Zhang Ji

Zhang Ji, at the Maple Bridge, photo Wikipedia, credit Gisling

Zhang Ji, ( 張繼, ca. 712-715 to 779) was born in Xiangyang County, Hubei Province. In 753, he passed the Jinshi, the Tang dynasty’s highest imperial examination. He was then appointed Secretary, Second Class in the Board of Inspection of Schools and Temples at Hongzhou (present-day Nanchang City, Jiangxi Province).

Zhang Ji’s one poem in the anthology of 300 Tang Poems is the well-known Night Mooring at Maple Bridge. The poem takes place in Gusu, the Old City of Suzhuo, near Shanghai.

The Bells of Hanshan Temple at New Year

By implication, Zhang was visiting the vast Buddhist Temple of Hanshan (寒山寺) on New Year’s Eve, waiting up to hear its bells sound at midnight. This tradition continues today and the bell is tolled 108 times, each ringing of the bell rung to dispel 108 kinds of human annoyances. Listening to bell ring all 108 times, traditions says, brings good luck.