Introduction to Judge Bao and the Rule of Law: Eight Ballad-Stories from the Period 1250-1450
Wilt L. Idema, JUDGE BAO AND THE RULE OF LAW, World Scientific Publishing, 2009
26 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2010
Date Written: December 23, 2009
Pure, orthodox and incorruptible, Judge Bao has been serving as the preeminent embodiment of justice in China for almost a thousand years, so much so his court cases have been adapted as stories, novels and plays over the centuries. Now, for the very first time a series of eight ballad-stories on Judge Bao, dating from the period 1250-1450, are offered in a complete and annotated translation. These texts will provide the reader a reflection of the legend of Judge Bao in its earliest phase of development, with an extended introduction placing the ballad-stories in context with the development of the Judge Bao legend. These ballad-stories, in contrast to past plays dating from the same period, present abuse of power and corruption as endemic in the courts and bureaucratic service, and show Judge Bao imposing the rule of law even on the emperor.
Keywords: Judge Bao, Chinese Literature, Shuochang Cihua, Ballad-Stories
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