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The Butterfly Lovers

A Chinese Legend

Two butterflies clipart images The Butterfly Lovers or Liang Zhu is a Chinese legend about the tragic romance between two lovers, Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai, from whom the name of the legend is known in Chinese. The legend is sometimes regarded as the Chinese equivalent to Romeo and Juliet.

The story is set in the Eastern Jin Dynasty.


A young woman named Zhu Yingtai from Shangyu, Zhejiang, disguises herself as a man traveling to Hangzhou to study. During her journey, she meets and joins Liang Shanbo, a companion schoolmate from Kuaiji in the same province. They study together for three years, during which their relationship strengthens.


When the two part, Zhu offers to arrange for Liang to marry her 16 year-old fictitious sister. When Liang travels to Zhu's home, he discovers her true gender.


Although they are devoted and passionate about each other at that point, Zhu is already engaged with Ma Wencai, a man her parents had arranged for her to be married to.


Depressed, Liang dies in office as a county magistrate. On the day Zhu is to be married to Ma, whirlwinds prevent the wedding procession from escorting Zhu beyond Liang's tomb.

Two orange butterflies graphics
Zhu leaves the procession to pay her respects for Liang. Liang's tomb splits apart, and Zhu dives into it to join him. A pair of butterflies emerges from the tomb and flies away.

See also: Butterfly Lovers Chinese Story and Song


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