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                      Home History and Culture Fictions of the Ming and Qing Dynasties
                      Fictions of the Ming and Qing Dynasties
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                         Chinese Fictions
                      In the Ming (míng cháo 明朝)(1368-1644 AD) and Qing (qīng cháo 清朝)(1644-1911 AD) dynasties, Chinese literature entered a new epoch. The two dynasties witnessed great achievements in the creation of fiction. Representative works are the Four Great Classical Novels (sì dà míng zhù 四大名著): Romance of Three Kingdoms (sān guó yǎn yì 三國演義), Outlaws of the Marsh (shuǐ hǔ zhuàn 水滸傳), Journey to the West (xī yóu jì 西游記) and A Dream of Red Mansions (hóng lóu mèng 紅樓夢). Those works enjoy a high reputation throughout the world. What’s more, they have been adapted for the screen and the stage, winning the favor of global audience.

                      Romance of Three Kingdoms
                      Romance of Three Kingdoms is the first complete historical novel in China. The author Luo Guanzhong (luó guàn zhōng 羅貫中) lived in the late Yuan (yuán cháo hòu qī 元朝后期) and early Ming dynasties. This novel was written on the basis of historical records and the stories between 169AD and 280AD about the three kingdoms that circulated among the people.

                      Cao Cao

                      Sun Quan
                      Liu Bei
                        Cao Cao 曹操
                       Sun Quan 孫權
                        Liu Bei 劉備

                      Reflecting the upheavals of the time, It focused on the military and political rivalry between the kingdoms of Wei (wèi 魏), Shu (shǔ 蜀) and Wu (wú 吳). Cao Cao (cáo cāo 曹操) standed for the north power. He held the Han's (hàn cháo 漢朝) emperor under duress and found the Wei Kingdom. In the south, Liu Bei (liú bèi 劉備), who once sold fans and shoes, found the Shu Kingdom because of his Imperial Uncle title and reputation; While Sun Quan (sūn quán 孫權), head of Wu Kingdom controlled the southeast. There are also many politicians and knights helping the three persons. In order to consolidate China, Cao Cao made several battles. On the other hand, the other two men wanted to enlarge their force and power to be king of the unified China. Through many battles, such as the Battle of Red Cliff, lastly the Xi Jin Kindom (xī jìn 西晉) defeated the Three Kingdoms and ended this period.
                      In the novel, the author successfully created a number of impressive characters with different characteristics, such as Zhuge Liang (zhūgě liàng 諸葛亮), a superb strategist, cunning and suspicious Cao Cao, loyal and brave Guan Yu (guān yǔ 關羽), reckless Zhang Fei (zhāng fēi 張飛), etc.

                      Outlaws of the Marsh
                      Outlaws of the MarshOutlaws of the Marsh is a novel about a peasant rebellion. The authorship Shi Nai’an (shī nài ān 施耐庵) also lived in the late Yuan and early Ming dynasties. Based on popular stories about a peasant rebellion led by Song Jiang (sòng jiāng 宋江) in the later years of the Song Dynasty (sòng cháo 宋朝), Shi wrote this novel.
                      It is vaguely based upon the historical bandit Song Jiang and his thirty-six companions. Song Jiang's bandits were expanded to number 108, and though they came from different backgrounds, all eventually came to occupy Liangshan (liáng shān 梁山). 108 heroes did not all appear at once. In fact the book was about how the bandits got together and joined the group one at a time or in small groups to escape some injustice perpetrated by corrupt officials. The novel details the trials and tribulations of 108 outlaws during the early 12th century, uncovering the social reality of a rebellion of civilians forced by persecution of officials. Episodes like Wu Song (wǔ sǒng 武松) strikes a tiger and Lu Zhishen (lǔ zhì shēn 魯智深) pulls out a willow tree remain vivid till now.

                      Journey to the west
                      Journey to the WestJourney to the west is a renowned mythical novel. The author was Wu Cheng’en (wú chéng ēn 吳承恩) of the Ming dynasty. The novel was a fictionalized account of the mythologized legends around the Buddhist monk Xuan Zang (xuán zàng 玄奘)'s pilgrimage to India during the Tang Dynasty (táng cháo 唐朝) in order to obtain Buddhist religious texts called sutras. The Bodhisattva (guān yīn pú sà 觀音菩薩), on instruction from the Buddha, gave this task to the monk and his three protectors in the form of disciples — namely Sun Wukong (sūn wù kōng 孫悟空), Zhu Bajie (zhū bā jiè 豬八戒) and Sha Wujing (shā wù jìng 沙悟凈) — together with a dragon prince who acts as Xuan Zang’s horse mount. These four characters have agreed to help Xuan Zang as atonement for past sins. They subdued all kinds of demons during the journey and survived 81 calamities to eventually brought back the sutras. As the most attractive figure in the novel, Monkey Sun Wukong was clever and brave as well as possessed the great power. He showed no fear in the face of heavenly gods or sinister monsters, which made him in high favor with most readers. The novel is full of fantasies that indicate the author’s abundant imagination. It has always had a tremendous impact on the Chinese people.

                      A dream of Red Mansions
                      A dream of Red Mansions can be regarded as the best Chinese classic novel. The author was Cao Xueqin (cáo xuě qín 曹雪芹), one of great litterateurs of the Qing Dynasty. Through a tragedy of romance between Jia Baoyu (jiǎ bǎo yù 賈寶玉) of a noble clan and lin Daiyu (lín dài yù 林黛玉), the novel gives an account of the history of a feudal clan from its heyday to its final collapse. The novel is believed to be semi-autobiographical, mirroring the fortunes of Cao'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.

                      a dream of red mansions
                      a dream of red mansions
                      The novel is remarkable not only for its huge cast of characters (most of them female) and psychological scope, but also for its precise and detailed observation of the life and social structures typical of 18th-century Chinese aristocracy. It is also one of the world's first feminist novel.
                      There are more than 400 characters vividly depicted in the novel, like Wang Xifeng (wáng xī fèng 王熙鳳), Xue Baochai (xuē bǎo chāi 薛寶釵) and Qing wen(qíng wén 晴雯), etc. with its fascinating scenario and superb language, A Dream of Red Mansions has reached the zenith of the Chinese novels, and holds an important position in the history of world literature. 

                      Other important works
                      Other important works include: Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio (liáo zhāi zhì yì  聊齋志異) by Pu Songling (pú sōng líng 蒲松齡), and The Scholars (rú lín wài shǐ 儒林外史) by Wu Jingzi (wú jìng zǐ 吳敬梓). Both of them all enjoy good fames all over the world.

                      明清小說

                            明清是中國小說史上的繁榮時期。從明代始,小說這種文學形式充分顯示出其社會作用和文學價值﹐打破了正統詩文的壟斷﹐在文學史上﹐取得與唐詩﹑宋詞﹑元曲并列的地位。清代則是中國古典小說盛極而衰并向近現代小說轉變的時期。其中的代表就是現在為大家所熟知的古典四大名著。Romance of Three Kingdoms
                            中國的四大名著是《三國演義》《水滸傳》《西游記》《紅樓夢》,他們是中國乃至全人類共同擁有的寶貴文化遺產,在整個華人世界中有著深遠的影響。毛澤東說過:“生子當如仲謀,交友如魯達,信心如唐僧,讀書就讀四大名著。”研讀中國四大名著,是瀏覽中國古典文學的智能之海,也是閱歷中國傳統人文、社會、倫理、歷史、地理、民俗、心理、處事策略的知識之庫。
                            《三國演義》描寫的是從東漢末年到西晉初年之間近一百年的歷史風云。全書反映了三國時代的政治軍事斗爭,反映了三國時代各類社會矛盾的滲透與轉化,概括了這一時代的歷史巨變,塑造了一批咤叱風云的英雄人物。在對三國歷史的把握上,作者表現出明顯的擁劉反曹傾向,以劉備集團作為描寫的中心,對劉備集團的主要人物加以歌頌,對曹操則極力揭露鞭撻。今天我們對于作者的這種擁劉反曹的傾向應有辯證的認識。尊劉反曹是民間傳說的主要傾向,在羅貫中時代隱含著人民對漢族復興的希望。
                            《水滸傳》作者在《宣和遺事》及相關話本、故事的基礎上創作而成。全書以描寫農民戰爭為主要題材,塑造了李逵、武松、林沖、魯智深等梁山英雄,揭示了當時的社會矛盾。故事曲折、語言生動、人物性格鮮明,具有很高的藝術成就。
                           《西游記》以民間傳說的唐僧取經的故事和有關話本及雜?。ㄔ┟鞒鯒钤G作)基礎上創作而成。西游記前七回敘述孫悟空出世,有大鬧天宮等故事。此后寫孫悟空隨唐僧西天取經,沿途除妖降魔、戰勝困難的故事。Outlaws of the Marsh
                           《紅樓夢》寫于十八世紀中葉的清乾隆時代,內容以賈、王、史、薛四大家族為背景,以賈寶玉、林黛玉的愛情悲劇為主線,描寫了封建官僚賈、王、史、薛四大家族,特別是賈家的衰落過程,揭露了封建統治者的罪惡,說明了封建王朝必將衰落的歷史命運。作品語言優美生動,善于刻畫人物,塑造了賈寶玉、林黛玉、王熙鳳、薛寶釵、尤三姐等個性鮮明的人物。本書規模宏大,結構嚴謹,具有很高的藝術成就。



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