Liu Bei's cannibalism?

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Liu Bei's cannibalism?

Unread postby Beautiful_Beard » Thu Dec 25, 2003 11:16 am

Am I misreading chapter 19 in the scene with Liu An or did Liu Bei eat a woman and then was happy about it because it showed Liu An's loyalty?
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Unread postby Sima Hui » Thu Dec 25, 2003 11:21 am

No, you're not mistaken. However Liu Bei didn't know untill after he had finished the meal. He was happy because Liu An had shown more love for him than his own wife.
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Unread postby Beautiful_Beard » Thu Dec 25, 2003 11:30 am

Actually, it also depends on the translation, as Im looking at my three different copies, one has him grateful, one has him kinda upset and the other has him with mixed feelings on the subject.
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Thu Dec 25, 2003 9:04 pm

In my Chinese edition, it says that he was sad and moved, and weeping, he mounted his horse (after he found out the next morning). And then, when Cao Cao heard about it, he shed tears too, but then sent Sun Qian to give a gift of gold to Liu An. Sounds like they approved of Liu An's actions...
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Unread postby James » Thu Dec 25, 2003 9:48 pm

Yeah, he was moved by the show of loyalty/love shown by the man, in killing his own wife to serve him dinner. This serves as one of many drastic differences between culture today and what people might have expected at this point in Chinese history. I doubt many people who heard the story in the following centuries were as shocked as some of us are today.

Lady Wu wrote:but then sent Sun Qian to give a gift of gold to Liu An. Sounds like they approved of Liu An's actions...

My translation identifies it as the proper amount of money to ‘get a new wife’.
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Unread postby EERman » Fri Dec 26, 2003 3:01 am

so what did liu an do? i son't have the full book, only the abriged version, so i never read about this. he killed his wife and served her for dinner to liu bei? and then cao cao gave liu an money to but a new wife? is that correct? and why did liu bei visit liu an? are they related(liu-liu)?
please explain this chapter to me.
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Unread postby Beautiful_Beard » Fri Dec 26, 2003 3:21 am

My copy dosent say definitively that Liu An killed his wife, just that he carved her up as food...the implication is he killed her, but its no unreasonable to say she might have been dead, though granted this is putting a very twenty first century morality onto it.

As to whether or not the two are related, I got the impression they were distant relatives.
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Unread postby James » Fri Dec 26, 2003 6:48 am

When Liu An received Liu Bei, he offered Bei a meal and Bei gladly accepted. Finding that he had no meat, however, Liu An killed his wife and used meat from her body to prepare Liu Bei a meal. When Bei left later, he found the body with a section carved out and was deeply moved by Liu An’s actions, realizing what had been done.

When he rejoined Cao Cao, he told him of what happened, and Cao Cao too was moved by the story of Liu An’s actions. Cao Cao sent money to compensate Liu An for his wife. That’s what happened in SGYY. Again, yeah, that’s messed up by today’s standards, and I believe rightly so.
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Unread postby Iain » Fri Dec 26, 2003 7:00 am

There is an editors note on that part of the book(C.H. Brewitt-Taylor/Tuttle version) that states.
An editor here remarks in a note,"With a hundred ounces of silver Liu An could get himself another wife, but I am afraid no one would marry him. And what then? No woman could help reflecting that she might have to serve as the 'game' course in a chance visitor's dinner."
Yes that Liu An needs to keep a better stocked pantry.
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Fri Dec 26, 2003 7:38 am

Liu An, I must say, had neither intelligence, courage, filial piety, nor true loyalty (or whatever you want to call it) to Liu Bei. It still amazes me that the Mao father and son team decided that it's good material to stick in Luo Guanzhong's manuscript.

I say he had no intelligence, because he didn't bury the body after the act (maybe he was planning to cannibalise the rest of it later??), and left it to rot in the kitchen (which was where Liu Bei found it). Perhaps he meant for it to be there when Liu Bei went to fetch his horse?? That makes him reeeeallly devious and I'm not sure that's the image that the editors wished to promote. He had no filial piety, because, first, who's going to take care of his elderly mother when his wife's gone? And what would his mom think of his murdering his wife? What if his mother went into the kitchen first the next morning, and gets a heart attack? Furthermore, it's not clear that he had a son yet. Who's going to carry on the family line (He couldn't be counting on a reward)?

There are also better examples of "cannibalism" for the sake of one's lord in Chinese history. Jie Zitui (of the Spring and Autumn period, I think) was fleeing the country with his lord, and his lord got hungry. Jie couldn't find any food, so he cut off some meat from his buttocks (or thighs) and cooked that for his lord. Now *that* is courage and dedication to one's lord. Sacrificing someone else is not.
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