The year 2016 was the Year of the Monkey, and no monkey is more iconic in China than Sun Wukong 孙悟空, the mischievous and beloved Monkey King of Chinese mythology. A central character in the sixteenth-century classic Journey to the West 西游记, ‘Monkey’ was born from a stone, and enjoys tremendous powers thanks to Taoist practices and a magical staff. When he creates havoc in the Jade Emperor’s heavenly palace, the Buddha sends Monkey on a journey across the seemingly infinite expanse of his palm, finally trapping him under a mountain, where he remains for five hundred years. The Buddha promises Monkey his freedom if he agrees to protect the monk Xuanzang 玄奘 on his journey to collect the Buddhist classics from India and bring them back to China. But knowing Monkey’s capacity for mischief, the Buddha gives Xuanzang a headband that once placed on Monkey’s head can never be taken off, teaching him a magical incantation that enables the monk to painfully tighten the headband. The pain — or the threat of it — keeps Monkey under control throughout the long journey.
|Title of host publication||China Story Yearbook 2016: Control|
|Editors||Jane Golley, Linda Jaivin, and Luigi Tomba|
|Place of Publication||Canberra|
|Publication status||Published - 2017|