Writing and Writing Technique
The term generally refers to different types of writings. Its meanings have evolved over time. During the Western and Eastern Han dynasties, it generally referred to writing techniques, writing styles, and various types of articles. During the Wei, Jin, and the Southern and Northern dynasties, literary scholars began to identify different features in different types of writings. They distinguished, for the first time, literary writings from those interpreting classical works, and identified pure literature as literary writings and practical writings as technical writings. They subsequently distinguished, on the basis of form, literary works such as poems, fu (赋 descriptive prose interspersed with verse), song (颂 verses in praise of merits and virtues), and zan (赞 mostly verses in praise of heroes) from essays such as memorials, documents, and policy proposals submitted to the emperor by officials. They concluded that all writings with rhyme were literary writings and those without were technical writings. Xiao Yi, Emperor Yuan of Liang, argued further that literary writings should not only have rhyme, but also express the author’s inner feelings and use elaborate rhetoric, while technical writings required only general writing skills. Today, this term mainly refers to writing techniques and language styles.
Writings without rhyme or rhythm are technical writings while those with rhyme and rhythm are literary ones. (Liu Xie: The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons)
Ambitious and studious from a young age, Xi Zaochi was an erudite scholar known for his writings and writing techniques. (The History of the Jin Dynasty)