Romance of Yu Dafu and Cheongsam Belle Wang Yingxia
Jan. 14th, 1927, Madang Road, Shanghai, Yu Dafu wore a new long pao couriered by his wife Sun Quancong from Beijing to visit a friend of his Sun Baigang. At Sun’s, Yu met 20-year old Wang Yingxia, whom he later describes as with “Eyes clear as water waving in autumn breeze”.
Wang Yingxia was the only child of her family, she was adopted by her grand father at 12 when her father passed away. Her grand father Wang Ernan was a known literati in Hangzhou. Affected by his grand father, Wang was very fond of classic poems and literatures. Her beauty and literary talent won Yu Dafu’s heart at once.
photo of Wang Yingxia
Although Wang admired Yu’s talent, she was not ready to devote her love to such a romantic poet who obsessively long for the liberty of love. Not to mention that Yu was married, while she was engaged to another man. So she turned Yu down.
The Beauty of the Other Shore is Even More Precious When One Cannot Reach It
photo of Wang Yingxia and Yu Dafu, Wang Yuxia in a cheongsam dress
Yu believed that women are made of water, and that their hearts can be melted with determination and perseverance. He continued to send love letters to Wang, once he wrote:”I am unwilling to ruin your engagement very much. But Miss Wang, one may got married only once in life, there is a tricky relationship between marriage and love. Are you willing to be a slave of family life? Or would you rather be a queen of freedom? You have a chance to be as independent as you wish, freedom is not to be abandoned with ease”.
It could be that the words like “freedom”, “independence” were overly addictive, after period of waiting with jitter and desperation, Yu’s devotion finally won Wang’s heart.
April 25th, 1933, Yu Dafu brought his family back from Shanghai to Hangzhou, he started to build their house. The project was completed in the second year of their arrival and it cost all of their savings. Yu name the house “Feng Yu Cottage” hoping that it can be a peaceful shelter that retreats from the world of crowd. By that time, Wang was the hostess of the cottage. With her beauty and her elegant manner Wang soon became a celebrity among the socialites in Hangzhou. The peaceful shelter that Yu had projected was soon turned into a public place where socialites, politicians and celebrities gathered.
Feng Yu Cottage front
Feng Yu Cottage backyard
Like the cracks on a porcelain, an unrepairable rift has appeared between the couple. Being a writer, Yu required a quiet environment, living in a place where people kept coming and socializing had made his mind agitated. Escape seemed to be the only option for him. Not long after they moved into “Feng Yu Cottage” Yu Dafu accepted the offer from Chen Yi, the governor of Fujian province, to be a consultant for Fujian government.
Erupt – Yu Took His Anger out on a Cheongsam
While Yu was away, Wang became relatively closed with one of Yu’s friends Xu Shaoli. Rumors had that they were having an affair.
July 1938, Yu return from the east of Zhejiang province to Wuhan. Wang Jingzhi went visit Yu but caught the couple having a fight over some little things. Unconsciously Yu found 3 letters that came from Xu Shaoli, he mistook them as love letters to Wang, he got so exasperated that he wrote “The remain of the abandoned and remarried ex-wife Wang Yingxia”.
Yu has a personality of a decadent literati with a tendency of hysterics. His work “Poems on the Broken Family” was once popular by the public, the main reason was that Yu unreservedly revealed the privates of his marriage with Wang and his hatred for Wang’s “love affair”. The publish of his work made Wang even more determined about leaving. Thus their 12-year marriage has came to an irrevocable end.
Regret for His Behavior
People don’t appreciate things until they’re gone, so did Yu, he regretted for Wang’s departure, he wrote in a poem:
Although the lost of our child has almost killed us alive,
But still got lovely springs.
There is laughters in the evening though life was not easy.
Children has asked when will mother come back for sure?
When will mother come back? Never!
August 1940, Wang Yingxia left Singapore alone to China. After that, Yu and Wang announced their divorce on the newspapers of Singapore, Hong Kong and Chongqing. The love story between the talent and beauty has drawn to an end.
Feb. 6th, 1999, Wang Yingxia died in Shanghai at her age 92.