Thursday, 22 September 2016

The Passion Of The Cut Sleeve--Duan Xiu Zhi Pi (Chinese Gay Story)

This Chinese of the passion of the cut sleeve--Duan Xiu Zhi Pi is 断袖之癖, and Pin Yin duàn xiù zhī pǐ.

In China, homosexuality, as one of the three main categories of sexual orientation, along with bisexuality and heterosexuality, has been referred to since the early recorded history.


Like ancient Greek who created the word "Lesbians (the name of the Greek island , where the poet Sappho wrote largely about her emotional relationships with young women.)" to call female homos, ancient Chinese invented their own terms to refer to same-sex lovers, that is, "the bitten peach--Fen Tao (分桃)" and "the cut sleeve--Duan Xiu(断袖)".

"The bitten peach--Fen Tao" was from a story recorded in an article of Han Fei Zi. It said that during the Warring States period (475 B.C-221 B.C), Duke Ling (卫灵公),the ruler of the state of Wei, loved his intimate minister, Mi Zi Xia (弥子瑕).

One day, when they were taking a walk together in the garden, Mi Zi Xia saw a ripe peach hanging on a peach tree branch; so picking it off, he took a bite and then passed it to the duck, at which all other intimate ministers were astonished, for it was an insult for the ruler to offer him leftover food; however, Duck Ling smiled and said to them:" see, how Mi Zi Xia loves me! He tastes the peach first and give it to me after knowing it was delicious. "

"The cut sleeve--Duan Xiu(断袖)" derived from "The Book of Han", a historical book documenting the history of Eastern Han Dynasty. Emperor Ai (汉哀帝), the second last emperor of Eastern Han Dynasty and the most famous gay Emperor in Chinese history, cared for his male companion Dong Xian (董贤) very much.

Once they took a nap together; when Emperor Ai woke up, he found he could not get up, since Dong Xian was sleeping on the top of his sleeve. In order not to wake Dong Xian up, Emperor Ai carefully cut it off, and then left quietly.

From these two stories, ancient Chinese created the formulaic expressions "The bitten peach and the cut sleeve--Fen Tao Duan Xiu (分桃断袖, fēn táo duàn xiù)" or "The passion of the cut sleeve--Duan Xiu Zhi Pi (断袖之癖, duàn xiù zhī pǐ)" to refer to homosexuality in general.

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