|When the Imperialists entered the walled city after the Small Dagger Society (or Small Sword Society1) escaped, they set fire to much of the walled city and Yu Yuan. Spring Hall, Fragrant Snow Hall, the Cassiabarktree Reception Room, and several others were all committed to flames. The Imperialists also executed many of the city dwellers as they swept through. Though few died during the occupation, hundreds died after it ended.
It's rather hard on the people of an occupied city. When one force occupies the city, they loot it for treasure and when the other side overcomes the first, they loot the city for any remaining treasure and then burn it down.
On the wall is a painting by Rèn Bónián (任伯年) called "观剑图" (Guānjiàntú) "Examining the Sword" or "Inspecting the Sword" in honor of the Small Dagger Society. Two men sit beneath the trees examining a partially unsheathed sword, while a third, also wearing a sword, looks into the distance. It is flanked by a couplet written by Shen Yimo (沈尹默 , Shěn Yīmò), also in honor of the Small Dagger Society: "胆量包空廓，心源留粹精" which means "Bravery is limitless, Desire remains pure of spirit."
1I chose to refer to the Society as the Small Dagger Society rather than the Small Sword Society because the excerpt I included in this account did so. Many modern English language history books now use the translations "Small Sword Society" and "Small Swords Society."
China Index >> History of Shanghai and Suzhou Region >> Yu Yuan
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Last update: February 2007
© Marilyn Shea 1996, 1999, 2002, 2007