Topless statue of controversial ancient Chinese beauty Pan Jinlian sparks debate among Chinese netizens


Chinese Art  Updated:Fri, Nov 2, 2012 21:35 PM   By Bernd Chang


A topless statue of the infamous fictional character Pan Jinlian in a tourist spot in Tai'erzhuang of Shandong has generated a debate on Chinese internet. The Weibo opinion poll shows a majority of Chinese consider the half naked statue inappropriate.

Recently a controversial statue of ancient Chinese beauty Pan Jinlian has drawn much attention and debate in Chinese internet media. The statue titled "Wu Song sacrificed heart of Pan Jinlian to his brother" features a horrified topless Pan Jinlian being killed by her brother-in-law Wu Song.

With an area of 2 square kilometers, the restored ancient city of Tai'erzhuang of Shandong Province boasts diverse courtyards featuring water, theme cultures and exhibition halls. Among the courtyards, former residence house of ancient Chinese writer Jia Sanjin(贾三近), the presumed author of famous ancient Chinese erotic novel The Plum in the Golden Vase (金瓶梅, Jin Pin Mei), has also been opened to public recently.

The controversial statue just stands in the former residence of Jia Sanjin. Organizer of the historical town of Taierzhuang erect a set of statues trying to restore a scene from the classical Chinese novel Water Margin (水浒, Shuihu, also known as Outlaws of the Marsh) . The scene was one of the most well-known scenes from the widely popular classic where Wusong (武松), killed his adulterous sister-in-law Pan Jinlian (潘金莲) who was responsible for the death of his brother. The figure of Pan Jilian was grabbed by the lapel, revealing her bare breasts, by Wu Song with a knife held high in his other hand ready to strike down.

Chinese netizens consider the topless statue of Pan Jinlian inappropriate

After some visitor of the ancient town of Taierzhuang uploaded pictures of the bare breasted statue of Pan Jinlian online, a heavy debate has been sparked among Chinese netizens. In the Weibo opinion poll, over two thirds of the people taking part are against publicly demonstrating such a half naked statue, considering many seniors and children are also among the visitors to the turist spot. Sure there are also some netizens that do not oppose such a statue, who think it is not real human but just a statue, an piece of artwork and the chapter "Wu Song sacrificed heart of Pan Jinlian to his brother" in the original novel also wrote so.

Who is who? Pan Jinlian, Wu Song, Wu Dalang, Ximen Qing

Pan Jinlian was the wife of Wu Dalang (武大郎), whose younger brother, Wu Song, eventually became one of the major marsh rebels and the most memorable hero among the average Chinese. While Wu Song was a handsome, stout and tall young man, Wu Dalong was an unsightly dwarf, making a living by peddling bread. Pan Jinlian, young, beautiful and graceful, was always jeered by neighbors as a flower planted in a cow's dung. Her affair with a wealthy and fine-looking womanizer Ximen Qing (西门庆) in town led to her murder of her husband and her own execution by her brother-in-law, who took the law into his own hands in revenging his brother after his failure to bring the case to a corrupt court.

Pan Jinlian is not only one of the few women characters in Shi Nai'an's Water Margins (Outlaws of Marsh) , she is also the major role in the famouse ancient Chinese erotic novel Jin Ping Mei (金瓶梅) or The Plum in the Golden Vase, in which a key episode is the seduction of the adulterous Pan Jinlian by Ximen Qing (西门庆), a corrupt social climber and lustful merchant who is wealthy enough to marry a consort of six wives and concubines. The author of the Jin Ping Mei is Lanling Xiaoxiao Sheng (兰陵笑笑生), "The Scoffing Scholar of Lanling", a clear pseudonym, and his identity is presumed to be Jia Sanjin, a writer in Ming Dynasty.

In a society when women were supposed to resign to their fate no matter whom they married, Pan Jinlian's act made her the most vicious and therefore condemned woman in Chinese history.
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