Chivalrous swordsmen

| 2018-05-17 | Hits:
(Chinese Social Sciences Today)

Xia in Chinese culture refers to a group of people with martial arts skills who act bravely for a just cause and is willing to sacrifice him or herself to rescue those who are in distress and help those in poverty. Chinese xia culture is entrusted with humanistic pursuit of social justice, virtues and conscience and became a unique Chinese cultural image.


xiá gān yì dăn

Xia refers to a person adept in martial arts and given to chivalrous conduct. Yi means “being righteous.” Together, xiayi means having a lofty sense of justice and gallantry and ready to help the weak. Gan means “liver” while dan means “gallbladder” which was considered the organ that determines the courage of a person. Together, gandan refers to the heroic spirit or courage to rise against injustice and help the weak.

This idiom, taken literally, means having a strong sense of justice and courage to stand against injustice and help those in distress and poverty. It is used to praise a person who shows strong sense of justice and sympathy to the weak, and ready to lend a hand to them.

xiá zhī dà zhě, wèi guó wèi mín

Xia refers to a chivalrous person who defends the weak. Da means “great.” Wei means “on the side of” or “for the sake of.” Guo refers to the nation while min refers to the people. This idiom, taken literally, means that a great xia is the one who dedicates himself or herself to benefiting the nation and the people.

This idiom originates from a line by Guo Jing, one of the protagonists of the wuxia novel The Return of the Condor Heroes by Jin Yong (1924- ). Talking to Yang Guo, a leading protagonist and son of his traitor friend, Guo said “Doing righteous things of helping the weak is just the basic requirements of being a xia. And this can only be called a minor xia. A great xia dedicates himself or herself to benefiting the nation and the people.” Honoring his belief, as the general leading the campaign defending Xiayang in present-day Hubei Province against the invasion, Guo, together with his legendary wife Huang Rong, died in the battle when the city was occupied.


(edited by CHEN ALONG)