• View topic - 不到長城非好漢


Literature, poetry, music, calligraphy, architecture, archaeology, history, anything special about China
Forum rules
All messages are the expression of the contributors, who are solely responsible for the content. The forum does not endorse any views. ZERO TOLERANCE for any obscene language, advertisement, lies/rumors and attack of this forum.


Postby chungyn » Tue Mar 28, 2017 1:42 am


Chairman Mao said that if one toured China and missed out the Great Wall
one is not a 好漢。

萬里長城與孟姜女 The Great Wall of China and Meng Jiangnu

孟姜女 - 歌手 - 宋祖英

Posted to
By CHUNG Yoon-Ngan (鄭永元)

The background of this song

From the time of Huang Di (黃帝) or the Yellow Emperor, more than 4600 years
ago, there had been continuous violent conflicts between the agricultural
Han Chinese in what is modern China and the non-Han Chinese herdsmen living
in the north. All along the ill-defined ecological border of North China,
pillaging and plundering committed by the non-Han Chinese went unabated
through the centuries. This constant menace resulted in enormous efforts
to defend the country against the marauding herdsmen.

The States of Yan (燕 present day Beijing city 北京市 in Hebei province
河北省), Zhao (趙 present day Handan city 邯鄲市 in Hebei province), and
Qin (秦 present day Fengxiang county 鳳翔縣 in Shaanxi province 陝西省)
were the three northern vassal States during the Zhou Dynasty (周朝 1134BC
to 256BC). Each of these three States built walls along their northern frontiers
as a defensive measure.

The State of Yan (燕國 766BC to 222BC), whose capital is now present day
Beijing (北京), erected a long wall from Liaoning (遼寧) Peninsula in Hebei
province across the northern frontier to the north of Beijing.

The State of Zhao (趙國 453BC to 228BC), with its capital at the present
day Handan (邯鄲) city in Hebei province, also constructed a long wall along
its northern frontier from the north of Beijing city to the bank along the
great bend of the Huanghe (黃河 Yellow River).

The State of Qin (秦國 777BC to 207BC), whose capital is the present day
Xi An (西安) city in Shaanxi province (陝西省), built another long wall
on its northern frontier from the bank of the Yellow River to the plateau
of Longxi (隴西) in Gansu province (甘肅省).

In 246BC, a very clever and capable but ruthless man became the 37th ruler
of the State of Qin. He was called Ying Zheng (嬴政 259BC to 210BC) and
he had a vision that one day he would conquer all the other States in the
land and unite this vast land into one big empire. He accomplished his vision
in 221BC after all the states in the land were subjugated by him.

Ying Zheng adopted the title of the First Emperor of Qin (秦始皇帝). He
established the Qin Dynasty (秦朝 221BC to 207BC). He introduced the Qin
administrative system throughout his empire which he divided it into 36
Prefectures (三十六郡) and later to 41. The First Emperor also introduced
a uniform system of weights and measure, adopted a standard coinage and
even standardized the axle lengths of wagons. He uniformed the way of writing
the Chinese characters as different State had its own way of writing. However,
he was also known to be extravagant and rude to his subjects. He built
roads, canals and many magnificent palaces.

At about the same time the various non-Han tribes in the north also united
themselves into a large political union which proved to be a formidable
antagonist to the Qin Empire. The strife between the agricultural Qin subject
farmers and the non-Qin nomads intensified. At times the Qin armies drove
their nomadic rivals back to the desert but the intrusions continued.

In 214BC, to secure the northern frontiers, the First Emperor ordered his
greatest general, Meng Tian (蒙恬), known for his invention of the Chinese
character brush made of animal hair, to mobilize all the able-bodied subjects
in the country to link up all the walls already erected by his ancestors
and by the States of Yan and Zhao.

Thousands upon thousands of men were conscripted and forced to march north
to work on the construction. These workers were generally subjected to great
hardships. Up in the mountain wilderness, usually dressed only in rags they
had to endure the bitterly cold northern winter, frequent hunger, exhaustion
and cruel supervisors. Sadly, untold numbers died from a combination of
all these factors.

The Great Wall, for all its majesty, is today a silent monument to faceless
men and untold stories of unimaginable hardship, cruelty and starvation.
Fable along with fact has survived to this day and the story of Meng Jiangnu
is one of the all-time favourites.

Meng Jiangnu (孟姜女) was a woman of exceptional beauty. She married a man
by the name of Wan Xiliang (萬喜良) , who was shortly afterwards drafted
by the Qin authorities and pressed into work gangs.

Meng Jiangnu had no news about her husband and she began to harbour the
worst fears about the safety and well-being of her husband. Months later,
talk was rife in her village that construction of the Great Wall had reached
an advanced stage. Men were working in the far north where the winters were
freezing cold and hunger and exhaustion common place.

Meng Jiangnu made a quilted suit and boots for her husband. However, there
was no one to take the warm clothing to him. The roads to the north were
long and tortuous and passed through many unknown regions. However, her
longing for her husband was so strong that she decided to undertake the
dangerous journey by herself.

Meng Jiangnu started the arduous journey by walking in a general northerly
direction and plotting the route as she went along. She walked and walked.
She climbed mountain after mountain. She crossed river after river. Despite
suffering from hunger, blistered feet and the biting cold weather she continued
obstinately along her journey.

Finally, she arrived at her destination after seemingly insurmountable odds.
She knew then that the monstrous construction which twisted like a snake
and disappeared in the distant mountains was the Great Wall.

Relief soon gave way to anxiety. Every worker she met and asked, knew nothing
about the whereabouts of her husband. Day after day she persisted with her
enquiries but drew a blank every time. Nobody seemed to know her husband.
Finally she came to a group of workers who had worked with her husband before.
They told her that Wan Xiliang had died of exhaustion after days of continuous
hard labour without a break. They also told her that he had been buried
under the Great Wall. She asked to be led to the section of the wall under
which her husband was entombed. Arriving at the spot she began to cry. She
cried and cried. She cried unceasingly for many days and many nights. Her
grief was so great that God had pity on her. It raised a big snow storm.
The section of the wall under which Wan Xiliang was buried collapsed, delivering
forth her husband's body.

"The Great Wall was torn down by the tears of Meng Jiangnu" The news spread
far and wide throughout the country.

The reports of the fallen wall reached the Qin Court. The First Emperor
was shocked and in disbelief. He wanted to go and witness the spectacle
for himself. He traveled north to see the woman whose tears were so powerful
that they could tear down his wall.

When the First Emperor confronted Meng Jiangnu, he was surprised to see
the bewildering beauty before him. He was awe-struck and speech deserted
him. Finally, he simply said to her,

"You are so beautiful.
You are like a fairy.
I want to marry you".

Meng Jiangnu responded immediately and pondered. What would she achieve
if she were to accept his proposal? Nevertheless, she reluctantly agreed
to marry him. But he had to grant her three wishes. Firstly, she wanted
her late husband's body to be placed in a lanmu wood coffin. Secondly, she
wanted the Emperor to give her husband a state funeral. Finally he and all
his ministers and generals to mourn for her husband. The First Emperor gladly
agreed to all three conditions.

The funeral was arranged exactly as Meng Jiangnu desired. Behind the coffin
walked the Emperor and all his ministers and generals. The spot she chose
as her husband's final resting place was an overhanging cliff under which
the ocean roared. The funeral party arrived at the cliff side. The First
Emperor and all his ministers and generals stood solemnly at the grave side
of Wan Xiliang.

With her husband finally laid to rest, Meng Jiangnu stopped weeping. She
slowly rose from her knees and with a last glance at her husband's grave,
threw herself into the arms of the roaring sea. She immediately disappeared
beneath the foaming waters.

Years later, people built a shrine in her cherished memory at the very spot
where she committed the ultimate sacrifice. The shrine is believed to be
still standing to this today.

When all the walls were eventually connected they formed an incredibly long
wall and came to be called "Wan Li Chang Cheng 萬里長城 " (Ten Thousand
Li Long Wall). It measured more than 4800 li and became a permanent barrier
separating the agricultural Han Chinese to the south and the the nomadic
horse-mounted herdsmen to the north.

It is an awe-inspiring sight even after so many centuries. When orbiting
the globe an astronaut up in the space said,

"The Great Wall of China is the only construction on earth
erected by man that can be seen from here".

Pusing Kejia Lao
CHUNG Yoon-Ngan (鄭永元)
Posts: 8579
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:06 am

Return to Chinese Culture

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 35 guests