(Re-)Remembering A Silla Scholar’s Uncanny Experience in Tang China


  • Yun Zhu Temple University




Ch’oe Ch’iwŏn, “Ch’oe Ch’iwŏn”, “The Red Bags of the Fairy Maidens”, memory, Jiangnan, Silla, Tang dynasty


This paper examines a Chinese-language tale about the Silla scholar Ch’oe Ch’iwŏn (857–?), who spent about sixteen years in China, studying for — and then passing — the imperial civil service examinations and working as a Tang government official, before returning to Silla. In this uncanny story about Ch’oe’s alleged encounter with two beautiful female ghosts in Lishui and his epiphany from the experience, the obscure, sensualised, and aestheticised imagery of the Tang southland undergoes a contested process of transcultural remapping and various cross-spatial, cross-temporal, and cross-ideological re-envisionings. Through a contextualised close reading of the story, my paper aims to contribute to the understanding of the dynamics, fluidity, and paradoxes of cultural memories, which, in the case of the tale about Ch’oe, continue to evolve even in our own time.



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How to Cite

Zhu, Y. (2023). (Re-)Remembering A Silla Scholar’s Uncanny Experience in Tang China. The Journal of the European Association for Chinese Studies, 4, 223–238. https://doi.org/10.25365/jeacs.2023.4.zhu



Culture and Memory