- May 2017
Let the full-blown garden flowers of the ancients in their own morning glory stand; to breathe life into late blossoms that have yet to bud will be his sole endeavor.
Lu Chi’s use of metaphors of a garden to illustrate his point of how writers are the gardeners of future writers comes from his own personal life and experience. Lu Chi came from a long line of military leaders, but he also followed in his grandfather Lu Sun’s foot steps whose first passion was to be a servant to the earth. As such Lu Chi had a deep respect for his culture, the land and knew the seasons, its soil and the people from his state well. Lu Chi grew up in the Lu family estate which was a large and prosperous property with rolling hills and had rice fields, mulberry and bamboo groves and they also grew other produce and animals. However, Lu Chi also carried on the martial tradition of the family and joined the army. But, he achieved greater fame as a man of writing then a general on the battlefield. During this era armies and farming were very important for the survival of the people, they depended on the military for protection and farming for food and sustenance. Also literacy was high and most people couldn’t read nor write, for Lu Chi to use metaphor is to make the text easy to read and relatable to the people of his time.
Now one feels blithe as a swimmer calmly borne by celestial waters, and then, as a diver into a secret world, lost in subterranean currents. Arduously sought expressions, hitherto evasive, hidden, will be like stray fishes out of the ocean bottom to emerge on the angler’s hook;
Historically Medieval China had its own dark age marked with many invasions and wars, it was a time when people struggled and searched for light in their dark world. For the Chinese people during this time, their search took various forms from religion, the arts, music and literature. Lu Chi wrote his Wen Fu as a direct expression of this search through literature. We can see that he infused religious teachings as a way to explain this text of how one can reach a state of conscious to unconscious by putting in the hard work of making the mind tranquil like water so that inspiration and creativity can finally surface (anglers hook).