On Hearing Her Play The Harp
After learning additional information about the poem’s background, I gained more information about the setting and characters illustrated in the poem. From the context of the poem, it is clear to say that there are at least two characters involved, a female playing a harp and a man named Chou Yu. Since this era is taken place during the Han and Tang Dynasties in China, the status of women was in the growing process. In the Han era, women were considered inferior to men and were not even allowed to read and write. They were governed by Confucianism, which illustrates that women should be gentle, meek and obedient to men. The tradition of a female birth is announced before the ancestors, which symbolizes the fact that the woman’s job is to continue worship in their respected homes. But during the Tang era, their status increased as they were offered the same education as men. (Nosotro)
In this poem, it also implies a female playing a harp and indicated that her hands are “of white jade” and the fret of her harp is made of gold. In my research, there is a famous Chinese harp called the Konghou. The Konghou is made out of three categories, the Wuo Konghou, Shoo Konghou and Fong Shou Konghou. Each of them are made and shaped in a different way. In the Han and Tang Dynasty, the Silk Roads were used for trade so the Shoo originally came from Europe and the Fong Shou originally came from India. And in those eras, a harp is usually performed with an orchestra for a royal court or any folk dances. (Rice) Therefore, with that information, we can indicate that the harp used in this poem is used for a special event or a royal occasion.
The man mentioned in this poem, Chou Yu, was a military strategist and general during the Han Dynasty. He was one of the elite and assisted Sun Ce, a warlord, in many battles. He was one of the strategists during the Battle of the Red Cliffs that led the Kingdom of Wu...