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This study investigates the literary-historical context of the attempts by late Southern Song critics to periodize Tang poetry. It demonstrates that the primary agenda of these critics was to establish High Tang poetry as the sole correct model. The insistence on the supremacy of the High Tang went in tandem with, and formed part of, the rebuke of contemporary poets for choosing Late Tang poetry as the object of emulation. The focal point of contention was whether Late Tang poetry could or should serve as a useful model, at least for some in the initial stage of their poetic training. In this context, periodizations of Tang poetry functioned as an auxiliary to the discourse on choices of models in the late Southern Song.