Princess Iron Fan

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Princess Iron Fan and Sun Wukong. Painting in the Long Corridor of the Summer Palace in Beijing.

Princess Iron Fan (simplified Chinese: 铁扇公主; traditional Chinese: 鐵扇公主; pinyin: Tiě shàn gōngzhǔ) is a fictional character from the novel Journey to the West. She is the wife of the Bull King and mother of Red Boy. She is a beautiful female demon living in an underground cave awaiting her husband's return, but also angry at him for his affair with a foxy vixen woman, Princess Jade Face. She refused to lend the Monkey King (Sun Wukong) her fan to subdue the flaming mountains.

The pilgrims encounter an extremely hostile range of volcanic mountains and can only pass if the volcanoes become inactive. Her fan, made from banana leaves, is extremely large and has magical properties, as it can create giant whirlwinds. Sun Wukong wants to borrow her fan, but she turns him down as the monkey has been on bad terms with her husband before. Sun Wukong, however, is crafty and has ever better tactics for subduing his enemies. He transforms into a fly and flies into her mouth, down her throat, and into her belly. Once inside, the monkey kicks and punches Princess Iron Fan's insides until she is in so much pain that she gives him a fake fan which intensifies the flames instead of putting them out. Having barely escaped from the fire, Sun Wukong returns, pretending to be her husband through shape shifting and obtains the fan. Soon afterwards, the real husband comes home, angry at what has happened, he pretends to be the Pig (Zhu Bajie) also through shape shifting and offers to carry the big fan. Lost in the moment of victory, Sun Wukong carelessly believes the Bull King and hands over the fan.

Adaptations[edit]

  • The subject of the first Chinese animated feature film is a liberally adapted version of the encounter between Sun Wukong and Princess Iron Fan entitled Princess Iron Fan.
  • An adaptation of this occurs in the 24th episode of the Japanese television adaptation Saiyuuki, "The Fires of Jealousy."
  • Several early episodes of Dragon Ball also adapt this story, which is then revisited in the last few episodes of the animated adaptation when Goku tries to turn off the fire that burned down the Ox king's home. In this version, Princess Iron Fan is the Ox King's daughter, Chichi, who eventually becomes Son Goku's wife at the end of the series and mother of his children in the sequel, Dragonball Z.
  • In the adaptation in the 1996 Journey to the West series, the Princess and Bull King has already known Monkey since childhood (they went to the same school that taught Monkey his fighting abilities) and were willing to give him the fan. But their obnoxious son, Red Boy, refuses to let his mother give the fan, thus forcing Monkey to enter her chest to force her to give him the fan.

See also[edit]