卞玉京 Bian Yujing (one of eight famous singsong girls)
Bian Yujing (1623—1665 AD) was one of the eight well-known singsong girls in the Qinhuai river area, i.e., Nanking city and its vicinity. She was born in Nanking city and her father was an official, but died early. She had good education, and so she knew music and could play zither. She could also write poems and paint, and could practice calligraphy. After the death of her father, she had to become a singsong girl for a living. Her charm and ability attracted a lot of visitors.
Once at the gathering of literary men, she met a man called Wu Meicun (1609—1671 AD), who was a high-rank official. She was fond of him and hinted that she wanted to marry him. But at the time, a brother-in-law of the emperor wanted to take her as his concubine, and so Wu was afraid of getting into trouble and ran away from her. But Bian remained where she was. No one took her away. Two years afterwards, she would marry a man, but when she learned that the man was a good-for-nothing, and therefore, she married her maid to him instead of herself. She left the place, dressed like a female Taoist.
In 1650 AD, she went to Changshu town, where Liu Rushi lived with her husband Qian. The couple knew Wu Meicun. When Wu came to see Qian, they told Wu that Bian stayed here now. Qian wanted to let Bian and Wu meet again. So he let his wife invited Bian to their house. Bian did come, but she said that she did not feel comfortable right then and asked Liu to lead her to a guest room upstairs. She came, but she did not see Wu. Maybe, she was still irritated with Wu for running away.
Next year, she intentionally went to where Wu lived to see him. She said that she came just to say hello to him. She was dressed in a female Taoist costume. She played zither that night for Wu and some friends. In 1653 AD, an old good-hearted doctor let her stay with him as a friend. She began to believe in Buddhism and refused to see any former friends. She spent three years to copy a Buddhist sutra and gave it to the doctor in return for his good hospitality. She wrote it with her blood, not in ink. She died peacefully at an old age. When Wu learned her death he came to salute her tomb and wrote a poem in memory of her.