Asian Antiques Appraisals And Valuations

The Timeless Tale of Sun Wukong, the Monkey King

Let me tell you the incredible story of Sun Wukong, the Monkey King, a legendary character from China’s classic novel, Journey to the West.

The Monkey King was a playful troublemaker who caused chaos even in the heavens. Not even the celestial warriors could subdue him. They sought the help of Lord Lao Zi and the mighty God Erlang Sheng, the best of Heaven’s generals, but all their efforts were in vain. The Monkey King seemed invulnerable. He couldn’t be harmed by knives, axes, lightning, thunder, or fire.

Desperate to control the Monkey King’s unruly behavior, Lord Lao Zi decided to put him into his alchemy furnace and refine him for 49 days. However, instead of being consumed, the Monkey King emerged from the furnace even more powerful. He now possessed a pair of extraordinary eyes that could see what others couldn’t.

The Jade Emperor, ruler of Heaven, perplexed by how to handle the Monkey King, turned to the Buddha for help. The Buddha addressed the mischievous monkey, saying:

“You, naughty monkey, have had no proper training or cultivation. How dare you try to seize the Jade Emperor’s power?”

The Monkey King responded confidently:

“I can transform into 72 different forms, I have the gift of immortality, and I can traverse 18,000 miles in a single somersault using the clouds. Why shouldn’t I be able to claim the Jade Emperor’s power?”

The Buddha decided to make a deal with the Monkey King. He said:

“I’ll make you a deal. If you can somersault out of my right palm, I’ll allow the Jade Emperor to grant you his power. If not, you’ll have to undergo thousands of years of cultivation on Earth.”

The Monkey King, looking at the Buddha’s seemingly small palm, couldn’t help but smirk and asked:

“Are you sure you can handle this?”

The Buddha responded with confidence:


The Monkey King stood in the center of the Tathagata’s right palm, which seemed no larger than a lotus leaf. He somersaulted, and as he moved forward, he encountered five massive pillars. Convinced he had reached the end of Heaven, he left a mark by urinating at the base of the first pillar. Then, using one of his hairs, he transformed it into a brush and wrote on the middle pillar, “The great Sage, as high as Heaven, visited here.”

Upon returning to the center of the Buddha’s right palm, the Monkey King triumphantly exclaimed:

“I’ve left and come back; now you must let the Jade Emperor bestow his power upon me.”

The Buddha calmly responded:

“You foolish monkey, do you realize you never left the palm of my hand?”

Perplexed, the Monkey King retorted:

“You don’t understand. I went to the edge of Heaven and found five red pillars. I even left a mark. Will you dare to come with me and check?”

The Buddha simply advised:

“No need for that. Just look down.”

The Monkey King glanced down and saw, to his astonishment, the words he had written on the Buddha’s right-hand finger: “The great Sage, as high as Heaven, visited here.” He also caught a whiff of the unmistakable smell of urine.

Dumbfounded, the Monkey King said:

“How is this possible? I wrote those words on a pillar that supports Heaven, but now they’re on your finger. I can’t believe it. It’s impossible.”

Realizing his predicament, the Monkey King attempted to escape, but the Buddha flipped his palm, transforming his five fingers into a mountain representing the five elements—gold, wood, water, fire, and soil—imprisoning him beneath it. There, under Wuxing Mountain, the Monkey King would remain captive for five centuries.

Chinese Antique Valuations And Appraisals

Do you own a piece of Chinese porcelain or an oriental work of art that you would like to know more about, such as age, history and value?

Then you should really consider using our Chinese Antique Valuation Service as the last thing you want to do is risk under selling the piece due to lack of knowledge or ill gotten advice.