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Qin Gao
- Qin Shi #28
琴高 1
琴史 #28 2
Qin Gao's carp ride3
The biography here mainly concerns the famous story of Qin Gao riding on a carp, as related in his
Liexian Zhuan biography.4 He was a man of Zhao during the Warring States period who for a time was a retainer with King Kang of Song.5 He studied the arts of two famous immortals, Juanzi and the even better known Pengzu, sometimes called "Chinese Methusaleh",6 then wandered for 200 years in (or between) Jizhou (northeast China) and Zhuojun (in modern Hebei), before jumping into Lake Zhuo, from which he later emerged riding on a carp. 7

The original biography in Qin Shi is as follows.8

Qin Gao was a man of Zhao. Skilled at playing the qin, he became a retainer with King Kang of Song. He was skilled in the arts of Juanzi and Peng (Zu). After wandering for 200 years Zhuozhou district of Jizhou, he left and jumped into Lake Zhuo to look for dragons, making arrangements with his disciples for when he would return. On that day, they should all fast and be clean, waiting by (the water's) edge and organizing a shrine. After Qin Gao came out riding on a red carp, he sat down in the shrine and multitudes came to saw him. He remained a month, then returned to the water. Liu Xiang praised him, saying,

Peaceful and harmonious Qin Gao, provided music as a Song court official.
....(translation of poem is incomplete9)

All of this concerns a divine immortal who used the qin to amuse and nurture himself.

There do not seem to be other stories concerning him and the qin.

 
Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Qin Gao 琴高 21570.40/1: name of a carp, after the person; /2: man's name (relates stories as here, plus the carp story is in a separate entry; /3: name of a mountain in Anhui. (Return)

2. 6 lines (Return)

3. Image
From an illustrated Liexian Quanzhuan, an expanded Ming edition of Liexian Zhuan.
(Return)

4. Liexian Quanzhuan does not have the poem included here (Return)

5. 趙 Zhao; 宋康王 King Kang of Song (Return)

6. 彭祖 Pengzu is said to have lived over 800 years. (Return)

7. 冀州 Jizhou is said to have covered a large area of northeast China; 涿郡 Zhuozhou district is said to have been in what is today Hebei province, thus perhaps part of Jizhou, but some versions suggest this Qin Gao travelled "between Jizhou and Zhuozhou". 涿水 Lake Zhuo (18044.1) is identified as a spring-fed lake in 涿鹿 Zhuolu district of modern Hebei province. (Return)

8. Begins, 琴高者趙人也。能鼓琴。為宋康王舍人。行涓、彭之術。。。。 (Return)

9. The whole poem (4+4) x 4) is as follows:

琴高晏晏,司樂宋宮。
離世孤逸,浮沈涿中。
出躍赬鱗,入澡清中。
是任水化,其樂無窮。
(Return)
 

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