Study of the Mental Image of the Mountain or Water Used in Xin Qiji’s Poems
The mental image is the basic element of the composition of poems and lyrics. Jia Xuan(稼軒) is a highly-reputed poet of the Southern Song. His poems have a very solemn and stirring style, with various subject matters. His style and artistic technique have always been the subject of study for many. This thesis centers on the mental image of the natural landscape described in his works, sums up the significance of the natural landscape and how it is expressed in Jia Xuan’s poems and analyzes the characteristics of it from different aspects including Jia Xuan’s emotions, official career, morals, etc., all in the hope of deeply understanding the content, ideas and art of the natural landscape in Jia Xuan’s Poems (稼軒詞).
This thesis is composed of seven chapters. The first chapter, the Introduction, includes the research motives, scope, methods, and the definition of “mental image.” And the remaining chapters could be categorized into the following three parts:
1. Analysis of the background of the mental image of the mountain or water description
This part looks back into the history between the “Book of Songs”(詩經 Shi Jing) and Jia Xuan’s times at how the mental image of the Mountain or Water is presented, in order to get a full picture of the development of how the mental image is used. In addition, these chapters discuss why the mental image is so frequently used by Jia Xuan, gaining a better understanding of the times of Jia Xuan, his official career, experiences, and pastoral lyrics.
2. Analysis of the“content of the mental image”
The mental image of the Mountain or Water fully reflects Jia Xuan’s emotions of life, which change as he experienced different things. This part of the analysis is carried out in three aspects including natural（the mountain or water） space and emotions, mental image of nature and his state of mind as an official, nature and morals and how they associate with each other. Living in nature, Jia Xuan writes about scenery in the countryside, the sorrow he feels when parting, consciousness of time and his roaming life. However, he is not only about sorrow; behind signs and emotions, there is always enthusiasm and passion. Jia Xuan is full of contradictions when it comes to whether to be a public official or not. The high mountains and rushing water symbolize the turmoil in the official circle, and are an analogy of an idle and quiet life. But these mountains and waters are largely restless, gloomily showing how he feels when his talent is not recognized, as well as his concerns for his nation. A metaphor of his morals, the mountain stones that few people notice are a statement of Jian Xuan’s “willingness to be myself.” It is a symbol of the Piao Quan (瓢泉) era, when he focuses on the appreciation of the spirit of a person and centers his metal image of the mountain or water on a person’s characteristics. It is also a heart-felt statement of life made after the ups and downs in his public life.
3. Analysis of the artistic characteristics of the mental image of the mountain or water
The poet incorporates his personality, spirits, and emotions into his mountains or water. The mountains and water are covered by the poet’s complicated emotions andsad, heroic and sorrowful will. In terms of the style, Jia Xuan poem’s works are mainly abstractionism, with three distinguishing features: focus on the spirit and soul, clever use of historic references, and its rising and falling of rhythm. In addition, the mental image of the mountain or water also reflects Jia Xuan’s aspiration, proving that Jia Xuan is debating between becoming an official and staying a civilian, as well as his oppressed, miserable, and yet virtuous and unyielding life.
Key words：Xin Qiji（Hsin Chi-Chi）、Xin Jia Xuan’s Poems（Hsin Chia-Hsuan’s Poems ）、Mountain or Water、Image