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The Seven Heroes and Five Gallants

Qi Xia Wu Yi (七俠五義,
The Seven Heroes and Five Gallants)
Author Shi Yukun
Original title 1. Longtu Erlu (龍圖耳錄)
2. Zhonglie Xiayi Zhuan (
忠烈俠義傳)
3. San Xia Wu Yi (
三俠五義, The Three Heroes and Five Gallants)
Country Qing dynasty
Language Written Chinese
Genre
Publisher Juzhentang (The Three Heroes and Five Gallants)
Guangbai Songzhai (The Seven Heroes and Five Gallants)
Publication date
1879 (The Three Heroes and Five Gallants)
1889 (The Seven Heroes and Five Gallants)
Media type Print
Followed by The Five Younger Gallants
The Seven Heroes and Five Gallants
Traditional Chinese 七俠五義
Simplified Chinese 七侠五义
The Three Heroes and Five Gallants
Traditional Chinese 三俠五義
Simplified Chinese 三侠五义
Zhonglie Xiayi Zhuan
Traditional Chinese 忠烈俠義傳
Simplified Chinese 忠烈侠义传
Literal meaning Tales of Loyal Heroes and Righteous Gallants
Longtu Erlu
Traditional Chinese 龍圖耳錄
Simplified Chinese 龙图耳录
Literal meaning Aural Record of Longtu

The Seven Heroes and Five Gallants, also known by its earlier title The Three Heroes and Five Gallants, is a Chinese novel from 19th-century Qing dynasty. The Three Heroes and Five Gallants, attributed to pingshu (storytelling) performer Shi Yukun, was published in 1879. The Seven Heroes and Five Gallants was first published in 1889, following minor revisions by scholar Yu Yue.

Set in 11th-century Song dynasty, the story detailed the rise of legendary official Bao Zheng from humble beginnings to high office, and how a group of youxia (knights-errant)—each with exceptional martial arts talent—helped him fight crimes and corruption. It is considered the first novel to combine the popular gong'an (crime fiction) and the nascent wuxia (chivalrous fiction) genres.[1]

Contents

  • Textual Origins 1
    • Shi Yukun's Storytelling and Transcripts 1.1
    • The Three Heroes and Five Gallants (1879) 1.2
    • The Seven Heroes and Five Gallants (1889) 1.3
  • English Translations 2
  • Main Characters 3
    • Bao Zheng and associates 3.1
    • The Seven Heroes 3.2
    • The Five Gallants 3.3
    • Other Protagonists 3.4
    • Main Antagonists 3.5
    • The "Wild Cat for Crown Prince" conspiracy 3.6
  • Reception and Influence 4
    • Reception 4.1
    • Sequels 4.2
    • Similar novels 4.3
  • Adaptations 5
    • Films 5.1
    • Television series 5.2
  • See also 6
  • Notes and References 7

Textual Origins

Shi Yukun's Storytelling and Transcripts

Shi Yukun was a public storyteller originally from Tianjin, who performed mostly in Beijing between 1810 and 1871.[2] He gained particular fame during the reigns of Xianfeng Emperor (1821–1851) and Tongzhi Emperor (1851–1874) telling the legends of Bao Zheng, also known as Bao Longtu (包龍圖; "Dragon-Design Bao"). Shi's performances, accompanied by sanxian (lute) playing, would attract audience of thousands.[3] This story proved so popular that publishing houses began acquiring manuscript copies to be circulated and sold.[4] One such copy, apparently a transcript of another storyteller's oral narratives, contained this reference of Shi (translated by Susan Blader):[5]

Let's just take Third Master Shi Yukun as an example. No matter what, I cannot outdo him in storytelling. At present, he no longer makes appearances. But, when he would go to that storytelling hall, he would tell three chapters of a story in one day and collect many tens of strings of cash. Now today his name resounds in the nine cities and there is no one who has not heard of him. I, myself, collect only one or two strings of cash a day for my storytelling, and what can they buy these days?

These early handwritten copies were known as Bao Gong An (包公案; Cases of Lord Bao) or Longtu Gong'an (龍圖公案; Crime Cases of Longtu), sharing titles with 16th-century Ming dynasty collections. A later version, known as Longtu Erlu (龍圖耳錄; Aural Record of Longtu), lacked the singsong verses and nonsense remarks, and was clearly written down from memory by someone who heard Shi's live performances.[6][7]

The Three Heroes and Five Gallants (1879)

At the beginning of the reign of Guangxu Emperor (1875-1908), a certain "Bamboo-Inquiring Master" (問竹主人; believed to be Shi Yukun himself by some scholars[8]) deleted some supernatural parts of Longtu Erlu and recompiled the material into a 120-chapter book, renaming it Zhonglie Xiayi Zhuan (忠烈俠義傳; Tales of Loyal Heroes and Righteous Gallants).[9]

Minimal revisions by a "Ru Mi Daoren" (入迷道人; "Captivated Daoist") and other efforts by a "Tui Si Zhuren" (退思主人; "Thought-Retiring Master") led to the book being printed by a movable type at the Juzhen Tang or Juzhen House (聚珍堂) in 1879, which caused a sensation in the city. The title was The Three Heroes and Five Gallants (三俠五義),[10] with the "three heroes" being actually four people, namely Zhan Zhao, Ouyang Chun and the Ding Zhaolan & Ding Zhaohui twins.[11]

The Seven Heroes and Five Gallants (1889)

Unemployed scholar Yu Yue obtained the book about a decade later in his Suzhou residence. Originally skeptical, he was eventually so fascinated by it that he set out to revise it. Being a philologist, most of his edits were textual and superficial, including:

  • He changed the title to The Seven Heroes and Five Gallants, because he reasoned that the Ding twins being 2 people cannot be considered just 1 Hero. He also considered Ai Hu, Zhi Hua and Shen Zhongyuan "heroes", even though Zhi and Shen do not have the word "hero" in their nicknames.[11]
  • He changed a character's name from Yan Chasan (顏查散) to Yan Shenmin (顏眘敏, notice how much the Chinese characters resemble each other) because he found "Chasan" too "uneducated" for someone of a scholar-official background.[12]

The only major change from Yu Yue was that he completely rewrote Chapter 1, which was previously titled "The Crown Prince is Substituted at Birth by a Scheme; the Imperial Concubine is Rescued by a Heroic and Gallant Martyr" (設陰謀臨產換太子 奮俠義替死救皇娘) and tells of a fictional story that does not follow history. Yu found the story absurd and rewrote the chapter according to the standard history book History of Song, also changing its title to "Using Official History to Refer Longtu's Crime Cases; Lord Bao Begins the Book of Heroes and Gallants" (據正史翻龍圖公案 借包公領俠義全書). However, he did not change later chapters which follow up on that substory, resulting in slight inconsistencies.[13]

Despite his pedantry, his revised version, which was published by Shanghai's Guangbai Songzhai (廣百宋齋), became the predominant version throughout China, particularly in South China.[14]

A Peking opera play featuring Bao Zheng.

English Translations

  • Song Shouquan (translator) (1997). The Seven Heroes and Five Gallants.   — This is an abridged translation.
  • Blader, Susan (1998). Tales of Magistrate Bao and His Valiant Lieutenants: Selections from Sanxia Wuyi.   — Roughly a third of the chapters from The Three Heroes and Five Gallants are translated.

Main Characters

Bao Zheng and associates

Bao Zheng also has four warriors, who are sworn brothers. In the order of their ages:

  • Wang Chao (王朝)
  • Ma Han (馬漢)
  • Zhang Long (張龍)
  • Zhao Hu (趙虎)

The Seven Heroes

The Five Gallants

These five are sworn brothers and are collectively known as "The Five Rats (Mice) from Hollow Island", after the location of Lu Fang's village. In the order of their ages:

  • Lu Fang (盧方), nicknamed "Sky-Penetrating Rat (Mouse)"
  • Han Zhang (韓彰), nicknamed "Earth-Piercing Rat (Mouse)"
  • Xu Qing (徐慶), nicknamed "Mountain-Boring Rat (Mouse)"
  • Jiang Ping (蔣平), nicknamed "River-Overturning Rat (Mouse)"
  • Bai Yutang (白玉堂), nicknamed "Brocade-Coated Rat (Mouse)"

Other Protagonists

  • Emperor Renzong of Song
  • Wang Qi (王芑) - the chancellor
    • This completely fictitious character is known as Wang Yanling (王延齡) or Wang Ling (王齡) in other related stories
  • Ding Yuehua (丁月華) - younger cousin of the Ding brothers and Zhan Zhao's eventual wife
  • Yan Shenmin (顏昚敏) - Bao Zheng's tutee who would later become the inspecting commissioner
    • Due to transcribing errors, this character is sometimes called Yan Chunmin (顏春敏) or Yan Chasan (顏查散)
  • Yumo (雨墨) - Yan's loyal servant
  • Liu Jinchan (柳金蟬) - Yan's cousin and fiancee

Main Antagonists

The "Wild Cat for Crown Prince" conspiracy

Reception and Influence

Reception

Many 20th-century literary critics held the novel in high regard. Lu Xun considered the book "outstanding" among "storytelling tales",[15] praising the novel: "Though some of the incidents are rather naive, the gallant outlaws are vividly presented and the descriptions of town life and jests with which the book is interspersed add to the interest."[16] Hu Shih included this novel, not without controversy, among his "National Book List of the Lowest Level" (最低限度的國學書目; i.e. must-read list) for Tsinghua University students.[17] Hu favorably compared the characterizations of Jiang Ping and Zhi Hua to those of Aramis and d'Artagnan in Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers, also praising the novel for not including any supernatural element in the last 93 chapters — the portion exclusively created by the author, as the first 27 chapters included traditional stories.[18] C. T. Hsia commended the language as "a vivid colloquial style that deserves the appellation of 'real pai-hua'..."[19]

Sequels

The Five Younger Gallants (小五義), first published in 1890, proved to be the most popular sequel. Almost immediately afterwards, A Sequel to the Five Younger Gallants (續小五義) appeared, also enjoying wide readership. Both claim authorship of Shi Yukun, although that had been controversial and difficult to prove. Lu Xun believed "these works were written by many hands... resulting in numerous inconsistencies."[20]

These are followed by Another Sequel to the Five Younger Gallants (再續小五義) and a myriad of other sequels created by enthusiasts, with Lu Xun in 1924 counting no less than 24 sequels.[20] These sequels were not popular and are not reprinted today. Jin Yong, who read all the way until The Ninth Sequel to the Five Younger Gallants (九續小五義), wrote: "Other than eroticism and nonsense, nothing else could be found in these sequel books."[21]

Similar novels

In the 1890s, following the publication of The Seven Heroes and Five Gallants, many similar novels appeared. Popular ones include:

  • The Eight Elder Gallants (大八義), The Eight Younger Gallants (小八義), A Sequel to the Eight Younger Gallants (續小八義), and Another Sequel to the Eight Younger Gallants (再續小八義) — These novels are also set in the Song dynasty, just a few decades removed from The Seven Heroes and Five Gallants.
  • The Seven Swordsmen and Thirteen Heroes (七劍十三俠), set in the Ming dynasty.
  • The Nine Gallants and Eighteen Heroes (九義十八俠), also set in the Ming dynasty.

Adaptations

The following is an incomplete list of films and television series featuring fictional characters from The Seven Heroes and Five Gallants. Some also feature characters from its sequels, related Bao Zheng legends such as Chen Shimei, legends from the same historical period such as Generals of the Yang Family, or Chinese mythology.

Films

Note: Most of the early films were opera films.

  • Redress a Grievance (烏盆記), a 1927 Chinese film.
  • Brocaded Mouse (錦毛鼠白玉堂), a 1927 Chinese film.
  • Five Mice Make Troubles in Capital (五鼠鬧東京), a 1927 Chinese film.
  • The Case of Lost Baby-Prince (狸貓換太子), a 1927 Chinese film.
  • Azure-Cloud Palace (碧雲宮), a 1939 Chinese film.
  • Breaking Through the Bronze Net (大破銅網陣), a 1939 Hong Kong film.
  • Judge Pao vs the Eunuch (狸貓換太子包公夜審郭槐), a 1939 Hong Kong film.
  • The Five Swordsmen's Nocturnal Tryst (小五義夜探沖霄樓), a 1940 Hong Kong film.
  • The Furry Rat (俠盜錦毛鼠), a 1941 Hong Kong film.
  • The Haunt of the Eastern Capital (五鼠鬧東京), a 2-part 1948 Hong Kong film.
  • The Fight Between the Honourable Cat and Rat (御貓大戰錦毛鼠), a 1948 Hong Kong film.
  • The Junior Hero Ngai Fu (小俠艾虎), a 1949 Hong Kong film.
  • The Battle Between the Five Rats and the Flowery Butterfly (五鼠大戰花蝴蝶), a 1950 Hong Kong film.
  • Solving the Copper-Netted Trap (大破銅網陣), a 1950 Hong Kong film.
  • The Three Battles Between White Eye-Brows and White Chrysanthemum (白眉毛三戰白菊花), a 1950 Hong Kong film.
  • Five Little Heroes (小五義), a 1951 Hong Kong film.
  • Judge Pao's Night Trial of Kwok Wai (包公夜審郭槐), a 1951 Hong Kong film.
  • Judge Pao's Night Trial of the Wicked Kwok Wai (生包公夜審奸郭槐), a 1952 Hong Kong film.
  • Adventure of the Five Rats at the Hundred-Flower Tower (五鼠大鬧百花樓), a 1953 Hong Kong film.
  • The Burning of Azure-Cloud Palace (火燒碧雲宮), a 1955 Hong Kong film.
  • Racoon for a Prince (狸貓換太子), a 1955 Hong Kong film.
  • Substituting a Racoon for the Crown Prince (狸貓換太子), a 1958 Hong Kong film.
  • Shattering the Copper Net Array (大破銅網陣), a 1959 Hong Kong film.
  • Tower of Traps (七俠五義夜探沖霄樓), a 1959 Hong Kong film.
  • The Royal Cat and His Opponent (御貓大戰錦毛鼠), a 1963 Hong Kong film.
  • The Five Rats' Adventures in the Eastern Capital (五鼠鬧東京), a 1964 Hong Kong film.
  • Inside the Forbidden City (宋宮秘史), a 1965 Hong Kong film.
  • King Cat (七俠五義), a 1967 Hong Kong film.
  • Majesty Cat (南俠展昭), a 1975 Taiwanese film.
  • The Wrongly Killed Girl (南俠展昭大破地獄門), a 1976 Taiwanese film.
  • House of Traps (沖霄樓), a 1982 Hong Kong film.
  • Cat vs Rat (御貓三戲錦毛鼠), a 1982 Hong Kong film.
  • The Invincible Constable (御貓愛上錦毛鼠), a 1993 Hong Kong film.
  • Love & Sex in Sung Dynasty (宋朝風月), a 1999 Hong Kong film.
  • Cat and Mouse (老鼠愛上貓), a 2003 Hong Kong film.
  • A Game of Cat and Mouse (五鼠鬥御貓), a 2005 Chinese film.

Television series

  • The Seven Heroes and Five Gallants (七俠五義), a 1972 Taiwanese TV series.
  • The Secret History of the Song Palace (宋宮秘史), a 1974 Taiwanese TV series.
  • Justice Pao (包青天), a 1974–1975 Taiwanese TV series.
  • The Five Younger Gallants (小五義), a 1977 Hong Kong TV series.
  • The Five Tiger Generals (五虎將), a 1980 Taiwanese TV series.
  • The Iron-Faced Judge (鐵面包公), a 1984 Hong Kong TV series.
  • The New Seven Heroes and Five Gallants (七俠五義), a 1986 Taiwanese TV series.
  • Lord Bao (包公), a 1987 Chinese TV series.
  • The New Five Younger Gallants (新小五義), a 1987 Hong Kong TV series.
  • The Three Heroes and Five Gallants (三俠五義), a 1991 Chinese TV series.
  • Justice Pao (包青天), a 1993 Taiwanese TV series.
  • Conspiracy of the Eunuch (南俠展昭), a 1993 Hong Kong TV series.
  • Young Justice Bao (俠義包公), a 1994 Singaporean TV series.
  • The Seven Heroes and Five Gallants (七俠五義), a 1994 Taiwanese TV series.
  • The Bold and the Chivalrous (俠義見青天), a 1994 Taiwanese TV series.
  • The White-Eyebrowed Hero (白眉大俠), a 1994 Chinese TV series.
  • Justice Pao (包青天), a 1994 Hong Kong TV series.
  • Heroic Legend of the Yang's Family (碧血青天楊家將) and The Great General (碧血青天珍珠旗), two 1994 Hong Kong TV series
  • The New Seven Heroes and Five Gallants (新七俠五義), a 1994 Chinese TV series.
  • Heavenly Ghost Catcher (天師鍾馗), a 1994–1995 Singaporean TV series. Bao Zheng and related characters appear in the segments "Lord Bao Invites Zhong Kui Thrice" (包公三請鍾馗) and "Meeting Justice Bao Thrice" (三會包青天).
  • Justice Pao (包青天), a 1995 Hong Kong TV series produced by TVB.
  • Justice Pao (新包青天), a 1995 Hong Kong TV series produced by Asia Television.
  • Return of Judge Bao (包公出巡), a 2000 Taiwanese TV series.
  • Lord Bao's Life and Death Calamity (包公生死劫), a 2000 Chinese TV series.
  • The Young Detective (少年包青天), a 2000–2002 Chinese TV series.
  • Justice Pao (壯志凌雲包青天), a 2004 Chinese TV series.
  • The New Case of Executing Chen Shimei (新鍘美案), a 2004 Chinese TV series.
  • The Shocking Legend of Song Dynasty (大宋驚世傳奇), a 2004 Chinese TV series.
  • The Top Inkstone in the World (硯道), a 2004 Chinese TV series.
  • Struggle for Imperial Power (狸貓換太子傳奇), a 2005 Chinese TV series.
  • Bai Yutang (江湖夜雨十年燈—白玉堂), a 2005 Chinese TV series.
  • Take Wine to Ask the Sky (把酒問青天), a 2007 Chinese TV series.
  • Justice Bao (新包青天), a 2008 Chinese TV series.
  • The Great Hero Di Qing (大英雄狄青), a 2009 Chinese animation TV series.
  • The Black-Faced Great Lord Bao (黑臉大包公), a 2009 Chinese animation TV series.
  • Justice Bao (包青天), a 2010–2012 Chinese TV series.
  • Qin Xianglian (秦香蓮), a 2011 Chinese TV series.
  • Invincible Knights Errant (七俠五義人間道), a 2011 Chinese TV series.
  • The Armed Female Constables (带刀女捕快), a 2011 Chinese TV series.
  • The Legend of Zhong Kui (鍾馗傳說), a 2012 Chinese TV series. Zhan Zhao appears in the segment "Ruthlessly Executing Demons" (除魔無情斬).
  • Sleek Rat, the Challenger (白玉堂之局外局), a 2013 Chinese TV series.
  • The Legend of Chasing Fish (追魚傳奇), a 2013 Chinese TV series.
  • Always and Ever (情逆三世緣), a 2013 Hong Kong TV series.
  • Detective Judge (神探包青天), an upcoming Chinese TV series.
  • The Three Heroes and Five Gallants (五鼠鬧東京), an upcoming Chinese TV series.
  • Hot and Spicy Bai Yutang (麻辣白玉堂), an upcoming Chinese TV series.

In addition, a 2004 Chinese TV series Thirteen Sons of Heaven Bridge (天橋十三郎), starring Xu Zheng as Shi Yukun, tells a fictional account of how The Seven Heroes and Five Gallants was created. (The "Thirteen Sons" in this story refers to Shi Yukun and 12 other people who inspired the novel's titular characters.)

A 2013 Chinese TV series DBI (新神探聯盟) used characters and stories from the novel in a strange 20th-century setting.

See also

Notes and References

  1. ^ Deng & Wang, p. 21.
  2. ^ Blader 1998, p. xxiv.
  3. ^ Deng & Wang, p. 13.
  4. ^ Blader 1998, p. xx.
  5. ^ Blader 1998, p. xxi.
  6. ^ Deng & Wang, p. 14. Longtu Erlu was not published until 1982, according to Blader 1987, p. 153.
  7. ^ Blader 1998, p. xxii.
  8. ^ Blader 1998, p. xvii.
  9. ^ Deng & Wang, pp. 14–15.
  10. ^ Deng & Wang, p. 15.
  11. ^ a b Deng & Wang, pp. 16–17, argued, "'Three... and five...' is idiomatic usage in Chinese. In its original sense, it denotes the numerals three and five, like the 'three sage kings and five emperors' of ancient China. Used connotatively, 'three... and five...' mean 'many' or 'numerous'... Even in its original sense, it is correct to count the Southern Hero, Northern Hero and Twin Heroes as three heroes instead of four. We have 'three virtuous kings' in ancient Chinese history: King Yu of the Xia Dynasty, King Tang of the Shang Dynasty and Kings Wenwang and Wuwang of the Zhou Dynasty. They are four kings, not three. But Kings Wenwang and Wuwang both belong to the Zhou Dynasty, so they are counted as one and not two... The usage of 'three... and five...' reveals the richness of Chinese culture. 'Seven Heroes and Five Gallants' is technically correct but less imaginative."
  12. ^ Because "Shen" (眘) is a rare Chinese character not recognized by most people, Yan Shenmin is often mispronounced as Yan Chunmin (顏春敏) in operas or films (e.g. House of Traps). He has also been called Yan Renmin (顏仁敏, as in the 1994 Chinese TV adaptation), also see Blader 1987, p. 154.
  13. ^ Deng & Wang, p. 16.
  14. ^ Lu, p. 418.
  15. ^ Blader 1998, xxviii.
  16. ^ Lu, p. 342-343.
  17. ^ "胡適晚年讀書"不要命":經搶救保命後看報" [Hu Shih's "Daredevil" Reading in His Later Years: Reading Newspapers After Life Saved].  
  18. ^ Hu Shih, Preface to The Three Heroes and Five Gallants (三俠五義序), 15 March 1925.
  19. ^ Blader 1998, xxiv.
  20. ^ a b Lu, p. 349.
  21. ^ Jin Yong, "On Book Sequels" (書的『續集』), Ta Kung Pao, 22 December 1956.
  • Blader, Susan (1987). "'Yen Ch'a-san Thrice Tested': Printed Novel to Oral Tale". In Le Branc, Charles; Blader, Susan. Chinese Ideas About Nature and Society: Studies in Honour of Derk Bodde.  
  • Blader, Susan (1998). Tales of Magistrate Bao and His Valiant Lieutenants: Selections from Sanxia Wuyi.  
  • Blader, Susan (1999). "Oral Narrative and Its Transformation into Print: The Case of Bai Yutang". In Børdahl, Vibeke. The Eternal Storyteller: Oral Literature in Modern China.  
  • Deng Shaoji; Wang Jun; (trans. Wen Jingen) (1997). "Preface". The Seven Heroes and Five Gallants. (trans. Song Shouquan).  
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