183 Beijing Operas - Guo Ziyi - Number 49
Beijing Opera - "Bed Full of Tablets"
Guo Ziyi with an old pink six-tenth face, plays a leading character in "Bed Full of Tablets," adapted from an episode in the historical novel Romance of the Sui and Tang Dynasties. Because of his services to the Tang emperor during the An-Shi rebellion, Guo Ziyi was made the Prince of Penyang. On his 60th birthday, so many people came to offer their congratulations, each carrying a small tablet as was the custom in those days, that the prince's bed was loaded with tablets. Guo Ziyi's sixth son, Guo Ai, was married to the emperor's daughter, Princess Shengping. The princess, however, felt that she had married someone beneath her and treated her in-laws with great disrespect. All of Guo Ziyi's other sons and daughters came with their spouses to his birthday celebrations, but Princess Shengping deliberately stayed away and Guo Ai, standing alone among the couples, became the object of ridicule. Enraged and humiliated, he went home and gave his wife a beating. When the princess reported this to her parents, Guo Ziyi in haste took his son to the palace to be punished. The emperor, however, acted with reason and restraint. Instead of punishing Guo Ai, he promoted him and ordered his daughter to apologize to her in-laws. Thus a family feud was avoided and the husband and wife were reconciled.
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