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Earlier precedents[ edit ] Even though the term "wuxia" as the name of a genre is a recent coinage, stories about xia date back more than 2, years.
Wuxia stories have their roots in some early youxia tales from — BCE.
They usually rendered their loyalties and services to feudal lords and nobles in return for rewards such as riches and women. In Volume of the Shi Ji, Sima Qian detailed several embryonic features of xia culture from his period.
These popular phenomena were also documented in other historical records such as the Book of Han and the Book of the Later Han. During the Song dynastysimilar stories circulated in the huabenshort works that were once thought to have served as prompt-books for shuochang traditional Chinese storytelling.
The former is a romanticised historical retelling of the events in the late Eastern Han dynasty and the Three Kingdoms period, while the latter criticises the deplorable socio-economic status of the late Northern Song dynasty.
Water Margin is often seen as the first full-length wuxia novel: Romance of the Three Kingdoms is also seen as a possible early antecedent and contains classic close-combat descriptions that were later borrowed by wuxia writers in their works : Xiayi stories of chivalrous romance, which frequently featured female heroes and supernatural fighting abilities, also surfaced during the Qing dynasty.
The term was brought to China by writers and students who hoped that China would modernise its military and place emphasis on martial virtues, and it quickly became entrenched as the term used to refer to xiayi and other predecessors of wuxia proper. Nonetheless, the wuxia genre remained enormously popular with the common people.
A new literature evolved, calling for a break with Confucian values, and the xia emerged as a symbol of personal freedom, defiance to Confucian tradition, and rejection of the Chinese family system. Writers such as Liang Yusheng and Louis Cha Jin Yong spearheaded the founding of a "new school" of the wuxia genre that differed largely from its predecessors.
They wrote serials for newspapers and magazines. They also incorporated several fictional themes such as mystery and romance from other cultures. Yu Huaone of the more notable writers from this period, published a counter-genre short story titled Blood and Plum Blossomsin which the protagonist goes on a quest to avenge his murdered father.
Themes, plots and settings[ edit ] This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. May Learn how and when to remove this template message A 17th-century woodblock print of a scene from a play on the Kunlun Nu story.
Modern wuxia stories are largely set in ancient or pre-modern China. The historical setting can range from being quite specific and important to the story, to being vaguely-defined, anachronistic, or mainly for use as a backdrop.
Elements of fantasy, such as the use of magic powers and appearance of supernatural beings, are common in some wuxia stories but are not a prerequisite of the wuxia genre. However, the martial arts element is a definite part of a wuxia tale, as the characters must know some form of martial arts.
Themes of romance are also strongly featured in some wuxia tales. A typical wuxia story features a young male protagonist who experiences a tragedy — such as the loss of his loved ones — and goes on to undertake several trials and tribulations to learn several forms of martial arts from various fighters.
At the end of the story, he emerges as a powerful fighter whom few can equal. He uses his abilities to follow the code of xia and mends the ills of the jianghu.
For instance, the opening chapters of some of Jin Yong's works follow a certain pattern: For instance, the protagonist is denied admission into a martial arts sect.
He experiences hardships and trains secretly and waits until there is an opportunity for him to show off his skills and surprise those who initially looked down on him.
Some stories feature a mature hero with powerful martial arts abilities confronting an equally powerful antagonist as his nemesis. The plot will gradually meander to a final dramatic showdown between the protagonist and his nemesis.
These types of stories were prevalent during the era of anti- Qing revolutionaries. Gu Long's works have an element of mystery and are written like detective stories.
The protagonist, usually a formidable martial artist and intelligent problem-solver, embarks on a quest to solve a mystery such as a murder case. Huang Yi's stories are blended with science fiction.
Despite these genre-blending elements, wuxia is primarily a historical genre of fiction. Notwithstanding this, wuxia writers openly admit that they are unable to capture the entire history of a course of events and instead choose to structure their stories along the pattern of the protagonist's progression from childhood to adulthood instead.
However, the importance of vengeance is controversial, as a number of wuxia works stress Buddhist ideals, which include forgiveness, compassion and a prohibition on killing.
In the jianghumartial artists are expected to be loyal to their master sifu. This gives rise to the formation of several complex trees of master-apprentice relations as well as the various sects such as Shaolin and Wudang.The ideas introduced in this book shattered my conceptions of the historical origins of southern Chinese Kung Fu.
This book provides a fresh, accessible history of Wing Chun kung fu that debunks the folkloric, mystical origins of the martial art as being developed by survivors of the alleged Shaolin Temple destruction during the Qing Dynasty.
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