Kong Shangren and “Peach-Blossom Fan”

Styled as Zizhong and Dongtang as a native of Qufu county, Shandong province, he was an offspring of the 64th generation of Confucius.In the twenty-fourth year under Kangxi reign (1685 A.D.) when emperor Kangxi came to pay homage to Confucius in Qufu, he was praised for preaching Buddhism for the emperor, leading to extraordinary appointment for him as a scholar of the Imperial Academy. In the twenty-eighth year under Kangxi reign, a terrible flood took place in the area to the south of the Yangtze River. Kong Shangren deveoted himself to tame it in Huai and Yangzhou for three years. During this period, he made extensive contact with society, made friends with such adherents of the late Ming Dynasty as Mao Pijiang, Deng Xiaowei, Gong Xian, Zhang Yaoxing and Shi Tao, writing poems, drinking wine and chatting with them. Kong Shangren was deeply influenced by the sentimental attachemnt of these local sages to the late Ming Dynasty. He had the boat anchored near Shuixi City-Gate, drank wine in the boat over the Qinhuai River, toured on the Qingxi River, strolled along Changganli and ascended the top of the pagoda at Baoen Temple. Sceneries, anecdotes and allusions of Qinhuai became endless source of his conception for writing “Peach-Blossom Fan”. Through ten-year hard work and the change of the manuscript three times, at the turn between the summer and autumn in the 38th year under Kangxi reign, he completed writing this novel whose theme was based on the love story marked by joy and sorrow, parting and reunion between Hou Fangyu, a celebrity of Fu Society, and Li Xiangjun, a famous prostitute in Qinhuai area. Against the historic background of the rise and fall of the Southern Ming Dynasty, through depicting parting and reunion, it portrays the feeling of the rise and fall of a dynasty, hence becoming a classic novel reflecting historical styles and features of the late Ming Dynasty and the early Qing Dynasty. The Exhibition Hall of Li Xiangjun, opened in 1989 in reference to the drama of “Peach-Blossom Fan”, has become one of noted scenic spots in Qinhuai scenic area.


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