If you want to know about ancient Chinese poems, run through the English translation of An Anthology of Ancient Chinese Poetry and Prose which has a collection of 140 classical Chinese poems. The poems are arranged in such an order that one can easily identify the period when they were penned according to the year of the poets birth and the dynasty under which it was written. Romantic charm and grace come out clearly in traditional Chinese poems.
Ancient China Poems date back to 1000 BC
Among the earliest known ancient Chinese poem is Shih Ching, which is a collection of over 300 poems written by Chinese poets. While Shih ion Chinese means songs, Ching can be translated into traditional or classical. If you take it in the context of literary works, Ching can also mean scripture or writings as well. Ancient Chinese poetry can be traced back to as early as 1000 BC and one of the earliest known poetry was penned during 621 BC when Duke Mu from the Chin province in China died.
Much of the poetry written in early China can be traced back to 600 BC during the period of the Chou dynasty. They became part of the treasure trove of five Confucian classics. There are many traits of ancient Chinese poetry, but they all appear very simple compared to western poetry penned by geniuses. On the contrary, Chinese poetry down the ages reflects the travails of the common man in society and was all works of common human beings.
Themes of Ancient Chinese Poems
Poetry in ancient China dealt with courtship and marriage in an agrarian backdrop or reflected concerns of the dynasties that flourished during the early periods. They were also used as folk songs since revolved around love, daily life and the problems of common families. Chinese poetry was characterized by the lines of four syllables that ended in rhymes. Courtship and marriage were concentrated in just three verses comprising four lines.
The integral part of Chinese poetry was the contrasting feature which made the reader aware of certain difficult situations. There was a straightforward narrative where two contrasting situations were reflected side by side. According to Confucius, xing, known as consciousness or awareness, could be achieved in poetry by bringing together contrasts to enlighten the reader and make him or she think. Readers of ancient Chinese poetry were expected to reflect on what they read.