Her beauty was said to be so dazzling that when she leaned over to look at koi in a pond, fish forgot to swim and sank below the surface. Her name was Xi Shi, and the woman who lived during the end of the Spring and Autumn period in China (approximately 771 to 476 BC) was one of the Four Beauties, four Chinese women renowned for their beauty.
There is little historical record about her or the other three women, Wang Zhaojuen, Diaochan, and Yang Guifei, beyond the fact that they lived, and that each caught the attention of the ruling king or emperor in her respective era. Three of them, it’s said, brought ruin to the kingdoms in which they lived, and their lives ended tragically. The rest of what we know about them has probably been embellished by legend.
We mention Xi Shi because a source we found does not buy into the commonly accepted notion that the Shih Tzu got its name from the Chinese term for lion dog. That source points out that the breed’s name in Chinese actually translates to “Xi Shi dog,” and that the breed was named for Xi Shi Quan because both were so beautiful. The writer adds that in proper Chinese, the moniker “lion dog” more accurately refers to the Pekingese.