Saturday, September 20, 2008

Xue Tao

Xue Tao , courtesy name Hongdu , together with Yu Xuanji and Li Zhi was one of the three famous female from the Tang Dynasty.

Xue was the daughter of a minor government official in Changan, which was the Chinese capital during the Tang Dynasty. Her father, Xue Yun was transferred to Chengdu, when she was still little. Her father died before she became an adult, but it's possible that she got some literary education from him.
Since her mother, Lady Pei did not return to Changan, it is possible that they were too poor to do so. Xue was registered with the guild of courtesans and entertainers in Chengdu.

Her poetry attracted the attention Wei Gao , the military governor of Jiannan and Xichuan Circuit and was made his official hostess. In this position she met poets like Bo Juyi and Yuan Zhen, with whom she became close.

Since Wei Gao left Xue provided for, she was able to live independently until her death. A contemporary wrote that she became a priestess.

Some 450 poems by Xue were gathered in ''The Brocade River Collection'' that survived until the 1300s. About 100 poems of her are known nowadays, which is more than of any other Tang dynasty woman.

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