Jianghu 江湖 is the code of honor and fundamental values of Wuxia, a longstanding genre of Chinese martial arts literature. Jianghu translates literally to “Rivers and Lakes,” though those terms are used metaphorically here, covering multiple layers of meaning.
[Compare, for instance, how Feng Shui translates literally to “Wind and Water,” but it’s in reference to how the energies of people, places, and things harmonize with one another.]
In story writing, Jianghu is part of the setting that the author develops for a Wuxia novel. It is world-building. It’s the structure of social order, the class system, the magical system, the various martial arts factions or lineages, the government, the peasants, and everyone in between.
Jianghu expresses the cast of heroes and villains, the power structure of the world the Wuxia author has built. In this Lenormand deck, there are two versions for the Man and Woman cards (see above) — for the Man, the versions are Swordsman and Scholar; for the Woman, the versions are Swordswoman and Maiden.
Jianghu is also the landscape of sacred mountains and mystical forests. It’s the many regions of the kingdom the cast of characters travel to on their adventure to obtaining magical relics.
I love the extra Special Card, as it’s called, in this deck– Alcohol. Per the explanation in the little white booklet:
“As a cultural artifact, alcohol connects our lives, emotions and spirits. In Jianghu, heroes drink to meet friends, writers and poets drink away their bitter sorrow alone. People drink by the red wedding candles to celebrate happiness, and drink in front of tombs to bid farewell to the dead on Tomb Sweeping Day.”
Just a side FYI — red is the color predominantly used in Chinese weddings. So “red wedding” has a very different connotation to the culturally Chinese than what you might be thinking right now, post-Game of Thrones…
Continue reading “Arcana Jianghu Lenormand by Li Sha and Wang Xiao Po”