Zheng Yuanhe is a character in the novel Story of Li Wa of the Tang dynasty (later adapted in the play Story of the Embroidered Coat). Zheng Yuanhe was a man from a distinguished family. He met a famous courtesan named Li. The two lived happily together for a time. When Zheng's money was exhausted, he was forced to live like a homeless in the street and mixed with the beggars. His father beat him and nearly took his life. But he was saved by Li. The two eventually married and became husband and wife. The story is widely popular. He was worshipped by beggars as their originating master. This group of statuettes shows Zheng Yuanhe learning to sing with beggars.
Yuanhe Learns to Sing
Zheng Yuanhe was honoured by beggars as their originating master. This illustration from the Story of the Embroidered Coat describes Zheng learning to sing and the images of beggars in the Ming period.