We could all argue that the world didn’t need the lackluster sexiness of “Fifty Shades of Grey” when it was released out into the world in 2011, but how about an erotic novel that was written in the late Ming dynasty?
As it turns out a man in Beijing took it upon himself to print out some uncut copies of one of China’s most infamous erotic novels, “Jin Ping Mei” (“The Golden Lotus” or “The Plum in the Golden Vase”).
Thanks to its explicit descriptions of sex, it still remains pretty controversial in China, even after more than 400 years in publication, and has been partially-banned by Beijing. Written during the late Ming dynasty (1368 – 1644 C.E.), first circulated around 1596, under the pseudonym Lanling Xiaoxiao Sheng (The Scoffing Scholar of Lanling), it can still be bought in its abridged format, published in 1983. Though if you were to buy that version, you would be missing out on over 19,000 characters conveniently removed due to too much sexiness.
Despite China easing the ban in 1991, the complete version is only available to scholars and cadres of a certain level. The first complete English translation of the novel was only finished in 2013, following more than 20 years of work from scholar David Tod Roy. Here’s a sample of the kind of erotic language found inside, via LA Review of Books:
She pumped it in and out of her mouth unceasingly, until white saliva overflowed from her lips, and rouge stains appeared on the stem of his organ.
Just as he was about to ejaculate, the woman questioned Hsi-men Ch’ing, saying, “Ying the Second has sent invitations inviting us to his place on the twenty-eighth. Are we going to go, or not?”
But back to our secret publisher — what exactly did he do? According to The Beijing Cultural Law Enforcement Agency, our man Zhou set up his own super-secret publishing house in Tongzhou district, and printed over 2,000 copies of a Qing dynasty version of the book (believed to be a more complete version than the current abridged one) between March and April. All the copies and a stapling machine have since been confiscated, Sina reports.
Zhou has also been fined 10,000 yuan (around $1,535) for his crime, and his actions are the first to be punished under amended regulations that took effect in January, which ban individuals from printing or publishing materials without legal permission.
Netizens in China seem to agree with a crackdown on piracy, but many have called for the book to be released from its ban due to its literary merit and it being, well, 2016.
“The man is wrong for pirating books, but Jin Ping Mei, as a historic piece of Chinese literature, shouldn’t be banned as well,” said one Weibo user, via CCTV“>.
“I thought we were already in the 21st century…” added another.
Talking about steamy classical novels, “The Plum in the Golden Vase” is actually a spin-off of another classic novel called “The Water Margin,” which incidentally caused some red faces after a sexy sculpture in a Shenyang shopping mall based off the novel was deemed a tad too vulgar.
By Kitty Lai
[Images via CCTV]