Zhang Xian, a household name who wrote three lyrics about shadows with a remarkable writing skill, was given the title as “the poet of three shadows”. Even though Zhang Xian wrote various works about shadows, the three lyrics “the wind unveils the clouds covering the moon and the flowers move elegantly in the moonlight (雲破月來花弄影)”, “ the melancholic lady stares at the shadows of the withered flowers reflected on the bamboo curtain, unwilling to get up (嬌柔懶起，簾押殘花影)”, and “ the shadows of willow catkins are almost invisible because the catkins are hided in tender branches (柔柳搖搖，墜輕絮無影)” are incomparably outstanding that they have won people’s absolute recognition.
This paper aims to include sufficient Zhang Xian’s works about shadows into discussion and thus analyze the shadow images in a full scope. In the second part of the paper, the definition of the word “shadow” will be examined and whether a lyric should be discussed or not will be clearly and carefully defined. Since the interpretations of shadow images vary from one dynasty to another, the discussion will include works written in Tang Dynasty, Five Dynasties, and Dunhuang. Therefore, the third part of the paper explains how Zhang Xian skillfully transformed the earlier elements into his own innovative masterpieces. Following the third chapter, the next chapter classifies the discussion of shadow images into two categories, which are explicit description and implicit description. When the poet depicted the shadows explicitly, he directly put words like “shadows (影, 陰)and shade(蔭)” between lines. On the contrary, through implicit description, the poet portrayed an object by revealing its reflected image on the ground, in the water, or in the mirror. What’s more, sometimes the scene without any shadow can even manifest a much higher artistic writing skill that better describes the images of shadow. Finally, the images and interpretations of shadows will be emphasized in the fifth chapter and the conclusion would be made in the sixth chapter.
The paper suggests that Zhang Xian created vivid images of shadow through explicit and implicit description and it is his ingenious aptitude of writing that encouraged the discussion of shadow images in poetry of Ci Form. In addition, the implicit description not only unveils the mystery of shadows but interprets them in a more abundant manner.