The Romance of Jinhua Temple


Jinhua si ji (The romance of Jinhua Temple) is a late Yuan manuscript copy, in one volume, of a work of Chinese fiction produced in Korea. The exact date of its first publication and its authorship are unknown. A young Chinese student named Zixu had a dream while sleeping at the Jinhua Temple in Jinling (present-day Nanjing). In his dream, he attended a feast hosted by the four greatest founders of Chinese dynasties: Han Gaozu (reigned 206–195 BC), Tang Taizong (reigned 627–49 AD), Song Taizu (reigned 960–76), and Ming Taizu (reigned 1368–98). Their conversation dwelt on which rulers deserved to be known as dynastic restoration figures. They agreed on Liu Bei (161–223), the founding ruler of the state of Shu during the Three Kingdoms era and bestowed on him the title of Zhaoliedi (Emperor of Brightness and Righteousness), while they considered Cao Cao, ruler of the state of Wei circa 200–220, as a mediocrity. Among high officials, Zhuge Liang (181–234), a chancellor of the state of Shu, was chosen as the most eminent prime minister with an outstanding cabinet. Upon learning that he was not invited to the banquet, Yuan Taizu, a Yuan dynasty emperor, was outraged and embarked on an assault using the Jurchens and Turks as his soldiers, but he was quickly defeated by the Han Chinese emperors. The Han Chinese-centered ideology is a theme in the novel, with the emperors attending the banquet presented as legitimate rulers of China, while the bona fides of historic figures were questioned. This is one of the Chinese novels that were popular in Korea. The story is also known as Jinhua si meng you lu (Record of a journey in a dream at Jinhua Temple).

Last updated: July 31, 2012