Chinese Folktale | Ancient Chinese Culture

Archive for category Chinese Folktale

Draw a Dragon, Put in Pupils

During the Southern and Northern Dynasties Period (420-589), there was a remarkable painter called Zeng Sengyao. Once he was asked to paint four dragons on the wall of a temple by the emperor.

He finished the drawing in a short period of time. The dragons were vivid but all they had no pupils in their eyes. When he was encouraged to add the pupils he declined and said if he did so, the dragons would become real and flew away. Read the rest of this entry »

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Quench Thirst by Watching Plums

One summer, a warrior called Cao Cao was leading his troops to battle. It was terribly hot and all the water was gone. The bad news was that there was still a long distance from the nearest source of water. They were so thirsty that they did not want to move any more.

Seeing that, Cao thought for a while and then told his soldiers that there was a ton of plum trees ahead. Hearing that, all soldiers began to think about the sour and juicy green plums. Read the rest of this entry »

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Chinese Matchmaker

Yue Lao, also called Chinese matchmaker, who, much like the role of Cupid in the western culture, is the god who is in charge of marriages in Chinese folktale.

Yue Lao is depicted as an old man with a long flowing beard. The matchmaker holds a book called “the book of fate” in his hand. It is said that marriages of all people in the world are recorded on this book. He always carries a big bag of red threads. According to the legend, he ties a man and a woman around their ankles with a red thread. They are destined to be soul mates and no matter how far apart the two may be, they will eventually meet and marry. Read the rest of this entry »


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Ji Gong

Ji Gong, also known as Living Buddha Ji Gong, was a folk hero in Chinese folklore. It was said that he was a monk with magical powers. He was always ready to defend people against injustice, punish vice, reward virtue, etc. It was widely recognized that he was the incarnate of the Taming Dragon Arhat, one of the eighteen legendary arhats.

The legend of Ji Gong based on a real historical figure whose name was Li Xiuyuan (1130–1207).  Li became a monastic at the age of 18 and then was ordained under the monastic name Daoji. Unlike other traditional monks, he drank wine and ate meat and looked like a madman. Read the rest of this entry »

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One Character Worth A Thousand Pieces of Gold

One character is worth a thousand pieces of gold, can’t believe that? It is true as it really happened in the Chinese history.

During the Warring States Period (475 BC to 221 BC), there was a famous politician called Lu Buwei. Though he was one of the most powerful men in the state of Qin, he was always looked down by others due to his humble birth.

One of his followers suggested him to compile a good book as many people in history enjoyed eminent fame because they wrote famous books. Lu adopted his advice and invited about 3,000 scholars from all over China to help him with his book. Read the rest of this entry »

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