Yanshi and his puppets

In the Western Zhou Dynasty when King Mu was on the throne there was an artisan named Yanshi. The puppet he made bore strong resemblance to a living person. At first, King        Mu thought the puppet was only Yanshi’s attendant. When Yanshi gave orders for him to advance, retreat, bend forward or backward, it responded with no difference from a being. When opening its jaws, it could drawl out a song; and when moving its arms, it could sway and move about as in a dance. When the performance came to an end, the puppet cast seductive eyes to King Mu’s concubine in high favor. King Mu flew into a great rage, firmly believing the puppet, dexterous and quick in action, must be a real being instead of a puppet and wanted to put Yanshi to death on the spot. Yanshi immediately disassembled the puppet to show that the puppet was made of no more than leather, wood, gum and lacquer, and black, white, red an blue pigments. King Mu hastened forward and examined carefully, finding the puppet had all visceral organs available while for the exterior, muscles and bones, joints, skin, hair, and teeth were also all available with nothing missing. However, they were all man-made things. When they were assembled together,  it became a lving puppet again. King Mu gasped in admiration of Yanshi’s superb skill, very pleased and sincerely convinced.

 

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