Scholar Zhang Getting Drunk Due to Madam Cui’s Broken Promise

张生醉酒 (崔母悔婚)

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This is Scene Four of Book Two of the Chinese classic popular drama Romance of the Western Chamber (西厢记 Xixiang Ji).

Madam Cui and her daughter Cui Yingying 崔莺莺 were residing temporarily in the monastery where Zhang Junrui’s (张君瑞, also called Scholar Zhang 张生) happened to stay there as well while he was on his way to the state examination.

A local bandit Sun Feihu 孙飞虎 came for the beautiful Yingying whom Scholar Zhang fell deeply in love with. During the crisis, Madam Cui had promised that whoever saved the monastery would be able to marry Yingying. Scholar Zhang asked help from his friend General White Horse 白马将军 who later rescued the monastery successfully.

Madam Cui held a dinner party to thank Scholar Zhang. However, she introduced Zhang to Yingying as ‘your brother’, meaning not to honour her promise. Scholar Zhang felt like being knocked unconscious and had nothing at the dinner except endless cups of wine. He became very drunk and had to be fully supported by his page boy on his way home.

image identification and story scene description by Dr Yibin Ni 

Other episodes in the Romance of the Western Chamber:

Scholar Zhang Embarking on His Journey to Sit for Civil-Service Examinations 张生赶考

Consummation of love from Western Chamber 月下佳期

Yingying Listening to the Qin Zither Playing 莺莺听琴

Yingying receiving good news delivered by the pageboy 泥金报捷

Acknowledgement:

Fig 1: porcelain vase with underglaze blue decoration (detail), Kangxi period (1662–1722), Qing dynasty, courtesy of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, photograph by JP Kim

Fig 2: porcelain dish with underglaze blue decoration, c. 1655–1665, courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago

Fig 3: porcelain bowl with overglaze enamelled decoration (detail), Kangxi period (1662–1722), Qing dynasty, courtesy of Groninger Museum, Groningen, The Netherlands

Fig 4: porcelain bowl with underglaze blue decoration, Kangxi period (1662–1722), Qing dynasty, courtesy of the Marc Michot Gallery

Fig 5: porcelain bowl with underglaze blue decoration, Kangxi period (1662–1722), Qing dynasty, courtesy of the Marc Michot Gallery

Fig 6: porcelain dish with overglaze enamelled decoration, Kangxi period (1662–1722), Qing dynasty, China Guardian Auction, 10 Nov 2020, No.57, Lot 3182

Fig 7: porcelain bowl with underglaze blue decoration, Kangxi period (1662–1722), Qing dynasty, courtesy of the Department of History of Art, University of Glasgow

Fig 8: porcelain famille rose plate, c. 1735, courtesy of Cohen & Cohen collection, Ref No. R02

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