The Western Chamber

The Western Chamber 

By Wang Shifu of the Yuan dynasty

Adapted by Hong Zengling, illustrated by Wang Shuhui & translated by Zheng Kangbo

(Hai Feng Publishing Company Hong Kong)

This beautiful fable uses the ancient plot of the hard path to true love to examine the nature of aspiration in a hidebound culture as well as the greater quest for personal freedom. The Western Chamber is adapted from a classic work of the Yuan dynasty, attributed to the dramatist Wang Shifu, and was produced in pre-Reunification Hong Kong.

The story tells of a bright, ambitious scholar named Zhang Gong, who called himself Junrui, and his fateful decision to go to the Capital and gain a government position. En route he visits a monastery where he accidentally glimpses Cui Yingying, sequestered daughter of the recently deceased Prime Minister.

The seemingly insurmountable obstacles of rank, wealth, pride, rivals, politics, potential mothers-in-law and even a marauding rebel army and its libidinous General all prove ineffective. We know that eventually love will conquer all and that the ending will be a happy one, but fans of beautiful drawings will delight in the fact that the adventure is delivered with the seductive mastery of line and black ink that epitomises all that is great in Eastern picture storytelling.

As with most oriental graphic novels The Western Chamber has been in print continuously since its release, and should be readily available from most shops in your local Chinatown.

© Hai Feng Publishing Company 1982. All Rights Reserved.