A Hundred Questions on the Chinese Culture

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When teaching foreigners Chinese, teachers often meet many questions about Chinese culture put forward by their students. This indicates that foreigners are becoming more and more interested in the glorious Chinese culture; and on the other hand, it also indicates that cultural introduction in teaching Chinese as a foreign language is a part that can not be ignores. The compilation of this book is to supply some useful materials for Chinese teaching with a view to spread Chinese culture. Since Chinese culture is so rich and colorful, it is surely impossible to give an overall introduction in such a small book. In this book, we will give very brief explanations to those questions frequently popping up in our teaching. To make it easier for foreigners to read, we also provide English translations. However, we should specify that not every article in this book has been translated word by word.

Table of Contents
Language and Characters
1. What Is Jiaguwen?
2. What Is Shiguwen? How Was It Discovered?
3. What Is the First Monograph on Chinese Grammar?
4. Is Putonghua an Equivalent of Guanhua?
5. What Methods Have Been Used in History to Mark the Pronunciaton of a Chinese Character?
6. Were There Any Forms of Punctuation in Ancient China?
7. What Is the Study of Xiaoxue?
8. When Did Chinese Characters Begin to Be Written Horizontally Instead of Vertically? Who Was the First One to Put Forward This Idea?
9. What Are the Origins of the Expressions Wu Hua Ba Men and San Jiao Jiu Liu?
10. Why Are Wu (Five) and Shi (Ten) Often Used to Signify Perfection?
Ancient Thinkers
11. What Are the Significant Contributions Made by Kongzi (Confucius) to the Chinese Thought and Education? Is ren His Main Idea? What Does Ren Mean?
12. What Kind of Book Is Dao De Jing Written by Laozi? How It Interpret Dao and Wuwei?
13. What Are the Main Thoughts of Zhuangzi, Who Is Usually Placed on the Same Par as Laozi?
14. When Did Mozi Live? What Are His Thoughts?
15. Is it Mengzi’s Idea that Subjects Are More Valuable than Rulers? What Are His Other Main Points of View?
16. What Are the Main Thoughts of Xunzi, One of the Most Eminent Confucians after Confucius and Mencius?
17. What are the Main Thoughts of Hanfeizi, One of the Important Thinkers in the Pre-Qin Period?
18. Why Is Zhu Xi Referred to as a Lizuejia (Rationalistic Philosopher of the Confucian School)? What? Are His Main Thoughts?
19. How Did Taoism Origiate and Develop?
20. How Did Buddhism Spread in China? What Are the Buddhist Sects?
21. What Are the Arrangements of the Halls and the Deities in the Chinese Buddhist Temples?
22. What Is Chenghuang? How Did the Cult of Chenghuang Originate and Develop?
23. Why Do the Images of Buddha in Yonghe Lamasery in Beijing Have Ferocious Features?
24. Who Were Baxian (the Eight Taoist Immortals)?
25. What Is the Origin and Development of the Door-gods? Why Are There So Many Lord Guan Yu’s Temples Throughout China?
Drama and Music
26. What Was the Origin of the Traditional Chinese Opera? How Did it Develop?
27. When Did Jingju (Beijing Opera) Emerge? What Are the Roles in This Opera?
28. What Do the Facial Makeups Stand for in Beijing Opera?
29. What Are the Characteristics of Qinqiang
30. What Is Nuo Dance? Is There Any Connection Between Nuo Dance and Nuo Opera?
31. What Were the Ten Yue in the Tang Dynasty? What Were Zuobuji and Libuji?
Painting, Calligraphy and Art
32. What Was the Origin of Chinese Portraiture? How Did It Develop?
33. What Is the History of Chinese Landscape Painting?
34. How Did Chinese Calligraphy Develop? Who Were the Famous Calligraphers?
35. What Was the Origin of the Seal? How Did It Develop?
36. What Are the Characteristics of the World-famous Tangsancai?
Chinese Medicine
37. What Are Sizhen 9the Four Diagnostic Methods) and Bagang (the Eight Principles)?
38. Who Were the Authors of the Ten Classics of Chinese Medicine? What Were Their Contents?
39. Who Wrote the First Book on Medical Jurisprudence in China? What Is Its Content?
Folk Legend
40. What Is the Story of Pi Shan Jiu Mu (Cleaving the Mountain to Rescue the Mother)?
41. What Is the Story of Qilin Xian Shu (A Unicorn Presents Books)?
42. What Is the Story of Magu Xian Shou (Magu Presents Her Birthday Gift)?
43. What Is the Story of Shangshan Sihao (The Four Hoary Venerable)?
44. Why Do the Chinese People Respect and Love Dragons and Call Themselves “Dragon’s Descendants”?
45. Dragon and Phoenix Are Mentioned Together in the Chinese Saying “Dragon and Phoenix Show Good Luck”. Is Phoenix a Magic Bird?
46. What Are the Origin and Meaning of the Saying “Liyu Tiao Longmen” (Carps Jump over Longmen) in Chinese Folk Legend?
47. Why Has Peach Been Taken as the Symbol of Longevity in China?
48. There Were Some Folk Festive Activities like Song Zaowang (Seeing off the god of the Hearth) and Ying Caishen (Welcoming the God of Wealth) during the Spring Festivl in the Past. Were There Any Stories about These Two Gods?
Folk Customs
49. What Are Yin and Yang? What Are Their Influences on Chinese Culture? What Is Taijitu?
50. What Are the 24 Solar Terms?
51. When Did Shi’er Shengxiao (the Twelve Animals of Chinese Zodiac) Come into Being?
52. Why Do People Perform Lion and Dragon Dances on Days of Jubilation?
53. How Did Duilian (Couplets) Develop in the History?
54. What Is Nianhua (Spring Festival Picture)? How Did It Develop?
55. Who Invented Fengzheng (Kite)? How Did It Evolve?
56. There Are Always a Pair of Stone Lions Before Some Big Architectures in China. What Does This Imply?
57. There Are Song He Yan Nian and Sui Han San You Among Chinese Suspicious Pictures. What Do They Mean? What Are Their Backgrounds?
58. What Is the Origin of “San Yang Kai Tai”, One of the Auspicious Expressions in Chinese?
Names and Systems
59. How Did the Term Zhongguo (China) Come into Use? Why is China Also Called Zhonghua?
60. What Titles Have Been Used for Ancient Chinese Emperors?
61. Are There Any Other Forms of Address for Emperors?
62. What Were the Ranks of the Imperial Nobility of the Qing Dynasty?
63. What Did the Terms Xiumu and Xiuzhi Stand for?
64. When Did Household Registration Start in China?
65. When did the Imperial Examination System Start? What Did It Test?
66. Who Were the Earliest Policemen in China and What Were Their Functions?
67. How Did Ancient Post Roads Develop in China?
Ancient Books
68. What Do the Ancient Chinese Books Look Like?
69. Is Sunzi Bingfa the First Book on the Art of War in China? What Are the Main Ideas in the Book?
70. What Are the Earliest Works on Agriculture in Ancient China? What Are Their Contents?
71. What Kind of Book Is Tian Gong Kai Wu and What Was Its Influence?
72. What Kinds of Books are Yongle Dadian and Siku Quanshu?
Ancient Architecture
73. Who Was the Architect of Tian’anmen?
74. When Did Beijing’s Siheyuan Begin to Be Constructed?
75. Do Stupa and Buddhist Pagoda Stand for the Same Thing? What Are the Well-Known Pagodas of Different Styles in China?
76. How Many Famous Dragon Screens Are There in China?
77. What Does Huabiao Signify?
78. Why are Imperial Tombs Called Ling? Is There Any Other Ming Tomb in Beijing Apart from the Thirteen Noted Ming Tombs?
79. What Is Pailou? What Is Its Function?
Ancient Forms of Address
80. What Forms of Address Did Ancient Chinese Have?
81. How Many Forms of Address for A Wife Are There in Chinese?
82. Does Xing and Shi Mean the Same?
83. What Is Bihui?
84. What Were the Special Expressions Used to Name Different Age Periods for People in Ancient China?
Ancient technology
85. Was the Chinese Lunar Calendar Worked out According to the Waxing and Waning of the Moon? What Was the Contribution of Zu Chongzhi in This Field? When Did the Current Chinese Lunar Calendar Come into Being?
86. When Was Sericulture of China Spread into Other Countries?
87. What Are the Great Achievements of Traditional Chinese Agriculture?
88. How Did Ancient Chinese Currency Develop and Evolve?
89. Why Was Money Nicknamed Kongfangxiong?
90. How Did the Phrase Mai Dongxi Come into Use?
91. Why Are Doctors Called Daifu and Langzhong?
92. When did the Antiquarian Studies of China Start? How Did It Develop?
93. How Was Chinese Fan Invented? What Was the History of Fan?
94. What are the Features and Categories of Chinese Embroidery?
95. Is China the First Tea Producer? What Is the History of Planting and Drinking Tea in China? What Are the Well-Known Chinese Teas?
96. What Is the History of Chinese Cuisine? What Are the Characteristics of the Eight Well-Known Schools of Chinese Cuisine? What Is Shan Zhen Hai Wei (Delicacies from the land and the Sea)?
97. How Did Chinese Noodles Originate?
98. What Is the Origin of Traditional Chinese Martial Arts? What Are the Characteristics of Taijiquan?
99. What Are the Shiba Ban Wuyi (Skills in Wielding the Eighteen Kinds of Weapons) that Chinese People Often Talk about? How Did the Ancient Chinese Weapons Develop?
100. What Are the Origins of Wu Yue (the Five Famous Mountains)? Why Is Mt. Tai Placed at the Head of Wu Yue?
Appendix: A Brief Chinese Chronology
A Hundred Questions on the Chinese Culture