An Ho: Qiaojie

QiaojieQiaojie
An Ho
1993
Watercolor on silk mounted on rice paper using traditional Chinese technique
54″ x 88″

Daughter of Wang Xifeng, Qiaojie was initially called Dajieer (Daughter Number One). She was sickly as a child. During the peasant woman Liu Laolao’s visit to the Prospect Garden, Xifeng asks her to bless her daughter with a name. When Liu Laolao learns that Dajieer was born on the seventh day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar, she suggests that Dajieer be named Qiaojie (The Serendipity Maiden). Liu Laolao is making clever use of the associations Dajieer’s birthday has with the legend of the Herd Boy and the Weaver Maid who are destined to meet once a year on that day. Qiao meaning “coincidence,” the name Qiaojie is thus doubly felicitous: it signifies a birth that coincides with the annual reunion of the two celestial lovers and resonates esthetically with the stock-in-trade formula “wu qiao bu cheng hua” (without coincidence there would be no story) that traditional story tellers used to ground their imaginative creations. In the sequel, Liu Laolao rescues Qiaojie from her rapacious relatives and marries her to the son of a rich landlord.

Qiaojie-CutawayARTIST’S COMMENTARY

Innocent and flawless. Her bright clothes show her cheery disposition and the good fortune of her destiny.