Stories from Ancient China: A Goddess’s Robe Is Seamless

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During the Tang Dynasty, there was a royal court official named Guo Han. His parents passed away when he was young, so he lived by himself. He refused to cater for high-ranking officials, and was famous for his upright integrity. He was also known as being extremely elegant and eloquent.

One hot summer night while he was resting in the backyard and admiring the moonlight, a cool breeze gently sent a sweet fragrance into the backyard. As the fragrance grew stronger, Guo Han looked around in curiosity; he saw three people slowly descending from the sky and they landed right in front of Guo. He saw an elegant young woman accompanied by two maids.

This woman was extremely beautiful and radiant. She wore a thin black silk dress, a white silk shawl, a hair accessory bearing a phoenix, and a pair of finely embroidered shoes. The two maids that accompanied her were also extraordinarily beautiful. Guo Han was humbled by their presence. He got up from his chair, straightened his clothes, knelt down, and said, “I didn’t expect the arrival of such an Honourable immortal.” He waited attentively for words from the young woman. The woman smiled and said, “I am the weaving goddess from heaven.”

Guo Han noticed that the weaving goddess’ robe was completely seamless; he asked how it was possible. The weaving goddess told Guo Han, “Robes in heaven are not made with needles and threads, so they are completely seamless.”

The idiom, “A goddess’ robe is seamless,” originated from this story. It is now used to describe perfectly finished pieces of work.

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