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The QiXi Story

Once upon a time, there was a celestial princess and a lowly cowherd…


This is the story of Niulang and Zhinu – the cowherd and the celestial princess, whose forbidden love caused the creation of the Milky Way, as told by the Chinese Fine Arts Society in a specially created performance.

Act 1: The Heavenly Court
The Jade Emperor and Empress preside over tehe heavenly court when the Seven Sisters arrive. Zhinu, the youngest and most talented, weaves the clouds and rainbows of the skies. The Jade Emperor sends off the Sisters to play, then to Earth to bathe.

Act II: The Love Story
At the sacred bathing pond, Niulang, the cowherd, sets eyes on Zhinu and is immediately entranced, stealing her wings so she cannot leave. When the Seven Sisters depart without her, Niulang comes out of hiding and the two fall in love.

Act III: the Separation
Living happily with two children, Niulang and Zhinu enjoy their time on earth. Zhinu’s heavenly absence, however, results in skies no longer beautiful, invoking the anger of the Jade Empress, who sends the soldiers to retrieve her. When Niulang tries to follow, the Empress creates the Milky Way, separating the lovers forever.

Act IV: Reunion
Heartbroken, Zhinu weeps, causing torrents of rain on Earth. Moved to sympathy, the Jade Emperor decrees that the lovers may reuntie once a year. the Heavenly Court rejoices, and all the world’s magpies fly together to form a bridge over the Milky Way. Niulang and Zhinu are joyfully reunited, but only briefly, until next year, when the magpie bridge will form once again.

Bring back the QiXi story
The Chinese Fine Arts Society is working to restage the classic QiXi love story in 2019. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today to support our work. 


By the cool autumn picturesque screen, a silver candle is flaring
A delicate silk fan strikes the lightening bugs flying.
The night scenery in the courtyard is cool as water.
Watch the Cowherd and Weaver Fairy stars shining.
– excerpt from a classic QiXi poem