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A broken mirror joined together again

Princess Lechang

The Chinese idiom, “a broken mirror joined together again,” expresses the idea of a couple being reconciled or reunited after a period of separation. It has its origins from a story about Princess Lechang of the Southern Chen Dynasty and her husband, the scholar and poet Xu Deyan.

Jean Chen

c. 590 CE

Princess Lechang of the Southern Chen Dynasty

Soon, the Southern Dynasty fell, and Princess Lechang was indeed separated from her husband after the war just as Xu Deyan had predicted. He kept his promise to her and took the half bronze mirror to the Beijing market during the Lantern Festival. Although he did not see Princess Lechang, he found that a servant was also attempting to sell a broken bronze mirror. From the servant, he learned that Princess Lechang had become a concubine of Yang Su, Chief Minister of the Sui Dynasty. He was very sad and wrote a poem on the broken mirror belonging to Princess Lechang, saying that although the husband and wife were still alive, they could not get together again. After reading the poem, Princess Lechang cried bitterly and refused to eat. After learning the story, Yang Su was so moved that he returned Princess Lechang to Xu Deyan. The couple was finally reunited. Later, this story became an idiom — “a broken mirror joined together again” — and has been used as a metaphor for a couple’s reunion after they lose touch or break up.

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2020 | Present