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). Known for his youthful precocity, Chang, 58 Wang Wei, the eldest of five brothers, Ch'en and Bullock, 49 set off for the imperial capital at the age of nineteen, in order to study and take the ''jinshi'' (Imperial examination) civil service entrance examination. In the period while residing in Chang'an, before taking the test, Wang's proficiency at poetry and his musical music ability upon the pipa helped him to achieve a certain level of popularity at the royal court. Ch'en and Bullock, 50 He eventually passed the ''jinshi'' examination, in 721, with the first class award (''Zhuangyuan (Imperial examination#Details of imperial examination)''). This helped to lead to the beginnings of a potentially successful civil service career. Wang Wei's career as an official had its ups and downs. His first appointment was as a court musician, or "Deputy Master of Music"; however, he was then demoted to a position of being in charge of a granary in the former province of Jizhou (now the name of a different town Jizhou (Jizhou, Hebei), in Hebei). Ch'en and Bullock, 50; Chang, 59 The reason for this demotion, according to tradition, was Wang's breach of ettiquette by performing a lion dance. Chang, 59 In any case, this was only a minor setback to his career, and it had a compensation in that it did allow him to travel. Then, a promotional sequence following this demotion was apparently initiated and sustained through a relationship with the prominent governmental minister, poet, and literary scholar Zhang Jiuling, Chen and Bullock, 50; Chang, 59 at least until Zhang's 737 demotion to a post in Jingzhou. By 728, Wang Wei was back in Chang'an, where he entertained the poet Meng Haoran, Chang, 59 who was to become a close friend and poetic colleague. At this point, Wang seems to have achieved the rank of Assistant Censor, and then a subsequent governmental promotion, but then later being demoted back to Assistant Censor, with the loss in imperial favor of Zhang Jiuling and the rising political ascendency of Li Linfu. After his wife's death in 731, Chang, 61 he never remarried. It was in his role as a government official that Wang Wei was dispatched to Liangzhou, Chang, 60 which was then the northwestern frontier of the Chinese empire, and the scene of constant military conflicts. By invitation of the local commander, Wang served in this location until returning to Chang'an in 738 or early 739. Chang, 60 * Mother Lü, whose son was a minor civil servant who was wrongly killed by the county magistrate. She gathered a group of desperate young men and killed the county magistrate, and then went out to the sea to become pirates, but later returned to land when her forces became larger. * Zhang Ba (張霸), who occupied territory in modern Jingzhou, Hubei. * Yang Mu (羊牧), who occupied territory in modern Xiaogan, Hubei. In the same year, Lülin forces suffered a major plague, killing about half of the rebels. This caused them to divide. One branch headed west to the region of modern Jingzhou, Hubei, while the other headed north to the region of the modern Nanyang (Nanyang, Henan), Henan. *

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