I Ching, Yijing or Zhou Yi
"Oracle of the moon": © 2000 LiSe

  Yi Jing, Oracle of the Moon

The mansion and the Wang Xie Museum in Nanjing

The swallows in the halls of Wang and Xie

 Verse 340 A pair of swallows.

A pair of swallows returns to the south of the country
They come to seek the home of the Wang and Xie families
The magnificent halls are silent in the spring days
This place used to support their livelihood

  This verse is one of the added verses from the LingQiJing (nr.232) where it is translated without knowledge of the story.
 The verse is based on a famous poem about this place written by Liu Yuxi (772 - 842), a noted poet as well as a philosopher in the Tang Dynasty:

"Beside the Linnet Bridge weeds and wild flowers are spreading,
At the end of Wuyi Lane the sun is setting.
Swallows used to build nests in Wang and Xie's mansion,
But now they fly to the home of the commons."



 The mansion of the Wang and Xie families.The mansion was rebuilt in 1997 and is now a museum.


The courtyards.


 View of the courtyard towards the left.
 In the center the meandering 'river' of the poets.

 The artificial stream with nine bends is modeled from the one in Orchid Pavilion, Shaoxing City, Zhejiang Province. In ancient times, it was used for poet parties (see verse 333).

  Divided into Eastern and Western Courtyards, the mansion has two main buildings, Lai Yan Hall and Jian Jin Pavilion.


 View of the courtyard towards the right.

 In a poet-party veryone sat along the stream. A cup filled up with wine was placed in the stream to drift. When it stopped, the person closest to the cup should compose a poem and toss off the cup.

 Such an arrangement in the mansion makes it more interesting to visit.

Measuring around 164 feet (50 meters) from east to west and 66 feet (20 meters) from north to south, the Former Residence of the Wang and Xie Families covers an area of about 1,200 square yards (1,000 square meters).

 Background Information about Wang Dao and Xie An

Wang and Xie refer to Wang Dao and Xie An. Wang Dao (276 - 339) is a well-known statesman as well as a calligrapher of the Eastern Jin Dynasty. Regarded as one of the founders of the Eastern Jin Dynasty, he served three emperors including Emperor Yuan, Emperor Ming and Emperor Cheng. As a calligrapher, he was very good at cursive scripts (running hand), a style of Chinese character writing. After Wang Dao passed away, there were few elites in the political circle for almost 20 years, until the appearance of Xie An.

 Xie An (320 - 385) is another famous statesman as well as a refined scholar of the Eastern Jin Dynasty. He once lived in solitude and was appointed as the prime minister until his forties.
 Xie later conducted the famous Battle of Fei River against the Former Qin Regime (351 - 394). It’s said that he just used around 80,000 soldiers to defeat the Former Qin’s Army which has soldiers ten times more than his troop.
 Meanwhile, he was good at music and running script.


 Celebrities of the Wang and Xie Families

 Apart from Wang Dao, there are some other celebrities in his family, such as Wang Xizhi, Wang Xianzhi, Wang Xun and Wang Min. Wang Xizhi and his son Wang Xianzhi are both well-known calligraphers as well as poets.
  Wang Xun and Wang Min are as good as their grandpa Wang Dao. They both are good at calligraphy. Besides, Wang Xun is an important official while Wang Min is a doctor.

 Xie Yan, Xie Daoyun, Xie Xuan and Xie Lingyun are the representatives of Xie Family. Xie Yan and Xie Xuan are two military officers of the Eastern Jin Dynasty. They both played very important roles in the Battle of Fei River.
 Xie Daoyun is a famous female poet. She is the niece of Xie An as well as the wife of Wang Ningzhi, the second son of Wang Xizhi.
 Xie Lingyun is a prominent poet in the Southern and Northern Dynasties (420 - 589).


 Pair of swallows on a bowl from the Qing dynasty (1736-1795). (British Museum)
Not related to the poem.

last update: 01.12.2020


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