Hong Kong’s ‘wuxia’ literary giant Jin Yong who captivated generations, commemorated

2024 marks the centenary birth of Hong Kong martial arts novelist Jin Yong (the pen name of Dr Louis Cha Leung-yung), a giant in Chinese literature. To commemorate his literary contributions that have impacted several generations, Hong Kong is paying tribute to the author with a centennial memorial

“Wherever there are Chinese people, Jin Yong’s world of ‘wuxia‘ can be found.” Wuxia is a genre of Chinese fiction featuring wandering warriors of ancient China, “often depicted as capable of superhuman feats of martial arts”.

Throughout his life, Jin Yong created a total of 15 martial arts novels and shaped over 1,400 characters. His works have sold more than 100 million copies worldwide and have been translated into 14 different languages. With profound humanistic, social, and artistic values, they not only appeal to a wide audience but have also had a far-reaching impact on the global literary world, meriting a place among classic works of literature in China and even the world.

Jin Yong – or Dr Louis Cha – was born on March 10, 1924, in Haining, China, and passed away at age 94 in Hong Kong. “A Path to Glory – Jin Yong’s Centennial Memorial” will officially open at Edinburgh Place in Central on March 15. The event will span six months and involve collaborations with the Hong Kong International Airport, tourist attractions, and cultural landmarks.

Hong Kong is the birthplace of Jin Yong’s wuxia novels and a melting pot of Eastern and Western cultures. The organisers will collaborate with various mainland and international institutions and foreign consulates in Hong Kong and offer a wide array of cultural and artistic interactive experiences to promote Jin Yong’s novels and Chinese culture, good stories of Hong Kong, and foster cultural and artistic exchanges between China and other countries. 

This is by way of a series of museum and public art exhibitions that encompass culture, art, creativity, heritage, and education. All of which is to pay tribute to Jin Yong, and to create unique cultural intellectual property in Hong Kong.

The event’s theme is taken from a message Guo Jing delivered to Yang Guo in The Giant Eagle and its Companion: “To serve, is a path to glory”. This phrase is a portrayal of the heroes and heroines in Jin Yong’s novels and their relentless pursuit deep inside their hearts.

The entrance of the Jin Yong’s centennial memorial

A Path to Glory – Jin Yong’s Centennial Memorial • The World of Wuxia

The memorial includes the exhibition “The World of Wuxia” from March 15 to July 2 with free admission. Ten sculptures of Jin Yong’s iconic characters, created by sculptor Ren Zhe, will be on display, including Xiaolongnu, Yang Guo, Abbess Miejue, Zhou Botong, Hu Fei, Fan Yao, Wanyan Honglie, the Golden Wheel Monk, Genghis Khan and Guo Jing.

A Mongolian yurt inspired by The Eagle-shooting Heroes will also be present, offering travellers an immersive experience with multilingual audio guides and augmented reality technology. The venue will recreate the scenes and iconic costume designs from the novels, not only evoking the public’s collective memories but also providing opportunities for taking memorable photos. Regular cultural and artistic interactive experiences will be available at Edinburgh Place, including reading sessions, concerts, and painting workshops, to engage travellers and citizens and deepen their understanding of Jin Yong’s novels, Chinese literature, and Chinese culture.

A Path to Glory – Jin Yong’s Centennial Memorial, Sculpted by Ren Zhe

A separate exhibition “A Path to Glory – Jin Yong’s Centennial Memorial, Sculpted by Ren Zhe” will open at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum in Sha Tin on March 15, 2024, and will remain open to the public with free admission from March 16 to October 7, 2024.

22 sculptures of Jin Yong’s iconic characters, created by sculptor Ren Zhe, will be exhibited, including: 

  • Yang Guo and Xiaolongnu from The Giant Eagle and its Companion
  • Guo Jing, Huang Rong, Ouyang Feng, Wang Chongyang, Hong Qigong, Yi Deng and Huang Yaoshi from The Eagle-shooting Heroes.
  • Dongfang Bubai, Ren Woxing, Linghu Chong, Ren Yingying and Feng Qingyang from The Smiling, Proud Wanderer.
  • Zhang Wuji and the Four Guardian Kings: Golden-haired Lion King, Purple Robe Dragon King, White-browed Eagle King and Green-winged Bat King from The Heaven Sword and the Dragon Sabre.
  • And Xiao Feng, Xu Zhu and Duan Yu from The Demi-Gods and the Semi-Devils.

There will also be seminars, talks, immersive experiences, and a display of precious sculpture manuscripts by the artist.

A Path to Glory – Jin Yong’s Centennial Memorial

The memorial involves cross-media collaborations with local creative talent, including sculptor Ren Zhe, digital art and entertainment design consultant Victor Wong, fashion consultant William Chang, cultural consultant Benny Li, film score composer Tomy Wai, musician Scarlett Chan, and cartoonist Lee Chi-ching.

The event will feature museum and public art exhibitions, presenting a cultural event themed around Jin Yong across Hong Kong through immersive digital experiences, sculptures, paintings, calligraphy, design art, film and television entertainment, and music.

“Jin Yong exuded an unquenchable passion for life, which showed in his lifelong yearning for freedom and his unbounded romanticism,” says William Fong, curator of the centennial memorial, and founder of the Guyu Cultural Development Foundation. “May we possess fearless hearts, resembling swords, carry forward Jin Yong’s indomitable spirit which guides us onwards, and construct an everlasting memorial with unyielding commitment to these ideals. Let the flame of chivalry continue to illuminate the path for future generations, allowing humanity to shine at all times.”

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