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The Chinese legend of the butterfly lovers - Lijun Zhang

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Although only boys were allowed at the Confucius Academy, what Zhu Yingtai wanted was to go to school. She begged her parents to let her attend dressed as a boy and, seeing her determination and clever disguises, they finally agreed— as long as she kept her identity a secret and later returned to the traditional path they’d set for her. Lijun Zhang shares the Chinese myth of the butterfly lovers.

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Meet The Creators

  • Educator Lijun Zhang
  • Director Amir Houshang Moein
  • Narrator Pen-Pen Chen
  • Storyboard Artist Amir Houshang Moein
  • Animator Amir Houshang Moein
  • Compositor Amir Houshang Moein
  • Art Director Amir Houshang Moein
  • Composer Salil Bhayani, cAMP Studio
  • Sound Designer Nirana Singh, cAMP Studio
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Editorial Producer Cella Wright
  • Script Editor Iseult Gillespie
  • See more creators
Additional Resources for you to Explore
The Butterfly Lovers is regarded as one of the four most famous legendries in China. The other three are The Immortal White Snake, Meng Jiangnü Brings Down the Great Wall, and Niüliang and Zhinü (The Double Seventh Festival).

The story is set in the Eastern Jin Dynasty (266-420 AD) in Zhejiang Province of eastern China, though it is still a part of the living culture of contemporary society in various forms. A cultural park with the theme of The Butterfly Lovers is located in Zhejiang’s Ningbo City. The legend is often compared to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. When the Sino-Italian love culture festival was held in the Italian city of Verona, the sister city of Ningbo, in 2008, a marble statue portraying Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai was presented in the square of the Juliet Museum in Verona.

The story has evolved over time, with many different versions throughout history. Check out this book for the versions that have been translated into English. The story has also inspired musical performance, stage drama, TV shows, and films. An early film adaption was made in 1954.

Want to hear more stories? Check out our series: Myths from Around the World.

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Lijun Zhang
  • Director Amir Houshang Moein
  • Narrator Pen-Pen Chen
  • Storyboard Artist Amir Houshang Moein
  • Animator Amir Houshang Moein
  • Compositor Amir Houshang Moein
  • Art Director Amir Houshang Moein
  • Composer Salil Bhayani, cAMP Studio
  • Sound Designer Nirana Singh, cAMP Studio
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Editorial Producer Cella Wright
  • Script Editor Iseult Gillespie
  • See more creators