Du Mu (803-853) was born in an honorable family in Wannian, Jingzhao (now Xi’an, Shaanxi province). He was a government official and famous poet in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). His grandfather was a prime minister in feudal China and a historian in the middle Tang Dynasty.
Du passed the imperial examination in the year 828, but was excluded during his official career due to his integrity.
Born in the late Tang Dynasty, a period of troubled times, he desired to make some achievements with his talents, and wrote Rhapsody on E-pang Palace which was a satire of that era. He was also good at commenting on military affairs, and once wrote the annotation to Sun Zi Bing Fa (The Art of War).
He was skilled at writing poems, odes, and ancient Chinese prose. Due to his great achievements in poetry, he enjoyed equal fame to Li Shangyin, also a famous poet in the late Tang Dynasty, and they were called “Xiao Li Du” by later generations.
His poems covered a broad range of subjects, and most were energetic satires. His words were refreshing and vivid, enjoying universal popularity. His prose was full of the patriotism, reflecting the social reality of the late Tang Dynasty.
In addition, he was adept at painting and calligraphy. His semi-cursive writing was vigorous, taking on the style of works of predecessors from over 1,700 years ago.
Du Mu’s works are a precious legacy of ancient Chinese literature and were collected in the Collection of Fanchuan.
A portrayal of Du Mu. [Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]