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Lu Yu; the Saint of Tea and Cha Jing

6. Fleeing South

In summer 755 Lu Yu returned to Jingling and settled down in a countryside village called DongGang Cun 60 miles from the city. Shortly after his return city folks were deserting Jingling and fleeing south to escape an impending civil war erupting from the north.

Ruling Emperor Tang Xuanzong was an able emperor during the first half of his reign that led Tang Dynasty to its peak period. However in his later years Emperor Xuanzong had greater interest in pleasure seeking than his own empire. Emperor Xuanzong turned his full attention to his favourite imperial concubine the infamous Lady Yang Guifei. He became increasingly indulgent literally in "wine, women and song" for Emperor Xuanzong was an avid musician and music composer, while Imperial Concubine Yang Guifei was a passionate dancer and singer. 

A Tang Dynasty vaseEmperor Xuanzong neglected his duty as emperor and left the administration of the imperial court and the power of running his empire to Yang Guifei's cousin brother Yang Guozhong who was a greedy and narrow-minded man, an unpopular official without capability.

Meanwhile powerful warlord General An Lushan who was appointed the regional commander of the north eastern region of Tang Dynasty revolted against the emperor in October 755. In history it is referred as An Lushan Rebellion. An Lushan's excuses to the Tang people for the war was to get rid of Yang Guozhong and restore order to the imperial court. A surprise attack launched by General An Lushan with his 200,000 troops quickly captured many cities in the north. Chang'an the Tang's capital city was overrun by the rebel 6 months later.

Everyone was heading south to escape war and even Emperor Tang Xuanzong fled south west to Chengdu in Shichuan province. Under the circumstances Lu Yu moved south too, crossed the Yangtze river and arrived at Jiangxi province. Like other refugees Lu Yu travelled and visited various places south of the Yangtze river seeking for a suitable place to settle down.