He was a man who didn't pull his punches - giving advice when he was asked for it, and also when he wasn't. He rose to a position of power under the Emperor Xuanzong (ruled 712-56), putting people's noses out of joint on the way.
As one would imagine, he was a man who knew what he wanted, and what he liked. You can tell from his tomb - which has only recently been excavated in Guoxinzhuang village, Chang'an district, Xi'an. I was thrilled to find a copy of the murals that decorated his tomb (which he shared with his wife and another senior official) in the wonderful exhibition on in Sydney at Art Gallery of New South Wales called Tang: Treasures from the Silk Road capital.
You can tell from the images on the walls of the tomb that Han Xiu liked his music. Musicians are depicted playing instruments to ensure his entertainment in the afterlife. What I love about the images is that they show us that Boybands and Girlbands were popular one and a half thousand years ago. As you can see.
As for the Girls, well, that was simple enough too: the Spice Girls, with the Tang dynasty Posh Spice presumably out in front on the basis that her job in the group was to look classy - rather than sing (as some guessed, and we now know).
I can't guess which Han Xiu's favourite numbers would have been; but rather lovely to know that a tough guy wanted to make sure he could hum away to the Tang dynasty equivalent of Step On or Wannabe.
Can you imagine how this number would sound after being stuck on play for 1400 years ?! Poor Han Xiu....
So here are the videos. Enjoy - spare a thought for Han Xiu....