Click for Home Page Click for Contact Us Page Click for FAQ's Page Click for About Us Page Click for Sitemap Navigation
Main Menu
Chinese Films
Image: Ip Man Film

Image: Ip Man 2 Film

Image: Jackie Chan

Image: Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

Image: Warlords

Image: Zhi Gee Soh Lie

Image: Police Story

Image: Yuen Biao and Sammo Hung in Shangjai Express

Image: Sammo Hung in Big Kidnapping

Image: Jet Li in Black Mask

Image: Jackie Chan in Heart of Dragon

Image: Film Mu Lan

Image: Chinese Art Moon Disc

Image: Bruce Lee

Image: Mongol Army

Image: Farewell My Concubine - Click to Watch Movie

Image: Qian

Image: Satwsauna

Image: Beyond

Image: 12 Girls Band

Image: S.H.E.
Search Links
Image: Link to Youku free online movies - Click for website

Image: Link to Ku6 free online movies - Click for website

Image: Link to Soku free online movie search - Click for website

Image: Link to Tudou free online movie search - Click for website
Chinese Opera

Image: Chinese Opera Mask - Click to Enlarge

Image: Chinese Opera Mask - Click to Enlarge

Image: Chinese Opera Masks - Click to Enlarge

Image: Andy Lau - Click for video

Image: Dave Wong - Click for video

Image: Click for video - SHE 'zhong gwok hua'

Image: Click for video of a beautiful and harmonious unrequitted love song

Image: Jackie Chan singing the beautiful theme from his movie 'Myth' - Click for video

Image: Jacky Cheung - Click for video

Image: Ami or ah-Mei - Click for video

Image: Excellent video of Beyond live

Image: Huan sings the huanting theme song 'My Love' - Click to Play video

Image: Teresas Blues - Click to download a great Erhu track

Image: Wong Fei Hong Theme - Download a classic piece of music

Image: Beyond produced this great concert in 2005 - Click for video

Image: Folk artist Dao Lang - Click for video

Image: Annie (ai nei) = love you) Great track from Dave Wong - Click for Video

Image: Zhang Feng, When you think you would want me - Click for Video

Image: Show Luo - love of people = Take Back East Boys - Click for Video

Image: Tien Qua by Tang Lei - Click for Video

Image: Love Me in My Lifetime - Click for Video

Image: Yoo Young Seok - Click to Play

Image: Ah-Mei or Ami singing 'One Dance'- Click to Play video

Image: S.H.E China Girl - Click to Play video

Image: Jane Zhang singing 'When Love has Become the Past' - theme song Farewell My Concubine - Click to Play video

Image: Jay Chou concert in Hong Kong Coliseum - Click to Play video

Image: Excellent Cantonese TV Chef Martin Yan - click for his website

Image: Beefburger

Home Made Bread

Home Made Scotch Eggs

Image: Home Made Butter

Image: Home Made Chicken Liver Pate

Image: Hank's Home Made Sausages

Image: Home Made Pork Pies

Image: Chinese Curry Sauce

Image: Spare Ribs

Image: Home Made Basket Cheese

Image: Home Made Cheddar Cheese

Image: Shepherds Pie

Image: Traditional Cornish Pasty

Image: Splodge

Image: Batter for Fish - Click for Details

Image: Corned Beef

Image: Pitta Bread

Image: Gravy

Image: Prawn and Courgette Curry

Image: Yorkshire Pudding and related Yorkie

Image: Chinese Tea or Yeurm Cha - Click to Enlarge

Image: Chinese Soy Sauce - Click to Enlarge

Image: Chinese Chicken Bouillon - Click to Enlarge

Image: Chinese Rice Wine - Click to Enlarge

Image: Shar Siu - Click for Recipes

Image: Broccoli - Click for Recipes

Image: Citrus Grandis or Chinese Grapefruit - Click for Details

Image: Mooncakes - Click for Details

Image: USA Cuts of Beef - Click to Enlarge

Image: British Cuts of Beef - Click to Enlarge

Image: Chinese Sour Orange - Click for Details

Image: Sik Juk, Congee, or Rice Porridge - Click for Recipe

Image: Chinese Style Ribs or Pi Gwat - Click for Recipe

Image: Crabmeat and Sweetcorn soup - Click for Recipe

Image: Chinese chicken wings and drumsticks - Click for Recipe

Image: Ba Choi Soup - Click for Recipe

Image: Mango Soup - Click for Recipe
Chinese Literature
Chinese Books, Poetry and Prose
Chinese literature is rich and spans millennia reaching peaks of excellence during the Tang, Song and Ming Empires.

Literature is highly revered by all Chinese people, with many books and poems transformed into other arts such as Chinese Operatic productions and modern day films.

During this brief introduction we will introduce you to The Four Great Books of Chinese literature. Please do not confuse these with the Confusian 'The Four Books and The Five Classics', which are famous historical and education works such as the I-Ching. Please find that page by clicking here

Chinese refer to these as the Four Classics, although technically there are actually five books but one is banned: Dream of the Red Chamber - 红楼梦 or Hong Lou Meng

This famous novel is also sometimes referred to as 'A Dream of Red Mansions', or by another name, 'The Story of the Stone' 石头记.

"Chamber" is sometimes translated as "mansion" because of the scale of the Chinese word "樓", literally "Red chamber dream". "Red tower" or "red chamber" is an idiom for the sheltered chambers where the daughters of wealthy families lived.

This is perhaps the most highly revered of all the great classical works and is often portrayed via Chinese Opera. More recently it has found many variations in film and TV, often being used as the basis of a modern or period drama.

Cultured Chinese people often employ quotations from the book to elucidate a point, drawing meaning from its use within the context of the writing.

It was composed sometime in the middle of the 18th century during the Qing Dynasty. It is a masterpiece of Chinese vernacular literature and is generally acknowledged to be the pinnacle of classical Chinese novels.

Red Chamber is believed to be semi-autobiographical, mirroring the fortunes of author Cao Xueqin's own family. As the author details in the first chapter, it is intended to be a memorial to the women he knew in his youth: friends, relatives and servants. The novel is remarkable not only for its huge cast of characters and psychological scope, but also for its precise and detailed observation of the life and social structures typical of 18th-century Chinese aristocracy.

Plot Summary

The novel provides a detailed, episodic record of the two branches of the wealthy and aristocratic Jia (賈) clan — the Rongguo House (榮國府) and the Ningguo House (寧國府) — who reside in two large, adjacent family compounds in the capital. Their ancestors were made dukes, and as the novel begins the two houses are among the most illustrious families in the capital. One of the clan’s offspring is made an Imperial Consort, and a gigantic landscaped interior garden, named the Grand View Garden, is built to receive her visit. The novel describes the Jias’ wealth and influence in great naturalistic detail, and charts the Jias’ fall from the height of their prestige, following some thirty main characters and over four hundred minor ones. Eventually the Jia clan falls into disfavour with the Emperor, and their mansions are raided and confiscated.

In the story's frame story, a sentient Stone, abandoned by the goddess Nüwa when she mended the heavens aeons ago, begs a Taoist priest and Buddhist monk to bring it with him to enjoy in the worldly world. The Stone and Divine Attendant-in-Waiting (神瑛侍者) are separate beings (while in Cheng-Gao versions they are merged into the same character).

The main character, Jia Baoyu (whose name means "precious jade"), is the adolescent heir of the family, a reincarnation of the Divine Attendant-in-Waiting. The Crimson Pearl Fairy (絳珠仙子) is incarnated as Baoyu's sickly cousin, the emotional Lin Daiyu, who loves Baoyu. Baoyu, however, is predestined in this life to marry another cousin, Xue Baochai. This love triangle against the backdrop of the family's declining fortunes forms the most well-known plot line in the novel.

  • The Story of the Stone (first eighty chapters by David Hawkes and last forty by John Minford), Penguin Classics or Bloomington: Indiana University Press, five volumes, 1973–1980. ISBN 0-14-044293-6, ISBN 0-14-044326-6, ISBN 0-14-044370-3; ISBN 0-14-044371-1, ISBN 0-14-044372-X. This is considered by many, including Gladys Yang (who also translated the work), as the best available version
  • Red Chamber Dream (Dr. B.S. Bonsall), Unpublished typescript. Available on the web
Source: China Expats and Wikipedia

Outlaws of the Marsh - 水浒传
ISBN 7-119-01662-8

Better known as The Water Margin, this classic novel was written in the fourteen century.

Known as Outlaws of the Marsh, The Water Margin, All Men Are Brothers, Men of the Marshes, or The Marshes of Mount Liang, the work is one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. Attributed to Shi Naian, it is a fictional account of twelfth-century events and the novel details the trials and tribulations of 108 outlaws during the Song Dynasty period of Chinese history.

One by one, over one hundred men and women are forced by the harsh feudal officialdom to take to the hills. They band together and defeat every attempt of the government troops to crush them. Within this framework we find intrigue, adventure, murder, warfare, romance ... in a connected series of fascinating individual tales told in the suspenseful manner of the traditional storyteller.

I have this as a series of four paperback books released by the Foreign Language Press of Beijing. ISBN 7-119-01662-8

History and development

Water Margin is a novel based on the outlaw Song Jiang and his 36 companions. The group was active in the Huai River region and surrendered to the government in 1121. They were recorded in History of the Song Dynasty of the Twenty-Four Histories. The name of "Song Jiang" appeared in the chapter of Emperor Huizong of Song while the activities of the outlaw group were mentioned in the chapter for Zhang Shuye.

Folk stories of Song Jiang circulated during the Southern Song Dynasty period. The first text to name Song Jiang's 36 companions was Miscellaneous observations from the year of Guixin (癸辛雜識) by Zhou Mi, written in the 13th century. Among the 36 were Lu Junyi, Guan Sheng, Ruan Xiaoer, Ruan Xiaowu, Ruan Xiaoqi, Liu Tang, Hua Rong and Wu Yong. Some of the characters who later became associated with Song Jiang also appeared around this time. They include Sun Li, Yang Zhi, Lin Chong, Lu Zhishen and Wu Song.

A direct precursor of Water Margin was the Old incidents in the Xuanhe period of the great Song Dynasty (大宋宣和遺事), which appeared around the mid-13th century. The text is a written version of storytellers' tales, based on supposed historical events. It is divided into ten chapters, roughly covering the history of the Song Dynasty from the early 11th century to the establishment of the Southern Song regime in 1127. The fourth chapter covers the adventures of Song Jiang and his 36 companions, and their eventual defeat by Zhang Shuye. Some of the more well-known stories and characters of the Water Margin are clearly visible, including "Yang Zhi sells his precious saber", "Robbing the convoy of birthday gifts", "Song Jiang kills Yan Poxi", "Fighting Fang La" etc. Song Jiang and his outlaws were said to operate in the Taihang Mountains.

Stories about the outlaws of Mount Liang became a popular subject for Yuan Dynasty drama. During this time, the material on which the Water Margin was based evolved into what it is today. The number of outlaws increased to 108. Even though they came from different backgrounds (including scholars, fishermen, imperial drill instructors etc.) all of them eventually came to occupy Mount Liang. There is a theory that Water Margin became popular during the Yuan Dynasty as the common people (predominantly Han Chinese) resented the Mongol rulers. The outlaws' rebellion was deemed "safe" to promote as it was supposedly a negative reflection of the fallen Song Dynasty.

Concurrently, the rebellion was also a call for the common people to rise up against corruption in the government. The Chongzhen Emperor of the Ming Dynasty, acting on the advice of his ministers, banned the book to suppress rebellions.

Outline of Chapters

This work should be considered as a collection of interrelated stories rather than a novel, although common themes link all the separate tales.

The opening episode is the release of the 108 spirits, imprisoned under an ancient stele-bearing tortoise. The next chapter describes the rise of Gao Qiu, the main antagonist of the 108 heroes. Stories of the outlaws are told in separate sections in the following chapters. Connections between characters are vague, but the individual stories are eventually pieced together by chapter 40 after Song Jiang becomes the leader of the outlaw band at Mount Liang (Liangshan Marsh).

The plot further develops by illustrating the conflicts between the outlaws and the Song government after the Grand Assembly. Song Jiang strongly advocates making peace with the government and seeking redress for the outlaws. After defeating the imperial armies, the outlaws are eventually granted amnesty by the emperor. The emperor recruits them to form a military contingent and allows them to embark on campaigns against invaders from the Liao Dynasty and suppress the rebel forces of Tian Hu, Wang Qing and Fang La within the Song Dynasty's domain.

The following outline of chapters is based on a 100-chapter edition. Yang's 120-chapter edition includes other campaigns of the outlaws on behalf of Song Dynasty, while Jin's 70-chapter edition omits the chapters on the outlaws' acceptance of amnesty and subsequent campaigns.

Adapted from Wikipedia:

Romance of the Three Kingdoms or 三国志评话
ISBN 978-7119005904

Romance of the Three Kingdoms, written by Luo Guanzhong in the 14th century, is a Chinese historical novel based on the events in the turbulent years near the end of the Han Dynasty and the Three Kingdoms era of Chinese history, starting in 169 and ending with the reunification of the land in 280.

The story (part historical, part legend, and part myth) chronicles the lives of feudal lords and their retainers, who tried to replace the dwindling Han Dynasty or restore it. While the novel actually follows literally hundreds of characters, the focus is mainly on the three power blocs that emerged from the remnants of the Han Dynasty, and would eventually form the three states of Cao Wei, Shu Han, and Eastern Wu. The novel deals with the plots, personal and army battles, intrigues, and struggles of these states to achieve dominance for almost 100 years. This novel also gives readers a sense of how the Chinese view their history as cyclical rather than linear (as in the West). The opening lines of the novel summarize this view: The world under heaven, after a long period of division, will be united; after a long period of union, will be divided. (話說天下大勢,分久必合,合久必分。).

Romance of the Three Kingdoms is acclaimed as one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature; it has a total of 800,000 words and nearly a thousand dramatic characters (mostly historical) in 120 chapters. It is arguably the most widely read historical novel in late imperial and modern China.


One of the greatest achievements of Romance of the Three Kingdoms is the extreme complexity of its stories and characters. The novel contains numerous secondary stories. The following consists of a summary of the central plot, and well-known highlights in the story.

Three Heroes of Three Kingdoms, silk painting by Sekkan Sakurai (1715–1790), depicting Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei. This painting is usually hung in the offices of businessmen to show that they are trustworthy, just as these brothers were to each other. The offices are sometimes of an upscale nature and have a regular office cleaning to maintain a clean environment

Yellow Turban Rebellion
In the final years of the Han Dynasty, incompetent eunuchs deceive the emperor and persecute good officials, and the government becomes extremely corrupt on all levels, leading to widespread deterioration of the empire. During the reign of the penultimate Han sovereign, Emperor Ling, the Yellow Turban Rebellion breaks out under the leadership of Zhang Jue (a.k.a. Zhang Jiao).

The rebellion is barely suppressed by troops under the command of He Jin, General-in-Chief of the imperial armies. Fearing his growing power, the eunuchs led by Zhang Rang lure He Jin into the palace and murder him. He Jin's stunned guards, led by Yuan Shao, respond by charging into the palace to kill all eunuchs for revenge, which turns into indiscriminate slaughter. In the ensuing chaos, the child Emperor Shao and the Prince of Chenliu disappear from the palace.

Dong Zhuo's reign of terror

The missing emperor and prince are found later by soldiers of the warlord Dong Zhuo, who proceeds to seize control of the capital city Luoyang under the pretext of protecting the emperor. Dong later deposes Emperor Shao and replaces him with the Prince of Chenliu, who becomes known as Emperor Xian. Dong usurps state power and starts a reign of terror in which innocents are persecuted and the common people suffer. Wu Fu and Cao Cao attempt to assassinate Dong Zhuo but both fail.

Cao Cao manages to escape and issues an imperial edict in the emperor's name to all regional warlords and governors, calling them to rise up against Dong Zhuo. Under Yuan Shao's leadership, eighteen warlords form a coalition force in a campaign against Dong Zhuo, but undermined by poor leadership and conflict of interest, they only manage to drive Dong from Luoyang to Chang'an. Dong Zhuo is eventually betrayed and killed by his foster son Lü Bu in a dispute over the beautiful maiden Diaochan.

Conflict among the various warlords and nobles

In the meantime, the empire is already disintegrating into civil war. Sun Jian finds the Imperial Seal and keeps it secretly for himself, further weakening royal authority. Without a strong central government, warlords begin to rise and fight each other for land, plunging China into a state of anarchy. In the north, Yuan Shao and Gongsun Zan are at war, and in the south, Sun Jian and Liu Biao. Many others, even those without title or land, such as Cao Cao and Liu Bei, are also starting to build up power.

Cao Cao rescues Emperor Xian from Dong Zhuo's followers and establishes the new imperial court in Xuchang. Cao Cao proceeds to defeat his rivals such as Lü Bu, Yuan Shu and Zhang Xiu before scoring a tactical victory over Yuan Shao in the Battle of Guandu despite being vastly outnumbered. Through his conquests, Cao unites the Central Plains and northern China under his rule, and the lands he controlled would serve as the foundation for the state of Cao Wei in the future.

Sun Ce builds a dynasty in Jiangdong

Meanwhile, an ambush had violently concluded Sun Jian's life in a war with Liu Biao, fulfilling Sun's own rash oath to heaven. His eldest son Sun Ce delivers the Imperial Seal as a tribute to the rising royal pretender, Yuan Shu of Huainan, in exchange for reinforcements. Sun secures himself a state in the rich riverlands of Jiangdong, on which the state of Eastern Wu will eventually be founded. Tragically, Sun Ce also dies at the pinnacle of his career from illness under stress of his terrifying encounter with the ghost of Yu Ji, a venerable magician whom he had falsely accused and executed in jealousy. However, his younger brother Sun Quan, who succeeds him, proves to be a capable and charismatic ruler. Sun, assisted by skilled advisors Zhou Yu and Zhang Zhao, inspires hidden talents such as Lu Su to join his service, and builds up a strong military force.

Liu Bei's ambition

Liu Bei, along with his sworn brothers Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, swear allegiance to the Han Dynasty in the famous Oath of the Peach Garden and pledge to do their best for the country. However, their goals and ambitions are not realized until the later part of the novel. Liu is not recognized for his efforts in quelling the Yellow Turban Rebellion and is merely appointed as a junior magistrate. They join Gongsun Zan and participate in the campaign against Dong Zhuo. Liu Bei becomes the governor of Xu Province after Tao Qian passes on the post to him. Liu loses the province when Lü Bu seizes control of it with the help of a defector and he joins Cao Cao in defeating Lü at the Battle of Xiapi. While Cao Cao subtly reveals his intention to usurp state power, Liu Bei is officially recognised by Emperor Xian as the Imperial Uncle and seen as a saviour to help the emperor deal with Cao.

Liu Bei leaves Cao Cao eventually and seizes Xu Province from Cao's newly appointed governor Che Zhou. In retaliation, Cao attacks Xu Province and defeats Liu, forcing Liu to seek refuge under Yuan Shao for a brief period of time. Liu finds a new base in Runan after leaving Yuan but is defeated by Cao Cao's forces once again. He retreats to Jing Province to join Liu Biao and is placed in charge of Xinye. At Xinye, Liu recruits the genius strategist Zhuge Liang personally and builds up his forces.

Battle of Red Cliffs

Cao Cao declares himself chancellor and leads his troops to attack southern China after uniting the north. He is defeated twice at Xinye by Liu Bei's forces but Liu loses the city as well. Liu leads his men and the civilians of Xinye on an exodus southwards and they arrive at Jiangxia where Liu establishes a foothold against Cao Cao.

To resist Cao Cao, Liu Bei sends Zhuge Liang to persuade Sun Quan to form an alliance. Zhuge succeeds in his diplomatic mission and remains in Jiangdong as a temporary advisor to Sun Quan. Sun places Zhou Yu in command of the armies of Jiangdong (Eastern Wu) in preparation for an upcoming war with Cao Cao. Zhou feels that Zhuge will become a future threat to Eastern Wu and he tries to kill Zhuge on a few occasions but he fails and decides to co-operate with Zhuge for the time being. Cao Cao is defeated at the Battle of Red Cliffs by the allied forces of Sun Quan and Liu Bei and he is forced to retreat north.

Sun Quan and Liu Bei begin vying for control of Jing Province after their victory and Liu seizes the province from Cao Cao after following Zhuge Liang's strategy. Sun Quan is unhappy and sends emissaries to ask Liu Bei for Jing Province, but Liu dismisses the envoys each time with different excuses. Sun uses some strategies proposed by Zhou Yu to take the land, of which the most famous is the "Beauty Scheme." Sun intends to lure Liu Bei to Jiangdong to marry his sister Lady Sun and hold Liu hostage to exchange his freedom for Jing Province, but the plot fails and the newly-wed couple return home safely. Zhou Yu tries to take Jing Province repeatedly but his plans are foiled three times by Zhuge Liang. Zhou Yu is so infuriated the last time that he coughs blood and dies.

Liu Bei's takeover of Yi Province

After Zhou Yu's death, relations between Liu Bei and Sun Quan gradually deteriorate but not to the point of open conflict. In accordance with Zhuge Liang's Longzhong Plan, Liu Bei leads his troops into Yi Province in the west and takes over the land from the incompetent noble Liu Zhang. By then, Liu Bei rules a vast area of land from Jing Province to Yi Province in the west, which will serve as the foundation for the future state of Shu Han. He proclaims himself "King of Hanzhong" after his victory over Cao Cao in the Hanzhong Campaign.

At the same time, Cao has also been granted the title of "King of Wei" by the emperor and Sun Quan became known as the "Duke of Wu". In the east, Sun Quan and Cao Cao's forces clash at the Battle of Ruxukou and Battle of Xiaoyao Ford with victories and defeats for both sides. The situation among the three major powers reaches a stalemate after this until Cao Cao's death.

Death of Guan Yu

Meanwhile, Sun Quan plots to take Jing Province after tiring of Liu Bei's repeated refusals to hand the land over. He makes peace with Cao Cao and becomes a vassal of Cao with the title of "King of Wu". Guan Yu, who is in charge of Jing Province, leads his troops to attack Cao Ren in the Battle of Fancheng. Sun Quan sends Lü Meng to lead his troops to seize Jing Province while Guan is away, as part of his secret agreement with Cao Cao. Guan is caught off guard and loses Jing Province before he realizes it. He retreats to Maicheng, where he is heavily surrounded by Sun Quan's forces, while his army gradually shrinks in size as many of his troops desert or surrender to the enemy. In desperation, Guan attempts to break out of the siege but fails and is captured in an ambush. He is executed on Sun Quan's orders after refusing to renounce his loyalty to Liu Bei.

Shortly after Guan Yu's death, Cao Cao dies of a brain tumour and his son Cao Pi usurps the throne, effectively ending the Han Dynasty and Cao renames his new dynasty "Cao Wei". In response, Liu Bei proclaims himself emperor, to carry on the bloodline of the Han Dynasty. While Liu Bei is planning to avenge Guan Yu, his other sworn brother Zhang Fei is assassinated in his sleep by his subordinates, who have defected to Sun Quan.

Battle of Xiaoting

As Liu Bei leads a large army to attack Sun Quan to avenge Guan Yu, Sun attempts to appease Liu by offering him the return of Jing Province. Liu's advisers, including Zhuge Liang, urge him to accept Sun's tokens of peace, but Liu persists in vengeance. After initial victories, a series of strategic mistakes due to the impetuosity of Liu leads to the cataclysmic defeat of Shu Han in the Battle of Xiaoting. Lu Xun, the commander of Sun Quan's forces, refrains from pursuing the retreating Shu Han troops after encountering Zhuge Liang's Stone Sentinel Maze..

Liu Bei dies in Baidicheng from illness shortly after his defeat. In a moving final conversation between Liu on his deathbed and Zhuge Liang, Liu grants Zhuge the authority to take the throne if his successor Liu Shan proves to be an inept ruler. Zhuge refuses and swears that he will remain faithful to the trust Liu Bei had placed in him.

Zhuge Liang's campaigns

After Liu Bei's death, as advised by Sima Yi, Cao Pi induces several forces, including Sun Quan, turncoat Shu general Meng Da, Meng Huo of the Nanman and the Qiang tribes, to attack Shu Han, in coordination with a Cao Wei army. Zhuge Liang manages to send the five armies retreating without any bloodshed. An envoy from Shu Han named Deng Zhi subsequently persuades Sun Quan to renew the former alliance with Shu Han. Zhuge Liang personally leads a southern campaign against the Nanman barbarian king Meng Huo. Meng is defeated and captured seven times, but Zhuge releases him each time and allows him to come back for another battle, in order to win Meng over. The seventh time, Meng refuses to leave and decides to swear allegiance to Shu Han forever.

After pacifying the south, Zhuge Liang leads the Shu Han army on five military expeditions to attack Cao Wei in order to restore the Han Dynasty. However, Zhuge's days are numbered as he had been suffering from chronic tuberculosis all along, and his condition worsens under stress from the campaigns. His last significant victory over Cao Wei is probably the defection of Jiang Wei, a promising young general who is well-versed in military strategy. Zhuge Liang dies of illness at the Battle of Wuzhang Plains while leading a stalemate battle against his nemesis, the Cao Wei commander Sima Yi. Before his death, Zhuge orders his trusted generals to build a statue of himself and use it to scare away the enemy in order to buy time for the Shu Han army to retreat safely.

End of the Three Kingdoms

The long years of battle between Shu Han and Cao Wei sees many changes in the ruling Cao family in Cao Wei. The influence of the Caos weakens after the death of Cao Rui and the state power of Cao Wei eventually falls into the hands of the Sima clan, headed by Sima Yi's sons Sima Shi and Sima Zhao.

In Shu Han, Jiang Wei inherits Zhuge Liang's legacy and continues to lead another nine campaigns against Cao Wei for a bitter three decades, but he fails to achieve any significant success. Moreover, the ruler of Shu Han, Liu Shan, is incompetent and places faith in treacherous officials, further leading to the decline of the kingdom. Shu Han is eventually conquered by Cao Wei. Jiang Wei attempts to restore Shu Han with the help of Zhong Hui but their plans are exposed and both of them are killed by Sima Zhao's troops. After the fall of Shu Han in 263, Sima Zhao's son Sima Yan forces the last Wei ruler, Cao Huan, to abdicate his throne in 265, officially ending the Cao Wei dynasty. Sima Yan, having already been proclaimed the Prince of Jin in the previous year, then formally establishes the Jin Dynasty.

In Eastern Wu, there has been internal conflict among the nobles ever since the death of Sun Quan, with Zhuge Ke and Sun Lin making attempts to usurp state power. Although stability is restored temporarily, the last Wu ruler Sun Hao appears to be a tyrant who does not make any efforts to strengthen his kingdom. Eastern Wu, the last of the Three Kingdoms, is finally conquered by Jin after a long period of struggle in the year 280, thus marking the end of the near century-long era of civil strife known as the Three Kingdoms period.

Adapted from Wikipedia:

Journey to the West - 西游记 or Xi You Ji
ISBN 7119016636

Better known as Monkey, or more accurately as The Monkey King, this is perhaps the best known of the classics outside of China, and certainly the most adapted for general television, and so much so that it would be normal for one of the many channels to be showing this at any time you turn on the TV!

Originally published anonymously in the 1590s during the Ming Dynasty, its authorship has been ascribed to the scholar Wu Cheng'en since the 20th century.

The novel is a fictionalised account of the legendary pilgrimage to India of the Buddhist monk Xuanzang. The monk travelled to the "Western Regions" during the Tang dynasty, to obtain sacred texts (sūtras). The Bodhisattva Guan Yin, on instruction from the Buddha, gives this task to the monk and his three protectors in the form of disciples — namely Sun Wukong, Zhu Bajie and Sha Wujing — together with a dragon prince who acts as Xuanzang's steed, a white horse. These four characters have agreed to help Xuanzang as an atonement for past sins.

Journey to the West has a strong background in Chinese folk religion, Chinese mythology and value systems; the pantheon of Taoist immortals and Buddhist bodhisattvas is still reflective of some Chinese religious beliefs today. Enduringly popular, the tale is at once a adventure story, a spring of spiritual insight, and an extended allegory in which the group of pilgrims journeying toward India represents individuals journeying toward enlightenment.


The novel comprises 100 chapters. These can be divided into four very unequal parts. The first, which includes chapters 1–7, is really a self-contained introduction to the main story. It deals entirely with the earlier exploits of Sun Wukong, a monkey born from a stone nourished by the Five Elements, who learns the art of the Tao, 72 polymorphic transformations, combat, and secrets of immortality, and through guile and force makes a name for himself as the Qitian Dasheng (simplified Chinese: 齐天大圣; traditional Chinese: 齊天大聖), or "Great Sage Equal to Heaven". His powers grow to match the forces of all of the Eastern (Taoist) deities, and the prologue culminates in Sūn's rebellion against Heaven, during a time when he garnered a post in the celestial bureaucracy. Hubris proves his downfall when the Buddha manages to trap him under a mountain, sealing the mountain with a talisman for five hundred years.

Only following this introductory story is the nominal main character, Xuanzang, introduced. Chapters 8–12 provide his early biography and the background to his great journey. Dismayed that "the land of the South knows only greed, hedonism, promiscuity, and sins", the Buddha instructs the Bodhisattva Guan Yin to search Tang China for someone to take the Buddhist sutras of "transcendence and persuasion for good will" back to the East. Part of the story here also relates to how Xuánzàng becomes a monk (as well as revealing his past life as a disciple of the Buddha named "Golden Cicada" (金蟬子) and comes about being sent on this pilgrimage by Emperor Taizong of Tang, who previously escaped death with the help of an underworld official).

The third and longest section of the work is chapters 13–99, an episodic adventure story in which Xuanzang sets out to bring back Buddhist scriptures from Vulture Peak in India, but encounters various evils along the way. The section is set in the sparsely-populated lands along the Silk Road between China and India, including Xinjiang, Turkestan, and Afghanistan. The geography described in the book is, however, almost entirely fantastic; once Xuánzàng departs Chang'an, the Tang capital, and crosses the frontier (somewhere in Gansu province), he finds himself in a wilderness of deep gorges and tall mountains, inhabited by flesh-eating demons who regard him as a potential meal (since his flesh was believed to give immortality to whoever ate it), with the occasional hidden monastery or royal city-state amidst the harsh setting.

Episodes consist of 1–4 chapters and usually involve Xuánzàng being captured and having his life threatened while his disciples try to find an ingenious (and often violent) way of liberating him. Although some of Xuanzang's predicaments are political and involve ordinary human beings, they more frequently consist of run-ins with various goblins and ogres, many of whom turn out to be earthly manifestations of heavenly beings (whose sins will be negated by eating the flesh of Xuanzang) or animal-spirits with enough Taoist spiritual merit to assume semi-human forms.

Chapters 13–22 do not follow this structure precisely, as they introduce Xuanzang's disciples, who, inspired or goaded by Guan Yin, meet and agree to serve him along the way in order to atone for their sins in their past lives.

The first is Sun Wukong (simplified Chinese: 孙悟空; traditional Chinese: 孫悟空), or Monkey, previously "Great Sage Equal to Heaven", trapped by Buddha for rebelling against Heaven. He appears right away in Chapter 13. The most intelligent and violent of the disciples, he is constantly reproved for his violence by Xuanzang. Ultimately, he can only be controlled by a magic gold band that the Bodhisattva has placed around his head, which causes him unbearable headaches when Xuanzang chants the Tightening-Crown spell.
The second, appearing in chapter 19, is Zhu Bajie (simplified Chinese: 猪八戒; traditional Chinese: 豬八戒), literally Eight-precepts Pig, sometimes translated as Pigsy or just Pig. He was previously Marshal Tianpeng (simplified Chinese: 天蓬元帅; traditional Chinese: 天蓬元帥), commander of the Heavenly Naval forces, banished to the mortal realm for flirting with the Princess of the Moon Chang'e. A reliable fighter, he is characterized by his insatiable appetites for food and sex, and is constantly looking for a way out of his duties, which causes significant conflict with Sun Wukong.

The third, appearing in chapter 22, is the river-ogre Sha Wujing (simplified Chinese: 沙悟净; traditional Chinese: 沙悟淨), also translated as Friar Sand or Sandy. He was previously the celestial Curtain-lifting General (simplified Chinese: 卷帘大将; traditional Chinese: 捲簾大將), banished to the mortal realm for dropping (and shattering) a crystal goblet of the Heavenly Queen Mother. He is a quiet but generally dependable character, who serves as the straight foil to the comic relief of Sun and Zhu.

The fourth disciple is the third prince of the Dragon-King, Yulong Santaizi (simplified Chinese: 玉龙三太子; traditional Chinese: 玉龍三太子), who was sentenced to death for setting fire to his father's great pearl. He was saved by Guan Yin from execution to stay and wait for his call of duty. He appears first in chapter 15, but has almost no speaking role, as throughout most of the story he appears in the transformed shape of a horse that Xuanzang rides on.

Chapter 22, where Sha Wujing is introduced, also provides a geographical boundary, as the river that the travelers cross brings them into a new "continent". Chapters 23–86 take place in the wilderness, and consist of 24 episodes of varying length, each characterized by a different magical monster or evil magician. There are impassably wide rivers, flaming mountains, a kingdom ruled by women, a lair of seductive spider-spirits, and many other fantastic scenarios. Throughout the journey, the four brave disciples have to fend off attacks on their master and teacher Xuanzang from various monsters and calamities.

It is strongly suggested that most of these calamities are engineered by fate and/or the Buddha, as, while the monsters who attack are vast in power and many in number, no real harm ever comes to the four travelers. Some of the monsters turn out to be escaped heavenly animals belonging to bodhisattvas or Taoist sages and spirits. Towards the end of the book there is a scene where the Buddha literally commands the fulfillment of the last disaster, because Xuanzang is one short of the eighty-one disasters he needs to attain Buddhahood.

In chapter 87, Xuanzang finally reaches the borderlands of India, and chapters 87–99 present magical adventures in a somewhat more mundane (though still exotic) setting. At length, after a pilgrimage said to have taken fourteen years (the text actually only provides evidence for nine of those years, but presumably there was room to add additional episodes) they arrive at the half-real, half-legendary destination of Vulture Peak, where, in a scene simultaneously mystical and comic, Xuanzang receives the scriptures from the living Buddha.

Chapter 100, the last of all, quickly describes the return journey to the Tang Empire, and the aftermath in which each traveler receives a reward in the form of posts in the bureaucracy of the heavens. Sun Wukong and Xuanzang achieve Buddhahood, Sha Wujing becomes an arhat, the dragon horse is made a nāga, and Zhu Bajie, whose good deeds have always been tempered by his greed, is promoted to an altar cleanser (i.e. eater of excess offerings at altars).
  • Journey to the West (1982–1984), a complete translation in three volumes by W.J.F. Jenner. Readable translation without scholarly apparatus.[12] Foreign Languages Press Beijing (ISBN 0-8351-1003-6, ISBN 0-8351-1193-8, ISBN 0-8351-1364-7; 1993 edition in four volumes: ISBN 978-7-119-01663-4; 2003 edition in six volumes with original Chinese on left page, English translation on right page: ISBN 7-119-03216-X)
  • The Journey to the West (1977–1983), a complete translation in four volumes by Anthony C. Yu. Complete translation with extensive scholarly introduction and notes.[12] University of Chicago Press: HC ISBN 0-226-97145-7, ISBN 0-226-97146-5, ISBN 0-226-97147-3, ISBN 0-226-97148-1; PB ISBN 0-226-97150-3, ISBN 0-226-97151-1; ISBN 0-226-97153-8; ISBN 0-226-97154-6. In 2006, an abridged version of this translation was published by Chicago UP under the title The Monkey and the Monk.
Adapted from Wikipedia:

Also the fifth Book:
The Plum in the Golden Vase or Jin Ping Mei
ISBN-10: 089346807X

This book became accepted as a classic in the early Qing Dynasty and was adapted for stage and Opera, within limits of course! This is because it is similar to western literature in the way that Lady Chatterley's Lover received and banned, although the contents of this book apparently are more like a Chinese Karma Sutra.

I have it on good authority that over seventy assorted sex acts are graphically detailed within the storytellers framework. It's therefore no wonder Beijing has banned the book. However, it is available in Hong Kong, and has been translated into many languages. The Beijing Dance Theatre based in Hong Kong is currently opening a stage play based upon the book, and will tour Europe later in 2011.

Mrs Wang Yuanyuan is a former principal ballerina at the National Ballet of China, and choreographed both the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games and a dance performance at the celebrations to mark the handover of Hong Kong in 1997. She is known as one of the "three queens" of Chinese dance.

However, Mrs Wang admitted that there was little chance of staging her production of the Jin Ping Mei on the Chinese mainland. Instead, she said her work as director of the Beijing Dance Theatre was squarely aimed at foreigners.

After its run at the Hong Kong Arts Festival, Mrs Wang hinted that the production could travel to the UK in October (2011), after an invitation from the Sadler's Wells Theatre in London to perform.

The work has been adapted as the plot for many films, Television series, comics, operas, video games and music; as well as being the basis for other literary works.

Jin Ping Mei (1610) is an erotic novel based on an episode from the Water Margin. In the original, the adulterer Ximen Qing is brutally killed by Wu Song for the murder of his brother. In Jin Ping Mei, however, Ximen dies a horrible death due to an accidental overdose of aphrodisiac pills.


Jin Ping Mei, or The Plum in the Golden Vase (Chinese: 金瓶梅; pinyin: Jīn Píng Méi), (also translated as The Golden Lotus) is a Chinese naturalistic novel composed in the vernacular (baihua) during the late Ming Dynasty. The author was Lanling Xiaoxiao Sheng (蘭陵笑笑生), "The Scoffing Scholar of Lanling", a clear pseudonym, and his identity is otherwise unknown. (The only clue was that he hailed from Lanling, or present-day Shandong.) Earliest versions of the novel exist only in handwritten scripts; the first block-printed book was released only in 1610. The more complete version today comprises one hundred chapters, amounting to about 100,000 characters.

Jin Ping Mei is sometimes considered to be the fifth classical novel after the Four Great Classical Novels. It is the first full-length Chinese fictional work to depict sexuality in a graphically explicit manner, and as such has a notoriety in China akin to Fanny Hill or Lady Chatterley's Lover in English.

Jin Ping Mei takes its name from the three central female characters — Pan Jinlian (潘金蓮, whose name means "Golden Lotus"); Li Ping'er (李瓶兒, literally, "Little Vase"), a concubine of Ximen Qing; and Pang Chunmei (龐春梅, "Spring plum blossoms"), a young maid who rose to power within the family.[2] According to some Chinese critics, each of the three Chinese characters in its title symbolizes an aspect about human nature. Jin (金), "gold", symbolizes wealth; ping (瓶), "vase", stands for liquor; and mei (梅), plum blossoms, is metaphoric for sexuality.

Within Chinese societies, Jin Ping Mei is considered to be pornographic material, due to its contents,[4] though critical studies of it have emerged since the Qing Dynasty. It has been described by Princeton University Press (in relation to the Roy translation) as "a landmark in the development of the narrative art form - not only from a specifically Chinese perspective but in a world-historical context...noted for its surprisingly modern technique" and comparable to early fictional world classics such as The Tale of Genji and Don Quixote.


The novel describes, in great detail, the downfall of the Ximen household during the years 1111–27 (during the Northern Song Dynasty). The story centres on Ximen Qing (西門慶), a corrupt social climber and lustful merchant who is wealthy enough to marry a consort of six wives and concubines.

A key episode of the novel, the seduction of the adulterous Pan Jinlian, occurs early in the book and is taken from an episode from Water Margin. After secretly murdering the husband of Pan, Ximen Qing marries her as one of his wives. The story follows the domestic sexual struggles of the women within his clan as they clamour for prestige and influence amidst the gradual decline of the Ximen clan.

In the course of the novel, Ximen has 19 sexual partners, including his 6 wives. There are 72 detailed sexual episodes.


For centuries identified as pornographic and officially banned most of the time, the book has nevertheless been read surreptitiously by many of the educated class. Only since the Qing Dynasty has it been re-evaluated as literature. Structurally taut, full of classical Chinese poetry and surprisingly mature even as early fiction, it also deals with larger sociological issues such as the role of women in ancient Chinese society, and sexual politics while functioning concurrently as a novel of manners and an allegory of human corruption.

Acclaimed Qing critic Zhang Zhupo described it as "the most incredible book existing under the heavens" (第一奇書), and in the 20th century, influential author Lu Xun also held it in great esteem.

The story contains a surprising number of descriptions of sexual toys and coital techniques that would be considered fetish today, as well as a large amount of bawdy jokes and oblique but still titillating sexual euphemisms. Some critics have argued that the highly sexual descriptions are essential, and have exerted what has been termed a "liberating" influence on other Chinese novels that deal with sexuality, most notably the Dream of the Red Chamber.

Little is known about the author except for some conjectures that he may have been a Taoist priest who wrote to expose the disintegrating morality and corruption of the late Ming Dynasty.

Adapted from Wikipedia:
This information is as supplied by ourselves, and ably supported by our friends and various internet portals.

We wish to thank Wikipedia for the bulk of the information above, which we have edited and added to, courtesy of Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.
Search this Website
Search Query
Chinese Classics
Image link: Dream of the Red Chamber, free translation into English - Click for website

Image: Dream of the Red Chamber original text - Click to Enlarge

Image: Dream of the Red Chamber 02 - Click to Enlarge

Image: Dream of the Red Chamber 03 - Click to Enlarge

Image: Dream of the Red Chamber Qing Wen - Click to Enlarge

Image: Dream of the Red Chamber Tu Yong - Click to Enlarge

Image: The Water Margin, Shui Hu - click to enlarge

Image: The Water Margin 02 - Click to Enlarge

Image: The Water Margin 03 - Click to Enlarge

Image: The Water Margin Suikoden - Click to Enlarge

Image: Romance of the Three Kingdoms 01 - Click to Enlarge

Image: Romance of the Three Kingdoms the red cliff - Click to Enlarge

Image: Romance of the Three Kingdoms 02 - Click to Enlarge

Image: Romance of the Three Kingdoms Pang De - Click to Enlarge

Image: Romance of the Three Kingdoms San Guo - Click to Enlarge

Image: Romance of the Three Kingdoms the three brothers - Click to Enlarge

Image: Romance of the Three Kingdoms Zhu Ge Liang - Click to Enlarge

Image: Journey to the West 01 - Click to Enlarge

Image: Journey to the West 02 - Click to Enlarge

Image: Journey to the West Goose Pagoda - Click to Enlarge

Image: Journey to the West TV 01 - Click to Enlarge

Image: Journey to the West TV 02 - Click to Enlarge

Image: Journey to the West TV 03 - Click to Enlarge

Image: Journey to the West TV 04 - Click to Enlarge

Image: Journey to the West Kwan Yin as Bhodisattva - Click to Enlarge

Image: Journey to the West 01 - Click to Enlarge

Image: Journey to the West Sha Seng - Click to Enlarge

Image: Journey to the West Wu Kong - Click to Enlarge

Image: Journey to the West Sun Wu Kong - Click to Enlarge

Image: Journey to the West Tang Seng - Click to Enlarge

Image: Journey to the West Zhu - Click to Enlarge

Image: Jin Ping Mei 01 - Click to Enlarge

Image: Jin Ping Mei 02 - Click to Enlarge

Image: Jin Ping Mei Beijing Dance Theatre 01 - Click to Enlarge

Image: Jin Ping Mei Beijing Dance Theatre 02 - Click to Enlarge

Image: Jin Ping Mei Beijing Dance Theatre 03 - Click to Enlarge
Chinese Opera
Image: Beijing or Peking Opera - Click to Enlarge

Image: Cantonese or Yue Opera - Click to Enlarge

Image: Sichuan Opera marionettes- Click to Enlarge

Image: Sichuan Opera Faces - Click to Enlarge

Image: Sichuan Opera beards - Click to Enlarge

Image: Huangmei Opera - Click to Enlarge

Image: The Love Eterne - Click to Enlarge

Image: Beijing Opera featuring The Monkey King - Click to Enlarge

Image: Beijing Opera - Click to Enlarge

Image: Beijing Opera - Click to Enlarge

Image: Sichuan Opera spitting fire - Click to Enlarge

Image: Opera Masks - Click to Enlarge

Image: Make-up takes hours to complete - Click to Enlarge

Image: Sichuan Opera scene- Click to Enlarge

Image: Sichuan Opera Sword - Click to Enlarge

Image: Actor applying make-up - Click to Enlarge

Image: Actress finishing make-up - Click to Enlarge

Image: The Peony Pavilion - Click to Enlarge

Image: Opera Doll in full make-up - Click to Enlarge

Image: Cantonese Opera - Click to Enlarge
Page Navigation: Top of Page
Link to: - Excellent Hosting and Support Services
Image for Decoration only
    Copyright Webmaster @ ChinaExpats Links