Vortrag aus der Reihe „Chapters from Chinese Studies“

Chinesischer Wächterlöwe aus Stein.

Mittwoch, den 10.07.2024, 18-20 Uhr (c.t.), Raum 00.112, Artilleriestraße 70, 91052 Erlangen

Anna Chiara Trapani (Neapel): „Literary Mirrors: Investigating Textual Analogies between Jin Ping Mei 金瓶梅 and Qing China’s Legal Cases.“

Abstract: The Jin Ping Mei, among the Ming dynasty’s novels era addressing historical subjects, stands out as a flavorful costume novel— the first in the history of Chinese literature, written in one hundred chapters by an anonymous author. While the work, known for its explicit passages, does not fall into the detective fiction category, specifically the literary genre of gong’an, it includes numerous sections related to legal matters. These encompass descriptions of crimes, investigations, trials and judicial verdicts. These passages intricately and accurately depict the reality of the Ming era and even the subsequent Qing period, reflecting both the laws and judicial procedures with extreme precision. During a study involving the translation and analysis of authentic and unpublished legal cases from from the later Qing dynasty, it became apparent that many passages in the novel meticulously mirror technical aspects and formulas found in historical legal documentation. Although the original legal documentation analyzed belongs to a period immediately following the novel’s dating, it will be illustrated how the process of derivation and osmosis affecting legal codes and the judicial and penal system of later dynasties allows for the use and justification of legal documentation subsequent to the novel’s dating. Thanks to numerous intriguing analogies discovered between two different genres separated by time, various theories have been formulated regarding the author’s identity and probable affiliation with the Ming imperial administration or the possibility that often-overlooked historical sources served as blueprints for the creation of literary works will be illustrated.