Li Qingzhao, the Graceful Pioneer of Feminine Song Lyrics

Aug 3, 2018 in Art

Li Qingzhao, known as a female pioneer of song lyrics, explores and promotes the feminine lyrics not only by taking advantages of her superb ability to use beautiful language and art skills, but also to shape her works in a new way in order to present a real vision of self-image, which is typically described by women’s pen profile. Moreover, the female identity of Li Qingzhao is marked with her deep genuine feeling, which became the most significant feature and the most touching quality of her feminine lyrics.

Tracing the history of song lyrics, it becomes clear that it was already a common practice to describe the lives of women and their feelings in the era of Li Qingzhao. Although her lyrics’ themes were still limited to eyes of tears, partnership, sorrows of mind and female imagination, she managed to create a unique morbidezza in order to present herself. It appeared to be a fresh stream of breeze, which enlightened the song lyrics history. It must be said, there is no sickly-sweet bored breath, neither extravagant atmosphere in her lyrics since she rarely uses allusion. The primary impression of her poem is plain and ordinary, yet without losing colorfulness and miracle. High proficiency of using the traditional literary language makes her words very vivid and really provokes a vision of a flower in the mist.

In addition, Li Qingzhao is good at casting new language, which is extremely elegant

For example, "Lv fei hong shou", “mo dao bu xiao hun, lian juan xi feng, ren bi huang hua shou”, etc… By transferring old to new, refining vulgar to elegant and casting unprecedented language, she is able to expresse her unlimited emotions. There is no weakness in using fatigue words or conveying the wrong feelings. Therefore, it provides a sharp contrast to previous flowery and extravagant feminine lyrics. Li Qingzhao’s unique charm of language usage leads many people to turn "Yi An style" into colloquial songs. Even some men, like Xin Qi-ji et al, used to emulate Yi An style. 

The most touching thing about Li Qingzhao’s lyrics is that it is saturated with her own genuine feelings. The image of women is no longer restricted to the courtesan of "hua jian" style, but denotes an image of the noble woman who reflects her own moral integrity. Instead of characterizing the figure by male poets, the brilliant poetess freely expresses her own deep sentiments. The song lyric has always been an easy control carrier to convey deep emotions. Li Qingzhao takes the advantage of song lyrics to carry out her soft serene delight based on her own sincere experience. She bravely and warmly sings about women’s love and resentment, and presents different periods of her life. Just like Li Qingzhao, girls in her lyrics are so innocent, lively and intelligent, but still with the shyness.

In summary, it is clear that Li Qingzhao did not bring about some dramatic changes into the female lyrics, but indisputably, she managed to overcome many shortcomings, which had already existed for a long time, and, finally, to push song lyrics to a new peak. The content of Yi An lyrics is quite similar to the past feminine lyrics. It descripts the grief of parting, women’s sorrow in the spring and the euphemism of delicate feelings. However, Li Qingzhao stands out of the crowd by evoking a lofty life, expressing her indifference to fame and by eliminating the hackneyed decadent tone.

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