“Cloud-Transcending Crossing” (“Lingyun Du”) or “The Great Revenge of Blue Snake” (“Qingshe da Eaochou”), the Second and Final Installment of a Chengdu Shadow Play Script, Thunder Peak Pagoda (Leifeng Ta)
- CHINOPERL: Journal of Chinese Oral and Performing Literature
- University of Hawai'i Press
- Volume 32, Number 1, July 2013
- pp. 30-71
- Additional Information
``CLOUD-TRANSCENDING CROSSING'' (``LINGYUN DU'') OR ``THE GREAT REVENGE OF BLUE SNAKE'' (``QINGSHE DA BAOCHOU''), THE SECOND AND FINAL INSTALLMENT OF A CHENGDU SHADOW PLAY SCRIPT, THUNDER PEAK PAGODA (LEIFENG TA) FAN PEN CHEN State University of New York, Albany1 Translated below is the second of two installments (ben ,) of a most unusual version of the White Snake (Baishe }Ç) legend that comes from the shadow theater (piying xi ®q2) tradition of Chengdu, Sichuan. Although the whole play goes by a title, Thunder Peak Pagoda (Leifeng ta ÷ðT), that was used for versions of the story that tell how White Snake ended up under that pagoda as well as what happened afterward, this version of Thunder Peak Pagoda instead deals only with events after her con®nement under the pagoda. In the ®rst installment, White Snake's companion, Little Blue (Xiaoqing R),2 subdues a new character, Little Red (Xiaohong ), with whom she storms the Buddha's Western Paradise to exact revenge for White Snake in the second installment. The second installment of the play, which is also known under the titles of ``Cloud-Transcending Crossing'' (``Lingyun du'' Ìò!)3 and ``The Great Revenge of Blue Snake'' (``Qingshe da baochou'' RÇ'1Ç), is particularly intriguing because of the extended battle between the animal sprites (jing ¾)4 and Buddhist deities, the use of various ``sacred'' objects as weapons, the special effects, and the use of female 1 I would like to express my immense gratitude to the editor for his work on this article and to the anonymous reviewers for their valued comments. 2 Depending on context and usage, qing can refer to colors as varied as blue, green, or black. This is why the qing in the different forms of the White Snake's companion's name appear in English translation sometimes as ``blue'' and sometimes as ``green,'' and her stage costume can be either color. 3 Probably the most famous appearance of this crossing place (du !) across the river dividing the mortal world from the dwelling place of the Buddha is chapter 98 of the Ming novel, The Journey to the West (Xiyou ji 8), where only the Monkey King is willing to think about making the crossing and so the Tang Monk and his disciples end up getting ferried across the river. 4 Jing are animals (or sometimes plants or even things) who have, by dint of extended selfcultivation , attained magic powers, including the ability to take on human form. CHINOPERL: Journal of Chinese Oral and Performing Literature 32.1 (July 2013): 30±71 # The Permanent Conference on Chinese Oral and Performing Literatue, Inc. 2013 DOI: 10.1179/0193777413Z.0000000008 nudity as a weapon against Buddhist deities. It is because these features are of interest both in and of themselves and because of how they represent parts of the White Snake story not readily available elsewhere that this installment was chosen for translation here.5 Although all three of the snake spiritsÐWhite Snake, Blue Snake, and Red SnakeÐare defeated by the Buddhist forces, they are all also given the chance to gain enlightenment. Insofar as the tale demonstrates the subjugation of snake spirits by the Buddhist religion, this play also re¯ects the historical use of Buddhism to suppress snake deities and cults associated with them that proliferated among the native peoples of southern China. This introduction will explain the relationship between the snake spirits and Buddhist deities in the translated play through a discussion of the evolutions of both the legend of White Snake and the subjugation of snake cults. A synopsis of the ®rst installment of Thunder Peak Pagoda is also included. 5 The translation of the second installment below is based on the text given as an appendix to Jiang Yuxiang _e, Zhongguo yingxi - q2 (Chinese shadow theater; Chengdu: Sichuan renmin, 1992), pp. 315±30. The original of that text is described by Jiang (p. 330) as ``a manuscript produced from memory and edited'' (huiyi zhengli de chaoben Þ¶t,) by Chen Jiyu s|^, the sole surviving member at the time of the book's publication of Chunle yuan %, a famous shadow troupe in Chengdu during the 1920±1930s. Jiang says that Chen was over...