Ancient China had clowns attached to the Imperial Court, and Huang-ti
- who built the Great Wall of China -employed one to keep his spirits up.
Tradition holds that it was Hsi-ling-shi, wife of the Emperor Huang-ti
, who discovered silk in the third millennium b.
The pattern was set by the Emperor Huang-Ti
a long time ago.
The reference to the Chinese and their predilection for the "mechanical arts" at the expense of "philosophy" is not a vague allusion, but rather reflects -- in what is perhaps a legitimate hypothesis -- the tradition that has reached us through the Historical memoirs of Sseu-Ma Ts'ien: Ch'in Shih Huang-ti
, the Emperor who had the Great Wall built (213 B.
Moreover, the Biography of Prince Shotoku (Shotoku Taishi denreki [UNKNOWN TEXT OMITTED], an early tenth-century source, reports that Prince Shotoku is said to have further elaborated on the implications of the Sui court's use of this term: "The meaning of huang-ti
[UNKNOWN TEXT OMITTED] is the same all over the world.
As the unifier of China, Shih Huang-ti
was the founder of the Chinese Imperial system which persisted, with modifications, until 1912; an energetic and resourceful general, he was also an able ruler, but was sometimes cruel and spiteful, and was often dominated by superstition.