[9/9] CHINESE GODS AND GODDESSES | PAN JINLIAN
Pan Jinlian [潘金蓮] is a protagonist in the Chinese classic novel Jin Ping Mei (The Plum in the Golden Vase), and a minor character in the Water Margin, another classic. A well-known figure in Chinese culture, she represents the quintessential adulterous wife, and has become the patron goddess of brothels and prostitutes.
Pan Jinlian was the wife of Wu Dalang, whose younger brother, Wu Song, eventually became one of the major marsh rebels and a most memorable hero. While Wu Song was a handsome, stout and tall young man, Wu Dalong was an unsightly dwarf, making a living by peddling bread. Pan Jinlian, young, beautiful and graceful, was always jeered by neighbors as “a flower planted in a cow’s dung.”
Pan, dissatisfied with her marriage, has an extramarital affair with Ximen Qing, a handsome womanizer in town. Wu Dalang learns of the affair, but Pan and Ximen murder him by adding poison to his food. They bribe the coroner to conceal the true cause of his death. Wu Song grows suspicious of his brother’s death and carries out his own investigations to eventually discover the truth. Wu Song takes the law into his own hands in revenging his brother after his failure to bring the case to a corrupt court: he slays Pan Jinlian and her lover.