Feminine Daoist Poems

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"Nüguan" (capeline or Daoist nun( 女冠 nuguan ) ) originally refers to the cap worn by female Daoist practitioners and later was used to indicate a female Daoist. Feminine Daoist poems are the poems composed by female Daoists. This kind of poems is also called "Daoist nun poetry". There is a great deal of evidence that females are not discriminated against in Daoism. So women were initiated into Daoism since the Han dynasty. After being converted, they usually exert themselves on learning and actively compose poems about their feelings in their cultivation of Dao. This type of poetry was especially in vogue in the Tang dynasty. According to literature, many princesses and imperial concubines of the Tang cultivated Dao, which nearly became a fashion. These females had relatively high educational level. They mingled with men of knowledge and posed as lovers of culture. Undoubtedly they greatly promoted the Daoist nuns' writing of poems on Dao. Examining the Complete Tang Poetry, we may find a lot of women Daoist poets. Li Ye, Yu Xuanji, Lu Meiniang, Zhuo Yingying, Yang Jianzhen, Guo Xiuzhen all left works behind. These works either encourage people to cultivate Dao, or express their belief in Dao, or describe the fantastic state of cultivating Dao. As far as techniques of expression are concerned, feminine Daoist poems are not limited to one form. They are good at duizhang (a matching of both sound and sense in two lines, sentences, etc.) and easy to understand, or subtle and sentimental, or lucid and elegant in using allusions. They form a peculiar scene of ancient Daoist poems.