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Tang Studies 6 (198&) La Pin-wang's Survival: Traces of a Legend VOLKER KLOPSCH KREFELD, WESf GERMANY I. The beauty of Hangchow's West lake has been captured in numerous poems written near its shores.! But the following example has been chosen less for its aesthetic value than for its connection with the biography of its assumed author. Few lines in the history of Chinese literature are so closely linked to the fate of their author or are - almost literally - a matter of life and death. The Ling-yin Temple 2 Vulture Peak towers in the air, This article isan enlarged version of a paper delivered at the 32nd International Congress for Asian and North Mrican Studies in Hamburg on August 29, 1986. I am indebted to William H. Nienhauser for reading the draft, offering many useful suggestions, and initial revision of the English. I also wish to express my gratitude to Lutz Bieg (Berlin), who provided important bibliographical information. 1 These poems have been integrated into the local gazetteers attached to the prose descriptions, or published as separate volulmes. Most of these works are to be found in Wu-linchang-kuts'ungpien Jit# $: itt .• ~collected byTing Ping T ~ (1832-1899) and available ina lO-volume reprint (Taipei: Hua-wen shu-chO).A modern annotated edition with poems on West Lake has been published in the series Hsi Hu wen-i ts'ung-shu ~M~.".:Hsi Hu shih-tz'u hsilan ~M~~~, ed. Wang Jung-ch'u :E~fJJ, Hangchow, 1979. The poem discussed here is the first in the book (pp. 1-3); the editor attributes its authorship to Sung Chih-wen *Z. rAt A small number of poems on West Lake have been rendered into English by AC. Graham inRenditions 25 (1986), 101-112. 2 The Ling-yin szu 1( fiI ~ is situated north of the lake and is still one of the largest and most impressive temples in the Hangchow area. The name, which can be translated as "Temple of the Spirits' Retreat," stems from a remark made by its 4th-century founder Hui-li g JJ.. This poem has-to myknowledge-been translated into a Western language onlyonce, by Howard Levy (see n. 12 below). Unfortunately, since Levy was not familiar with the 77 KIc5psch: Lo Pin-wang's Survival Dragon Palace3 is enclosed in loneliness. The buildings look to the sun above the vast ocean, the gates face4 the bore of the Ch'ien-t'ang River. Cassia flowers fall down from the moon,5 topology of the Hangchow region, his translation is not without flaws. In Ch'Qan Tang shih (peking: Chung-hua, 1960), 53.653 the author of the poem is given as Sung Chih-wen. 3Lung kung ft 1J here stands for the Ling-yin Temple. The expression contains an allusion to Tan-ch'ao fI: iii, a famous monk of the monastery during the Southern Ch'i dynasty. According to legend, even the Dragon King rose from the water and came to listen to his preaching. Out of gratitude the dragon created a Jade Fountain (ya ch'Uan .:tt ~ ) by just clapping his forepaws; the site was transformed into a temple during the 10th century (cf. the passage on YU-ch'Qan szu:E *~ in book 2 of Hsi Hu meng-hsU W~¥~ byChangTai ~m). Etienne Balazs ascribes the veneration of the Dragon King to the constant danger of fires in the capital of the Southern Sung; see "Marco Polo in the Capital of China," in Balazs, Chinese Civilization and Bureaucracy, tr. H.M. Wright (New Haven, 1964), p. 88. 4 Quite a few of the poem's admirers actually visiting the temple have been mystified when they found themselves locked up in a valley surrounded by mountains-and no viewonto the Ch'ien-t'ang river. It must be for reasons of plausibility that some editions have the variant t'ing -, "to hear," for tui fl, "to face." 5 Kuei-tzu t! To are cassia flowers or blossoms, so called because of their small, bean-like shape. According to legend, a mythical cassia tree is growing on the Moon: "Die Blilten des Baumes (Spezies: Osmanthus fragrans) haben einen sehr anziehenden, wohlriechenden...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1759-7633
Print ISSN
0737-5034
Pages
pp. 77-97
Launched on MUSE
2021-04-08
Open Access
No
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