Su Hui a poet and textile maker, lived in the kingdom of Former Qin (351-394 b.c.e.) in China. She invented a form of poetry called huiwen, a type of text that can be read in thousands of different ways. The poem in which this technique was first seen was produced as a textile piece. This was described in contemporary sources as shuttle-woven on brocade, meant to be read in a circle and consisting of 112 or else 840 characters. By the Tang period, the following story about the poem was current:
Dou Tao of Qinzhou was exiled to the desert, away from his wife Su Hui. Upon departure from Su Hui, Dou swore that he would not marry another person. However, as soon as he arrived in the desert region, he married someone. Su Hui composed a circular poem, wove it into a piece of brocade, and sent it to him.
In the Ming Dynasty the poem became popular and scholars discovered 7,940 ways to read it. The poem is in the form of a twenty-nine by twenty-nine character grid, and can be read forward or backwards, horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, as well as within its color-coded grids. Another source, naming the poem as Xuanji Tu (Star Gauge or Picture of the Turning Sphere), claims that the grid as a whole was a palindromic poem comprehensible only to Dou (which would explain why none of the Tang sources reprinted it), and that when he read it, he left his desert wife and returned to Su Hui.