272 Beijing Opera Masks - Lian Po - Number 12
Beijing Opera - "Reconciliation of the General and the Minister"
Lian Po with an old pink six-tenth face is a leading character in the opera "Reconciliation of the General and the Minister." In the period of the Warring States (475 - 222 B.C.), the two neighboring states of Zhao and Qin were often fighting against each other. In Zhao's court, there were two capable and talented officers - a military commander named Lian Po, and a civilian official named Lin Xiang-Ru. Because of these two men, the state of Qin dared not launch a full-scale invasion against Zhao.
Originally, Lin Xiang-Ru's position was far lower than that of General Lian Po. But later on, when Lin Xiang-Ru was assigned as an ambassador to Qin, he won a diplomatic victory for the Zhao. This led to Zhao king to assign him to more important positions, and before too long his rank climbed higher than Lian Po's. Lian Po was very unhappy, and unwilling to accept this. He kept telling his subordinates that he would find an opportunity to humiliate Lin Xiang-Ru. When Lin Xiang-Ru heard of this, he avoided meeting Lian Po face to face at any occasion. One day, some of Lin Xiang-Ru's officers came to see him and said, "General Lian Po has only talked about what he intends to do, yet you have already become so afraid. We feel very humiliated and would like to resign." Lin Xiang-Ru then asked them, "If you were to compare General Lian Po and Qin's King, who would be more prestigious?"On to Opera Mask 13 Back to Opera Mask 11
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"Of course General Lian Po cannot compare with the King of Qin!" they replied. "Right!" he exclaimed. "And when I was an ambassador to Qin I had the courage to denounce the King of Qin right to his face. Thus, I have no fear of General Lian Po! The State of Qin dares not attack Zhao because of General Lian Po and myself. If the two of us are at odds with each other, Qin will take advantage of this opportunity to invade us. The interests of this country come first with me, and I am not going to haggle with Lian Po because of personal hostilities!" Later, when Lian Po heard of this, he felt extremely ashamed. He tore off his shirt, and with a birch rod tied to his back, he went to Lin Xiang-Ru's home to request retribution for his own false dignity. Lin Xiang-Ru modestly helped Lian Po up from the ground and held his hand firmly. From that time on, Lian Po and Lin Xiang-Ru became close friends and served their country with the same heart.