Duan Chengshi

Duan Chengshi

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Duan Chengshi (died 863) was an author and scholar of the Tang Dynasty
Tang Dynasty
The Tang Dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. It was founded by the Li family, who seized power during the decline and collapse of the Sui Empire...

 in China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

. He was born to a wealthy family in present day Zibo, Shandong
Zibo
Zibo is a prefecture-level city in central Shandong province, People's Republic of China. It borders the provincial capital of Jinan to the west, Laiwu and Tai'an to the southwest, Linyi to the south, Weifang to the east, Dongying to the northeast, and Binzhou the north.Located in the middle part...

. A descendant of the early Tang official Duan Zhixuan 段志玄 (-642), and the son of Duan Wenchang 段文昌, a high official under Tang Xuanzong, his family background enabled him to obtain office without taking the Imperial exams. As a poet, he was associated with Li Shangyin
Li Shangyin
Li Shangyin , courtesy name Yishan , was a Chinese poet of the late Tang Dynasty, born in Henei . Along with Li He, he was much admired and "rediscovered" in the 20th century by the young Chinese writers for the imagist quality of his poems...

 and Wen Tingyun
Wen Tingyun
Wen Tingyun born as Wen Qi , styled Feiqing was an important Chinese lyricist of the late Tang Dynasty. He helped establish the Ci in chinese poetry.He was born in Qin, Shanxi province, China.Yu Xuanji was among his followers....

.

Duan is best known outside of China for being the author of an early version of Cinderella
Cinderella
"Cinderella; or, The Little Glass Slipper" is a folk tale embodying a myth-element of unjust oppression/triumphant reward. Thousands of variants are known throughout the world. The title character is a young woman living in unfortunate circumstances that are suddenly changed to remarkable fortune...

, called Ye Xian
Ye Xian
Ye Xian or Yeh-Shen is a Chinese fairy tale that is similar to the European Cinderella story and the Malay-Indonesian Bawang Putih Bawang Merah tale...

. In 853, the story first appeared in Miscellaneous Morsels from Youyang
Miscellaneous Morsels from Youyang
The Miscellaneous Morsels from Youyang is a miscellany of Chinese and foreign legends and hearsay, reports on natural phenomena, short anecdotes, and tales of the wondrous and mundane, as well as notes on such topics as medicinal herbs and tattoos....

, which was published shortly after he returned to Chang'an
Chang'an
Chang'an is an ancient capital of more than ten dynasties in Chinese history, today known as Xi'an. Chang'an literally means "Perpetual Peace" in Classical Chinese. During the short-lived Xin Dynasty, the city was renamed "Constant Peace" ; yet after its fall in AD 23, the old name was restored...

 after his term of acting Governor of Jizhou
Ji'an
- External links :* *...

 (now known as Ji'an
Ji'an
- External links :* *...

 in Jiangsu
Jiangsu
' is a province of the People's Republic of China, located along the east coast of the country. The name comes from jiang, short for the city of Jiangning , and su, for the city of Suzhou. The abbreviation for this province is "苏" , the second character of its name...

). It is believed that it was a folktale told by peasants before it was recorded on paper. Some people even believe that the French author Charles Perrault
Charles Perrault
Charles Perrault was a French author who laid the foundations for a new literary genre, the fairy tale, with his works derived from pre-existing folk tales. The best known include Le Petit Chaperon rouge , Cendrillon , Le Chat Botté and La Barbe bleue...

 copied Duan's version, only he renamed it and slightly altered it.

Duan is also known for describing in his written work of 863 AD the slave trade, ivory
Ivory
Ivory is a term for dentine, which constitutes the bulk of the teeth and tusks of animals, when used as a material for art or manufacturing. Ivory has been important since ancient times for making a range of items, from ivory carvings to false teeth, fans, dominoes, joint tubes, piano keys and...

 trade, and ambergris
Ambergris
Ambergris is a solid, waxy, flammable substance of a dull gray or blackish color produced in the digestive system of and regurgitated or secreted by sperm whales....

 trade of Bobali, which is now Berbera
Berbera
Berbera is a city and seat of Berbera District in Somaliland, a self-proclaimed Independent Republic with de facto control over its own territory, which is recognized by the international community and the Somali Government as a part of Somalia...

 in Somalia
Somalia
Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

, East Africa
East Africa
East Africa or Eastern Africa is the easterly region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics. In the UN scheme of geographic regions, 19 territories constitute Eastern Africa:...

 (see Maritime section of Tang Dynasty
Tang Dynasty
The Tang Dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. It was founded by the Li family, who seized power during the decline and collapse of the Sui Empire...

for more).

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