In this biography of Tsar Teh-yun, centenarian poet, calligrapher,
and qin master, Professor Bell Yung tells the story of a life
steeped in the refined arts faithful to the traditional way of the
Chinese literati. Set in the two cities of Shanghai and Hong Kong,
this book recounts the experiences of an individual who lived
through war, displacement, exile, and unrequited longing for home
and for a style of living lost forever. Yet Madame Tsar sustained,
as one of its last exemplars, much of that style of living despite
being a woman in the largely male world of the refined arts.
The author weaves a picture of an extraordinary but also tragic
figure: extraordinary as daughter, wife, mother, and a celebrated
musician, poet, and calligrapher; tragic as a member of the
literati exiled from Shanghai to Hong Kong and always longing for
the lost world of the refined arts. She was known particularly for
her accomplishments as a teacher and performer on the qin - instrument par excellence of the
literati. The book delves into her teaching method and musical
style to a degree rarely found in the literature of this kind, and
is thus an important contribution to musicological study.
Through this life of one member of China's last generation of
literati, Professor Yung provides rich material for anyone
interested in the cultural and social history of twentieth-century
China, especially for those with a special interest in qin music,
or the place of women in this period.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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