Wang Wei

Biography of Wang Wei (698 – 759)

Wang Wei
Wang Wei (698-759)

Wang Wei (王維) (698 – 759), sometimes titled the Poet Buddha, was a Tang Dynasty Chinese poet, musician, painter and statesman.

From a high family, he passed the civil service entrance examination in 721 and had a successful civil service career, rising to become Right Assistant Director of State Affairs in 759. During the An Lushan Rebellion he avoided actively serving the insurgents during the capital’s occupation by pretending to be deaf.

He spent ten years studying with the Chan master Daoguang. After his wife’s death in 730, he did not remarry and established a monastery on part of his estate.

He is best known for his quatrains depicting quiet scenes of water and mist, with few details and little human presence. The Indiana Companion comments that he affirms the world’s beauty, while questioning its ultimate reality. It also draws a comparison between the deceptive simplicity of his works and the Chan path to enlightenment, which is built on careful preparation but is achieved without conscious effort.

None of his original paintings survive, but copies of works attributed to him are also landscapes with similar qualities. He influenced what became known as the Southern school of Chinese landscape art, which was characterised by strong brushstrokes contrasted with light ink washes.

Biography By: This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License and uses material adapted in whole or in part from the Wikipedia article on Wang Wei.

Poems By Wang Wei


A Farmhouse on the Wei River (No Comments »)
A Green Stream. (No Comments »)
A Message from my Lodge at Wangchuan to Pei Di (No Comments »)
A Message to Commissioner Li At Zizhou (No Comments »)
A Song at Weicheng. (No Comments »)
A Song of a Girl from Loyang (No Comments »)
A Song of an Autumn Night. (No Comments »)
A Song of Peach-Blossom River (No Comments »)
A Study (No Comments »)
A View of the Han River (No Comments »)
An Early Audience at the Palace of Light. (Harmonizing a poem for Secretary Jia Zhi.) (No Comments »)
An Evening in the Mountains (No Comments »)
Answering Vice-Prefect Zhang (No Comments »)
At the Lake Pavilion (No Comments »)
Bamboo Adobe (No Comments »)
Birds Calling in the Ravine (No Comments »)
Bound Home to Mount Song (No Comments »)
Deer Enclosure (No Comments »)
Duckweed Pond (No Comments »)
Farewell (No Comments »)
Farewell (II) (No Comments »)
Farewell to Hsin Chien at Hibiscus Pavilion (No Comments »)
Fields and Gardens by the River Qi (No Comments »)
Fine Apricot Lodge (No Comments »)
Harmonizing a Poem, (beside Palace Attendant Guo.) (No Comments »)
Huazi Ridge (No Comments »)
Hut Among the Bamboos (No Comments »)
In My Lodge at Wang Chuan,(After a Long Rain.) (No Comments »)
In The Hills (No Comments »)
Jinzhu Ridge (No Comments »)
Lament For Meng Hao-Jan (No Comments »)
Lily Magnolia Enclosure (No Comments »)
Looking Down in a Spring-rain (No Comments »)
Mengcheng Col (No Comments »)
Mount Zhongnan (No Comments »)
My Retreat at Mount Zhongnan (No Comments »)
Peach Blossom Journey (No Comments »)
Random Poem (No Comments »)
Remembrance (No Comments »)
Replying to Subprefect Zhang (No Comments »)
Returning to Songshan Mountain (No Comments »)
Seeing Off Yuan the Second on a Mission to Anxi (No Comments »)
Sometimes I’d walk (No Comments »)
Song of an Old General (No Comments »)
South Hill (No Comments »)
Stopping at Incense Storing Temple (No Comments »)
Temple Tree Path (No Comments »)
The Beautiful Xi Shi (No Comments »)
The Cornel Grove (No Comments »)
Thinking of My Brothers in Shantung on the Ninth Day of the Ninth Month (No Comments »)
To Qiwu Qian Bound Home After Failing an Examination. (No Comments »)
Toward the Temple of Heaped Fragrance (No Comments »)
Wei City Song (No Comments »)