Synopsis: Set in the Tang Dynasty, Ran Yu is a noblewoman who becomes interested in forensic science after her Mother’s mysterious suicide and begins to solve murder cases. She meets a judicial official and an assassin by chance and finds true love through the course of searching for the truth.
- Carry jade and gold but do not have the bearing of jade: This is a mockery about those who dress up to look like nobles but do not have the training/etiquette/bearing to be a match for their clothes.
- Commandant of justice: He is a minister of the 5th rank which is why he is in red. If you remember, Xiao Song is a 4th ranking minister so he is above him in station. He assists the Deputy Head judge of the Court of Judicial review in his tasks.
- This was an excerpt from the classic the Shuowen Jiezi (roughly means explaining graphs and analyzing characters ) written by Xu Shen a scholar from the Han dynasty (25-189 CE) where he describes the five virtues associated with jade which are honor, morality, intelligence, courage and purity.
- The streams flow over overlapping stones the woods dense with bamboo: I believe this a description of the engravings of the jade screen.
- Lü Zhi: Well known for being one of the most evil women in chinese history. However there has been some controversy about her. She was the wife of Emperor Gaozu of Han (the emperor who established the Han dynasty) and then ruled as regent for her son and her young grandson when they became Emperor. First she lived in an era dominated by men and then during her reign as acting Emperor she deposed of many of her grandson’s and installed a lot of her kinsmen and rumored lovers in important government posts. However you must remember that history was written by men and many of the male ministers had feared her during her years as regent and acting emperor so there have been some debate amongst modern historians about how many of the crimes she has been accused of were actually true or if they were simply exaggerated and how many of her achievements were downplayed. On the other hand some historians like Sima Qian did praise her for her political achievements and that she was key to helping her husband establish the Han Empire and run it so well as mentioned in the drama. In fact some argue that she was the one who set up the system that helped the Han dynasty reach the peak of it’s power shortly after her death. She had also suffered a great deal when Emperor Gaozhu was busy establishing his empire (including being abandoned by him when she was captured by his enemies). After great effort she finally managed to return but by then he already had his favorite concubine Consort Qi by his side. However the thing that she is most known for was creating this thing called the “human swine”. After returning and becoming Empress of Han she began consolidating power for both herself and her son. However Consort Qi was unsatisfied with being simply a consort and wanted her son to be the Crown Prince and herself to be Empress. Lü Zhi and her son was almost disposed of until she managed to get the support of most famous four reclusive wise men from Mt Hao. This became a thorn in Lü Zhi’s mind and after Emperor Gaozhu’s death she began to exact revenge. First she got Consort Qi to shave her head, dressed her up in prison garb and then mill the rice instead of giving her the title Princess Dowager which was customary. Consort Qi was furious with this treatment and not realizing how precarious her situation was, complained ” My son is a prince but as his mother I am a prisoner, save me from this suffering!” This was the last straw as Lü Zhi felt that Consort Qi was trying to tell her son to overthrow her and so she summoned Consort Qi’s son back from his fief and killed him. Then she cut off Consort Qi’s limbs, dug out the eyes and deafened her ears with poison, forced poison down her throat to mute her and then threw her in the latrine and kept her there until she died. She then showed her creation which she named the human swine to her son who was horrified and relinquished his authority and indulged in carnal pleasures.