Tian Xian Pei (Chinese :天仙配; pinyin :Tiānxiān Pèi), sometimes translated as Fairy Couple, is a Chinese legend that existed in oral tradition before any written versions. It has since become a major subject of several Chinese opera, films and TV series.
The seven daughters of the Jade Emperor travel to the mortal world. The youngest of the seven fairy maidens was in search of her lost weaving equipment and her "coat of feathers," without which she was unable to fly. Another version of the story states that the seventh fairy's feather coat was actually stolen by a mortal named Dong Yong, advised by one of his cattle who happened to be an exiled fairy as well and disguised as a normal, aged bull. During the stay, the maiden falls in love with Dong Yong. He is a poor worker who had sold himself into servitude to pay for his father's funeral. With help of the other fairies, the seventh fairy managed to weave ten pieces of brocade for Dong Yong to pay off his debt, shortening his indenture to 100 days. Before the couple can begin their life together, the Jade Emperor orders his daughters to return home. However, he is kind enough to allow the couple to reunite once a year on the 七夕 (the 7th Evening) -- later known as the traditional Chinese Qixi Festival—by crossing the Milky Way.
In memory of this story, ancient Chinese astrologers named two prominent stars that stand at a distance from each other 牛郎, "cowherd man," and 織女, "weaving girl." These are the stars Altair in the constellation Aquila and Vega in Lyra.
|1956||Mainland China||Fairy Couple (天仙配)|
|1963||Mainland China||A Maid from Heaven (七仙女)|
|1997||Mainland China||New Fairy Couple (新天仙配)|
|2005||Chinese Entertainment Shanghai (Mainland China)||The Little Fairy (天外飛仙)|
|Beijing Advantages Competition International Culture and Arts & Jiangxi TV Co., Ltd. (Mainland China)||Huan Tian Xi Di Qi Xian Nu (歡天喜地七仙女)|
|2007||Mainland China||Fairy Couple (天仙配)|
|2010||Mainland China||Tian Di Yin Yuan Qi Xian Nu (Tian Xian Pei II) (天地姻缘七仙女(七仙女2))|
The tale has also been subject matter of literary adaptations and retellings:
Tanabata, also known as the Star Festival, is a Japanese festival originating from the Chinese Qixi Festival. It celebrates the meeting of the deities Orihime and Hikoboshi. According to legend, the Milky Way separates these lovers, and they are allowed to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the lunisolar calendar. The date of Tanabata varies by region of the country, but the first festivities begin on 7 July of the Gregorian calendar. The celebration is held at various days between July and August.
The Qixi Festival, also known as the Qiqiao Festival, is a Chinese festival celebrating the annual meeting of the cowherd and weaver girl in mythology. It falls on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month on the Chinese calendar.
The Jade Emperor in Chinese culture, traditional religions and myth is one of the representations of the first god. In Daoist theology he is the assistant of Yuanshi Tianzun, who is one of the Three Pure Ones, the three primordial emanations of the Tao. He is also the Cao Đài of Caodaism known as Ngọc Hoàng Thượng đế. In Buddhist cosmology he is identified with Śakra. In Korean mythology he is known as Haneullim.
The theme of textiles in mythology and folklore is ancient, and its lost mythic lore probably accompanied the early spread of this art. In traditional societies today, westward of Central Asia and the Iranian plateau, weaving is a mystery within woman's sphere. Where men have become the primary weavers in this part of the world, it is possible that they have usurped the archaic role: among the gods, only goddesses are weavers. Herodotus noted, however, the cultural difference between gender identities and weaving among Hellenes and Egyptians: among Egyptians it was the men who wove.
Wang Can (177–217), courtesy name Zhongxuan, was a Chinese politician and poet who lived during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. He contributed greatly to the establishment of laws and standards during the founding days of the vassal kingdom of Wei – the forerunner of the state of Cao Wei in the Three Kingdoms period – under the warlord Cao Cao, who was the de facto head of the Han central government in the final years of the Eastern Han dynasty. For his literary achievements, Wang Can was ranked among the Seven Scholars of Jian'an.
The swan maiden is a mythical creature who shapeshifts from human form to swan form. The key to the transformation is usually a swan skin, or a garment with swan feathers attached. In folktales of this type, the male character spies the maiden, typically by some body of water, then snatches away the feather garment, which prevents her from flying away, forcing her to become his wife.
Xinyu, is a prefecture-level city in west-central Jiangxi province, People's Republic of China.
The Legend of the White Snake, also known as Madame White Snake, is a Chinese legend. It has since been presented in a number of major Chinese operas, films, and television series.
Chen Wentong, better known by his pen name Liang Yusheng, was a Chinese writer. Credited as the pioneer of the "New School" (新派) of the wuxia genre in the 20th century, Chen was one of the best known wuxia writers in the later half of the century, alongside Jin Yong and Gu Long.
Xian refers to a person or similar entity having a long or immortal lifespan. The concept of xian has different implications dependent upon the specific context: philosophical, religious, mythological, or other symbolic or cultural occurrence. The Chinese word xian is translatable into English as:
Happily Ever After is a 20-episode Singaporean Chinese drama which is telecast on Singapore's free-to-air channel, MediaCorp TV Channel 8. It made its debut on 6 February 2007 and ended on 5 March 2007.
The Silver River (1997) is an American chamber opera in one act, with music composed by Bright Sheng, and a libretto by the playwright David Henry Hwang. It was first performed at the Santa Fe, New Mexico Chamber Music Festival in 1997. It also has been performed at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina; and in major cities such as New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, and London.
The Little Fairy is a 2006 Chinese television series based on the legend of the Fairy Couple during the Han Dynasty. The series was produced by Chinese Entertainment Shanghai and premiered in January 2006.
Ancient Legends is a Chinese television series based on the myths and legends associated with the origins of the Chinese civilisation. It is based on stories in Chinese mythology and the ancient classic Shan Hai Jing. The series was first broadcast in mainland China on CCTV-1 from 15 August – 6 September 2010.
The Dark Tales is a series of Hong Kong television period supernatural dramas that originally aired on Jade from 18 March 1996 to 1 May 1998, consisting of two installments with 75 episodes. Based on Qing Dynasty writer Pu Songling's series of supernatural tales called Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio, Dark Tales is produced by TVB and stars a cast of mainly Hong Kong and Taiwanese actors.
The Cowherd and the Weaver Girl is a Chinese folk tale. The tale of the cowherd and the weaver girl is a love story between Zhinü and Niulang. Their love was not allowed, thus they were banished to opposite sides of the heavenly river. Once a year, on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month, a flock of magpies would form a bridge to reunite the lovers for one day. There are many variations of the story.
Chinese traditional religion is polytheistic; many deities are worshipped in a pantheistic view where divinity is inherent in the world. The gods are energies or principles revealing, imitating and propagating the way of Heaven, which is the supreme godhead manifesting in the northern culmen of the starry vault of the skies and its order. Many gods are ancestors or men who became deities for their heavenly achievements; most gods are also identified with stars and constellations. Ancestors are regarded as the equivalent of Heaven within human society, and therefore as the means connecting back to Heaven, which is the "utmost ancestral father".
Qixi Tribute (Chinese:七夕贡案; pinyin:) is an important and necessary part of annual celebration in Qixi Festival or Qiqiao Festival. Based on the mythology about The Weaver Girl and the Cowherd, Qixi Tribute is a derivative of their love meeting. It is one of the most popular customs of the Han Chinese in Dongguan, Guangdong province, especially in Wangniudun, a town in Dongguan city. Every year the government of Wangniudun holds a night-long Qixi festival celebration. Plenty of local people or tourists come Wangniudun to share the happiness of celebration.
Tanabata-jinja (七夕神社), also known as Himekoso-jinja (媛社神社), is a Shinto shrine located in Ogōri, Fukuoka prefecture, Japan. It is dedicated to Orihime, the Japanese name of the Weaver Girl from the Chinese folk tale The Weaver Girl and the Cowherd. The weaver is celebrated in Tanabata, a Japanese festival.
Yunü is a figure in Chinese mythology and a deity in Chinese traditional religion who along with her male counterpart Jintong, are the close servants of the Jade Emperor and Zhenwudadi.
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