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Yulan Ji
Original languageChinese
GenreSupernatural, romance
Setting11th-century Song dynasty
Yulan Ji
Traditional Chinese 觀音
Simplified Chinese 观音
Literal meaningThe Story of Guanyin and a Fish Basket

Guanyin Yulan Ji or simply Yulan Ji is a Ming dynasty play with 32 acts. The written version was first published by Wenlinge (文林閣), a Nanjing publisher owned by a Tang (唐) family during the Wanli era (1573–1615). Set in 11th-century Song dynasty, the play tells the story of a carp spirit seducing poor student Zhang Zhen by metamorphosing into a woman, who closely resembles Zhang Zhen's lover Jin Mudan. The goddess of mercy Guanyin, the Dragon King and the legendary judge Bao Zheng work together to subdue and capture the spirit in a fish basket carried by Guanyin. [1]

Modern versions

Carp spirit (bottom) chastised by Guanyin, from a 2014 Yue opera performance.

In the Yue opera tradition, the play is known as Zhuiyu (追魚, literally "Chasing the Fish"). In this version, Jin Mudan is a material girl while the carp spirit is kind. This version ends with Zhang Zhen's marriage to Carp Spirit instead of Jin Mudan. [2]

In 1957, Tian Han and his wife wrote a modern version titled Jinlin Ji (金鱗記, literally "The story of Golden Fish Scales").

Film and TV

The play has been adapted into numerous films and TV series, including:


  • The Carp Spirit (鯉魚精), a 1958 Hong Kong film starring Yam Kim-fai and Ng Kwan Lai
  • Chasing the Fish (追魚), a 1959 Chinese film starring Wang Wenjuan and Xu Yulan
  • A Mermaid's Love (碧波仙侶), a 1960 Hong Kong film starring Xia Meng and Fu Chi
  • Golden Peony and Her Imposter (真假金牡丹), a 1965 Hong Kong film starring Tsang Shan Fung and Chan Chor Wai
  • The Mermaid (魚美人), a 1965 Hong Kong film starring Li Ching and Ivy Ling Po

TV series


  1. ^ Ye, p. 298.
  2. ^ Ye, p. 45.
  • Ye, Tan (2008). Historical Dictionary of Chinese Theater. The Scarecrow Press. ISBN  978-0-8108-5514-4.