Sandra Mikli

This essay will consider how some basic concepts of traditional Chinese thought inform the plot of the Jin Ping Mei by analysing the development of two hidden pregnancies and the death of the protagonist, Ximen Qing. Interpreting the Jin Ping Mei means paying close attention to the author’s hidden messages, which can only be understood within the framework of such traditional Chinese concepts as Yin and Yang and the five elements, which are interwoven throughout the novel. There are countless situations in the narrative where traditional Chinese thought plays a significant role and, undoubtedly, much more work needs to be done concerning these features. However, for the purposes of this essay, I will only focus on the pregnancies of Ximen Qing’s first and the sixth wife and on his own death. Both the pregnancies and the death may serve as examples illustrating how traditional Chinese concepts are pervasive in Ming Literature.