Xu Jian (Tang dynasty)

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Xu Jian (Chinese: 徐堅; 659–729), also known as Xu Yuangu, was a literary figure from the Tang Dynasty, A native of Changxing, Huzhou, he was born in the fourth year of Xianqing (Ancient Chinese chronology) in the Tang Dynasty. Both Jian and his father were known for their literary attainments.

In his youth, Xu Jian's father, Xu Qidan, was exiled to Qinzhou and died when Xu Jian was 14. Xu Jian was raised by his grandmother, surnamed Jiang. When Xu Jian was young, he met Li Xian (Empress Wu Zetian's sixth son) after he was summoned for an interview. In the holy calendar, Xu Jian left behind for the judge of the east. He is the author of "the Great Hidden Biography" and "the Beginning of Learning Records".



According to "the Old Book of the Tang Dynasty", Xu Jian was born into a family of officials. His grandfather Xu Xiao De was a minister in the Sui Dynasty and Tang Dynasty. Xu Jian's father Xu Qi Dan, was the head of Qi Zhou prefecture. Xu Qi Dan knew literature, and people throughout the country knew his name at that time. In 673 AD (the fourth year of Tang Xianheng), he died at the age of 43.

Literary achievement[edit]

Xu Jian, from a young age, his hobby was reading books. In particular, he studied history and modern society.

In 699 AD (the second year of the Holy Calendar), Xu Jian wrote the same practice of "Three Religions Zhuying" with Liu Zhi Ji, Xu Yan Bo and Zhang Shuo. In 703 AD (the third year of Chang 'an), together with Liu Zhi Ji and Wu Jing, he wrote and revised "the History of the Tang Dynasty", forming 80 volumes of the book under Wu Zetian's edict.[1]

Four years later, in 707 AD (the third year of Shen 'long), Xu Jian, Wu Jing, Liu Zhi Ji and others revised the "Zhe Tian Shi Lu".


In 712 AD, Tang Xuanzong ascended the throne, changed Lizheng college into Jixian college (The national college in Tang Dynasty), with Xu Jian as the president and Shang Shuo as the vice president. Finally Xu was crowned king of the east China sea (A kind of official post in the Tang Dynasty). Thirteen year later, in 725 AD (13-year Kai Yuan), he was named doctor Guanglu due to his achievements.


初学记 (the Beginning of Learning Records)[edit]

初学记. The book was composed of 30 volumes. This book was divided into twenty-four parts, which include 赋, 诗, 颂, 讃, 箴, 铭, 论, 书, 祭文 and other different styles of poetry. In general, this is a collection of poems for learning poetry.

Xu's poetry[edit]


棹女饰银钩,新妆下翠楼。 Rowing girl, wearing silver jewelry and new and beautiful makeup, is walking out of the house.

霜丝青桂楫,兰枻紫霞舟。 The quant is as clear as frost, and the hull was made of rosy wood.

水落金陵曙,风起洞庭秋。 The dawn is shining on the river in Jinling, and the breeze brings the autumn flavor of Dongting Lake.

扣船过曲浦,飞帆越回流。 She paddled the boat through tiny waves and past flowing water.

影入桃花浪,香飘杜若洲。 The boat's shadow was reflected on the peach-blossom water, and the scent of flowers filled the whole lake.

洲长殊未返,萧散云霞晚。 After a long time she did not come back, the horizon is purple sunset.

日下大江平,烟生归岸远。 The setting sun had disappeared into the lake, and smoke from cooking was rising from the shore.

岸远闻潮波,争途游戏多。 The shore could hear the waves of the distant quant and the beautiful singing of the girl.

因声赵津女,来听采菱歌。 People on the shore were drawn to hear her ethereal singing.

Historical evaluation[edit]

It was recorded in "the Old Tang Book" that "Jian and his son learned the words; The negotiator Fang Hanshi Ban"


As an official, Xu Jian used his philosophy to manage the Royal Academy and the Royal College. He expanded the education of the Tang Dynasty during the reign of Xuanzong.

In literature, the Old Book of Tang and other works he edited are the essence of literature of the whole Tang Dynasty.



  1. ^ Xiong, Victor Cunrui (September 16, 2016). Capital Cities and Urban Form in Pre-modern China: Luoyang, 1038 BCE to 938 CE. Routledge. p. 210. ISBN 1138648140.