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In Session: Shame/Shine: Chinese Sluts across Time, Border, and Media
1: Golden Lotus (Pan Jilian) Reincarnated: A Femme Fatale and Her Theatrical Spirits
Wednesday, March 24, 2021
12:00pm – 1:30pm EDT
University of Massachusetts Amherst, United States
Despite of purely a fictional creation, Golden Lotus (Pan Jinlian)’s debut with double sin in adultery and murder in Water Margin (Shuihu Zhuan) established herself a femme fatale. Her prominence in The Plum in the Golden Vase (Jin Ping Mei) reinforces her as the symbol of seduction and danger, the oriental Salome. Besides a favorite subject of eroticism in adult videos and pornographies, Golden Lotus (Pan Jinlian) has enchanted many (male) directors in the cause of enlightenment. In the May Fourth era, Ouyang Yuqian portrays her as a young woman who does not reconcile to the feudal patriarchy but stands up for herself in pursuing independence. In the mid-1980s, Wei Minglun shapes another Golden Lotus with absurdities by inviting characters from ancient and contemporary, China and foreign, factual and fictional, to speak for her in theater. In 2009, Wang Yansong stages Golden Lotus in English at Smith College, telling a story of murder replete with Chinese elements.
Based on the three theatrical productions of Golden Lotus, this paper will investigate the following issues: What is the charm of Golden Lotus that ensures her an unfailing topic throughout twentieth century and beyond? How is Golden Lotus made alive by sympathetic male directors to be a spokeswoman of contemporary ethos? What is the common core among her reincarnations? What do these reincarnations reveal to us about transforming gender politics in China and beyond over a body of femme fatale?