Half-face Make-up

Alternate Name: 
Su Manling

I could have been a woman who ruled the world, but I couldn’t stand the loneliness and my soul moved on, its traces as invisible as tears and rain. Is it worth it? A pool of water so deep I couldn’t breathe. I could only struggle to see the other side. Lotus flowers after the rain should be delicate and succulent, but only sobs can be heard. Longing as deep as ashes, half a pan of lotus seeds scattered. My heart waits for someone who understands me. Even if beauty has faded, my heart remains the same and has no regrets. I would rather go with the wind, the moon, and be buried in the soil, than toil in the mud again. Power? Law? Rules for women? Let them go; I don’t mind. A story about Emperor Wu of Liang and his concubine Xu. Why did he announce to the world that she was a harlot, yet refuse to name any other woman as empress three years after her death? Why did she only make-up half her face when seeking death? Was she hinting that he was a one-eyed emperor? Why did he send their son to the battlefield to his death? Was it because of her suspected infidelity? She was the only royal woman in Chinese history who was listed as “lacking morals” in the books, was never named empress in her life, and was ordered to die by the emperor.