The legend of the Blue Willow

UKWILL00_F

These English pieces of porcelain date back to the beginning of the 19th Century ,and are therefore classified as antiques, since they are over a hundred years old. Much of the porcelain made in Japan and the United States dates from the end of the 9th Century and beginning of the 20th Century.

There are many stories or legends surrounding the “Blue Willow” pattern. This one is many people’ s favourite:

Once upon a time there was a powerful Mandarin man who had a beautiful daughter named Hong Shee. There was also a young man named Chang Hong Shee, who was a secretary of Hong Shee’s father—a rich Mandarin man. This young man, Chang, loved the beautiful Hong Shee. One day she realizes that she loves him too, and they fall deeply in love.
When Hong Shee’s father discovers their secret relationship, he doesn’t like it at all, so he commissions a fence to be built around the gardens of the enormous tree-hugged house by the river, to keep the lovers apart.

He then gives his daughter’s hand to a wealthy Viceroy, Ta-Gin. And so the wedding was set for the next springtime, when all the peach trees would be in bloom.
Sometime later, from her room window, a desperate and scared Hong Shee saw the first buds grow on the peach tree. But then, she finds a letter from Chang floating down the river. They continue to exchange secret messages, and after many letters came and went, they decided to run away together with the help of a faithful maid.

When she escapes, Chang waits for her and they run together towards the bridge, where a small boat awaited. But all the while, her father and his men were following them closely behind. They manage to elude him, reaching the small boat and sailing together down the river. The reunited lovers reach the island, which can be seen on the plate on the left. They live there
happily, until the wealthy viceroy, Ta-Gin, and rightful suitor of Hong Shee, discovers where they are, goes to the island, and wounds Chang, killing him. Hong Shee, seeing his beloved is dead, desperately sets fire to their house and dies a horrible death, engulfed by flames. The merciful gods grant these two lovers the gift of immortalizing their love, and turn them into two birds.

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