This term refers to a type of writing that is classically elegant. Originally, it meant that a piece of writing should be modeled on ancient classics, express pure and noble ideas, and follow classical literary styles by using Confucian doctrines for aesthetic guidance. Later, the term shifted to emphasize elegant diction and style that were free from vulgarity and frivolity. Later still, it gradually incorporated Daoist aesthetic views, suggesting natural tranquility and spiritual transcendence. For example, in “Twenty-four Styles of Poetry,”Sikong Tu described classical elegance as being “as quiet as falling flower petals and as modest as unassuming daisies,” which is close to the simple, relaxed, and natural style advocated by Daoist scholars.
Classical elegance is achieved by emulating the Confucian classics and following Confucian doctrines in literary creation. (Liu Xie: The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons)
Xu Gan wrote his 20-chapter book Discourses That Hit the Mark, establishing a distinctive theory of his own. The carefully-researched, well-elaborated and highly elegant writings deserve to be passed on to future generations. (Cao Pi: A Letter to Wu Zhi)