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The Magic Lotus Lantern and Other Tales from the Han Chinese (World Folklore)

2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1591582946
ISBN-10: 1591582946
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Editorial Reviews


"The book, written with verve and simplicity, is in a style that makes it interesting for readers of all ages. Clearly it is written by a person who really enjoys and understands his topic. It is a wonderful introduction to Chinese culture and one of the best books that I have read on Chinese folk tales."


Daily News (Bowling Green, KY)

"Yuan has done an admirable job of presenting these tales. In the book's first two parts (60 pages), he offers cultural context and a brief introduction to the language, population, history, literature, foods, games, and crafts associated with the popular culture of the Han Chinese, who make up more than 90 percent of the population of China. The writings themselves--54 folktales, myths, legends, and popular tales--take up the third part, and all are well known among the Han Chinese. Yuan distinguishes between the culture and tales of the Han Chinese and the cultures and tales of minority ethnic Chinese. He will treat the latter in a second volume, tentatively titled Princess Peacock and Tales of Other Chinese Peoples (forthcoming, 2007). Two appendixes, Chinese Proverbs and Motifs and Tale Sources, plus the glossary and references make this book useful to both scholars and the uninitiated. Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers."



"The author balances traditionality and modern transformations of customs, performing arts, music, games, and storytelling to convey a dynamic picture of their historical development. The brevity of the first two parts, along with powerful illustrations, effectively draws an informative sketch of China in a limited number of pages."


Journal of Folklore Research

Book Description

More than 50 authentic Han Chinese tales.


Product Details

  • Series: World Folklore
  • Hardcover: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Libraries Unlimited (May 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591582946
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591582946
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,379,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mr. Yuan is Professor of the Department of Library Public Services at Western Kentucky University. A Fulbright student, he graduated from Indiana University at Bloomington with two masters' degrees. Besides his library webmaster's job, he writes about Chinese culture and folklore. His books include Tibetan Folktales (Libraries Unlimited, 2014); This Is China: The First 5,000 Years (Berkshire, 2010); Princess Peacock and Tales of Other Chinese Peoples (Libraries Unlimited, 2008); and The Magic Lotus Lantern and Other Tales of the Han Chinese (Libraries Unlimited, 2006). He is consultant to Celebrate Chinese New Year (National Geographic, 2010) and co-editor of Berkshire Encyclopedia of China. Besides, he has contributed extensively to the Encyclopedia of Contemporary Chinese Culture (Routlege 2004). Mr. Yuan maintains a website about Chinese culture including the Chinese proverb web pages accessible at

If you are interested, you may visit my website or my Facebook at to view some of the video clips I recorded during my 2013 trip to Tibet.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Wei J. Cui on March 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Haiwang Yuan's Magic Lotus Lantern and Other Tales from the Han China is a fine collection of Chinese fairy tales and legends known to the hearts of people in China as well as the Chinese living abroad. For the first time in many years, these well-loved stories are presented in English to American readers and other readers of English.

Reading Magic Lotus Lantern ... brought back my childhood memories of storytelling time. Growing up in a small village in China during the Cultural Revolution in the 1960's--when schools were closed, public libraries were nonexistent and most books were banned--my favorite pastime was storytelling in the evening. Grandma Yu next door was a great storyteller. Many of the stories she told can be found in Yuan's book, with slight variations as it is true with fairy tales retold around the world.

"The Origin of the Mid-Autumn Festival" reminds me of how as a child, on the full-moon nights of August fifteenth (Chinese calendar), my friends and I looked up to the big glowing disc, trying to identify the lonely Chang `e and her companion the Jade Rabbit.

"Cowherd and Weaving Girl", a bittersweet love story, so deeply touched us that we spent many cloudless nights, looking for the ladle shaped seven stars-- the symbol of the seven fairy sisters on one side the Milky Way and Cowherd with his two children on the other. I also remember, on an early rainy morning of the seventh day of the seventh month (lunar calendar)--it always rained on that day, I was sitting at the window, watching swallows gathering in the sky making twittering sounds. Then they disappeared into the dark clouds. Grandma Yu said that the swallow flew to Heaven to build a love-bridge over the Milky Way for the reunion of Cowherd and Weaving Girl.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By H. Yuan on June 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is awesome because it can meet the many needs of different readers. I found it useful as a college student who took an elementary Chinese class. I learned so much about Chinese culture not only from the tales retold by the author but also from the thoughtful introduction to each tale's cultural background. A fellow student of mine who majors folklore told me that she benefited a lot from the tale type and motif index attached at the back of the book. She learned how much Chinese tales shared with many of those in other cultures of the world. I strongly recommend it!
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