Friday, September 19, 2008

Rituals of Zhou

The Rituals of Zhou contains a "Record of Trades" with important information on architecture and city planning in Ancient China. A passage records that 'The master craftsman constructs the state capital. He makes a square nine li on one side; each side has three gates. Within the capital are nine north-south and nine east-west streets. The north-south streets are nine carriage tracks in width'.

Renditions A Chinese-English Translation Magazine

Renditions , published by the Research Centre for Translation at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, is the leading international journal of Chinese literature in English translation. First published in 1973, its issues cover over 2000 years of Chinese literature, from classical works of poetry, prose and fiction to their contemporary counterparts, as well as articles on art, Chinese studies and translation studies.


''Renditions'' was founded by Chinese American translator George Kao who was a visiting senior fellow at RCT and who contributed a number of translations to the journal himself. It was launched in 1973, at a time when Hong Kong witnessed an emerging cultural consciousness that demanded recognition for the population’s Chinese roots. Hitherto English was the only official language in Hong Kong, and it was not until 1974 that the Chinese language was finally given an official status comparable to English. Many in Hong Kong felt the need to strengthen the position of Chinese language and culture. At the same time Chinese people outside of the People’s Republic of China were concerned about the destruction of Chinese culture resulting from the Cultural Revolution . Hence in multicultural Hong Kong, a haven from the frenzy of the Chinese mainland, there developed a keen sense of mission: to preserve and record China’s traditional and modern culture on the one hand, and to broaden its reach in the English-speaking world on the other. ''Renditions'' was created in this climate.

Miscellaneous and special issues

''Renditions'' is published twice a year, in May and in November. From its inception, ''Renditions'' has always published a wide variety of works in modern and traditional literature by famous authors and introducing lesser known ones. A mixture of miscellaneous and special issues offers depth and variety, making ''Renditions'' a continuing literary anthology. Special issues include one on women's writing , by writers from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong; the first anthology of Hong Kong literature in any language , which shows that cultural life in Hong Kong is alive and well; Chinese Impressions of the West , which presents the experience and observations of those who journeyed to the West in the 19th century, as well as the impressions and opinions of those who had never been outside China; and poems, plays, stories and paintings about Wang Zhaojun , a Han court lady and celebrated beauty who married a Xiongnu Chieftan in 33 BC, revealing a broad spectrum of Chinese cultural attitudes and perceptions of women from the 3rd to the 20th century.

Editorial team and contributors

The RCT's expert staff closely supervise every stage in the selection, editorial and production processes, a unique feature of ''Renditions'' among publishers of translations of Chinese literature which makes it one of the most respected journals in its field. The world’s leading translators and sinologists are represented on its editorial and advisory boards and are among its regular contributors. ''Renditions'' materials are used in the classroom, reprinted in anthologies and selected for public readings and performances in English speaking countries.The journal also has a general readership which finds translations from the Chinese a source of pleasure and mental stimulation.

Other publications

Included under the ''Renditions'' umbrella are other publications: a hard-cover and a paperback series. The hard-cover series was introduced in 1976, primarily for the library market in recognition of a core readership in the discipline of Chinese Studies in English-speaking countries. A paperback series was launched in 1986 to make high quality translations available to a wider market. This series, with an emphasis on contemporary writers, is often used as classroom material by teachers of Chinese and Asian survey courses in the West and also attracts a general readership. A special product introduced in 2002 is the ''Renditions'' Personal Digital Assistant series, sold directly on-line, featuring poetry selections and city stories especially chosen for readers interested in China or travelling to Asia. Out-of-print issues of ''Renditions'' journal and titles from the Renditions paperback series are available on CD-ROM.

Online database

An online database indexing all translations published in ''Renditions'' and the paperback and hard-cover series appears on the ''Renditions'' website. Searchable by author, translator, keyword and genre, the database is a valuable research tool as well as a guide to readers, teachers and students on translations of Chinese literature into English. Since January 2007, the database also includes Chinese characters for titles and authors of all listed works.

Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong

Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong , better known in the as The Little Red Book, was published by the Government of the People's Republic of China since April 1964 until approximately 1976. As its title implies, it is a collection of quotations excerpted from Mao Zedong's past speeches and publications. The book's alternative title ''The Little Red Book'' was coined by the West for its pocket-sized edition, which was specifically printed and sold to facilitate easy carrying. The closest equivalent in Chinese is 红宝书 , literally "The Red Treasured Book", which was a term popular during the Cultural Revolution. "Little Red Book" in Chinese would be 小红书 .

Possibly the most printed book in history, ''Quotations'' had an estimated 5 to 6.5 billion copies printed during Mao's attempt to transform Chinese society. The book's phenomenal popularity may be due to the fact that it was essentially an unofficial requirement for every Chinese citizen to own, to read, and to carry it at all times during the later half of Mao's rule, especially during the Cultural Revolution. At the height of the period, for people out of favor with the Communist party, the punishment for failing to produce the book upon demand ranged from being beaten on the spot by to being given years of hard-labor imprisonment.

During the Cultural Revolution, studying the book was not only required in schools but was also a standard practice in the workplace as well. All units, in the industrial, commercial, agricultural, civil service, and military sectors, organized group sessions for the entire workforce to study the book during working hours. Quotes from Mao were either bold-faced or highlighted in red, and almost all writing, including scientific essays, had to quote Mao.

To defend against the theory that it would be counter-productive, it was argued that understanding Mao's quotes could definitely bring about enlightenment to the work unit, resulting in production improvement to offset the time lost.

During the 1960s, the book was the single most visible icon in mainland China, even more visible than the image of the Chairman himself. In posters and pictures created by CPC's propaganda artists, nearly every painted character, except Mao himself, either smiling or looking determined, was always seen with a copy of the book in his or her hand.

After the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976 and the rise of Deng Xiaoping in 1978, the importance of the book waned considerably, and the glorification of Mao's quotations was considered to be and a cult of personality.

Mao's quotations are categorized into 33 chapters in the book. Its topics mainly deal with Mao's ideology, known in the West as Maoism and officially as "Mao Zedong Thought."

Content and format

''Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong'' comprises 427 quotations, divided thematically into 33 chapters. The quotations range in length from a sentence to a few short paragraphs, and borrow heavily from a group of about two dozen documents in the four volumes of Mao's ''Selected Works''. In the book's latter half, a strong empiricist tendency evidences itself in Mao's thought. Usually the quotations are arranged logically, to deal with one to three themes in the development of a chapter. The table below summarizes the book. Please note that the summaries represent what Mao is claiming or writing in each chapter.

Parodies and homages

The popularity of the red book has inspired any number of parodies and imitations. Many are either tongue-in-cheek borrowing of the format by supporters of the person being quoted, others are collecting embarrassing quotes from a political enemy. Some of these include:

*''Quotations from Chairman Bill'', 1970
*''Quotations from Chairman LBJ'', 1968
*''Quotations from President Ron'', 1984
*''Quotations from Speaker Newt: The Little Red, White and Blue Book of the Republican Revolution'', 1994
*''The Little White Book'', by Ben Klassen
*''Monty Python's Big Red Book''
*''The Green Book'', by Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi
*''The Little Red Schoolbook'', by Soren Hansen and Jesper Jensen of Denmark, 1969
*'''', 1972, a record album by progressive rock group Matching Mole
*''Little Red Book of Selling'', by Jeffrey Gitomer
*''Little Red Book of Sales Answers'', by Jeffrey Gitomer

Qiao Ji

Qiao Ji also known as Qiao Jifu was a major dramatist and poet of his day. He was originally from Taiyuan in Shanxi, but lived in the West Lake area in Zhejiang province. His courtesy name was Mengfu and his pen name was Shenghao Weng . Qiao was said to have maintained an aloof and intimidating demeanor, to the point he frightened people away, according to the ''Record of Ghosts'' , of his many plays eleven are still extant.

Both his plays ''Jinqian Ji'' and ''Yangzhou Meng'' reached the pinnacle of notoriety in his day and are still celebrated. His extant ''sanqu'' lyric poetry are also numerous. There are 209 ''xiaoling'' lyrics exist as well as 11 ''taoshu'' suites. All were collected into the ''Complete Sanqu Poems''. In addition his collected works, ''Qiao Ji Ji'', appeared in 1986. An object of the poet's lyrics was a combination of literary elegance and the language of the street. The poet insisted on what was his "six character prescription" which he explained as a lyric poem with a "phoenix head, pig's belly and a leopard tail." The poet tells us that he “wandered for forty years.” He traveled around many of the central and southern areas of China. Qiao's influence on later drama was considerable.


Enjoying Leisure

I refine autumn mists in my alchemist stove

And heat pure snow in my tea boiler.

Blossoms fall and waters swirl by my thatch hut,

Like the spring breeze in places long lost.

Call a woodcutter, tip the gourd and drink the dregs of cloud-pale grog.

Lean against a screen, I’m a saint drunk on dew on a pure bed of cold stone.

Hanging on a vine

A wild gibbon talks to the moon, bright through my pale papered window.

This old one awakens from his sleep.

Expressing my sorrow on a winter day

Winter and Cold,

The time of snow.

Who will be the withered plum’s companion?

A fisherman’s skiff

Is moored by an islet;

His coat of green reeds cannot keep out the wind and frost.

A fish takes the barb of his hook.


Blows his hair thin;


Chaps and cracks his hands.


Never counted among the dragons,

Never entered the lists of greats.

Always the wine sage,

Everywhere the verse seer.

A graduate of mists,

A drunken saint of river and lake.

Jokes and laughs were my official career;

Got stuck.

Wrote notes for forty years instead

On the mad and crazy wind and moon.


In the hills among trees,

Hut of thatch secluded and fine.

Faded green pines, bright green of bamboos

Fit for a painting;

Three or four homes near the misty village.

The soaring dream pursued falling flowers,

For the taste of the world was like a chewed candle.

This man need only bear his own whitened head,

Not follow the monkey of his mind.

I plant my melons,

Pick my tea,

Smelt cinnabar in the alchemist stove;

Read a chapter of the Way and Power,

Talk a while the chat of a fisherman.

At leisure enclosed in my groves and fences;

Lie down drunk beneath a bottle-gourd trellis,

Just pure and unmoved, just me!

Prime Tortoise of the Record Bureau

The Prime Tortoise of the Record Bureau was the largest encyclopedia compiled during the Chinese Song Dynasty . It was the last of the ''Four Great Books of Song'', the previous three encyclopedias published in the 10th century.

The encyclopedia was originally named ''Narrative of Monarchs and Officials in the Past Dynasties'' but was later renamed to ''Yuangui'', meaning the oracle tortoise shells, and ''Cefu'', the imperial's storehouse of literature. The work started from 1005 and finished in 1013 by Wang Qinruo and a numerous of scholars. It was among one of the four books that was divided up in to 1,000 volumes, but was almost twice as large as the Imperial Readings of the Taiping Era and was ranked second in the Siku Quanshu collections. It consisted of about 9.4 million words , which included many political essays, autobiographies of rulers and subjects, memorials and decrees.

Mao Dun Literature Prize

Mao Dun Literature Prize is a prize for novels sponsored by Chinese Writers Association. It is one of most honorable literature prizes in China. It was first awarded in 1982.


The prize was created by the will of Mao Dun, a prominent Chinese writer in 20's century. The purpose was to encourage novel writings. Mao Dun personally donated 250,000 yuan RMB.

Selection rule

According to selection rule, any works, authored by Chinese nationals, published in mainland China, and with over 130,000 characters are all eligible.

The selection committee in Chinese Writers Association holds voting twice, and the winner must receive over 2/3 votes. The process is highly selective, and every time the number of winners is between 3 to 5. The prize was initially awarded once every three years. Later, it changed to once every four years.

Past winners and their works

* First time, 1982
** Wei Wei ''"Orient"''
** Zhou Keqin ''"Xu Mao and His Daughters"''
** Yao Xueyin ''"Li Zicheng"''
** Mo Yingfeng ''"General's Chant"''
** Li Guowen ''"Spring in Winter"''
** Gu Hua ''"Lotus Town"''

* Second time, 1985
** ''"Leaden Wings"''
** Liu Xinwu ''"Bell and Drum Tower"''
** Li Zhun ''"Yellow River Flowing to East"''

* Third time, 1988
** Lu Yao ''"Ordinary World"''
** Ling Li ''"Young Emperor"''
** Sun Li, Yu Xiaohui ''"Rhapsody of Metropolis"''
** Liu Baiyu ''"The Second Sun"''
** Huo Da ''"The Funeral of Muslim"''
** Honorable Prize
*** Xiao Ke ''"Bloody Heaven"''
*** Xu Xingya ''"Broken Golden Bowl"''

* Fourth time, 1998
** Chen Zhongshi ''"White Deer Field"''
** Wang Huo ''"War and People"''
** Liu Sifen ''"White Gate Willow"''
** Liu Yumin ''"Unsettled Autumn"''

* Fifth time, 2000
** ''"After the Dust Settled"''
** Wang Anyi ''"The Everlasting Regret"''
** Zhang Ping ''"Decision"''
** Wang Xufeng ''"Three Episodes of Tea-man"''

* Sixth time, April 11, 2005
** Xiong Zhaozheng ''"Zhang Juzheng"''
** ''"Wordless"''
** Xu Guixiang ''"Heaven of History"''
** Liu Jianwei ''"Heroic Time"''
** Zong Pu ''"Lead-in of Wild Gourd"''

Lu Xun literary arts bonus

The Lu Xun literary arts bonus is a prize of the Chinese Writers' Association . Its intent is to encourage the writing of short to medium-length novels, poems, prose, and works in the fields of literary theory and literary criticism.