Course correction

Another example of jesters using the skit as a vehicle for influencing the emperor’s behaviour or policy.  Immortal Revelation Ding (Ding Xianxian丁仙現) was a jester who flourished for several decades.  In addition to being solicited for his opinions on music and poetry, he also used his position to offer advice, like a number of his counterparts.

`Every time he put on a skit before the emperor he would try to correct contemporary matters with his counsel’.

 

伶人丁仙現者,在教坊數十年,每對御作俳,頗議正時事。

 

Source: Pingzhou ketan 萍洲可談, by Zhu Yu 朱彧 (fl. c. 1110), fol. 3, Siku Quanshu 四庫全書 (Shanghai: Guji Chubanshe, 1987), vol. 1038, p. 309b.

Image credit: portrait of Song Huizong (r. 1100-26), Taipei: National Palace Museum, public domain

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