Duke Ling of Jin shooting pedestrians with pellets
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The young duke of the State of Jin (晋) who was posthumously given the title Duke Ling of Jin, Jìn Líng Gōng (晋灵公, ? – 607 BCE), has been known as a ‘ruler who does not deserve his title (bu jun 不君)’. His despotic behaviour was enumerated in the records by historiographers. For example, he levied heavy taxes to build more fancy palaces; he had the chef killed only because he didn’t cook his bear paws soft enough; and, when he was bored with shooting birds and animals in his ever-expanding parks, he whimsically indulged in shooting his ministers and pedestrians with catapult slingshots from his palatial terrace and enjoyed watching the victims suffering from the hazard and ducking the pellets.
image identification and story scene description by Dr Yibin Ni
Read more in Dr Ni’ research article ‘How a massacre in ancient China influenced European literature, painting and theatre’.
Fig 1-4: porcelain dish, overglaze enamels, 19th century, courtesy of the Guimet Museum, Paris, photography by Ryall Tan
Fig 5-9: blue-and-white dish, Kangxi period (1662–1722), Qing dynasty, courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY