The Deer and the Cauldron
The Deer and the Cauldron (鹿鼎记) or The Duke of Mount Deer is a Wuxia novel by Louis Cha. It is also the last of Cha's Wuxia works.
The novel is initially published as a serial, the first installment published on October 24, 1969 in Ming Pao and ran for 2 years and 11 months until September 23, 1972.
The novel's title
The choice of the novel's title, which literally means Tale of the Deer and the Cauldron, is alluded to in a section in the first chapter, in which a scholar has a conversation with his son.
The scholar recounts that both the deer and the cauldron serve as metaphors for the Central Plains and the empire.
It is written in volume 92 of the historical text Book of Han "The deer lost by Qin was hunted by all under Heavens (《史记•卷九十二》：“秦失其鹿，天下共逐之。” ), an illustration of the rise of numerous rivalling warlords contesting for supremacy to capture the prize, the empire lost by Qin.
During the Zhou Dynasty, there were the Nine Cauldrons, symbolic of the Divine Mandate of rulership. Zuo Zhuan recorded an account where the ruler of the most powerful State of Chu enquired the weight of the cauldron from a Zhou minister. This sent a clear signal that he was coveting the rulership of the Empire technically possessed by the King of Zhou.
The title refers to the novel's background where the Han Chinese subjects of the fallen Ming Dynasty struggle to restore their former empire by opposing the nascent Manchu-ruled Qing Dynasty.