Monday, November 26, 2012

Allegory — Daphne's Toys

Daphne's Toys
Daphne's Toys | Oil on canvas | 40 by 30 inches

"The becoming of lust.

Pan Jin Lian was born into a well-to-do family, but was sent to a wealthy landlord to become a housemaid when her family went bankrupt. The landlord coveted Pan's beauty and tried to violate her. When Pan told his wife about his misconduct, the landlord retaliated and gave Pan away to a dwarfish looking man as a punishment for her rejection of his sexual advances. Wu Dalang's luck was Pan's nightmare.

The neighbors would jeer Pan as a flower planted in cow's dung. She was beautiful and young, while her husband was an unsightly dwarf, who made a living by peddling bread. Pan later discovered to her delight that her husband had a younger brother named Wu Song, who was tall and handsome.

Wu Song had returned to the town as a hero for single handedly killing the tiger that had terrorized the country for a long time, and was made lieutenant by the magistrate. Pan who loathed her husband's shortcomings, began to let her flirtation explicitly known to Wu Song in her husband's absence. Her insidious move caught Wu Song by surprise, and made him mad. Not only did he reject her indecent proposal, but gave her a dressing down. When Wu Dalang returned home, and inquired about the tense atmosphere, Pan accused Wu Song of harassing her. Confounded and anguished, Wu Song left without explaining himself.

One day, as Pan was trying to shut the windows on the second floor with the help of a bamboo rod, it accidentally slipped from her hand and fell into the street, hitting a pedestrian on his head. He was the drugstore owner named Ximen Qing. Qing was a man of influence and also of debauchery. Seeing that the culprit was a pretty woman, his anger immediately turned into lust. His dandy gracious pardoning of her imprudence left an indelible impression on Pan.
Losing no time, Qing went into the tea house owned by Old Woman Wang, who lived next door to Pan. Pleased with his bribe, the old woman agreed to arrange a meet up between Qing and Pan. 

Brief and awkward greetings soon gave way to intimacy. But, the adulterous couple was soon caught red handed by Wu Dalang when the neighbors who had discovered the affair, went and told him about it. Qing while trying to escape, hit Wu on his chest, and the nearly fatal injury confined Wu to bed. Instead of taking care of her husband, Pan went to meet Qing, and continued with the affair.

When Wu threatened to disclose their doings to Wu Song, the couple murdered him. Wu Song eventually returned to avenge his brother. He killed Pan and Qing and then later surrendered himself to the authorities. He was pardoned because Pan was deemed a scarlet woman."

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