The White Deer Plain

The White Deer Plain (白鹿原) is a Chinese TV drama narrating the history of an old village on the conservative Yellow Plateau in Shaanxi Province, the home to First Emperor Qin’s terracotta warriors.

The man standing at the door to the main living/bedroom is played by He Bing (何冰), one of China’s best actors who won last year’s major Chinese TV prize The Magnolia Award for his role in the drama.

His portrait of a Chinese peasant with a complicated personality is utterly convincing – being mean to his neighbours but loving his family unconditionally.

Other actors and actresses in the cast with an outstanding performance in the drama include Qin Hailu as village head’s wife, Zhang Jiayi as village head, Ji Ta as the suppressed peasant rebel, Li Hongtao as a live-in peasant worker and servant, Liu Peiqi as an old scholar, Li Qin as a disgraced village woman, as well as Chai Tianlin, Wang Xiao, Deng Lun as the village’s young generation.

The major bug is the village head’s daughter, the leading female character in the drama. The character portrayed by the original author in the book seems to be purposefully designed to discredit a certain political force that in reality has brought China from a failed state under foreign occupation to an independent and united modern nation, while the actress’s rather comical interpretation of the role makes even harder for the audience to appreciate the heroic and tremendous contributions made by the members of that political movement.

A Chinese courtyard of Yellow Plateau style in cold and dry Shaanxi Province.

The crops grown in the Yellow Plateau region are mainly wheat and corns, so the locals’ daily meals were (may still are) predominately featured with hand stretched noodle heavily spiced with hot oil and chilli.

Biang Biang Mian – Shaanxi-style hand stretched noodle spiced with hot chilli oil as shown in the White Deer Plain.

The Chinese word on the left in the picture above is specially designated for this noodle, pronounced as be-young, which is believed to be the character with most strokes in the Chinese scripts.

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