"You know, I saw the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and I didn't see any tigers or dragons. Then I realized, it's because they're crouching and hidden."

--Steve Martin


The unwieldy title of the film in English* refers to the two main characters of the novel, Lo and Jen. The full name of the bandit, Lo, (played by Chang Chen in the movie) is Luo Xiao Hu. His name means "Little Tiger." The Hidden Dragon is Jen, (Zhang Ziyi)-- her full name, Yu Jiao Long, means "Jade Charming Dragon."

The title is also a Chinese proverb. An old poem that described some rocks looking like tigers and tree roots looking like dragons led to the phrase indicating a situation in which there might be unique or extraordinary people hidden in unexpected places, amidst ordinary people.

"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" is a common expression, which reminds us never to underestimate the mysteries, the potent characters that lie beneath the surface of society.

-Ang Lee

The Tale of Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon was introduced as a 1941 serial for a Qingdao newspaper, later it became the fourth novel in Wang Dulu's Crane - Iron Pentalogy. In the novel, neither Li Mu Bai nor Jen die. They will both appear in the 5th novel, Iron Knight, Silver Vase.
* in Mandarin, it's only four syllables: Wo Hu Cang Long

Sources: Leigh Melton. "CTHD - Title Meaning." 16 December 2000. <alt.asian-movies> (20 June 2001)
<hybang@home.com> "Re: CTHD - Title Meaning." 19 December 2000. <alt.asian-movies> (20 June 2001)
"Crane - Iron Pentalogy - Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - The Novel." 2000. <http://www.monkeypeaches.com/CTHD-F-Novel.html>
"The Novel of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon." <http://www.chinesefortunecalendar.com/Tigerstory.htm> 20 June 2001.
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