(YEAR OF THE ROOSTER: An individual born
in this year sets high standards and goals, and is uncompromising in his
integrity, and in the honesty of those around him.)
Wang Chao-chun is one of the Four Great
Beauties of China. She was one of several thousand concubines of Emperor
Yuan of the Western Han dynasty (around 40 B.C.). It was the custom for
each lady to have a portrait painted, for that was how the monarch would
select his companion for the evening.
Now Mao, the court painter, was very
corrupt. He solicited bribes from all the women he painted. When he came
before Wang Chao-chun, she steadfastly refused to submit to his thinly
veiled extortion attempt, confident that her natural beauty would win out in
the end. In malice, Mao added an ugly birthmark to Wang Chao-chun's face in
the portrait, ensuring that she would never receive the emperor's favors.
A few years later, Emperor Yuan negotiated
peace with the barbarians. To cement the deal, he agreed to give "a Han
beauty" to the barbarian king. Not wishing to give a real beauty, the
emperor looked at the portraits of all the women in his harem, and chose the
ugliest he could find: Wang Chao-chun. Not until she was on the point of
departure did Emperor Yuan see her in person for the very first time.
Indeed, she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen in his life. The
emperor wanted to renege on his promise, but his ministers warned there
would be further bloodshed and warfare, so reluctantly, he had to let her
go. But because of her courage and self-sacrifice, she brought peace to the
two nations for many years.