The Price of Passion
The extraordinary life story of Li Qingzhao and a panorama of Chinese culture, politics and religion: we hear about educated women teaching their daughters and sons, men seeking and appreciating their wives' advice, the rival philosophies of Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism, ancestor worship and wedding rites.
In the era of the Song dynasty, when printing and paper were still unknown in Europe, China's greatest poetess, Li Qingzhao (1084 – ca. 1155), lived in an already highly advanced culture with huge cities, bookshops and luxury goods. Li Quingzhao speaks through her poems – about her loves, longings and griefs. Boldly, she puts her erotic yearnings into verse, comments on current affairs and criticizes political intrigues. And she presents herself as the self-confident female part in an unusual husband-and-wife team. Together with Zhao Mingcheng, she gathers a great collection of manuscripts, valuable books, historical utensils and ritual objects. In the end she must witness everything perish in war and expulsion. Such is the price of passion.
Barbara Beuys' entertaining, informative and captivating story describes Qingzhao's eventful life and literary work, both reflecting the brilliance and ambivalence of one of China's most important epochs. Beuys has written an unrivalled book which liberates a significant chapter in the history of China and Chinese culture from the scholars' ivory tower, making it accessible for the general public.