This anecdote from Sima Guang’s 11th century historical record, the Comprehensive Mirror in Aid of Governance, gives an insight into the personal closeness that could exist between an emperor and the jester.  This jester, with the engaging name of Going Round in Circles (Zhou Za), was captured during a military campaign against the Liang. It is noteworthy that the imperial historian Sima Guang mentions the emperor was ‘always longing for him’.  When they were reunited:

‘Going Round in Circles blubbed with emotion and explained how his life had been preserved only by the intercession of two Liang officials.  He asked the emperor to repay their kindness with a generous gift of land to the tune of two regions, and, overjoyed at seeing his beloved jester again, he agreed.’

伶人周匝為梁所得,帝每思之;入汴之日,匝謁見於馬前,帝甚喜。匝涕泣言曰:「臣所以得生全者,皆梁教坊使陳俊、內園栽接使儲德源之力也,願就陛下乞二州以報之。」帝許之。

 

Source: Zizhi tongjian 資治通鑑 (Comprehensive Mirror in Aid of Governance) (1084), by Sima Guang 司馬光 (1019-86), fol. 273, Siku Quanshu 四庫全書 (Shanghai: Guji Chubanshe, 1987), vol. 310, p. 351a-b

Source: Zizhi tongjian資治通鑑 (Comprehensive Mirror in Aid of Governance) (1084), by Sima Guang司馬光 (1019-86), fol. 273

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This