"The sharp knife of a short life

I've had just enough time..."

- "If I Die Young" The Band Perry

I see Beauty in many things. And like the ghosts that only speak to you if you notice them, they tell me wondrous tales. With my camera and my thoughts, I captured these as faithfully as I can to share with you. And by doing so, they gave me the reasons. And though the thousand reasons may not all be sweet and some indeed bitter; they are still reasons to live. Come to think about it, that is Life, isn't it?

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Farewell To My Concubine Part I - The Battle of Gaixia (垓下之战)

I've had just enough time to...   join in the Battle of Gaixia

Taken of the Farewell to My Concubine Opera in Beijing

Betrayed by former friend and ally Liu Bang with a fake peace treaty, Xiang Yu was constantly harassed and ambushed on the retreat back to Western Chu. A trap was sprung in the canyon near Gaixia but Xiang Yu was too intelligent to fall for it and ordered his troops to head back to his capital through the main road. But then his beloved concubine Yuji travelling with the convoy was captured in one of the ambush and brought deep into the canyon of Gaixia…

In spite of knowing he will be rushing into a trap, the King of Chu ordered the rest of his tired men back to the capital while with a smaller troop of 100,000 men tried to save his wife. Once in the canyon, Liu Bang’s crafty ally and mastermind of the trap Han Xin wielded his “ambush from ten sides”  (十面埋伏). Though he managed to save his wife, he and his troop were hopelessly trapped by a superior and fresh troop of 300,000 Han soldiers and were gradually decimated.

As night fall, the Chu troops were helmed in by enemies from all sides and the situation was desperate. Han Xin ordered his men and the captured Chu soldiers to sing Chu folk songs employing the tactic  "Chu Song from Four Sides" (四面楚歌) to break the spirit of the remaining Chu soldiers causing some to desert the army. Yuji stopped Xiang Yu from taking actions against his own men. Calling for wine, Xiang Yu drank and lamented his situation with a poignant composition known as “The Song of Gaixia”. On the brink of total defeat, they spent their intimate moments together and Lady Yu performed the last sword dance for her king

Next post: The Song of Gaixia.


Pipa master Pui-Yuen Lui "Ambushed from Ten Sides", Los Angeles, California 2000 琵琶演奏家呂培原"十面埋伏", 加州洛杉磯 2000


  1. A 1000 Reasons
    Continuing the tragic tale of “Farewell to My Concubine” started in “I am a Painted Face but not a Clown!”. The event is related to the last battle of the King of Chu where he is surrounded by enemies from all sides and his last moments with his concubine. This part is immortalized by the Beijing Opera play and later by what many considered to be the best Chinese movie ever made, by Chen Kaige and the only Chinese movie to win the the Palme d’Or in the Cannes Film Festival. The shots were taken in the Beijing opera that I attended last year.

    TarotWoman 2012
    The pageantry of set to designer costumes is visually stunning.
    The colours of bright tones of blue contrast so well with the terracotta masks engrained behind. An eastern delight

    ★ineedathis added this photo to his favorites.
    Love the backdrop here!
    thanks for your info, Have a great weekend my friend!

    ★ΞSSΞ®®Ξ added this photo to his favorites.

    interesting costumes and scene! great theatre!


  2. A 1000 Reasons
    This is the last dance that Lady Yu performed for the King of Chu before she committed suicide blaming herself for the downfall of the Chu dynasty. She was only 16 when she took her life.

    A 1000 Reasons
    On Lady Yu's tomb was inscribed a couplet "The Immortable Woman"
    What can Lady Yu do
    It is a universal truth
    That a beautiful woman
    Always has an unfortunate life
    Where are you now
    There is only a grave
    That faces the sunset
    On both sides

    ★ineedathis added this photo to his favorites.
    Excellent monochrome Thou!

    ★ΞSSΞ®®Ξ, RYA Photography, and Franco Marconi added this photo to their favorites.

    How sad that she would carry such a burden. :(

    ★Onasill added this photo to his favorites.
    This is fantastic ... well captured for the effect ( Black/White)...always a great read


  3. ★ΞSSΞ®®Ξ added this photo to his favorites.

    interesting costumes and scene! great theatre!

    oola *
    Bejing... on a grassy spot between a busy street and the river...
    how i would have loved to see the real opera.... thank you for these photos

    henrhyde (gill)
    Beautiful presentation and information.

    ★Onasill added this photo to his favorites.
    Gorgeous colors ... and well executed for the capture my compliments

    ★i_still_believe_in_u and Pagan Eyes added this photo to their favorites.

    Beautiful entertainement and educational shot!
    Congratulations, you are invited to post your image to our group:
    Please, feel free to join us and add your beautiful image.
    中国国家地理/Chinese National Geography .

    Ti invito a postare questa bellissima foto nel gruppo/You are invited to post this beautiful photo in the group
    FOTOPEDIA by Paul Mor

    ★zneppi, the photo freak added this photo to his favorites.
    Wonderful scenery!

    Lovely colorful photograph capturing the magic of live theater!

    ★娜 娜☂Nana added this photo to her favorites.
    Do You Understand Chinese language?
    you have a very strong interest and deep understanding of China's history.

    ★julien. H added this photo to his favorites.

    Beautiful shot

    ★Prometheus_BD added this photo to his favorites.
    Awesome shot.. lovely light and wonderfully presented!!

    ★Geo_grafics added this photo to his favorites.
    Sure is a wonderful classic and mighty fine work for the tough conditions :)

    ★-Josh Birchall- and Steve Taylor (Photography) added this photo to their favorites.

    Steve Taylor (Photography)
    The background looks superb

    1. shantyrof
      Life need to vary to balance the serious and casual activities, as I see the results of your picture makes me more relaxed and thoroughly enjoyable. Not one photo of you makes me bored because you're a talented artist, I'm glad to meet you and I'm proud to have a clever friend like you. thank you my friend who has contributed much thought on flickr is especially very helpful for me. Have a wonderful day with your family.
      ★shantyrof added this photo to her favorites.


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