Shao Yong’s “Great Chant on Observing Weiqi” (an Archetype of Neo-Confusian Poetry)
Shao Yong (1011-77), one of the founders of Neo-Confucianism, was also a learned historian and prolific poet. His poem “Great Chant on Observing Weiqi,” totaling 360 lines and 1,800 characters, is one of the longest poems in pre-modern China. It is in fact 15 characters longer than “Peacock Flies Southeast,” which has widely been considered the longest. The significance of Shao Yong’s poem, however, goes far beyond the number of its lines and characters. It employs weiqi as a metaphor for cognition and is an exemplar of Shao’s three-step epistemological mode: one proceeds from visual perception to rational contemplation, and finally to the third stage of analytical comprehension. Structurally, this poem can be divided into three parts, or three levels of observation. It begins with a description of the emotional intensity and unpredictability involved in weiqi games. The major body of the poem is devoted to the contemplation of patterns of history as weiqi analogies. The poem concludes with the poet’s view of Principle implicit within the cosmic games, identifying the modes of change drawn from both weiqi activities and the historical events previously observed. Shao Yong’s “Great Chant on Observing Weiqi” demonstrates his ability to combine historical complexity, philosophical sophistication, and aesthetic accessibility, which in turn attests to the importance of this weiqi poem as an archetype that Shao Yong created for Neo-Confucian Poetry. (Source: Zu-yan Chen, Binghamton University – CHINA & INNER ASIA SESSION 171 / AAS Annual Meeting, 6th-9th April 2006, San Francisco)
P.S.: I am still seaching for an English translation of this poem (so fare possible). If anybody knows a source, pls post the link. Tks in advance.