu recognized that the lack of proper education was one of the crucial reasons for these disasters. In order to have his regime last as long as possible, Emperor Wu provided the best education he could think of for his children, especially for his sons. Through an examination of Xiao Yi's case, Unno Yōhei speculates about the princes' learning process and academic program. According to Unno, the princes began their learning of Confucian classics as early as the age of three. They would start from Xiao jing 孝經 (The Classic of Filial Piety) and Lunyu 論語 (The Analects), and then recite the Five Confucian Classics.38 When they entered their teenage years, they learned to speak the Luoyang dialect with standard pronunciation, studied the composition of poetry and writing of articles, and also practiced calligraphy. Their knowledge of history and the genealogy of hundreds of relatives was expected to be broad. At the same time, they were required to master proper  梁妙嚴公主墓 and  "Conghua ershi, Yuanlin, Xi yuan" 叢話二十園林息園 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1979), 501-502 and  524. 38  The Five Confucian Classics include Zhouyi 周易 (The Book of Changes), Shang shu 尚書 (The Book of History), Shi  jing 詩經 (The Book of Odes), Li ji 禮記 (The Record of Rituals), and Chunqiu 春秋 (The Spring and Autumn Annals).  23  behavior and the etiquette of genuine gentry.39 For the young princes, accomplished scholars would be chosen as their learning companions who would play a role as supervisors as well. Their tasks were to give the princes instruction in their learning and behavior. When the youngest prince Xiao Ji 紀 was a governor of Eastern Yangzhou, he was said to be arrogant. Considering the previous supervisor to have been too weak to discipline the young prince, Emperor Wu summoned Jiang Ge 江革 (d. 535), an upright and outstanding scholar, to take over Xiao Ji's education. After arriving at Xiao Ji's realm, Jiang Ge's capacity and fair judgments stunned the local population. He lived on his own salary only and ate simply. He comforted commoners but frightened corrupt officials. Xiao Ji felt fear of him and began to pay respect to the new supervisor. Jiang Ge would certainly have spoken about the Shi jing (The Book of Odes) and the Shang shu (The Book of History) whenever he had meals with the young prince. From then on, the prince started to enjoy learning and became fond of literature. Emperor Wu was satisfied with Jiang Ge's achievement when he read the poems composed by Xiao Ji afterwards, and the prince grew up as Emperor Wu's favorite son.40  39  Unno Yōhei 海野洋平, "Ryō Bu Tei no kōshi kyōiku" 梁武帝の皇子教育, Shūkan Tōyōgaku 集刊東洋學 75 (1996):  23-42. 40  LS, "Jiang Ge" 江革, juan 36, 524-525.  24  There are very few extant historical records about Emperor Wu's daughters' education. Beatrice Spade remarks that women gained academic proficiency from their religion and families in the Southern Dynasties. She maintains that one of the primary reasons "why the education of women received so much attention from the fourth through sixth centuries" was that women carried on the responsibility of educating children in their early ages before they reached the eligible age and level to enroll in government sponsored schools.41 As Spade points out, since education was used to "justify the dominant social, economic, and political position of the great families residing in the South," aristocracies "emphasized the scholarly traditions of their families to set themselves apart from others."42 Xiao Yi recalled that he received his early education under his mother's personal instruction, learning the Xiao jing (The Classic of Filial Piety), Lunyu (The Analects) and Mao shi (The Book of Odes with Mao's Commentary).43 Xiao Yi's mother, Lady Ruan (477-543), was from a modest family. Before joining Emperor Wu's household, she had been taken by Xiao Yaoguang 蕭遙光 (468-499), Prince Shi'an of Qi, and then Duke Donghun44 as their  41  Beatrice Spade, "The Education of Women in China during the Southern Dynasties," Journal of Asian History 13-1  (1979): 19. 42  Ibid., 17.  43  Xiao Yi 蕭繹, Jinlou zi 金樓子, "Houfei pian san" 后妃篇三, juan 2, in Siku quanshu zhenben bieji 四庫全書珍本別集, ed.  Wang Yunwu 王雲五 (Taibei: Taiwan shangwu yinshuguan, 1975). See also Xu Yimin 許逸民 ed. and comm., Jinlou zi jiaojian 金樓子校箋, v. 1 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 2011), 381. 44  Xiao Baojuan 蕭宝卷 (483-505), the last emperor of the Qi Dynasty.  25  concubine. She was Emperor Wu's lady-in-waiting before giving birth to the emperor's seventh son.45 Xiao Yi's recollection reveals that the royal concubines in Emperor Wu's inner palace were generally educated and were capable of giving early scholarly training to their children, both princes and princesses. We are able to learn that Princess Lin'an was a lady with literary talent from the "Preface to Princess Lin'an's Collection" written by her brother Xiao Gang as well.46 In the case of Xiao Gang's education, Emperor Wu asked his trusted drafter Zhou She 周捨 (469-524) to find a man who is "capable at both literature and learning, and with good reputation." Zhou She thereupon recommended his brother-in-law, Xu Chi. Xu Chi was a man who "loved learning since a tender age. When he grew up, he explored the Confucian classics and histories broadly. He was fond of writing new and unique compositions and was not be restrained by old styles."47 When he was thirty-eight years old, he became the seven-year-old Xiao Gang's Reader-in-Waiting accompanying the prince to his first appointment as Concurrent Controller of the garrison at Shitou (509).48 Except for the mourning period for his mother's death and the three  45  LS, "Gaozu Ruan Xiurong" 高祖阮修容, juan 7, 163. See also NS, "Houfei xia" 后妃下, juan 12, 340.  46  Regarding females' involvement in the literary world and the education they received during the Southern  Dynasties, see also Xiaofei Tian, Beacon Fire and Shooting Star, 190-191. 47  摛幼而好學,及長,遍覽經史.屬文好為新變,不拘舊體。See LS, "Xu Chi" 徐摛, juan 30, 446. I will discuss the meaning  of "xinbian" 新變 in detail in Chapter 2. 48  According to LS, Xu Chi died in the third year of the Taiqing Era (549) at the age of seventy-eight. He died of illness  after he was prohibited from seeing Xiao Gang, who was under house arrest by order of the rebel Hou Jing. See LS, "Xu Chi" 徐摛, juan 30, 448.  26  years he was appointed Governor of Xin'an, Xu Chi faithfully stayed beside Xiao Gang in the rest of his life. Xiao Gang later wrote in a preface: "I was an addict of poetry when I was seven and I never tired of it [even] after I grew up." (余七歲有詩癖,長而不倦。)49 Xu Chi's influence on Xiao Gang's literature was apparently profound and long-lasting. In the decree for Zhou She's funeral, Emperor Wu glorified Zhou: "The principles [of his thought] embraced Arcane Learning and Confucianism, and he broadly explored literature and history."50 In the Southern Dynasties, it was the gentry's ideal to obtain knowledge combining Arcane Learning, Confucianism, Buddhism, literature and history in a comprehensive manner.51 Xiao Gang's works reflect his achievements in scholarly learning. On Arcane Learning, he wrote the Lao zi yi 老子義 (Exegesis of the Lao zi) and Zhuang zi yi 莊子義 (Exegesis of the Zhuang zi).52 He occasionally gave lectures on these topics personally. On Confucianism, he wrote the Li dayi 禮 53  大義 (General Principles of the Rituals)  and Chunqiu fati 春秋發題 (Elucidation of the Meaning  of the Title of the Spring and Autumn Annals).54 The biographies he wrote include the Zhaoming Taizi zhuan 昭明太子傳 (Biography of Crown Prince Zhaoming) and Zhu wang zhuan 諸王傳 49  LS, "Jianwen Di" 簡文帝, juan 4, 109.  50  義該玄儒,博窮文史。See  51  Mori Mikisaburō, Rikuchō shitaifu no seishin, 89.  52  LS, "Jianwen Di" 簡文帝, juan 4, 109.  53  Ibid.  54  SS, "Jingji yi" 經籍一, juan 32, 930.  LS, "Zhou She" 周捨, juan 25, 376.  27  (Biographies of Diverse Princes).55 His writings contributed to literature as well. Besides his own good-sized collection (a volume of eighty juan), he wrote the Xie Ke wen jingwei 謝客文涇渭 (Purity and Muddiness of Xie Lingyun's Writing)56 and compiled the Zhaoming Taizi ji 昭明太子集 (The Collected Works of Crown Prince Zhaoming).57 Xiao Gang was also a gentleman with multifarious hobbies like other aristocrats of his time. He wrote the Ruyi fang 如意方 about medical prescriptions and the Tanqi pu 彈棋譜 and Qipin 棋品 about chess played at that time. His Mashuo pu 馬槊譜 was a book about a style of horseback martial arts using lances. He seemed to have been interested in divination (cf. his lost work Yilin 易林), Daoist charms (cf. his lost work Guangming fu 光明符) and the Daoist theory of five elements (cf. his lost work Zao jing 竈經58) as well. His Yujian 玉簡 (Jade Slips)59 is likely to have been a collection of articles used in Daoist sacred  55  Ibid.  56  LS, "Liang benji xia" 梁本紀下, juan 8, 233. Xie Ke 謝客 is Xie Lingyun's other name. "Xie Lingyun, Governor of  Linchuan. At first, Du Mingshi of Qiantang dreamt of someone entered his house at night. In that evening, Lingyun was born in Guiji. Ten days later, Xie Yuan died. Considering the difficulties of having offspring, the Xie family sent Lingyun to Du and asked Du to raise him. [Lingyun] returned to the capital at the age of 15. That is why he was named 'Ke'er' 客兒 (guest or stranger)." 臨川太守謝靈運。初,錢塘杜明師夜夢東南有人來入其館。是夕,即靈運生於會稽。旬日,而謝元 亡。其家以子孫难得,送靈運於杜治养之。十五方还都。故名客兒。See Yi yuan 異苑, "Xie Ke'er" 謝客兒, juan 7, in Xuejin taoyuan 學津討原,  v. 16, Zhang Haipeng 張海鵬 ed. (Yushan: Zhang shi Zhaokuang ge, 1805), image duplicated by Shanghai  Hanfen lou and published by Shangwu yinshuguan. The name "Xie Ke" can also be found in Zhong Rong's "Shi pin xu" 詩品序 ("Preface  to the Gradations of Poets") indicating Xie Lingyun. See LS, "Zhong Rong" 鍾嶸, juan 49, 695.  57  YKJ, "Zhaoming Taizi ji xu" 明太子集序, 3016-3017.  58  Canon of the Hearth. NS, "Liang benji xia" 梁本紀下, juan 8, 233.  59  Ibid.  28  ceremonies or writings with mysterious power.60 The one-hundred-scroll Changchun[dian] yiji 長 春[殿]義記 (Record of the Discourse at the Hall of Eternal Spring) edited by him may have been  "an account of astronomical discussions ... along with other esoteric subjects."61 Like his father, Xiao Gang was a devoted Buddhist at the same time. He was the senior editor of the large Buddhist collection Fabao lianbi 法寶連璧 (Linked Jewels from the Treasures of the Dharma),62 which consisted of two hundred twenty scrolls with contributions by thirty-seven scholars.63 It took at least five years to complete this project.64 Xiao Gang did not disappoint Emperor Wu. Having the good education his father designed for him, he grew up and became a fine gentleman.  60  Wu Guangxing suggests that Xiao Gang's Yujian was a reference book of beautiful expressions (see Xiao Gang Xiao  Yi nianpu 萧綱萧绎年谱, 402). However, Wu's assumption may need further consideration because "yujian" 玉簡 is a terminology often seen in Daoist contents. It refers to the articles that were used in the sacred ceremonies offering sacrifices to the gods of mountains and rivers, or a kind of uncommon document with mysterious power. See Dao jiao dacidian 道教大辭典, eds. Zhongguo Dao jiao xiehui and Suzhou Dao jiao xiehui (Beijing: Huaxia chubanshe, 1994). See also Li Shuhuan 李叔還, ed., Dao jiao dacidian 道教大辭典 (Taibei: Juliu tushu gongsi, 1979). 61  Xiaofei Tian, Beacon Fire and Shooting Star, 284. It might be a book that also included astrological discussions.  See Jiang Xiaoyuan 江曉原 and Niu Weixing 鈕衛星, "Tianxue shi shang de Liang Wu Di" 天學史上的梁武帝, Zhongguo wenhua 中國文化 15-16 (1997): 128-140. See also LS, "Xu Mao" 許懋, juan 40, 579; and NS, "Xu Mao, zi Heng" 許懋 子亨,  juan 60, 1487.  62  NS, "Liang benji xia" 梁本紀下, juan 8, 233. See also LS, "Jianwen Di" 簡文帝, juan 4, 109.  63  YKJ, "Fabao lianbi xu" 法寶聯璧序, 3052.  64  Wu Guangxing, Xiao Gang XiaoYi nianpu, 401.  29  1.3 Xiao Gang's Career Xiao Gang was enfeoffed as Prince of Jin'an in the fifth year of the Tianjian Era (506) at the age of four. In line with the regulations of the Liang, he started his career as a regional governor when he was seven years old. From that time on, he was transferred from one region to another until he was appointed Crown Prince after his brother Xiao Tong's death. At the age of seven (509), he was appointed Concurrent Controller of the garrison at Shitou;65 at eight (510), Commander-in-Chief of the military affairs of the five regions66 of Northern and Southern Yanzhou, Qingzhou, Xuzhou and Yizhou, also Regional Inspector of Southern Yanzhou; at eleven (513), Governor of Danyang; at twelve (514), Commander-in-Chief of the military affairs of the seven regions of Jingzhou, Yongzhou, Liangzhou, Northern and Southern Qinzhou, Yizhou and Ningzhou, and also Regional Inspector of Jingzhou; at thirteen (515), Commander-in-Chief of the military affairs of Jiangzhou, and also Regional Inspector of Jiangzhou; at sixteen (518), Concurrent Controller of the garrison at Shitou again, also Governor of Danyang, in addition appointed Palace Attendant; at eighteen (520), Commander-in-Chief of the military affairs of the seven regions of Yizhou, Ningzhou, Yongzhou, Liangzhou, Southern and  65  The English official titles used in this dissertation are based on Charles O. Hucker's A Dictionary of Official Titles in  Imperial China (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1985). 66  "Zhou" is translated as "region" from the Han to the Sui Dynasty in Hucker's A Dictionary of Official Titles in  Imperial China, 178.  30  Northern Qinzhou and Shazhou, also Regional Inspector of Southern Xuzhou; at twenty-one (523), Commander-in-Chief of the military affairs of the four border regions of Yongzhou, Liangzhou, and Northern and Southern Qinzhou, the Jingling District of Yingzhou, and the Sui Commandery of Sizhou, Commander of Controlling the Man Tribe, also Regional Inspector of Yongzhou; at twenty-four (526), Commander-in-Chief of the military affairs of the three regions of Jingzhou, Yizhou and Southern Liangzhou; at twenty-eight (530), Commander-in-Chief of the military affairs of the two regions of Southern Yangzhou and Xuzhou, also Regional Inspector of Yangzhou. He was commissioned as Imperial Commissar holding the emblems of commander five times, in 510, 514, 515, 520 and 523.67 During his years as regional governor, Xiao Gang's ranks,68 which were defined by the titles of general, show his rise from the seventeenth to the top twenty-fourth rank: seventeenth rank at the age of eight (General of Xuanyi 宣毅將軍, 510), eleven (General of Xuanhui 宣惠將軍, 513), twelve (General of Xuanhui 宣惠將軍, 514), sixteen (General of Xuanhui 宣惠將軍, 518); eighteenth rank at the age of seven (General of Yunhui 雲麾將軍, 509), thirteen (General of Yunhui 雲麾將軍, 515), eighteen (General of Yunhui 雲麾將軍, 520); twentieth rank at the age of  twenty-one (General of Pinxi 平西將軍, 523); twenty-first rank at the age of twenty-two (General  67  LS, "Jianwen Di" 簡文帝, juan 4, 103-104.  68  Xiao Gang's ranks are based on SS, "Zhi di ershiyi, Baiguan shang, Liang" 志第二十一百官上梁, juan 26, 736-737.  31  of Anbei 安北將軍, 524); and the top twenty-fourth rank at the age of twenty-eight (General of Biaoji 驃騎將軍, 530), which is one year before he became Crown Prince.69 This is to say, Xiao Gang was conferred the title of "General of Yunhui" 雲麾將軍 ("General of Cloud Banners") three times, "General of Xuanhui" 宣惠將軍 ("General of Propagating Graciousness") three times, and once each for his other titles with the rank of general. Xiao Gang was described in almost all the extant historical records as a man of integrity. According to his biography, he started to handle general administrative affairs personally when he was eleven years old and experienced governing in different regions after that. When he was a Regional Inspector of Yongzhou, he launched an expedition to the north. His victory retrieved more than a thousand li of territory for Liang.70 There are two commands Xiao Gang issued during his time in Yongzhou that have survived: 誠欲投軀決隄,曝身求雨,九伐方弘,三驅未息。役爨之憂,兵家斯急;師興之費,日用 彌廣。今春流既長,艫舳爭前,轉漕相追,饋糧不闕,義存矜急,無俟多費。 〈臨雍州原減民間資教〉71 I am sincerely willing to throw my body to the broken embankment and to expose my flesh to pray for rain. The expedition has just expanded; the imperial hunting is not yet held in abeyance.72 The concern about combat supplies is the most urgent affair for military commanders. The expense of army mobilization increases every day. Now that the spring current has already risen, boats race 69  LS, "Jianwen Di" 簡文帝, juan 4, 103-104.  70  Ibid., 109.  71  YKJ, 3000. See also YWLJ, juan 50.  72  The translation here was made with reference to John Marney's Liang Chien-Wen Ti (Boston: Twayne Publishers,  1976), 29. The term "imperial hunting" (三驅) here can be considered as an analogy of "expedition".  32  forward, chasing each other from one watercourse to another. Provisions and funds for troops are ample. The principle of righteousness demands compassion for those in urgent need.73 No further contributions for the expense should be imposed [on the commoners]. "Instructions for Showing Leniency and Reducing People's Monetary Contributions in Yongzhou"  壯夫疲於擐甲,匹婦勞於轉輸,藜藿難充,轉死溝壑,春蠶不暖寒肌,冬收不周夏飽,胡 寍斯忍, 復加裒削。 傷盜抵罪,遂為十一之資;金作贖刑,翻成潤屋之產。 〈臨雍州革貪惰教〉74 Strong men are weighed down by wearing armor. Common women labour at transporting provisions. Inferior food barely fills bellies, and [people] die in the ditches without being buried. Spring silk worms are not [enough] to warm cold bodies; the harvest is not sufficient for summer hunger. Why do they have to bear this, and in addition be plundered? To atone for [the crime of] harming others or larceny would cost one tenth of one's finance. [If] they redeem their doing from punishment by paying gold as a ransom, [the money] is used by others to embellish mansions. "Instructions for Abolishing Corruption and Idleness in Yongzhou"  In the above commands, Xiao Gang shows his sympathy for and efforts on behalf of the commoners living in his region. He understood their hardship and its causes. The first command was to lighten their burden, while the second one attempted to make some changes in the officialdom. Xiao Gang was also a filial son. He was said to have grieved so deeply for his mother that he became emaciated. Day and night, he cried out loud without stopping, his tears moistening his mat until it rotted.75 Xiao Gang was appointed Crown Prince at the age of twenty-nine. The imperial decree was issued on the twenty-seventh day of the fifth month in the third year of the Zhong-Datong Era (June 73  I am indebted to Xiaofei Tain for the translation of this line.  74  YKJ, 3000. See also YWLJ, juan 50.  75  在穆貴嬪憂,哀毀骨立,晝夜號泣不絕聲,所坐之席,沾濕盡爛。  See LS, "Jianwen Di" 簡文帝, juan 4, 109.  33  27, 531) , and the conferment ceremony took place on the seventh day of the seventh month in the same year (August 5, 531), more than two months after Crown Prince Zhaoming's death (May 7, 531) . While purchasing an estate for his mother's (Honoured Consort Ding) tomb, Crown Prince Zhaoming followed a Daoist priest's advice and secretly buried a wax goose together with some other charms at the spot by the tomb to secure his position. This secret was leaked to Emperor Wu by a eunuch intending to take revenge on a rival eunuch favoured by Crown Prince Zhaoming. Emperor Wu sent someone to look into the case and the wax goose was found. Emperor Wu was frightened by this black magic and he ordered a full investigation. Xu Mian 徐勉 (466-535), a trusted minister of the emperor, convinced the emperor not to do so and closed the case by executing the Daoist priest.76 Although he was left untouched, Crown Prince Zhaoming was embarrassed. Without being given a chance to vindicate himself to his father, he lived in regret and indignation from then until his death.77 Li Yanshou, the historian who compiled the Nan shi in the Tang Dynasty, suggests that this scandal, so-called "Goose Burying Incident" 埋鵝事件, and the  76  初,丁貴嬪薨,太子遣人求得善墓地,將斬草,有賣地者因閹人俞三副求巿,若得三百萬,許以百萬與之。三副密啟武帝,言太子  所得地不如今所得地於帝吉,帝末年多忌,便命巿之。葬畢,有道士善圖墓,云“地不利長子,若厭伏或可申延”。乃為蠟鵝及諸物埋 墓側長子位。有宮監鮑邈之、魏雅者,二人初並為太子所愛,邈之晚見疏於雅,密啟武帝云:“雅為太子厭禱。”帝密遣檢掘,果得鵝 等物。大驚,將窮其事。徐勉固諫得止,於是唯誅道士。 77  由是太子終身慚憤,不能自明。  See NS, "Liang Wu Di zhuzi" 梁武帝諸子, juan 53, 1312-1313.  See ZZTJ, "Liang ji shiyi" 梁紀十一, juan 155, 1512.  34  concern over Crown Prince Zhaoming's first son's young age led to Emperor Wu's decision to establish Xiao Gang as Crown Prince.78 Although the authenticity of the "Goose Burying Incident" is suspected by some scholars because it is not recorded in Liang shu,79 many still take it into consideration when discussing Xiao Tong's death and the reason for Xiao Gang's establishment as the succeeding heir. While Cao Daoheng and Fu Gang conjecture that this incident did not cause damage to Emperor Wu's affection for Xiao Tong after all,80 Lin Dazhi maintains that the incident is one of the major reasons for Xiao Gang, not Xiao Tong's son, being appointed the heir. In addition to the two factors  78  "Since Huan was the first grandson, he ought to have been established as the next heir. But [Emperor Wu] was  hesitant. The emperor had obtained the empire not long before. He was afraid to entrust the great undertaking to a young monarch. In addition, since he felt resentment towards [Crown Prince Zhaoming for his scandal], he had Prince Jin'an (Xiao Gang) in mind. Before he finally made his decision, the emperor had been hesitating from the first third of the fourth month to the twenty-first of the fifth month." 歡既嫡孫,次應嗣位,而遲疑未決。帝既新有天下,恐不可以少主主大 業,又以心銜故,意在晉安王,猶豫自四月上旬至五月二十一日方決。See  NS, "Liang Wu Di zhuzi" 梁武帝諸子, juan 53,  1312-1313. Similar to this comment, in ZZTJ, Sima Guang 司馬光 (1019-1086) also suggests that the scandal was the cause of the abandonment of Crown Prince Zhaoming's son from the position of heir: "Crown Prince Zhaoming was kind-hearted and pious, and gained Emperor Wu's affection. [But] once stained with [the emperor's] suspicion, [Crown Prince Zhaoming] died in unhappiness. His guilt affected his offspring. He meant to seek the good but gained ill luck. He was unable to clear himself. Should one not be alert?!" 以昭明太子之仁孝,武帝之慈愛,一染嫌疑之跡,身以憂死,罪及 後昆,求吉得凶,不可湔滌,可不戒哉!See 79  ZZTJ, "Liang ji shiyi" 梁紀十一, juan 155, 1512.  See Zhang Pu's 張溥 "Liang Zhaoming ji tici" 梁昭明集題辭, in Han Wei Liuchao bai san jia ji tici zhu 漢魏六朝百三家  集題辭注 (Hong  Kong: Shangwu yinshuguan, 1961), 209. See also Cao Daoheng 曹道衡 and Fu Gang 傅剛, Xiao Tong  pingzhuan 蕭統評傳, in Zhongguo sixiangjia pingzhuan congshu 中國思想家評傳叢書, Kuang Yaming 匡亞明 ed. (Nanjing: Nanjing Daxue chubanshe, 2001), 84. 80  Cao Daoheng 曹道衡 and Fu Gang 傅剛, Xiao Tong pingzhuan 蕭統評傳, 85. Ping Wang agrees with this opinion in her  "Culture and Literature in an Early Medieval Chinese Court," 40. See also Wang's The Age of Courtly Writing, 49.  35  mentioned by Li Yanshou, Lin suspects that Emperor Wu might have lost confidence in Xiao Tong's capability to become a future emperor before the incident.81 After Crown Prince Zhaoming's death, Xiao Gang became the oldest son, and he was born of the same mother as Crown Prince Zhaoming. Noting that the "8,000" households enfeoffed to Xiao Gang "might be a mis-transcription of '2,000'," 82 John Marney in addition uses this as one of the significant pieces of evidence to remark that Xiao Gang's appointment was also because "from all appearances he was Emperor Wu's favourite."83 However, the 8,000 households of appanage enfeoffed to Xiao Gang with noble title, Prince of Jin'an, is not conclusive proof of his being Emperor Wu's favourite son. If the "8,000" was indeed a mis-transcription, Xiao Gang's appanage would be the same as his brothers'. Wu Guangxing remarks that according to the Nan shi, the decree issued in the first year of the Tianjian Era (502) indicates that, in the case of imperial brothers and imperial sons being conferred with a title of nobility, the limit of appanage should be 2,000 households.84 Xiao Gang's "8,000 households" is markedly in contrast with this decree.  81  Lin Dazhi 林大志, Si Xiao yanjiu: Yi wenxue wei zhongxin 四蕭研究——以文學為中心 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 2007),  51. 82  John Marney, Liang Chien-wen Ti, 177.  83  Ibid., 49.  84  Wu Guangxing, Xiao Gang Xiao Yi nianpu, 30-31. According to NS, "Imperial brothers and sons are appointed  governors of commanderies, and are enfeoffed with 2,000 households." 皇弟、皇子封郡王,二千戶。See NS, "Wu Di shang" 武帝上, juan 6, 184. Moreover, note 14 in NS, juan 13 (page 1335) indicates that according to Cefu yuangui 冊 府元龜  ("Fengjian san" 封建三, juan 264.), from Xiao Hong 萧宏 to Xiao Dayuan 萧大圜, twenty-two male imperial  36  Emperor Wu was known as a monarch who valued traditions and regulations. As we will see later in the case of Xiao Ji's first appointment as a governor of the important Yangzhou, Emperor Wu would make a special presentation, giving the reasons for his atypical decision. Yet, in Xiao Gang's above case, no such entry is found in the extant historical records. Indeed, Emperor Wu is known for appeasing his family members when they broke the law. One struggles in particular to understand his degree of tolerance when dealing with those who tried to harm him. Emperor Wu's younger brother Xiao Hong 蕭宏 (473-526) attempted to assassinate the emperor, but the emperor forgave him and treated him as if nothing had happened.85 Xiao Hong's son, the notorious Xiao Zhengde 蕭正德 (d. 549), was once adopted by Emperor Wu before Xiao Tong was born. He bore a deep-seated resentment for Emperor Wu's cancellation of the adoption. He revolted and escaped to the north once but returned before long because of the lack of support he found there. Emperor Wu kept assigning important positions to him despite knowing about his misdeeds and crimes.86 Xiao Zong was the second son of Emperor Wu who identified himself as a posthumous child of the last emperor of the previous dynasty. Emperor Wu buried  relatives who obtained the nobility title of "Wang" 王 ("Prince") in the Liang Dynasty were all conferred appanages of 2,000 households. 85  NS, "Liang zongshi shang" 梁宗室上, juan 51, 1277-1278.  86  Ibid., 1279-1281.  37  Xiao Zong with the rituals appropriate for his own son after Xiao Zong's bier was stolen back to Liang.87 According to most of the historical records, Emperor Wu seemed to show his affection equally to his sons and Xiao Gang seemed to be a docile son with a gentle nature just like Crown Prince Zhaoming. However, he was not necessarily the son whom Emperor Wu favored the most. Emperor Wu tried to cure Xiao Yi's eye himself when it was failing, and forgave the trouble maker Xiao Lun despite reducing Xiao Lun to the status of a commoner or putting him under house arrest as punishments for his wrongdoings and crimes. Xiao Lun's title and official positions were restored before long and Emperor Wu encouraged him when he did a good job composing poems.88 According to the Nan shi, however, the youngest son, Xiao Ji 紀 seemed to be the one Emperor Wu favoured the most.89 Li Yanshou 李延壽 (fl. 7th century) suggests that Emperor Wu's special affection was the reason why Xiao Ji was appointed governor of Yangzhou, a popular and important position at the time, soon after he received his nobility title, Prince of Wuling. He was  87  NS, "Liang Wu Di zhuzi" 梁武帝諸子, juan 53, 1318.  88  Ibid., 1322-1323.  89  The probable reason that Xiao Ji was treated differently in LS and NS is that LS was compiled under Xiao Yi's  supervision. Xiao Yi killed Xiao Ji in the fight for the throne after the rebel Hou Jing was suppressed. In LS, Xiao Ji's biography was placed in the same juan (scroll) with Xiao Zhengde, Xiao Zong and Xiao Yu, which is between the scroll about "Various Barbarian" 諸夷 and the scroll about the rebel "Hou Jing" 侯景. In contrast, NS's compiler Li Yanshou was free from Xiao Yi's restraint, and Xiao Ji's biography in NS was placed in the scroll of "Emperor Wu of Liang's Sons". See LS, juan 55, 825-828. See also NS, juan 53, 1328-1333.  38  aged seven at the time (514).90 Xiao Ji's two other brothers who were appointed to the same position were Xiao Gang and Xiao Lun, and were twenty-eight and twenty-five years old respectively at the time of their appointments. Xiao Ji was once again appointed to the same position at the age of twenty-nine (536) before his last appointment to the Regional Inspector of Yizhou.91 In Xiao Ji's first appointment as Regional Inspector of Yangzhou, Emperor Wu specially added the following comments to the official document: "Guarding rightness cleanly and being frugal and unadorned, this is his purity. Modestly declining when facing wealth, this is his incorruptibility. Knowing the law without breaching it, this is his cautiousness. With no duties left behind, this is his diligence."92 Ironically, as we have seen in the discussion of Emperor Wu's sons' education, Jiang Ge was sent to supervise Xiao Ji because Xiao Ji's previous supervisor was reportedly too weak to discipline his behaviour.93 This anecdote reveals that Jiang Ge's transfer took place when Xiao Ji was the governor of Eastern Yangzhou and seventeen years old (524).94 Considering that Emperor Wu's comments quoted above were given when Xiao Ji was of a much  90  NS, "Liang Wu Di zhuzi" 梁武帝諸子, juan 53, 1328.  91  LS, "Xiao Jie" 蕭介, juan 41, 587.  92  武陵王紀字世詢,武帝第八子也。少而寬和,喜怒不形於色,勤學有文才。天監十三年,封武陵王。尋授揚州刺史。中書詔成,武  帝加四句曰:“貞白儉素,是其清也;臨財能讓,是其廉也;知法不犯,是其慎也;庶事無留,是其勤也。” 紀特為帝愛,故先作牧揚 州。See  NS, "Liang Wu Di zhuzi" 梁武帝諸子, juan 53, 1328.  93  LS, "Jiang Ge" 江革, juan 36, 524-525.  94  LS, "Wu Di xia" 武帝下, juan 3, 68.  39  younger age, Emperor Wu's compliment about Xiao Ji could be somewhat exaggerated. The reason why Emperor Wu might have done so is to make up for the lack of Xiao Ji's qualifications.95 In the third year of the Datong 大同 Era (537), Xiao Ji was appointed Regional Inspector of Yizhou, a position that Xiao Gang once declined in the first year of the Putong Era (520). Like Xiao Gang, Xiao Ji stubbornly refused to accept the position because of the remoteness of Yizhou. However, in the following conversation between Emperor Wu and Xiao Ji, one sees a warm and vivid image of a loving old father and a beloved son: 帝曰:“天下方亂,唯益州可免,故以處汝,汝其勉之。”紀歔欷,既出復入。帝曰:“汝 嘗言我老,我猶再見汝還益州也。” 96 Emperor [Wu] said [to Xiao Ji]: "The world is in chaos. Only Yizhou can avoid [the unrest]. That is why I place you there. You may try hard." [Xiao] Ji sobbed. He walked out, and then came back in. The emperor said: "You used to say I am old. I will still see you [come back and] return to Yizhou."  Emperor Wu successfully convinced Xiao Ji to accept the appointment. Although Xiao Ji was still not willing to go, he understood his father's concern. In Yizhou, Xiao Ji developed two new territories and paid tribute ten times more than any previous governors. In return, he was  95  Appointments required justification. For instance, in Xiao Jie's 蕭介 (476-548) case, Emperor Wu was going to  promote him to a position in charge of a commandery. At first, the reason the emperor told his minister He Jingrong 何 敬容  (d. 549) was "Xiao Jie is very poor." He Jingrong remained silent, and then Emperor Wu said: "Since there is no  good governor in Shixing Commandery, the people up on the [Dayu] Range (大庾嶺) are restless. Jie may be made the governor." [Xiao Jie] thereupon was sent to Shixing to become the governor. 高祖謂何敬容曰:“蕭介甚貧,可處以一郡。” 敬容未對,高祖曰:“始興郡頃無良守,嶺上民頗不安,可以介為之。”由是出為始興太守。 See LS, "Xiao Jie" 蕭介, juan 41, 587. 96  NS, "Liang Wu Di zhuzi" 梁武帝諸子, juan 53, 1328.  40  awarded the title of Commander Unequalled in Honour (開府儀同三司).97 Of Emperor Wu's sons, only Xiao Ji was honoured with the highest official title of the Three Councillors (三公) because of his distinguished achievements. In the beginning of the Taiqing Era (547), Emperor Wu sent Zhang Sengyou 張僧繇 (n.d.), a famous portraitist, to Yizhou to draw a portrait of Xiao Ji.98 It had been one decade since the old father last saw his youngest son and he missed him. Emperor Wu was eighty-four years old. Although he might not have been the favorite son of Emperor Wu, Xiao Gang had priority for the position of heir among his brothers because he was now the oldest. The controversy about legitimacy was between him and the late Crown Prince's first son Xiao Huan 蕭歡 (d. 541). Okabe Takeshi disagrees with both possible reasons that led to Xiao Gang's appointment, namely, Crown Prince Zhaoming's scandal and the concern about Xiao Huan's young age. He argues that no matter what happened between Emperor Wu and Crown Prince Zhaoming, the appointment of Xiao Gang as Crown Prince was unique in the history of the Southern Dynasties because it violated tradition, which decreed that the first son and then the first grandson (from the dead heir) should be established as the heir. Okabe maintains that the reason for Xiao Gang's establishment was the crucial political role the Crown Prince played in the imperial government at the time. In the  97  Ibid.  98  Ibid., 1332.  41  Southern Dynasties, Okabe asserts, a Crown Prince carried heavy duties on behalf of an emperor especially during the emperor's absence. During his long peaceful regime, Emperor Wu heavily relied on Crown Prince Zhaoming to run the empire, and Xiao Gang was not an exception either. Okabe concludes that political needs overrode the ritual tradition in Xiao Gang's case.99 Okabe's discussion sheds light on the Crown Prince's political status and roles regarding the establishment of Xiao Gang as Crown Prince. Nonetheless, it does not seem to contradict the concern about Xiao Huan's youth. Cao Daoheng does not believe Xiao Tong's "Goose Burying Incident" had affected Emperor Wu's decision about Xiao Gang's establishment. He takes the emperor's concern about Xiao Huan's youth as the reason for Xiao Gang's establishment.100 Because he had experienced the cruel massacres that took place at the end of the Song and the Qi dynasties,101 Emperor Wu knew only too well how fragile a regime could be when it was entrusted  99  Okabe Takeshi 岡部毅史, "Ryō Kanbun Tei rittaishi zenya — Nanchō kōtaishi no rekishiteki chii ni kansuru ichi  kōsatsu" 梁簡文帝立太子前夜—南朝皇太子の歴史的位置に関する一考察, Shigaku zasshi 私学雑誌 118-1 (2009): 1-33. 100  Cao Daoheng 曹道衡, "Zhaoming Taizi he Liang Wu Di de jianchu wenti" 昭明太子和梁武帝的建储问题, Zhengzhou  Daxue xuebao [Zhexue shehui kexue ban] 鄭州大學學報 (哲學社會科學版)1 (1994): 47-53. See also his Lanling Xiao shi yu Nanchao wenxue, 135. 101  Xiao Daocheng 蕭道成 (427-482), Emperor Gao of Qi, admonished his heir, Xiao Ze 蕭賾 (440-493), when his  illness got serious: "If the [Lius of] the Song did not plot [murders] among themselves, how were others able to take advantage? You should be highly aware of that." 宋氏若骨肉不相圖,佗族豈得乘其弊?汝深戒之。(NS, "Qi Gao Di zhuzi xia" 齊高帝諸子下,  juan 43, 1080.) It is difficult to imagine that erudite Emperor Wu of Liang had no knowledge about this  admonishment, which was given by his father's intimate cousin, and no knowledge of the cruel slaughters that took place within the royal clan of the Song Dynasty. Moreover, Emperor Wu was actually involved, more or less, in the massacres of Xiao Daocheng and Xiao Ze's descendants. The massacres were launched by Emperor Ming of Qi, who  42  to a juvenile heir. He had been working carefully all his life to prolong his empire's fortune and would not allow the same mistake to be repeated. After two months of deliberation, Xiao Gang, who had reached a mature age with experience both in civil administration and military affairs, was appointed to be the new Crown Prince. Crown Prince Zhaoming's children were rewarded noble titles equivalent to those of their uncles and aunts, which were at a higher level than other imperial grandchildren. In addition, they were granted appanages of 2,000 households.102 Xiao Huan died on the ninth day in the twelfth month of the sixth year of the Datong 大同 Era (January 21, 541).103 At this point, the questionable legitimacy of Xiao Gang's becoming the heir was supposedly settled.104 was Xiao Daocheng's nephew Xiao Luan 蕭鸞 (452-498). Xiao Yan chose to take Xiao Luan's side in the political conflict and later he wished to silence this part of history after he became an emperor himself. After making the accusation that some events recorded in the book were false, Emperor Wu repealed the Spring and Autumn of the Qi written by Wu Jun 吳均 (469-520), in which Emperor Wu's support to Xiao Luan was faithfully written down. See NS, "Wu Jun" 吳均, juan 72, 1781. 102  NS, "Liang Wu Di zhuzi" 梁武帝諸子, juan 53, 1312.  103  LS, "Wu Di xia" 武帝下, juan 3, 85. Also see NS, "Liang benji zhong" 梁本紀中, juan 7, 214.  104  The controversy about Xiao Gang's establishment was based on the relevant discussion in Li ji (The Record of  Ritual). Zheng Xuan's 鄭玄 (127-200) annotation indicates different rules for appointing the next heir after the current one dies. According to the ritual of the Yin 殷 (?- ca.1100 B.C.), the younger brother of the deceased becomes heir. According to the ritual of the Zhou 周 (ca. 1100 -770 B.C.), the first son of the deceased becomes heir. Although the establishment of a brother was a ritual practiced in antiquity as well, according to Confucius, the ritual of the Zhou should be the way (see Ruan Yuan 阮元 ed., Li ji zhengyi 禮記正義, "Tan Gong shang di san" 檀弓上第三, in SSJZS, 1273.) Corresponding with Zheng Xuan's annotation, Diao Rou 刁柔 (501-556) remarks that the regulation of the establishment of the first son's younger brother from the same mother was practiced in the Shang 商 (also called Yin). He in addition mentioned that after the first grandson deceased, the sequence would go back to the deceased first son's younger brother according to Chunqiu Gongyang zhuan  春秋公羊傳  (juan 10, in SSJZS, 1309-1310.). According to the  43  Crown Prince Zhaoming died on the twenty-ninth day of the fourth month in the third year of the Zhong-Datong Era (May 31, 531). An imperial decree was issued on the twenty-seventh day of the fifth month in the same year (June 27, 531), proclaiming Xiao Gang's establishment as the new crown prince. With regards to his qualifications, the appointment was rationalized as follows: 詔曰: “非至公無以主天下,非博愛無以臨四海。所以堯舜克讓,惟德是與;文王舍伯邑考 而立武王,格于上下,光于四表。今岱宗牢落,天步艱難,淳風猶鬱,黎民未乂,自非克 明克哲,允武允文,豈能荷神器之重,嗣龍圖之尊。晉安王綱,文義生知,孝敬自然,威 惠外宣,德行內敏,羣后歸美,率土宅心。可立為皇太子。” 105 The imperial decree states: "It is only through utmost impartiality that the empire may be controlled; it is through immanent love that the Four Seas [the empire] may be ruled.106 That is why Yao and Shun were able to abdicate the throne, and only yield [the throne] to the one with virtue.107 King Wen [of Zhou] abandoned [his first son] Boyikao and established King Wu [of Zhou instead]. He set standards in both high and low [hierarchy], and illuminated the four directions. Now Mt. Tai is barren and the national fate has its difficulties. Primitive and simple customs are still rife; the common people are not yet settled down. If it is not because of one's brightness and sagaciousness, in accordance with civil and military capacities, how is one able to carry the weight of the sacred emperorship, or inherit the honour of the monarchial power? Prince of Jin'an, [Xiao] Gang, is born to understand argumentations in literary writings, [his] filial piety and respect come from his nature. His prestige and mercy glow outwards; he is perceptive with moral integrity by nature. Seigneurs admire him; [people] all over the country gladly and wholeheartedly are convinced. Thus [Xiao Gang] is approved as the Crown Prince."  regulation that Diao cited from Chunqiu Gongyang zhuan, in Xiao Gang's case, the controversy should be terminated by Xiao Huan's death. Diao Rou's discussion can be found in BS, "Diao Yong" 刁雍, juan 26, 951, and Bei Qi shu 北齊 書,  "Rulin" 儒林, 586-587. The same historical instances mentioned in the discussion in Li ji are also found in Emperor  Wu's decree announcing Xiao Gang's establishment, except Emperor Wu used the instances in a positive way that worked to support Xiao Gang's establishment. 105  NS, "Liang Wu Di zhuzi" 梁武帝諸子, juan 53, 104.  106  The translation of these two lines is by Marney (Liang Chien-wen Ti, 50.).  107  I am indebted to Xiaofei Tian for the translation of this line.  44  Xiao Gang seemed to understand Emperor Wu's concerns. He accepted the appointment despite receiving opposite advice.108 After he became Crown Prince, Xiao Gang gained a reputation for being gentle and forgiving. He was also astute and clever. Not for a single instance would he be deceived in documents or daily business. He faithfully conducted his duties assisting Emperor Wu. As an accomplished scholar just like his father and brother Crown Prince Zhaoming, Xiao Gang assembled scholars to compile books and provided them with wonderful food and fruit when he was still a governor in Yongzhou. The ten members who were selected for this kind of project were given an appellation — "Gaozhai xueshi" 高齋學士 ("Scholars of the Lofty Studio").109 After he became Crown Prince, Xiao continued supporting literary activities in the Eastern Palace enthusiastically. He tirelessly discussed literary works with his men of letters and composed literary writings with them.110 Xiao Gang not only associated with mature literati who shared the same interests with him, but was also known for his patronage of younger talents. Xiao Gang had known Xu Ling and Yu Xin 庾信 (513-581) since they were children because of their fathers, Xu Chi and Yu Jianwu 庾肩吾 (d. 551 or 552), who served him as his close courtiers for a considerable  108  Xiaofei Tian further hypothesizes that Xiao Gang's acceptance was due to his understanding of the political  situation. See her Beacon Fire and Shooting Star, 277. 109 110  NS, "Yu Jianwu" 庾肩吾, juan 50, 1246. 引納文學之士,賞接無倦,恒討論篇籍,繼以文章。  See LS, "Jianwen Di" 簡文帝, juan 4, 109.  45  period. They grew up in a rich literary environment created in Xiao Gang's household. Zhang Zhengjian 張正見 (n.d.) and Yao Cha were introduced to Xiao Gang when they were thirteen years old. Xiao admired their literary precocity and made them guests of his literary salon.111 The former three, Xu Ling, Yu Xin and Zhang Zhengjian, were known as important literati in the following dynasties and had a strong influence on contemporary literature. Yao Cha, who became a historian later on, compiled the draft of the Liang shu (The History of the Liang) that preserved the valuable history of Liang after its fall. As the oldest son and the heir, Xiao Gang now was the one who acted to keep fraternal harmony among his brothers and cousins, and he acted as a mediator when they were in trouble. For instance, Xiao Yi once attempted to bring a favorite concubine from Jingzhou when he was transferred back to the capital, and Xiao Xu wrote a document to report his violation. Xiao Yi cried in front of a messenger to appeal to Xiao Gang about Xiao Xu's report, and Xiao Gang mediated between them and stopped the dispute.112 When Xiao Lun committed misdeeds and was punished by Emperor Wu, Xiao Gang took responsibility as his older brother and submitted a memorial as an apology to Emperor Wu.113 In Xiao Zhengde's case, Xiao once snatched a decoy pheasant that  111 112  CS, "Yao Cha" 姚察, juan 27, 348. See also CS, "Zhang Zhengjian" 張正見, juan 34, 469. 元帝之臨荊州,有宮人李桃兒者,以才慧得進,及還,以李氏行。時行宮戶禁重,續具狀以聞。元帝泣對使訴於簡文,簡文和之得  止。元帝猶懼,送李氏還荊州…… 113  See NS, "Liang Wu Di zhuzi" 梁武帝諸子, juan 53, 1321.  YKJ, "Xie Shaoling Wang jingu qi" 謝邵陵王禁錮啟, 3004.  46  belonged to an official named Zhang Zhun 張準 (n.d.). Giving vent to his anger, Zhang spoke out loud of a scandal implying that Xiao Zhengde was keeping his own sister as a concubine, doing so at a formal Buddhist ceremony at which Emperor Wu was also present. Although Xiao Zhengde's sister, Princess of Changle, was supposed to marry Xiao Gang's courtier Xie Xi 謝禧 (n.d.) before she was taken by Xiao Zhengde, Xiao Gang was afraid the emperor would hear about this scandal. He immediately ordered Xiao Ji to calm down Zhang Zhun and presented a decoy pheasant to Zhang afterwards.114 In this case, Xiao Gang sacrificed his and his subordinate's interests to keep Emperor Wu out of the family concerns. As for assisting Emperor Wu's governance, Xiao Gang did his duty to request Buddhist ceremonies held by the emperor to benefit all beings because Emperor Wu had turned himself into an Emperor Bodhisattva.115 Moreover, one memorial Xiao Gang presented to the emperor indicates his concern for legal fairness to be applied to prisoners: 伏以明慎三典,寬簡八刑。宸鑒每以垂心,國誥是焉攸切。臣比時奉敕旨,權視京師雜事, 切見南北郊壇、材官、車府、太官下省、左裝等處,並啟請四五歲以下輕囚,助充使役。  114  先是,正德妹長樂主適陳郡謝禧,正德姦之,燒主第,縛一婢,加玉釧於手,以金寶附身,聲云主被燒死,檢取婢屍並金玉葬之。  仍與主通,呼為柳夫人,生二子焉。日月稍久,風聲漸露。後黃門郎張準有一雉媒,正德見而奪之。尋會重雲殿為淨供,皇儲以下莫不 畢集。準於眾中吒罵曰:“張準雉媒非長樂主,何可略奪!”皇太子恐帝聞之,令武陵王和止之乃休,及出,送雉媒還之。 See NS, "Liang  zongshi shang" 梁宗室上, juan 51, 1282. 115  "Qing xing Chongyun Si kaijiang qi" 請幸重雲寺開講啟 ("Memorial of the Request for the Emperor's Descending of  Giving an Imperial Lecture in Chongyun Temple), "Chong qing kaijiang qi" 重請開講啟 (Memorial of the Second Request for the Imperial Lecture), "San qing kaijiang qi" 三請開講啟 (Memorial of the Third Request for the Imperial Lecture) etc. See YKJ, 3005-3006.  47  自有刑均罪等,愆目不異,而甲付錢署,乙配郊壇。錢署三所,於事為劇,郊壇六處,在 役則優。令聽獄官,詳其可否。[於事]116舞文117之路,自此而生。公平難遇其人,流泉易啟 其齒。將恐玉科重輕,全關墨綬。金書去取,更由丹筆。愚謂宜詳立條制,以為永準。 〈囚徒配役事啟〉118 In order to be clear and prudent [when dealing with] the three kinds of criminal laws [including light, medium and heavy penal codes], and in order to be tolerant and simple with the eight punishments, Your Majesty often pays close attention [to these matters]. Imperial admonition thereupon is deeply associated [with these matters]. Earlier, I received the imperial decree of looking into sundry [matters] for the time being. I have seen that government sectors such as the Department of Altars at the southern and northern suburbs, the Department of Constructions, the Department of Vehicles, the Department of Imperial Kitchen and the Department of Treasury, 119 have requested that prisoners who committed light crimes and were punished with four or five years in prison should do labour [for them]. There are some prisoners who were sentenced to the same level of punishment and the articles of their crimes were the same. However, A would be provided to the mint; B would be deployed to the suburban altars. The work at the three places of the mint is hard; the work at the six places of the suburban altars is easy. The order [of disposal] is up to the officials in charge of the prison. They consider and decide who is doing what. From here, the road of juggling with the law is open. Fairness is often sacrificed to monetary concerns. I am afraid that the weight of the law will be all about official power; legal provisions will depend on the red pen [used to write down the sentences]. I, a foolish man, consider that [the government] should establish articles and statutes in detail and make [those] the long-term norm. "Memorial Regarding the Deployment of Prisoners Used in Labor Services" 116  These two characters are not found in the text collected in both YWLJ ("Xingfa bu, Xingfa" 刑法部刑法, juan 54,  978-979) and SS ("Xingfa" 刑法, juan 25, 701). They may be superfluous characters, or, the result of a clerical error. In .  the later case, "yushi" 於是 (thereupon) might be the original word because the pronunciations of the two are identical. 117  "Wuwen" 舞文 are written as "wuwen" 侮文 in YWLJ. See YWLJ, "Xingfa bu, Xingfa" 刑法部刑法, juan 54, 979.  118  YKJ, 3004.  119  The meaning of "zuozhuang" 左裝 is unclear. However, according to Kangxi zidian 康熙字典, "zhuang" 裝 was used  as "cang" 藏 in Kong Zhigui's 孔稚圭 (447-501) "Bei Shan yiwen" 北山移文: "The uproar of beating up criminals interferes with his thinking. The urgent documents for lawsuits fill up his mind." 敲扑諠嚻犯其慮,牒訴倥偬裝其懷。 ("Shen ji xia, Yi zi bu, zhuang" 申集下衣字部裝, in Kangxi zidian 康熙字典; see also Wen xuan, "Bei Shan yiwen," juan 43, 1959.). "Zhuang" 裝 here can be interpreted as "to store", the same as what the character "cang (or zang when used as a noun)" 藏 means. Therefore, "zuozhuang" 左裝 can be considered as an alternative form of "zuozang" 左藏, which means "treasury".  48  Emperor Wu rejected the proposal by complaining about the intricacy and difficulties of the task.120 Although his suggestion was not accepted by the emperor, Xiao Gang's benevolence and his sense of justice are well documented in this proposal.  1.4 Xiao Gang's Difficulties In the historical commentaries, it is hard to find anything negative about Xiao Gang. The only criticism seems to be about his poetry. In the commentary of his official biography, his poems were described as excessively ornate and lacking in political function as defined by Confucian ideology. 史臣曰:太宗幼年聰睿,令問夙標,天才縱逸,冠於今古。文則時以輕華為累,君子所不 取焉。及養德東朝,聲被夷夏,洎乎繼統,寔有人君之懿矣。方符文、景,運鍾屯、剝, 受制賊臣,弗展所蘊,終罹懷、愍之酷,哀哉!121 The historian says: "Taizong (Xiao Gang) was clever and perspicacious as a child. His good reputation was established early. By nature he was generous and untrammelled, superior to those from antiquity to the present. His writing, however, was criticized because it was frivolous and flowery. It is not something a gentleman would like. By the time of his nourishing his virtue in the Eastern Palace, his good reputation spread widely. As soon as he inherited the regime, [he] truly had imperial virtue. His way of doing things was in accordance with Wen and Jing's [good governance];122 but his fate fell into straits and decay. He was enslaved by a treacherous minister,  120  SS, "Xingfa" 刑法, juan 25, 701.  121  LS, "Jianwen Di" 簡文帝, juan 4, 109.  122  "Wen and Jing" refer to the Han Emperor Wen, Liu Heng (劉恆, 202-157 B.C., r. 180-157 B.C.), and his son the  Han Emperor Jing, Liu Qi (劉啟, 189-141 B.C., r. 157-141 B.C.). They reduced taxes and corvée from commoners. Their generous governance brought economic prosperity. For their biographies, see HS, "Wen Di, Liu Heng" 文帝劉恆, juan 4, 105-135; and HS, "Jing Di, Liu Qi" 景帝劉啟, juan 5, 137-153.  49  and was not able to make use of what he obtained. He finally suffered the cruel destiny of Huai and Min.123 How sad!"  In the "Letter Admonishing Daxin, the Duke of Dangyang" ("Jie Dangyang Gong Daxin shu" 誡當陽公大心書) to his son, Xiao Gang revealed his literary theory of separating literature from personal conduct: "The way of conducting oneself differs from writing. Conduct gives priority to circumspection. Writing should be unrestrained."124 The meaning of "fangdang" 放蕩 in Xiao Gang's expression has evoked controversy in academic circles. Traditional criticism takes it to mean "debauched", which is same as its modern Chinese meaning. This interpretation has, more or less, contributed to the negative evaluation of Xiao Gang's literature, especially his poetry. However, some scholars argue that this particular word should be interpreted in the contemporary linguistic environment of the Six Dynasties. I will discuss this expression in light of Xiao Gang's literary thought in the next chapter. From the letter Xiao Gang wrote to his son Xiao Daxin (523-551), one might sense the separation of Xiao Gang's personality from his writings. Some researchers consider that this separation is derived from the coexistence of contradictory beliefs in Xiao Gang's mind. Lin Po-Ch'ien and Shen Shu-Fang maintain that Xiao Gang's personality and his literary theory were  123  Emperors Xiaohuai, Sima Chi 司馬熾 (284-313), and Emperor Xiaomin, Sima Ye 司馬鄴 (300-318), were emperors  of the Western Jin Dynasty. They both suffered bad fates. See JS, "Di ji di wu" 帝纪第五, juan 5, 115-136. 124  立身之道與文章異,立身先須謹慎,文章且須放蕩。 See  YKJ, 3010.  50  deeply influenced by the Buddhist scripture, the Vimalakīrti sutra.125 According to Lin and Shen, the respected Bodhisattva, Vimalakīrti, on the one hand had profound understanding of Buddhist canons. He was persuasive and quick-tongued in argument with outstanding wisdom. His supernatural power was awe-inspiring to his disciples. On the other hand, he was said to live a worldly life. He gambled and also visited brothels and taverns as if there were no Buddhist commandments for him. Lin and Shen remark that Emperor Wu's family, including Xiao Gang, was very familiar with Vimalakīrti. They argue that Xiao Gang's theory of separating personal conduct and literature reflects the seeming contradiction indicated in the Vimalakīrti sutra.126 As a prince of the prosperous Liang, Xiao Gang was not required to have a thrifty and simple life style. In the official denunciation, likely written by Wang Wei 王偉 (d. ca. 552)127 on behalf of the rebel Hou Jing, Xiao Gang was accused as follows: "The Crown Prince fancies jewels only and indulges in wine and beauties exclusively. His speaking is limited to frivolity; his poetic writing  125  Lin Po-ch'ien 林伯謙 and Shen Shu-fang 沈淑芳, "Liang Jianwen Di lishen wenlun yu Weimojie jing guanxi kao" 梁  簡文帝立身文論與維摩詰經關系考,  Guoli Bianyi guan guankan 國立編譯館館刊 (Journal of the National Institute for  Compilation and Translation) 25, no.1 (1996): 37-73. 126  Ibid.  127  Wang Wei was an erudite and resourceful writer who assisted Hou Jing. He wrote all documents for the illiterate  Hou and gave him advice and guidance that led to Hou's success in defeating Emperor Wu and Xiao Gang. For his biography, see NS, "Wang Wei" 王偉, juan 80, 2017-2018. See also note 6 in Scott Pearce, "Who, and What, Was Hou Jing?" Early Medieval China 6 (2000): 51. This denunciation was written in the third year of the Taiqing Era (549) immediately before Hou broke the peace treaty and began to attack the Forbidden Interior of the Liang capital.  51  never goes beyond sensuality."128 Since this personal attack was made by a hostile enemy, it might be somewhat exaggerated. However, considering the wrongdoings of the emperor and his other sons were also recorded in other historical sources, one would suspect that the censure of Xiao Gang was not a pure fiction either. In fact, after Hou Jing captured the capital and occupied the Eastern Palace where Xiao Gang lived, he "took several hundreds of female entertainers from the Eastern Palace and distributed them to his sergeants."129 The many female entertainers in the Eastern Palace reveal that Xiao Gang was not living a frugal life. After Hou Jing disclosed the truth, Emperor Wu felt both ashamed and furious. In addition to his wife Wang Lingbin, Xiao Gang had more than ten concubines according to the Nan shi.130 He had more than thirty children, far surpassing any of his brothers. In addition, his Palace Style poetry includes flowery poems describing women in details such as their physical appearance, belongings and performance. It was the feminine theme of his poetry that became the main target of Confucian critics. Nonetheless, his family arrangements and the feminine theme of his poetry do not necessarily make Xiao Gang a carefree or decadent person. Xiao Yi revealed that  128  皇太子珠玉是 好 , 酒 色 是 耽 , 吐 言 止 於 輕 薄 , 賦 詠 不 出 桑 中 。  129  ZZTJ, "Liang ji shiqi" 梁紀十七, juan 161, 1570.  130  NS, "Jianwen ershi zi" 簡文二十子, juan 54, 1337.  See ZZTJ, "Liang ji shiba" 梁紀十八, juan 162, 1577.  52  he had two to three hundred ladies-in-waiting as well.131 Xiao Gang's uncle, Emperor Wu's brother Xiao Hui 蕭恢 (476-526), had thirty-eight daughters132 and at least four sons.133 In the previous dynasty, Emperor Gao of Qi (Xiao Daocheng 蕭道成, 427-482) had nineteen sons134 and Emperor Wu of Qi (Xiao Ze 蕭賾, 440-493) had twenty-three sons.135 It was considered a man's duty to have many children at the time, not to mention that Xiao Gang was an imperial prince. In addition to living with many concubines, Xiao Gang often associated with female palace performers on social occasions. The theme of femininity in his poetry may not seem to be proper from the point of view of orthodox Confucians. However, his undisguised description of this part of his life reflects his sincere attitude to both his real life and his literature. Xiao Gang's theory of separating personal conduct from literature possibly has something to do with the Vimalakīrti as Lin and Shen suggest, because from the previous section regarding Xiao Gang's career, it is not difficult for one to recognize that despite being criticized for his erotic poetry, Xiao Gang took his political responsibilities seriously, whether he was a regional governor or a crown prince.  131  Xiao Yi 蕭繹, Jinlou zi 金樓子, "Zi xu bian shisi" 自序篇十四, juan 6. See also Xu Yimin 許逸民 ed. and comm., Jinlou  zi jiaojian, v. 2, 1350. 132  Zhu Mingpan 朱銘盤, Nanchao Liang huiyao 南朝梁會要 (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 1984), 116.  133  Cao Daoheng, "Zhaoming Taizi he Liang Wu Di de jianchu wenti," 118.  134  NS, "Qi Gao Di zhuzi shang" 齊高帝諸子上, juan 42, 1059.  135  Ibid., "Qi Wu Di zhuzi" 齊武帝諸子, juan 44, 1097.  53  Xiao Gang had ambitions of becoming a qualified future monarch. Unfortunately, he found it far more difficult than he would have imagined after he moved back to the capital as a crown prince. Xu Chi, who had never been apart from Xiao Gang136 since Xiao was seven years old, now was sent away to Xin'an Commandery: 王入為皇太子,......摛文體既別,春坊盡學之,“宮體”之號,自斯而起。高祖聞之怒,召 摛加讓,及見,應對明敏,辭義可觀,高祖意釋。因問五經大義,次問歷代史及百家雜說, 末論釋教。摛商較縱橫,應答如響,高祖甚加歎異,更被親狎,寵遇日隆。領軍朱异不說, 謂所親曰:“徐叟出入兩宮,漸來逼我,須早為之所。”遂承間白高祖曰:“摛年老,又 愛泉石,意在一郡,以自怡養。”高祖謂摛欲之,乃召摛曰:“新安大好山水,任昉等並 經為之,卿為我臥治此郡。”中大通三年,遂出為新安太守。137 The prince entered [the capital] and became Crown Prince, .... Since [Xu] Chi's writing style was distinctive, people in the Crown Prince's residence all imitated it. The name "Palace Style" originally referred to his style, and has been used ever since. Emperor Wu was furious after he heard of it. He summoned [Xu] Chi in order to reprimand him. When they met, Chi responded to the emperor's questions clearly and promptly. His expressions and ideas were worthy of regard. Emperor Wu felt relieved. He thereupon asked Chi about the general meaning of the Five Classics. Next, he asked about the history of dynasties in the past and miscellaneous doctrines of various schools. In the end, they discussed Buddhism. Chi's answers were profound and inclusive; his responses were like an echo. Emperor Wu was stunned and highly praised him. They became even closer. Chi was treated as a favourite more and more day by day. The Commandant, Zhu Yi, was not happy. He said to his close friend: "Old man Xu is in and out of the Two Palaces [where Emperor Wu lives]. This puts more and more pressure on me. I should find a place for him before it is too late." He thereupon took a chance to speak to Emperor Wu: "Chi is in his old age. Moreover, he likes streams and rocks. He is intent on residing in only one commandery, so he can enjoy a relaxing life." Emperor Wu thought that was what Chi wanted. He then summoned Chi and said: "Xin'an has a beautiful landscape. Ren Fang (460-508) and the like used to govern there. You may leisurely administer it for me." In the third year of the Zhong-Datong Era, [Xu] then was sent away to become Governor of Xin'an. 136  Except the mourning period for Xu Chi's mother's death.  137  LS, "Xu Chi" 徐摛, juan 30, 447. See also NS, "Xu Chi" 徐摛, juan 62, 1521.  54  The third year of the Zhong-Datong Era (531) is the very year when Xiao Gang was appointed Crown Prince. Xu Chi was transferred away from Xiao Gang soon after Xiao's return to the capital. In a letter to Xu Chi, Xiao Gang expressed his anguish in the capital: 山濤有言:“東宮養德而已。”但今與古殊,時有監撫之務,竟不能黜邪進善,少助國章, 獻可替不,仰裨聖政,以此慚惶,無忘夕惕。驅馳五嶺,在戎十年,險阻艱難,備更之矣。 觀夫全軀具臣,刀筆小吏,未嘗識山川之形勢,介冑之勤勞,細民之疾苦,風俗之嗜好。 高閣之間可來,高門之地徒重。玉饌羅前,黃金在握。浞訾栗斯,容與自熹,亦復言軒、 羲以來,一人而已。使人見此,良足長歎。  〈荅徐摛書〉138  Shan Tao139 said: "The Eastern Palace 140 should only focus on fostering his virtue." However, nowadays, it is different from antiquity. From time to time, there are duties of inspection and supervision. Yet ultimately, I am not able to get rid of evil and support justice; hardly able to assist the national law; not able to offer properness and replace impracticality; and not able to serve the sacred governance. I am ashamed and frightened on this account, unable to forget it day after day. I have galloped over the Five Ridges, guarding the frontier for ten years. Of dangers, difficult roads and hardships, I have experienced more than enough. Look at those who keep themselves safe and those who were there just to make up the number, also the minor officials whose job is to compose documents. They have not yet known the topography of mountains and rivers, soldiers' pains in armor, humble commoners' hardship, or the preferences and inclinations found in local customs. [Places] between high towers are where they ought to come. Places where high gates are located are all that they value. In front, gorgeous food and drinks are spread out; in their hands, is gold. Being self-conceited, they are leisurely self-congratulatory and smug. In addition, they say there has only been one person [who has virtue] since the time of Xuan Yuan and Fu Xi.141 When one witnesses this, it is enough to make one heave a long sigh. "A Letter Responding to Xu Chi"  138  YKJ, 3010.  139  Shan Tao (205-283) was one of the "Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove".  140  The term "the Eastern Palace" refers to the Crown Prince here.  141  Xuan Yuan and Fu Xi were the legendary figures representing virtue.  55  In the above letter, again, one sees Xiao Gang's concerns for ordinary people. In contrast with his own experiences in the regions, Xiao Gang acutely criticized the decadent official(s) he met in the capital. As a Crown Prince, he fully understood his duties. However, he told Xu Chi that he could hardly make changes but sigh. According to Xiao Gang, this person or these officials was/were living a luxurious life in the capital and was/were so arrogant that even the Crown Prince could do nothing with him/them. Lacking the subject of the decadent behaviours in the original text, it is difficult for one to identify whom Xiao Gang was attacking and whether it was one individual or many. "When [Zhu] Yi was doted on [by Emperor Wu], everybody at the court would fear him. Even the Crown Prince was not able to suppress [his anger]."142 Based on this entry in the Nan shi, Zhu Yi 朱异 (483-549) was very likely the one, or at least one of the corrupt officials, who Xiao Gang criticized in the above letter. He felt jealous of Xu Chi and convinced Emperor Wu to transfer Xu away from the capital. After Zhou She's143 death in the fifth year of the Putong Era (524), Zhu Yi took Zhou's job of handling the foremost important issues and decisions. He was also in charge of changes of administrative divisions, national rituals and imperial decrees. Although all kinds of  142 143  异之方倖,在朝莫不側目,雖皇太子亦不能平。  See NS, "Zhu Yi" 朱异, juan 62, 1518.  He was one of Emperor Wu's entrusted ministers, and also Xu Chi's brother-in-law. Zhou She recommended Xu  Chi as Xiao Gang's learning companion.  56  documents piled up waiting for him every day, Zhu Yi was capable of settling them in no time.144 He was an erudite man who specialized in the Five Classics and pleased the emperor with his good skills at playing chess. Although he was from a humble family, it was his talent and administrative capability that attracted Emperor Wu. In addition, he was an expert in flattering the emperor. He gained Emperor Wu's full trust, receiving and maintaining special treatment for over thirty years.145 However, the face he revealed behind Emperor Wu's back was quite different. It was this face that Xiao Gang and other courtiers saw: 貪財冒賄,欺罔視聽,以伺候人主意,不肯進賢黜惡。四方餉饋,曾無推拒,故遠近莫不 忿疾。起宅東陂,窮乎美麗,晚日來下,酣飲其中。每迫曛黃,慮臺門將闔,乃引其鹵簿 自宅至城,使捉城門停留管籥。既而聲勢所驅,薰灼內外,產與羊侃相埒。好飲食,極滋 味聲色之娛,子鵝炰鰌不輟於口,雖朝謁,從車中必齎飴餌。而輕傲朝賢,不避貴戚。人 或誨之,曰:“我寒士也,遭逢以至今日。諸貴皆恃枯骨見輕,我下之,則為蔑尤甚,我 是以先之。” 146 He coveted wealth and had a lust for property. He deceived [Emperor Wu], blocking information from him. He read the emperor's mind, not willing to recommend good and reject bad people. He never declined presents from all directions. For these reasons, everyone felt furious [with him] and hated [him] regardless of wherever they were. He built his mansion on the Eastern Slope. It exhausted the possibilities of luxury. After withdrawing from the court in the afternoon, he drank until he was drunk in the mansion. When it close to dusk, worrying about being locked out, he would lead his honour guards to the gate of the Forbidden Interior, grab the doors and stop [the city guards] from locking up the gates. Driven by his aggressiveness, his prestige and privilege were  144  自周捨卒後,异代掌機謀,方鎮改換,朝儀國典,詔誥敕書,並兼掌之。每四方表疏,當局簿領,諮詢詳斷,填委於前,异屬辭落  紙,覽事下議,從橫敏贍,不暫停筆,頃刻之間,諸事便了。 异, 145  juan 62, 1516. 异居權要三十餘年,善窺人主意曲,能阿諛以承上旨,故特被寵任。 See LS, "Zhu Yi" 朱异, juan 38, 540. See also NS, "Zhu  Yi" 朱异, juan 62, 1518. 146  See LS, "Zhu Yi" 朱异, juan 38, 538. See also NS, "Zhu Yi" 朱  NS, "Zhu Yi" 朱异, juan 62, 1516.  57  imposed on others outside and inside [the court]. His possessions equaled Yang Kan's.147 He liked to drink and eat, and indulged in the taste of the food to the full. He also liked women and entertainment to an extreme degree. He ate tender geese and broiled loaches without a break. Even on the way to see the emperor, he would certainly prepare pastries in his retinue's cart. He looked down on good courtiers and he would not defer to nobles and imperial relatives. When someone admonished him, he said: "I am a man of humble origins who has attained his present status through many vicissitudes. Those noblemen despise me, relying on the dead bones [of their ancestors]. If I am subservient to them, they will despise me even more. Thus I despise them before [they do so to me]."  Zhu Yi's biography above has contents similar to what we have seen in Xiao Gang's letter to Xu Chi. Zhu Yi's behaviour of not deferring to noblemen and imperial relatives, in Xiao Gang's eyes, was "self-conceited", "self-congratulatory" and "smug". Zhu Yi's life style was both luxurious and decadent. He was "stingy, never [believing in] giving and sharing. His uneaten food always rotted. More than ten carts [of this kind of food] were thrown out [as garbage] every month. He would not even share [the food] with his sons or close family."148 Zhu Yi's decadent life style can be found in Xiao Gang's letter as well: "In front, gorgeous food and drinks are spread out; in their hands, is gold." Zhu Yi's life was too much of a contrast with that of ordinary people. That is why Xiao Gang criticized as knowing neither "soldiers' diligence nor labour" nor "humble commoners' harshness". It is not clear who complimented Zhu Yi or the likes as the "only one  147  Yang Kan 羊侃 (495-549) was a very capable general. Xiao Gang heavily relied upon him to protect the capital  from Hou Jing's attack and he died in the battle against Hou. 148  性吝嗇,未嘗有散施.异下珍羞恒腐爛,每月常棄十數車,雖諸子別房亦不分贍。 See NS, "Zhu Yi" 朱异, juan 62, 1518-1519.  See also LS, "Zhu Yi" 朱异, juan 38, 540.  58  person" who was “with virtue ever since the time of Xuan Yuan and Fu Xi." In any case, this compliment was nothing else but an irony to Xiao Gang. In Xiao Gang's surviving collection, there is a rhapsody149 that ridicules sycophants: 奚茲先生問於何斯逸士曰:“夫三端所貴,三寸著名。故微言傳乎往記,妙說表乎丹青。 魯談笑而軍卻,王言詠而瑞隆。陸有千金之富,周為一說之功。復有搆扇之端,讒諛之迹。 豔紫淩朱,飛黃妒白。吾將欲廢便辟之交,遠巧佞之友。殄張儀之餘,殲蘇秦之後。粉虞 卿之白璧,碎漢王之玉斗。然後浮偽可息,淳風不朽。”  〈舌賦〉150  Mister Why This asked Hermit How This: "The three ends151 are valued; the three-inch [tongue] makes a reputation. Thereupon, subtle words are handed down in records written in the past; wonderful thoughts are indicated on paintings. Lu Zhonglian152 defeated armies while talking and laughing; Wang Shi153 recited [poetry] and then, felicitous omens thrived. Lu Jia154 possessed wealth of a thousand gold [pieces]; Zhou Yu155 made a contribution by [giving] one talk. On the other hand, there are signs of malicious accusation and provocation, tracks of flattery and censure.  149  David R. Knechtges suggests that this piece is rhymed, and should be set off as verse.  150  YKJ, 2996.  151  The term "the three ends" refers to a literatus' sharp end of a pen (pungent writing), a knight's sharp end of a sword  (skilled fighting), and a sophist's sharp tongue (acute debating). 152  Lu Zhonglian 魯仲連 lived in the Warring States Period (475-221 B.C. or 403-221 B.C.). See Sima Qian 司馬遷, Shi  ji 史記, "Lu Zhonglian Zou Yang liezhuan" 魯仲連鄒陽列傳 , juan 83 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1959), 2459-2469. 153  Wang Shi 王式 who lived in the Western Han Dynasty (202 B.C.- 9) was the Prince of Changyi's 昌邑王 (Liu He 劉  賀, 92-59 B.C.) teacher. After Liu He was deposed from the throne for his inappropriate behavior, his courtiers, except  Wang Ji 王吉 and Gong Sui 龔遂, were put into jail awaiting execution because they did not remonstrate Liu. Wang Shi was one of them. When Wang was asked why he did not admonish Liu, he answered that he had been teaching The Book of Odes to the new emperor day and night before, and he would like to use the 305 poems in the book as his petition. Thus, he was released. See HS, "Rulin zhuan, Wang Shi" 儒林傳王式, juan 88, 3610. 154  Lu Jia 陸賈 (240-170 B.C.) persuaded the King of Southern Yue to submit to the Han Emperor and was presented  with a thousand pieces of gold by the king. See Shi ji, "Li Sheng Lu Jia liezhuan" 酈生陸賈列傳 , juan 97, 2698. 155  Zhou Yu 周瑜 (175-210). According to Pei Songzhi's 裴松之 (372-451) annotation in Sanguo zhi, Zhou Yu's speech  that convinced Sun Quan 孫權 (182-252) and Sun's mother not to send a hostage to Cao Cao as Cao had demanded was recorded in the "Jiangbiao zhuan" 江表傳. See Chen Shou 陳壽 (233-297), Sanguo zhi 三國志, "Wu shu, Zhou Yu, Lu Shu, Lü Meng zhuan" 吳書周瑜魯肅呂蒙傳 , juan 54 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1959), 1260-1261.  59  Evil purple suppresses upright red. Feihuang feels jealous of Baiyi.156 I want to break off friendly relations with flatterers and keep myself away from toadying companions. [I want to] exterminate Zhang Yi's scions, annihilate Su Qin's descendants.157 [I want to] crush Yu Qing's white jade158 and smash the King of Han's jade liquid measure.159 Thereafter, superficiality and dissimulation can die out; simplicity will last forever."  "Fu on the Tongue"  Xiao Gang created a conversation between two hypothetical characters in this rhapsody. What we can see today is only a fragment of the entire work because Mister Why This' question is not complete and Hermit How This' answer is not found. Nonetheless, Xiao Gang's ridicule of smooth-tongued people and his resentment are well expressed. On the one hand, he lists the most famous historical figures whose achievements derived from their skillful speaking; on the other hand, he points out the hazards of using oral skill in a harmful way. Although there is not a clear indication of when this work was written, Xiao Gang's resentment of sycophants reminds us of the  156  "Feihuang" 飛黄 is the name of a fox-shaped Pegasus with a horn on the back. It was said to have a life span of a  thousand years (高誘注:飛黄,乘黄也,出西方,狀如狐,背上有角,壽千歲。). See Gao You's annotation to "Black dragons haul carriages; Feihuang lies prostrate at its stable" 青龍進駕,飛黄伏皁 in Liu An 劉安 (179-122 B.C.), Huainan zi 淮南 子,  "Lanmin xun" 覽冥訓, annot. Shen Dehong 沈德鴻, Wang Yunwu 王雲五 eds. (Shanghai: Shangwu yinshuguan,  1933), 40. "Baiyi" 白義 is the name of one of the eight steeds owned by King Mu of Zhou. See Mu Tianzi zhuan 穆天子 傳,  juan 1, in Han Wei biji xiaoshuo 漢魏筆記小說, ed. Zhou Guangpei 周光培 (Qinhuangdao: Hebei jiaoyu chubanshe,  1994), 4. 157  Zhang Yi 張儀 and Su Qin 蘇秦 were both famous persuasive talkers living in the Warring States Period. They sold  their strategies to the kings and helped their lords to take over other kings' land. See Shi ji, "Su Qin liezhuan" 蘇秦列傳, juan 69, 2241-2277. See also Ibid., "Zhang Yi liezhuan" 張儀列傳, juan 70, 2277-2300. 158  Yu Qing 虞卿 was a person of distinction in the Warring States Period. He sold his ideas to feudal lords and received  the white jade from King of Xiaocheng 孝成王 of Zhao 趙. See Shi ji, "Pingyuan Jun Yu Qing liezhuan" 平原君虞卿列傳, juan 76, 2370. 159  King of Han here refers to Liu Bang 劉邦 (256-195 B.C.). The anecdote about the jade liquid measure is recorded in  Shi ji, "Xiang Yu benji" 項羽本紀, juan 7, 314-315.  60  conflict between Zhu Yi and him. In a letter to Xiao Yi, Xiao Gang told his younger brother that life in the capital was quite different from that in the regions, and he was not happy ever since he came back to the capital. He said: "I am often in a trance. Although I open my mouth to laugh, I do not feel real joy. I have not drunk for two hundred days."160 As a prince, Xiao Gang realized the dangers a sycophant like Zhu Yi could bring. In the second half of the above rhapsody, he strongly states his determination to stay away from sycophants. In the political environment dominated by Zhu Yi, Xiao Gang could hardly fulfill his ambitions in spite of being the Crown Prince. Shi Guoqiang argues that Xiao Gang's Palace Style poetry was promoted under these depressing circumstances.161 Emperor Wu's blind reliance on Zhu Yi eventually led to the fall of the empire.  1.5 Liang's Decline and Xiao Gang's Final Days In the governance of his empire, Emperor Wu heavily relied on capable officials. In his early reign, Xu Mian 徐勉 (466-535) and Zhou She were his entrusted assistants. Thanks to these two talented and upright officials, the empire was well run. After they passed away, Emperor Wu  160  但不得倜儻,殊異盤下之時, …… 但吾自至都已來,意志忽怳,雖開口而笑,不得真樂,不復飲酒,垂二十旬。See  YKJ, "Da  Xiangdong Wang shu" 答湘東王書, 3012. 161  Shi Guoqiang 時國強, "Cong Xiao Gang de zhengzhi chujing kan qi Gongti shi de chuangzuo yuanyin" 從蕭綱的政  治處境看其宮體詩的創作原因, Ningxia Shifan Xueyuan xuebao [Shehui kexue] 寧夏師范學院學報(社會科學)28, no. 4 (2007):  21.  61  placed his full trust in Zhu Yi and He Jingrong 何敬容 (d. 549). Both of them were from low-rank families but impressed the emperor with their profound learning in the Five Classics. He Jingrong was in charge of affairs outside the court and Zhu Yi was responsible for internal matters. Only Zhu Yi had remained in the palace working closely with Emperor Wu for a considerable time, and his opinions largely influenced Emperor Wu's decisions. Fu Qi 傅岐 (d. ca. 549) once asked Zhu Yi why he never opposed Emperor Wu and suggested that some courtiers resented his absolute obedience to the emperor.162 Responding to the question, Zhu merely said that he was not able to offend the imperial ear, because the emperor had brilliant understanding already.163 The government had been run by the two-faced Zhu Yi even before Xiao Gang became Crown Prince. As we have seen, Xiao Gang was incapable of making many changes because Emperor Wu would listen to Zhu more than to anyone else. In the later period of Emperor Wu's reign, social contradictions and political crises grew increasingly intense. Although Zhu Yi's craft and flattery were criticized as weakening Emperor Wu's contact with reality, Emperor Wu was not totally in the dark. More likely, he chose what he wanted to hear. He Chen 賀琛 (n.d.) wrote a report to the throne concerning four current major problems. The first was the drop in national revenue  162 163  Absolute obedience was not enough to fulfill one's duties for someone in Zhu Yi's position. 自徐勉、周捨卒後,外朝則何敬容,內省則异。敬容質慤無文,以綱維為己任,异文華敏洽,曲營世譽,二人行異而俱見倖。异在  內省十餘年,未嘗被譴。司農卿傅岐嘗謂异曰:“今聖上委政於君,安得每事從旨。頃者外聞殊有異論。”异曰:“政言我不能諫爭耳。 當今天子聖明,吾豈可以其所聞干忤天聽?”  See NS, "Zhu Yi" 朱异, juan 62, 1516-1517.  62  due to the decrease in household registrations. He Chen remarked that the revenue from the border had fallen significantly; in addition, debt had been left unsettled for years. He claimed that local governors should take responsibility for people losing their homes. The second was the pervasive corruption in officialdom. He Chen remarked that the cause of corruption was the prevalence of luxury. As a solution, he suggested the promulgation of sumptuary regulations to encourage thrift. By doing so, he believed that people's behavior and interests would change. The third was unfair official recruitment. He pointed out that narrow-minded and shallow people were fighting for promotion. They exaggerated their abilities and contributions, framed others and glorified themselves. He maintained that the solution for the increase in wickedness was to be fair in official recruitment. The fourth was the need for cutting government expenses.164 He Chen's report reflected the social reality of Liang at the time. National revenue had decreased and the difficulties of government had increased in consequence. Government officials were mostly corrupt because of the prevalent luxury. Official recruitment favoured those who were good at dishonest behavior. Finally, ordinary people were full of unrest because of the many official activities and government expenses. Emperor Wu was furious after he read the report. To oppose He Chen's remarks, he enumerated how he himself had been living a thrifty life and at the  164  NS, "He Yang" 賀瑒, juan 62, 1511-1512. See also ZZTJ, "Liang ji shiwu" 梁紀十五, juan 159, 1552-1553.  63  same time diligently taking care of his government. He claimed that he had set a perfect example for the officials so He Chen should pinpoint the names of corrupt officials. He struck down every point He Chen made and launched a self-defense in response.165 He Chen dared not identify anyone or anything as Emperor Wu suggested; instead, he apologized. Sima Guang suggests that the reason Emperor Wu was furious was that He Chen spoke the truth.166 Although Emperor Wu said the world was in chaos to convince Xiao Ji to accept his appointment to Yizhou, he did not seem to realize, or did not want to acknowledge, how bad the situation was in his last years. He trusted Zhu Yi just as he had trusted Xu Mian and Zhou She in the former days. His blindness, or maybe his excessive tolerance, for other people put him and his empire in great danger. Xiao Gang once expressed his sentiment less clearly in the "Fu on Recounting Melancholy": 情無所治,志無所求。不懷傷而忽恨,無驚猜而自愁。玩飛花之入戶,看斜暉之度寮。雖 復玉觴浮椀,趙瑟含嬌。未足以祛斯耿耿,息此長謠。  〈序愁賦〉167  Sentiment has nowhere to settle; there is nothing I want. I am not embracing sorrow, but feel regret all of a sudden. I am not frightened or suspicious, yet I worry myself. I appreciate the flying petals entering the windows and watch slanting rays of sunset pass by my hut. Although I have these jade goblets and floating cups, with stringed instruments of Zhao that contain loveliness, these are not enough to expel this depression and end this long ballad. "Fu on Recounting Melancholy"  165  NS, "He Yang" 賀瑒, juan 62, 1512-1513. See also ZZTJ, "Liang ji shiwu" 梁紀十五, juan 159, 1552-1553.  166  ZZTJ, "Liang ji shiwu" 梁紀十五, juan 159, 1553.  167  YKJ, 2995.  64  There is no indication when this rhapsody was written. However, Xiao Gang's gloomy sentiment under the ostensibly peaceful circumstances is easily understood. The contradiction expressed in this rhapsody presents a portrait of Xiao Gang's frustration and despair hidden under the surface of his luxurious life. In his Family Instructions for the Yans, Yan Zhitui 顏之推 (531- ca. 591) described the social situation at the peak of the Liang: 梁朝全盛之時,貴遊子弟,多無學術,至於諺云:“上車不落則著作,體中何如則祕書。” 無不熏衣剃面,傅粉施朱,駕長簷車,跟高齒屐,坐棊子方褥,憑斑絲隱囊,列器玩於左 右,從容出入。望若神仙。明經求第,則顧人答策;三九公讌,則假手賦詩。168 In the heyday of the Liang Dynasty, the scions of noble families mostly were unlearned. So much so that there was a saying: "One who boards a chariot and does not fall will become an Attendant of Writing. One can write a stereotyped phrase such as 'how are you doing?' in a letter will become secretary." Everyone perfumed his garments, shaved his face, pasted rouge and face powder. They rode in long-eaved-carts, wore high-teeth clogs, sat on square-shape cushions with a chess board pattern, leaned on soft bolsters woven with multi-colored silk thread and had knickknacks laid on each side. They went in and out gracefully and looked like immortal beings from a distance. When seeking to pass the examination for the degree of "Clearly Understanding the Classics" and applying for official positions, they hired someone to answer questions and compose essays on their behalf. When attending banquets held by famous noblemen, they [again] asked someone to compose poems for them.169  168  Yan Zhitui 顏之推, Yan shi jiaxun jijie 顏氏家訓集解, "Mianxue di ba" 勉學第八, juan 3, Wang Liqi 王利器 ed. (Beijing:  Zhonghua shuju, 1993), 145. 169  Yanshi jiaxun has been translated into English by Teng Ssu-Yü 鄧嗣禹. The translation here has benefitted from  consultation of the following works: Yan Zhitui 顏之推, Family Instructions for the Yen Clan: Yen-shih chia-hsün. An annotated translation with introduction, trans. and annot. Teng Ssu-Yü, (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1968), 53-54; Yan Zhitui 顏 之推,  Ganshi kakun 顔氏家訓, annot. Uno Seiichi 宇野精一 (Tokyo: Meitoku shuppansha, 1982), 78; Yan Zhitui 顏之推,  Yanshi jiaxun yizhu 顔氏家訓譯注, annot. Zhuang Huiming 莊輝明 and Zhang Yihe 章義和, in Zhonghua guji yizhu congshu 中華古籍譯注叢書 (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 1999), 106-108; Yan zhitui 顏之推, Yanshi jiaxun 顔氏家  65  The long peaceful and prosperous period of Emperor Wu's reign resulted in a languid young generation of the ruling class. The economy was also in crisis. According to the Sui shu, in the early years of the Liang, the weights of the two kinds of legal coins still matched their face values. Ignoring the throne's decree prohibiting private coinage, some people privately used illegal coins; and some even cast their own iron coins. This severely disturbed the metal-based monetary system. At the beginning of the Datong 大同 Era (535- 545), the prices of commodities skyrocketed. Since the value of the iron coinage had significantly declined, people had to carry coins by the cart load for shopping. The calculation of coins was done by strings of coins rather than by the piece. The face value of the legal iron coins became different from region to region. As a consequence, merchants started to profit from the monetary disorder. At the time of the Zhong-Datong 中大同170 Era (546), the emperor's prohibition was made in vain. It was said that in the last years of the Liang, coins with a face value of one-hundred were only worth thirty-five.171 Along with the increase in famine and  訓,  annot. Liang Ming 梁明 and Yu Zhengping 余正平, in Zhongguo gudian mingzhu yizhu congshu 中國古典名著譯注叢  書 (Guangzhou: 170  Guangzhou chubanshe, 2004), 68-69.  Although they share the same pronunciation, this name of era is written as 中大同 (546) in Chinese characters,  differing from that written as 中大通 (529-534). 171  SS, "Shihuo" 食貨, juan 24, 689-690.  66  rebellions, the fate of the Liang was in decline and its fall was only a matter of time. Emperor Wu's welcoming of Hou Jing was only the incident that started the downturn. Hou Jing, a military man descended from a non-Han people called the Jie 羯,172 had worked for a powerful minister of the Eastern Wei named Gao Huan. Although his right leg was shorter than the other and he was not good at horse riding or archery, he was recognized as wise and resourceful.173 He was a merciless man with a skillful way of managing his troops. Since he shared all the spoils with his commanders and soldiers, all of his men were faithful to him.174 Gao Huan assigned a hundred thousand men to Hou and heavily relied on him to guard the southern regions of the Yellow River. Gao Huan and Gao Cheng 高澄 (521-549), his son and successor, knew very well that Gao Cheng was incapable of commanding Hou. On his sickbed before his death, Gao Huan gave Gao Cheng guidance on how to deal with Hou.175 Gao Huan died in the first year of the Taiqing Era of the Liang (547). Following his father's instructions, Gao Cheng concealed his father's death, then sent a letter to Hou Jing summoning him back to the capital in the name of his father. However, the ruse was seen through by Hou Jing. Hou Jing then offered to surrender the territories under his command to Gao's rival — the Western Wei. His surrender was accepted, but  172  Scott Pearce, "Who, and What, Was Hou Jing?" 50.  173  ZZTJ, "Liang ji shiwu" 梁紀十五, juan 159, 1556.  174  LS, "Hou Jing" 侯景, juan 56, 834.  175  ZZTJ, "Liang ji shiwu" 梁紀十五, juan 159, 1556-1557.  67  at the same time, Hou sent envoy Ding He 丁和 (d. 552) to Liang offering thirteen regions of his holdings as well. The courtiers of Liang were concerned that to take Hou Jing in would break the peace between the Eastern Wei and the Liang. Nonetheless, Emperor Wu coveted the broad territory Hou Jing offered, considering that it was an opportunity to take back the north.176 According to Nan shi and Zizhi tongjian, Emperor Wu's decision to welcome Hou Jing was made in the first year of the Taiqing Era (547).177 It was said that Emperor Wu had a dream in the previous month, in which all the governors of the Central Plains (the north) offered their holdings to him. After his arrival to Liang, Ding He claimed that Hou Jing had by coincidence decided to surrender on the very same day that the emperor had the dream.178 Since Xiao Gang and some courtiers strongly opposed the acceptance of Hou,179 Emperor Wu needed some support from other quarters. As usual, Zhu Yi perceived Emperor Wu's intention and took the acceptance in a positive way. He said:  176  Ibid., juan 160, 1558. See also LS, "Hou Jing" 侯景, juan 56, 834-835.  177  NS, "Hou Jing" 侯景, juan 80, 1994; and ZZTJ, "Liang ji shiliu" 梁紀十六, juan 160, 1559. However, LS indicates  that this happened in the second year of Taiqing (548). See LS, "Hou Jing" 侯景, juan 56, 862-863. 178  Both NS and ZZTJ indicate the dream occurred on the sixteenth day of the first month in the first year of the  Taiqing Era (547). But in NS, Emperor Wu told Huang Huibi 黃慧弼 about the dream ("Hou Jing" 侯景, juan 80, 1994.) instead of Zhu Yi as indicated in ZZTJ ("Liang ji shiliu" 梁紀十六, juan 160, 1559.). In LS, the dream occurred in the middle of the Zhong-Datong Era (ca. 546) and Zhu Yi was the listener ("Hou Jing" 侯景, juan 56, 862-863.). 179  WS, "Daoyi Xiao Yan" 島夷蕭衍, juan 98, 2179.  68  聖明御宇,上應蒼玄,北土遺黎,誰不慕仰,為無機會,未達其心。今侯景分魏國太半, 輸誠送款,遠歸聖朝,豈非天誘其衷,人獎其計。原心審事,殊有可嘉。今若不容,恐絕 後來之望。此誠易見,願陛下無疑。180 The Brilliant Understanding (the emperor) rules the universe. [This] corresponds with the [mandate of] Heaven. All the people in the enemy-occupied north admire [Your Majesty]. It is just because there is no chance, their wishes are not yet fulfilled. Now Hou Jing occupies more than half of the [Eastern] Wei's territory, offering and delivering his sincere heartfelt feelings. He surrenders to the sacred empire from afar. Doesn't that show his heart is guided by Heaven and his decision is admired by human beings? After examining his real intention and investigating the matter, we would find him extremely praise-worthy. If we do not accept [Hou Jing], I am afraid it will terminate the future desires [of other people who want to submit to the emperor]. This is truly easy to see. I wish Your Majesty will not hesitate.  Thus, Emperor Wu heard what he wanted to hear. He accepted the omen of his dream and made the decision to welcome Hou Jing. At the time, Hou Jing had a foot in two camps, the Western Wei and the Liang. After being deceived by Hou Jing a number of times, the monarch and courtiers of the Western Wei concluded that they could not put faith in Hou. In the sixth month of the same year, Hou decided to submit to the Liang, and his family in the Eastern Wei was abandoned. Liang launched a campaign in the eighth month attacking Eastern Wei. Being deaf to Hou Jing's warning, Liang suffered a severe defeat. Liang not only lost tens of thousands of soldiers, the coward Chief Commander Xiao Yuanming 蕭淵明 (d. 556) was also captured by the enemy. In the first month of the next year, Hou  180  LS, "Zhu Yi" 朱异, juan 38, 539. The two other sources (NS and ZZTJ) also state that Zhu Yi was the one who  supported Emperor Wu.  69  Jing was defeated by his adversary, Murong Shaozong 慕容紹宗 (501-549)181 of the Eastern Wei, who was the only man capable of overpowering Hou, as indicated in Gao Huan's instructions to his son. Although Xiao Gang opposed the acceptance of Hou Jing, he did not seem to know about Hou. When the news of Hou's losing battles was brought to the capital, a rumour started saying that Hou had been killed. Xiao Gang told He Jingrong that he believed Hou Jing was still alive. He turned pale with fright when he heard He Jingrong said that it would be good luck for Liang if Hou Jing had indeed been killed. Xiao Gang asked why he said so. He Jingrong answered: "[Hou] Jing is a man who has betrayed people repeatedly. He will eventually bring down the empire."182 Emperor Wu was taking a nap when he heard that Xiao Yuanming had been captured by the Eastern Wei. He was so astonished and terrified that he even fell down from his bed. At this point, he started worrying that he had made a mistake.183 Emperor Wu did not take into account Hou Jing's loss. Everything seemed to be back to normal. However, the situation changed because of a letter written by Xiao Yuanming sent from the Eastern Wei.  181  Murong Shaozong 慕容紹宗 was the first man who taught Hou Jing the arts of war. See NS, "Zeichen" 賊臣, juan 80,  1993. 182  ZZTJ, "Liang ji shiqi" 梁紀十七, juan 161, 1565.  183  Ibid., 1560-1562.  70  In the second month of the second year of the Taiqing Era (548), Gao Cheng suggested to rebuild the friendship between Eastern Wei and Liang, after he took all the territory back from Liang and rooted out Hou Jing's henchmen. He treated Xiao Yuanming well and had Xiao write a letter saying he would be sent back to Liang if friendly relations could be revived. Emperor Wu read the letter in tears. In court, opinion was divided. One group led by Zhu Yi insisted on accepting the offer of peace; only the Minister of Agriculture, Fu Qi, questioned the intention of Gao Cheng's offer. He remarked that it was a strategy for alienating Liang from Hou Jing. Emperor Wu took Zhu Yi's side. As expected, Hou Jing felt uneasy with the rapprochement. He wrote several letters to Emperor Wu to appeal for cancellation of the decision. He also wrote a letter to Zhu Yi with an attachment of three hundred taels of gold, expecting his help. Zhu Yi took the gold without passing his letter to the emperor.184 Hou Jing's unease escalated after Emperor Wu's envoy paid a visit to Gao Cheng. He urged the emperor to launch a campaign against Eastern Wei again. Emperor Wu told him just to sit back and enjoy himself. In addition, the emperor gave Hou his word that he would not break his promise of a monarch to a subject. However, Emperor Wu's word was treacherous. When Hou Jing forged a letter from Eastern Wei offering the exchange of Xiao Yuanming and himself, Emperor Wu  184  Ibid., 1566-1567.  71  decided to accept the offer. Fu Qi spoke up that it would bring not only ill fortune, but also Hou Jing's resistance. To oppose Fu Qi, Zhu Yi and Xie Ju 謝舉 (d. 548) claimed that Hou Jing was only a powerless man on the run. Without taking Hou Jing seriously, Emperor Wu returned a positive response, which of course was reported to Hou Jing. Hou finally made up his mind to rebel.185 Hou Jing was able to recruit three thousand men when he started the rebellion in the eighth month of the same year of the Taiqing Era (548).186 Neglecting reports from a number of local governors and underestimating Hou Jing's capability, Zhu Yi and Emperor Wu would not listen to others' suggestions to prepare for Hou Jing's arrival. They did not dream that Xiao Zhengde had already made a secret deal with Hou Jing either. Following the secret plan, Xiao Zhengde ferried Hou's soldiers across the Yangtze River in no time. Even when Hou Jing's envoy Xu Siyu 徐思玉 (n.d.) requested to meet Emperor Wu privately and Gao Shanbao 高善寶 (n.d.) became alarmed at the danger of doing so, Zhu Yi still retorted: "How could Xu Siyu possibly be an assassin?!" Ironically, the letter brought by Xu Siyu from Hou Jing was to accuse Zhu Yi of playing politics. In the letter, Hou Jing asked the emperor's permission to let his armed men enter the capital in order to execute Zhu Yi and his followers. This, of course, was only Hou's excuse. Nonetheless, Emperor Wu later asked and confirmed with Xiao Gang that Hou's similar claim appeared in another  185  Ibid., 1567.  186  LS, "Zhu Yi" 朱异, juan 38, 539.  72  denunciation regarding Zhu Yi's wrongdoings. Xiao Gang dissuaded the emperor from killing Zhu Yi on the spot to avoid being ridiculed by the enemy. He composed a rhapsody after they were surrounded by Hou Jing's army in the capital: 彼高冠及厚履,並鼎食而乘肥。升紫霄之丹地,排玉殿之金扉。陳謀謨之啟沃,宣政刑之 福威。四郊以之多壘,萬邦以之未綏。問豺狼其何者,訪虺蜴之為誰。  〈圍城賦〉187  That person is wearing a high hat and thick-sole shoes. He eats from a tripod and rides on a stout horse. Rising to the cinnabar place of purple clouds, he pushes open the golden doors of the jade palace hall. He declares stratagems and assists the monarch, announces government orders of rewards and punishments. Because of him, forts are increased at the four sides of suburbs. Because of him, all nations live in chaos. We inquire who the cruel and evil person is. We investigate who the vicious man is.  "Fu on the Besieged Wall"188  Although there is no indication of the man's name in the work, it is clear that the person was Zhu Yi. Xiao Gang's anger finally exploded. Emperor Wu asked Zhu Yi who this person was afterwards, but Zhu Yi was not able to respond. He died soon after at the age of sixty-seven of shame and resentment. Emperor Wu gave him a handsome funeral and conferred the official title he had long wished for.189 There were many factors contributing to the result of Liang's losing the battles and eventually enabling Hou Jing's usurpation. Despite his inability to read and write, Hou Jing was an expert on war strategy himself. With the assistance of Wang Wei, who was a bright man with broad  187  Ibid. See also NS, "Zhu Yi" 朱异, juan 62, 1518.  188  Marney translated this fu in his Liang Chien-wen Ti, 151.  189  NS, "Zhu Yi" 朱异, juan 62, 1518. See also LS, "Zhu Yi" 朱异, juan 38, 540.  73  knowledge, Hou Jing made smart and cunning moves that put his opponents at a loss. Even compared with the destruction caused by Hou Jing, the problems of Liang itself caused the most damage. By the end of Emperor Wu's reign, the old generals who helped Emperor Wu establish the dynasty had almost all died. Courtiers rarely saw weapons in their daily life. The ones in the capital were shocked by the emergency, and the youths were all stationed in the regions. Although many reinforcements gathered and surrounded Hou Jing's ring of encirclement, they were either defeated by Hou's men, or hesitated to approach. The relationship between leaders was ugly. Imperial relatives were fighting with each other in order to seize power, and the Chief Commander Liu Zhongli 柳仲禮 (n.d.) lost his courage for fighting after he was injured in a battle with Hou Jing. Liu was mean to other commanders and did nothing but enjoy wine and entertainment in his camp. In addition, the discipline of the royal armies was slack, in some cases even worse than that of Hou's troops. Their behaviour betrayed Liang people's expectations, disappointing those who were secretly willing to help the royal troops against Hou. As the Crown Prince, Xiao Gang requested full leadership from Emperor Wu in the emergency after Hou Jing crossed the Yangtze River. Unfortunately, he made fatal mistakes. From Xiao Gang's point of view, the decisions might have been made cautiously and reasonably. However, the deficiencies in his decision making were similar to what we have seen in his understanding of Hou Jing, namely, his blindness to one's inherent qualities.  74  Xiao Gang's first decision was to place Xiao Zhengde and Yu Xin respectively at the guard of the two important capital gates. He followed Xiao Zhengde's suggestion to keep the float bridge on the moat connected. Of course, he had no means of knowing that Xiao Zhengde was assisting Hou Jing and hence should be the last one to be trusted. But it is unfathomable that Xiao Gang still had faith in Xiao Zhengde after seeing his betrayal and wrong-doing in the past. Yu Xin, a talented literatus Xiao Gang should have known very well, was frightened by the iron masks Hou Jing's soldiers wore. He was chewing a piece of sugarcane when Hou's soldiers appeared, and it dropped from his hands when an arrow struck a post by the gate nearby. He fled immediately. The boat unmoored by Yu Xin's soldiers was reconnected to the float bridge, and Hou's army reached the capital gate with no difficulty.190 Yu Xin was only one of the many civil officials who panicked. Xiao Gang gave his own horse and three thousand crack troops to Wang Zhi 王質 (511-570) for him to back up Yu Xin, but Wang Zhi ran away even before the fight began.191 In the middle of the chaos, Hou Jing's subordinate Fan Taobang 范桃棒 (d. ca. 548) was convinced by Chen Xin 陳昕 (d. ca. 548) to kill Wang Wei and Song Zixian 宋子仙 (d. 550). Emperor Wu was overjoyed when he learned the news from Chen Xin. However, Xiao Gang was  190  ZZTJ, "Liang ji shiqi" 梁紀十七, juan 161, 1570.  191  Wang Zhi was supposed to patrol the Yangtze River regularly to prevent Hou Jing's crossing. However, he failed to  do his job on the very day when Hou Jing's army crossed the river. See NS, "Zeichen" 賊臣, juan 80, 1998.  75  suspicious and hesitated to accept the offer. He believed that it would be safest if they reinforced the defences and upheld their position until the arrival of reinforcements. Fan Taobang's additional offer of sending five hundred unarmed soldiers into the capital increased Xiao Gang's suspicions even more. Although Emperor Wu and Zhu Yi urged him to take the offer, Xiao Gang turned a deaf ear to them.192 At this point, he still had faith in the reinforcements, believing his imperial relatives and generals would come to their rescue. Unfortunately, he made a wrong calculation this time. Hou Jing killed Fan Taobang after the deal was divulged, and the reinforcements were never willing to make their way to the capital. There were some brave officials, such as Yang Kan 羊侃 (495-548) and the Jiang 江 brothers, who fought for the emperor. The awful situation lasted for months and both sides had lost many lives and exhausted their food and supplies. In order to bring in supplies and buy time for recovering, Wang Wei suggested that Hou Jing make peace with the emperor. Xiao Gang asked for Emperor Wu's approval because the situation inside the Forbidden Interior was miserable. Emperor Wu was in a fury: "It's better to die than to make peace!" Xiao Gang insisted: "[Hou] Jing surrounded [us] long ago. [Yet,] the reinforcements are at a stalemate showing no sign of fighting.  192  ZZTJ, "Liang ji shiqi" 梁紀十七, juan 161, 1572. See also NS, "Zeichen" 賊臣, juan 80, 2001.  76  It is better to allow peace-making and make plans later." 193 Emperor Wu compromised. After the ceremony of pledging truce, Hou Jing came up with all kinds of excuses and continued to stay. Xiao Gang perhaps knew that Hou Jing was lying but was not able to take decisive action. He might be viewed as a coward with a lack of strategic insight. But one thing is certain: he was in despair of the reinforcements' arrival. All he could hope now was that Hou Jing would keep his promise and leave, for he had no means and strength left to fight any more. Nonetheless, reality betrayed his wish. Hou Jing realized that there was no rescue for the emperor that Xiao Gang could expect and that the situation was very bad in the Forbidden Interior. Now that he had obtained everything he needed, Wang Wei persuaded him to renounce the treaty. Xiao Zhengde also encouraged Hou Jing not to give up. Thereupon, Hou Jing sent the official denunciation mentioned earlier in this chapter, accusing Emperor Wu of ten kinds of misconduct, including censure of Xiao Gang's luxurious life style and frivolous writings.194 The military attack restarted in the third month of the third year of  193  ZZTJ, "Liang ji shiba" 梁紀十八, juan 162, 1576. According to NS, Emperor Wu would not believe Hou Jing's word.  "Jianwen (Xiao Gang) stated to Emperor Wu: 'We are surrounded and compelled by Hou Jing. Since there are no troops serving the throne, we want to approve the peace making now and consider the strategy later.' Emperor Wu was in a fury: 'It's better to die than to make peace!' Jianwen said: 'A treaty signed under coercion indeed is an utmost disgrace. [If we do not accept the treaty, then] white blades will intersect in front; stray arrows will have no eyes.'" 簡 文乃請武帝曰:“侯景圍逼,既無勤王之師,今欲許和,更思後計。”帝大怒曰:“和不如死。”簡文曰:“城下之盟,乃是深恥;白 刃交前,流矢不顧。”See 194  NS, "Zeichen" 賊臣, juan 80, 2005.  ZZTJ, "Liang ji shiba" 梁紀十八, juan 162, 1577.  77  the Taiqing Era (549). Before long, the Forbidden Interior finally fell into Hou Jing's hands. Both Emperor Wu and Xiao Gang did not show a whit of fear when they faced Hou Jing. Xu Chi and Yin Buhai 殷不害 (505-589) stood firmly beside Xiao Gang when all others scattered. Hou Jing was sweating and not able to respond to the imperial father and his son's inquiries. Emperor Wu was unbending after being overpowered by Hou Jing. He starved to death on the second day of the fifth month of the same year (June 12, 549). He was eighty-six years old.195 The news of the emperor's death was kept a secret from the public. Xiao Gang knew the news soon after his father's death, but he could only cry silently. Twenty-five days later, Xiao Gang was enthroned. As an emperor now, however, Xiao Gang's situation was not much different from before. He could only do what Hou Jing told him to do and had no freedom to meet his courtiers. Since Xu Chi convinced Hou Jing to salute Xiao Gang when they first met in the palace, Hou Jing hated Xu Chi and Xu was forbidden to meet Xiao Gang after Xiao was nearly under house arrest. Not being able to see Xiao Gang, Xu Chi died of respiratory disease soon after at the age of seventy-eight.196  195  LS, "Wu Di xia" 武帝下, juan 3, 95.  196  NS, "Xu Chi" 徐摛, juan 62, 1522.  78  In the beginning of February 550 (the first day of the first month in lunar calendar), Xiao Gang changed the title of the reign from Taiqing to Dabao 大寶.197 He was restricted by Hou Jing to the capital, while his brothers and nephews were fighting with each other in the regions. The strongest, Xiao Yi, defeated and killed Xiao Yu 蕭譽 (d. 550), Crown Prince Zhaoming's second son, in the same year. He would not accept the new title of Xiao Gang's reign and issued an order to suppress Hou Jing. While fighting against Hou Jing's army, Xiao Yi fought against Xiao Yu's brother Xiao Cha 蕭詧 (519-562) and his own brother Xiao Lun. Western Wei killed Xiao Lun in 551 after Xiao Lun was chased by Xiao Yi. Xiao Yi also killed his younger brother Xiao Ji in a battle in 553, one year after his ascent to the throne. Xiao Gang was alone in the palace. His first wife, Wang Lingbin, had died soon after Hou Jing's siege began. His closest courtiers were either dead or too afraid to visit him. Since he would not give up visiting Xiao Gang, Xiao Zi 蕭諮 (d. 550) was assassinated by his personal enemy who was instigated by Hou Jing.198 Xiao Gang bore insults and managed to put up with Hou Jing. However, he was not able to evade his ill fate. On the fifth day of the eighth month of the second  197  LS, "Jianwen Di" 簡文帝, juan 4, 105-106. See also NS, "Jianwen Di" 簡文帝, juan 8, 203.  198  ZZTJ, "Liang ji shijiu" 梁紀十六, juan 163, 1593.  79  year of the Dabao Era (September 20, 551),199 Xiao Gang was dethroned and officially put under house arrest in the Yongfu Palace. Most of his sons, including his Crown Prince Daqi, were murdered one after another. On the winter night of the second day of the tenth month (November 15, 551),200 Wang Wei and his henchmen brought wine and tidbits to Xiao Gang wishing him longevity. Xiao Gang understood that the inevitable hour had come. Becoming drunk he said: "I didn't expect that I would be able to enjoy [life] to this extent!" After Xiao Gang fell asleep, Wang Wei left the room. Peng Jun 彭儁 (d. ca. 552) put a sand bag on Xiao Gang, then Wang Xiuzuan 王 201  脩纂 (n.d.) sat on top of the sand bag.  Thus Xiao Gang was murdered at the age of forty-nine.  Hou Jing's real intention was to ascend the throne himself. But instead, he established Xiao Dong 蕭棟 (d. 552) who was Crown Prince Zhaoming's grandson as emperor. Hou did this on the same day when Xiao Gang was dethroned.202 In the forged imperial decree, Hou Jing forced Xiao Gang to rationalize his own dethronement by saying that Xiao Gang was not the legitimate heir who should have become heir after Crown Prince Zhaoming's death.203 In the eleventh month, Hou  199  LS, "Jianwen Di" 簡文帝, juan 4, 108. See also ZZTJ, "Liang ji ershi" 梁紀二十, juan 164, 1598. However, NS  ("Liang benji" 梁本紀, juan 8, 231) records that it was on the seventeenth day of the eighth month of the same year (October 2, 551). In this dissertation, I follow the records in LS and ZZTJ. 200  NS, "Liang benji" 梁本紀, juan 8, 232.  201  ZZTJ, "Liang ji ershi" 梁紀二十, juan 164, 1598-1599. According to LS, in order to kill Xiao Gang, Wang Xiuzhuan  filled a piece of kerchief with soil and then put it on top of Xiao Gang's stomach. See LS, "Hou Jing" 侯景, juan 56, 858. 202  LS, "Hou Jing" 侯景, juan 56, 857. See also LS, "Liang benji" 梁本紀, juan 8, 231-232.  203  NS, "Liang benji" 梁本紀, juan 8, 232.  80  Jing compelled Xiao Dong to abdicate the throne to him.204 He imprisoned Xiao Dong, together with his brothers Xiao Qiao 蕭橋 and Xiao Jiu 蕭樛 , in a back room. They were drowned (on May 2, 552) by Xiao Yi's secret order after Xiao Yi's army took back control of the capital.205 Before taking off for the general campaign against Hou Jing, Wang Sengbian 王僧辯 (d. 555), who was Xiao Yi's general, asked Xiao Yi what to do with Xiao Gang in case Xiao Gang was still alive after Wang's army entered the capital. Xiao Yi's command was to "use all possible military force."206 Xiao Gang was the brother who admired Xiao Yi's literary talent and entrusted his youngest son Xiao Dayuan 大圜 (n.d.) to him after Hou Jing occupied the entire capital.207 However, Xiao Yi's real intention was to snatch the throne. For the sake of ascending the throne, even Xiao Gang was on his list of those he wished to eliminate. Despite the fact that Xiao Yi killed his own brothers and several nephews, there is no record of him killing any of Xiao Gang's sons. After the assault against Hou Jing was over, Xiao Yi was happy to see Xiao Dayuan again when the latter was found and sent to Jiangling by Wang Sengbian. Xiao Yi dressed the boy in "Yue coat and  204  LS, "Hou Jing" 侯景, juan 56, 859. See also NS, "Zeichen" 賊臣, juan 80, 2011.  205  NS, "Liang benji" 梁本紀, juan 8, 238.  206  初,王僧辯之為都督,將發,諮元帝曰:“平賊之後,嗣君萬福,未審有何儀注?”帝曰:“六門之內,自極兵威。” See NS, "Liang  Wu Di zhuzi" 梁武帝諸子, juan 53, 1314. 207  ZZTJ, "Liang ji shiba" 梁紀十八, juan 162, 1580.  81  Hu belt (越衫胡帶)", which was non-Han Chinese clothing.208 Despite the fact that Xiao Gang's offspring might become the potential heirs to the throne, Xiao Yi treated Xiao Gang's children differently compared with the way he treated his own brothers and Crown Prince Zhaoming's offspring. The "barbarian" clothing he put on Xiao Dayuan might serve as his way of saying that the boy had lost the legitimacy of being a candidate for Liang's throne. Perhaps it was the most merciful thing he could do by way of reciprocating Xiao Gang's consistent fraternity to him. Hou Jing was killed by his followers when he was on the run from Xiao Yi's army in the first year of the Chengsheng 承聖 Era (552). He had enjoyed a hundred days as an emperor. Xiao Yi granted Xiao Gang the posthumous title of Jianwen 簡文. In the twenty-eighth day of the fourth month (June 5, 552), Xiao Gang was buried at the Mausoleum of Zhuang beside his empress.209 His sons, Dafeng 大封 (n.d.) and Dayuan, survived after Western Wei killed Xiao Yi. They were taken to Chang'an with other captives and were treated as guests in the north. Dayuan lived into the Sui Dynasty (581-619), being admired for his literary talent. He left some works behind including twenty scrolls of The Old Days of the Liang (Liang jiushi 梁舊事).210  208  Zhou shu 周書, "Xiao Dayuan" 蕭大圜, juan 42, comp. Linghu Defen 令狐德棻 et al (Beijing: Zhonghua Shuju, 1971),  756. See also BS, "Xiao Dayuan," juan 29, 1069. 209  LS, "Jianwen Di" 簡文帝, juan 4,108. See also NS, "Liang benji" 梁本紀, juan 8, 232.  210  BS, "Xiao Dayuan" 蕭大圜, juan 29, 1065.  82  Xiao Gang approved the execution of the eunuch who indirectly caused Crown Prince Zhaoming's death when the eunuch committed a crime in another legal case. He was saddened by Crown Prince Zhaoming's misfortune of being treated unjustly. He wiped away his tears when he made the decision to confirm the death penalty.211 Xiao Tong and Xiao Gang were brothers and had a very close relationship.212 It may be because they had the same parents and were close in age. But more importantly, it could be because they shared similar qualities and interests. They both were admired for their precocious talent for learning. When they grew up, they gained reputations for being gentle and tolerant. After becoming Crown Prince, Xiao Gang took up his duties just like his older brother. They both sympathized with the people's hardships and tried to lighten their burdens. Traditionally, Xiao Gang would be viewed as a poet who wrote decadent Palace Style poetry, while Xiao Tong was an orthodox literatus. However, the ornate and unique style of poetry had been quite prevalent since the previous period, and, as we have seen in this chapter, Xiao Gang was not a decadent person with low moral standards, interested only in pleasure and enjoyment. One should be aware that, unlike Xiao Tong, Xiao Gang was not  211  NS, "Liang Wu Di zhuzi" 梁武帝諸子, juan 53, 1313.  212  See also Ping Wang, "Brotherly Love Through Courtly Writting" in The Age of Courtly Writing, 87-103.  83  established as a Crown Prince at an early age. His legitimacy as heir after Xiao Tong's sudden death was even questioned by some courtiers and was used by Hou Jing to accuse Emperor Wu.213  Xiao Gang's famous advice to his son is "the way of conducting oneself differs from writing. Conduct gives priority to circumspection. Writing should be unrestrained." Regardless of the meaning of the term "fangdang (unrestrained)", from this expression, one can perceive that Xiao Gang was clear in the contrast between his attitude towards life and towards his literature. In the letter he sent to Xiao Yi, he recalled his joyful and carefree days in Yongzhou. Nonetheless, he faithfully carried out his duties as a Crown Prince despite the depressing political environment in the capital. In the emergency when Hou Jing crossed the Yangtze River, Xiao Gang wasted no time in standing in front of the emperor with his military uniform on and requested full leadership. He was highly conscious of his responsibility as the heir of the empire. During the long defence that lasted for about six months without reinforcements, he stood with his fighters. In contrast to those who ran away from the battlefields or enjoyed entertainment in military camps, Xiao Gang was far from being a coward or a decadent person. In his last days, he bore insults in order to survive. But once he realized his time had come, he showed no fear but enjoyed himself until the last moment.  213  Ping Wang extensively discusses the relationship between Xiao Tong and Xiao Gang in "Culture and Literature in  an Early Medieval Chinese Court" and her The Age of Courtly Writing. I will discuss Xiao Tong and Xiao Gang's literary thought in more detail in the next chapter.  84  The following self-account was written on a wall where Xiao Gang was under house arrest. Looking back over his entire life, he felt no regrets. 有梁正士蘭陵蕭世纘,立身行道,終始如一,風雨如晦,雞鳴不已。弗欺暗室,豈況三光, 〈幽縶題壁自序〉 214  數至於此,命也如何!  Upright gentleman of the Liang, Xiao Shizuan of Lanling. His way of conducting himself has always been consistent. "Wind and rain are sweeping across the gloomy sky. Cocks cry out loud without ceasing."215 He has never deceived others in a darkened room, not to mention under the three lights [of the sun, the moon and the stars]. Fate meant it to be this way. What can to be done? "The Self-account216 to the Writing on Wall under House Arrest"  214  LS, "Jianwen Di" 簡文帝, juan 4, 108. See also YKJ, 3018.  215  As Xiaofei Tian points out, this two lines are quoted from the poem "Wind and Rain" ("Fengyu" 風雨) from Shi  jing, and traditionally "reflects on how a gentleman remains steadfast in chaotic times." (Xiaofei Tian, Beacon Fire and Shooting Star, 306.). See also Kong Yingda's 孔穎達 (574-648) commentary in Mao Shi zhengyi, juan 4, in SSJZS, 345. 216  For the English version of this self-account, see also Marney's translation in Liang Chien-wen Ti, 171 and Xiaofei  Tian, Beacon Fire and Shooting Star, 306.  85  Chapter 2  Xiao Gang's Literary Thought  2.1 Critique of Xiao Gang's Poetry as Decadent Yao Silian, one of the compilers of the Liang shu, highly praises Xiao Gang's personality, saying he was "clever and perspicacious," that "his good reputation was established early," and that "by nature he was generous and untrammelled, superior to those from antiquity to the present." However, he also disparages Xiao Gang's writing, criticizing it because "it was dissolute and flowery." He considers that Xiao's style was "not something that a gentleman would like" because his poems were flawed by levity and sensuality.1 Similar criticism can be seen in He Zhiyuan's 何 之元 (d. 593) "Liangdian zonglun" 梁典總論 ("Summary Disquisition on the History of the Liang"): 太宗孝慈仁愛。實守文之君。惜乎為賊所殺。至乎文章妖豔。隳墜風典。誦于婦人之口。 不及君子之聽。斯乃文士之深病。政教之厚疵。然雕蟲之技。非關治忽。壯士不為。人君 焉用。2 Taizong (Xiao Gang) was filial, merciful, and kindhearted. He was indeed a monarch who followed the former sovereign's law with respect.3 What a pity that he was killed by the rebel. His writing was gorgeous and sensual, causing decay in social customs and norms. His poems were chanted by 1  LS,"Jianwen Di" 簡文帝, juan 4, 109.  2  YKJ, 3430.  3  The term "shouwen zhi jun" 守文之君 originates from Chunqiu Gongyang zhuan 春秋公羊傳. In the conversation  regarding a royal heir in the mourning period of the former king, the heir is supposed to "carry on King Wen [of Zhou]'s regime and follows King Wen's law." 繼文王之體,  守文王之法度。See  Chunqiu Gongyang zhuan zhushu 春秋公羊傳注疏,  "Wen Gong jiu nian" 文公九年, juan 13, in SSJZS, 2269. Moreover, in Shi ji, to the phrase "zi gu shouming zhi diwang ji jiti shouwen zhi jun" 自古受命之帝王及繼體守文之君, Sima Zhen 司馬貞 (fl. Tang Dynasty) annotates in his Suoyin 索隱: "The term 'shouwen' means 'to follow the law'. It indicates the monarch, who is not the founding monarch receiving the mandate [from Heaven], follows former emperors' law only." 守文猶 守 法 也 , 謂 非 受 命 創 制 之 君 , 但 守 先 帝 法 度 為 之 主 耳 。 See  Shi ji, "Waiqi shijia" 外戚世家, juan 49, 1967.  86 women's mouths, and were not worthy to reach gentlemen's ears. This is what a man of letters is deeply afraid of. His poetry was a serious blemish on politics and morality. The technique of carving insects4 has nothing to do with government or negligence, so even an ordinary grown man would not do it, much less a monarch!5  He Zhiyuan was a historian living during the Liang, Chen and Sui dynasties. In his comment, again, we see the contradiction between Xiao Gang's personality and his writing. In contrast to Yao Silian's father Yao Cha, who was treated well by Xiao Gang, He Zhiyuan did not seem to have any direct connection with Xiao Gang during his lifetime,6 so these two independent sources demonstrate contemporary opinions of Xiao Gang. Soon after Xiao Gang became Crown Prince, his and his long-time tutor Xu Chi's poetry was given the name "Palace Style" by their contemporaries.7 The word "Palace" indicates Xiao Gang's residence, the "Eastern Palace", and the "Palace Style" refers to their novel poetic writing style. Because it was so different from the prevalent style in the capital, the fresh Palace Style became popular rapidly and people who served in Xiao Gang's Eastern Palace all started to imitate it.8  4  The term "diaochong" 雕蟲, literally translated as "carving insects", refers to a type of calligraphy learned by young  boys. In this context, it means "ornate writing devoid of moral purpose". I am indebted to David R. Knechtges for this suggestion. 5  The remark that "a grown man would not do the technique of carving insects" was made by the Western Han literatus  Yang Xiong 揚雄 in his Fayan. See Yang Xiong, Yang zi Fayan 揚子法言, "Wuzi" 吾子, juan 2, 6, in SBCK chubian, Zi bu 子部. I will discuss this comment in detail later. 6  CS, "Wenxue, He Zhiyuan" 文學何之元, juan 34, 465-468.  7  LS, "Jianwen Di" 簡文帝, juan 4, 109. See also LS, "Xu Chi" 徐摛, juan 30, 446.  8  LS, "Xu Chi" 徐摛, juan 30, 447.  87  In the next century, as monarch of the newly established Tang Dynasty, the emperor Taizong of Tang (Li Shimin 李世民, 599-649, r. 627-649) started a project of compiling historical works.9 The projects included histories of the Six Dynasties and the Sui Dynasty: Liang shu 梁書 (History of the Liang), Chen shu 陳書 (History of the Chen), Bei Qi shu 北齊書 (Northern History of the Qi), Zhou shu 周書 (History of the Zhou), and Sui shu 隋書 (History of the Sui).10 In addition, the Jin shu 晉書 (History of the Jin), Nan shi 南史 (History of the Southern Dynasties) and Bei shi 北史 (History of the Northern Dynasties) were also compiled during Taizong's reign. The historians in the early Tang Dynasty attempted to restore Confucianism to literature, for they believed that literature existed for the purpose of politics and morality.11 The attack on Xiao Gang's Palace Style poetry escalated in Sui shu: 梁簡文之在東宮,亦好篇什,清辭巧製,止乎衽席之間,彫琢蔓藻,思極閨闈之內。後生 好事,遞相放習,朝野紛紛,號為宮體。流宕不已,訖于喪亡。12 When Emperor Jianwen of the Liang (Xiao Gang) resided in the Eastern Palace, he also liked literary writings. The range of his elegant phrases and skillful compositions was confined to sleeping mats. He elaborated intricate expressions, and his thoughts were limited to the inner chambers. The curious youngsters imitated and learned [his style] one after another. People both inside and outside the court bustled out [of their enthusiasm for following the style], and it was 9  About how Emperor Taizong of Tang promoted historiography, see Ying Weifeng 英衛峰, "Yishiweijian yu  'Zhenguan zhi zhi'" 以史為鑑與“貞觀之治”, Xibei Daxue xuebao [Zhexue shehui kexue ban] 西北大學學報(哲學社會科學 版)  34, no. 1 (2004): 68-71. See also Denis Crispin Twitchett, The Writing of Official History Under the T'ang  (Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992). 10  SS, "Wei Zheng" 魏徵, juan 71, 2549-2550.  11  Ibid., "Wenxue" 文學, juan 76, 1729.  12  Ibid., "Jingji si" 經籍四, juan 35, 1090.  88 called the "Palace Style". It spread rapidly and widely without showing a sign of ceasing until the fall [of the Liang Dynasty].  The language used in the attack is concrete. Terms such as "dissolute", "flowery", and "sensual" appearing in the Liang shu and the "Liangdian zonglun", are now related to "sleeping mats" and "inner chambers". It is the amorous contents in Xiao Gang's poetry that the metaphors refer to. In the preface to the "Wenxue (literature and learning)" section in Sui shu, Xiao Gang and his brother Xiao Yi were accused of starting the lascivious style of writing: "the meaning (of their poems) was superficial and complicated; the writing was ambiguous and decorated. Levity and novelty were valued when choosing diction. There is a lot of sorrow in the sentiment."13 In the end, his poetry was condemned as "wangguo zhiyin" 亡國之音 ("the sound that doomed a nation").14 Similar criticisms can be found in Nan shi15 and Bei shi.16 From the Tang Dynasty onward, the notoriety of Xiao Gang's poetry grew. Xiao Gang's poetry was labeled decadent,17 "flirtatious", "vulgar", "sexually perverted",18 and "erotic"19 by Confucian critics. Regardless of  13  其意淺而繁,其文匿而彩,詞尚輕險,情多哀思。 See SS,  14  Ibid.  15  NS, "Liang benji xia" 梁本紀下, juan 8, 252.  16  BS, "Wenyuan" 文苑, juan 83, 2782.  17  Zhongguo wenxue piping shi [shang] 中國文學批評史 [上], ed. Fudan Daxue Zhongwen xi Gudian wenxue jiaoyanzu  "Wenxue" 文學, juan 76, 1730.  (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 1979), 139. 18  Hu Dalei 胡大雷, Zhong gu wenxue jituan 中古文學集團 (Guilin: Guangxi Shifan Daxue chubanshe, 1996), 162.  19  Guo Shaoyu 郭绍虞, Zhongguo gudian wenxue lilun piping shi [shang] 中國古典文學理論批評史 [上] (Beijing: Renmin  wenxue chubanshe, 1959), 81.  89  whether these accusations are appropriate, there is a reason for the appearance of the Palace Style poetry from the historical point of view. As for the literary development prior to the Liang Dynasty, Birrell gives a brief summary: The early medieval period witnessed an explosion of interest in the study of literature that was unequalled in the cultural tradition, even to present times. Literature was viewed as an autonomous subject for intellectual and critical inquiry, and, for the most part, was detached from the separate concerns of politics, philosophy, and other forms of academic pursuits. For the first time in its history, literature was perceived as a pure form of humanistic expression, with its own forms of discourse and rhetoric, and its own distinctive concerns.20  After the fall of the Han Dynasty, Cao Pi 曹丕 (187-226, r. 220-226)21 wrote the earliest extant essay devoted to the discussion of literature, "Lun wen" 論文 ("A Discourse on Literature").22 He comments on the quality of some renowned literati's writing, and recounts the characteristics of different literary genres, saying:  20  Anne Birrell, Games Poets Play: Reading in Medieval Chinese Poetry (Cambridge: McGuinness China  Monographs, 2004), 279. 21  Cao Pi is Cao Cao's first son, and his younger brother is Cao Zhi. He usurped the throne from the last emperor of the  Han Dynasty and established the Wei of the Three Kingdom. The father and sons are called the "Three Caos" 三曹 for their highly evaluated literary talent. 22  Cao Pi's "Lun wen" as an important work of early Chinese literary criticism is well acknowledged. For example,  Sui-kit Wong indicates that it is important because it might be "the earliest attempt in China to put 'literature' on a pedestal," and "the earliest evidence of an awareness of literary 'genres', and genres have subsequently pre-occupied the minds of many Chinese critics." For its strong influence on the later Chinese literary criticism, Stephen Owen remarks that the "rudimentary formulations of many of the perennial interests of later critics" can be found in this essay. See Sui-kit Wong, Early Chinese Literary Criticism (Hong Kong: Joint Publishing Co., 1983), 22. See also Stephen Owen ed. and trans., An Anthology of Chinese Literature: Beginnings to 1911 (New York, London: W. W. Norton & Company, 1996), 335.  90 夫文,本同而末異。蓋奏議宜雅,書論宜理,銘誄尚實,詩賦欲麗。此四科不同,故能之 者偏也;唯通才能備其體。23 As far as literary writings are concerned, their root is the same but the branches are very unlike. Therefore elegance befits memorials and memorandums; lucidity well suits letters and treatises; in epigraphs and eulogies one values plain factualness; in poetry and rhapsodies one desires ornate embellishment. These genres are very different from one another, which is why a good writer is usually adept at just one of them. Only a comprehensive talent can master them all.24  Cao Pi here reveals the difficulty of mastering the writing skill in multiple genres for an individual writer, and declares that poetry and rhapsody writing should be ornately embellished. His viewpoint was carried on and developed by Lu Ji 陸機 (261-303). In his eminent "Wen fu" 文 賦 ("Fu on Literature"), Lu writes: 詩緣情而綺靡,賦體物而瀏亮。碑披文以相質,誄纏緜而悽愴。銘博約而溫潤,箴頓挫而 清壯。頌優遊以彬蔚,論精微而朗暢。奏平徹以閑雅,說煒曄而譎誑。雖區分之在茲,亦 禁邪而制放。要辭達而理舉,故無取乎冗長。 Lyric poetry springs from feelings and is exquisitely ornate; The rhapsody gives form to an object, and is limpid and clear. The epitaph displays outer form to support substance; The dirge wrenches the heart and is mournful and sad. The inscription is broad yet concise, gentle and smooth; The admonition restrains, and is crisp and bold. The eulogy is dignified and relaxed, lush and luxuriant; The treatises subtle and exact, pellucid and coherent. The memorial is calm and clear, refined and elegant; The discourse dazzles and glitters, but is deceptive and deceitful. Although there are distinctions among these forms,  23  Xiao Tong 蕭統 ed., Wen xuan 文選, "Dian lun, Lun wen" 典論論文, juan 52 (Shanghai: Shanghai guji shudian, 1986),  2271. 24  Cao Pi, "A Discourse on Literature," trans. Xiaofei Tian, in Hawai‘i Reader in Traditional Chinese Culture, Victor  H. Mair eds. (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i, 2005), 232. Sui-kit Wong also translated the same essay into English in his Early Chinese Literary Criticism, 19-25.  91 They all repress the wayward, control wild abandon. Words must convey meaning, and principle must be properly set forth; Thus, there is no need for prolix verbiage.25  In Lu's "Fu on Literature", the classification of literary genre becomes more diverse than that in Cao Pi's "A Discourse on Literature". Yet, in regard to poetry writing, the preference remains the same — it should be "ornate". The interpretations of the term "qimi" 綺靡 in Lu Ji's "Fu on Literature" are diverse.26 Some researchers attempt to take "mi" 靡 as an indication of sound (or rhyme) deriving from the adjective word "mimi" 靡靡 (decadent [music]).27 Li Zehou 李澤厚 disagrees with this theory. Because "qi" 綺 originally means "fine silk" 細綾 and "mi" 靡 is an antonym of "thrifty" 节俭, he maintains that  "qimi" indicates that "the literary grace [of the poetic writing] is flowery and flourishing “ ( 綺靡”,  25  Xiao Tong, Wen xuan or Selections of Refined Literature, v. 3, translated, with annotations by David R. Knechtges  (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1996), 219-221. See also Wen xuan, "Wen fu" 文賦, juan 17, 773. Complete English translations of Lu Ji's "Wen fu" are available in some other books. For example, Achilles Fang, "Rhymeprose on Literature: The Wen-fu of Lu Chi (A.D. 261-303)," in Studies in Chinese Literature, Harvard-Yenching Institute Studies XXI, ed. John L. Bishop (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1965), 530-566; Sui-kit Wong ed. and trans., Early Chinese Literary Criticism, 39-60; Stephen Owen ed. and trans., An Anthology of Chinese Literature: beginnings to 1911, 336-342. 26  Zhao Jing 趙靜 and Gan Hongwei 甘宏偉 summarizes some major theories in their "Dui 20 shiji yilai 'shi yuanqing er  qimi' shuo yanjiu de huigu yu sikao" 對 20 世紀以來“詩緣情而綺靡”說研究的回顧與思考, Xuchang Xueyuan xuebao 許昌學 院學報 27  27, no. 4 (2008): 124-127.  See introductions in Zhao Jing 趙靜 and Gan Hongwei 甘宏偉, "Dui 20 shiji yilai 'shi yuanqing er qimi' shuo yanjiu  de huigu yu sikao," 125.  92  即文采美麗繁盛。).  28  Yet, the two characters, "qi" 綺 and "mi" 靡, had been used as a compound  word when Chen Shou 陳壽 (233-297) wrote the Sanguo zhi at the latest. According to the Sanguo zhi, in a memorial Hua He 華覈 (n.d.) submitted to Sun Hao 孫皓 (r. 242-284), Hua voiced his concern about current social problems, saying that "all sorts of artisans produce useless goods; women wear fine29 accoutrements." 百工作無用之器,婦人為綺靡之飾。30 In addition, Li Shan 李 善 (ca. 630- 689) annotates "qimi" 綺靡 in Lu Ji's "Fu on Literature", saying that it means "elaborate  and ingenious" (精妙).31 In English translations for this term, Achilles Fang renders this line as "Shih (lyric poetry) traces emotions daintily";32 and Stephen Owen translates it as "Poems follow  28  Li Zehou 李澤厚 and Liu Gangji 劉綱紀, Zhongguo meixue shi: Wei Jin Nan-bei Chao bian 中國美學史魏晉南北朝編  (Hefei: Anhui wenyi chubanshe, 1999), 260. 29  Italics mine as in all the following unless otherwise noted.  30  Sanguo zhi 三國志, "Wu shu ershi, Hua He" 吳書二十華覈, juan 65, 1468. Chu Hsiao-Hai (Sherman Chu) 朱曉海  maintains that "qimi" 綺靡 is an assonance word that the two characters share the same vowel sound and so the meaning of this word should not be taken as the combination of the original meanings of the two characters. Namely, the meaning of "qimi" has nothing to do with the original meaning of the two characters. However, in order to attest that the term "qimi" 綺靡 in Hua He's memorial does not contain the same meaning as that in Lu Ji's "Fu on Literature", he interprets the two characters separately, saying that "qi" indicates "silken garments with embroidery " (“綾綺之服”上 有“文(紋)繡”), and "mi" indicates "being extravagant and wasteful" (奢恣 or 侈靡). Chu asserts that "qimi" in Lu Ji's "Fu  on Literature" means to write poetry in an indirect, unrestrained and pleased manner (婉轉附意、跌宕愜心). See Chu's discussion in his "'Qicuo' 'qimi' jie" “綺錯”“綺靡”解, Tsing hua journal of Chinese studies 清華學報 25, no. 1 (March 1995): 37, 46 and 47. 31 32  Wen xuan, "Wen fu" 文賦, juan 17, 766. Achilles Fang, "Rhymeprose on Literature," in Studies in Chinese Literature, 536.  93  from feeling, they are sensuous, fine."33 Including David Knechtges' translation cited above, these translations render the meaning indicated in Hua He's memorial and Li Shan's commentary. Lu Ji's "Fu on Literature", as Knechtges explicates, contains "a broad and comprehensive treatment of the process of literary creation" and its statements on the rhapsody and poetry "have been especially influential."34 In a good piece of writing, Lu Ji remarks: "Things are in various postures. Styles are frequently changing. Cleverness is advocated with regard to idea-seeking. Beauty is valued in expressions. The alternation of sounds is like the five colours illuminating each other."35 Lu Ji not only endorses beautiful expression, he sheds light on metrical beauty in writing. It is obvious that he has recognized the phonetic characteristics of the Chinese language, and he suggested that writers make the best use of rhyme. Although he has not reached the point of using tonal patterns the way writers of later dynasties did, there is no question about his pioneering efforts in this area. Lu's theory indicates that Chinese poetry was heading in a more sophisticated and more aesthetic direction — a direction leading to bettes-lettres. Ornate expressions had been proficiently utilized in grand rhapsody writings from the Han Dynasty, and what was emphasized in Cao Pi and Lu Ji's treatises only inspired Xiao Gang and his  33  Stephen Owen, An Anthology of Chinese Literature: Beginning to 1911, 338.  34  Xiao Tong, Wen xuan or Selections of Refined Literature, v. 3, trans., with annot. David R. Knechtges, 211.  35  其為物也多姿,其為體也屢遷。其會意也尚巧,其遣言也貴妍。暨音聲之迭代,若五色之相宣。Wen  17, 766.  xuan, "Wen fu" 文賦, juan  94  fellow poets to write in an innovative way with poems and short rhapsodies. Likewise, sensual poems do not originate from Palace Style poetry either. Shi Guanhai, having carefully examined the poems and rhapsodies about women from the period of The Book of Odes to Xiao Gang's time, portrays the continuity in how this topic, sometimes treated sensually, appears in poetry and rhapsody writings.36 Writing sensual poems did not start from Palace Style poetry, and sometimes the judgment of whether a poem is sensual or not depends on interpretation. Yet, this does not change the fact that during the Qi, Liang and Chen period, the expression "meiren" 美人 (fair woman), or its synonyms, was very frequently used in poems, as Shi observes. In comparison with those written in the previous ages, Shi remarks that in this period this kind of expressions is no longer euphemistic or ambiguous. He believes that the phenomenon reflects the contemporary social and cultural environment and the evolution of literary ideas, as well as the interaction between folk and learned literature.37 In addition to the unstable political situation and the family background of the ruling class, scholars often list the influential factors affecting literature of the Southern Dynasties, especially that of the Qi and Liang periods, as follows: the decline of Confucianism and the thriving of  36  Shi Guanhai 石觀海, Gongti shi pai yanjiu 宮體詩派研究 (Wuchang: Wuhan Daxue chubanshe, 2003), 7-52.  37  Ibid., 48-52.  95  Buddhism and Daoism, the decadent social climate, the increasing urbanization, the literary independence from orthodox Confucianism, the influence of folk literature, and the advocacy and patronage of the monarchs. Among these factors, Hu Dehuai remarks that the advocacy and patronage of the monarchs of the Qi and Liang are most remarkable because the monarchs actively participated in literary activities themselves.38 The "Four Xiaos" 四蕭 of the Liang, namely, Emperor Wu and his three sons, Xiao Tong, Xiao Gang and Xiao Yi, often become the topic of discussions regarding the literary landscape of the Liang. Emperor Wu, as a founding emperor of the Liang, was versed in both military affairs and literary learning. Although he showed no interest in the newly invented tonal prosody, which was initiated by his contemporaries Zhou Yong 周颙 (d. 485) 39 and Shen Yue, his talent and profound learning in literature and religion were highly regarded and well acknowledged. As a learned scholar, the literary and cultural undertakings he promoted were unprecedented and for that matter even rare in the entire history of China. As Yao Silian puts it, to "promote literature and learning" (興文學) was one of Emperor Wu's governance policies.40 His courteous reception to men of letters resulted in the rise of elites originating from the low-rank gentry class as well as the flourishing of  38  Hu Dehuai 胡德懷, Qi Liang wentan yu si Xiao yanjiu 齊梁文壇與四蕭研究 (Nanjing: Nanjing Daxue chubanshe, 1997),  6. 39  Zhou Yong was Xu Chi's father-in-law.  40  LS, "Benji disan" 本紀第三, juan 3, 97.  96  literary families.41 His literary activities encouraged voluminous compilations of literary encyclopedias, Buddhist canons and works in numerous fields such as history, genealogy and so forth in the Liang Dynasty.42 It was during Emperor Wu's reign that Zhong Rong 鐘嶸 (ca. 468-518) and Liu Xie 劉勰 (ca. 465-532) produced their two important literary treatises. During the early sixties of the 20th century, Chinese scholars began discussing the idea that three rival literary schools emerged in the critical writings of the Liang period.43 One of these three was the "archaic school" represented by Pei Ziye, whose theoretical treatise is believed to be his "Diaochong lun" 雕蟲論 ("On Carving Insects").44 In this treatise, Pei makes a strong criticism of the new literary trend that had emerged in the later years of the [Liu] Song Dynasty, the Daming 大 明 Era (457-464). According to Pei, younger generations since then had sought a flowery style in  poetry to express their feelings and had abandoned classical learning. As Ping Wang argues, Pei "emphasizes the importance of classical learning and the instructive purpose of writing" and  41  For detailed discussion about the literary families in the Liang, see Xiaofei Tian, Beacon Fire and Shooting Star,  117-125. 42  See Li Liping 李麗萍, "Lun Liang Wu Di de xueshu wenhua chengjiu" 論梁武帝的學術文化成就, master thesis,  Huazhong Keji Daxue, 2006. Accessed in June 2012. http://d.g.wanfangdata.com.cn/Thesis_D046966.aspx. See also Xiaofei Tian's "The Rule of Emperor Wu" and "Mapping the Cultural World (I)" in her Beacon Fire and Shooting Stars, 52-125. 43  See note 43 in Xiaofei Tian's Beacon Fire and Shooting Star, 125.  44  For English translation of Pei's "Diaochong lun", see Ping Wang, "Culture and Literature in an Early Medieval  Chinese Court," 62-64. Wang listed other versions of English translation in the same dissertation.  97  believes that expressing one's feelings "is not part of the proper writing."45 Emperor Wu of Liang is believed to have been the supporter of this school, and its members were seniors who played an active role in the early time of the Liang. The opposite school was the "avant-garde school" led by Xiao Gang and Xiao Yi. In contrast to Pei Ziye's conservative view of literature, members of this school pursued a "xinbian" 新變 ("new and unique", or "innovative")46 poetic style, attaching importance to expressing one's feelings with ornate diction, and enthusiastically practising the newly invented tonal prosody. The Yutai xinyong, a poetry anthology mainly focusing on amorous themes, is regarded as the representative anthology of this school. Xiao Yi says in his Jinlou zi: "As for literary writings, they only need to spread out gorgeous expressions, bring out the melodious music of words, capture the beauty of rhythm, and surge with feelings like those of waves." 47 至如文者, 維須綺縠紛披,宮徵靡 曼,脣吻遒會,情靈搖蕩。Zhong Rong's Shi pin 詩品 (Gradations of Poets) was taken as the  theoretical guideline, for it claims: "Without recourse to poetry, how could they [the fickle chances and circumstances] be fully laid bare? Without the song, is there any way in which the emotions  45  Ibid., 67.  46  The meaning of this term will be discussed in detail later.  47  Xiao Yi, Jinlou zi jiaojian 金樓子校箋, "Li yan" 立言, annot. Xu Yimin 徐逸民, 955. See also the translation by  Zong-Qi Cai in Hawai‘i Reader in Traditional Chinese Culture, 286.  98  aroused could be allowed to range freely?" 48 非陳詩何以展其義,非長歌何以釋其情。In addition, Xiao Gang, in his "Yu Xiangdong Wang shu" ("Letter to Prince of Xiangdong"), which I will discuss later in detail, also expresses the same criteria for poetry writing. Finally, the third school taking the middle position was called the "compromise school" and is represented by Xiao Tong. The theoretical treatise behind this school is said to be Liu Xie's Wenxin diaolong 文心雕龍 (The Literary Mind Carves Dragons).49 The Wenxin diaolong is the most important systematic literary treatise in the history of Chinese literary criticism. It discusses numerous aspects of literature in detail, including its origin, its styles, its creative processes and its criticism.50 This school believes that literature undergoes changes as Xiao Tong indicates in a letter to Xiao Yi:  48  Translated by Sui-kit Wong, "Preface to the Poets Systematically Graded," in Early Chinese Literary Criticism,  93-94. Shi pin 詩品 (Gradations of Poets) is a monograph on poetry criticism written by Xiao Gang's contemporary Zhong Rong. See LS, "Zhong Rong" 鍾嶸, juan 49, 696. See also Morino Shigeo  森野繁夫,  "Ryō sho no bungaku  syūdan" 梁初の文学集団, Chūgoku bungaku hō 中国文学報 21 (1966): 100. 49  Many scholars agree on the "three schools" division. See examples, Hu Dalei 胡大雷, Zhonggu wenxue jituan 中古文  學集團,  15; Hu Dehuai 胡德懷, Qi Liang wentan yu si Xiao yanjiu 齊梁文壇與四蕭研究, 17; Morino Shigeo 森野繁夫, "Ryō  sho no bungaku syūdan" 梁初の文学集団, 97. 50  A complete English translation is available in Stephen Owen's Readings in Chinese Literary Thought (Cambridge,  Massachusetts and London: Council on East Asian Studies, Harvard University: Distributed by Harvard University Press, 1992), 183-298. Regarding the similarity of Liu Xie's opinions to those of Xiao Tong, see Knechtges's discussions in his Wen xuan or Selections of Refined Literature, v. 1 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982), 14-15.  99 若夫椎輪為大輅之始,大輅寧有椎輪之質;增冰為積水所成,積水曾微增冰之凜。何哉﹖ 蓋踵其事而增華,變其本而加厲;物既有之,文亦宜然。隨時變改,難可詳悉。51 Although spokeless wheels herald the making of a grand imperial carriage, does a grand imperial carriage still have the nature of spokeless wheels? Although layers of ice are formed of accumulated water, accumulated water lacks the coldness of ice. Why? This is because, as they develop and become elaborate, things outgrow their original nature and change radically. If physical things change this way, so do writings (wen). As writings change with time, it is hard to discuss them in great detail.52  Xiao Tong also believes that the ideal literary writings should be in good balance between ornamentation and classic appropriateness. Xiao Tong expresses this idea in his preface to the Wen xuan: 夫文典則累野。麗亦傷浮。能麗而不浮。典而不野。文質彬彬。有君子之致。吾嘗欲為之。 53  但恨未逮耳。  When literary writings possess a classic appropriateness, they might be burdened by being plain; when they are decorous and ornate, they could suffer from superficiality. If one's literary style may achieve ornamentation without being superficial and appropriateness without being plain, then content and form will be in a perfect balance, which is the very style of a gentleman. This is what I would like to accomplish in my own writings, but I regret to say that I am not quite there yet.54  In comparison to the flowery Yutai xinyong, the Wen xuan is considered the anthology representing this school because of its orthodox selections. In academic circles, a tension between these two anthologies is found, believed to speak for the decadent literature and the orthodox voice  51  Wen xuan, "Wen xuan xu" 文選序, 1.  52  Translated by Zong-Qi Cai, "Xiao Tong (501-531), Preface to Selections of Refined Writing," in Hawai‘i Reader in  Traditional Chinese Culture, 283. Translations of the same preface are available in Siu-Kit Wong's Early Chinese Literary Criticism, 149-163; David R. Knechtges trans., Wen xuan or Selections of Refined Literature, v. 1, 73-91. 53  YKJ, "Da Xiangdong Wang qiu wenji ji Shiyuan yinghua shu" 答湘東王求文集及詩苑英華書, 3064.  54  Translated by Xiaofei Tian, Beacon Fire and Shooting Star, 134.  100  respectively. Some scholars even presume political rivalry between the two brothers because of this significant difference. However, after analyzing the similarities and differences between the "Four Xiaos'" literary thought, Lin Dazhi remarks that current discussion of the "three schools" focuses excessively on their differences, while neglecting the fact that the father and sons share many common interests and opinions about literature. For example, they all believe that literature undergoes changes, emphasize the ornate nature of literature, and agree that poetry can be used to express one's feelings.55 Although Hu Dehuai claims that the concept of the "three schools" fulfills the basic requirement for their qualification to be considered "schools", he admits that: the members of each school sometimes overlap; members of the same school sometimes belonged to different eras; and the boundaries between the schools are not as clear as later "schools".56 The model of the three literary schools was proposed in the early sixties of the twentieth century as mentioned before. There is no historical evidence indicating that the Liang literati consciously established those schools or chose to join them. After discussing many complexities related to the division of the  55  Lin Dazhi 林大志, Si Xiao yanjiu, 113-118.  56  Hu Dehuai 胡德懷, Qi Liang wentan yu si Xiao yanjiu 齊梁文壇與四蕭研究 (Nanjing: Nanjing Daxue chubanshe, 1997),  17.  101  schools and the common thoughts shared between the four Xiaos, Xiaofei Tian rightly points out the defect of this model. She argues: The ultimate weakness of Zhou Xunchu's "three camps" theory is the fact that it is predicted on the contemporaneity57 of the three "camps." Without the condition of simultaneity and a direct conflict of interests, there would be no "three camps." Rather, there would be only a change in tastes and fashions, which was in fact what happened in the Liang.58  Tian is the first to give a clear definition to the term "school" or "camp" in this particular case. The starting point of the distinction of "three schools (or camps)" may be as Tian maintains, "an anachronistic misunderstanding of the age — perhaps a result of observing the intertwined literary and political partisanship commonly seen in late imperial China."59 However, this theory was promoted for decades and even became settled conviction in academic circles worldwide for a reason. It is well acknowledged that a large number of men of letters emerged during the period of the Liang and that they lived in a complex literary world. When facing this large and talented group, the theory of the "three schools/camps" is one way of sorting out the complicated connections between those persons and the theories they favored. Nonetheless, the clear-cut model has its limits when it comes to dealing with a far more complex reality. In fact, as many scholars have pointed out, many "members" did not confine themselves to one literary group. The change of  57  The italics here is by the author.  58  Xiaofei Tian, Beacon Fire and Shooting Star, 143.  59  Ibid., 6.  102  group membership sometimes was simply caused by official transfers. Overlapping the "three schools" mentioned above, we see some scholars introduce terms such as "public group" - "private group", or "central group" - "regional group",60 and so forth.61 Liu Xiaochuo 劉孝綽 (481-539) was a member of Xiao Tong's court who contributed to the compilation of Wen xuan. In Ping Wang's words, he was "Xiao Tong's Laureate Poet". Hu Dalei uses Liu Xiaochuo's transfer from Xiao Tong's group to Xiao Gang's as an instance, concluding that Liu wrote in accordance to Xiao Gang's style after the transfer took place because literary groups influence individual literatus's writing. Yet, if we look at this incident from Xiaofei Tian's point of view, there is no need to force the conclusion to fit Hu's ideas. In other words, Liu Xiaochou wrote what he usually wrote no matter whom he worked for. Abandoning the model of the "three schools" does not change the fact that literati of the Liang did form literary clubs or salons headed by members of the royal family both in the capital and regions. The group of "Gaozhai xueshi" ("Scholars of the Lofty Studio") in Xiao Gang's princedom when he was still titled Prince of Jin'an was one of them. The root of Xiao Gang's "Palace Style" poetry can be sought back in the Yongming 永明 Era (483-493) of the previous  60  Morino Shigeo 森野繁夫, "Ryō sho no bungaku syūdan" 梁初の文学集団, 83.  61  Hu Dalei characterizes Xiao Tong and Xiao Gang's schools as "official" (蕭統、蕭綱主持的是以官屬形式組織起來的文學  集團)  and that of Pei Ziye's as "of interest" (而裴子野文學集團,是由於一些文人具有相同的文學主張與文學趣味,相互賞好,經  常聚在一起開展一些文學活動而組織起來的。).  See Hu's Zhonggu wenxue jituan, 141.  103  dynasty, the Qi. The poetic style named after this era, the Yongming Style, is characterized by its ornate, simple but smooth diction, as well as by the tonal prosody newly proposed by Zhou Yong, Shen Yue and their fellow poets: 齊永明中,文士王融、謝朓、沈約文章始用四聲,以為新變。至是轉拘聲韻,彌尚麗靡, 復踰於往時。62 Back in the mid-Yongming Era of the Qi Dynasty, the scholars Wang Rong (467-493), Xie Tiao (464-499) and Shen Yue began to use the four tones to compose literary writings.63 They regarded this as "xinbian". By the time when Taizong (Xiao Gang) became Crown Prince, he and his fellow scholars started to adhere to sound and rhyme. They valued magnificence and richness [in verse writing] more than in the past.  Although the name "Palace Style" was given after Xiao Gang became Crown Prince, the practice of this kind of poetry had begun long before that. Xiao's long-time tutor, Xu Chi, was famous for writing "xinbian and not being restrained by old styles," 屬文好為新變,不拘舊體。64 and his influence on Xiao Gang was revealed by Xiao himself, who said that he had become fascinated by poetic writing at a tender age. Although the term "xinbian" 新變 in the citations above is a keyword for understanding the nature of the Palace Style, its meaning has not been closely inspected.  62  LS, "Wenxue shang" 文學上, juan 49, 690. See also NS, "Yu Jianwu" 庾肩吾, juan 50, 1247.  63  For recent scholarship concerning the tonal prosody of Yongming Style in English, see Meow Hui Goh's Sound and  Sight: Poetry and Courtier Culture in the Yongming Era (483-493) (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press), 2010; "Tonal Prosody in Three Poems by Wang Rong," The Journal of the American Oriental Society 124 (2004.1): 59-69; and "Wang Rong's (467-493) Poetics in the Light of the Invention of Tonal Prosody" (Ph.D. diss., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2004). 64  LS, "Xu Chi" 徐摛, juan 30, 446-447. See also NS, "Xu Chi" 徐摛, juan 62, 1521.  104  As a compound word, "xinbian" first appeared in Xiao Zixian's Nan Qi shu: "In the case of writing, the most troublesome aspects are mediocrity and oldness. If there is no xinbian, it is impossible to surpass the masters." 在乎文章,彌患凡舊。若無新變,不能代雄。65 In addition to the two citations about the Yongming Style and Xu Chi's writing, these three entries containing the term "xinbian" are all from or around the Liang period, and this term does not seem to be commonly used thereafter. The two characters, "xin" 新 and "bian" 變, are usually used independently. "Xin" normally is used as an adjective meaning "new"; and "bian" is used as a verb indicating the meaning "to change". Following this logic, it is not surprising to see Xiaofei Tian translate "xinbian" as "novel transformation" or "new transformation",66 because based on the contexts, the term "xinbian" functions as a noun in those paragraphs. However, this compound word is more likely constructed by taking the two words as sharing the same lexical nature, namely, "bian" should also be used as an adjective in the same manner as "xin". In fact, the term "xinbian" appears in one more entry in Nan Qi shu: "[Lu] Jue (472-499) had lofty demeanor and quality since he was young. He was fond of literary writing, and his pentasyllabic style poems are quite xinbian." 厥少有風槩,好屬文,五 言詩體甚新變。The editor of the Nan Qi shu (Zhonghua shuju edition) notes that instead of  65  NQS, "Wenxue" 文學, juan 52, 908.  66  Xiaofei Tian, Beacon Fire and Shooting Star, 153 and 175.  105  "xinbian", the term "xinqi" 新奇 is used in other editions.67 As an adjective, "xinqi" 新奇 means "novel"; and "qi" 奇 by itself means "distinctive" or "outstanding",68 functioning as an adjective just like "xin" 新. It was the similar lexical and semantic nature that enables the replacement of these two words, "xinbian" and "xinqi", in different editions, and the structure of the two should be considered the same. It is not rare to see "bian" used as an adjective component in some words before and during the Southern Dynasties. "Xinsheng bianqu" 新聲變曲 ("new sounds and variant tunes") can be found in Lady Li's biography in Han shu about her brother Li Yannian69 and in Pan Yue's 潘岳 (247-300) "Sheng fu" 笙賦 ("Fu on the Mouth Organ"),70 as well as in Dai Yong's 戴顒 (377-441) biography in Song shu and Nan shi.71 In addition, "xinshi biansheng" 新詩變聲 ("new poems and variant sounds") can be found in Wei Dan's 韋誕 (179-253) "Jingfu Dian fu" 景福殿賦 ("Fu on the  67  五言詩體甚新變 “新變”各本作“新奇”。See  68  I am indebted to Daniel Bryant for this suggestion.  69  每為新聲變曲,聞者莫不感動。(Whenever  NQS, "Lu Jue" 陸厥, juan 52, 897.  [Li] composed new sounds and variant tunes, no audiences would not be  touched.) See HS, "Xiaowu Li Furen" 孝武李夫人, juan 97 shang, 3951. 70  新聲變曲,奇韻橫逸。(New  sounds, variant tunes, / Wonderful melodies, exuberant and care-free.) See Wen xuan,  juan 18, 861. Translated by David R. Knechtges, Wen xuan or Selections of Refined Literature, v. 3, 311. 71  為義季鼓琴,並新聲變曲,其三調遊絃、廣陵、止息之流,皆與世異。([Dai Yong] strummed zither for [Liu] Yiji (415-447).  [The music he played was] all new sounds and variant melodies. The archaic music like "Youxian", "Guangling" and "Zhixi" that he played with his three tunes [of qingshang mode] were all different from those played by worldly musicians.) See Shen Yue 沈約, Song shu 宋書, "Dai Yong" 戴顒, juan 74 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1974), 2277. See also NS, "Dai Yong" 戴顒, juan 75, 1867.  106  Jingfu Hall"),72 and "biange" 變歌 (variant songs) is used in some titles of Han yuefu.73 The character "bian" 變 in these terms contains the meaning of "deviating from the standard."74 As a compound word, "xinbian" is very likely an abbreviation of "Xinsheng bianqu" and "xinshi biansheng", a newly created word in the Qi and Liang period. By omitting the nouns, which respectively refer to songs, tunes, music and poems, the adjectives, "xin" and "bian", were combined and form the term "xinbian". This new compound word emphasizes the common nature of all these artistic creations and was used as a noun substituting both the original "xinsheng bianqu" and "xinshi biansheng". Thus, the term "xinbian" as it appeared in the three entries cited at the beginning of this discussion should be interpreted as follows: Shen Yu and his fellow poets used the four-tones to "compose new and unique poems" (以為新變); Xu Chi was fond of a "new and unique style when he wrote" (屬文好為新變); and Xiao Zhixian maintains that "if there is nothing new and unique" (若無新變), it is impossible to surpass the masters.  72  新詩變聲,曲調殊別。(New  poems and variant sounds, the tunes and melodies are extraordinarily distinctive.) See  YWLJ, juan 62, 1124. 73  LQL, juan 10.  74  An explanation in this sense about the term "biansheng" 變聲 (variant sounds) can be found in "Biansheng pian" 變  聲篇  cited in the Song shi 宋史. A phrase, "延年善歌,為新變聲。([Li] Yannian was expert in [making] songs. [He]  composed new variant tunes.)," appears in an entry about the Han Emperor Wu's favorite musician in the Han shu. The structure of the three characters "xin bian sheng" 新變聲 should be taken as "xin"+"biansheng". See Tuo Tuo 脫脫 eds., Song shi 宋史, "Yue liu" 樂六, juan 131 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1977), 3060. See also HS, "Li Yannian" 93, 3725.  李延年, juan  107  Much has been said about the Palace Style poetry from various aspects. However, its unchangeable core feature is "xinbian" — "novelty and uniqueness", or as correctly translated by Marney and Knechtges, "innovation".75 Palace Style poetry was criticized as "decadent" from the moral aspect because it expanded topics to something that had not been written about much by learned literati before and was written in a flowery way. Its flowery diction and refined syntax were elaborately polished despite the "vulgar" themes. Moreover, the mixture of long and short lines, the heptasyllabic form, the tonal regulation, the exquisite parallelism and the creative use of literary allusions, all these were dynamically developed from centuries of literary experimentation by Palace Style poets. The persistent critique of Palace Style poetry as "decadent", which Xiaofei Tian properly refutes, is far from the truth.76 "Xinbian" was not only the most remarkable feature of Xiao Gang and his fellow poets' poetry writing, it was also their ultimate literary pursuit.  2.2 Ideas Linking Xiao Gang and the Yutai xinyong The extant works of historical figures usually play an important role in creating their images for later generations. In his discussion of Xiao Gang's contribution to Chinese Buddhism, Marney writes, "Hsiao Kang (Xiao Gang) wrote many hundreds of folios on Buddhist themes, a quantity far  75  John Marney, Liang Chien-wen Ti, 82 and 98. See also Knechtges, Wen xuan or Selections of Refined Literature,  v.1, 11. 76  Xiaofei Tian, Beacon Fire and Shooting Star, 7.  108  exceeding his poetry, official writings, and Taoist exegeses. …but his major dissertations, including the monumental Fa-pao lien-pi (Fabao lianbi), are lost. It is ironic that had any of these survived, Hsiao Kang might be remembered above all as a great Buddhist writer."77 The Fabao lianbi was an immense project organized by Xiao Gang when he was still the Prince of Jin'an. More than 30 literati were involved, and the project was completed three years after he became Crown Prince in the sixth year of the Zhong-Datong Era (534).78 In addition to being the chief coordinator of this large series, Xiao Gang's profound understanding of Buddhism and his devotion to it are documented in both historical records and his surviving works. Yet, when speaking of Xiao Gang, his ornate writing style, especially his Palace Style poetry, has been taken as the main thing. What Marney calls attention to is how little a historical figure's lost works affect the evaluation given by later readers. Failing to be remembered as "a great Buddhist writer", Xiao Gang has been remembered as a poet who wrote "decadent" poetry,79 and the surviving Yutai xinyong 玉臺新詠 (New Songs from a Jade Terrace) is believed to be an anthology that provides good examples of his Palace Style poetry.  77  Marney, Liang Chien-wen Ti, 123.  78  NS, "Lu Gao" 陸杲, juan 48, 1205.  79  Fusheng Wu, The Poetics of Decadence: Chinese Poetry of the Southern Dynasties and Late Tang Periods (Albany,  NY: State University of New York Press, 1998), 1.  109  In the Xian Qin Han Wei Jin Nan-bei Chao shi, Xiao Gang's poetry is divided into two categories: yuefu 樂府 (Music Bureau) and shi 詩 (poem). Leaving out those with disputed authorship,80 Xiao Gang's extant poetry amounts to approximately 261 works.81 The Yutai xinyong is not only the earliest primary source for Xiao Gang's surviving poetry, among the 6 early sources anterior to the end of the Tang Dynasty, it is also the second main source, surpassed only by the Yiwen leiju 藝文類聚 (Collection of Literature Arranged by Categories). Of his 261 extant poems, 6882 are contained in the Yutai xinyong, and this portion comprises about 26% of his entire extant verse. Among the ancient poetry anthologies, the Yutai xinyong is the third oldest following the Shi jing (The Book of Odes) and Chu ci 楚辭 (The Songs of the South). However, it was not mentioned in "standard histories" ("zhengshi" 正史) until the Sui shu, whic