Royal Uncle Cao

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Cao Guojiu

The youngest of the Eight Immortals, Royal Uncle Cao or Cao Guojiu (pinyin: cáo guó jiù; Wade–Giles: Ts'ao Kuo-ch'iu) is named one of the following:

  • Cao Yi (曹佾 cáo yì) (courtesy name Gongbo (公伯 gōng bó))
  • Cao Jing (曹景 cáo jǐng)
  • Cao Jingxiu (曹景休 cáo jǐng xiū)
  • Cao You (曹友 cáo yǒu).

He was said to be the uncle of the Emperor of the Song Dynasty, being the younger brother of Empress Dowager Cao (All {{zh-xx}} templates have been merged into {{zh}}, which can do anything. Consult that template's documentation for more details.

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In historic records, there were several Emperor-consorts Caos in the Song Empire, but only one became empress: Cishengguangxian Empress (慈聖光獻皇后 cí shèng guāng xiàn huáng hoù) (1015–1079), the wife of the fourth Song emperor, Emperor Renzong (All {{zh-xx}} templates have been merged into {{zh}}, which can do anything. Consult that template's documentation for more details.

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However, this does not render the historical existence of the "Royal Uncle Cao" impossible as in pre-modern China, the address "uncle" also meant "brother-in-law". Sometimes specified as "Wife-uncle" (妻舅 qī jiù) or as a respect, "Little Uncle" (舅子 jiù zǐ). Císhèngguāngxiàn Empress did have a younger brother named Cao Yi in historical record. But the given name of Royal Uncle Cao being Yi as well could be a post hoc.

Cao Guojiu's younger brother Cao Jingzhi (曹景植 cáo jǐng zhí) was a bully, but no one dared to prosecute him because of his powerful connections, not even after he killed a person. Royal Uncle Cao was so overwhelmed by sadness and shame on his brother that he resigned his office and left home.

Depiction[edit]

He is shown in the official's court dress with a jade tablet. Sometimes he holds castanets. His jade tablet can purify the environment. Royal Uncle Cao is considered the patron deity of actors.

Modern references[edit]

In the television show Jackie Chan Adventures, Cao was shown to be the Immortal who sealed away Tchang Zu, The Thunder Demon.

In another television show, Avatar: The Last Airbender, aspects of his life and physical appearance make him extraordinarily similar to the character Iroh.