November 21st, 2011

Symbolism in Chinese Poetry: Wang Wei's Bound Home to Mount Song

Time: 2011
Location: China/Europe

What is the symbolism (if any) of Wang Wei's (699-759 AD) poem Bound Home to Mount Song? Would it be considered a sad/happy poem about traveling home or is it an allegory for something? Is this poem widely known in China or is it more in the "neverheard" category?

To be specific, I need to know how the poem would be understood nowadays by a Chinese man in his mid-twenties who moved from China to Europe to study when he was 20. He is familiar with classical Chinese literature and music. Since that, however, is more speculation than facts, I'm seeking knowledge on what the common interpretation of the poem is. Hopefully I will be able to use it to guess what his opinion of the poem would likely be.

The only things I have managed to find are overall mentions that Wang Wei had a lot of Taoist influence in his poems and one brief speculation that Bound Home to Mount Song was a Buddhist allegory for human life. While I believe the first, I do not really trust the latter without more proof.

Googled: "Wang Wei" + "Bound Home to Mount Song", "Bound Home to Mount Song" + symbolism, "Bound Home to Mount Song" + meaning
Wikipedia: Wang Wei (8th century poet), Bound Home to Mount Song (<--this page unfortunately doesn't exist, but I had to check just in case)