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7.12 Two Depraved Women of Wey

The two depraved women of Wei were Nanzi and Boji of Wei. Nanzi was a woman of the country of Song and the wife of Duke Ling of Wei. She had [incestuous] relations with [her brother] Song Zichao. When her son, Kuai Kui, the crown prince, learned of it, he became enraged with them. Nanzi then slandered the crown prince to Duke Ling saying, “The crown prince wishes to kill me.” Duke Ling became furius with Kuai Kui and so Kuai Kui fled to Song. When Duke Ling died, Zhe, the son of Kuai Kui, was placed on the throne instead and became Duke Chu.

Boji of Wei was the elder sister of Kuai Kui, the wife of Kong Wenzi, and the mother of Kong Kui. Kong Kui served as minister to Duke Chu (Zhe). After Kong Wenzi’s death, Boji, and an attendant to the Kong family, Hun Liangfu, engaged in licentious relations. Boji sent Liangfu to see Kuai Kui. Kuai Kui told him, “If you can help me return to my state, I shall reward you with a grandee’s carriage and pardon you three times the death penalty.” They made a covenant and Kuai Kui promised to give Boji to Liangfu to become his wife. Liangfu was delighted and told Boji who was greatly pleased.

Thereafter, Liangfu and Kuai Kui stopped in an orchard of the Kong family. At dusk, the two men disguised themselves in [women’s] clothes, rode forth in a carriage, and entered Boji’s apartments. After they had eaten their meal, Boji, carrying a spear and positioned in front of Kuai Kui and five armored soldiers, drove her son Kong Kui into a privy where she forced him into a covenant (to shift allegiance from Duke Chu to Kuai Kui). Duke Chu fled to Lu and Zilu died [in the fray]. Kuai Kui afterwards ascended the throne and became Duke Zhuang. He killed the lady Nanzi and also killed Hun Liangfu.

Because of disorder in Rongzhou, Duke Zhuang again fled to another state. After four years, Duke Chu again entered Wei. Upon his return a grandee killed [Boji], the mother of Kong Kui, and welcomed in the duke.

These two women caused the disorder of five generations and not until the time of Duke Dao was there peace. This is what is meant in the Book of Odes passage that says, “Look at the rat; he has a skin./But a man without dignity/A man without dignity/Why doesn’t he just die!”1

The Appraisal says: Nanzi was deluded and lustful. It was Song Zichao with whom she had intimate relations, the one she slandered was Kuai Kui, and she caused him to flee. Even though Kong Kui’s mother was low in rank, she precipitated the flight and re-entry of two rulers. The two disorders were intertwined and worked together to destroy lives.


1. Mao no. 52

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IATHPublished by The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, © Copyright 2003 by Anne Kinney and the University of Virginia