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Phrase & Stories
Li Shishi - Famous Courtesan of Song Dynasty

Li Shishi - Famous Courtesan of Northern Song Dynasty

Li Shishi was a famous courtesan in the Northern Song dynasty (960-1127). The Emperor Huizong (1082-1135) was a regular client of hers. Li was good at singing, dancing and poetry. Many writers, poets and people in high society were her clients. The Northern Song was destroyed by the Jin kingdom and Li Shishi"s whereabouts were unknown. There were three versions of her whereabouts:

One: Li Shishi was a Taoist nun. When Jin attacked Song, she donated all her property to help the Song army. After the Jingkang Affair (when Jin captured Bianjing, the capital of Song on November 1126, the Jin army went back with the capture of the Song emperor and his family members in 1127.) Li Shishi fled the capital and became a Taoist nun.

Two: Li Shishi died a heroic death. After the Jin army captured Bianjing, the king of Jin wanted to have Li Shishi. They finally found her but she was unwilling to be  with the  king. She stabbed her throat with a gold hairpin but she didn"t die. Then she swallowed the gold hairpin, committing suicide.

Three: Li Shishi died of poverty. When Li Shishi fled to the south, people thought she was a dangerous beauty and did not want anything to do with her. She became very poor and married a businessman. At last, she drowned in Qiantang River.


 
   
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