I think less of you know that the story of 9Dragons was inspired by Wuxia, a popular culture for most of Chinese communities. The original in-game story for Indy21’s Korean version was written by wuxia novelist Jwa Baek .I will try make a portrait of the spirit, themes, the Code of Xia, plots, skills and abilities of wuxia.
Wuxia (武侠) is a broad genre of Chinese fiction that concerns itself with martial arts adventures set primarily in ancient China. Although traditionally a literary art form, it is now also found in art, comics, films, games, television, theatre, and other media. Wuxia forms a large part of popular culture for most Chinese-speaking communities around the world.
The word “wuxia” is a compound word composed from the words xia (俠, “honorable”, “chivalrous”), which is the philosophy of the Chinese knight-errant, and wu (武, “martial”, “military”), from the Chinese term wushu (武術, “martial arts” or “kungfu”). A martial artist who follows the code of xia is often referred to as a “swordsman” in works of wuxia, although he may not necessarily wield a sword. He is also sometimes called a xiake (俠客, lit: “follower of xia”) or yóuxiá (游俠, “wandering xia”).
The heroes in Chinese wuxia do not usually serve a lord, wield military power or belong to the aristocratic class. They are often from the lower social classes in ancient Chinese society. Wuxia heroes are usually bound by a code of martial chivalry, that requires them to right wrongs, especially when the helpless are oppressed. The wuxia hero fought for righteousness, typically, seeking to remove an oppressor, or to bring retribution for past wrong-doing. The Chinese xia traditions are similar to those of the Japanese samurai’s bushido, the chivalry of the Western European knights and the gunslingers of America’s Westerns.
Wuxia stories have their roots in some early You Xia (游侠, “Chinese knight-errant” or “assassins”) stories from 200-300 BC. Some famous stories include those of Jing Ke (荆轲), who attempted to assassinate the King of Qin Ying Zheng, and Zhuan Zhu (专诸), who successfully assassinated King Liao of Wu. In the “Assassins” section (刺客列传) of Records of the Grand Historian (a.k.a. Shi Ji (史记)), the author Sima Qian outlined a number of notable assassins from the Warring States era who were entrusted with (the usually noble) task of carrying out political assassinations on aristocrats and nobles during that period.
These assassins are known as Ci Ke (刺客, lit: “stabbing guests”). These assassins usually rendered their loyalties and services to feudal lords and nobles in return for rewards such as riches and shelter. As such, they are often compared to the Japanese Ninjas who served their Daimyos. In another section of Shi Ji, “Roaming Xia” (游侠列传/游侠列传), Sima Qian detailed several embryonic features of Xia culture of his period. This popular phenomena was also documented in other historical records such as the Book of Han (汉书) and the Book of Later Han (后汉书).
Xia Ke stories made a turning point in the Tang Dynasty and returned in the form of Chuan Qi (传奇, lit: “legendary tales”). Stories from that era such as Nie Yin Niang (聂隐娘), The Kunlun Slave (昆仑奴), Jing Shi San Niang (荆十三娘), Red String (红线) and The Bearded Warrior (虬髯客) served as prototypes for modern Wuxia stories. They featured fantasies and isolated protagonists, usually loners, who performed daring heroic deeds.
The earliest full-length novel considered to be of the Wuxia genre was the Water Margin (水浒传), authored by Shi Nai’an during the Ming Dynasty. Some might classify sections of Luo Guanzhong’s Romance of the Three Kingdoms (三国演义) as a possible early antecedent. The former criticises the deplorable socio-economic status of the late Northern Song Dynasty whilst the latter is a romanticised historical retelling of the events of the late Han Dynasty and Three Kingdoms Period. The Water Margin’s portrayal of outlaws who follow the code of honour played an influential role in the development of Jianghu culture in later centuries. Romance of the Three Kingdoms contained classic close combat descriptions which were later borrowed by Wuxia writers in their works.
Many Wuxia works produced during the Ming and Qing dynasties were lost due to the government’s strong crackdown and banning of such works. Wuxia works were deemed responsible for brewing anti-governmental sentiments which gave rise to rebellions during these periods. The ethos of personal freedom and conflict-readiness of these novels were seen as seditious even in times of peace and stability. The departure from mainstream literature also meant that patronage of this genre was limited to the masses and not to the literati, which accounted for the stifling of the development of the Wuxia genre.
Nonetheless, the Wuxia genre remained enormously popular with the common people. Certain full-length novels such as The Strange Cases of Shi Gong (施公案奇闻) and The Romance of the Heroic Daughters and Sons (儿女英雄传) were cited as the clearest nascent Wuxia novels. Even Justice Bao stories from San Xia Wu Yi (三侠五义, later extended and renamed Qi Xia Wu Yi 七侠五义) and Xiao Wu Yi (小五义) incorporated much of social justice themes of later Wuxia stories.
Source : Cultural China.
by Story Teller