The Lu brothers: Literary giants and patriots

Tan Weiyun
Lu Ji and Lu Yun, two brothers who resided in Songjiang during the Western Jin Dynasty, earned fame for their literary prowess but tragically met their ends.
Tan Weiyun
The Lu brothers: Literary giants and patriots

Lu Ji's "Wen Fu" pioneered literary works of that era.

Lu Ji and Lu Yun were brothers who resided at the foot of Kunshan Hill in Songjiang during the Western Jin Dynasty (266-317). They were regarded highly for their literary abilities and were referred to as "beautiful jades."

Both of them were well-known writers. The elder brother Lu Ji wrote the "Pingfu Tie," which is the earliest celebrity calligraphy manuscript in China.

What many people don't know, however, is that at the age of 14, Lu Ji was already a general of the Wu Kingdom during the Three Kingdoms Period (220–280). He joined the military at an early age, but at the age of 20, he and his younger brother fled to Huating, present-day Songjiang, following the collapse of the Wu Kingdom.

The brothers, according to "The History of the Jin Dynasty," withdrew to their former residence and devoted ten years to studies. They were in hiding, but their devotion to their country did not waver.

They relished the pleasures of solitude during this time, spending their days in Huating feeding the cranes, but never gave up on the hope of restoring their country.

Lu Ji expressed his wish to rebuild the nation in his well-known "Analysis on the Fall of Wu," which he penned while he was in hiding. After 11 years of intense study in Kunshan Hill's wilderness, the brothers gradually gained recognition for their abilities. The founding hero of the Jin Dynasty, Zhang Hua, stated, "The best rewards to conquer the Wu kingdom are the two talented brothers."

Their fame grew as a result. Lu Ji's literary work, "Wen Fu," foreshadowed the thriving literary period of that particular age.

The brothers managed to get close to the center of power with Zhang's help, but regrettably, they became embroiled in the Rebellion of the Eight Princes, a conflict between the members of the imperial dynasty vying for control of the political center.

The brothers never lost optimism that they would be able to save their country from impending disaster, even though politics is an unpredictable journey. But in the end, Lu Ji was sentenced to death on false charges. His notable last comment was, "Can we hear the cries of cranes in Huating again?"

Lu Yun was also put to death because of his association with Lu Ji. The nation mourned the unfortunate deaths of the brothers.

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