In the last episode, Yu Chang murdered 21 church priests and also tried to kill the mercenaries Long Bo sent to eliminate You Cha. However, Yu Chang was captured by Zhang Xiao Jing. Episode 22 starts off with our friend Yisi greeting soldiers. Apparently, this Yisi has a cordial relationship with General Guo since he, Yisi, has talked scripture with the Emperor in the past. To me that was quite surprising and showed that Yi Si had some powerful allies. Soldiers arrive on behalf of General Guo to investigate what happened. It is here that Yu Chang, tied up and unconscious, is escorted with Tan Qi in a carriage back to Jing An Si while Zhang XIao Jing hunts for clues from the mercenary group that was sent to attack You Cha.
Speaking of General Guo, he, as a eunuch in the palace, has been tasked by the Emperor to give an oral edict to the Right Chancellor who is getting ready to head to the palace for the evening’s festivities. Note – the right chancellor is wearing purple, which signifies his rank of someone with a 3rd rank and above. This conversation is quite interesting because the Right Chancellor quite frankly explains to General Guo why the Emperor sent him on this errand. The Emperor wants to see whether the General will help the Crown Prince or the Right Chancellor. This reflects once again how intelligent the Right Chancellor is. General Guo in an earlier episode told Li Bi about how the Emperor has hidden meanings behind his edicts. You can never just take the Emperor’s words as is. I don’t believe that General Guo DIDn’t know what the Emperor’s purpose was when he sent General Guo to send this message but was just playing dumb. The Right Chancellor also shows he is quite acute in noticing the Emperor’s true meaning. Sure enough, as General Guo leaves the Right Chancellor’s residence, he instructs a eunuch to capture He Fu, He Zhi Zheng’s adopted son and stresses that He Fu did this all on his own. Clearly, General Guo is trying to protect the Crown Prince from any relation to today’s events.
At this point, He Fu has been escorted to meet Long Bo. He Fu is shown to be a revenge hungry man who does not care for the fact that Yu Chang may have been captured while Long Bo is waiting to see if she can be rescued. The meeting between these two shows quite a stark difference in behavior and stance. Long Bo points out that He Fu’s current behavior is no different from that of his enemies, a statement He Fu ignores. He Fu is blinded by his anguish and eagerness for revenge against the Right Chancellor to see that Long Bo might have other plans.
Back at Jing An Si, Li Bi, Yao Ru Neng and Xu Bin are now figuring out what to do with Yu Chang.They deduce that this woman must be closely connected to Long Bo after recalling the events of the day and Li Bi decides to ask for Long Bo’s whereabouts as Long Bo seems to be the one major thread behind today’s events. Yao Ru Neng is instructed to recall all previous officials back to Jing An SI to aid Xu Bin in finding out who paid the mercenaries for today’s events to get more leads on Long Bo.
With Yu Chang now in custody at Jing An Si, we know that can’t be good news. We hear multiple times that the security at Jing An Si is too weak with no military or security presence of their own since Lv Ben Jun ditched. Interestingly enough, Cui Qi is stationed as a Right Cavalry soldier I’m assuming because of all the mishaps that happened today. But the Right Cavalry is outside of Jing An Si, not inside so whatever happens within those walls are still not under the Right Cavalry’s purview. Additionally, we follow a court official who worked at Jing An Si but is now enjoying the streets with his wife after they were all disbanded. His wife seems to have some family connections and wants them to head over to Luo Yang tonight in search of stability rather than stay in Chang An. As they are shopping, the wife comments on the troubles that are befalling the capital. She wants to buy an emerald hairpin but it seems like they aren’t available. Yet, who does have them? Why the Emperor’s love interest, Yan Tai Zhen’s sister.
Soon after, this man and other members of Jing An Si hear the drum beats that start over the city which is a call for them to return back to work. What is most touching in my opinion here is that this is someone who is not a main character. But he heads back to work on this holiday evening because, as he states, he wants to do something worthwhile that he can talk about in the future. And he heads back to work. Are you feeling any foreboding here? If only he had gotten on that carriage tonight and left town like his wife suggested.
The episode closes with the Right Chancellor hearing the drum beats and deciding to give orders to recall the Right Cavalry. He doesn’t want the Right Cavalry to stay and seem like they’re trying to curry favor for accolades. But we know this will be disastrous. Long Bo, with the help of the messenger Lu San, is gathering his men to conduct a rescue operation for Yu Chang. He Fu is greatly displeased to see this as he believes this means his one chance at killing the Right Chancellor is turning to dust and angrily states that these men will no longer be paid for their services.
We’re heading to the halfway point of the drama. In the book, He Fu’s involvement in today’s events aren’t revealed until literally the very end. These scenes between He Fu and Long Bo are not shown in the book and He Fu’s reveal as the mastermind behind everything is THE aha moment at the end. Clearly, the drama went a different route to flesh out these characters a little more. Additionally, there isn’t as much focus on the internal turmoil for Cui Qi where we see time and again in the drama how he wants to live up to his brother’s expectations to live in Chang An. The scenes with the court official and his wife are also new in the drama to add more foreboding for what’s to come next.
环保自雨亭 – Rainfall pavillion
In the drama, He Fu describes the pavillion where he and 龙波 are standing. What he describes in the drama is called a Rainfall pavilion. During the Tang Dynasty, architects and builders were able to successfully build a system to pump water to the top of a pavilion or building and then flow down to the ground via the eaves of the roof to create a rainlike effect. During the summer, this would create a cooling mechanism for those in the building, essentially an air conditioner to stay cool. The rich and powerful built these rainfall pavilions during the Tang dynasty, so for He Fu’s father to have built one in his residence was not surprising. In the palace, there was a Rainfall Palace or 自雨殿 that was powered by a water wheel to pump the water up to the top of the palace to have the water fall from the eaves. The poet Li Bai actually wrote at least 2 poems either at this Rainfall Palace or about it.
Let’s take a detour to the lovely shopping trip with the Jing An Si official 安柱国 and his wife because finally, we see “normal” people who aren’t running around trying to save Chang An. They’re out shopping for trinkets and lets just say the shopkeeper has quite a lot of great wares in his collection.
On the left of his table or the right of 安柱国 dangles a hanging ball-like structure. It’s a replica of the 葡萄花鸟纹银香囊 or Grape flowers and Birds silver sachet that was unearthed near Xi’An in 1970. It is an intricately made ornament that has the grape flowers and birds engraved. I don’t know if engraved is the word but the outside frame has the engravings that is then supported by two circular axles and then inside is a sphere that can hold perhaps a perfume or flowers, hence why it’s also called a sachet. Honestly, it reminds me of a snitch from harry potter but with extra layers on the outside. The original is currently in the Shaan Xi History Museum and based on photos, the craftsmanship is exquisite.
Next in this shop include two more 琉璃 items. The first is the glasslike goblet that 安柱国 picks up to examine. We’ve talked about these previously but these glass cups were also unearthed near Xi’An in 1987 and dated to come from the Tang Dynasty. As we mentioned before, much of these glass goblets and drinkware were imported from neighboring kingdoms and empires via the silk road. 安柱国 then also picks up a white glass pitcher which was based off of something called the 琉璃胡瓶 or the Glass Foreign Pitcher. An original, which is currently housed in Nara in Japan, also dates back to the Tang Dynasty and was imported from the Sasanian Empire.
Moving on – 安柱国’s wife states that she wants something called a 瑟瑟石 for her hair accessories. These aren’t cheap. According to her, one is worth 1000 qian. She heard that Lady Yan Tai Zhen’s older sister, the now lady 虢国 paid her construction workers 20 thousand qian and 3 bags of these 瑟瑟石. 瑟瑟石 is not something that is used in the modern Chinese language. However, in the Book of Zhou, written in 636, which is a history of the Western Wei and Northern Zhou dynasties of China – around the 5th and 6th centuries AD, it states the 瑟瑟石 are green colored gems. Not jade, because Jade is easy enough with the name of 玉. We can probably infer that these 瑟瑟石 probably meant gems such as emeralds or else Chalcedony and its varieties such as Chrysoprase.
As for 安柱国’s wife, this is the only time we’ll see her on screen but i do want to highlight her costume. It essentially combines the different styles that we’ve seen from the ladies such as Tan Qi, Wen Ran, and Xu He Zi. 安柱国’s wife has the comb on her hair. She has the red 花钿 on her forehead. However, everything is less “formal” than Tan Qi’s makeup that we saw a few episodes ago. It’s also more formal that Wen Ran’s makeup and dress. It does fit her role as the wife of an official even if he is rather lowly one at that.
In this episode, Li Bi chooses to use the watchtowers to send a message to gather the officials from Jing An Si back to continue the investigation. He chooses the 震卦 from Yi Jing, the ancient book of divination. It is the 51st hexagram and represents Shake. We’re gonna go a little deep into the hexagramThe shape for Shake includes six lines or Yao. Of the 6, there’s 2 groups. For Shake, two of the same trigrams which include 2 lines of 2 dashes and then 1 long dash. The 2 dashes represent Yin and the long line represents yang. Each line or Yao for the hexagram has a different meaning. Li Bi orders the watch tower to show the 3rd yao which is the 3rd Yin to be transmitted. I was looking up the description of the hexagram and this 3rd yin is actually the 4th line but the 3rd instance of Yin in the hexagram so i’m not quite sure why it’s considered the 3rd yao or line. If anyone of you is a Yi Jing divination expert, let me know cause that would be helpful. Anyways, the 3rd Yin for the Shake hexagram represents 震苏苏，震行无眚. The thunder has gone and it’s time for the reawakening. The members of Jing An Si hear the drums and see the transmission and automatically understand its meaning. Most if not all return to Jing An Si. Man, being an official isn’t easy, they also need to know Divination?