Bai Mudan (mythology)

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"White Peony" redirects here. For the tea variety, see Bai Mudan. For the flower, see Peony.

Bai Mudan (白牡丹; literally White Peony), also romanized as Pai Mu-tan, is character from Chinese mythology. She is described as the most beautiful courtesan in the city of Luoyang and a reincarnation of Peony fairy.

Legends[edit]

White Peony most popular legend comes from novel Journey to the East.[1] It said one day the immortal Lu Dongbin took a walk in Luoyang, spotted White Peony, and was heavily attracted by her beauty. Lu Dongbin then transforming himself into handsome scholar and slept with her many times. However, in accordance with Taoist alchemy, he never ejaculated in order to preserve his Yang essence. Unfortunately Lu’s immortal colleague Iron-Crutch Li and He Xiangu taught Mudan how to make him ejaculate by tickling his groin. Finally, White Peony successfully made Lu Dongbin ejaculate and absorbed his Yang essence. Later she cultivated herself and become immortal as well.[2]

Feijianji, another novel from Ming Dynasty [3] had slightly different version of this legend. According Feijianji, Bai Mudan was a common girl (not a prostitute) who was seduced by Lu Dongbin. Later she became very weak since Lu practiced "cai yin bu yang" [4] on her. Meaning he absorbed her yin (female) essence, without losing his own yang (male) essence. When her mother consulted with Budhist Monk Huanglong (Yellow Dragon), he teach her on how to make Lu Dongbin ejaculate and thus restoring her yin essence. This event enraged Lu Dongbin, he tried to decapitate Huanglong using his flying sword but failed. In the end Lu admitted his mistakes and acknowledged Huang Long as his teacher.

In another story White Peony was ordered by minister Su Dongpo (Su Shi), to tempt his friend monk Fo Yin. Actually Su Shi hated Buddhist practitioners because he thought of unmarried monks as not sufficiently devoted to their ancestors.[5]

There also folktale from Song Dynasty which describe her as haughty courtesan,[6] who liked to humiliate her wealthy clients. Stories include asking them to kiss her butt. When a greedy merchant named Chen Hua was licking her anus, she even farted on his face[7] Actually this is an allusion for Chen Hua's "duo tun peng pi" (掇臀捧屁)[8] behavior. Duo tun peng pi is Chinese idiom for flattering.

As goddess[edit]

Her reputation as seducer makes White Peony aka Bai Mudan deified as goddess who tempts men or more specifically an ascetic [9]

In popular culture[edit]

  • White Peony appeared in many classic novels such as Journey to the East (东游记), Ba Xian Dedao (八仙得道),[10] Fei Jian Ji [11] and others.
  • She is also a protagonist in a famous opera title; Lu Dongbin san xi Bai Mudan (Lu Dongbin three trick on White Peony).[12] However in some opera versions White Peony is depicted as druggist/apothecary's daughter instead of prostitute.
  • There also many movies based on that opera above [13][14][15]
  • White Peony appeared in many television series such as Dong You Ji (portrayed by Phyllis Quek),[16] Eight Avatar (portrayed by Sonija Kwok)[17] and Ghost Catcher Legend of Beauties (portrayed by Liu Yihan)[18]

References[edit]

External links[edit]