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Chinas Book of Songs In China poetic education in the original meaning is learning The Book of Songs This is the first comprehensive anthology of Chinese poems including 305 poems of the Zhou Dynasty 1122-256 BC Churchill R It was originally called Shi Poems and Shi Sanbai Three Hundred Poems Each poem in The Book of Songs was set to music and could be sung The compilers classified the 305 poems into folk songs ceremonial songs and sacrificial songs according to their contents and the style of the music Folk songs which were popular among the people made up the best part of The Book of Songs while ceremonial songs and sacrificial songs were used mainly on sacrificial or ceremonial occasions to eulogize the merits and virtues of the Son of Heaven and of his forefathers Confucius 551 BC - 479 BC a great philosopher and educator was very fond of The Book of Songs He used to recite the poems from time to time and used it as a textbook for his pupils In the Han Dynasty The Book of Songs was formally accepted as a classic of the Confucian school The Book of Songs has over a long period of times been highly appreciated and has exerted a profound and far-reaching influence on the development of Chinese literature especially that of poetry over a period of more than 2000 years It has also served as important historical data for the study of ancient China from the early years of the Western Zhou Dynasty to the Spring and Autumn Period All three hundred and five songs were drawn from the region north of the Yellow River They are typical products of north China the area administered by the Kings of the House of Zhou in Confuciuss time By the 4th century BC Chinas boundaries had expanded to include the vast area of the Yangtze River valley where the strong State of
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