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Chinese History and Culture

Lady White and Xu Xian

   Lady White, Xiao Qing and Fa Hai
The folk of Lady White and Xu Xian (bái niáng zǐ hé xǔ xiān 白娘子和许仙) is one of the Chinese four greatest folklores. It reflects people’s recognition of love. The story goes like this: Taking the shapes of two women, White Snake (bái shé 白蛇), Bai Suzhen (bái sù zhēn 白素贞), and Green Snake (qīng shé 青蛇), Xiao Qing (xiǎo qīng 小青), toured on the West Lake (xī hú 西湖). A sudden heavy rain came at that time it sent everyone scurrying for shelter. When Bai Suzheng and Xiao Qing found their way, a young man holding up an umbrella protected them from the rain. The young man looked very handsome and gentle he was a local young scholar. Both Bai Suzheng and the young man flushed crimson with embarrassment when their eyes met together. They began to fall in love at that time. Seeing this, the clever Xiaoqing asked: "Thank you for your umbrella Sir, Could you tell us your name?"The young man replied: "My name is Xu Xian and I live in nearby the Broken Bridge (duàn qiáo 断桥)." Then Bai Suzheng and Xiaoqin introduced themselves to the young man.

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 September 2009 17:28
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Chinese Civilian Residence

   Siheyuan
Residential construction in different parts of China is also called civilian residential housing which is a basic type of architecture. Due to the vast expanse of China, the presence of many ethnic groups, different climatic conditions and ways of life, the residences of people in different parts of the country differ in terms of design and style. The most representative civilian residences in China are the Siheyuan of Beijing (běi jīng sì hé yùan 北京四合院), Cave Dwellings (yáo dòng 窑洞) of the Loess Plateau (huáng tǔ gāo yuán 黄土高原) northwest China, the Earthen Tower (tǔ lóu 土楼) of Kejia (or Hakka) people (kè jiā rén 客家人) in Fujian (fú jiàn shěng 福建省) and Guangdong provinces (guǎng dōng shěng 广东省), and the Mongolian yurt (méng gǔ bāo 蒙古包) in Mongolian nationality.

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 September 2009 16:13
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Stone Lion

    Stone Lion in Forbidden City
The earliest stone lion (shí shī 石狮) was discovered in a Eastern Han Dynasty tomb in Ya'an (yǎ ān 雅安), Sichuan Province (sì chuān shěng 四川省). During the Ming Dynasty (míng cháo 明朝) stone lions were placed in front of palaces, government buildings, temples and even some rich family mansions to display power. Later, stone lion designs were carved as decoration on important architectural features such as door lintels and eaves. Beijing now has many stone lions made during the Ming and Qing (qīng 清) dynasties. These lions do not seem powerful and wild, but rather are kindly and gentle.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 September 2009 17:37
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One-Month-Old Birthday and One-Year-Old Catch

    One-Year-Old Catch
One-Month-Old Birthday

The One-Month-Old Birthday (mǎn yuè 满月) is a universal custom practiced by all ethnic groups of China. In a family where a baby is born, they will prepare several tables of feast on the baby's One-Month-Old Birthday and invite their friends and relatives to a ceremony to celebrate the occasion. In a traditional one-month-old ceremony, there will be a rejoicing and festive atmosphere in the family and the feast is supposed to be lively and joyful. Normally those joining the feast will bring some gift or a red envelope to show their regard.

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The Four Books and Five Classics

ConfucianismThe Four Books (sì shū 四书) refer to The Analects of Confucius (lún yǔ 论语), The Mencius (mèng zǐ 孟子), The Great Learning (dà xué 大学) and The Doctrine of the Golden Mean (zhōng yōng 中庸). The former two are collections of sayings and teachings of Confucius (kǒng zǐ 孔子) and Mencius (mèng zǐ 孟子) as well as sayings of their disciples while the latter two are chapters in The Classic of Rites (lǐ jì 礼记). Chu His (zhū xī 朱熹), a famous scholar of the Southern Song Dynasty (nán sòng 南宋), held that The Four Books together outlined the basic system of Confucian thoughts (rú jiā sī xiǎng 儒家思想) and constituted a better introduction to the complicated materials in the Classics (jīng diǎn 经典), thus selecting these four texts from Classics and put them together as the Four Books.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 September 2009 00:10
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