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Who are Yi Guang and Xiu Ming?


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I hope this is the right place to ask this,

I'm trying to find the source of a story about two women named Yi Guang and Xiu Ming who were given to the king of Wu and made a bead curtain. I'm told it comes from the Spring and Autumn Annals of Wu and Yue 吳越春秋, but I looked through the entire text (http://post.baidu.com/f?kz=66175258) and couldn't find the story:

Does anyone know where the story comes from?


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The names in Chinese characters are 夷光 and 修明. (施)夷光 = 西施. (鄭)修明 = 鄭旦. So take a look at 勾践十二年 of your link.

As to where the story is from, take a look at this information on the internet ->

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  • 1 month later...

I made translations of the two passages in case anyone is interested. I'm much less certain about the second passage since I didn't have an annotated version.









Goujian (King of Yue) 12th year

In the 12th year the King of Yue said to Dafu Zhong: "I heard that the King of Wu is given to excesses of women and wine, and is not concerned about governing. What do you say we make a plan based on this?"

Zhong said, "It could work. Given that the King of Wu has a thing for women, and that [his minister] Zai Pi is a toady who holds back his real feelings, if we present [the King] with beauties he is sure to accept them. My Lord only has to select two beautiful women and send them over." The King of Yue said, "Good."

Thereupon he sent his ministers out to search the country, and they came back with two women from Zhuluo Mountain who sold firewood named Xi Shi and Zheng Dan. He dressed them in wrinkled gauze, taught them how to act, trained them in Tu City, and showed them off in the alleyways of the capital. After three years of training they were presented to Wu.

So the minister Fan Li went forth and said, "Gou Jian, the King of Yue, has two heavenly women, and since the lowly country of Yue does not dare keep them, his majesty has sent your servant Li to present them. May your highness not detest them and take them as concubines or wives."

The King of Wu was greatly pleased and said, "This gift of two women from Yue is a testament to the ultimate loyalty of Gou Jian."

[The King of Wu's minister] Zixu remonstrated, saying, "No, your highness cannot accept them. Your servant has heard that 'The five colors cause men to go blind, and the five tones cause men to go deaf.' In the past Jie overlooked Tang and was eliminated, and Zhou overlooked King Wen and died. If your magesty accepts [these women] disaster will come. Your servant has heard that the King of Yue reads tirelessly in the morning and recites all night long. He has collected tens of thousands of soldiers willing to die for him. If he does not die he will enact his will. The King of Yue is loyal and benevolant, listens to remonstrations, and accepts virtuous servants. If he does not die he will achieve fame. The King of Yue wears wool in summer and thin hemp in winter. If he does not die he will have his revenge. Your servant has heard that 'virtuous servants are a country's treasure, and beautiful women are a country's shame.' The Xia dynasty died out because of Moxi, the Yin because of Daji, and the Zhou because of Baosi. [All beautiful women.]" The King of Wu did not listen to him and accepted the two women.

The King of Yue said, "Excellent. This is the third part of my plan."


Yue wanted to destroy Wu, and spent several days sending treasures, beauties, and different flavors to Wu. They made three sacrifices and prayed to heaven and earth, and sacrificed to the dragon of the rivers and seas, enlisting the help of the millions of residents south of the Yangzi. Yue also had two beautiful women, one named Yi Guang, and one named Xiu Ming, and offered them to Wu. Wu placed them in the Jiaohua residence, and threaded small pearls into a shining curtain. Those who managed to get a peek at them were without exception moved, and said they were angelic. The King of Wu was taken in with them and overlooked state affairs. The Yue army came and helped them escape from Wu.

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I don't have time yet to read thru the whole translation. Just a few comments (and I think other members who are more familiar with classical chinese may contribute more) -

宰嚭 - I think 宰 means "宰相/prime minister" and 嚭 means "伯嚭", the name of the prime minister.

蓄天下奇宝、美人、异味以进于吴 - I think 蓄 here means to collect, i.e. to collect treasures, beauties and exotic food from the whole world to give to Wu.

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