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Xi Kang
(223 - 262) China

Xi Kang

Philosopher, poet


Xi Kang, (also spelled Chi K'ang or Hsi K'ang), was born in the Yang Province. Taoist philosopher, alchemist, musician and poet who was one of the most important members of the free-spirited, heavy drinking Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove, a coterie of poets and philosophers who scandalized Chinese society by their iconoclastic thoughts and actions.

Of influential parentage, Xi received a traditional education; he was the author of the essay Yangsheng Lun (Essay on Nourishing Life), Shengwu Aile Lun (on the Absence of Sentiments in Music), Qin Fu (A Composition on the Qin), and Shisi Lun (Discourse on Individuality).

He also wrote a book about music, and composed a number of solo pieces. Xi Kang was highly critical of Confucianism and challenged many social conventions of his time. As such he was considered scandalous and seditious. He became caught up in a political rivalry and after offending Zhong Hui and Sima Zhao, he was executed in Lo-yang.

Xi Kang was one of the "Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove" and the lover of poet Ruan Ji (see).


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