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Chinese Legends

Welcome to the Chinese Legends section.

Legends tell us a lot about society and people from which the legend arosed. Many times, legends reflect on one hand collective social ideals and on the other individual aspirations. Very often, it shows the tension between the two.

The legends that survive over time also reflect the collective values that are transmitted from one generation to another in either oral or written form. It can also represent different issues in different periods.

Since there are many sources of Chinese legends, we will make ours a little special by offering a summary of the legend and explore the significance or messages imbedded in the legends.

Note that “legend” is used in a very broad sense as some of the legends can overlap with historical narratives or religious sermons.  

madam white snakeMadam White Snake 白蛇传
The tragic love story between a Song dynasty scholar and a White Snake spirit. The struggle between social norms and individual desires. Which forces will emerge the victor in this case?


creation of the godsCreation of the Gods
Written in the Ming dynasty and set in the end of the Shang dynasty, this novel is a "super hero" story of human and gods overthrowing the corrupted Shang king.

moon cakeMoon cake and Mongols
A popular Mid Autumn legend claims that moon cakes were instrumental in the overthrow of the Mongol dynasty in China. Chinatownology locates this myth against the historical backdrop of the Mongol dynasty.

Patriotic princessThe Patriotic Princess
Princess Chang Ping, 帝女花

The story of last Ming princess who used sucide as political resistance and an attempt to help restore her fallen dynasty.


romance of the three kingdomsRomance of the three kingdoms
Guan Gong culture

One of the most popular Chinese stories based on Three Kingdoms period in Chinese history. One of the main character, Guan Gong is widely worshipped by the Chinese.

yue lao old man under the moonOld man under the moon, 月下老人, Yue Lao,月老
The Chinese deity for match making. There are many temples founded where people can ask for help in their search for love. Commonly seen with a book of marriage and a walking sticks. Sometimes with red threads that bind a couple together.

 

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madam white snake
Madam White Snake, Singapore
guan gong ming dynasty painting
Ming dynasty painting of Guan Gong
fu shan si burma
Journey to the west, Fu Shan Si, Burma
chang er
Chang er drifting to the moon,
Mid Autumn Singapore Chinatown


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