Sep 30, 2012

Diao Chan was one of the “Four Beauties“ in ancient China together with Xishi, Yang Guifei and Wang Zhaojun. Legend has it that when Diao Chan paid offerings to the moon at midnight, Chang'e (the Chinese Moon Goddess) hurried to hide in clouds, for this beautiful lady made her feel inferior. The phrase “outshines the moon“ in the beauty-describing idiom “Beauty which outshines the moon and shames the flowers“ has Diao Chan as the very subject. This legend embodies in an exaggerated way Diao Chan’s beautiful appearance in the eyes of the Chinese people.

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Diao Chan - 貂蝉

Diao Chan’s role as a widely known character is attributed to the famous novel-Romance of the Three Kingdoms. According to the novel, Diao Chan is a singing girl in the late Eastern Han Dynasty. In order to alienate Dong Zhuo (a tyrannical warlord) from Lu Bu (Dong Zhuo’s adopted son), Diao Chan took upon herself to implement interlinked badger games, regardless of her own happiness. Under her effort, Dong Zhuo was killed by Lu Bu, thus contributing to the emerging of the outstanding heroes: Cao Cao, Liu Bei and Sun Quan, etc. The story of Diao Chan’s circumventing Dong Zhuo and Lu Bu is narrated in Phoenix Pavilion, a play of Beijing Opera.

Diao

Diao Chan - 貂蝉

Records on Diao Chan are scarcely found in history. Most of narrations about her were given in unofficial history books and other literary works. According to scholars’ textual research, Diao Chan is a real person in history. She was living in Muzhi Village in Xinzhou, Shaanxi Province. In the village still stands a stele written with “Diao Chan’s Hometown“ as well as her tomb and temple. They were built for commemoration of this respectable woman who sacrificed herself for the country.

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