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By the Butterfly Spring: Tale of Five Golden Flowers

May 17, 2010

The Music – By the Butterfly Spring

“By the Butterfly Spring” is an interlude song from the romantic comedy film “Five Golden Flowers” produced by Changchun Film Studio in 1959.

The movie told the love story of a pair of Bai youth who made promise of love through antiphonal singing by the butterfly spring in Dali, Yunnan. At that time, the unique tradition of Bai people expressing love through antiphonal singing was still quite unfamiliar to other Chinese ethnics.

As the main theme music of the film, “By the butterfly spring” has become widely loved by people. Famous Manchu composer Lei Zhenbang  (1916-1997) wrote this rich unique melody by integrating two Bai ethnic folk songs with different styles.


The Movie – Five Golden Flowers

Early in 1959, literary and art circles were crazed towards celebrating the 10th anniversary of New China. But there were too much political slogans and lack of artistic beauty and simple pleasure in the films.

Five Golden Flowers

The Central Government intended to produce well-relaxed and enjoyable film combining ideological content and artistic value. It should be appropriate to release the film abroad. Then, a color landscape feature film was planned with Dali (Yunnan) as the place where the story happened.

At the March Fair, Ah Peng, a young man of Bai minority meets Jin Hua (Golden Flower) and falls in love with her at the first sight. He comes to seek her the second year. Walking from village to village he finally finds his sweetheart. Threaded by the search of Ah Peng for his lover, many humorous stories are told, displaying the happy life and the ambitious personality of the girls in different positions.

The film was shown in 48 countries, a then record for Chinese films. It has won many awards and titles. Now, after half a century, <Five Golden Flowers> has not yet faded in people’s memory as time passes by. In 2000, in the <Best Film of the Century> selection, <Five Golden Flowers> was selected as the First Place of “Top 10 Films”.

The Spring – Butterfly Spring of Dali

Butterfly Spring of Dali is at the foot of Peak Nongyun of Mt. Cangshan, about 40 km to the north of the City of Dali.

Butterfly Spring by {link:http://www.flickr.com/photos/rain0235/52408418/}柳雩{/link}

To Bai people, this spring is a symbol of faithful love. Every year for “Butterfly Fair”, Bai young people from different places will gather here, “Throw a stone to test water depth,” to find their true love through antiphonal singing.

As <Five Golden Flowers> become so popular in China, butterfly spring, the place where Ah Peng and Jinhua made their promise of love, has also become one of the top attractions in Dali.

A Hulusi Version: pictures taken from a TV play about the princess of Dali

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