Culture

Legendary Foundations of Chinese Civilization: The Virtue of Emperor Yao

This is the third in a series of articles by Epoch Times staff describing the foundations of Chinese civilization, and setting forth the traditional Chinese worldview. The series surveys the course of Chinese history, showing how key figures aided in the creation of China’s divinely inspired culture. This installment introduces the legendary Emperor Yao. The Birth

The Triumph of Death

How China’s Northern Song Dynasty Contained Plague Outbreaks

Plagues have often wrecked havoc since ancient times. While some nations perished during these calamities, others survived. Here are some historic accounts from China’s Northern Song Dynasty detailing how people back then dealt with the outbreaks. According to the History of Song, one of the official Chinese historical works, a major plague occurred during the

Legendary Foundations of Chinese Civilization: Fu Xi Brings Order to the Cosmos

This is the second in a series of articles by an Epoch Times research team describing the foundations of Chinese civilization, and setting forth the traditional Chinese worldview. The series surveys the course of Chinese history, showing how key figures aided in the creation of China’s divinely-inspired culture.  Following is an installment on the god Fu Xi.

Legendary Foundations of Chinese Civilization: Preface

This is the first in a series of articles by an Epoch Times research team describing the foundations of Chinese civilization, and setting forth the traditional Chinese worldview. The series surveys the course of Chinese history, showing how key figures aided in the creation of China’s divinely-inspired culture. The series preface follows. In ancient times,

Surprisingly Advanced Ways the Ancient Chinese Bathed and Did Laundry

Chinese cultures have held cleanliness in high regard since ancient times, and some of the methods they devised to wash their garments and bodies in a world before running water or fossil fuels are more sophisticated than one might expect. Over the centuries, ever-improving forms of plant-based solutions were used in the absence of modern soap

Governor Tends Plague Patients in Ancient China

When Xin Gongyi took up his new post as governor of Minzhou, he was deeply troubled by a cruel local custom. The residents had such a fear of disease that during an outbreak, family members had no qualms about abandoning their stricken loved ones to save their own lives.  This was during the Sui Dynasty

An Ancient Chinese Story: Virtue Is the Best Cure

In ancient China, there was a cook for the royal court who went back to his hometown with a large sum of money after retirement. His hometown was in a small county, so he opened a restaurant. Business was very good there. One year, a plague spread throughout the land. Because this county was close

Dust, Earth, and Molecules

The Chinese character 塵 (chen) refers to dust. It is formed of two parts, each a full character.  The upper one is 鹿, a deer. In Bone Oracle Script, the earliest ancient Chinese writing, it was practically a full drawing of a deer. The lower part of the character 塵 is 土, meaning earth or

Confucius Never Casually Accepted Gifts

The ancients believed in the principle “sow nothing, reap nothing.” Confucius can be regarded as a perfect example. He never casually accepted remuneration gifted to him; much less did he steal others’ interests. Some people think that Confucius remained poor all his life because he was not recognized by the world at that time. In

Move Over, Tiger Moms: Meet Three Amazing Mothers of Ancient China

Recent years have seen the popularization of “tiger moms”—whose relentless, draconian measures supposedly guarantee their children successful, high-paying careers—in describing the archetypal Chinese mother. To be sure, the ancient Chinese valued industriousness, but they held virtue and wisdom in immeasurably higher regard than simple material gain. As one traditional saying has it, the foolish and

Helping Others Succeed Also Brings Success to Oneself

Zheng Xuan, an influential scholar during the Eastern Han Dynasty, was held in high regard in Chinese history. He studied, wrote copious notes on Confucianism Classics and is considered to be one of the most authoritative writers on Confucianism of the period. Zheng was in the process of writing notes on the book “Zuo Zhuan,”

Ti Ying: Daughter of Great Courage

In the early Han Dynasty (漢朝) (206 B.C.–A.D. 220) of China, there were the “Five Punishments” of which four were severe corporal punishments. This part of the penal system was once widely imposed during the previous Qin Dynasty (秦朝) (221–206 B.C.) and was retained in the new dynasty. The four forms of inflicting bodily harm

How One Woman Turned Back the Mongols and Brought Peace to China

The Xiongnu were a group of nomadic tribes living north of the Great Wall. Ancestors of the modern Mongols, thousands of years ago they made incursions into China on horseback, laying waste to the towns and villages of the sedentary, agrarian Chinese civilization. Hundreds of years before Attila’s hordes ravaged the Western Roman Empire, China’s

With Great Virtue, Lou Shide Resolves a Boat Disaster

Yuan Keshi, a fortune-telling master in the Tang Dynasty, had inherited his father’s skills and could tell fortunes very accurately through face reading. One day, Yuan and a scholar got into a boat together and were ready to cross the river. While sitting in the boat and waiting, Yuan looked at the other people in

Why ‘Ghostwriting’ in Chinese Reads as ‘Holding a Scimitar’?

To write articles or draft speeches for others in English is called “ghostwriting”.  However, the literal wording in Chinese is “holding a scimitar”, not holding a pen. It originates from a historical story that concerns Cao Cao during the Three Kingdoms period. According to “A New Account of the Tales of the World”, from the

Famous Physician Chose to Be Anonymous Apprentice

Zhang Zhongjing (A.D. 150-219), known as the sage of medicine, was a famous medical expert during the late Eastern Han Dynasty (A.D. 25-220). Even in his early years, Zhang was already established and very well-known as a talented doctor, yet he was still keen to find out new things, visiting famous doctors everywhere to learn

Xu Yun’s Intelligent Wife

In the Three Kingdoms Period (A.D. 220-280) there lived a man named Xu Yun (許允) who was the official in charge of the palace military guards in the Kingdom of Wei (魏國). Xu Yun’s wife, from the Ruan (阮) family, was a very intelligent and talented woman. However, she was extremely plain and unattractive. Disliking

Zhang Heng: Great Chinese Inventor

“Ding, dong!” a bronze ball fell from the dragon’s mouth into the frog’s mouth. In A.D. 138, during the golden age of the Eastern Han Dynasty (A.D. 25–220), this sound attracted the attention of everyone in the imperial palace. The dragon spout and the frog receptacle are part of the world’s first earthquake detector, or

Guan Zhong: First Chinese Legalist and State Philosopher

Guan Zhong ( 管仲 ), born Yiwu ( 夷吾 ), was a distinguished politician and strategist in the state of Qi during the Spring and Autumn Period of Chinese history. He was appointed Prime Minister of Qi by Duke Huan (685 B.C.). Under Guan’s governance, Qi became the most powerful state in that period. Humble

Traditional Chinese Clothing: Secrets of the Dragon Robes

An old Chinese proverb says that the reign of every emperor starts when he dons his new robes. The imperial robes of the last Qing Dynasty (1644–1911) lend legitimacy to this proverb. Clothing was seen as a status symbol for many dynasties, and was the mark of an individual’s position in society. For example, the

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