The Yellow Emperor

‘To be conceived by curious acts of nature. To be born with intelligence that allowed the gift of speech soon after birth. To be adored by imperial wives. To be instructed in the art of Taoist love-making. To become venerated ruler bringing peace and governance to warring tribes. To enter the heavens leaving his name etched on the discovery of writing, acupuncture, chariots, silk, musical instruments and chopsticks.’

The Yellow Emperor is a vivid poetic response to one of the highpoints in China’s early history. It is both a gripping panorama and an intricate imagined portrait of a sovereign. His ministers and entourage heighten the spectacle of this ‘founder of the first Chinese state’. Michelle Leber pays tribute to a ‘historised legend’ ― the Yellow Emperor is noted in one of the first texts of Chinese Medicine. With citations from ancient records and reference to contemporary works, she sweeps the reader into valleys on an encounter with meridians, or onto higher ground to contemplate curative touchstones. How can the Yellow Emperor remain so robust after all the passing centuries? Leber adds vibrancy to this sovereign’s ethereal X factor. Australia’s literary livewire, Ron Pretty, writes: ‘the Yellow Emperor is with us to stay’!

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Author bio

Michelle Leber


Lucy Van in Cordite
Geoff Page in The Sydney Morning Herald and the Age
Ruby Todd in Text