Synopsis: Zuo Qing Ci is the son of the Marquis of Jing An who hides his true identity whilst he travels as a poor wandering physician. Whilst searching for the stolen Shanhe map (mountain river painting), he meets a thief called Fei Kou’er who too has concealed her true identity in order to find the medicinal herbs to save her Master. During their search they are dragged into a conspiracy which leads them to discover a secret 10 years ago. Whilst shouldering their duty to protect the kingdom and uphold justice they fall in love however this may just be the start of tragedy…..
Notes: 2 min read (if you are new to Wuxia, please do take the time to read some of the terminology as it might get confusing later on due to the different worlds)
- Wulin: The literal translation is martial forest, it refers to the community of martial artists who do not hold positions at the imperial court, in this drama they are controlled by the righteous/orthodox alliance (headed by the ZhangYang palace) in order to maintain order and uphold justice
- Jianghu: literal translation is rivers and lakes, refers to the underground “underworld of martial artists”. A society that is made up of martial artists, thieves, bandits, prostitutes, beggars, basically anyone who operate outside mainstream society or in the grey area of the law (source from: Wuxiaworld)
- Fangwai: literal translation means “outside of society”
- Suan Ni: a mythical beast that is a hybrid between a lion and a dragon, believed to be an offspring of the dragon, often seen resting by the feet of Bodhisattvas and hence seen as something that will bring good fortune.
- Don’t bully the poor youth: means don’t underestimate the young, they may be poor now but their future is limitless
- Qing Gong: The legendary martial art technique that allows those skilled in it to do anything from scaling walls, jumping off cliffs without dying and moving around faster than the eye can detect movement
- 9 denominations: reference here to the 9 familial exterminations, i.e. execution of the criminal’s living parents; the criminal’s living grandparent; any children the criminal may have, over a certain age (varying over different eras, children below the coming of age becomes slaves) and—if married—their spouses as well; any grandchildren the criminal may have, over a certain age (again with enslavement for the underage) and—if married—their spouses; siblings and siblings-in-law (the siblings of the criminal and that of his or her spouse, in the case where he or she is married) Uncles and aunts of the criminal, as well as their spouses; the criminal’s cousins; the criminal’s spouse; the criminal’s spouse’s parents; the criminal himself
- Phui: Said to ward off evil or bad luck
- Blackbird’s mouth: the blackbird was said to bring omens so if you have a blackbird’s mouth, everything bad you say will come true
P.S. For more info on wuxia terms got to: https://www.wuxiaworld.com/page/general-glossary-of-terms
Notes: (5 min read)
I don’t usually do notes for songs but I feel that I should do a few for this one as the lyrics hide a much deeper meaning that I know I’ve failed to capture completely. The lyrics are a combination of 3 poems by Yan Ji Do a Song poet who was from a rich noble family the son of the great Scholar Master Yan (If you’ve been following Chef Hua here I have mentioned who Master Yan is in my notes in ep 9/10. However after his father Master Yan died, Yan Ji Dao fell on hard times and from his poems we can tell he was betrayed by quite a few people. The three poems used here as the lyrics in this song were amongst the ones that describe his woes:
1. Female verse: from the Song poem/phrase 阮郎归•天边金掌露成霜 (Frost on the Golden Buddha’s palm)
One of the things to highlight here is the Golden buddha’s palm was actually a landmark in the capital of the Han kingdom. The talk about frost building on dew hints that winter is coming but also the use of dew and frost may refer to an earlier famous love poem where dew and frost was used to describe the absence of a lover. The line about migration of birds in the next line also suggests this is the case and hence sets the scene for the next few lines.
Next the beauty inviting the poet to drink on the Double 9th festival (9th of the 9th month of the lunar calendar)It’s a day to pay your respects to your ancestors, spend the day with your family. It’s also a day to drink chrysanthemum liquor, this part also suggests that the poet may have lost his family and also the good days were gone and only the friendliness of the beauty (probably prostitute) made him feel like he was that rich noble again instead of the sorry state now.
Finally the last two lines suggests that no matter how much wine one may drink, it is not enough to drown the sorrow as the literal translation is something along the lines of “Trying to drown the sadness/my pitiful state with wine, Don’t let me hear that heartbreaking song”.
2. Male verse: from the Song poem/phrase 阮郎归·旧香残粉似当初 (Perfume powder of my lover remains the same)
Starts off reminiscing about an ex female lover who has left then goes on about how old acquaintances gradually leave and the proof of it. Next the pillow and quilt, it uses imagery to try and cement the loneliness and pain, like a phoenix that has lost it’s dragon and the mandarin duck that has lost it’s partner (the animal that symbolizes fidelity, conjugal affection as they were believed to be lifelong couples) which sets the background for the highlight of this poem at the next part.
To express the anguish the poet uses that feeling of wanting to be reunited in a superficial dream to try and return to that previous state of bliss, however to seal the despair even his dreams are unwilling to help him out as he could only yearn for his ex lover at night yet never able to experience that happiness in his dreams. This part is quite explicit so the literal translation is quite similar to my translated interpretation.
3. Together verse : from the Song poem/phrase 鹧鸪天·醉拍春衫惜旧香 (Brushing the wine of my spring robe that still smells of my lover’s scent)
Another poem about the separation between two lovers. Carrying on from before, the poet starts off reminiscing about the good memories of his ex lover (i.e. using the characters treasured robe, scent/fragrance) before the poem takes a turn to resenting his fate which if it didn’t play a trick on him he could have led a perfect life i.e. describing himself as being inhibited/ carefree. The fact he uses the character “Heaven” may also suggest that he is resorting to this fate.
The next four lines uses the analogy of a wife waiting for her husband who is fighting in a war as a comparison to what he is experiencing, the literal translation is something along the lines of year after year unfamiliar plants appear on the path, day after day watch the sunset by the tower. “The endless blanket of clouds, vast stretches of water,” was used as a metaphor to describe the lost/ hopeless feeling you get due to the never ending situation (like the clouds, like a lake/body of water you can’t see the end of).
Finally the last two lines: “How could there be words to describe yearning?” ; “don’t write a letter of pining as it’s simply a waste of tears” as a way to express the hopeless yearning he feels and to console the hopelessness of his situation. The literal translation of the final line is do not waste your tears in writing on the special patterned paper (used to write private letters or poems so I interpreted is as a letter to the poet’s lover).