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Qin in Zhang Sheng Zhu Hai 1
(Scholar Zhang Boils the Sea, an opera)
 
古琴與張生煮海
Above: Qionglai listens as Zhang plays 2    
Below: At Shamen Island Zhang boils water3
The Yuan drama (zaju) Zhang Sheng Zhu Hai, apparently written near the beginning of the dynasty by Li Haogu,
4 tells a story that has also been related in other forms. Here the story begins with a narrator telling the background: a "Gold Immortal Page" and "Jade Immortal Maiden" were banished to earth as a result of their love. He was born to the Zhang family, where he grew up to be a scholar; she became Qionglian, the beautiful daughter of the Dragon King.

One day Zhang comes to the Stone Buddha Temple to study. As he relaxes by playing qin by the Easter Sea (the text mentions him playing High Mountains and Flowing Streams) Qionglian happens along. She falls in love with him as a result of his playing. They vow to become man and wife.

Later Zhang relates these events to Mao Nü (as depicted in Liexian Zhuan?), who happens to be a celestial maiden. She tells him that the Dragon King lives in the bottom of the sea and will never allow his daughter to marry Zhang. To achieve his end Zhang must make the Dragon King come out of the sea. To help him do this she gives Zhang a silver pan, an iron ladle and a gold coin. At the lakeside (or seaside, as at below right) he must heat the pan over some stones and ladle in sea water; when the pan is full he must add the gold coin and quickly bring the water to boil. When Zhang does this it causes the sea to boil. As a result the Dragon King has to come out. He gives his daughter to Zhang, at which point it is revealed that they are actually immortals, and they are now allowed to return to their immortal home. 5

This story has also been related elsewhere. Perhaps best known is the telling the Chapter 23 of the Ming dynasty Second Collection of West Lake Stories, by Zhou Ji (Zhou Qingyuan, fl. ca. 1620). The chapter is called Rescuing a Golden Carp and Announcing Virtue to the Dragon King, which is the second story related in that chapter.

 
Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Zhang Sheng Zhu Hai 張生煮海
This play by Li Haogu is included in Six Yüan Plays, translated with an introduction by Liu Jung-en, Penguin, 1972, pp. 159-188; there it is entitled Chang Boils the Sea. The story is also told in 第二十三卷 Chapter 23 救金鯉海龍王報德 of the Ming dynasty 西湖二集 Second Collection of West Lake Stories (Two Collections from West Lake?), by 周楫,字清源 by Zhou Ji (Zhou Qingyuan, fl. ca. 1620). Illustrated editions have pictures such as the one above entitled 石佛寺龍女聽琴 At Stone Buddha Temple the Daughter of the Dragon King Listens to the Qin. The text of the story is online at http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/25392 There is a similar illustration on the cover of Six Yüan Plays. See also the next picture 沙門島張生煮海
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2. 石佛寺龍女聽琴 At Stone Buddha Temple the Daughter of the Dragon King Listens to the Qin
A woodblock print from 元曲選 Selections of Yuan Drama by 陶宗儀 Tao Zongyi: 調素琴書生寫恨 by playing his unadorned qin a scholar expresses his frustration. The original print is from 元曲論 Yuan Qu Lu by 陶宗儀 Tao Zongyi (Ming) as reproduced in 續修四庫全書 Xuxiu Siku Quanshu, Vol. 1760, p. 280.
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3. 沙門島張生煮海 At Shamen Island Scholar Zhang Boils the Sea
A woodblock print again from 元曲選 Selections of Yuan Drama as reproduced in 續修四庫全書 Xuxiu Siku Quanshu, Vol. 1760, p. 280.
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4. Li Haogu 李好古 (early 13th c)
Details of his life are not clear. He was apparently a noted poet at the end of the Souther Song dynasty.
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5. 救金鯉海龍王報德
Rescuing a Golden Carp and Announcing Virtue to the Dragon King
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