Friday, 19 February 2016


#gibbons #habitatloss #China #poetry #tangpoetry

MuQi Gibbons 

Several major #Tang #chinese poets and many other poets major and minor mention the howling of #monkeys however the actual #hanzi Yuan (see prior post)should be translated as gibbon.

This is one of the many reasons #gibbons cry.

I do wonder how many of those writers give serious thought as to why gibbons cry ... probably not from having to hear poets recite verse though that would be a great topic for a cartoon ... irate gibbons shrieking at some poet reciting verse?

Tang poetry suggests Gibbons and other primates had a much wider vaster range of habitats in the Tang period and that they had learnt to avoid human archers nets and other traps by retreating up into high valleys over river gorges or faraway up in the hills.

The first but not the last mention of gibbons in the CHU CI suggests they lived in the WUSHAN range along the Yangtze river and other poets refer to this too.

However Wang Wei twice mentions hearing gibbons or some kind of primate near his estate much further north.

The Tang dynasty poet who perhaps mentions gibbons the most is LI Bai / Li PO. He also mentions seeing or hearing gibbons in areas where they are never seen today!

Li Bai saw or heard them near White Emperor City on the Yangtze, near Huangshan, near Nanking, at Ch'iu P'u in Anhui and other places and refers to them in his Road to Shu poem.

Li HO mentions them being on Wushan amidst flowers and bamboo.

Gao Shi mentions gibbons on Wushan.

Pao Chao refers to Gibbons on LUshan in Sichuan.

Men HaoJen and some other poets mention seeing / hearing them in Chekiang.

I do wonder how many of these poets actually saw gibbons or how many were simply using standard phrases that neatly filled a line to complete a chinese meter?

Do Gibbons howl at being a cliche?

Probably NOT

(and yes I am teasing)

However a more serious issue is that those gibbons were probably howling crying whatever to complain about humans being in their territory?

With good cause.

Google gibbon habitats and china!

Gibbons are now an endangerd species!

In this year of the Monkey I will share more poetry and art featuring gibbons and monkeys from China and Japan but what a pity there seems to be so little mention of the plight of primate species in Modern China?