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.

List of Chinese hymn books

A List of Chinese Christian Hymn Books published between 1807-1912.

Compiled by Rev. Donald MacGillivray , D.D., a Protestant Christian missionary in Shanghai with the Canadian Presbyterian Mission in 1911.

* 1. ''Hymn-book.'' 27 leaves, 1818, by Dr. . This contains a short preface and thirty Hymns, being, in general, prose translations of Psalms, and Hymns commonly used among Christians, which were turned into verse by his Chinese assistants.

* 2. ''Hymn-book.'' 46 leaves. Jakarta. Lithography. By Dr. Walter Henry Medhurst. This is a translation of 71 Hymns, chiefly from John Rippon and Isaac Watts, with one from the Gluey collection. After a thorough revision, this was republished at Shanghai, in 77 leaves, 1856.

* 3. ''New Hymn Book'', 10 leaves, by , Xiamen, 1852. This is a collection of 13 hymns in the Min Nan dialect.

* 4. ''Prayers and Hymns'', pp. 22, Bangkok, 1840, by Dr. Dean. This is on European paper, printed on both sides; neither the leaves nor the pages numbered, and no running title. It commences with a short form of prayer for public use, then a private prayer, and the , after which are two general forms of prayer. This is followed by 82 hymns, having the time for each marked in Roman characters.

* 5. ''New Hymn-Book''. 59 leaves. Xiamen, 1857, by Mr. Alexander Stronach. The first 13 hymns in this book, which is in the Min Nan dialect, are the collection by Mr. Young ; 35 others are from the Presbyterian hymn book, slightly modified; and the remaining 37 are by Mr. Stronach, the compiler.

* 6. ''Hymns of Praise''. 16 leaves. Ningbo, 1851. By Dr. Divie Bethune McCartee. This is a collection, chiefly translations, of 23 hymns and a doxology. It was reprinted at Fuzhou.

* 7. ''Hymn-Book''. 61 leaves, Hong Kong, 1851. By Rev. Rudolph Lechler. This is divided into two parts, the first of which in 22 leaves, contains 55 hymns and 7 , being a selection from James Legge’s hymn book.

* 8. ''Hymns and Tunes''. 13 leaves. Ningbo, 1856. By Rev. Edward Clemens Lord. In this the Chinese and Roman characters are combined.

* 9. ''Hymn Book in the Amoy dialect'', pp. 26. Xiamen, 1859. By Rev. John Van Nest Talmage. This is a collection of 25 hymns, printed in the Roman character, of which the first 13 are merely a transliteration of Mr. Young’s book. Of the remainder, some were composed by the Rev. Carstairs Douglas.

* 10. ''Hymns of Praise''. 38 leaves. Shanghai, 1858. By Rev. William Muirhead. This is a collection of 100 hymns in the Shanghai dialect, prefaced by a statement of thirty principal doctrines of the Christian religion, with an elaborate detail of pertinent Scripture texts under each. A subsequent edition was published in 55 leaves.

* 11. ''Salvation Hymns''. 39 leaves. Shanghai, 1861. By Rev. William Muirhead. This is a collection of 69 hymns.

* 12. ''Hymn Book''. 30 leaves. Xiamen. By Rev. William Chalmers Burns. This is a collection of 64 hymns and 4 doxologies, with table of contents; the greater part are from Dr. Legge’s hymn book, with slight modification ; of about a dozen additional, two or three are entirely new, the remainder being founded on hymns in Dr. Walter Henry Medhurst’s Hymn Book, but entirely remodeled. Mr. Young’s Hymn Book is bound up with it as an appendix.

* 13. ''Hymns in the Chaon-chow dialect''. 21 leaves. Shantou, 1861. By Rev. William C. Burns. This is a collection of 29 hymns in the dialect of the people at Shantou and the surrounding region.

* 14. ''Hymns in the Fuh-chow Dialect'', 25 leaves. Fuzhou, 1861. By Rev. William C. Burns. A collection of 30 hymns and 3 doxologies, with table of contents and doxology appended; besides two hymns on the back of the title-page, on the "Sufferings of Christ," and "Observance of the ."

* 15. ''Hymns in the Amoy Dialect'', Xiamen, 1862. By Rev. William C. Burns. This is a collection of 20 hymns, four or five of which are new, the remainder having been previously published in the Shantou and Fuzhou dialects,

* 16. ''Hymns in the Fuh-chow Dialect''. 53 leaves. Fuzhou, 1865. By Dr. Robert Samuel Maclay. Thirty-three of these were originally published by Mr. Burns; thirteen of those following are by Dr. Maclay and six by the Rev. Charles Hartwell, the remaining twenty-nine being translated by Dr. Maclay from Dr. Legge’s book. There is a preface and table of contents.

* 17. ''Hymn Book''. Beijing. By Rev. Joseph Edkins, B.A. A collection of 81 hymns.

* 18. ''Hymn Book''. pp. 155. Ningbo, 1860. By Rev. Henry Van Vleck Rankin. This is a translation, selection, and compilation of 166 hymns in the Ningbo dialect, printed in the Roman character; a large number being taken from a hymn book printed in 1857 by , in 122 pages, containing 111 hymns, by various Ningbo missionaries. The measure and the subject is given at the head of each hymn. At the end there is an alphabetical index, and an index of subjects, followed by 9 doxologies.

* 19. ''Hymn book''. pp. 32. Ningpo, 1S55. By Rev. Samuel Newell D. Martin. This is in the Ningbo dialect, printed in the "Roman character".

* 20. ''Psalms'', pp. 72. Ningpo, 1857. By Rev. William Alexander Parsons Martin. This is a selection of the Psalms of David, translated into the Ningbo dialect, and printed in the "Roman character".

* 21. ''Hymns of Praise''. 20 leaves. Guangzou. 1803. By Rev. George Piercy. There are altogether 34 hymns in this collection, with the measure marked to each.

* 22. ''Hymn Book''. Shanghai, 1855. By Rev. Tarleton Perry Crawford. This is in the Shanghai dialect.

* 23. ''Hymn Book''. 60 leaves. Guangzhou, 1800. By Rev. John Chalmers, A .M. This contains nearly the whole of Dr. Legge’s Hymn book, set to music according to the European notation. There are 81 hymns and 7 doxologies.

* 24. ''Hymn Book''. 25 leaves. Shanghai, 1800. By Rev. A. B. Cabaniss. This is a compilation of 21 hymns and 3 doxologies.

* 25. ''Hymn Book''. 87 leaves. Shanghai, 1802. By Rev. John Livingstone Nevius. This is a version in the Mandarin dialect, of 100 hymns from Mr. Rankin’s hymn book, and 10 doxologies. They are for the most part translations of favorite English hymns. There is a preface by a native scholar, and a table of contents. A second edition carefully revised, with 24 hymns added from other sources, was published at Shanghai in 1805, in 111 leaves. There is a preface to this edition by Mr. John Livingstone Nevius, in addition to the other.

* 26. ''Hymns of Praise''. 74 leaves. Shanghai, 1861. By Rev. James William Lambuth. This is a collection of 100 hymns translated into the Shanghai dialect. The measure is marked to each in Roman letters.

* 27. ''Hymn Book''. 30 leaves. By Rev. Griffith John. This is a collection of 50 hymns. 1876 edition, with 200 hymns.

* 28. ''Chang-chow and Tsenen-chow Hymns''. 39 leaves. Xiamen, 1862. By Rev. Carstairs Douglas. This is in the Min Nan dialect used in the Xiamen region. The first 25 hymns are an edition of Mr. Talmage’s hymn book in the Chinese character. The remainder are by Mr. Douglas the compiler, and other members of the English Presbyterian Mission.

* 29. ''Hymns set to music'', pp. x 80. Ningbo, 1858. By Rev. Elias B. Inslee. In this the music is printed in the European form, and the hymns interlined, first in the Chinese character, the two lower lines being a translation of the same into the Ningbo dialect, printed in the Roman character. The first page contains a short advertisement; next follow, a table of contents, a table of metres, with alphabetical index and five pages of instructions, all in the Ningbo dialect and Roman character. The last five leaves contain the counterpart in the Chinese character, with another table in the Roman.

* 30. ''Hymn Book''. 42 leaves. Beijing, 1864. By Rev. William C. Burns. 1862. A collection of 54 hymns, with table of contents.

* 31. ''Gospel Hymns. Mandarin''. By Rev. J. W. Davis, D.D. 121 Hymns with annotations, specially for enquirers.

* 32. ''Hymns of revival, with music''. By Miss Dora Yu, Shanghai. Mandarin. 110 Gospel Hymns.

* 33. ''Metrical Paraphrase of the Psalms''. By Rev. Frederick W. Baller. Mandarin. 158 pages.

* 34. ''Hymn book, Mandarin''. . Revised and enlarged edition, 1893. I66 leaves.

* 35. ''Hymn Book, Mandarin With two English Indexes''. Foreign Paper. 315 Hymns. By J. Blodget, D.D. Blodget and Goodrich Hymnal, 1910. new edition, 5 styles.

* 36. ''Hymn Book'', Mandarin Foreign Paper. Cloth cover, with English Index. By Rev. Jonathan Lees, Tianjin 429 Hymns. , 1891.

* 37. ''Memorial Hymn book with Music''. White paper 183 leaves. By Rev. A. Woodruff.

* 38. ''Shanghai Hymn Book'', 132 hymns, by William Muirhead, D.D. 1888.

* 39. ''Union Hymn Book'', Shanghai Dialect. 117 leaves.

* 40. ''Ningpo Hymn Book''. 183 leaves.

* 41. ''Kiang-nan Hymn Book''. Index. 199 Leaves.

* 42. ''Gospel Hymns'', 210 in number, 9 different styles. China Baptist Publication Society, Guangzhou.

* 43. ''Union Hymn Book'', in 11 styles. Central China Religious Tract Society.

* 44. ''Children s Hymnal'', by F. W. Baller, China Inland Mission and Miss Garland.

* 45. ''Hymns of Praise'' by English Baptist Missionary Society, Shandong. Including over 200 tunes specially composed for the Chinese church. Tonic Solfa Edition in preparation. 1910.

* 46. ''Hymn Book of of America.''

* 47. ''Evangelistic Hymns'', by P. F. Price, D.D.

* 48. ''Shansi China Inland Mission Hymnal'' 1901

* 49. ''Southern Baptist Hymnal'', Shandong. 1902

* 50. ''Crawford Hymnal'', Shandong. 1809

* 51. ''German Mission Hymnal'', Shandong. 1901

* 52. ''Kiangnan Union Hymnal''. 1809

* 53. ''Ningpo Hymnal''. 1910

* 54. ''Church Missionary Society Hymnal'', Bishop Moule. 1893

* 55. ''Church Missionary Society Hymnal Companion''. 1888

* 56. ''American Church Hymnal''. 1893

* 57. ''Blandford’s Kiangsi Hymnal''. 1895 & 1902

* 58. ''Harry Price’s Kiangsi Hymnal''. 1909

* 59. ''China Inland Mission Hymnal''. 1895

* 60. ''Peking Union Hymnal'', . 1905

* 61. ''Canton Basel Hymnal''. 1884

* 62. ''Hankow Wesleyan Hymnal'', 1875

Lessons for Women

Lessons for Women is a work by the Han Dynasty female intellectual Ban Zhao.


Lessons for Women outlines the four virtues a woman must abide by, proper virtue, proper speech, proper countenance, and proper conduct. The book itself describes the status and position of women in society. It is a small book and many women had the sections memorized. The book contains only 7 chapters as outlined below. Most are relatively obvious from their titles.


Chapter Pinyin Translation Subject
1 卑弱 Beiruo
Humility defined the relative natural positions between the male and female sexes. Accordingly, the female was deemed to be the more diminutive of the two and naturally, the more humble.
2 夫妇 Fufu
Husband and Wife
The sole role of a woman as a wife was to serve her husband.
3 敬慎 Jingshen
Respect and Caution
As defined by the yin and yang duality, in yang whereas in yin , husband and wife should mutually respect each other.
4 妇行 Fuxing
Womanly Qualifications
Simply the qualifications deemed necessary for the ideal woman whether in her virtue, her type of work, or the words she
5 专心 Zhuanxin
Whole-hearted Devotion
This was usually depicted by the woman's devotion to the husband. For example, if the husband were to die, there would be no re-marriage for the widow. This was deemed to be the most virtuous task
in later dynasties.
6 曲从 Qucong
Implicit Obedience
A section that is dedicated to obedience towards the mother and father in law.
7 叔妹 Shumei
Harmony Between Younger In-laws

Precepts for Women

Ban Zhao also wrote on the four desired "Precepts for Women" which were intended to guide women in society. These precepts were ■ womanly virtue, womanly speech, womanly manner and womanly merit.

Legend of the White Snake

Legend of the White Snake is a Chinese legend, which existed as oral traditions before any written compilation. It has since become a major subject of several Chinese , films and TV series.

The earliest attempt to fictionalize the story appears to be "Madame White Snake Jailed Eternally in the Leifeng Pagoda" in ''Jing Shi Tong Yan'' by Feng Menglong during the Ming Dynasty.

Basic story

At its most basic, the story tells of a young scholar who falls in love with a beautiful woman, unaware that she is a white snake who has taken on human form. A monk intervenes in order to save the scholar's soul and casts the white snake into a deep well at the Leifeng Pagoda.

Over the centuries the story has evolved from horror story to romance with the scholar and the white snake-woman genuinely in love with one another, but such a relationship is forbidden by the laws of Heaven. There have also been variations on the telling of the story: like the scholar adopting the white snake as a pet while still a schoolboy; or himself being banished from Heaven and becoming a mere human on Earth.

An added character is a green snake who has also been turned into a woman and serves as the white snake-woman's soul sister and confidante.


The story is set in the Southern Song Dynasty.

A female white snake demon, Bai SuZhen, dreams of becoming a goddess, so she takes on human form and goes to the human realm. There she meets a green snake demon, Xiao Qing, who causes disasters in the area she lives. Bai SuZhen holds her captive at the bottom of a lake, though she promises the green snake that she'll come back in three hundred years to free her.

After three hundred years she keeps her promise and frees her. They bond as sisters. Then they meet a sorcerer called FaHai who believes that every demon should be eliminated. But FaHai also knows that Bai SuZhen is already in the process of becoming a goddess. He can't eliminate her immediately so he vows that he will if he sees them again.

Bai and Qing rested in a half world called Ban Bu Duo where they try to do good things by bringing rain to a places that hasn't had any water for three years. But Qing caused a great disaster which almost flooded the whole town! Bai, sadly, loses her chance of becoming a goddess, but Guan Yin informs her that she may have another opportunity.

However Bai and Qing have accidentally brought a scholar Xu Xian and his friend to the demon world. Bai has to protect them from the demons. After the battle with the Leader of the underworld, Xu Xian confesses his feelings for Bai, claiming that from the first time he saw her it was like love at first sight. But in order for a human to go back to the human world they have to be knocked by ghosts who will make them forget everything. Xu Xian knows about this so he avoids getting knocked and is about to go into the other realm when FaHai tricks him into being knocked.

Now Xu Xian is back into the human world but has forgotten everything. Since he and his friend went through the portal separately they land in separate places. There Xu Xian meets many new people.

Soon after Bai takes the final step to becoming a goddess which is to collect human tears. Bai sees Xu Xian with another girl and assumes that they are a couple. The former green snake, Xiao Qing, figures that Xu Xian got knocked by the ghosts, but also realises that when Xu Xian and Bai meet, Xu Xian will again fall in love with Bai. They got married, opened a medicine shop and lived happily.

But since demons and humans aren't supposed to marry, the town was struck by a plague and it was soon on the verge of becoming extinct. Bai, Qing and FaHai finally agreed to a truce and obtained the magical herb needed to help the population.

Later Bai gets pregnant, but Fahai continues to try to eliminate her and Qing.

On the fifth day of the fifth month, the Dragon Boat Festival is held. On that day demons revert to their true selves. Bai thus decides to take Qing and Xu Xian back to Ban Bu Duo, but Xu Xian falls for FaHai's tricks yet again and Bai shows her true self, scaring Xian literally to death! Bai retrieves the herbal medicine and brings Xian back to life.

But after giving birth to a son Bai can't control herself anymore and is forced to tell her husband the truth about her origins. Xian kindly accepts her, but Fahai then attacks the weakened Bai and holds her to eternal captivity in the Leifeng Pagoda.


In “Jing Shi Tong Yan”, Madame White/Madame Bai did not have a name. 'Bai Suzhen' was only later created.

The story in “Jing Shi Tong Yan” was a story between righteous and evil with Fahai out to save Xu's soul from the demon Bai. Over the centuries however the story has evolved from horror to romance with Bai and Xu genuinely in love with one another, but such a relationship is forbidden by the laws of heaven.

Modifications to the story included:

1. Redemption of Bai
* After Bai is trapped underneath the , Qingqing escapes and leaves for further meditation. She later returns and defeats Fahai, thus setting Bai free. Fahai retreats to the stomach of a crab, which is why the internal fat of the crab is of color, which resembles the color of Fahai’s Taoist quilt.

2. Redemption of Bai
* Bai gives birth to Xu’s son before she is trapped. Qingqing takes the baby to Xu’s relatives, who raise him to become a top scholar. The son returns to the to pay his respects. Bai is released because of her son’s filial piety.

3. Reincarnation
* In a retcon version of the story, Xu and Bai are amongst the god and goddess, but they break the law in heaven and must repay by living through human lives. The human Xu saves a white snake that is Bai, and they meet again to begin the story of ‘Madame White Snake’.


*The story has been performed numerous times in Peking opera, Cantonese opera and other Chinese operas.

*''The Legend of the White Serpent'' , Japanese film made by Toho in collaboration with the Shaw Brothers. Ryo Ikebe and Shirley Yamaguchi starred in the film directed by Shiro Toyoda.

*''The Tale of the White Serpent'' , the first coloured anime feature film in Japan, released in the United States as ''Panda and the Magic Serpent''..

*''Madam White Snake '', also from Shaw Brothers. This version is a huangmeixi opera. Both its Bai and Qingqing actors killed themselves a few years after the film was released. Feng Yueh directed. The music is by Fu-ling Wang on a libretto by Chun-ching Li.

*In the West there have been children's picture book adaptations of the legend, written by Western authors and illustrated by Chinese artists. They included:
::''Legend of the White Serpent'' by A. Fullarton Prior, illustrated by Kwan Sang-Mei, published by Charles E. Tuttle Company, Rutland, Vermont, 1960;
::and ''Lady White Snake: A Tale From Chinese Opera,'' by Aaron Shepard, illustrated by Song Nang Zhang, Pan Asian Publications, Union City, California, 2001.

* The novella ''The Devil Wives of Li Fong'' by E. Hoffmann Price is based on the story.

*There are at least 3 stage musical adaptations in Hong Kong. The first one is "Pai Niang Niang" created by Joseph Koo and Wong Jim, premiered in 1972. This production marked the start of musical theatre industry in Hong Kong. Another two included "White Snake, Green Snake" in 2005 created by Christopher Wong and "Legend of the White Snake, The" created by Leon Ko and Chris Shum of the musical movie Perhaps Love's fame.

*''Green Snake'', a 1993 movie directed by Tsui Hark, told the story from the point of view of green snake Qingqing; this movie starred Joey Wong as Bai and Maggie Cheung as Qingqing.

*''New Legend of Madame White Snake'' , a 1993 Taiwanese TV series, is the most accepted, popular and thought classic edition in China Mainland.

*In 2001 a TV drama series '''' starring Fann Wong, which further modified the plot.

*Actresses such as Yoshiko Otaka, Yu So Chow, Lin Dai and Joey Wong had been involved in various movie adaptations of the story.

*In 2006 a drama series '''' starring Liu Tao as Bai , Chen Zi Han as Qingqing, Pan Yue Ming as Xu Xian, Liu Xiao Feng as Fa Hai and a character who was included in the drama as another love interest for Xu Xian Lian Qiao played by Liu Xi Yuan

Lament for Ying

Lament for Ying is a poem written by famed poet Qu Yuan ca. 278 BCE.


According to tradition, Qu Yuan, a of Chu, his home country, wrote the work in anguish as the Qin general Bai Qi marched his troops upon Yingdu, capital of Chu , threatening to invade. In the face of the imminent peril confronting his homeland, he was filled with fury and grief. The poem expresses his deep concern and worry for his country's fate, his pity for the people of Chu, and his anger at the country's self-indulgent ruler who had allowed this tragedy to befall them.


Jiānghú is the milieu, environment, or sub-community, often fictional, in which many classical wuxia stories are set. The term can be translated literally as "rivers and lakes". Jianghu is an alternative universe coexisting with the actual historical one in which the context of the wuxia genre was set. Each wuxia novel has its own Jianghu setting although in the trilogy like Jin Yong's ''Condor'' series it will be one with continuity; whereas Gu Long's Jianghu would be distinct in every novel.

The concept of Jianghu can be traced to the 14th century novel ''Water Margin'' , in which a band of noble outlaws retreated to their hideout who mounted regular sorties in an attempt to right the wrongs of the corrupt officials. These bandits were called the ''Chivalrous men of the Green Forests'' or 綠林好漢, the ''green forest'' was the antecedent to Jianghu.

One of the earliest coinage of Jianghu was by a dejected poet Fan Zhongyan 范仲淹 in the Song Dynasty in his poem 岳陽樓記 , in which the context of Jianghu was set out as distant to the courts and temples, meaning a world in its own right.

Premises in Jianghu

It is a tacit assumption in many wuxia novels that the law and order in the actual historical setting were dysfunctional or poor, like the change of dynastic China from Song Dynasty to Yuan Dynasty, to Ming Dynasty and to Qing Dynasty, periods in time correlating to tremendous upheavals and turmoil in the society. In Louis Cha's novels the dysfunctionality can come in two levels: firstly, law and order broken down locally within China and secondly, the sovereignty of China came to be challenged by invaders. Localised disorder is the predicate where the chivalry and the code of ''xiá'' will be much needed to mend the ills of the world. The second layer of dysfunctionality in Cha's work would then become setting to showcase the patriotism and loyalty of the protagonists to their epoch or their emperors.

Integral to Jianghu is the smaller circle of martial arts practitioners usually including the protagonists called .

Morality in Jianghu

A strong element in the structure of Jianghu, is the line between Good and Evil, ''Right and Wrong'' is crystal clear; it is absolute. With some exceptions in Gu Long's work, protagonist in wuxia novels usually represent the right side of the law and ethos, their nemesis the opposite. It is here that theories abound on Star Wars's philosophy of the Jedi knights were based on that of xiá and the setting of Jianghu in this genre. The absolute definition of morality in wuxia is understandably a reaction to the real world where it is not quite so clear what or who is purely good or otherwise, consider the context and the historicity of Hong Kong at the time of Louis Cha's work.


Code of xiá is absolute, and sometimes with no regard to the law or authority. It is ''righteousness'' taken to the extreme, in that the xiá-adherents when righting a wrong would be answerable only to his/her morality. The modus operandi, and the benchmark morality of all xiá adherents in Jianghu is on en and yuan .

There is one profession within Jianghu where code of xiá might become situational, which is the security-bodyguard equivalent ''biaohang'', who are for-hire xiá for delivery of goods or escort services. This is the closest equivalent to the bushido samurai or the soldier of fortune in the Jianghu world.


Wulin 武林 is a term referring to the smaller microcosm within Jianghu. Inhabitants of wulin are clearly differentiated from those within Jianghu, in that they all know some form of wushu or martial arts. And the way to differentiate the good from the bad within wulin is the code of xiá, those who adhere to it are good, those who do not are bad.

The standard of morality within wulin is less vigorous than that in Jianghu or in the historical setting. It is common to split wulin into black and white ''ways'', denoting the criminous and virtuous. Killers, murderers and those less scruplous belong to the ''black way'' would live in wulin with a bad reputation, until someone would right their wrongs. The virtuous ''white way'' adherents are commonly represented by the major schools including Shaolin, Wudang, Emei to name a few, who are the benchmark ''good guys'' of wulin.

The different schools are looked up to, and usually act as the elder advisors to the smaller elite circle within wulin. Every now and again wulin needs to have a champion, a general or a commander to lead the collective resources of wulin participants for China. A ''wulin mengzhu'' will sometimes be nominated and voted for this role. Typically but not always, the protagonist of a wuxia novel will become this leader and command the actions of wulin.

In many wuxia novels, many seemingly uprighteous masters harbour seedy ambitions eventually turning them into dark personalities. These characters are in fact real-life approximations and reflections of politicians and lobbyists, where the truths are in shades of grays, instead of the absolute black or white.

Jianghu today

In modern times, the term ''jianghu'' can take on several meanings, including different professions and sometimes used to refer to the and the secret societies of gangsters.

In Search of the Supernatural

In Search of the Supernatural is a 4th century compilation of legends, short stories and hearsay concerning spirits, ghosts and other supernatural phenomena. Although the authorship of the book is not made explicit in the text, it is believed to have been written and compiled by Gan Bao, a historian at the court of Emperor Yuan of Jin in 350 AD. The book consists of 464 stories. Pu Songling cites Gan Bao's work as a far greater work than his own, the now famous ''Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio''.

Imperial Readings of the Taiping Era

The Imperial Readings of the Taiping Era is a massive encyclopedia compiled by a number of officers commissioned by the imperial court of the Song Dynasty with the lead editor being Li Fang from 977 to 983 during the era of Taiping Xingguo. It is divided into 1,000 volumes and 55 sections, which consisted of about 4.7 millions words . It included citations from about 2,579 different kinds of documents spanning from books, poetry, ode, proverbs, steles to miscellaneous works. After the compilation, the Emperor Taizong of Song is said to have finished reading the book within a year with 3 volumes per day.

Huyuan Zhuo

Huyuan Zhuo is a greatly respected hero and one of the 36 Heavenly Spirits of Liangshan in the epic tale, the ''Water Margin''.

Main biography

He was known to be the descendant of Huyuan Zan, a famous general in the founding years of the Song Dynasty. He was brave and excellent in martial arts, wielding a pair of steel rods in battle which earned him the nickname 'Double Clubs' . His choice of colour was black, as evidenced by his flags and armour. This was also most likely a trait passed down by his ancestors who also often donned black in the "Hu Family Chronicles".

Before joining the Liangshan outlaws though, Huyuan Zhuo was personally summoned by the Emperor to lead the Imperial army and purge the Liangshan bandits' lair once and for all . Wielding his unmistakable dual steel rods and riding on his powerful steed, Huyuan Zhuo was an imposing sight to say the least. Aided by Peng Qi, the 'Eye of Heaven General' and Han Tao, the 'Ever Victorious General', Huyuan was also famous for being the vanguard of the armoured chain cavalry. Song Jiang and his men certainly had a challenging time defeating Huyuan Zhuo, but the latter was eventually outwitted. Huyuan Zhuo did not dare to return to the capital city after his defeat and went to join Governor Murong of Qingzhou. On his way to Qingzhou, he passed by Taohua Mountain and his steed was stolen. Huyuan was furious and he sought help from the Qingzhou troops to attack Taohua Mountain, which brought the Liangshan heroes into the picture as well when they came to reinforce Taohua Mountain. The Liangshan heroes laid an ambush outside Qingzhou and managed to capture Huyuan Zhuo. Eventually, Huyuan Zhuo was persuaded and he too joined the Liangshan heroes, thus forsaking all his imperial titles and riches to become an outlaw who upheld justice and eliminated corruption. He aided the Liangshan heroes later in conquering Qingzhou.

Huyuan Zhuo pretended to be a turncoat when the Liangshan bandits were at war with Guan Sheng and the Imperial forces . Huyuan Zhuo lured Guan Sheng to a trap set by Wu Yong and Guan was captured and he surrendered to the Liangshan bandits. Huyuan Zhuo went on to become one of the five tiger generals of the Liangshan cavalry and 36 Heavenly Spirits.

Later, together with the rest of the brothers Huyuan Zhuo accepted the amnesty with the Imperial Court and went on the expeditions with the Liangshan heroes against the invading Liao Tartars and the Southern rebels such as Fang La. He was one of the few lucky ones who survived the expeditions, and was offered a high military post in the Court due to his contributions. Huyuan Zhuo died a martyr subsequently in the war against the invading troops.

Huyuan Zhuo's Cavalry

Huyuan Zhuo's heavy cavalry in his days as an imperial general were extremely formidable. The cavalry consisted of heavily armored horses, linked together with chains, and topped of by heavily armoured horse archers. The cavalry formed a system much like a modern tank where it was impossible to block or stand in its way.

The linking of the horses later proved to be the systems greatest flaw. With the help of Xu Ning, the Liangshan heroes were able to trick and trap the cavalry, then by using Xu Ning's hooked spears to pull down the chained horses. This eventually led to the demise of Huyuan Zhuo's imperial army.

Films and TV adaptations

In the 1997 TV serial from Mainland China based on the novel, Huyuan Zhuo was played by Jia Shitou. Also, he was captured after his cavalry was defeated by the Liangshan heroes when he was chasing Song Jiang.


The Huolongjing is a 14th century military treatise that was compiled and edited by Jiao Yu and Liu Ji of the early Ming Dynasty in China. It outlined the use of various 'fire–weapons' involving the use of gunpowder.

The ''Huolongjing'' provided info for various gunpowder compositions, including 'magic gunpowder', 'poison gunpowder', or 'blinding and burning gunpowder'. It had descriptions of the Chinese hollow cast iron grenade bomb, shrapnel bombs, and bombs with poisonious concoctions. The book had descriptions of the 10th century Chinese fire arrow, a simple wooden arrow with a spherical soft casing attached to the arrow and filled with gunpowder, ignited by a so that it was propelled forward . However, the book explained how this simple 'fire arrow' evolved into the metal-tube launched rocket. The book provided descriptions of various rocket launchers that launched tons of rockets at a time, the advent of the having a booster rocket igniting a swarm of smaller ones that were shot from the mouth of a missile shaped like a , and even fin–mounted winged rockets. The book described the use of explosive land mines and descriptions of explosive naval mines at sea and on the river; this incorporated the use of a complex trigger mechanism of falling weights, pins, and a steel wheellock to ignite the train of fuses. The book described various proto–guns including the fire lance , multiple metal barrel handguns , and descriptions of handguns with possible serpentine locks, used as components in matchlock firearms. The book provided descriptions of the early bombard and cannon, including the use of hollow gunpowder–packed s, cannon barrels filled with tons of metal balls containing poisonous gunpowder solutions, and cannons that were mounted on wheeled carriages so that they could be rotated in all directions.

Although Jiao Yu did not provide the book's preface until the Nanyang publication of 1412 AD, the book was previously published in the 14th century , and was a compilation of material written since the late 13th century. From his own personal accounts Jiao Yu also described gunpowder weapons that were used since 1355 AD, with his involvement in the Red Turban Rebellion and revolt against Yuan Dynasty Mongol rule.

By the 15th century, European innovations in firearms, cannons, and other gunpowder weapons began to surpass Chinese innovation that was made in the 14th century. This included the European gun and culverin, the wheellock musket, and then the flintlock musket of the mid 17th century. By the late 16th century, the Chinese adopted Western-style muskets while employing style firing positions.

Gunpowder warfare and weapons

Firearms and flamethrowers

The military treatise of Jiao Yu and Liu Ji went into a great amount of detail on the gunpowder weapons of their time. The fire lance and fire tube came in many different versions and were styled with many different names by the time Jiao Yu edited the ''Huolongjing''. The earliest of these were made of bamboo tubes, although the earliest transition to metal was made in the 12th century. Some of these low–nitrate gunpowder flamethrowers used poisonous mixtures, including arsenious oxide, and would blast a spray of porcelain bits as shrapnel. The earliest depiction of a fire lance is dated c. 950 AD, a Chinese painting on a silk banner found at the Buddhist site of Dunhuang. Furthermore, the oldest existent bronze handgun is from the Heilongjiang archeological excavation, dated to 1288 AD. For that year, the ''Yuan Shi'' historical text describes the rebellion of the Christian Mongol prince Nayan and the Jurchen-born military commander Li Ting who, along with a brigade conscripted by Kublai Khan, suppressed Nayan's rebellion by using foot soldiers armed with handguns and portable bombards. The earliest metal barrel guns were not designed for high–nitrate gunpowder and a bore–filling projectile; rather, they were designed for the low–nitrate flamethrower fire lance that shot small co–viative missiles. This was called the 'bandit–striking penetrating gun' , and was illustrated in a drawing of the ''Huolongjing''. In Europe the first representation of the fire lance is of a horse–mounted knight wielding the weapon in a Latin manuscript illustration dated to 1396, and also appeared in an of Taccola's ''De Mechinis'' . The ''Huolongjing'' also described and illustrated metal–barrel handguns as well, including guns with three barrels, five barrels, six barrels, and even up to ten barrels. Furthermore, it described the use of a 'match–holding lance gun' , possibly an early serpentine matchlock. Although a proper illustration for this one was not included, it described its arrangement as a match brought down to the touch hole of three gun barrels one after the other. During the reign of the Yongle Emperor , the Shenji Brigade was formed, with cavalry horses that were said to have tubes filled with flammable materials holstered to their sides, along with troops with firearms and light artillery on carriages.

In addition to firearms and fire lances, the Huolongjing also illustrated the tall vertical mobile shield to hide and protect infantry gunmen, known as the 'mysteriously moving –breaking fierce–flame sword–shield'. This large rectangular shield would have been mounted on wheels, with five rows of six circular holes each where the gun barrels could be placed, and the shield itself would have been accompanied by swordsmen on either side to protect the gunmen. although the oldest archeological discovery of a cannon is a bronze cannon of China inscribed with the date "2nd year of the Dade era, Yuan Dynasty" . The prototype to the metal barrel was of course one made of bamboo, which was recorded in use by a Chinese garrison commander at Anlu, Hubei province, in the year 1132. One of the earliest references to the destructive force of a cannon in China was made by Zhang Xian in 1341, with his verse known as ''The Iron Cannon Affair''. Zhang wrote that its cannonball could "pierce the heart or belly when it strikes a man or horse, and can even transfix several persons at once." He wrote that some cannons were simply filled with 100 or so lead balls, but others had large rounds that produced a bursting charge upon impact, called the 'flying–cloud thunderclap eruptor' . In perspective, exploding cannonball rounds were not discovered in Europe until the 16th century. Furthermore, he noted the use of the 'poison–fog magic smoke eruptor', where 'blinding gunpowder' and 'poisonous gunpowder' were packed into the hollow cannonball shells, and were effective in burning the faces and eyes of enemies, along with choking them with a formidable spray of poisonous smoke. He wrote that cannons were mounted on frames or on wheeled carriages, so that they could be rotated in all directions.

Land mines and naval mines

The first recorded use of a land mine stated that the officer Lou Qianxia of the late Song Dynasty created them in order to kill invading Mongol troops in 1277 AD. Jiao Yu wrote that land mines were spherical in shape, made of cast iron, and their fuses ignited by the enemy movement disturbing a trigger mechanism. Although his book did not elaborate on the trigger mechanism, a late Ming Dynasty book of 1606 AD revealed that a complex system of a pin release, dropping weights, and chords and axles worked to rotate a spinning 'steel wheel' that acted as a flint to provide sparks that ignited the mines' fuses underground. For the use of naval mines, he wrote of slowly burning joss sticks that were disguised and timed to explode against enemy ships floating nearby:

In the later ''Tiangong Kaiwu'' treatise, written by Song Yingxing in 1637 AD, the ox bladder described by Jiao Yu is replaced with a lacquer bag instead, along with a cord pulled from a hidden ambusher located on the nearby shore, which would release a flint steel–wheel firing mechanism to ignite the fuse of the naval mine.

Gunpowder and explosives

There were several gunpowder compositions proposed by Jiao Yu, with additions to the standard formula of saltpetre, sulphur, and charcoal by adapting gunpowder weapons to early chemical warfare. He described the suitable uses of 'magic gunpowder', 'poison gunpowder', or 'blinding and burning gunpowder' in warfare, which displays the various amounts of compositions used in his time. For the making of poisonous gunpowder in hand–lobbed or catapult–launched grenade bombs, For this, Jiao Yu wrote "even birds flying in the air cannot escape the effects of the explosion". It is important to note that during the 14th century, Chinese gunpowder solutions had reached their maximum explosive potential, with levels of nitrate ranging from 12% to 91% and at least 6 formulas in use by the Chinese that were considered to have maximum explosive force. This also came about due to the enrichment of sulfur from pyrite extracts during the earlier Song Dynasty period, while Chinese gunpowder formulas by the late 12th century and at least by 1230 AD were potential enough for explosive detonations and bursting cast iron shells. The root of all this was the Chinese military handbook written in 1044 AD, the ''Wujing Zongyao''; it outlined the earliest use of formulas for gunpowder, employed in bombs hurled by catapults. Later, Wei Xing of the Song Dynasty was said to have created a gunpowder formula of saltpetre, sulphur, and willow charcoal for his projectile carriages launching 'fire–stones' up to 400 yards.

Although its destructive force was widely recognized even by the 11th century, the Chinese had earlier termed gunpowder as a 'fire–drug' , due to Chinese beliefs in its pharmaceutical properties. Its valuable use in festival entertainment could be seen in fireworks displays, such as the martial demonstration in 1110 AD to entertain the court of , with dancers in strange costumes moving through clouds of colored smoke. After the ''Wujing Zongyao'' of 1044 had explicitly stated formulas for gunpowder, the Chinese government became frightened that its use could fall into the hands of surrounding enemies at the borders, and in 1076 enacted a strict governmental monopoly over the production and distribution of sulfur. Although saltpetre was a central component of the 'fire–drug' and a flavor enhancer for food during the Tang and Song periods, in 1067 the Song government banned the people of modern Shanxi and Hebei provinces to sell foreigners both sulfur and saltpetre in any form. While engaged in a war with the Mongols, in the year 1259 the official Li Zengbo wrote in his ''Ko Zhai Za Gao, Xu Gao Hou'' that the city of Qingzhou was manufacturing one to two thousand strong iron-cased bomb shells a month, dispatching to Xiangyang and Yingzhou about ten to twenty thousand such bombs at a time.

Fire arrows and rockets

For the earliest fire arrows launched from bows , Jiao Yu had termed these "fiery pomegranate shot from a bow". The term pomegranate stemmed from the fact that the lump of gunpowder–filled paper wrapped round the arrow just below the metal arrow–head resembled the shape of a pomegranate. He advised that a piece of hemp cloth should be used to strengthen the wad of paper, and then sealed fast with molten pine resin. An even earlier Chinese text of the ''Wujing Zongyao'' , written in 1044 AD by the Song scholars Zeng Gongliang and Yang Weide, described the use of three spring or triple bow that fired arrow bolts holding gunpowder. Even after the rocket was invented in China the fire arrow continued in use; this could be seen in the Second Opium War, where Chinese used fire arrows against the in 1860.

By the time of Jiao Yu, the term 'fire arrow' had taken on a whole new meaning and incorporated what were the earliest rockets found in China. the text reads:

History of the Soul

History of the Soul is a work of narrative history spanning 172 years, which explores the personal and religious conflicts among the Jahriyya, a Sufi tariqah in Northwestern China. Published in 1991, it went on to become China's second-best selling book in 1994.


* First edition: 心灵史, People's Republic of China: Huacheng Publishing House, January 1991.
* 1995 edition: 张承志文学作品选集:心灵史卷, People's Republic of China: Hainan Publishing House, August 1995. ISBN 7806175369.
* Traditional Chinese edition: 心靈史──揭開哲合忍耶的聖域之謎, Republic of China : Fengyun Shidai, January 1997. ISBN 957645803X.



Haun Saussy

Caleb Powell Haun Saussy is the Bird White Housum Professor of Comparative and Chinese literature at Yale University.

Saussy's first book, The Problem of a Chinese Aesthetic , discussed the tradition of commentary that has grown up around the early Chinese poetry collection Shi jing . His most recent book is Great Walls of Discourse and Other Adventures in Cultural China , an account of the ways of knowing and describing specific to China scholarship. He is an avid cyclist, memorizer of verb paradigms and lyric poetry, and contributor to a variety of art installations. His articles range widely, from the imaginary universal languages of Athanasius Kircher to Chinese musicology to the great Qing dynasty novel Honglou meng. He edited the American Comparative Literature Association's 2004 report on the state of the discipline.

Haun Saussy joined the Yale faculty in 2004. Prior to that, he had been chairman of the comparative literature department at Stanford University. He is the son of Tupper Saussy. Raised in suburban Nashville,Tennessee, he attended Deerfield Academy and then received his B.A. from Duke University in 1981. He received his M.Phil and Ph.D from Yale in Comparative Literature. Between undergraduate and graduate schools, he studied linguistics and Chinese in Paris and Taiwan.

He is the current Graduate President of the Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.

Gujin Tushu Jicheng

The Gujin Tushu Jicheng , is a vast work written in China during the reigns of emperors Kangxi and Yongzheng, completed in 1725. The work was headed initially by scholar Chen Menglei , and later by Jiang Tingxi. It contained 800,000 pages and over 100 million Chinese characters. Topics covered included natural phenomena, geography, history, literature and government.

The work was printed in 1726 using copper movable type printing. It spanned around 10 thousand rolls . About 60 copies were made.

One of Yongzheng's brothers patronised the project for a while, although Yongzheng contrived to give exclusive credit to his father Kangxi instead.


A gazetteer is a geographical dictionary or , an important reference for information about places and place names , used in conjunction with a map or a full atlas. It typically contains information concerning the geographical makeup of a country, region, or continent as well as the social statistics and physical features, such as mountains, waterways, or roads. Examples of information you would find include the location of places, dimensions of physical features, , , literacy rate, etc. This information is generally divided into overhead topics with entries listed in alphabetical order.

Gazetteers of ancient Greece existed since the . The first known gazetteer of China appeared by the 1st century, and with the in , the became invested in producing gazetteers for their local areas as a source of information as well as local pride. Although existent only in fragments, the geographer of wrote a geographical dictionary in the 6th century which influenced later European compilers of gazetteers by the 16th century. Modern gazetteers can be found in reference sections of most libraries as well as on the .


The Oxford English Dictionary defines the "gazetteer" as a "geographical index or dictionary". Historian Robert C. White suggests that the "very eminent person" written of by Echard was his colleague Edmund Bohun, and chose not to mention Bohun because he became associated with the .

Types and organization

Gazetteers are often categorized by the type, and scope, of the information presented. ''World gazetteers'' usually consist of an alphabetical listing of countries, with pertinent statistics for each one, with some gazetteers listing information on individual cities, towns, villages, and other of varying sizes. ''Short-form gazetteers'', often used in conjunction with computer mapping and systems, may simply contain a list of place-names together with their locations in latitude and longitude or other spatial referencing systems . Short-form gazetteers appear as a place-name index in the rear of major published atlases. ''Descriptive gazetteers'' may include lengthy textual descriptions of the places they contain, including explanation of industries, government, geography, together with historical perspectives, maps and / or photographs. ''Thematic gazetteers'' list places or geographical features by theme; for example fishing ports, nuclear power stations, or historic buildings. Their common element is that the geographical location is an important attribute of the features listed.

Gazetteer editors gather facts and other information from official government reports, the census, chambers of commerce, together with numerous other sources, and organise these in digest form.


Western world

Hellenistic and Greco-Roman eras

In his journal article "Alexander and the Ganges" , the 20th century historian W.W. Tarn calls a list and description of satrapies of written between 324 and 323 BC as an ancient gazetteer. Tarn notes that the document is dated no later than June 323 BC, since it features by Alexander's generals. It was revised by the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus in the 1st century BC. Historian Truesdell S. Brown asserts that what Dionysius' describes in this quote about the logographers should be categorized not as a true "history" but rather as a gazetteer.

Medieval and early modern eras

The ''Domesday Book'' initiated by William I of England in 1086 was a government survey on all the administrative counties of England; it was used to assess the properties of farmsteads and landholders in order to tax them sufficiently. In the survey, numerous English castles were listed; scholars debate on exactly how many were actually referenced in the book. However, the ''Domesday Book'' does detail the fact that out of 3,558 registered houses destroyed in 112 different boroughs listed, 410 of these destroyed houses were the direct result of castle construction and expansion. In 1316, the Nomina Villarum survey was initiated by Edward II of England; it was essentially a list of all the administrative subdivisions throughout England which could be utilized by the state in order to assess how much military troops could be conscripted and summoned from each region. The ''Speculum Britanniae'' of the English cartographer and topographer John Norden had an alphabetical list of places throughout England with headings showing their and referenced to attached maps. Englisham John Speed's ''Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine'' published in 1611 provided gazetteers for counties throughout England, which included illustrative maps, short local histories, a list of administrative hundreds, an index of parishes, and the coordinates of longitude and latitude for county towns. Starting in 1662, the Hearth Tax Returns with attached maps of local areas were compiled by individual parishes throughout England while a duplicate of their records were sent to the central government offices of the Exchequer. In his work, Edmund Bohun attributed the first known Western geographical dictionary to geographer Stephanus of Byzantium while also noting influence in his work from the ''Thesaurus Geographicus'' by the cartographer Abraham Ortelius , but stated that Ortelius' work dealt largely with ancient geography and not up-to-date information. He divided this work into overhead topics of cities, rivers, mountains, and lakes and swamps. With the gradual expansion of Laurence Echard's gazetteer of 1693, it too became a universal geographical dictionary that was translated into in 1750, into in 1809, and into in 1810.

Following the American Revolutionary War, United States clergyman and historian Jeremy Belknap and Ebenezer Hazard intended to create the first post-revolutionary geographical works and gazetteers, but they were anticipated by the clergyman and geographer Jedidiah Morse with his ''Geography Made Easy'' in 1784. However, Morse was unable to finish the gazetteer in time for his 1784 geography and postponed it. With the aid of Noah Webster and Rev. Samuel Austin, Morse finally published his gazetteer ''The American Universal Geography'' in 1797. However, Morse's gazetteer did not receive distinction by literary critics, as gazetteers were deemed as belonging to a lower literary class. The reviewer of Joseph Scott's 1795 gazetteer commented that it was "little more than medleys of politics, history and miscellaneous remarks on the manners, languages and arts of different nations, arranged in the order in which the territories stand on the map."

Modern era

Gazetteers became widely popular in in the 19th century, with publishers such as Fullarton, Mackenzie, Chambers and W & A.K. Johnston, many of whom were , meeting public demand for information on an expanding Empire. This British tradition continues in the electronic age with innovations such as the National Land and Property Gazetteer, the text-based Gazetteer for Scotland, and the new National Gazetteer , formerly known as the Definitive National Address - Scotland National Gazetteer. In addition to local or regional gazetteers, there have also been comprehensive world gazetteers published; an early example would be the 1912 world gazetteer published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. There are also interregional gazetteers with a specific focus, such as the gazetteer of the Swedish atlas "Das B?stas Bilbok" , a road atlas and guide for Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark.

East Asia


In Han Dynasty China, the ''Yuejue Shu'' written in 52 AD is considered by modern and historians to be the prototype of the gazetteer , as it contained essays on a wide variety of subjects including changes in territorial division, the founding of cities, local products, and customs. There are over 8,000 gazetteers of pre-modern China that have survived. Gazetteers became more common in the Song Dynasty , yet the bulk of surviving gazetteers were written during the Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty . Gazetteers from this era focused on boundaries and territory, place names, mountains and rivers, ancient sites, local products, local , customs, botany, topography, and locations of palaces, streets, temples, etc. By the Tang Dynasty the gazetteer became much more geographically specific, with a broad amount of content arranged topically; for example, there would be individual sections devoted to local astronomy, schools, dikes, canals, post stations, altars, local deities, temples, tombs, etc. By the Song Dynasty it became more common for gazetteers to provide biographies of local celebrities, accounts of elite local families, bibliographies, and literary anthologies of poems and essays dedicated to famous local spots. Song gazetteers also made lists and descriptions of city walls, gate names, wards and markets, districts, population size, and residences of former .

In 610, after the Sui Dynasty united a politically divided China, Emperor Yang of Sui had all the prepare gazetteers called '' so that a vast amount of updated textual and visual information on local roads, rivers, canals, and landmarks could be utilized by the central government to maintain control and provide better security. Although the date to the 4th century BC, and ''tujing'' since the or Han dynasties, this was the first known instance in China when the textual information of ''tujing'' became the primary element over the drawn illustrations. This Sui Dynasty process of providing maps and visual aids in written gazetteers—as well as the submitting of gazetteers with illustrative maps by local administrations to the central government—was continued in every subsequent .

Historian James M. Hargett states that by the time of the Song Dynasty, gazetteers became far more geared towards serving the current political, administrative, and military concerns than in gazetteers of previous eras, while there were many more gazetteers compiled on the local and national levels than in previous eras. Emperor Taizu of Song ordered Lu Duosun and a team of cartographers and scholars in 971 to initiate the compilation of a huge atlas and nationwide gazetteer that covered the whole of China proper, This project was completed in 1010 by a team of scholars under Song Zhun, who presented it in 1,566 chapters to the throne of . Furthermore, the ''fangzhi'' were almost always because they were intended for a large reading audience, whereas ''tujing'' were exclusive records read by the local officials who drafted them and the central government officials who collected them. By the 16th century—during the Ming Dynasty—local gazetteers were commonly composed due to local decision-making rather than a central government mandate. Historian Peter K. Bol states that local gazetteers composed in this manner were the result of increased domestic and international trade that facilitated greater local wealth throughout China.

While working in the , the Tang Dynasty cartographer Jia Dan and his colleagues would about their respective homelands, and from these interrogations would produce maps supplemented by textual information. Even within China, information on of non- peoples were often described in the local histories and gazetteers of provinces such as Guizhou during the Ming and Qing dynasties. As the Qing Dynasty pushed further with its troops and government authorities into areas of Guizhou that were uninhabited and not administered by the Qing government, the official gazetteers of the region would be revised to include the newly drawn-up districts and non-Han ethnic groups therein. By 1673, the Guizhou gazetteers featured different written entries for the various Miao peoples of the region.

Historian Timothy Brook states that Ming Dynasty gazetteers demonstrate a shift in the attitudes of towards the traditionally lower . Hence, the gentry figures composing the gazetteers in the latter half of the Ming period spoke favorably of merchants, whereas before they were rarely mentioned.

Although better known for his work on the ''Gujin Tushu Jicheng'' encyclopedia, the early-to-mid Qing scholar Jiang Tingxi aided other scholars in the compilation of the "Daqing Yitongzhi" . This was provided with a preface in 1744 , revised in 1764, and reprinted in 1849. while comprehensive world gazetteers were later tanslated into Chinese by Europeans. The William Muirhead , who lived in Shanghai during the late Qing period, published the gazetteer "Dili quanzhi", which was reprinted in Japan in 1859. Chinese maritime trade gazetteers mentioned a slew of different countries that came to trade in China, such as United States vessels docking at in the "Yuehaiguanzhi" published in 1839 . The Chinese language gazetteer "Haiguo tuzhi" by Wei Yuan in 1844 was printed in Japan two decades later 1854. This work was popular in Japan not for its geographical knowledge, but for its analysis of potential defensive military strategy in the face of European imperialism and the Qing's recent defeat in the First Opium War due to European artillery and gunboats. The printing of gazetteers was revived in 1956 under Mao Zedong and again in the 1980s, after the reforms of the to replace the people's communes with traditional . The ''difangzhi'' effort under Mao yielded little results , while the writing of ''difangzhi'' was interrupted during the Cultural Revolution , trumped by the village and family histories which were more appropriate for the theme of class struggle. A Li Baiyu of Shanxi forwarded a letter to the on May 1, 1979, which urged for the revival of ''difangzhi''. Like Chinese gazetteers, there were national, provincial, and local prefecture Korean gazetteers which featured geographic information, demographic data, locations of bridges, schools, temples, tombs, fortresses, pavilions, and other landmarks, cultural customs, local products, resident clan names, and short biographies on well-known people. With additional material and correction of mistakes, the title of this gazetteer was revised in 1454 as the "Sejong Sillok chiriji" , updated in 1531 under the title "Sinj?ng tongguk y?ji s?ngnam" , The Joseon Koreans also created international gazetteers. The "Yojisongnam" gazetteer compiled from 1451–1500 provides a small description for 369 different foreign countries known to Joseon Korea in the 15th century. Japanese gazetteers preserved historical and legendary accounts of various regions. For example, the provincial gazetteer "Harima no kuni fudoki" of Harima province provides a story of an alleged visit by Emperor ?jin in the 3rd century while on an imperial hunting expedition. Local Japanese gazetteers could also be found in later periods such as the Edo period. Gazetteers were often composed by the request of wealthy patrons; for example, six scholars in the service of the daimyo of the Ikeda household published the "Biyō kokushi" gazetteer for several counties in 1737. World gazetteers were written by the Japanese in the 19th century, such as the "Kon'yo zushiki" published by Mitsukuri Shōgo in 1845, the "Hakkō tsūshi" by Mitsukuri Genpo in 1856, and the "Bankoku zushi" , which was written by an Englishman named Colton, translated by Sawa Ginjirō, and printed by Tezuka Ritsu in 1862. Despite the ambitious title, the work by Genpo only covered 'Yōroppa bu' while the planned section for Asia was not published. B.S. Baliga writes that the history of the gazetteer in Tamil Nadu can be traced back to the classical corpus of Sangam literature, dated 200 BC to 300 AD. Abu'l-Fazl ibn Mubarak, the vizier to Akbar the Great of the Mughal Empire, wrote the ''Ain-e-Akbari'', which included a gazetteer with valuable information on India's population in the 16th century.

Islamic world

The pre-modern Islamic world produced gazetteers. Cartographers of the Safavid dynasty of Iran made gazetteers of local areas.

List of gazetteers


Examples of electronic world gazetteers can be found at:
** the GEOnet Names Server provides access to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency's and the U.S. Board on Geographic Names' database of foreign geographic feature names.
** for a given city it gives the country, province, population, coordinates, population rank among all towns within the country
** for each country it gives a map and table of provinces with area and population, a map of cities, an alphabetical table of cities, and a table of top cities - tables can be sorted by a column of choice
** for each province it gives an alphabetical table of cities.
** Contains 2,900,000 towns outside the US. For a given country and town it gives coordinates, altitude, weather forecast, and a map showing the position of the town with respect to topography and borders and bodies of water ; it also lists towns which are very nearby, within 3 km, with direction.
*The Alexandria Digital Library at UCSB
***allows searching for any or a specified type of geographical feature within a rectangular area or the whole world, with a name equal to or containing the search term; returns coordinates, country and province with a small scale map.
*The Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
**Similar to the previous one, except that not a rectangular area but a country can be specified, and that no map is produced.
**Similar to the previous two, dictionary search, returns coordinates, satellite image and CIA World factbook country map.
*The Fuzzy Gazetteer
**Searches for place names world-wide and can handle variations in spelling, thereby making the searches more robust.
* - Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes
*, also of subnational entities, with some additional info




**Compiled by Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, UK. An online gazetteer of 5,000 plant collecting localities in East Nepal, Sikkim, Darjeeling District, Bhutan and the Chumbi Valley .


**Content from the
**Hosted by




*Gazetteers of Canada
** - from

New Zealand

*, hosted by


* ''W?rterbuch der russischen Gew?ssernamen'' , in 6 volumes. Compiled by A. Kernd'l, R. Richhardt, and W. Eisold, under leadership of Max Vasmer. Wiesbaden, O. Harrassowitz, 1961
* ''Russisches geographisches Namenbuch'' , founded by Max Vasmer. Compiled by Ingrid Coper et al. Wiesbaden, Atlas and Volumes 1-9. O. Harrassowitz, 1964-1981. The additional volume 11 appeared in 1988, ISBN 3-447-02851-3, and an additional atlas volume in 1989, ISBN 3-447-02923-4.

United Kingdom

*National Land and Property Gazetteer
*National Street Gazetteer
**Software provided by Aligned Assets
**Maintained by the University of Edinburgh and the Royal Scottish Geographical Society
*The Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland by Francis Groome ; earliest edition appears within
*''Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland'' by Rev. John Marius Wilson
*''Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales'' by Rev. John Marius Wilson
*Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales by J.H.F. Brabner

United States

*USGS Geographic Names Information System
*HomeTownLocator Gazetteer - US physical and cultural features, Census 2000 data
*The U.S. Gazetteer
*American FactFinder
* - from
*, published 1902, hosted by the
*, published 1904, hosted by the
*''Gazetteer of the State of New York''
**by Horatio Gates Spafford, A. M., published by H. C. Southwick, Albany, N.Y. 1813
**by J. H. French, published by R. Pearsall Smith, Syracuse, N.Y. 1860

Thematic Gazetteers

**A catalogue of georeferenced caravanserais/khans and other built facilities associated with long-distance trade routes across Eurasia.
* search engine of the website, based on ''Where Once We Walked'' and using the Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex system for approximate spellings of place names
**Searchable catalogue of -populated locales in 19th – and Eastern Europe; features hotlinked map coordinates.

Four Greats of the Early Tang

The Four Greats of the Early Tang , are poets of the Tang Dynasty recognized as particularly outstanding and of eternal renown: Luo Binwang, Wang Bo , Yang Jiong , and Lu Zhaolin .

Finest Blossoms in the Garden of Literature

The Finest Blossoms in the Garden of Literature is an anthology of poetry, odes, songs and writings from the Liang Dynasty to the Five Dynasties era. The book was compiled by a team of officers headed by Li Fang under an imperial order from 982 to 986. It is divided in to 1,000 volumes and 38 genus by sections with 19,102 pieces of works written by about 2,200 authors, much of the crucial compilation of the writings came from the scholars.

Fayuan Zhulin

Fayuan Zhulin , in 100 ''juan'' , is a encyclopedia compiled AD 668 by Dao Shi . It comprises Buddhist and other ancient texts otherwise lost, and is thus an important source of ancient knowledge in many fields.

Extensive Records of the Taiping Era

The Extensive Records of the Taiping Era is a collection of stories compiled under the editorship of Li Fang, first published in 978. The book is divided into 500 volumes and consists of about 3 million words . It is a collection of about seven thousand stories that were selected from over three hundred books and novels from the Han Dynasty to the early Song Dynasty, many of which have long been lost. Some stories are historical or naturalistic anecdotes, each is replete with a historical elements, and qualify as fiction, but the topics are mostly supernatural, about Buddhist and Daoist priests, immortals, ghosts, and various deities. They include a number of stories that are famous works of literature in their own right, and also inspired later works.

Eight-legged essay

The eight-legged essay was a style of essay writing that had to be mastered to pass the imperial examinations during the and Dynasties. It is named so because it was divided into eight sections.

Structure and content

The eight-legged essay was formulated around a rigid, artificial structure, and tested, among other things, the examinees' knowledge of the Four Books and Five Classics and ability to insert classical allusions and idioms at the places deemed appropriate. The structure of much of the essay included heavy parallelism and redundancy, rhetorical features that survive in modern Chinese expository writing. Such parallel expression was considered emphatic and euphonic to the Chinese, rather than wasteful and superfluous as it is in the West.

The eight "legs" or sections were as follows:

* Opening : Two sentences of prose whose function is to broach the topic.
* Amplification : Five sentences of prose, elaborating upon and clarifying the theme.
* Preliminary exposition : Prosaic writing
* Initial argument : A specified number of sentence pairs written in parallel, developing the initial argument. The parallel sentences address the topic and convey similar meanings, with similar structure but different words.
* Central argument : Sentences written in parallel, with no limit as to their number, in which the central points of the essay are expounded freely.
* Latter argument : Sentences written in parallel, with no limit as to their number. Here, points not addressed in the previous section are discussed; otherwise, the writer may continue padding the ideas in the central argument. It is to be written in a serious tone rooted in realism.
* Final argument : Parallel sentence groups, each one consisting of either two to three, or else four to five, lines. Here, the main theme is revisited and loose ends are tied up.
* Conclusion : Prosaic writing where free expression and creativity are allowed. The concluding remarks are made here.

In addition to the rules governing the number of sentences for a particular section, there were also strict limits on the total number of words in the essay.
Certain offensive words and words prone to reveal the candidate’s identity or status were also to be avoided. However, it is not certain exactly when the form became the standard for the civil service examinations. A model form for essay writing issued by Ming T'ai-Tsu in 1370 is much less rigid and precise than eight-legged essays eventually became. It specifies only the topics to be tested in the examinations and the minimum length of the candidates' essays. According to Ku Yen-wu, the form of the essay became more standardized during the 15th century. The term "eight-legged essay" first appeared during the period from 1465 to 1487, and the essay form was first required in the examinations of 1487 and 1496.

Since mastery of the form was a requirement for success in the examinations, commercial printers during the Ming Dynasty began to print successful examination essays as guides for aspiring candidates. The first of these appeared in pirated form during the 16th century. However, the practice gained official approval in 1587, when the government suggested that the best papers of the previous century be reprinted as examples.

Viewpoints on the form

The eight-legged essay was praised by some and was maintained as an integral part of the examination tradition. This is illustrated by an attempt to abolish it during the Qing Dynasty. The government at that time viewed Wang Anshi as having been a bad official. For this reason, an attempt was made in 1663 to abolish the form. However, the weight of tradition made such a change impossible. Candidates in the examinations had been trained in the form, and abolishing it threatened their livelihoods. Examiners could also mark papers written in the form in a uniform manner. Supporters of the form also argued that only the truly skilled could write eight-legged essays of high quality, so the form assisted in seeking out talent. For these reasons, the attempted change did not last, and the form was reintroduced in 1668. Yuan Hung-tao praised the form effusively: "Its style is unprecedented; its diction reaches the limits of a talented writer; its tune changes with the passage of years and months. is able to his unique talent with different techniques". He later declared that "the variety and liveliness of the eight-legged essay is a hundred times more than that of poetry."

In contrast, the eight-legged format is "generally considered pedantic and trite by modern-day scholars" Its use has been criticized as the reason that many successful examination candidates later found themselves unprepared for the more practical requirements of government positions.. In his unfinished autobiography, Chen Duxiu, the co-founder of the Chinese Communist Party, called the form "lifeless".


* Isaac Taylor Headland: ''Court Life in China'' , Chapter 22: ''''

Dijing Jingwulue

The Dijing Jingwulue is a 17th century prose classic. The principal author was Liu Tong, an official with a Jinshi degree and member of the Jingling school in Chinese prose literature. His co-authors were Yu Yizheng and Zhou Sun , two scholars outside of official circles.

The preface reveals Liu as the actual author, while Yu was a compiler. Zhou was something of an assistant to the other two. However Yu was a native of Beijing, capital of Ming Dynasty and a scholar of local traditions. Liu may have just polished the prose, but gained most of the prestige. Liu dates the preface as 1635, the same year Yu would die in Nanjing, three years before troops of the new dynastic regime would assault Beijing.

The prose work is very much a celebration of a city ambience that would disappear behind secluded walls of conquered city. Of interest are the many descriptions of gardens and estates that would disappear. Ming's Beijing, in contrast to the later conservative Manchu 's capital, was a city of gaiety, of markets and fairs. Of interest are the Ming period fairs with their literary men in pursuit of books, art objects and antiquities. Poetry is an integral part of the book and the authors portray a scholar in verse as finding nothing in his purse, but only able to twitch his own whiskers with his hopeful hand. Along with Ming period art that was treasured in its own day, there are descriptions of western paintings of Christ for sale. The Catholic cathedral is described and a judicious space is devoted to the Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci. All of this was part of the diverse glory of the age. Seeming small and minor subjects loom large in the authors’ eyes such as the raising of crickets for the famous cricket fights. Autumn mornings would find a horde of enthusiasts armed with bamboo tubes, cages and pots for the prey heading for abandoned temples with piles of old tiles and stones. At the heart of the classic was the realization of the flux of all things and the ultimate evanescence of human works and monuments in this world.

Collected Cases of Injustice Rectified

Collected Cases of Injustice Rectified or Washing away of wrongs is a written by Song Ci in 1247 during the Song Dynasty . The author combined many historical cases of forensic science with his own experiences and wrote the book with an eye to avoiding injustice. The book was esteemed by generations of forensic scientists, and it was eventually translated into English, German, Japanese, French and other languages.


Different versions of the book exist, but the earliest existing version was published during the Yuan Dynasty, containing fifty-three chapters in five volumes. The first volume describes the imperial decree issued by Song Dynasty on the inspection of bodies and injuries. The second volume contains notes and methods on post-mortem examinations. The third, fourth, and fifth volumes detail the appearances of corpses from various causes of death and methods of treatments to certain injuries.

In the book, Song Ci said:

“A forensic medical doctor must be serious, conscientious, and highly responsible, and must also personally examine each dead body or that of a wounded person. The particulars of each case must be recorded in the doctor’s own handwriting. No one else is allow to write his autopsy report. A coroner must not avoid performing an autopsy because he detests the stench of corpses. A coroner must refrain from sitting comfortably behind a curtain of incense that mask the stench, let his subordinates do the autopsy unsupervised, or allow a petty official to write his autopsy report, leaving all the inaccuracies unchecked and uncorrected.”

He also said:
“Should there be any inaccuracy in an autopsy report, injustice would remain with the deceased as well as the living. A wrongful death sentence without justice may claim one or more additional lives, which would in turn result in , prolonging the tragedy. In order to avoid any miscarriage of justice, the coroner must immediately examine the case personally.”

Importance to the history of forensic entomology

In ''The Washing Away of Wrongs'', the first documented forensic entomology case is reported. In 1235 A.D., a stabbing occurred in a Chinese village. After further questioning, the investigator had all villagers bring their sickles and lay them out before the crowd. were attracted to a single sickle because of invisible remnants of blood and tissue still adhered to it. The owner of the alleged sickle later broke down and confessed the crime. In other areas of the text, the author demonstrates knowledge of blow fly activity on bodies relative to those orifices infested, the time of infestation, and the effect of trauma on attractiveness of tissue to such insects.

Brian McKnight describes the murder case involving the sickle as thus:

A local peasant from a Chinese village was found murdered, hacked to death by a hand sickle. The use of a sickle, a tool used by peasants to cut the rice at harvest time, suggested that another local peasant worker had committed the murder. The local magistrate began the investigation by calling all the local peasants who could be suspects into the village square. Each was to carry their hand sickles to the town square with them. Once assembled, the magistrate ordered the ten-or-so suspects to place their hand sickles on the ground in front of them and then step back a few yards. The afternoon sun was warm and as the villagers, suspects, and magistrates waited, bright shiny metallic green flies began to buzz around them in the village square. The shiny metallic colored flies then began to focus in on one of the hand sickles lying on the ground. Within just a few minutes many had landed on the hand sickle and were crawling over it with interest. None of the other hand sickles had attracted any of these pretty flies. The owner of the tool became very nervous, and it was only a few more moments before all those in the village knew who the murderer was. With head hung in shame and pleading for mercy, the magistrate led the murderer away. The witnesses of the murder were the brightly metallic colored flies known as the blow flies which had been attracted to the remaining bits of soft tissue, blood, bone and hair which had stuck to the hand sickle after the murder was committed. The knowledge of the village magistrate as to a specific insect group's behavior regarding their attraction to dead human tissue was the key to solving this violent act and justice was served in ancient China.

English translations

*In 1855 Dr. Harland published the ''Records of Washing away of Injuries'' in Hong Kong
* In 1924 sinologist H.A. Giles published ''The Hsi Yuan Lu, or Instructions to Coroners''.
* In 1981 D. Brian E. McKnight published ''The Washing Away of Wrongs: Forensic Medicine in Thirteenth-Century China''.