, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 321-348
Date: 30 Jul 2008

Village people, village music and the theoretical significance of the concept that poetry can harmonize people


Xiang li 乡里 (township civil service) is the basic political and social unit of the Zhou dynasty. Village people were the nobles who occupied certain positions in political and cultural affairs. Village music was employed in social gatherings of local communities. The rites and the music reflect the attempt of the nobles in the Zhou dynasty to make their secular lives refined, poetic and artistic. Drinking rite and shooting rites were regular local activities rich in artistic implications and both showed the characteristics of early drama. Poems and music were at the core of such friendly and harmonious gatherings of local communities. These activities and the notion that “poetry can harmonize people” have exerted profound and far-reaching influences upon the mind of the Chinese people as well as Chinese literature.


乡里是周代社会的基础政治构成, 乡人是具有一定政治和文化地位的贵族阶层, 乡乐是周代乡党间诗乐活动的典型样式。 乡党间的礼乐活动, 反映着周代贵族把世俗生活雅化、 诗化和艺术化的精神追求。乡饮酒礼、 乡射礼是周代乡党间经常性的礼乐活动, 具有丰富的艺术蕴含, 其仪式具有早期戏剧的特征, 诗乐在乡党礼典中处于核心地位。 乡饮、 乡射反映着和谐友爱的乡党关系, 是“诗可以群”这一理论观念的具体体现。 周代乡党间的风雅精神和“诗可以群”的理论观念, 对中国人的精神世界和中国文学都产生了深刻影响。

Translated from Zhongguo shehui kexue 中国社会科学 (Social Sciences in China), 2006, (2): 165–176 by WANG Hui, School of English Studies, Dalian University of Foreign Languages
Fu Daobin was born in 1960 and graduated from Huazhong Normal University with a doctor degree in 1998. He is now a professor and doctor supervisor in Harbin Normal University. From the year 1990 on, he published many prestigious works, such as Commentary on the Chinese Culture of Reproduction Worship, The Bell Rings in the Late Tang Dynasty, The Singers’ Paradise and The Criticism on the Chinese Literature from a Cultural Perspective. In addition, he also published more than twenty essays in such authoritative magazines as Chinese Culture and Cultural Studies. His works reveal his open horizon, in-depth study and great achievements in the field of Chinese literature and culture. His theories and opinions are highly praised and followed in the academia. Besides, he is very active in politics and he is a standing member of the CPPCC of Helongjiang Province and a deputy to the National People’s Congress in Nangang District.