Since the Qing dynasty, the relationship between the apocrypha and literature has concerned scholars working on the Wenxuan 文選 (Selections of Refined Writings) and Wenxin diaolong 文心雕龍 (The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons). Apocryphal texts emerged in the Han dynasty under the guise of the Six Classics authored by Confucius, as a body of sacred documents explaining the mandates of former rulers or the induction between the celestial and the human. Also containing genealogies of sacred rulers, legends and ancient histories, astronomical and geographical knowledge, and auspicious omens resulting from the correspondence between the celestial and the human, these texts offered abundant resources to authors from the Han, Wei, and Six Dynasties, through the Sui and Tang. Reliance on such a canon as a foundation inevitably yielded some skepticism among scholars as to the veracity of their sources; nonetheless, their literary value was always affirmed. The rhapsodic prose-poetic tradition of the Han dynasty was itself fostered by the exaggerated descriptive style of apocryphal texts.

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