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Qin in Feng Shen Yanyi
(Investiture of the Gods 1, a novel by Xu Zhonglin[?] 2)
  Bo Yi Kao plays qin 3                
Altogether this 17th century novel seems to mention qin in 8 of its 100 chapters.
4 The most significant passages involving the qin are in Chapter 19.5 Here the beautiful Daji,6 who is possessed by an evil spirit and thus enticing Zhou Xin to do evil deeds, tries to seduce Bo Yi Kao,7 eldest son of Ji Chang (who became Wen Wang). Bo Yi Kao is depicted as an expert qin player.

Chapter 19 begins with Bo Yi Kao coming to Zhaoge, capital of the Shang dynasty,8 in order to ask Zhou Xin to release his father from imprisonment at Youli. Seeing Bo Yi Kao, Daji becomes enamored with him because of this good looks. She gets Zhou Xin to promise that if Bo Yi Kao plays qin well enough his father will be released. Boya Kao reluctantly agrees, then plays so well that they invite him to play at a banquet, at which time Daji becomes uncontrollably lustful in her desire for him. She persuades Zhou Xin to keep Bo Yi Kao at the court in order to teach her to play as well as to provide beautiful music. However, during instruction Daji can only think of seducing Bo Yi Kao. She tries many strategems - inviting him to sit next to her at banquets, trying to get him to grasp her hands while teaching her to play - but all fail. When she realizes that she can never succeed, she tells Zhou Xin that Bo Yi Kao tried to seduce her. Zhou Xin then tells Bo Yi Kao he must play a qin melody at court that will show his loyalty. After a scene involving a monkey that almost reveals Daji's true form, Bo Yi Kao plays songs that express his hatred to those without integrity or righteousness. Finishing these he throws his qin (or a knife from inside his qin) at Daji in an attempt to kill her. This fails, resulting in his torture and execution. His flesh is then made into meat pies and sent to his father Ji Chang.

Chapter 20 of Feng Shen Yanyi begins with Ji Chang, i.e., Wen Wang, playing qin for himself while in prison at Youli.9 There is an existing qin melody on the theme, Ju You Cao, but there is no suggestion in the text here that this is what he played. While he is playing suddenly a "killing sound" comes from one of the strings. In this way he realizes that his son has probably been killed by Zhou Xin. Soon messengers from the Shang court come with the meat pies. Although Ji Chang realizes what is in them, he has to eat several of the pies anyway. Later in the chapter, after defeating Fei Zhong and You Hun at chess, Zhou Xin mentions Bo Yi Kao's elegant qin play.

Daji and the "qin" (its music, but the instrument looks invented) also feature in a film released in 1964 called Daji (English title: Last Woman of Shang). However, the film plot, which has Daji infatuated with Ji Fa (the future Wu Wang), does not seem to come from this novel.10

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Investiture of the Gods (封神演義 Feng Shen Yanyi)
An English translation was published in 1992 as Creation of the Gods (see the Somewhat Less than Critical Commentary). A transation by Katherine Liang Chew of the first 46 chapters has been published with the title Tales of the Teahouse Retold, Investitute of the Gods; part of this can be found online. Online the novel is also discussed in both English Wiki and Chinese Wiki pages. A common name for the novel is 封神榜 Feng Shen Bang, but it is also known as 商周列國全傳 Shang Zhou Lieguo Quanzhuan and 武王伐紂外史 Wu Wang Fa Zhou Waishi (q.v.). It is a Ming dynasty 神魔小說 Novel of Demons, generally attributed to 許仲琳 Xu Zhonglin (also called 陳仲琳 Chen Zhonglin), but also attributed to the scholar of Daoist religion 陸西星 Lu Xixing.

Parts of the story are loosely related to the story told in the 1964 Hong Kong feature film Da Ji (see below).

The 封神演義 Feng Shen Yanyi story is also being retold in a narrative called 恨海情天 Hen Hai Qing Tian (10766.xxx; 7/529xxx). The first 22 chapters (more seem to be going up) are now online at vip.book.sina.com.cn/, focusing on the story of Daji. Hen Hai Qing Tian is also the name of a Cantonese opera film (English title: Unrewarding Love; see also The roots of all evils), like Daji released in 1964 but unrelated), as well as being the Chinese title for the Darryl Zanuck 1962 film Sanctuary.

2. 許仲琳 Xu Zhonglin (c. 1567-c. 1620)
Also called 陳仲琳 Chen Zhonglin. For Xu seee Wiki. There is apparently some debate as to the actual author.

3. Bo Yi Kao plays qin (compare a modern version; the above mistakenly has 伯邑老 Boyi Lao)
The above illustration is from 繡像封神演義 Xiuxiang Fengshen Yanyi, Qing dynasty edition.

4. Mention of qin in Feng Shen Yanyi
A Chinese ToC links all 100 chapters, while Wikibooks links to English summaries. The eight chapters that mention qin are as follows:

  1. Chapter 4   (once; 色納狐狸友琴瑟, in lyrics)
  2. Chapter 5   (once; 一條藜杖五弦琴, in lyrics)
  3. Chapter 15 (once; 琴劍 qin and sword)
  4. Chapter 19 (48 times; Daji and Bo Yi Kao; [details])
  5. Chapter 20 (5 times; Wen Wang plays qin in prison; one later mention [details])
  6. Chapter 22 (once; 鼓琴音兮屈害忠良, in song)
  7. Chapter 28 (once; 涼亭上琴韻清幽, in poem)
  8. Chapter 48 (once; 靜裏瑤琴樂性情, in poem)
Chapter 19 has the most extensive mention, but Chapter 20 has (see below).

5. Chapter 19: 伯邑考進貢贖罪 Bo Yikao Jin Gong Shu Zui
This chapter title is translated as "Gifts to the King" in the summary at Wiki, but as "Heirloom Treasures" in the summary at Baidu. The original Chinese text seems to be included at 伯邑考進貢贖罪, while the retelling seems to spread this story over two chapters, 19 (壽仙宮妲己學琴) and 20 (公子朝歌魂歸西).

6. Da Ji 妲己
6298 妲 says it can also be pronounced Dan, and sometimes her name is written Dan Ji; she is also sometimes referred to as 蘇妲己 Su Daji. 6298.1 妲己 Daji (also written 妲妃) quotes 國語,晉語 saying she was a woman of the 有蘇 You Su clan, which used Ji as its surname. She became concubine of 紂辛 Zhou Xin who, according to Shi Ji Annal 3, loved her so much he did whatever she asked; it then describes Zhou Xin's depravities and says that after Wu Wang defeated him and Zhou Xin commited suicide, Wu Wang cut off his head and hung it up with a white banner, then executed Daji. Annal 59 adds that it was she who caused Zhou Xin's destruction. According to the account in Lienü Zhuan, which includes her as the second entry under 卷七孽嬖傳 Folio 7, Depraved Favorites (online), after Wu Wang gained power, defeating Zhou Xin at Muye, Zhou Xin commited suicide, then Wu Wang cut off Da Ji's head and hung it up with a white banner saying it was she who caused Zhou Xin's destruction.

The account in Giles says that Zhou Xin originally captured Daji during an expedition against the Yousu tribe. It says she led him into debauchery, then ends, "When taken prisoner by Wu Wang, her beauty was still so entrancing that no one could be found willing to deal the fatal blow. At length Tai Gong, the aged counsellor of Wu Wang, stepped forward, and covering his face with his hands, laid the enchantress low."

Daji is a major character in the 17th century novel 封神演義 Feng Shen Yanyi, as described above. Here, because Zhou Xin has offended the goddess Nü Wa by lusting after her, she has Daji inhabited by a fox spirit who will lead Zhou Xin to destruction. The source of this story is not clear, nor is it clear what inspired the novel's depiction in Chapter 19 of Daji's relationship with Bo Yi Kao: none of the above accounts mentions these.

The film Last Woman of Shang Romanizes her name as Tanji and re-invents her as a heroine.

The biography of Zhao Feiyan compares her to Da Ji.

7. 伯邑考 Bo Yi Kao
Most sources, including Wiki, write his name Bo Yi Kao, but online his name is often written Boyi Kao. The reason for this is not clear: the Chinese text of Feng Shen Yanyi usually shortens his name to Yikao, so Bo Yikao would seem to make more sense. He is mainly known through his depiction in Feng Shen Yanyi. I have not yet found earlier accounts that feature him as depicted in the novel, in particular playing the qin or being the object of Daji's lust.

538.107 周文王長子,質於商,為紂所烹。見禮,檀弓上、淮南子,氾論訓。 Eldest son of Zhou Wen Wang (here called 姬昌 Ji Chang), detained in Shang, boiled (to death) by Zhou (Xin). It gives two references, but neither mentions this: Li Ji, Tan Gong I (q.v.); and Huainanzi, Fan Lun Xun (para. 5). Bio/1098 is similar but gives as its source 帝王世紀 Diwang Shiji (by 皇甫謐 Huangfu Mi, 215-82).

At Anyang city of Henan province there is a mound said to contain the grave of Bo Yi Kao. It seems to be part of a tourist attraction/historical site marking Youli, the place where Zhou Xin imprisoned Bo Yi Kao's father Ji Chang (Wen Wang).

8. 朝歌 Zhao Ge
The Shang dynasty is said to have had seven capital cities, the major one being 殷 Yin itself, now a World Heritage Site called The Ruins of Yin (殷墟 Yin Xu; see Wiki).

9. Chapter 20: 散宜生私通費尤 San Yisheng Si Tong Fei You
The English summary at Wiki, which translates the chapter title as "San Yisheng Bribes the Corrupt Courtiers" (i.e., 費仲 Fei Zhong and 尤渾 You Hun), does not mention the passage in which Ji Chang (Wen Wang) plays the qin. The original Chinese text seems to be included at 伯邑考進貢贖罪 (the episode with Ji Chang opens the chapter; the later mention of qin comes later in the chapter, after Zhou Xin defeats Fei Zhong and You Hun in a chess game); as for the retelling, the passage with Ji Chang playing qin occurs in Chapter 21 (西伯封王歸西歧).

10. Film: Last Woman of Shang (original title: 妲己 Da Ji, romanized in the film as "Tanji")
See details at IMDb or the SB website. Originally released by Shaw Brothers in 1964, it has recently been re-released as a DVD. The "plot" as stated on the IMBd website is clearly (as of June 2010) for the wrong film, but the User Review at bottom gives a good summary (though it does not mention qin). On 15 December 1964 it was reviewed in the NY Times.

The film centers around episodes involving Daji (here Romanized Tanji) and another son of 姬昌 Ji Chang, 姬發 Ji Fa (better known as Wu Wang). Here, Daji has not been possessed by a demon, as in the book. Instead as a woman out for revenge against 紂辛 Zhou Xin for having had her father Su Hu executed, she eggs on Zhou Xin into evil deeds not out of wickedness but so that the people will rise up against him. She also saves the life of Ji Fa and helps him defeat Zhou Xin.

In the film both she and Ji Fa play a "qin": the music seems to be mostly Mei'an school, silk strigs, player not identified. However, the instrument shown is a five string zither with a very high bridge that does not allow sliding. Usually when this instrument is played in the film there is also other music in the background. Notable "qin" scenes (timing from the DVD) are:

09.12: Daji and her maid are taking a qin to play at her favorite spot in the countryside, but they see and hear Ji Fa already playing there. He says he is playing a folk rhyme (民謠 minyao) praising 商湯 Tang Shang for overcoming the evil 夏桀 Xia Jie 600 years earlier; the actual qin music is unidentifiable and there is other unrelated instrumental music on top of it. Daji falls in love with him, asks him to teach her.
12.45: Daji and Ji Fa play qin together in a large pavilion; the music seems to be Guan Shan Yue, again with other music played on top
22.05: Ji Fa is carrying his qin in a case as he inspects flooding from ruined dykes.
63.15: Daji plays qin by herself in her room; no background music on top.
64.05: Same scene: a closeup of the instrument shows that the single bridge, about one third of the distance from the end by the player's left hand, extends over all five strings. If such an instrument ever existed logically it would be played with the plucking hand on one side of the bridge and the ornamenting hand on the other side, but she "plays" it with both hands on the longer side (right side).

On my copy of the DVD there do not seem to be any credits.

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