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Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies
ISSN 0577-9170; DOI 10.6503/THJCS


Using a Play as a Weapon: Conflicts Between the Fu She and Wen Ti-ren in Lü Mudan

Vol. 42 No. 4   12/2012    


Using a Play as a Weapon: Conflicts Between the Fu She and Wen Ti-ren in Lü Mudan











Key words

Wen Ti-ren 溫體仁Lü Mudan 綠牡丹, Fu She 復社 (the Restoration Society), Wu Bing 吳炳, the revised version found in the Can Hua Zhai 粲花齋


         This paper discusses the writers and historical background of the legenLü Mudan 綠牡丹. The legend was originally written by the younger brother of the Premier Wen Ti-ren 溫體仁 with the goal of ridiculing the members of the Fu She 復社 (Restoration Society). This work was later banned due to political infighting, and thus the original text of the play is no longer extant. The existing version of the play, found in the Can Hua Zhai 粲花齋, was written by Wu Bing 吳炳 only after a few years of the destruction of the original. Wu was friendly with the members of the Fu She, and he changed the core of the play, by reshaping the images of the lead roles, in order to launch a counterattack on Wen Ti-ren. The composition of the two versions reveals that the Lü Mudan was in fact used as a weapon to attack people with conflicting views. This demonstrates that the motivation for writing and performing traditional operas during the Ming Dynasty was often very complicated, and not simply aimed at providing entertainment.



Author: Lin, Chih-ying
Genre: Article
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