The Pujiusi, Monastery of Universal Salvation, was once a great temple. Today it is still impressive with its towering pagoda, orginally named 舍利塔 Shelita. Today it is the property of a private company which had turned it into a tourist shrine to the popular Yuan Dynasty play by 王實甫 Wang Shifu, 西廂記 Xīxiāngjì, The Story Of The Western Wing, which was sited in this temple. There is a small stage next to the temple where the play is staged.|
Located in southern Shanxi, a 40 minute drive north of the Huanghe and Tongguan.
Synopsis of the play:
The Story of the Western Wing is a relatively simple love drama which tells the tale of a young couple who fall passionately in love although encounter various setbacks in their relationship. The couple in question are Student Zhang Gong and the beautiful Oriole (Cui Yingying). Oriole is staying in the lonely Monastery of Universal Salvation with her maid Crimson (Hongniang) and her mother Widow Cui (Madame Zheng), mourning the death of her uncle. Student Zhang arrives at the monastery and when he sees Oriole he falls in love with her immediately. Student Zhang begins to lust after Oriole and questions Crimson about her. He asks the abbot of the Monastery, Dharma Source , if he can rent a room in the Monastery. His excuse is that he wants to learn from the abbot but in reality he wants to be close to Oriole. The abbot agrees, and Student Zhang therefore takes up residence in the western wing of the monastery - the title of the drama. This western wing is the setting for many important aspects of the story. For instance Student Zhang spends many lonely nights here thinking of Oriole while he strums his zither and furthermore, it is here that their relationship is finally consummated. However, the monastery is invaded and Oriole's mother offers her daughters hand in marriage to whomsoever is able to defeat the troops - of course Student Zhang takes the challenge and succeeds. But when the time comes for them to be united, Widow Cui renaigs on her decision. The student and Oriole eventualy become involved in a secret relationship which is spurned on by Crimson. Widow Cui eventually discovers the affair, severly punishes Crimson and announces that if Student Zhang wishes her daughter's hand he must go to the Capital and sit the state examinations. This he does, passing at the top of the class and so he returns to the Monastery to claim his beautiful bride.