Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
The Plum in the Golden Vase or, Chin P'ing Mei: Volume Five: The Dissolution

The Plum in the Golden Vase or, Chin P'ing Mei: Volume Five: The Dissolution: Volume Five: The Dissolution

Translated by David Tod Roy
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 624
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt32bbqg
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    The Plum in the Golden Vase or, Chin P'ing Mei: Volume Five: The Dissolution
    Book Description:

    This is the fifth and final volume in David Roy's celebrated translation of one of the most famous and important novels in Chinese literature.The Plum in the Golden Vaseor,Chin P'ing Meiis an anonymous sixteenth-century work that focuses on the domestic life of Hsi-men Ch'ing, a corrupt, upwardly mobile merchant in a provincial town, who maintains a harem of six wives and concubines. The novel, known primarily for its erotic realism, is also a landmark in the development of the narrative art form-not only from a specifically Chinese perspective but in a world-historical context.

    This complete and annotated translation aims to faithfully represent and elucidate all the rhetorical features of the original in its most authentic form and thereby enable the Western reader to appreciate this Chinese masterpiece at its true worth.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-4815-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. CAST OF CHARACTERS
    (pp. xiii-lxviii)
  6. Chapter 81 HAN TAO-KUO TAKES ADVANTAGE OF A CHANCE TO APPROPRIATE THE GOODS; T’ANG LAI-PAO DEFRAUDS HIS MASTER AND DISREGARDS HIS BENEVOLENCE
    (pp. 1-16)

    The story goes that after Hsi-men Ch’ing had entrusted Han Tao-kuo and Lai-pao with four thousand taels of silver and sent them to the Chiangnan region to purchase goods, they proceeded along the way:

    Imbibing the wind and resting by water.³

    Stopping by night and traveling by day,

    until they arrived in Yang-chou, where they sought out the home of Miao Ch’ing in order to secure accommodations. When Miao Ch’ing read Hsi-men Ch’ing’s handwritten note and remembered how he had done him:

    The favor of saving his life,

    he did everything in his power to entertain the two of them,...

  7. Chapter 82 P’AN CHIN-LIEN MAKES AN ASSIGNATION ON A MOONLIT NIGHT; CH’EN CHING-CHI ENJOYS TWO BEAUTIES IN A PAINTED BOWER
    (pp. 17-34)

    The story goes that ever since P’an Chin-lien and Ch’en Ching-chi had made out in his antechamber while Hsi-men Ch’ing was lying in state nearby, the two of them, on a daily basis, still savoring the sweet taste of their encounter:

    Felt the chill of love by day,

    And the heat of ardor at dusk.

    Either:

    Leaning on shoulders and engaging in badinage,

    or:

    Sitting together and delighting in flirtation,

    they pestered each other incessantly and carried on without any restraint whatever. If there were other people about so they could not communicate verbally, they would write their thoughts on...

  8. Chapter 83 CH’IU-CHÜ, HARBORING RESENTMENT, REVEALS A CLANDESTINE AFFAIR; CH’UN-MEI TRANSMITS A NOTE TO FACILITATE A LOVERS’ RENDEZVOUS
    (pp. 35-53)

    The story goes that when P’an Chin-lien saw that Ch’en Ching-chi had climbed over the wall and departed at the crack of dawn, she felt regret over the way she had treated him.

    The next day was the fifteenth day of the seventh month, and Wu Yüeh-niang rode in her sedan chair to the Ksitigarbha Nunnery where Nun Hsüeh resided in order to burn a coffer of paper money on Hsi-men Ch’ing’s behalf in celebration of the Ullambana Festival.² Chin-lien and the others escorted Yüeh-niang to the front gate and then returned inside. Meng Yü-lou, Sun Hsüeh-o, and Hsi-men Ta-chieh...

  9. Chapter 84 WU YÜEH-NIANG CREATES A STIR IN THE TEMPLE OF IRIDESCENT CLOUDS; SUNG CHIANG UPRIGHTLY FREES HER FROM THE CH’ING-FENG STRONGHOLD
    (pp. 54-71)

    The story goes that, one day, Wu Yüeh-niang invited her elder brother Wu K’ai to come and consult with her about her wish to make a pilgrimage to the summit of Mount T’ai in T’ai-an prefecture in order to burn incense in the Temple of the Goddess of iridescent Clouds.¹ When Hsi-men Ch’ing was on his last legs, she had sworn an oath to do so. Wu K’ai agreed to escort her on this mission and took care of procuring the incense, candles, paper money, and sacrificial offerings that she would need. Tai-an and Lai-an were also to accompany her,...

  10. Chapter 85 WU YÜEH-NIANG SURPRISES CHIN-LIEN IN THE ACT OF ADULTERY; AUNTIE HSÜEH AGREES TO SELL CH’UN-MEI ON A MOONLIT NIGHT
    (pp. 72-89)

    The story goes that Wu K’ai escorted Yüeh-niang on her way back until the day that she arrived home. But no more of this.

    To return to our story, ever since Yüeh-niang had left home, P’an Chin-lien and Ch’en Ching-chi:

    In both the front and rear compounds,

    carried on with each other at home as though engaged in:

    The mating dance of a cock and a hen.

    Not a single day elapsed without their getting together.

    One day, Chin-lien noticed that:

    Her eyebrows were drooping, and

    Her waistline was expanding;

    all day long she suffered from:

    Lassitude and drowsiness, and...

  11. Chapter 86 SUN HSÜEH-O INSTIGATES THE BEATING OF CH’EN CHING-CHI; DAME WANG MARRIES OFF CHIN-LIEN TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER
    (pp. 90-112)

    The story goes that from the time that Ch’un-mei left the household, P’an Chin-lien suffered from depression in her quarters. But no more of this.

    To resume our story, after breakfast the next day, Ch’en Ching-chi went out on the pretext of settling accounts with a creditor and rode his mount to Auntie Hsüeh’s house, where she happened to be at home. she invited him in, and Ch’en Ching-chi tied up his mule, came inside, and sat down. Tea was served to him, and he drank it, but Ch’un-mei, who was in an inner room, did not come out.

    Auntie...

  12. Chapter 87 DAME WANG HUNGERS AFTER WEALTH AND RECEIVES HER JUST REWARD; WU SUNG KILLS HIS SISTER-IN-LAW AND PROPITIATES HIS BROTHER
    (pp. 113-130)

    The story goes that Ch’en Ching-chi hired a horse for himself, called for a servitor of Militia Commander Chang Kuan to accompany him, and set out early in the morning for the Eastern Capital. But no more of this.

    To resume our story, the day after Wu Yüeh-niang had expelled P’an Chin-lien from the household, she sent Ch’un-hung to summon Auntie Hsüeh because she also wished to sell Ch’iu-chü.

    While Ch’un hung was walking along Main Street on this errand, he happened to run into Ying Po-chüeh, who called him to a halt and inquired, “Ch’un-hung, where are you headed?”...

  13. Chapter 88 P’AN CHIN-LIEN APPEARS IN A DREAM IN COMMANDANT CHOU HSIU’S HOME; WU YÜEH-NIANG CONTRIBUTES A GIFT TO A SUBSCRIPTION-SEEKING MONK
    (pp. 131-150)

    The story goes that after Wu sung had killed the woman and Dame Wang and taken their valuables, he went to join the band of outlaws in Liangshan Marsh.

    To resume our story, after Wang Ch’ao ran out onto the street to look for the head of the local mutual security unit, he noticed that both the front and rear doors to Wu Sung’s house were locked, and that the valuables had been taken from Dame Wang’s house and the clothing scattered:

    Higgledy-piggledy,

    all over the floor. Upon realizing that Wu Sung had killed both women and made off with...

  14. Chapter 89 ON THE CH’ING-MING FESTIVAL THE WIDOW VISITS THE NEW GRAVE; WU YÜEH-NIANG BLUNDERS INTO THE TEMPLE OF ETERNAL FELICITY
    (pp. 151-173)

    The story goes that the next day Wu Yüeh-niang saw to the preparation of an offertory table, replete with a pig’s head and the three sacrificial animals, soup and rice, paper money for the dead, and the like, wrapped up a bolt of fabric, and directed Hsi-men Ta-chieh to get herself ready by donning plain white mourning garments, and taking her seat in a sedan chair. Auntie Hsüeh then took charge of the sacrificial offerings and preceded her along the way to the door of the Ch’en residence. What should she see when she arrived there but Ch’en Ching-chi himself,...

  15. Chapter 90 LAI-WANG ABSCONDS TOGETHER WITH SUN HSÜEH-O; SUN HSÜEH-O IS SOLD TO CHOU HSIU’S HOUSEHOLD
    (pp. 174-193)

    The story goes that Wu K’ai took charge of Yüeh-niang and the group of men and women that accompanied her as they left the Temple of Eternal Felicity and continued on their way under the tall trees on the long embankment. Meanwhile, Tai-an had already selected an elevated spot in the open air before the tavern in Apricot Blossom Village, from which they could enjoy:

    The liveliness of the teeming crowds;

    and set out their wine and appetizers:

    Making a canopy of Heaven and a carpet of Earth.⁴

    He had waited a long time before he saw the sedan chairs...

  16. Chapter 91 MENG YÜ-LOU IS HAPPY TO MARRY LI KUNG-PI; LI KUNG-PI IN A FIT OF RAGE BEATS YÜ-TSAN
    (pp. 194-217)

    The story goes that, one day, Ch’en Ching-chi heard from Auntie Hsüeh that Sun Hsüeh-o from the household of Hsi-men Ch’ing had committed adultery with Lai-wang and absconded with him, along with a quantity of stolen property, to some place outside, but that their crimes had come to light, and she had been put up for sale by the district magistrate, and sold into the household of Commandant Chou Hsiu, where she was subjected to beating and abuse at the hands of Ch’un-mei both day and night.

    Ch’en Ching-chi took advantage of this opportunity to send Auntie Hsüeh to Hsi-men...

  17. Chapter 92 CH’EN CHING-CHI IS ENTRAPPED IN YEN-CHOU PREFECTURE; WU YÜEH-NIANG CREATES A STIR IN THE DISTRICT YAMEN
    (pp. 218-243)

    The story goes that on that day, after the young squire Li Kung-pi had given Yü-tsan a beating, he summoned Old Mother T’ao to take her away, sold her for eight taels of silver, and used the proceeds to buy a seventeen-year-old maidservant named Man-t’ang to take charge of the kitchen in her place. But no more of this.

    To resume our story, after Hsi-men Ta-chieh returned to Ch’en Ching-chi’s residence and brought with her the beds and curtains, the items from her dowry, and the trunkloads of other goods:

    Every third day they squabbled, and

    Every fifth day they...

  18. Chapter 93 WANG HSÜAN RELIES ON RIGHTEOUSNESS TO HELP THE POOR; ABBOT JEN IN THE DESIRE FOR PROFIT INVITES DISASTER
    (pp. 244-268)

    The story goes that Ch’en Ching-chi, from the time that Hsi-men Ta-chieh committed suicide, Wu Yüeh-niang took him to court, and the singing girl Feng Chin-pao was sent back to the brothel, felt that he had barely escaped with his life. He had been forced to put his house up for sale and had exhausted his capital, had disposed of his wife’s head ornaments, and did not even have any furniture left. He also claimed, once again, that Ch’en Ting had been embezzling the money entrusted to him and dismissed him. He did not have enough money to cover his...

  19. Chapter 94 LIU THE SECOND DRUNKENLY BEATS CH’EN CHING-CHI; SUN HSÜEH-O BECOMES A TROLLOP IN MY OWN TAVERN
    (pp. 269-288)

    The story goes that, from the time that Ch’en the Third led Ch’en Ching-chi to the Hsieh Family Tavern where he met with Feng Chin-pao, the two of them resumed their former affair. From then on, no three days passed by without their getting together. If Ch’en Ching-chi happened to be tied up at the temple and failed to show up, Feng Chin-pao would send Ch’en the Third to deliver a gift, or a love letter, and request that he come, and he would reward her with five mace or a tael of silver. Later on, he also undertook to...

  20. Chapter 95 P’ING-AN ABSCONDS WITH JEWELRY FROM THE PAWNSHOP; AUNTIE HSÜEH CLEVERLY PROPOSES A PERSONAL APPEAL
    (pp. 289-308)

    The story goes that Sun Hsüeh-o was sold into the life of a singing girl working out of My Own Tavern. But no more of this. At this point our story divides into two.

    To resume our story, after Hsi-men Ta-chieh committed suicide, and Wu Yüeh-niang took Ch’en Ching-chi to court for it, Lai-chao, the head servant in the household, also passed away, and his wife “The Beanpole” took her son Little Iron Rod and remarried someone else. Lai-hsing was then made responsible for the gate. The maidservant Hsiu-ch’un left the household after being turned over to Nun Wang to...

  21. Chapter 96 CH’UN-MEI ENJOYS VISITING THE POOLS AND PAVILIONS OF HER OLD HOME; COMMANDANT CHOU HSIU SENDS CHANG SHENG TO LOOK FOR CH’EN CHING-CHI
    (pp. 309-329)

    The story goes that:

    Light and darkness alternate swiftly;

    The sun and moon shoot back and forth like shuttles, and, before long, it was the twenty-first day of the first month of the following year. Ch’un-mei, after consulting with Commandant Chou Hsiu, prepared a sacrificial table, replete with four kinds of preserved fruit, and a jug of southern wine, and sent their servant Chou Jen to deliver it to Wu Yüeh-niang. In the first place, it was the third anniversary of Hsi-men Ch’ing’s death; and in the second place, it was Hsiao-ko’s birthday. Yüeh-niang accepted the gifts and rewarded Chou...

  22. Chapter 97 CH’EN CHING-CHI PLAYS A ROLE IN THE COMMANDANT’S HOUSEHOLD; AUNTIE HSÜEH PEDDLES TRINKETS AND PROPOSES A MARRIAGE MATCH
    (pp. 330-348)

    The story goes that when Ch’en Ching-chi arrived at Commandant Chou Hsiu’s headquarters and dismounted, Chang Sheng preceded him inside to report his presence to Ch’un-mei. Ch’un-mei ordered that Ch’en Ching-chi should be taken to a duty room in the front of the compound and given a bath in a tub of fragrant water, so that his body would be washed clean. She also sent one of the wet nurses to take out a bundle of new clothes, a pair of boots, and a cap for him to change into. Chang Sheng took the tattered old garments that he had...

  23. Chapter 98 CH’EN CHING-CHI OPENS A TAVERN IN LIN-CH’ING; HAN AI-CHIEH ENCOUNTERS A LOVER IN A BORDELLO
    (pp. 349-369)

    The story goes that, one day, Commandant Chou Hsiu, and the prefect of Chi-nan prefecture Chang Shu-yeh, in command of their infantry and cavalry, completed a successful campaign against the outlaws in Liang-shan Marsh; and the thirty-six leaders of the band, under the command of their chieftain Sung Chiang, along with their more than ten thousand followers, agreed to accept the offer of an imperial amnesty, so that peace was restored in the affected territory. When this was reported to the throne, the Emperor was greatly pleased and promoted Chang Shu-yeh to the positions of censor-in-chief and pacification commissioner of...

  24. Chapter 99 LIU THE SECOND DRUNKENLY CURSES WANG LIU-ERH; CHANG SHENG WRATHFULLY KILLS CH’EN CHING-CHI
    (pp. 370-390)

    The story goes that Ch’en Ching-chi allowed two days to pass, since the third day, the twenty-fifth of the fifth month, was his birthday. On that occasion, Ch’un-mei prepared a feast in the rear reception hall to celebrate his birthday, and the entire household joined in the festivities.

    Early the next morning, Ch’en Ching-chi said to Ch’un-mei, “it is some time since I have been to the dock in Lin-ch’ing. Since I am not busy today, I plan to go there. In the first place, I will be able to go over the accounts with the managers of the tavern;...

  25. Chapter 100 HAN AI-CHIEH SEEKS HER FATHER AND MOTHER IN HU-CHOU; CH’AN MASTER P’U-CHING RESCUES SOULS FROM PERDITION
    (pp. 391-420)

    The story goes that when Han Tao-kuo and Wang Liu-erh returned to the Hsieh Family Tavern without their daughter, they were faced with the prospect of:

    Sitting at home as their resources ran out.⁴

    They therefore sent Ch’en the Third to invite Magnate Ho to visit them as before. When Magnate Ho found out that Liu the Second had been killed by the local authorities, so that the threat that he posed was eliminated, he came back and resumed his affair with Wang Liu-erh.

    In the course of a conversation with Han Tao-kuo, he said, “Since your daughter, Han Ai-chieh,...

  26. NOTES
    (pp. 421-500)
  27. BIBLIOGRAPHY TO VOLUME 5
    (pp. 501-524)
  28. INDEX
    (pp. 525-556)