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    The Chinese Valentine’s Day, Qixi Festival (七夕节), is just around the corner. It falls on the seventh day of the seventh month of the traditional Chinese year. Dr Yibin Ni has conducted comprehensive research on this topic and has written an articl...

    Have you ever wondered why the image of the prunus has been a popular motif in Chinese decorative art? Why do Chinese literati love to write poems about plum blossoms and paint them in their art works? Dr Yibin Ni will explain to you the symbolic ...

    ‘Imperial Consort Lady Yang Getting Drunk’ has been a popular Chinese story plot since the seventeenth century. However, many renowned museums are still not able to identify this story scene on the porcelains in their collection. Dr Yibin Ni will ...

    ‘Wu Song slaying the tiger’ is a popular fictional story among Chinese people. But it’s hardly noticed that this story scene has been chosen in Chinoiserie decorative art in Europe. Here is Dr Yibin Ni’s interesting research and his unique insight...

    ‘Yang Xiang trying to throttle the tiger to rescue her father’ is a well-known story passed down from generation to generation in ancient China. However, Yang Xiang has sometimes been portrayed as a male figure on traditional Chinese artworks. Let...

    The story scene comes from a marvel play Legend of the Jade Hairpin, which is not to be confused with the scene in Romance of the Western Chamber. Read the following article to find out details of the story and how this figural scene is depicted.<...

    In Chinese culture, the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is related to the legendary fairy Chang E, the Moon Goddess. We often see a hare, her loyal companion, and an osmanthus tree in the picture with her against a background of the Moon Palace. However,...

    Correctly identifying figures is crucial to deciphering an obscure story scene. Looking at this featured image, for example, some may think that the two figures in non-specific attires on a dragon and a phoenix are anonymous Daoist immortals. But ...

    On the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar Chinese year, young men and women will celebrate their traditional ‘Valentine’s Day’, Qixi Festival (七夕节). The custom can be traced back to an ancient story.

    More often than not, traditional Chinese motifs or symbols are not receiving their deserved attention, being given simplistic or inadequate labels and inaccurate explanations in our museums, catalogues, or even scholarly writing. The treatment of ...

    Congratulations on art historian Dr Yibin Ni’s new research into a rare story scene in Chinese pictorial art, which may have puzzled contemporary museum curators and porcelain collectors. Dr Ni has traced the art historical context in which this r...

    A literati theme with the image of a scholar riding in a snowscape with branches of plum blossoms in the vicinity has been very popular in traditional Chinese visual culture and literature. But who is the scholar in the scene? Art historian Dr Yib...

    Pictorial artworks with figural scenes in traditional China often have historical and cultural significance and are not to be mistaken for daily life genre painting. Here is an example and Dr Yibin Ni will explain to you the hidden meaning in the ...

    The Peony Pavilion is a famous play written by Tang Xianzu in Ming Dynasty. There are very few figural paintings depicting this play on Kangxi famille verte porcelain. Dr Yibin Ni first identified the figures and the scene on a porcelain dish in t...

    People who are not familiar with Chinese history and parables may have the impression that the above image is a genre painting of fisherman’s daily life. But in fact, there is more meaning to it. Dr Yibin Ni will explain the story in detail and ho...

    On Duanwu Festival, Chinese people have a variety of practices, such as drinking rice wine sprayed with realgar powder and hanging images of the Heavenly Master on the lintel. Where did this tradition come from and how were these practices depicte...

    The following article is a discussion of the substitution of a mythical beast for a horse as Grand Duke Jiang’s mount on three classic porcelain vases adorned with the same story scene of ‘Bo Yi and Shu Qi Trying to Stop the Mighty Zhou Army’. It ...

    Through analysing a famous theme that depicts Bo Yi and Shu Qi Stopping the Zhou Army, Dr Yibin Ni has compared a number of porcelain vessels from Ming and Qing dynasties, and demonstrated his unique insight which can facilitate the correct dating...

    This is a republication of Dr Yibin Ni’s article written in Chinese “明末清初瓷器上张生的‘凝视’和莺莺的挑战”(Gaze from Scholar Zhang and the response from Lady Cui Yingying: a discussion of figural depiction on porcelains from Late Ming to Early Qing dynasty)...

    In Chinese culture and pictorial art, the peach fruit is often used to wish for long life on birthday parties. How does this fruit become associated with the idea of longevity? Here is Dr Yibin Ni explaining to us the origin of legendary stories r...

    Have you ever wondered why images of an old scholarly man riding a buffalo are often depicted on Chinese antiques? What is so special about this man who looks highly respected and followed by yet still sitting on a buffalo’s back? We hereby invite...

    Have you wondered why you often see an image of a man lying or ‘dancing’ beside a large fish on Chinese antiques? Is it referring to some figure and story in ancient China? Here is Dr Yibin Ni explaining to us the meaning of this touching story th...

    Xiahou Dun, a heroic soldier in ancient China, was famous for his one-eyed appearance. Let’s appreciate how Dr Yibin Ni analyses the artistic presentation of this character on Chinese antique porcelain, woodblock print and other art forms, in asso...

    There have been a few interesting discussions even guesses on a mysterious scene which depicts mainly three figures surrounding a large bowl. The story scene actually comes from an important anecdote in Song dynasty in China. Let Dr Yibin Ni expla...

    Have you ever been puzzled by the description of ‘figural paintings’ for Chinese porcelains listed by various museums and auction catalogues? In fact, many Chinese paintings with figures refer to ancient stories and have meanings behind the scenes...

    Do you wonder why two warriors are waving swords over a rock that looks like a cross bun? Let Dr Yibin Ni demystify this enigmatic scene for you, which illustrates the old Chinese saying ‘bedfellows dream different dreams’!

    Story scenes painted on Chinese porcelains are sometimes mysterious and challenging to understand. Dr Yibin Ni, whose specialised research is to demystify figures and story scenes, and decode motifs, symbols and pun rebuses in Chinese art, is here...

    This blog is modified from Dr Yibin Ni’s research work first published on Antiques and Fine Art Magazine. The purpose is to appreciate how Chinese porcelain painters from ancient times passed on classical stories and illustrated traditional morals...

    European descriptions of porcelain paintings that have story scenes tend to describe ‘figures and surroundings’, rather than identifying them. Thus, a large part of those beautiful stories intended by pot painters was lost in the description. Here...

    Have you wondered why the same story scenes were painted differently on Chinese artworks? How was it painted to present women falling in love on Chinese antique porcelains? Read on to see what Dr Yibin Ni has to say with his analysis.

    Have you ever seen such an image and wondered why a young man is holding a shoe and kneeling down in front of an old man? Is there any historical event relating to the shoe and such scene? Read on to see how Dr Yibin Ni deciphers the figures and s...

    In Chinese porcelain painting, it can be tricky to interpret a round disc in the sky as a sun or a moon. Knowledge of Chinese culture and pun rebuses are the keys to explain the meanings of the motifs and scenes correctly. Here are some examples…<...

    The story of the statesman Bing Ji (丙吉) inquiring about a panting buffalo in ancient China has been illustrated in various forms in traditional Chinese art. It is meant to praise high-ranking officials who can prioritise their duties for their cou...

    Do you wonder why there is a goat drawing a carriage, rather than a horse, on traditional Chinese art pictures? Why are there so many people watching someone in a chariot? What is the story behind it? Here is what Dr Yibin Ni has to tell you.

    The traditional theme of ‘Chen Ping Dividing Meat’(陈平分肉) is often mistakenly referred to as Chen ‘Selling Meat’ or even ‘Picture of Selling Meat’ in Chinese art reference books, which reduces a historically significant theme to a mere genre painti...

    Images of Tao Yuanming Appreciating Chrysanthemums, like many other traditional historical themes, are often mistaken as a mere ‘flowering-picking’ scene, or, worse, simply a ‘figure painting’. Let’s see an example.

    Deer were reputed to live for a very long time and hence, like cranes a...

    This scene is from one of the most famous Chinese dramatic works, Romance of the Western Chamber 西厢记, which was written by the Yuan playwright Wang Shifu (王实甫 1260–1336). The play tells the story of a secret love affair between Zhang Gong (张珙, also called Scholar Zhang 张生) and Cui Yingying 崔莺莺, the daughter of f...

    This scene was from a popular play ‘The Story of the White Hare’ (Bai Tu Ji 白兔记) and was much admired during the Ming dynasty.

    Liu Zhiyuan 刘知远, the hero of the play set during the turbulent Five Dynasties (907–960), became an orphan when he was a teenager. His affluent neighbour looked after him and later...

    This is Scene Four of Book Two of the Chinese classic popular drama Romance of the Western Chamber (西厢记 Xixiang Ji).

    Madam Cui and her daughter Cui Yingying 崔莺莺 were residing temporarily in the monastery where Zhang Junrui’s (张君瑞, also called Scholar Zhang 张生) happened to stay there as well while he was o...

    Dong Zhuo (董卓 d. 192), a tyrannic warlord rising to power at the end of the Han dynasty, caused great concern among courtiers and officials. Wang Yun (王允), the Minister Over the Masses (司徒 Situ), was entrusted to figure out a plan to bring him down. Dong Zhuo was particularly powerful because he managed to ally ...

    Cao Guojiu (曹国舅) is one of the later comers among the legendary Eight Daoist Immortals and has the fewest colourful stories attached to him. During the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368), ...

    The play Polishing the Dust-covered Mirror (磨尘鉴 Mo Chen Jian) was compiled in 1619 by an obscure playwright Niu Ge (钮格), according to some twentieth-century researchers, including the eminent scholar of the field Zheng Zhenduo (郑振铎 1898–1958). The play portrays some colourful historical figures of the T...

    ‘Li Mi (李密 582–619) Hanging His Books on His Ox Horns’ is one of the inspirational self-improvement stories in ancient China. It was adopted in the famous Three-Character Classic (三字经 San Zi Jing), written in the 13th century. The primer served as children’s first textbook in elementary...

    Nicknamed xingzhe (行者), ‘Pilgrim’ or ‘Traveller’, Wu Song (武松) is a popular fictional figure well-known for his slaying a tiger single-handedly after he was intoxicated on local rice wine...

    Early in Jin dynasty (晋 265–420), Yang Feng 杨丰 and his teenage daughter, Yang Xiang 杨香, were harvesting the millet crops in the fields when he was attacked by a tiger. Though only fourteen-years-o...

    Tao Yuanming (陶渊明, 365–427), also known as Tao Qian 陶潜, the paragon of ‘Fields and Gardens poetry’, spent most of his life as a hermit in a cottage in the countryside, reading, drinking wine, and writing poetry in an unmannered style. He had a unique eye for the beauty and serenity of the natural world c...

    Pun Design

    Official Hat + Wine Vessel

    Punning Details

    The combination of ‘jia 加 putting on’ and ‘guan 冠 hat’ – ‘jia guan 加冠’ is a pun on ‘jia guan 加官’, meaning ‘receiving an official title...

    As a young man, Lv Dongbin (吕洞宾, or Lü Dongbin) passed several rounds of civil-service examinations and was twice appointed as a county magistrate. After being bored with officialdom, he went to become a recluse in the mountains. Not until he met

    There are thirty-six well-known stratagems (三十六计) that the Chinese politicians, strategists, and businessmen have been using for millennia. One of them is the ‘ruse of inflicting pain on oneself or one’s comrades to gain the enemy’s trust’. The scene depicted here is its most famous illustration.

    Zhou Yu (周瑜) was ...

    Legend of the Jade Hairpin (Yu Zan Ji 玉簪记) is a Ming-dynasty ‘marvel play’ which was the major drama genre of the time. The play, consisting of thirty-three scenes, was written by Gao Lian (高濂 fl. 1573-1581) around 1580 and remained to be a popular classic for the following three hundred years. It is a Shakespea...

    This is a scene from a popular traditional play ‘A Set of Interlocking Stratagems (连环计)’.

    The war lord Dong Zhuo (董卓, ? – 192 CE) became a senior minister in the Han court. His tendency to dominate the young sovereign, Emperor Xian of Han (汉献帝, 181–234 CE), gave other ministers cause for concern. They asked Wang Y...

    Young scholar Zhang Junrui (张君瑞, also called Zhang Sheng 张生) is the male protagonist in the famous ancient Chinese play, Romance of the Western Chamber (西厢记 Xixiang ji, alternative translation is The Story of the Western Wing). He was commonly referred to as Scholar Zhang. The son of a cabinet m...

    Duke Mu of the Qin State (秦穆公, died 621 BCE) was one of the so-called Five Hegemons (五霸 wuba) in the Spring and Autumn Period (770 – 476 BCE) (春秋 chunqiu). He had a daughter named ‘Nongyu (弄玉, meaning Playing Jade)’, who was a talented musician excelling at playing the sheng (笙 mouthorgan...

    In this scene, there are several Chinese longevity symbols such as the crane<...

    This is a story of a brave woman who boldly exercised her rhetorical competence, managed to correct the erring ruler and saved her husband from execution. The story of The Wife of the Bow Maker in the State of Jin (晋弓工妻) is recorded in Chapter 6 Convincing and Perceptive (辩通传), Biographies of Exemplary Women (列女...

    The story scene refers to an old Chinese saying: in the fight between the sandpiper and the clam, the fisherman has the best of it. This parable came from an ancient Chinese text entitled ‘Strategies of the Warring States (战国策 Zhanguo Ce)’. The book contains anecdotes of diplomacy and warfare during the Warring ...

    Meng Haoran (孟浩然, c. 690–740) is one of the most renowned poets in Tang dynasty (618–906). He started off pursuing a civil service career and then abandoned it to concentrate on poetry. He was a major influence on other Tang and later poets because of his innovative focus on nature. There is a play attributed to the note...

    The seventh day of the seventh month of the traditional Chinese year is the Chinese ‘Valentine’s Day’, Qixi Festival (七夕节). The custom can be traced back to an ancient story about a weaver girl and a cowherd:

    Once upon a time, one of the daughters of the Lord of the Heaven lived on the east side of the Mi...

    Diao Mei He Geng 调梅和羹’ is a metaphor that likens the art of governing a country to the adequate seasoning of a stew with salt and sour prunes. The scene is often made up of a group of women or men surrounding a stove, on which a cauldron of food is being cooked, with an assistant holding a container with sour p...

    Wang Xiang (王祥 185-269) served as the Grand Protector (taibao 太保) in the Western Jin court (西晋 265-316 CE) and, as a significant politician, has his biography in the Book of Jin (jinshu 晋书), an official historical text covering the dynasty’s history. When Wang Xiang was a boy, his mother passed away. Hi...

    ‘True love conquers all’ is the theme of the Peony Pavilion (牡丹亭 Mudan Ting), a musical play of fifty-five scenes written by Tang Xianzu (汤显祖, 1550-1616) in Ming dynasty. Also known as Th...

    Evidently, Zhao Kuangyin (赵匡胤 927–976), Emperor Taizu of the Song dynasty (宋太祖), often paid unofficial surprise visits to his courtiers. As a result, his ministers did not dare to change their official attire into casual wear even when they returned home from court. They had to be ready for imperial visits any time and d...

    The main figure in the scene is a dignitary, often gripping a hu (笏) tablet in his hands, which an official uses to take notes when he has audience with the emperor in court. He is usually sheltered by page boys erecting some fans or a parasol or guarded by a soldier holding a weapon with an iron melon on the to...

    This scene is an episode from the Ming drama ‘The Story of the Girl Holding a Red Fly Whisk

    The Ming-dynasty play The Story of the Blue Robe (青袍记 Qingpao ji, also called《梁氏父子传胪记》) tells the story of how Lv Dongbin (吕洞宾 Lü Dongbin or 吕纯阳), one of the Continue Reading

    In traditional Chinese customs, the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunisolar calendar is regarded as one of the most dangerous days of the year when evil spirits and hazardous creatures lurked around. Notably, five noxious creatures were identified, known as ‘Continue Reading

    Li Yuan 李渊 (566-635 CE) excelled at horse-riding, archery, and calligraphy as a young man. He was to be the future founder (reigned 618-626 CE) of the Tang dynasty (618-907 CE). Miss Dou was exceptionally smart and her father Dou Yi 窦毅, the governor of Dingzhou, was very particular about the quality of his future son-in-...

    The story scene is originated from an anecdote dating back to the Tang dynasty (618-907). Cui Rong (崔戎, 780-835) is a statesman who is important enough to have a position in the ‘Biographies’ section in the official histories The Old Book of Tang (jiu tang shu 旧唐书), completed in 945, and the New Book of Tang (

    Bo Yi (or Boyi, 伯夷) and Shu Qi (or Shuqi, 叔齐) were sons of the ruler of Guzhu (孤竹), a vassal state of the Shang dynasty (商朝, 16th-11th cent. BCE). As the king was getting old, he wanted Shu Qi, his youngest son, to inherit his throne. However, when the father died, Shu Qi asked Bo Yi to take over th...

    According to the Account of Wu (吴志) in The Records of the Three Kingdoms (三国志), Lu Ji (陆绩), was a native of Wu. At the age of six, he had an opportunity to meet Yuan Shu (袁术), who at the time controlled the region of Jiujiang. Yuan Shu put out some tangerines for him to eat. Lu Ji surreptitiously stuffed three of them in...

    The Eight Immortals (八仙 ba xian, in Chinese) are eight colourful Daoist personalities well-known in Chinese popular culture for over seven hundred years. 仙 (xian) in Chinese means ‘those who have achieved

    Romance of the Western Chamber (西厢记 Xixiang ji) is the most popular love comedy in late imperial China. In the story, Scholar Zhang (张生 Zhang Junrui) falls in love with a beautiful lady named Cui Yingying (崔莺莺), who happens to be stranded in a monastery with her widowed mother and, after plenty of twist...

    Emperor Yang of the Sui dynasty (隋炀帝, r. 606-18) is known for many achievements, such as linking the Yellow and Yangzi Rivers with the man-made Grand Canal, leading successful military campaigns expanding the Sui territory, and being accomplished in the arts. Despite those, Emperor Yang is also considered to have brought...

    Ancient literature shows that Laozi (老子, also known as Lao Tzu) served as the Keeper of the Imperial Archives of the Eastern Zhou court (东周, 770-258 BCE). He must have greatly benefited from the perk of the job – the easy access to the best stock of classics written on bamboo slips at the time and became s...

    Laozi (Lao Tzu 老子) is a great ancient Chinese thinker, to whom a five-thousand-character book ‘Dao de jing 道德经’, or The Scripture of the Way and Virtue, has been attributed. He is regarded as the founder of philosophical Daoism (Taoism), daojia 道家, because of his profound insights to life and t...

    Laozi (Lao Tzu 老子), literally ‘old teacher or master’, is the well-known name for a great ancient Chinese thinker, to whom a five-thousand-character book ‘Dao de jing 道德经’, or The Scripture of the Way and Virtue, has been attributed. He is regarded as the founder of philosophical Daoism (Taoism), da...

    Xiahou Dun (夏侯惇, died 13 June 220) was one of Cao Cao’s (曹操, 155-220) most valued generals in the late Eastern Han dynasty (东汉, 25-220) of China. Xiahou showed his strong temperament even when he was in his early teens. Once his mentor was insulted, and he went straight to the insulter and killed him. During the 190s in ...

    One day during Su Shi (苏轼, 1037-1101)’s exile in Huangzhou, Hubei province, his friend, Fo Yin (佛印, 1032-98) invited him and Huang Tingjian (黄庭坚, 1045-1105) to taste the ‘Peach-Blossom-Flavoured Vinegar’, made with a famous recipe inherited from the Tang dynasty (618-907). Su Shi, Huang Tingjian, and Fo Yin gathered arou...

    When the old duke of Jin (晋) passed away, his heir was still in the cradle. It was with the powerful minister Zhao Dun (赵盾)’s support that he succeeded in ascending the throne. Unfortunately, the young duke, who was posthumously given the title Duke Ling of Jin, Jìn Líng Gōng (晋灵公, ? – 607 BCE), became increasingly the o...

    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 b...

    Zhao Bian (赵抃, 1008-84) was held in high esteem all his life and posthumously because of his incorruptibility and sound statesmanship during his entire career. His prize possessions were legendarily well-known: a qin zither and two pets, a

    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 mounta...

    In the 14th-century historical novel, Romance of the Three Kingdoms (三国演义 – 甘露寺招亲), the generals in the Dongwu (东吴) kingdom conspired to murder Liu Bei (刘备), head of the Shu Han (蜀汉) kingdom, by inviting him to their territory with the promise of their king Sun Quan (孙权)’s sister for his wife. When Liu Bei...

    When Bing Ji (丙吉 d. 55 BCE) was a chancellor in the Han court, once he encountered the aftermath of a gang fight in the street. Bing Ji passed them without batting an eyelid. Further ahead, a buffalo passed and it looked out of breath. Bing Ji had its owner stopped and inquired about the buffalo’s heavy panting. Bing Ji’...

    According to Confucian ethics, a man’s ambition and pride need to be balanced by humility.

    General Lian Po (廉颇, active 298–236 BC) and Minister Lin Xiangru (蔺相如, active ca. 279 BC) were colleagues in the government of the state of Zhao. When Lin Xiangru received a higher appointment than Lian Po’s, Lian Po felt it...

    Qiuhu (秋胡), a native of the state of Lu during the Spring and Autumn period (770-476 BCE), was ordered to take up an official post in the state of Chen a scant five days after his marriage to Jiefu (洁妇), the ‘Loyal Wife’. Five years later, on his way back home, he encountered a woman by the roadside picking mulberry leav...

    ‘Sima Xiangru Inscribing on the Bridge Gateway (相如题桥)’ was a popular theme in theatre from at least the Song (960-1279) through to the Qing (1644-1911) dynasty. Sima Xiangru (司马相如) was a Western Han (202 BCE – 8 CE) scholar unsuccessful in making a career in civil services. However, Wang Ji, the magistrate of Linqi...

    The osmanthus tree prominent in the Moon Palace came to be a symbol for elite talents in the Jin dynasty 晋朝 (265-420). In around Tang dynasty (618-907), ‘plucking a sprig of osmanthus blossom’...

    Young Chen Ping (陈平, ?–178 BCE), later a minister of Western Han dynasty, as being an exemplar of fairness in his everyday work. According to Sima Qian’s (司马迁, 145BCE – ?) famous work Historical Records – Prime Minister Chen’s Family (史记 – 陈丞相世家 ), one day, Chen Ping’s village held a ceremony to offe...

    This is a story from the Romance of the Western Chamber, a famous Chinese play written by Wang Shifu (王实甫, 1260-1336) in Yuan dynasty (1271-1368):

    On his way to the capital to take civil-service exams, Scholar Zhang (张生) fell in love with the beautiful Cui Yingying (崔莺莺), who was stranded in a monastery. ...

    With strategic plans to restore the war-torn country back to order, the talented scholar Li Jing (李靖) was paying a visit to the powerful Lord Yang Su (杨素), who enjoyed luxurious ways of living and female company around him. To Li Jing’s disappointment, Lord Yang did not take his plans seriously. However, Red Fly Whisk (红...

    After Zhang Liang (张良, d. 189 BCE) failed to assassinate the first emperor of China, he changed his name and went into hiding. One day, he ran into Lord Yellowstone (黄石公), a guru strategist by the Yi Bridge (圯桥). The old man could see Zhang’s great potential but he wanted to put him through a series of tests before takin...

    The action of ‘pointing to the sun’ is termed in Chinese as ‘指日 zhi ri’, which sounds and looks exactly the same as (both homophone and homograph of) the phrase ‘指日 zhi ri’ meaning ‘in a few days’ time’. The state of ‘something rising high up’ is ‘高升 gao sheng’ in Chinese, which may be metaphor...

    Wei Jie (卫玠, 286-312) was admired as a handsome “jade man’ when he appeared in his signature goat-drawn carriage in town. Wei Jie shone like a piece of gleaming diamond whichever company he was in.

    On 17th century porcelain, the goat-drawn carriage and the Continue Reading

    The second half of the third century and the beginning of the fourth century saw a couple of most handsome men in the history of China. For example, Pan An 潘安 (247–300) was exceptionally cute and adorable when he was an adolescent. Women who spotted him in the street would circle around him and throw fruits into his char...

    A scholar official in Song dynasty Sima You (司马槱) dreamed of a beautiful girl presenting him the first half of a song, which he later developed into a full version called Huangjinlv (黄金缕). The girl was none other than a famous courtesan Su Xiaoxiao (苏小小) who lived by the Qiantang River and was in the local high ...

    Zhang Chang (张敞, ?- 48 BCE) and his wife grew up in the same village. When they were both children, Zhang Chang once threw a pebble at his future wife and, unfortunately, the scratch left a scar on one of her eyebrows. Later, Zhang became a civil servant and learned that the girl he once hit with a pebble was unmarried b...