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Statue of Li Qingzhao in the Li Qingzhao Memorial, Jinan
Li Qingzhao Memorial at Baotu Spring garden in Jinan


Li Qingzhao (Traditional Chinese: 李清照; Simplified Chinese: 李清照, pinyin: Lǐ Qīngzhào; Wade-Giles: Li Ch'ing-chao,pseudonym Yi'an Jushi (易安居士 “Yi'an Householder”),) (1084–c. 1151) was a Chinese writer and poet of the Song Dynasty, regarded by many as the premier woman poet in the Chinese language .

Biography

She was born in Lichengmarker to a family of officials and scholars; her father was a friend of Su Shi.

Before she got married, her poetry was already well known with elite circles. In 1101 she married Zhao Mingcheng, with whom she shared interests in art collection and epigraphy. They lived in the province Shandongmarker. After he started his official career, her husband was often absent. This inspired some of the love poems that she wrote. Both she and her husband collected many books. Her husband and she shared a love of poetry and often wrote poems for each other. They also wrote about bronze artifacts of the Shang and Zhou dynasties.

The northern Song capital of Kaifeng fell in 1126 to the Jurchens. Fighting took place in Shandong and their house was burned. The couple brought many of their possessions when they fled to Nanjingmarker, where they lived for a year. Zhao died in 1129. The death of her husband was a cruel stroke from which she never recovered. It was then up to Li to keep safe what was left of their collection. Li described her married life and the turmoil of her flight in an Afterword to her husband's posthumously published work, Jin shi lu. Her earlier poetry portrays her carefree days as a woman of high society, and is marked by its elegance.

Li subsequently settled in Hangzhoumarker, where the Song government was now established. She continued writing poetry and published the Jin shi lu.

Only around a hundred of her poems are known to survive, mostly in the ci form and tracing her varying fortunes in life. Also a few poems in the shi form have survived, the Afterword and a study of the ci form of poetry. She is credited with the first detailed critique of the metrics of Chinese poetry. She was regarded as a master of wanyue pai "the delicate restraint".

A crater on Venus is named after her.

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