Pan Yue (poet)

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Pan Yue (Chinese: 潘岳; AD 247–300), courtesy name Anren (安仁), was a prominent fu poet in the Western Jin Dynasty (265–420). He is popularly referred to as Pan An (潘安) and was well known for his good looks from a young age. "Pan An" has become the Chinese byword for handsome men.[1]

Pan's family was from Zhongmou (modern Zhongmu County in Henan Province). His grandfather Pan Jin (Chinese: 潘瑾) was a governor of Anping (modern Ji County, Hebei Province) during the Eastern Han dynasty, and his father Pan Pi (Chinese: 潘芘) served as governor of Langye (near modern Linyi, Shandong Province). Pan was known as somewhat of a child prodigy in his youth and was known throughout their village in Gong County, Henan for his keen mind and talent.

In late 266, around age 19, Pan moved to the imperial capital at Luoyang and served as an assistant in the Ministry of Works. Despite Pan's ability and handsome appearance, he was unable to advance his career for the next decade. In the early 270s Pan worked as an aide to Jia Chong (Chinese: 賈充), a high-ranking official under Emperor Wu of Jin. By late 278, Jia had become completely disillusioned with official service and retired to the Pan family home in Gong county. Pan came out of retirement around 282 to serve as magistrate of Meng county (modern Mengzhou) north of the Yellow River from Luoyang. He returned to Luoyang in 287 to serve in official positions before being dismissed in 290 for an unknown offense. Around 295 Pan returned to the capital for a final time to serve under official Jia Mi (Chinese: 賈謐). Jia was assassinated in a coup in 300, and Pan was falsely accused of plotting in a related rebellion against the throne. Pan and his entire family were subsequently arrested and executed.

Book of Jin had this to write about Pan Yue's looks:[2]

(Pan) Yue was handsome in appearance and bearing... When he was young, he often strolled about outside Luoyang, holding a slingshot under the arm. Women who met him all surrounded him by hands and threw fruits in his chariot, so when he returned, his chariot was full of fruits.

His most famous works are his three poems to his dead wife.[3]

We were a pair of birds nesting in the woods./One woke in the morning to find himself alone.

References[edit]

  1. ^ R. Robert Henry Mathews (1943). Mathews' Chinese-English Dictionary. Harvard-Yenching Institute. p.140.
  2. ^ Song Geng (2004). The Fragile Scholar: Power and Masculinity in Chinese Culture. Hong Kong University Press. p.143-144.
  3. ^ The Anchor Book of Chinese Poetry, 2005. p. 74