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W140xD30xH270mm, China

This is a wood carving based on a scene from the romantic comedy “The Story of the Western Wing”.  It has nothing to do with the White House but a play set in the Tang dynasty about a young couple pursuing with their love for each other without the consent of their parents.  In the old days, marriage are arranged by the parents with the husband and wife to be never meeting each other before the day of the wedding.  Love affairs outside of this arrangement are forbidden and are seen as dishonoring to the family name.

In the scene depicted, the chamber maid, Hong Niang, was caught assisting Cui Ying Ying, the daughter of the chief minister, in seeing the young scholar staying in the western wing of the house.  The lady of the house interrogated Hong Niang with her daughter Cui Ying Ying hidding behind the screen.  In the end the family consented an official marriage on the condition that the young scholar Zhang Sheng would come top in the national official examination (a very difficult task).  Zhang Sheng passed the exam with flying colours, became the zhuang yuan, married Cui Ying Ying and lived happily ever after.

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