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White Snake, Black Snake Folk Narrative Meets Master Narrative In Qing Dynasty Sichuanese Cross-Stitch Medallions, Cory Willmott
Cory A. Willmott
The cross-stitch medallion in figure 1 was collected by my grandmother, Katherine Willmott, in the early 1920s when she was a missionary in Renshow, Sichuan Province, West China. Many years after I inherited it, I learned that it depicts a folk narrative called “White Snake; Black Snake” that was traditionally performed both on stage in the legitimate theaters and in Chinese shadow puppet dramas (Highbaugh n/d:6).
The story may be summarized as follows: There were two female snakes, White Snake and Black Snake, who were inseparable friends. They both changed into beautiful young women. White Snake got married ...