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Wuxia stories have existed for centuries. Water Margin by Shi Nai’an from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 CE) is often regarded as the first full-length wuxia novel. Others including The Seven Heroes and Five Gallants and The Five Younger Gallants were published in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911 CE). Many wuxia stories published during the Ming and Qing dynasties. These are considered the ancient wuxia stories.
Modern wuxia genre proliferated between 1920s and 1930s after the May Fourth Movement of 1919. These emphasised personal freedom and rejected Confucian traditions. The novels published between this period are considered old school wuxia.
Between the 1950s and 1980s, the genre took a different turn with authors choosing to move away from the themes of old school wuxia. These novels are referred to as new school wuxia and form the core of what represents wuxia today.
Three authors are regarded as the pillars of the new school wuxia genre and are referred to as the Three Xiake1侠客 – xiákè. A person who engages in chivalrous acts. of Wuxia.
The Three Xiake of Wuxia
- Martial arts
- Martial arts
- Shaolin Order
- Beggars’ Guild
- Wudang Order
- Xiao Feng
- Duan Yu
- 18 Palms of Subduing Dragon
- Spirit Blade of Six Meridians
- Yijin Jing
- 1侠客 – xiákè. A person who engages in chivalrous acts.