Red Chamber’s No. 8 It girl–The Sanctimonious Oddball 贾惜春

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Do not be deceived by her pious appearance, for her calm demeanour was merely a manifestation of her indifference. Xichun is probably the most cold-hearted girl amongst them all. If Xifeng was vicious, you could still feel her warmth and passion towards life and her loyalty towards the family. Xichun on the other hand, was completely aloof and thought herself better than others while attempting to distance herself from those whom she found beneath her moral standard.


She was resolute and cold.

She had always entertained the thought of becoming a nun, as she found that the entire family was full of corrupted worldly desires, and she was better than the rest of them.

She revealed her desire of becoming a nun in one of the most interesting plot device moment–When the butler of another grand family brought the girls flowers, we caught glimpses of the private moments that revealed their true characters. When the flowers came, Xichun was with her bestie nun-friend, and she seemingly joked about how she was just getting ready with her bestie to shave her head and enter into the monastery in a day or two’s time, and voila~ here comes the gorgeous flowers. If she had her head shaven, where would the flowers go then?~


Xichun’s aloof character felt like she’s seen it all, and she wanted none of the worldly connections.

You would’ve thought of her as merely being zen and enlightened, rightfully sanctimonious if she hadn’t shown her heartlessness towards her attendant. So her female attendant was from a poor family, and her brother was gifted with some items from another rich man’s son, and in turn, her gave those items to her. Apparently it was not allowed in those days–nope, you can’t recycle someone else’s gift to you unless the recipient declared it from the start, to ensure that the gift was rightfully gained (yes, bureaucracy in the household!).

So when Xichun found out about it, she was extremely upset, and she chased the attendant out, saying that she didn’t care if they hit, kill, or sell the attendant away, but just get rid of the attendant as soon as possible. When the other older granny-servants of the house tried to plea with her to give the attendant a chance, Xichun even made the comment along the line of, I might be young, but my thoughts aren’t. Compared to those of you who can hardly read or write, I’m in a much better position to decide and judge on such matters. *WOAHHHHH* Xichun revealed that she wanted to get rid of the girl so she wouldn’t be implicated by the girl’s wrongdoings. Yep, that’s Xichun for you.


Truth is, Xichun probably wasn’t really enlightened for real. She probably thought herself as more educated and enlightened than everyone else in the family, and felt she’s being tainted by being with them.

Xichun was the youngest of the 4 daughters in the family, and the 4 of them together formed a sad prophecy–Yuan (chun)元春, Ying (chun)迎春, Tan (chun)探春, Xi (chun)惜春. So the first word of each name when strung together, sounded the same as One Ought To Sigh [for them] (原应叹息).

And their servant girls, too, represented the 4 typical artistic endeavours that well-educated people of those days should have–Qin (zither)抱琴, Qi (Go-chess)司棋, Shu (reading & poetry)待书, Hua (painting)入画.

Xichun’s servant girl was called Ru Hua (entering into the painting, literally). And Xichun was known to be a good painter, and painted the entire landscape of the grand household.


Xichun’s servant girl was called Ru Hua (entering into the painting, literally). And Xichun was known to be a good painter, and painted the entire landscape of the grand household.

Eventually, it was suggested that Xichun cut her hair and enter into the monastery as a nun. Later on, we’ll introduce another girl who grew up in the monastery, but was rather different from Xichun’s coldness.

If you get into trouble, she’d be the last person to save you, if at all.

Xichun was resolute, and cold.

Xichun never liked the world she lived in. With the downfall of the family, she also witnessed the ill fate of her sisters who did not seem to have happy marriages. It thus became natural for her to consider spending the rest of her life in the monastery as a nun, divorced from all the worldly woes and desires.


4 Replies to “Red Chamber’s No. 8 It girl–The Sanctimonious Oddball 贾惜春”

  1. I have a question. Did they use fake flowers back then? Aren’t those fake flowers on Xichun’s hair? Did you give a nod to her fake-ness by that?


    1. The use of artificial flowers has been around for a long time. Tang dynasty for example is known for having women wearing flowers, and fake flowers because women simply love flowers of all kinds and the best way to have them readily available is to make artificial ones.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ohh. I see. I’ve seen flower-shaped metal jewleries in period dramas, but not the ones made with materials like cloth/silk. I’m going to look harder! 😉


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