Great Poet-Tao Yuanming
Location of Capital: China was divded by three Regional states
Replaced by: Southern and Northern Dynasties
Tao Qian (simplified Chinese: 陶潜; traditional Chinese: 陶潛; pinyin: Táo Qián; Wade-Giles: T'ao Ch'ien, 365–427), better known as Tao Yuanming (陶淵明), was a Chinese poet. Born in modern Jiujiang, Jiangxi, he was one of the most influential pre-Tang Dynasty (618-907) Chinese poets. He came from a notable family which had descended into poverty; when young, he was torn between ambition and a desire to retreat into solitude. His great-grandfather was the famous Eastern Jin general and governor, Tao Kan. He served in a series of minor posts, but his sister's death, as well as disgust at the corruption and infighting of the Jin Court prompted his resignation, convincing him that life was too short to compromise on his principles; as he put it himself, he would not "bow like a servant in return for five bushels of grain" ("為五斗米折腰" has entered common usage to mean "swallowing one's pride in exchange for a meager existence". 'Five bushels of grain' refers to the salary of a low-ranking official). He lived in retirement for his last 22 years. Approximately 130 of his works survive. Most of them were poems or essays, which depict an idyllic pastoral life of farming and drinking; because of this he would later be termed the "Poet of the Fields". While his poems were not influential in his time, they would later be a major influence on the poetry of the Tang and Song Dynasties. Du Fu, his great admirer, wrote in his poem Oh, Such a Shame which describes his own life in the countryside: Only by wine one's heart is lit, / only a poem calms a soul that's torn. / You'd understand me, Tao Qian. / I wish a little sooner I was born! Apart from his poems, Tao is perhaps best known today for his short but intriguing depiction (in prose) of a land hidden from the outside world called "Peach Blossom Spring" (桃花源記). The name Peach Blossom Spring (桃花源 Tao Hua Yuan) has since become the standard Chinese term for 'utopia'.