This is a page on cultural depictions of Yue Fei. To read his main article, please see Yue Fei.
Yue Fei, a Chinese general of the Song Dynasty remembered for his exploits in the Jin–Song wars, has appeared in various types of media; including black-and-white films, plays, games, wuxia novels, and folktales.
Shortly after filming New Police Story in 2004, Jackie Chan reported that he would produce and play Yue Fei in a bioepic about the general's life. Jaycee Chan, Jackie Chan's son, will share the role as young Yue Fei. Jackie Chan said, “There's already a rough draft right now, we've even found a co-star. In fact, filming of Genghis Khan is also under consideration, but it must be a good script, because a lot of people have filmed this story, and the story itself is complicated and randomized, so up to now, there isn't a concrete plan yet. And [the script for] Yue Fei is nearly completed." He continues, "I think Yue Fei is a man with great sense of loyalty, so am I. I've been loyal to Golden Harvest, to friends and to my country!" Filming will not begin until Chan finishes filming several other projects (including Rush Hour 3), but he is willing to work for reduced pay so he can work with his son. This is because he believes the box office results will be good. However, director Stanley Tong says the role of Yue Fei could possibly go to Andy Lau.
New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV) has produced a Chinese opera-style reenactment of Shuo Yue Quanzhuan called The Loyalty of Yue Fei as part of the "Chinese New Year Spectacular". The play begins with Yue Fei and his sworn brothers practicing martial arts. When the Jin dynasty's general Wushu invades the Southern Song Dynasty, Yue Fei is torn between duty to his country and duty to his mother. The production plays heavy on the strong relationship between mother and son. According to actor Wang Xuejun, who portrays the title character of Yue Fei, "Some people said that when they first saw Yue Fei's mother come out [to give Yue his famous tattoo], and the smoke rising they were moved to tears." He continues, "Yue Fei excels both as a scholar and a martial artist — wise as well as courageous. I use that as the inner temperament for my character to embody."[deprecated source] The Spectacular is scheduled for a 28 city world tour across the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and France in 2007.
A Yue Fei card set was sold as part of five famous Chinese warriors — Guan Yu, Hua Mulan, Jie the Tyrant, Sun Tzu, and Yue Fei — in the "Chinese" section of the second set of world cultures produced by the Anachronism boardgame in June 2005. In July 2005, the card pack was used for a promotional offer where a person would receive it or a Robin Hood card pack if they sent in the UPC labels off of three warrior packs (from any culture) or one warrior and one starter set. In April 2006, the player could send in the UPC's of four warrior packs or two warrior packs and one starter to choose between promotional cards from sets two and three, which consisted of Yue Fei, Robin Hood, Siegfried or Black Hawk. However, with the release of the sixth set in August 2006, the Yue Fei and Robin Hood packs were no longer available.
Out of the Five Chinese Elements used to describe warrior attributes, Yue Fei is listed under water, which represents intelligence. He has eight life points, one speed point, three experience points, and one damage point. The main self-titled Yue Fei card (left) is the 46th card out the 100 produced for set two. The other four cards that make up the entire pack (#46-50/100) show various events from his life and military career. Card 47, titled Jin Cheng Bao Guo, depicts his mother giving him his famous tattoo on his back. Card 48, titled Dao, shows Yue blocking a Jurchen soldier's spear attack with a Chinese broadsword. Card 49, titled Hu Xiong Jia, depicts Yue using his armor's breastplate to deflect the spear attack of a Jurchen soldier, while simultaneously snapping the weapon's pole arm with a palm strike. Card 50, titled Ba Duan Jin, depicts Yue teaching his soldiers the Eight Section Brocade qigong exercise that is often attributed to the general.
Shuo Yue Quanzhuan is a favorite among Pingshu (評書) or Pinghua (評話) storytellers, which is a modern-day form of Shuoshu (說書) storytelling that became popular in the Tang and Song dynasties. One of the most famous of these artists is Liu Lanfang (b. 1944), a noted singer and actress. She first made a name for herself in 1972 when she sang the full-length script of Shuo Yue Quanzhuan. In September 1981, the Chunfeng Literature Publishing House published the 100-chapter pingshu script of Yue Fei's tale.
According to You Er Hua Bao (幼兒畫報; Children's Pictorial Magazine), a Chinese magazine tailored for children ages two through seven, the young Yue Fei purchased a bow, a sword, and a spear to practice martial arts on his own since he did not have a teacher to train him properly. One day when he was chopping firewood, he passed by a village with a martial training hall ran by a famous master. Yue Fei immediately asked the master to become his student, not even knowing that this person was none other than Zhou Tong. Zhou told the boy, "Your skill in martial arts is inadequate, so you must first train your eyes."
As a part of his training, Yue Fei began to stare directly into the morning sunrise. At first the training was hard because the bright sunlight hurt his eyes, but he continued to practice the skill of the "far-sighted person" for many years. One day, Zhou came to Yue Fei and pointed to an object high up in the sky. When he focused his trained vision, Yue saw that it was a lone goose. Zhou then directed Yue to scan some trees that were one hundred paces away. Yue again focused his vision and caught sight of two black cicadas on a tree. Zhou then laughed in approval and said "Now that your eyesight is practiced, I not only accept you as my student, but also as my adopted son. I will now teach you martial arts."
Yue Fei practiced diligently and became a master of the eighteen weapons of war. He could draw a bow weighing 300 catties and, with a "whiz" of the arrow, shoot a leaf from 100 paces away. The moral of the story is that achievements are only made through diligent practice. It also warns that staring directly into the sun is very dangerous and could permanently damage the eyes.
When Yue Fei was born, there was a red auspicious glow around the Yue family residence so neighbors brought buckets of water to put out some perceived fire. However, they found out that Lady Yue had given birth to a son. With all the people crowded around their house, a Peng landed on the roof and spread its wings over the length of the entire residence. The bird then flew high into the sky and disappeared. The sight of the Chinese roc is why Yue's father named him Fei (飛; "fly").
Days after his birth, a monk warned Yue Fei's father to put his wife and newborn child inside of a water tank if the baby were to cry. Three days later, the baby began to cry, so Yue's father followed the monk's instructions. Then the Yellow River flooded and mother and child were swept to safety, whereas Yue's father drowned in the torrent. In his previous life, Yue had indeed been a Peng himself. He had blinded the eye of a mischievous dragon living within the Yellow River. So when the dragon heard his newly reborn enemy cry, he flooded the river to kill Yue and get his revenge, but failed.
Lady Yue raised Yue Fei on money that she saved up from doing sewing for the family who had saved them from the river and taken them into their home. When Yue Fei was 13, he entered a cave and found a monstrous snake sleeping by a stream. He picked up a rock and threw it at the beast. The snake lunged at him in anger, but Yue Fei dodged to one side and pulled on its tail with his supernatural strength. The snake instantly disappeared in a puff of smoke, leaving only a marvelous golden spear named the "Magic Spear of the Flowing Spring" (Chinese: 沥泉神矛; pinyin: Lìquán Shénmáo). He later found a military teacher who taught him how to wield the spear efficiently.
Yue eventually joined the army and became one of the most beloved heroes and martyrs in Chinese history. This story is a derivative of an episode from his fictional biography Shuo Yue Quanzhuan.
After Yue Fei's execution, iron statues of Qin Hui, the man responsible for the general's execution; his wife Madam Wang; and two other accomplices were cast in iron and knelt outside Yue's memorial tomb as punishment for their deeds. During the Ming Dynasty, the new Provincial Governor-General of Hangzhou, who was a direct descendant of Qin Hui and Madam Wang, had both iron statues thrown into the West Lake under cover of night. The next day, the lake turned pitch-black and stank of vomit. The townsfolk realized that the lake's condition coincided with the statues' disappearance. When the Governor-General arrived on the scene, the people questioned him about his relationship with Qin Hui. As he knew the statues had sunk to the bottom of the lake, he boasted, "If anyone can really scoop the statues out of the lake, I'm waiting to resign and ask for punishment." At that exact moment, the murky water became clear and the statues drifted ashore as if propelled by an invisible force. The cowardly Governor-General bolted for his carriage when he saw this miraculous sight. The townsfolk pelted his carriage with rocks as he fled, many of them ripping through the curtain, giving him huge lumps on his head. That night, the Governor-General escaped from Hangzhou, never to be heard from again. Listen to this story
During the Southern Song Dynasty there were two famous Buddhists named the "Crazy Monk" Ji Gong and the "Mad Monk" Fengbo. Fengbo lived during the time of Yue Fei and became famous for "sweeping Qin Hui's face with a broom". The story is told after having Yue Fei imprisoned on false charges, Qin Hui went to Lingyin Temple to have his fortune read. There he was confronted by a laughing Fengbo who asked, "Cao Cao was once a big hero, but where is he today?" Qin Hui asked him what he meant in confusion. Fengbo said, "The principles of Heaven are clear. Loyalty and treachery are self-evident. Goodness and evil will be met with reward or retribution. You, as the Prime Minister, hold a lot of power. Why do you want to murder a man who is as important to the country as a pillar is to a house? Does the safety of the nation mean nothing to you?" Qin countered "Who is that pillar of the country?" "General Yue Fei!" screamed Fengbo. When Qin Hui seemed unaffected by his words, Fengbo laughed and said, "What a fool! Repent now before it is too late." He then grabbed a broom and raked it across Qin Hui's face and quickly ran off. Feeling embarrassed, Qin returned to the palace a defeated man.
The boldness of the monk caught the attention of the common folk. It is said he would appear in crowded areas and begin to sweep the floor, even in the cleanest of places, and proclaim "sweeping Qin" as a reminder to the people that they should band together to eliminate the traitor Qin Hui from office. The "Mad Monk" was later raised to the status of an arhat.
The statues of the "Mad and Crazy Monks" were often seen together in various temples throughout the Southern Song Dynasty. There are two such statues of these arhats in the Daxiong Temple Hall of Zhantan Forest on Mount Jiuhua. One of them is the "Crazy Monk" Ji Gong in the form of a deity and the other is the "Mad Monk" Fengbo holding a duster in one hand and a broom under his left armpit, standing ever ready to give the wicked Prime Minister another sweep.
This is a derivative of an episode from Shuo Yue Quanzhuan, which mentions no "sweeping" at all. The fortuneteller's name was "Xie Renfu of Chengdu" and he told the fortunes of both Emperor Gaozong and Qin Hui, who were in disguise, in the Dragon's Intonation Monastery. When Qin returned to the palace he sent men to arrest the fortuneteller, but he had fled the city out of fear once he discovered who they really were.
Categories: Cultural depictions of Yue Fei