Xuán liáng cì gǔ
Translation: Tie one’s hair on the house beam and prick one’s thigh with an awl.
Meaning: Take a painstaking effort in one’s study.
This proverb encompasses two stories. The xuán liáng 悬梁 (tying one’s hair on the house beam) part of the proverb is found in the Han shu 汉书 (Book of Han), a Chinese classic historical book that covers a large part of the Western Han dynasty (202 bce–9 ce). It was allegedly written by Ban Gu (32–92 ce). His father Ban Biao and sister Ban Zhao are also believed to have a part in the book’s authorship.