Fun Facts about Chinese Culture and History

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Li Bai -- Great Poet and Mysterious Swordsman

Li Bai (701 -- 762) could be considered as one of the most talented and heroic poets in the history of China, who was always the representative of free, romantic, casual and legendary.

 

His poems ranked first, while his fencing skill ranked second in the Tang Dynasty

 

Mysterious Origin of Li Bai

However, Li Bai's birth origin was still a secret and he rarely mentioned his family.

 

Some documents say that he was a descendant of a royal family from a perished kingdom, others say he was a descendant of a previous dead crown prince of the Tang Dynasty.

 

Wherever did he come from, his family was very rich. He was educated well, and spent many of his early years reading and studying in a beautiful fancy garden with amazing natural views. 

 

After he grew up, Li Bai, a handsome guy from a rich family, with extraordinary poetry and fencing skills, started his journey traveling around many places in China, where he left many amazing poems.

 

Another famous poet said that he should be a celestial being, after seeing Li Bai’s extraordinary appearance, elegant behavior and great poems. 

Experience with the Royals and Li Bai's Carefree Travels

Soon Li Bai was recommended as a court poet to the current emperor Li Longji and his favorite concubine Yang Yuhuan, and had written many famous poems for them.

 

The emperor treated him as the most honorable guest and sent many maids to serve him.

 

Sometime later Li Bai found that serving the royal family was not what he liked, so he decided to leave; the emperor felt pity but still rewarded him a great deal of money.

 

Li Bai then continued his trip traveling around and making good friends from many places in China.

 

He believed in and practiced Taoism, and tried to visit celestials during his adventures.

In some famous mountains where were believed have mysterious immortals living in, there are still many of Li Bai's poems or legends that he left to the world.

 

The first part of Li Bai’s life was quite ideal: talented and famous, rich and carefree.

 

Until the eight-year rebel war, the An-Shi Rebellion of the Tang Dynasty happened. 

 

Wandering in Wars, Prisons and Exile

Li Bai was forced to move frequently because of the war.

 

After he realized that this war was much more destructive than he had expected, he joined in several armies of the Tang Empire, voluntarily.

 

Once, his army lost in a battle, so he was imprisoned; then he was rescued and started serving the general who saved him.

When the war finished, Li Bai was imprisoned again and then got banished, because of his involvement in a prince’s rebellion.

 

Years later he was finally set free, but was old and poor. He passed away soon after he was released. 

 

Li Bai's Mysterious Departure 

Li Bai's death was controversial, and it remained unclear in the history of China.

 

Some said he died of sickness, some said he died because of over drinking, others said that he fell off his boat and drowned when he was drunk and tried to pick the moon up from the lake.

 

The most welcomed saying was that one night he went boating and then vanished from the world forever.

 

Such a famous genius with such mysterious origin and end, however, left us large numbers of his masterpieces and beautiful legends. 

Li Bai's son went traveling and left the public view after he has grew up; his two granddaughters married to very ordinary peasants.

 

Some politicians who admired Li Bai suggested his two granddaughters to leave their husbands and marry to some nobles who were big fans of Li Bai, but they refused to do so. 

 

Afterwards, his family disappeared from the public forever.

 

Now, what he left to the world are large numbers of splendid poems that describing the era and beautiful landscapes that he had lived in.