Broad-mindedness / Unconstrained Style
The term means broad-mindedness and a totally unconstrained artistic style in poetic works. It presents a perfect union of the author’s outlook on life, his peaceful mind, and the artistic form of his work. A broad-minded writer was often disheartened, who went into seclusion, caused either by frustrations countered in life or social turmoil, and he would naturally seek to express his emotion in literature. As reflected in his writings, such a writer possessed a keen insight into the vicissitudes of worldly affairs. Being cynical and indignant, he also revealed such feelings of disdain for the world and its ways in his writings. The origin of this attitude can be traced back to the Confucian concept of proactivity and the Daoist proposition of following the nature, as well as to the open and cultured way of life characteristic of famous scholars of the Wei and Jin dynasties. Such a writer would not shy away from the worldly, but neither would he cling to fame and wealth. He was completely reasonable in attitude and tolerant in mood. Sikong Tu, a literary critic in the Tang Dynasty, used this term to assess poetic and aesthetic achievement by emphasizing the unity of the style of a work and the mental attitude and the view about human life on the part of the author. The idea is to promote a view about life and an aesthetic attitude that is open-minded and uplifting.
There are no more than a hundred years in a man’s life, so what difference does it make whether it is long or short! Joys are painfully brief, but sorrows are numerous. There is nothing like holding a goblet of drink, strolling in the mist and the quiet and shady garden, or watching rain drizzling down the thatched eaves covered with flowers! After finishing the drink, I will just take another stroll and sing! Who can escape from one’s last day? Only the Zhongnan Mountains will forever stay lofty. (Sikong Tu: Twenty-four Styles of Poetry)