Cao Zhi (192–232) was a poet who lived during the late Han Dynasty and Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history. His poetry style, greatly revered during the Jin Dynasty and Southern and Northern Dynasties, came to be known as the jian'an style.
Although jian'an refers to the time between 196 and 220, Cao Zhi's poems could in fact be categorized into two periods, with the year 220 as the watershed. The earlier period consisted of poems that expressed his ambitions. These poems were optimistic and romantic in nature. On the other hand, his setbacks in political pursuits after the death of his father in 220 gave rise to the grievous tone of his later works.
ore than ninety poems by Cao Zhi remain today, more than sixty of which are five-character poems (五言詩). These are held in high esteem for their significant influence over the development of five-character poetry in later ages.
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