Pile it on

Jesters, like other entertainers or courtiers, could enjoy the generosity of the ruler, and there are many such examples in anecdotes or, in the European case, in court account records.  In China, a few specifically mention rolls of silk being doled out, but this example, referring to Emperor Tang Zhuangzong 唐莊宗 (r. 923-26) and his jester Newly Polished Mirror (Jing Xinmo 鏡新磨), doesn’t tell us the nature of the reward.

Zhuangzong was delighted and rewarded Newly Polished Mirror generously.




Source: `Lingguan zhuan’ 伶官傳, in Xin Wudai shi 新五代史 (The Historical Records of the Five Dynasties), by Ouyang Xiu 歐陽脩 (1007-72) and others, fol. 37, Siku Quanshu 四庫全書 (Shanghai: Guji Chubanshe, 1987), vol. 279, p. 229a.

Image credit: portrait of Emperor Zhuangzong of the Later Tang, hanging scroll, color on silk, National Palace Museum, Taipei.


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