Stele for Cao E (曹娥碑)





(碑文) 孝女曹娥者,上虞曹盱之女也。其先與周同祖,末胄荒流,爰來(茲)適居。盱能撫節安(按)歌,婆娑樂神。漢安二年五月五日迎伍君,逆濤而上,為水所淹,不得其屍。時娥年十四(歲),號慕思盱,哀吟澤畔,旬有七日,遂自投江死,經五日抱父屍出。以漢安迄于(於)元嘉元年青龍辛卯,莫之有表。度尚設祭誄之。




Cao E (曹娥)

A young girl called Cao E (曹娥)(130–143CE) was a native of Shangyu (上虞)(today 浙江紹興 Shaoxing of Zhejiang). She was the daughter of Cao Xu (曹盱) . Cao Xu was a shaman who was talented in singing and dancing. In 143 CE, while Cao Xu was presiding over a ceremony on a boat commemorating Wu Zixu (伍子) during the Duanwu Festival, a sudden strong gale shook the boat and he fell into the river and was drowned. Cao E was overwhelmed with grief. She, in an act of filial piety courageously decided to search for her father along the river for 17 days but could not find the body of her father. Cao E eventually dived into the water. After 5 days, she emerged holding her father’s body. Though dead, her face appeared as if she was alive.  People in Zhejiang (浙江) commemorated Cao E for her filial piety.


Bibliography and further readings :

宋搨越册楷帖十一種 (臨川李氏藏) (1937) 文明書局, 中華書局 (有注釋)

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