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Gift that is turned down

Posted July. 09, 2021 07:24,   

Updated July. 09, 2021 07:24


Jiang Caiping was nicknamed Consort Mei by Old China’s Emperor Xuanzong. She was the favorite concubine of the ruler thanks to a high level of literary appetite and musical skills. However, she was put on the back burner after the emperor got completely engrossed by Yang Guifei. Staying out of the emperor’s sight, Jiang spent long years in solitude and loneliness at an interior palace. Her life was no different than being locked in. It must have been a harder thing to endure oblivion for so long rather than to be abandoned by the emperor. Not dolled up at all, she only consoled herself with her own tears. When the emperor once tried to meet Consort Mei in secret but Yang Guifei got in his way, he sent a gift to her as a sign of apology. Being an imperial gift, a string of pearls was only a useless item for a woman who gave up on primping in front of the mirror. She likened herself to Empress Chen of Wu who was confined to the Long Gate Palace by Emperor Guangwu of Han and ended up dying from disease in the shadows. The imperial gift was rejected.

Long after the Anshi War ended and even Yang Guifei died, Emperor Xuanzong was reminded of Consort Mei. Asking all around, the emperor came by a piece of her portrait. Filled with remorse for not visiting her earlier, he improvised a poem about the drawing: “I wish I could see my gorgeous lady Consort Mei living in the Zichen Palace. I was smitten by the outstanding looks of the lady who was already shiny without any makeup on. Look at how the portrait drawn on silk just looks like her. What a saddening moment that the eyes beautifully described in the drawing do not recognize her love!” The love poem is full of the longings and remorse of the man recalling his old love to mind. However, it still fails to notice how frustrated a woman who lost her love would have been about overcoming emptiness.