The term means to put forth one’s thoughts in a clear and concise way when speaking and writing. Confucius opposed excessive efforts in pursuit of extravagant writing styles. He stressed that writings need only to express one’s ideas and feelings clearly and precisely, and he advocated a concept of aesthetics that valued the combination of elegance and simplicity. This concept was successively inherited and developed by Liu Xie, Han Yu, Su Shi, and others, resulting in a Chinese literary style that strives for natural and pithy expression as opposed to extravagant embellishment.
Confucius said, “It’s good enough if you express yourself clearly.” (The Analects)
If one can write expressively, his potential to achieve literary grace is boundless. (Su Shi: A Letter of Reply to Xie Minshi)