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The Four Ancient Beauties
The Four Ancient Beauties are Diaochan, Xishi, Wang Zhaojun and Yang Guifei.

It is said that their beauty would shut out the moon, put the flowers to shame, and make the fish sink and the geese fall. They are regarded as the most beautiful women in the Chinese history. In the Chinese history, they occupied very important position.

Not only their breath-taking beauty, but also their roles in the history make them immortal. As an ambassador for national unity, a noble concubine who made a country failed, or a beautiful woman spy who changed the situation of a war, they all bore special historical mission.

Diao Chan

Diao Chan is destined to be a complicated and bewildering woman with extraordinary life experience.

As a story about Diao Chan praying for moon goes, she was so pretty that the moon itself would shy away in embarrassment
when compared to her looks.

It's said that Diao Chan was a maid of honor in the Han court at first. Later, she used "the beauty trap" to deal with Dong Zhuo and his son Lv Bu. Finally, she successfully assisted his father Wang Yun in rooting out the thief Dong Zhuo and has been remembered as an ideal woman of righteousness and self-sacrifice.

At that time, Dong Zhuo was the thief of the Han Dynasty and condemned by all. Since Wang Yun has such a beautiful girl as Diao Chan, he used a set of interlocking stratagems to kill Dong Zhuo. He first gave Diao Chan to Lv Bu, and then secretly sent Diao Chan to Dong Zhuo, Lv Bu's adoptive father. Diao Chan, following Wang Yun's plan, arrested both men's heart, and stories about "Lv Bu seeing Diao Chan in secret" and "Dong Zhuo furious at the Fengyi Pavilion" are widely known. It is ridiculous to see
a father and a son turn to foe, being jealous of each other because of a woman. Finally, Lv Bu was enraged and killed Dong Zhuo. Although the killing is simply because of a beauty, it works well in rooting out the bad apple of the kingdom.

There are no provable details about Diao Chan's death, but her beauty, together with her righteousness, is on everyone's lips from then on.

Xi Shi

Xi Shi is a famous beauty in the ancient kingdom of Yue. Her beauty ranked first among the four ancient beauties of China. It is said that when she went to the river to wash the gauze, even the fish forgot to swim after seeing her beautiful face and sank to the bottom of the river.

It's easy to find that the fates of four ancient beauties are closely related with that of the kingdom, and Xi Shi played an important role in the relationship between the kingdom of Wu and Yue. During the Spring & Autumn and Warring States periods, the kingdom of Wu and Yue were in conflict. King Gou Jian of Yue suffered much humiliation as prisoner of war. Determined to take the revenge, Gou Jian, sleeping on brushwood and tasting gall, endured all the hardships. He also took excellent counselor Fan Li's advice and sent beauties such as Xi Shi and Zheng Dan of Yue Kingdom to King Fu Chai of Wu kingdom. Fu Chai was very happy and doted on the two beauties. Obsessed with beauties and drinks, Fu Chai gradually let his guard down, neglected his governance and ignored his counselor's advice. Finally, the kingdom of Wu was defeated.

Wang Zhaojun

Wang Zhaojun, a maid in the imperial palace of Emperor Yuan Di of the Han Dynasty, has breath-taking beauty.

Yuan emperors were obsessed with beautiful girls. Ridiculously, they selected beauties through portraits done by painters. All the beauties offered bribes to the painters except Zhaojun, and the painter deliberately painted Zhaojun ugly to prevent her from seeing the emperor.

Later, chief of northern Xiongnu Huhanye Chanyu came to be subjugated by the Han Dynasty. In order to cement their relations, Xiongnu proposed the marriage-for-peace policy, according to which Chanyu would marry a daughter of the Han imperial family. Zhaojun volunteered to go. It was not until then that Yuan Di got to know that Zhaojun is a real beauty. Though the emperor wanted to keep Zhaojun, he could not break his words with Chanyu. Feeling regretful and angry, he gave rent to his resentment, severely punishing the corrupt official in charge of selecting the beauties and killing the painter.

Heading north, Zhaojun played the Pipa (a plucked string instrument with a fretted fingerboard) lonely to express her deep sorrow. Legend has it that the melody was so melancholic and heartbreaking that even the wild geese forgot to flutter their wings and fell on the ground.

Tu Fu, the Poetic Sage of the Tang Dynasty once related and sighed over Zhaojun's widely known story in his famous poem Poetic Thoughts on Ancient Sites.

After Zhaojun went to Xiongnu, the relationship between Han empire and Xiongnu was good and stable. The kingdom flourishes and people living in peace feel gratitude to Zhaojun. Zhaojun's image as the ambassador of national peace, together with her surpassing beauty, was thus engraved in people's mind for all time.

Yang Guifei

Yang Guifei is a famous beauty in the Tang Dynasty. Before she became the high-ranked imperial concubine of Emperor XuanZong, her name was Yang Yuhuan. Glancing back and smiling, she revealed a hundred charms. All the powdered ladies of the six palaces at once seemed dull and colorless. It is said that she was so beautiful that the flowers felt shameful and closed its pedals. Yang was known for her full built, therefore, among all the ancient Chinese beauties, Yang's style is much more like that of ancient western beauties.

Since Yang was fond of litchi, Emperor Xuanzong would ask his men to travel thousands of miles a day to transport fresh litchi northward to the capital Chang'an. As a poem goes: "Princess Yang grinned when the courier horse came, and nobody knew what the horse delivered was litchi."
(一骑红尘妃子笑,无人知是荔枝来。)

Since Yuang was dearly beloved by Xuanzong, all her five brothers and sisters got benefits and became celebrities with power at that time. Xuanzong was so indulged in beauty that he neglected his role as an emperor. As a result, the famous "An Shi Rebellion" (The Insurrection Waged by An Lushan and Shi Siming) broke out and the national power of the Tang Dynasty was much weakened. Although starting with a flourishing age, the Tang Dynasty fell at last. During the Rebellion, as Emperor Xuanzong and his entourage fled in discomfiture, a mutiny broke out when they arrived at Ma Weipo of Shaanxi Province. Yang Guifei became a scapegoat for the disaster and Xuanzong was forced to have Yang strangled. The beauty left the world forever, and that became the Emperor's perpetual grief. Their immemorial love and heartrending tragedy became touched the famous poet of the Tang Dynasty Bai Juyi, who wrote the famous poem The Song of Everlasting Sorrow. The classic saying "In heaven let us be two birds flying ever together, and on earth two trees with branches interlocked forever" has been widely used to describe fidelity and true love.

There are plenty of stories about Yang Guifei, among which "Guifei Zui Jiu (The Drunken Beauty)" was adapted into a play of Peking opera. Mei Lanfang, a celebrated impersonator of women's
roles in Peking Opera, used to present the lyrical one-act play, which has become a classic play of Peking Opera. Yang Guifei, while being remembered for her tragic end, serves as a typical case of "the dangerous beauty".

The four beauties are four unusual women, who all have written down the name in the Chinese history.

Because they are uncommon, they are immortal.

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