The ‘Righteous Aunt’ of Lu
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This is a story of a righteous woman. As the army of the state of Qi (齐国) launched an invasion against the state of Lu (鲁国), soldiers approaching a Lu suburb saw a woman struggling along the road with two children. When the army got closer, she abandoned one of the children and grabbed the other, moving toward the mountains. When the general caught up with her and asked her why she had abandoned one child and run away with the other, the woman explained, ‘I was too weak to protect two children in this calamity. I parted with my own son in order to save my brother’s son; in line with the moral ideal of keeping others’ interests before one’s own.’ On hearing this, the general halted the advance and sent a messenger back to persuade his king not to continue fighting against the Lu, feeling that one could never beat a country in which even an illiterate woman had such high moral values.
The story scene depicted on the porcelain ware displayed in this listing was first deciphered by Dr Yibin Ni.
More story scenes on Morality:
Qiuhu Trying to Seduce His Own Wife 秋胡戏妻 (鲁洁妇)
Fig 1-2: famille verte plaque, Kangxi period (1662–1722), Qing dynasty, courtesy of the Jie Rui Tang Collection, photography by William Washburn
Fig 3: blue-and-white porcelain dish, Kangxi period (1662–1722), Qing dynasty, courtesy of The Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Fig 4: famille verte dish, Kangxi period (1662–1722), Qing dynasty, courtesy of Guest & Gray Antique Dealer, London
Fig 5: a pair of blue-and-white porcelain vases, c.1850, courtesy of the Christie’s Auction House, previous collection of Leo & Doris Hodroff