孟姜女傳說   Legend of Lady Meng Jiang

所屬名錄: 第一批國家級名錄

編號: I-8

申報地區或單位: 山東省淄博市

Inscribed list: National List, First Batch

Inventory no.: I-8

Nominating unit(s): Shandong Province, Zibo City





唐朝後,故事開始有大規模的改變及調整。杞梁從一位將士化為一名書生,死因亦變為因過度勞動而死,名字亦改為范喜良。其妻亦賦予一名字 — 孟姜。在宋代的改寫中,丈夫的名字再次被改為萬喜良,而孟姜女的下場亦被改為在悲痛中自殺。到了明清時期,以神化孟姜女出生及加上孟自盡前被秦始皇召見之情節,為故事情節增添改寫。


The Legend of Lady Meng Jiang is a tragic tale of a lady who sought for her husband while he was forced to work at the Great Wall construction site, and when she found out he had died, eventually broke the Great Wall into different sections with her tears.


The story begins with the legendary birth of the protagonist known as Lady Meng Jiang. Born from a bottle gourd, the family of Meng named her “Lady Meng Jiang’ as the plant she was born from was close to her parent’s home. After she grew up, she fell in love with the Scholar Wan Xiliang and was engaged to him. Soon after their marriage, the husband was summoned by order of Emperor Qin, who ordered and forced men into labor for the construction of the Great Wall of China. A while later upon the departure of Wan, his wife embarked on a difficult journey to seek for him and to deliver him winter clothes.


But upon her arrival, the other construction workers delivered to her the horrible news that her husband had died out of exhaustion. In profound grief, Lady Meng Jiang wept, and so great was her mourning that the heavens made the Great Wall collapse, revealing the bones of her dead husband. Popular versions of the story also include Emperor Qin ordering Lady Meng Jiang to be brought before him in order to account for the collapse of the wall. Instead of punishing her, he was enthralled by her beauty and wanted to marry her. Lady Meng Jiang proposed three conditions before she would agree. Although Emperor Qin obeyed and followed her orders, Lady Meng Jiang rejected the proposal and committed suicide in front of him, thus reuniting with her husband in death.


The earliest version of the story was based on the wife of Qi Liang, a general from the State of Qi. Written in ZhoZhuan, her exact name is unknown, and she mourned her late husband—who died in a battle and not because of the Great Wall—in her own home, with a Duke who had arrived to pay condolences. As the story was passed down to the Warring States era literature Book of Rites: Tan Gong, she was depicted as a grieving lady crying over the coffin of the husband, which perhaps is a commentary on the expression or ritual of crying in the process of grief in the Qi culture. The setting of was later changed to the Great Wall of Qi in the Han Dynasty literature, Biographies of Exemplary Women. The wife without a known name still cried for the loss of her husband, but the cries eventually moved the heavens and led to the collapse of the Great Wall after 10 days.


Starting from Tang Dynasty, the story started to receive major changes and adjustments. Qi was transformed from a general to a scholar whose death was caused by overworking on the construction of the Qin Great Wall, and his name changed to Fan XiLiang. Meanwhile, the wife was given a name, Meng Jiang. Rewritten drafts in the Song Dynasty revealed another name change of the husband to Wan Xiliang and in these versions Lady Meng Jiang also committed suicide out of sadness at the end. Further evolutions were made in the Ming and Qing era, through exaggeration of the miraculous circumstances of Lady Meng Jiang’s birth and the insertion of Emperor Qin meeting Lady Meng Jiang.


Through the changes in the story, writers in both the Tang and Ming dynasties expressed their opposition towards the great construction of the Great Wall in both the Northern Qi and Ming Dynasty respectively. At the same time, the spirit of lady Meng Jiang was appreciated and glorified. The legend has been passed on down through the generations and has been transformed into different forms of performing arts. In Hebei, the Meng Jiangnu Temple (Temple of Lady Meng Jiang) was constructed to comemorate the legend. It was thought to be built before the Song dynasty and repaired in the Ming dynasty.


視頻 Video:

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Video 1:

(Youth Opera performance of Lady Meng Jiang)


Video 2:

(Cartoon telling of the story)


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