NARRATOR: The plate in front of you has a famous design - the Willow Pattern. The legend of the Willow Pattern was invented by English about 200 years ago to promote pottery sales. The story,which takes place in China, begins in the palace on the right.
STORYTELLER: Once there was a wealthy mandarin, who had a beautiful daughter, Koong-Se. She had fallen in love with Chang, a humble accountant, and this made her father cruel with anger. He dismissed the young man and built a high fence around his house to keep the lovers apart.
NARRATOR: You can see the fence at the bottom of the plate.
STORYTELLER: The Mandarin was planning for his daughter to marry a powerful duke. Arrangements went ahead and the duke arrived by boat to claim his bride, bearing a box of jewels as a gift. The wedding was to take place on the day the blossom fell from the willow tree.
NARRATOR: You can see his boat to the left of the willow tree.
STORYTELLER: Chang, however, was not deterred. On the eve of Koong-Se's wedding to the duke, a mysterious figure disguised as a servant slipped into the palace unnoticed. It was Chang. As the lovers escaped, the alarm was raised.
NARRATOR: They ran over the bridge you can see at the bottom of the design. First is Koong-Se, then comes Chang carrying the box of jewels. Then comes the Mandarin giving chase, whip in hand. They eventually escaped to the safety of the secluded island at the top left of the plate, where they lived happily for years.
STORYTELLER: But one day the Duke learnt of their refuge. Still hungry for revenge he sent soldiers, who captured Chang and Koong-Se and put them to death. The Gods, moved by their plight, transformed the lovers into a pair of doves…
NARRATOR: … doves which you can see flying through the sky at the top of this Willow Pattern plate.
Click here to read the real story