Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove

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  • Chinese/Japanese: 竹林七賢 (Zhúlín Qī Xián / Chikurin no shichiken)

The Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove were a group of Wei Dynasty Taoists who reveled in witty conversation, simple pleasures, poetry and philosophy, music, and wine. They are revered as paragons of the Taoist attitude and lifestyle, and are a common subject of traditional paintings in China, Korea, and Japan.

A series of famous anecdotes indicates the character of their attitudes and lifestyle. One of the seven is known for not wearing any clothes at home. When questioned about this, he is said to have responded that the cosmos was his home, and his home his clothes; he then retorted to the guest in his house, "what are you doing in my pants?" Another of the seven is known for an incident in which he went to a friend's home, knocked on the door, and then walked away before even seeing his friend, acting purely on the pleasures, or whims, of the moment.


  • Albert M. Craig, The Heritage of Chinese Civilization, Third Edition, Prentice Hall (2011), 47.