Who would have thought I'd manage to find too many things to request for Yuletide? Generally I worry if can find enough. But this year it was almost impossible to bring it down from a final seven to the permitted six. So, very sadly, my perennial Chinese Mythology request fell by the wayside, on the grounds people wrote it for me last year. It seems unlikely anyone else will be requesting it, since I was the only one who nominated it, but who knows? Anyway, I post my poor abandoned prompt here, so that I'll have it to hand for next year, nicely formatted, and so that if anyone was wondering who the hell Ch'ing-nü was anyway, they can look at the handy links I've included.

Chinese Mythology - Any (Ch'ing-nü | Qing Nü, Māzǔ)

For Matsu, I'd love something with the seductive power of the sea and the grey savagery of its storms, the loneliness and desperate hope of those who wait on shore and the fitful presence of the divine that lets her save her brothers (or, if you prefer, that leads to her death and apotheosis). For Ch'ing-nü, something about the beauty of frost, delicate and fragile yet deadly, ushering in the killing cold of winter even as it provides a longed for respite from summer’s heat.


With Matsu, I'm struck by the intervention of the supernatural in daily life, the moment when one person on shore had, through longing, prayer, meditation, desperation or just luck, the power to save others. How might it feel to step outside nature like that, and what might the potential cost be? Then, as I said in my prompt, there's the imagery of sea and storm.


For a goddess of frost and snow, the colour association for Ch'ing-nü seems quite unclear. Is she the Dark Maid, the Blue Lady, the Green Girl or the Grey Woman? A case could be made for any of them. Frost and snow are ambiguous imagery: symbols of purity and beauty, but also of death and suffering. Mentioned in conjunction with Autumn, Ch'ing-nü shares the ambivalence of the season - the excessive heat of summer is over, and the nip of frost in the air encourages an autumnal bounty of fruit and nuts, but heralds also the hardships and scarcity of winter. Or, of course, there’s this poem of Li Shang-yin's:
First calls of the migrant geese, no more cicadas.
South of this hundred-foot tower the water runs straight to the sky.
The Dark maid and the White Beauty endure the cold together,
Rivals in elegance amid the frost on the moon.
Li Shang-Yin, trans A.C. Graham

As soon as the migrant wild geese are heard, the cicadas are silent;
The hundred-foot tower overlooks the water that touches the sky.
The Blue Maid and the White Lady both can endure the cold:
The one in the moon, the other in the frost, they compete in beauty.
trans James J.Y. Liu

There isn't much I can find about Ch’ing-nü in English, so I’ve gathered together what scraps I could find and listed them here for you (sadly even fewer than last year, as several links are now dead):
Poem by Du Fu, scroll down fro Autumn Fields No. 4, and accompanying note.
Yang Yi's poem on the peach tree, and accompanying description in The Literary Works of Ou-yang Hsui (1007-72) by Ronald C. Egan (If you can't access Google Books, the relevant line is translated as "The dark maid of nine-autumn enhances the flavour with frost", and Egan adds "The dark maid (‘ch'ing-nü') of line five is the frost goddess, and ‘nine-autumn' alludes to the ninety days of that season."
Wucai cup inscribed with a poem by Luoyin
Poem by Hanshan, scroll down for No. 115 and accompanying note.
Poem by Qian Qianyi
redsnake05: pensive lady in traditional asian art (Sad: Pensive lady)

From: [personal profile] redsnake05

I'm sorry you can't squeeze this in. I was even planning to offer it this year, having done some thinking about it since you requested it last year! But there's always 2017, right?
redsnake05: pensive lady in traditional asian art (Sad: Pensive lady)

From: [personal profile] redsnake05

*nods* life is difficult that way, especially at yuletide. I didn't mean to make things more difficult, though, and even if I did offer we might not be matched, so I will maybe just have to hold onto my inspiration for 2017.
redsnake05: pensive lady in traditional asian art (Sad: Pensive lady)

From: [personal profile] redsnake05

I have been very disciplined about the things I want to request and have kept it down to four. This involved a lot of avoiding looking at the tag set and not going near any canon rec posts, but I managed. I'm very impressed with myself. I sometimes get a similar feeling to you, with just not having enough things I'm really, really excited about, but this year I think I've got a good balance.

There are lots of things I want to offer, though. I will be really spoiled for choice on that end of things, which bodes well for my treating options. Even though one of my requests is in a pretty yuletide-popular fandom, I won't be offering that, and I'm pretty excited about the possibilities for matching. I'm just finishing up a fic for another holiday exchange, so if there is time between edits on that and assignments going out, I'm going to try to squeeze in a treat then.
redsnake05: Temple roof with a dragon on it seen against the sunset (General: Dragon temple roof)

From: [personal profile] redsnake05

No, I signed up for [livejournal.com profile] hoggywartyxmas, which is a tiny little HP exchange focused on the professors and older characters from HP. I participated a few years ago and got a delightful little Irma Pince fic, and I'm really looking forward to it. It's pretty nostalgic, doing an exchange on LJ with, like, 30 participants.

I hate it when you're struggling against the tide with an assignment and somehow there are so many delightful treat opportunities tempting you! I feel your pain, and I hope your assignment takes a sharp turn for the easier and gets finished quickly.

Oooh, now I'm busily trying to guess which two you are familiar with! Don't tell me, though, at least not until after yuletide. I'm glad you like the letter, though. I've never had problems having ideas and enthusiasm for things like prompts, and I'm glad it comes through. It's only when I get a request from someone else that I sometimes dry up with ideas. Typical. I'm looking forward to your letter too.


quillori: Photo of an Intha fisherman on Lake Inle, Burma (Default)

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