c.343 - c.289 BC
Chinese Poet

Ch'u Yuan, or Qu Yuan, was the greatest poet of ancient China and the earliest known by name.

An aristocrat of Ch'u, the largest of the several Warring States, Ch'u Yuan advocated the unpopular policy of resistance to Ch'in, the most powerful of the Warring States. For that he was banished to the south of the Yang-tze river.

In despair over his banishment he wandered around, writing poetry and observing shamanistic folk rites and legends that influenced his works. His most famous work is a melancholic anthology 'Li sao' (On Encountering Sorrow) a description of his frustrating loyality to his king and unjust exile, und his search for an understanding ruler.

He eventually drowned himself in a river. The famous Dragon Boat Festival, held on the fifth months of the Chinese lunar year, originated as a search for the poet's body.

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