Chinese Storytelling Research Database
The Wu Song Project


The Wu Song project is based on a collection of the tale of “Wu Song Fights the Tiger” found in a variety of versions in novel, drama and performed narrative arts. The overall aim of the project is to explore the interplay of oral and written culture in China.

The main focus is on the linguistic form of the tale, in written, semi-oral and oral sources, old and new. The aim is to show the intertextual relation between a number of ‘instances’ of the tale, both as words of performance (oral texts) and as words of written texts. The project has a broad synchronic and diachronic framework, encompassing oral performances on tape, CD and videos, as well as written texts, including novels and dramatic versions, see Contents.

The research database connected to the project is created with a view to several purposes: 1) to uncover the special linguistic and narrative forms of the various instances of the ‘Wu Song and tiger’ tales; 2) bring out the contrastive patterns that become apparent from the categorization and comparison of a number of features of the tale.

The following features are registered in the database: textual unit, storyline, prose/verse, narrator type, stock phrases, fixed phrases, proper names, see System.

The database facilitates a comparative study of a large textual corpus, not only within the categories that have been designed for this project, but also for further research—in particular since the entire corpus of texts are made available for searching and indexing both in Chinese and in English. In the English translations passages that are identical in several instances of the tiger tale are also rendered in identical wordings, so that it is even possible—even if subject to some uncertainty—to search for special phraseology in the translated versions.