| 2019-12-12 | Hits:
(Chinese Social Sciences Today)
This character means “west, westward.” The term xifang is known as the West, most often including at least parts of Europe, Australasia and the North Americas.  

gù rén xī cí huáng hè lóu 
Gu ren refers to a friend and xi means “west.” Ci means farewell and Huanghe lou is known as Yellow Crane Tower, a traditional Chinese tower located in Wuhan, Hubei  Province.  
This term is the first line from a famous poem by the great Tang poet Li Bai (701–762). Li Bai had lived a life of roaming—hiking up mountains, meeting men of letters from all over the country, and leaving behind hundreds of poems about his travels, his solitude, his friends, the moon and the pleasures of drinking wine. He came to Anlu (now in Hubei Province) in 727 and lived there for over 10 years, during which he made friends with another renowned poet, Meng Haoran (689–740). Meng went to Yangzhou (a city in present-day Jiangsu Province) in March 730, and the poem titled “Seeing Meng Haoran off From Yellow Crane Tower” was written on the occasion of Li parting with Meng. “At Yellow Crane Tower in the west my old friend says farewell/ In the mist and flowers of spring he goes down to Yangzhou/ Lonely sail distant shadow, vanish in blue emptiness/ All I see is the great river flowing into the far horizon” (tran. Yang Xianyi and Gladys Yang). 
This “goodbye” poem doesn’t have a sense of sadness. On the contrary, it reflects a poetic moment of parting between two carefree poets. This poem took place in the context of a “golden age” of internal peace and prosperity in the Tang Dynasty, and in spring, a romantic season when the Jiangnan area (lower reaches of the Yangtze River) was veiled in green willows and blooming flowers. Sailing down the Yangtze River would have been a cheerful journey. Therefore, Li gives his blessings to his friend in this poem. His dream-like imagination and admiration for the Jiangnan area melts into the endless river rolling by. As one of the most famous towers in ancient China, the Yellow Crane Tower has been praised in many popular poems. In many legends, the Yellow Crane Tower is where immortals ascended to heaven. The sense of mystery of the tower adds to the romance of this poem. 
​edited by REN GUANHONG