sī yǔ jìnɡ xié 思与境偕
Blend Sentiment with Scenery
This term refers to blending a poet’s own sentiments with the scenery depicted in his poem. It was first used by Tang Dynasty poetry critic Sikong Tu (837-908) when he commented on the five-character-per-line poems by Wang Jia of the same period. Si (思 sentiments) here means the poet’s thoughts, emotion, and moods, whereas jing (境 scenery) is external scenery as well as the artistic ambience created by the poem. Xie (偕 blending) means the oneness of external things and the poet’s inner world. When the poet’s sentiments and the scenery come together, the boundary between subjectivity and objectivity disappears, and a perfect unity in the art of poetry is achieved. Later critics regarded this idea as the core conception of artistic theory.
The captivating landscape of the Yellow River and Fenhe River region should produce outstanding poets. Our contemporary Wang Jia lives here. He has long been immersed in this atmosphere. This has given his five-character poems a chance to excel. He is good at blending sentiment with scenery, thus winning recognition from many other poets. (Sikong Tu: Letter to Wang Jia with Comments on Poetry Writing)
A piece of literary creation voices one’s emotions and thoughts; but it moves others because it blends sentiment with scenery. A good poem features a perfect union between these two factors, whereas other poems excel either in sentiment or scenery. (Fan Zhihou: A Preface to Script II of Wang Guowei’s Poetic Remarks in the Human World)