Provinces make competing claims to 'Cowherd, Weaving Maid' legend

14:29, August 18, 2010      

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Competing release events were held for a new set of stamps featuring the folk legend "The Cowherd and the Weaving Maid" on Aug. 16 in the provinces of Shanxi and Shandong, which both claim to be the place where the legend originated.

Shanxi Province has provided materials to prove that Heshun County in Shanxi is the origin of the legend. Many places and scenes related to the story are located in Heshun, such as Cowherd Cave, Pied Magpie Mountain and so on.

However, some other reports said that Yiyuan in Shandong Province has the only real scenes, including Weaving Maid Cave and Cowherd Temple constructed in the Tang Dynasty, that correspond to the legend. The two building are separated by the Yi River. The locations of the two buildings and the river have matched the description in the legend quite well.

For many years, arguments about the origin of the legend have not stopped. Lushan in Henan Province, Heshun in Shanxi Province, Yiyuan in Shandong Province and Shaanxi Province all have some claim. Heshun and Lushan used to be identified as the source by the Chinese Folk Literature and Art Society.

Some experts pointed out that the under the premises of protecting the cultural relics from vulgarization and utilitarianism, we should pay more attention to the purity and completeness of the intangible cultural heritages rather than focus on the unique elements in the field of historical research.

The variety of the legends' origin is quite common since each has its own characteristics. It is very difficult to judge which one is right or wrong.

The website www.cnr.cn contributes to this article.

By Wang Qianyuanxue, People's Daily Online

(Editor:叶欣)

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