Li Linfu: Dictatorial Tang Prime Minister under the Emperor Xuanzong (713-756) whose excesses helped foment An Lushan's revolt. Noted for spying on the Emperor's activities by controling the harem.
Zhen Ze: a place in modern Wujiang County, Jiangsu Province.
Kai Yuan reign title: 713-742 CE, first reign period of the Xuan Zong Emperor (ruled 713-763CE.). The novel's association with some bad karma from the Tang period is established here in the first line
Bashan: mountain in modern Sichuan Province
Chu Nyu ( Xuan Nyu, Yue Nyu ) The legendary reappearing/transformed maiden appears over and over in Chinese legend, assisting legendary and early kings. Read about her various manifestations in Chinese In Ci Hai, Ci Yuan, Zhongwen Da Cidian in in simplified character Chinese with sources in Zhongguo Shenhua Chuanshuo Cidian, Yuan Ke, Editor, Shanghai Cishu Chubanshe, 1985. Hereafter ZSCC.
Yuan Gong:: The story of Yuan Gong and his legendary encounter with Chu Nyu is very famous. The entire story related here appears in many places in different forms, some identical to this account. See ZSCC for citations in traditional Chinese sources and a brief outline with information under headings of Chu Nyu, Bai Yuan Shen, Xuan Nyu Yue Nyu, Nan Shan Gou Jian and Kuaijishan.
Jade Emperor of 9 Heavens/9th Heaven; a principle diety in Chinese popular belief which is strongly characterized by syncretism, so he is associated with various beliefs/teleologies; he and his rule in Heaven are a reflection of the governments and bureaucracies of earth.
Xi Wang Mu, The Queen Mother of the West. A central figure in Chinese mythology, residing at Yushan in the Kunlun Range with her court. A main figure in Chinese mystery religion and millenarian revolts throughout the ages. Yaochi: The Jadepool, Fairyland resort of the Queen Mother of the West in the lower Kunlun Mountains, North of the Red River which feeds into the Yangzi near source.
"Yang" with reference to a river means the north, or sunny, bank.
Ruyi (Ce) Ruyi, blessings, appears commonly in the phrase Wanshi Ruyi (Blessings in all undertakings.) It is interestingly one of the Empress Wu Zetian's reign titles for the year 692CE, along with "Changshou" (Long Life). "Tiance Wansui, long live Heaven's Books was another (695CE).
72 Transformations: these are mentioned in Xi You Ji (Chapt 7) and elsewhere, see ZSCC for brief explanation and sources in modern Chinese.
The Duanwujie, Or summer solstace festival, is nominaly the festival of the death of Chu Yan, when rice cakes are placed in lake and river waters to honor the spirit of the dead legendary official, and the Dragon Boat races take place. Originaly this may have been a sacrifice to the river gods of those who were more or less accidently drowned in the event. This importance of this date was established very early on in Chinese historical time.
Dry Winds (Forces) of High Heaven, Wet Winds (Forces)of Deepest Earth, Greater and Lesser Transformations etc are fundamental cosmological/physical concepts of the Book of Changes, one of the basic Five Classics of the Chinese culture. They are the underpinning of the Confucianist as well as Daoist global outlook.
The Lord of the Polestar, or Beidoujun, resides in the Palace of the Polestar, the northern constellation of the Zhou sky. He is a figure of mysterious and dark religious signicance and the great judge, also guard of the entrance to the Palace of Heaven from his star home in the Ciwei. A central figure in Chinese astrology/mythology, well worshipped in Japan (patron of Japanese lorry drivers at present,) associated always with masculinity, hardness, violent justice. The "Sheriff" of the heavens. See "Pacing the Void, Tang Approaches to the Stars" by Edward Schafer for a delightful treatment of Chinese astronomy/cosmology in Tang times, with much attention to the "Restored Zhou Dynasty" of the Empress Wu Zetian.UNDER CONSTRUCTION Back to Chapter 1