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Sign Conceptions in Chinese Cultural History

Date:2011-03-30 00:14Author:admin
The title“Sign conceptions in China”mav touch Oil the following possible topics:(1) traditional ways of thinking in China and act ions with semiotic implications;f2)traditional Chinese discussions on l; (3) the present-day descripti

Sign conceptions in Chinise Cultural History

          Youzheng Li (李幼蒸)
Ein Handbuch ZU den zeichentheoretischen
Grundlagen yon Natur und Kultur
A Handbook on the Sign-Theoretic
Foundations of Nature and Culture
编者:Roland PosnerKlaus RoberingThomas ASebeok
出版社:Walter de GruyterBerlin·New York, 1998
Sign conceptions in China the original titile
 2Language (语言)
    21The sound system and phonetics
    22The transformations of the graphic forms of Chinese characters
    23Structure and formation of the characters
 3Logic (逻辑)
    31Debates on the relationship between names and reality
    32Argumentation and inference
 4.  Philosophy (哲学)
    41Cosmological schematism
    42Basic categories of cosmic ontology
    43Ethical noumenal categories
    44 The epistemology of Chinese Buddhism
 5Myths and relig ions (神话和宗教)
    51 Mythsnatural gods and worship
    52Totern worship
    53Sorcery and divinat ion
    54.  Some social effects of the native relig ions
 6.  Society and politics (社会和政治)
    61The significance of appellatives
    62Political effects of auspicious symbols
    63Social strata and symbols
    64Rituals and customs in daily life
 7.  Literature and historiography (文学和史学)
 8The fine arts (艺术)
    83The theory of homological relations between poetry and painting
    8 4Sculpture and frescos
 9Architecture and gardens (建筑和园林)
    91The typology of Chinese architecture
    92Buildings as symbols of social
    93Temples as synthetical symbol systems
    94Artistic gardens
    95The symbolism of old city walls
l 0The performing arts (表演艺术)
    10. 2Dance
    1o. 3Martial arts
    1o. 4 Traditional Chinese Opera
11.  Selected references (参考资料)
    111Source books in Chinese
    1 12Translations from Chinese Sources
    1 13Books in Western Languages
1 Introduction
The titleSign conceptions in Chinamav touch Oil the following possible topics(1)
traditional ways of thinking in China and act ions with semiotic  implicationsf2)traditional Chinese discussions on l; (3) the present-day descriptions of 1 and 2; (4) present-day discussions on 12 and 3 in terms of modern semiotlc knowledgeWhile 4 is important it is not the object of the present discusslonCompared with Western intellectual history2 was mostly given in an unsystematic and tractured way using pre-scientific terminology, so it is difficult to present 2 directlyHowever 1 is  indeed an unparalleled source of  sign conceptionsand China thus qualifies as an empire of signs in human historyThis article is therefore intended to fall Into category 3Brieflythis is a topographicaJ description of what traditional Chinese culture has contributedboth directly  and  indirectlyin connection with signs and sign systemsUnfortunately, such important subjects as traditional Chinese sciences and technologythe cultural histories of the frontier areas and contemporary Chinese society and culture cannot be handled here
21The sound system and phonetics
The phonetic evolution of the Chinese language can be broadly divided into four periodsthe ancient (before 58 l AD)the medieval (5811271 AD)the early modern (12711911 AD) and the modern (from 1 9 1 1 onward)The phonetic structures have changed from one period to anotherThe traditional Chinese phonology established 1500 years ago remains applicable in analyzing modern Chinese phonetic systemsIt takes a special system consisting of three kinds of components called respectivelysheng(almost equivalent to the initial consonant),“yun(approximately equivalent to the simple or compound vowel) anddiao(similar to the tone)Thus the sound of a Chinese character consists of an initial consonanta VoweI and a toneThe tone system has four types calledfour tones(high and levelrisingfalling-risingfalling)The three components function in differentiating the parts of speech and meaningsThereforethe sound of a character is the acoustic  form of its morphemeand its meaning is determined by a compound of three phonological componentsFurthermoreone character represents one syllable rather than one phonemeand one syllable with a tone represents one or more morphemesModern Chinese contains more than four hundred syllableswith tones addedthe number of all syllables rises to about 1300There are 21 consonants and 39 vowelsthe numbers of both being  less than they were in ancient ChinaThe earliest Chinese phonological  lexicons are Qie Yun (written by Lu Fa Yan during the Sui dynasty) and Guang Yun (written during the NSung dynasty)They classified all the then available characters into 206 sections according to 206 phonological types
22The transformations of the graphic forms of Chinese characters
The history of the vocabulary systems of Chinese characters can be traced back 3000 yearsThe modern system of characters was established two thousand years ago in the Chin (Qin) dynastyA history of the transformation of graphic forms of Chinese characters can be divided into three periods(1) the period of Jiaguwen (the oracle bones and tortoise scripts in the Shang period) and Jinwen (scripts on bronze objects in the Chou period)(2)the period of Lishu (official scripts current in the Han dynasty)(3) the period of Kaishu (more regular scripts originated in the Northern dynastiesthis system has been transmitted through to our times)The Jiaguwen and the Jinwen are already well-formed characters but t heir forms are still close to pictures
23Structure and formation of the characters
A character is a compound of formsound and meaningThe form of a character consists of a few related strokes and a structure formed through themFive basic stroke types combine to give over twenty main stroke typeswhich In turn form about 60000 characters through their various possible combinations (concerning the syntactic description of line drawings and characters by means of graph grammars)Due to the radical differences between spoken and written languagethe traditional Chinese written material has kept its independent identity and valueA classical theory of motivating principles for character construction calledSix Shuwas firstly raised under the Han dynastyLaterSix Shu was reduced to four principles for the structure of characters, namely (1) imitating the form of the represented object(2) pointing at the nature of or at the relations between objects (most items of this category are abstract words)(3)combining a meaningful part of one old characterwith that of another(4)a picto-phonetic principleaccording to which the newly formed character consists of an old ideogram and an old phonogramGenerally speakingin the course of transformations the Chinese characters tended to become Iess pictographic and more ideographic at firstand later less ideographic and more phonographicNeverthelessin Han times most Chinese characters became pictophonetic
There are five linguistic levels in the Chinese linguistic  hierarchyWord order and empty (function) words are  the means by which the lower linguistic units can form the higher unitsThey aremorpheme, word, word groupsentence and composite sentenceThe number of empty wordsie,of words serving as fuction units, is about 400It should be pointed out that most set phrases are four-character groupsThey not only signify compound meanings but also imply rich poetic and musicaI connotationsSemantically, the Chinese set phrases abound with graphic beautyrhythmic  charms and histolicaI associations, considerably enriching the expressive potential of Chinese as a literary  language
In ancient Chinaa discipline of logic in its modern sense did not exist; nevertheless there were Iively discussions on the relations between nameconcept and referent and the proper ways of reasoning among philosophersBuddhist scholars and literary criticsOn the wholemost of these discussions were connected with ethical and political considerationsAfter Indian Buddhism entered Chinathe Indian classical
logicYin-Mingwas also introducedbut its influence was 1imited to the field of Buddhist scholarship
31Debates on the relationship between names and reality
311The theory of name-rectification in the Confucian School
The principle of name-rectification was raised earlier than other logical problems in
ChinaThe major representatives of this trend of thought were Confucius(55 l-479
 Bc)Mencius (1ate 4th century BC) and Hsun Tzu (298-235 BC1In this ethically semantic discussion the first principle wasconformity between name and reality”.Confuciustwo maxims were:“to rectify errors and incorrectness in factual iudgmentsand torectify improper names and claims in social and ethical orders”.As a great summarizer of ethic-semantic thoughts, Hsun Tzu  raised the important principle thatnames are made in order to denote real things”.He particularly emphasized relations between the individual and the universal and distinctions between such concepts assimilarity,difference”,“singleandcommon”.His most important contribution is the doctrine on the classification of names
31. 2The School of Names (dialecticians)
The Chinese dialecticians played a considerable role in Chinese intellectual life between the fifth and the third centuries BCThe most famous among them were Hui-Shi (370-310 BC) and Kung-Sun Lung (325- 250 BC)They changed the earlier topic of name rectification to more serious semantic analysisHuiShis central claim was thatequality of similarity and difierence(mountain is on the same 1evel with marsh) proves the relativity of difference in space and time of thingsAnalogously.“dog is similar to sheep”,for each of them is an animal with four feetBesideshe pointed out that  the perceptual fire and heat are different
 from the conceptual ones, for the former is individual and the 1atter is general rnames are disconnected from physical shapes1), Kung-Sun was famous for claiming thatproperty is different from its substance(or “hardness and whiteness of a stone can be separated)His discussions cover the wide range from the concept of class, the difference between intension and extensionthe norms of judging to the forms of reasoning
313The Mohist School of dialecticians
The logic of Mohist and the later Mohist schools was the most systematic, influential
and important one among various ancient systems of Chinese logical thought, and it
paid attention to the practical aspects of logical reflection as wellThe classic Mohist
Canon by Motzu (480-390 BC) raised six tasks of logicdistinguishing between right
 and wrong, social order and disorder, similarity and difierencename and realitybenefit and harmand removing doubts
314The Taoist logic of unnamableness
The Taoist school and its original founder Lao TZu (about 600 BC) said thatTao
(the great way) is unnamable since the namable involves physical thingsAnother
founder of this schoolChung Tzu (369-286  BC) applied the Tao principle to political ethicssharply criticizing  the Confucian name-rectification theory and advocating the do-nothing principle of Tao
315The relations between word and meaning
Ou-Yang Jian (died 300 AD)raised the proposition that words can completely express the meanings which correspond to things that exist in their own rightwhile the great Neo-Taoist scholar Wang Bi (226249 AD) of the same period took the opposite positionnamely that words cannot completely express ideasHe developed an extensive doctrine of the relations between wordsideas and symbols, concluding thatonce symbols have been graspedwords can be forgotten()and once meanings have been graspedsymbols can be forgotten”.So words and meanings are of a closely related nature
32Argumentation and inference
The study of logical inference was the weak point in traditional Chinese philosophy. Howeverthe Mohists did present some elementary forms of deduction and inductionNot interested in logical inferences as suchthe Confucian school focused on the debating skills of moral discusslonswhich were qualified by analogical interences in terms of metaphors and fablesThe Neo-Confucian master Chu Hsi (1130-1 200 AD) later raised a more epistemoIogical Inference principlenamely thatLi(the principle) is single while things are multiplebut Li 1s known through examining thingstruth 1s thus reached by understanding phenomena. A more subjective way of reasoning was maintained by another NeoConfucian masterWang Yang Ming(14721528 AD)He insisted that Li or the essence of thinis
existed only in our mindLi is expressed in millions ot things but only contained in ones mindThus one mustdisclose ones own mind to reach truth”,and the practical way to reach this aim is to cultivate ones conscousness and to Increase ones potential
The language of traditional Chinese philosophy abounds with symbolic expressions
Many Important concepts are compounds of concrete Images and abstract notionswhich are liable to lead to logical ambiguities as well as to produce emotional and volitional effects
41 Cosmological schematism
41IThe conception of five elements
As early as the ll th century BCthere existed a prlmitive cosmological view that the
universe or the world consisted of five basic elements(metalwoodwaterfire and earth)Parallel to these five elementsmany other five-component orders were invented for, say, almanacsmedicineastrology and ethicsThe number 5 played a key role in the Chinese intellectual history of classificationDuring the Warring States periodTsou Yan (305240 BC) began to combine the five-elements conception with the Yin-Yang notionmaintaining that the five elements produce each other and also overcome each other in a fixed sequenceBased on this theoryhe built up a philosophy of history, claiming that there were five basic powers which determined the pattern of transformation oi dynasties   
412The Yin-Yang School and the system of divinatory symbols in the I King
(Yi Jing)   
Recourse to bipolarity was a fundamental method of ancient Chinese reasoningThe
two poles were regularly calledYin(as expressed by the femalethe moon) andYang” (as expressed by the malethe sun)It was said that all things in the universe were produced or derived from a mixture or combination of the two originsThe I King for Book of Change) evolved from the primitive Yin-Yang notion and ancient divinatory practicesIt contains a philosophicalcosmological and social schematism which was later extrapolated to almost all areas of human lireYin and Yang are represented by the lines“一”and“一一’’respectively and calledyao” (change)The two kinds of Yaos can form eight basic symbols calledtrigrams”.signifying the change of thingsFor each trigram there area namea picture (symbol)a basic property and many (up to over 1000) symbolic images(emblems) with corresponding connotationsFurthermoreby combining any two of these eight tngrams into diagrams consisting ot Six (divided and undivided) 1ines, a total of sixty-four hexagrams (calledDa-Cheng diagrams) can be obtainedArranged in this  way, the text of the Book of Change contains 64 hexagrams64  sentences of hexagrams and 384 sentences of yaosOnly later were some hermeneuticaI appendices added to the original text of the book with the aim of using it to interpret political and ethical phenomena   
413The Diagram of the Supreme UItimate(Tai-Ji)emblemology and
The Neo-Confucians of the Northern Sung dynasty established other systematic cosmological doctrines based on the Book of Changetwo chief scholars of which are Shao Yung(10ll1077) and Zhou Dun Yi (1017-1073)In The Diagram of What Antedates HeavenShao built up an emblemological and numerological system according to which all things are both produced and undergo changeHe combined Yin-Yao and Yang-Yao according to a numerological scheme in order to form a complete emblemological system and consequently show the processes of change in things regardless of the specific meaning of the original emblems of hexagramsZhou also composed his own cosmic diagram calledthe Supreme Uitimatewithout the numerological explanations addedHis cosmic evolution scheme follows this orderthe Ultimateless - the Supreme Ultimate:
  *movement- Yang - heaven 
 *auiescence- Yin - earth   
   → the tive elements→ the four seasons
42 Basic categories of cosmic ontology
Taoas an ultimate ontological category has the literal meaning ofroad toward the final truth’.It is also understood to be the source or origin of the universe and the law of cosmic circular changeLao-Thu said that Taoimplies two senses:‘beingandnon-being’.“Non” here meansnamelessnessandshapelessnessrather thanvoidness’.It can also be understood asunlimited and eternal motion’.Howeverthe Neo-Taoist Wang Bi tooknon-beinginstead asnothingness, in which he saw the ultimate root of all beingsTao as non-being cannot be described by any emblem - the wordroadincluded - because it is shapelessnamelessuncertainand equivalent to zeroUnlike his Taoist contemporariesthe Neo-Confucianist Chu Hsi had a more substantial conception of Tao, taking it as both the origin and the basis of cosmological and ethical lawsIn his systemTao is tantamount to Li (the principle) and Tai-Ji as the final root of the universe and society
422.“Li(the principle) andQi(air)
Li and Qi are two central categories that were first raised by early Neo-Confucianism in the Sung dynasty, under the influence of Zen and Hua-Yan Buddhism, and were 1ater systematically developed by Chu HsiFor him Li is not much different from Tao as an abiding noumenonLi as oneness antedates Oi as the root of thingswhile Li as plurality is reflected in everythingjust as one moon can be reflected  in thousands of riversLi was furthermore combined with heavenand a new termHeaven-Liwas coined with the stronger senses ofsourceandsupervision’.
43 Ethical noumenaI categories
431.“Ren(benevolence) andYi(righteousness)
These two basic concepts, introduced by Confucius and Mencius respectively, are the
highest virtues of Confucian ethicsbeing more important and influential than all other ethical conceptsTheir meanings have been greatly enriched by innumerable historical tales as moral types and models
432.“Hsing(human nature) and the mind
Another school of Neo-Confucianism was represented by Lu Jiu-Yun (1139-1193) and
Wang Yang Mingwho considered the concepts of mind and human nature the highest ethical and cosmological categoriesIn factthe mind was said to be the very source and origin of all natural and moral phenomenaTherefore cultivation of ones mind was naturally a way to reach Li or truthWang further maintained that the mind is Li and action is knowledgein the psychological world conduct and knowledge are united and become one.
44The epistemology of Chinese Buddhism
Indian Buddhism was first introduced into China under the Han dynastyand many
Chinese Buddhist schools were established after this periodChinese Buddhism experienced its prime under the Tang dynastyAmong the many schools were several with philosophical contributionssuch as the Tian-Tai sectthe San-Lun sectthe Wei-Shi sectthe Hua-Yan sect and ZenAmong them Tian-TaiHua-Yan and Zen are three Buddhist sects relatively native to China
441The Tian-Tai sect
This sect was established bv Chih-Kai (538-597) in the Tian-Tai mountainsmaintaining two central doctrines(1)One mind can see three genuine aspects of things (the voidthe illusory and the neutral) at onceThese three aspects are three truths merged together(2) The whole universe exists in one mind and its intentional activityThe philosophical argumentation of this sect was full of analogies
442The Hua-Yan sect (flowery splendor’)
Fa Zhang(643-7 1 2)established this sect, attempting to unify a11 Buddhist teachings into one theoretical and practical systemHe raised the principle of unhindered interpenetration of the universaI into the particular and ot the particular into other particularsThese ldeas were further developed by the followers of this sectwho thus produced the most elaborate doctrine in Chinese Buddhism
4421The Treatise of the Golden Lion
Fa Tsang summarized the Hua-Yan philosophy in his Treatise of the Golden LionUsing the golden statue of a lion in a royal courtyard as a symbolhe expounds the relations between LI(universaI principlel and Shih (particular appearance)pointing out ten problems through analogical explanations and concluding that alI phenomenadespite their diversity, interpenetrate each otherHis approach can be briefly exemplified in terms of the image of a lion
4. 4. 2. 2The mirror as a metaphor forZhenru(final truth)
The mirror was the Hua-Yan sects  favorite metaphor for truthA mirror is clean and immutableso it can reflect the images of thingsBecause it can reflect the images of thingsthe mirror 1s clean and immutableSimilarlyZhenru as substance is immutableproducing a variety of particular phenomenaAnd because it produces a variety of thingsone can infer that Zhenru is clean and immutable
 name of phrase       meaning          metaphor
 general              totality           golden lion
 particular             parts            eyes, ears
 common            common things   one 1ion made
                     constituted by      of different parts
 different            parts of one body   eye is different from
                     are different from   ear
                     each other
 constituting          all parts constitute   parts constitute
                     one totality         one lion
 destructing           each part keeps its   ear is independent from eye
                     own identity        
Meaning connected with the image of the Golden Lion according to Fa Zhang (643- 712)
4423The metaphor of dust and the pearl
This is another of Hua-Yans  famous metaphors for Buddhist truthA particle of dust contains a great number of worlds which differ from each other in various waysAnalogically, in the Indian fableNetwork of the Heaven-Empire” (the palace adorned with pearl nets)each pearl reflects all other pearlsand each image in a pearl again reflects all other pearlsso the resulting number of images of pearls is limitlessBy extensiontime is divided into its own pastpresent and futureand each of them is again divided into mutually interpenetrating phases finally form one general time phase
4.4.3 Zen Buddhism
Zen”,orDhyana, stands for calm meditationThe Northern and the Southern sects of Chinese Zen Buddhism were established by two famous disciples of the Indian Zen patriarch in ChinaShen Hsiu (600706) and Hui-Neng (638- 7 1 0) respectivelyAnd Zen with its various 10cal sects became the most popular and characteristic Buddhist religion in China for more than one thousand yearsMoreoverno other Chinese religion is of greater semiotic interest than Zendue to the many illogical and seemingly absurd ways of reasoning and persuading of the latterThe first principle of the Southern sect is that of the inexpressibility of truthThus Buddhist masters gave up or even destroyed all reasonable communication with peopleThey also stressed the value of sudden enlightenment
 rather than the conscious self-cultivation taught by earlier mastersAccording to their fresh ideasreligious communication could only be reached through ones daily deedsZen teaching was typically performed through a special dialogue between a master and his pupil without any normal semantic contentIrrelevant utterancesgestures (including the beating with a stick) and even silence became the means to help pupils grasp thezen”.The reason was that masters tried to destroy the pupilsnatural belief in physical 1aws and their pretension of knowledgeConsidered semlotlcallyZen created many unusual ways of signification and communication   
5 Myths and religions
51Myths, natural gods and worship
The relics of primitive Chinese worship can be traced to the time of the Upper-Cave-Man living twenty or thirty thousand years agoThe oldest objects of worship were the sun and the moonand many legends about them have been transmitted to modern times from remote antiquityOther important natural gods were rainwind and thunderrelated legends have existed in all parts of China and
worship based on them had become an important tradition until iust decades ago.  In the Jia-Gu-Wien material we find records of ceremonies for calling up rain storms and ways to offer sacrifices, including burning men alive and crying up to heaven
The worship of mountains and rivers was very popularshowing a strong practical concem about living conditionsThe rites of offering sacrifices to rivers(mainly the Yellow River) in ancient times had been extremely solemn and seriousfrequently with the planned sinking of a ship and drowning of girlsWorship of the gods of the mountains (mainly the Tai and the Sung)washowevermore popularAccording to the recordsmany other objects like starstideswoodstormfireearthbirdswells and roads also had their own corresponding gods and were worshipped in less serious waysIn peoples daily lifethe more popularly worshipped gods were those of heavenearthmarriage, doorsovens and work 
52Totem worship
Many records of totem worship have been attested in historical documentsThere existed three categories of totems(1) the earliest found totemseg.,snakesbirdsbears and tigers(2)the totems with half-man-half-animal images (those described in the earliest Chinese mythological classicthe Mount and Sea Classic)(3)many purely imaginative totemssuch as the dragonphoenix and the mixture of a dragon and a snakeThe totems were worshipped and their names were taken as family names in the early times of China
53Sorcery and divination
The divination arts in ancient China had a name consisting of the two charactersbu
andzhan”,meaningreading the omens through burning tortoise bonesand then
watching the emblems of the omens’,respectivelyThere were six ways to foretell good and illastrologyalmanacthe Five Hsingplaying with a specific herb and observing burnt tortoise bonesThe above arts of sorcery and divination were a very influential profession in ancient times with close connections to performing symbolic semioses of various types.
54Some social effects of the native eligions
In ancient times there had been many native nd 10cal religions with 1ess elaborate
doctrines and numerous superstitious elementsThe most widespread of these was
Taoism to be distinguished from Taoism as a philosophy)which exercised strong social (f not religious) ffectsIts classical base was the Tai-Ping Classic fin the Eastern Han dynasty)consisting of Taoist philosophysorcery and necromancyThe Taoist religion and its many 10cal sects had two considerable social effectsit nourished belief in immortality and was the spiritual souree of rebellionsWith respect to the formereven ancient emperors indulged in Taoist cultivationssuch as taking special pills and performing religious ritesAs for the latterthe famous farIner rebellions towards the close of the Eastern Han dynasty became the archetype of the rebellious
farmer armies to follow,with religion as the driving forceOn the other handculturally the Taoist efforts contributed much to 1iterary artistic and primitive scientific and even tourist achievementsLike Chinese Buddhismthe Taoist religion had its special type of templescalled Guan”,which were maintained by 1Taoist
priests who practised rites and chanted scriptures there every day
6 Society and politics
After the Chin and Han dynastiesChina became more totalitarian in her social and po1itical constitutionThe difierence between various estates was not only shown in many social and family systemsbut also embodied in relations between mennorms of conduct as well as a great number of rites and rules of courtesyYet the strict systems of protocol morality and politics had been established much earlier. Confucians compiled the moral classic Book of Rites, which became the basic code to be respected by following generationsAccordinglya great number of literary
 expressions were produced to form the corresponding systems of significationIn this wayChina developed into a country full of ritual sign systems
61 The significance of appellatives
611Family names
In ancient Chinafamily names were the signs of a clan andafter the Warrior period,
the titles of fiefsliving placespositions and the names of ancestors could be used as ramily namesBeside the family namea person could also have two possible surnamescalledziand‘‘hap”.Surnames were the designations of a definite person.“Ziis given by parents to show ones seniority among his (her) brothers and sisterswhilehapis to express ones own aspirations and styleIn the social etiquettethe three kinds of names are used in different situations demonstrating
 peoples relations and positions in the social hierarchy
612Names of emperors
 Since Chin Shih Huang-Ti (259-210 BC)Huang-Ti(emperor) became the title of all top rulers of the following Chinese dynastiesMany other titles with laudatory meaning could be addedAmong them the most lmportant is the title ofreigning’,which can intensify the impression of the monarchs  legitimacyThe complicated title system of the Chinese royal family shows a delicate political-psychological implicationAccording to this systemwhen an emperor died he would be given two further titles:“shi-haoin connection with his deeds and contributions andming-haoin connection with his ritual position in the royal family.“Shi-haocan mean praisecriticism or moral neutralityIt is tantamount to a procedure ot changing namesreplacing the old (valid when he lived) with the new (when he died)There was a strict taboo forcing to avoid the names of emperors and of certain of their relatives in ancient ChinaWhen writing, people had to avoid using characters which happened to occur as constituents of emperorsnamesThis taboo (calledbihui)  forced people to change those characters or at 1east to leave out some strokes of themtransgressions were severely punished
62Political effects of auspicious symbols
621Regimes and names
In ancient Chinapeople thought regimes and rites had a close tie with naturaI gods
and their namesUnder the Han dynasty, a systematic theory about the problem was
raised by the great Confucian scholar Dong Zhong Shu (175-105 BC)who declared
that a mutual correspondence existed between the will of heaven and the fortune of a regimeThis correspondence relation could be disclosed by some specific natural signsThis doctrine was based on the prevailing metaphysical principles ofthe Five Xing (five elements) and the YinYangHe suggested that wealways carefully examine the problems of names and titles”,for they were prescribed by the sages and reflect the will of heavensignifying what is right
6. 22Regimes and symbolic figures
Under the Eastern Han dynasty, a speciaI augury called Chen-weiprevailed, which
studied the relations of symbolic texts to po1itical faithThe instrument of the augury was achen”,which was a green text decorated with figuresIt was said to have come from heaven and could be used to foretell the fortune of states and personsWhen Wang Mangan officiaI under the 1ate Western Han dynastyseized powerhe declared he had been offered achenfrom heavenHe was then defeated by Liu Xiou who claimed the same and handled political affairs according to the play ofchenaugury
623The role of names in rebellions
In Chinese historya dynasty was often replaced by another through rebellious activities organized by generals originally belonging to the tormer dynastyor by oppressed farmers and formerly subordinated minoritiesThe rebellious armies always took a careful account of the names and related symbols representing their powers in order to prove their activities had been motivated by the will of heavenFor exampleZhang Jao, the 1eader of the rebellious army in the final years of the Eastern Han dynasty,used the following slogan to encourage his people at each battle:“the old Heaven diedthe new yellow Heaven has been ascending(his soldiers wore yellow scarfs)The intertwining relations between political powersreligious  falth and names and symbols can be most clearly shown by the history of the rebellion of Tai-Ping-Tian-Guo in the Iast centuryIts  initiator Hong Xio-Quan (1813-1864) took Jehovah as the Father of the Heaven and claimed to be his envoy in this worldIn their  military activities - which were quite successful - Hong Xio-Quan and his followers made frequent use of symbolic articlespolitical names and religious rites
63Social strata and symbols
In ancient China there had been strictly organized bureaucratic hierarchies consisting of dozens of administrative and aristocratic ranksCorresponding to their respective
ranksthe officials and nobles had to wear prescribed clothes with difierent colorsfigures and qualitiesThe codes  for clothing were highly significant phenomenaFor exampleunder the Tang dynastythe fifth ranked officiaI used purplethe sixth redthe seventh green and the ninth blackIn the Ming and Ching dynastiesthe embroidered designs and the animal figures on the official dress were more strictly stipulatedThe same is the case for the materialpearls on hats
shoes and other pieces of clothing
631Standards of burial and guards of honor
These are two very crucial symbolic systems in ancient ChinaThe standards of the burial system recorded in the Chou dynasty reflected the hierarchical ranks of the livingThe difference of status was first shown through the number of inner and outer coffinsburial articles and the shape of the graveBefore the Chin and the Han dynastiesfor examplethe shape of graves of emperors and loyal family members was square while that of premiers and generals was roundIn additionthe diffeFence was also shown in the size of tombs and number of stone steps in front of mausoleums as well as in the quality of woodcolor and paint of coffinsThe same was the case with the guards of honorThe processional activities of guards of honor were very significant in the political and social life of ancient China, and there were strict specifications as to the number 0f guards and to the symbolic decoration of their uniformsin accordance with the political status of the officials involved
632The Feng-Chen ritual and the worship of ancestors
TheFeng-Chenwas a symbolic ritual to offer sacrifices to heaven and earthshowing the emperorS gratitude for his regimes earthly successand appealing for further divine blessingThis was typically done by holdmg a solemn and grandiose ceremony on the top of the Tai Mountainwith detailed stipulations as to the color of the participantsclothingthe sacrificial articles and the way to kneel during the whole processThe dramatic performance was also a demonstranon that a new dynasty had been firmly established under heavens authorizationThe worship of ancestors had a close link with the functioning of the social systemtooThe elaborate rites involving a memorial ceremony to ancestors can be traced to the Shang dynastyThe further-developed models formed under the Chou dynasty were f0llowed for the next three millennia, and their complex rules were similarly determined by the ranks of both the deceased and the 1iving
633Forms of Official documents
The earliest well-developed systems of official documentation can be traced to the Yin or the Shang dynastiesThe Book of History stipulated six difierent genres of omcial correspondence with regard to regulationsprojectsinstructionsnoticesoaths and ordersUnder the Tang and the Sung dynastiesthe systems of official documents underwent considerable developmentThere were around eight types of documents used among the various institutionsThe elaborate classification system of officiaI documents in China reflected and maintained the hierarchical relations and grades of powerThe specifications concerned touch upon the literary styleformsspecific appelativesthe size of the stationery paper, signaturessealsand even the
serial numbers of documents
64Rituals and customs in daily life
Ancient China abounded with intricate rituals and over-elaborate formalitiesall reflecting Chinese beliefs, social stratmcations and a great number of symbolizationsThousands of symbolic systems involving ornaments, actionsgestures and customs have existed in the various domainsThe following are some examples
641The ritual of birth and the hat-wearing ceremony
The ritual of birth was a grand ceremony with difierent standards in line with the social grades of the participantsand exhibited through the degree of intricacythe total number of participants and the value of the ceremonial utensilsThe hat ceremony was held on the day when a son reached l 9 years of ageIt was performed in the ancestraI temples or halls, under the direction of his fatherIt contains a 15 step process in which, for examplethe boy is offered the choice from three kinds of hats
642Marriage systems and the wedding ceremony
In ancient China a man could have one 1egal wife and several concubinesconstitutingin other wordspatriarchal monogamy cornbined with sexual polygamyIn  fact, women belonged to three levelsthat of a wifethat
 of aying(often the wifes sister or maid) or that of a concubine (bought)Since the Chou dynastya system calledthe six riteswas stipulated for the wedding ceremonyThe standards of the wedding ceremony were furthermore determined according to the social position of the fianceThe process washoweversimplified gradually after the Chou dynastyparticularly among the wider populace
643Etiquette of social intercourse
Very complicated specifications of etiquette were given for when people were to meet each other, in line with their status, relations and situationThere were over nine types of meeting etiquetteand several ways of squattingkneeling and sittingThe seating order around a banq uet table was also strictly stipulatedThe order of superiority around the table was east, south, north and west in turnFurthermorethe specifications for the sequence of serving dishesmaking toasts and the content of the drinkers wager game also reflected the relations between the superior and the inferiorolder and youngermale and femaleThe forms of address in various situations were sophisticatedlv fixed to maintain the social superiority of officials over cornmon people
7Literature and historiography
China is a country whose unparalleled written literature stretches continuously over
three thousand yearsIn ancient China, literary activities were performed in almost every aspect of intellectual and social 1ireBefore the end of the Ching dynastyevery intellectual was more or less a poet, and almost all written documents of various types contained some literary traitsChina was also a country ceaselessly and strenuously ensuring the writing of its own history (in an unmatched abundance of historical documents) and also laying high emphasis on the political role of historical writingsFurthermore, 1iterature and historiographv have always been regarded as two closely connected fields
711The literary functions of Chinese characters
Chinese characters have DictograDhical origins and still retain their pictographical elements in their structureThe graphical parts of characters can help arouse emotional, volitional and intellectual associations through the directly visual stimulusthus producing rich denotations and connOtationsIn additionthe characters have multiple phonetical structures consisting of phonemesound and
Tones, producing a special musical dimension in literary communicationMoreover, because different characters share the same sizethe shapes and forms of sequences of characters are conducive to the rhythmic beauty of regularity in poetic textsbeing suited to the arrangements ofduizhang(matching of sounds and senses in a couple of sentencesl and reiterative locutions
712The typology of writing
Generallythe traditional Chinese typology of writing is practical in characterThe Book of History as the earliest compilation of official documents contains various types of writing but its principle of classification is not concerned with rhetoric and functional problemsInstead, it tries to distinguish between the grades of relations of superiority and intimacy between addressers and addresseesLater in the Han dynasty a new classification of writingscovering 1 2 typesappeared in the History of the HanRecords of Literature and Artsand accepted the principle of uses and practical functionsThe first literary typology appeared in the Anthology of Zhao-Ming Prince (in the Liang)in which the demarcation lines between the categories of 1iteraturescholarship and documents were drawn up and the entire writing material was divided into 39 types accordinglyIn the meantime the first book of Chinese criticism appearedthis workDragon Carvings of a Literary Mind , presented a theory to further divide Chinese writing into 33 typesUntil quite recently, the widely accepted classical typology was that compiled by Yao Nai (17311815)which included only 13 categories of functionsdebateprefacememo
rial to the thronecOrrespOndenceTaking leave orders by emperors biography, inscriptions on a tabletmiscellaneousadmonitioneulogypoetical prose and funeraI orations
 The modern classification of classical Chinese rhythmic writing covers four major sectionsShi(poem)Ci(1yric metres)Qu(dramatic verse) and Fu (rhythmic exposition)each of which has differently stipulated  forms and rules
Classical stylistics played an important role in traditional Chinese criticismStylistic classification was also the first consideration which actually combined literaryphilosophical and religious aspects together with ConfucianismTaoism and Buddhism as the main theoretical foundationsSuch basic notions aswill and spirit,spiritual flavor,imposing manners”,“implicit poetic domains”,“spiritual void, originating in Taoism and Buddhismhad become the major aesthetic concepts since the Wei and the Chin(Jin) dynastiesA11 of these concepts put emphasis on the impressiveness of the subjective mindemotional upheaval and connotative implicationsrather than on the exterior shapes and images of objects depictedObviously disregarding advice to be realisticmen of letters preferred the following forln of expressionthe part signifies the wholethe explicit signities the implicit and the cause signifies the effectIn short, indirect ways of expression were more highly valued than direct onesMoreoverin the Chinese aesthetic tradition
the following axiological order of artistic beauty was generally recognizedthe fixed
image- its denotation - its connotation - the corresponding spiritual beauty of voidnes - the untouchable charms of spiritthe disclosure of the last was taken as the highest artistic domainLaterunder the influence of Buddhismstylistic aesthetics was elaborated even furtherThe poet Wang Chang-Ling (died 755 AD) in his Patterns of Verse raised athree domain theoryof the materialthe emotional and the spiritual, and his follower Jiao Ran(also in the Tang dynasty) developed this theory in The Forms of Verse. In the Ming and the Ching dynastiesdue to the furthering of comparative studies between verse and paintingthe notion of the
 spiritual domain attained its apexApart from this, one of the well known classifications of stylistic expressions was raised by Si-Kung Tu under the Tang dynastyHe described 24 poetic qualities representative of different poetic tastes and imaginary ambiances in Chinese poetryshowing a sophisticated insight into stylistic differentiation
714Poetical structure
Chinese verse in a broad sense covers all kinds of rhythmic writingswhile in 8 narrow sense it merely covers the special forms referring to two general categoriesthe ancient style of poetry(poems having five or seven characters for each line but without definite length or strict constraints in tonal patterns and rhymes) and the modern style of poetry (poems having a definite number of lines, namely four or eight Iines for two different subclasses, with strict tonal patterns and rhyming schemes)The Chinese poetry in the latter form attained its artistic peak under the
Tang dynastyThis structurally more regular poetrywhich consists of two sub-classes
calledlu(1iterallyregulated) and “jue iu(a kind offour-sentence poem)was partly  based on the classical phonology of the Four Tone Scheme by Shen Yue(441513)Shen divided the four tones into two classesthe light and the heavycreating a scheme of strictly matching tones
715The typology ofCiPoetry (lyrical verse)
Cias a late form of poetry has a closer link with music thanshi”.The apparent discrepancy between Cias a typical form of poetry of Sung timesand Shias a typical form of poetry of the Tang period, 1ies in that the latter has a definite number of lines for a piece and of characters for a line, while for the former the related numbers are varied but no less regularIn contrast to Shiwhich covers merely a few typesCi has over 1 000 types (originating from melodies)several hundred of which were frequently usedGenerallyeach type of Ci with its special name is structurally suitable to express a corresponding emotional toneThe possible number of characters in a Ci poem ranges from 14 to 240
72 Historiography
721The typology of historiographical writings
The officials specializing in keeping written historical records first appeared in the Chou periodThe first Chinese historical classicSpring and Autumnwas written by
ConfuciusHistoriographical activities were further developed unter the Han dynasty
with many important publicationsand in Tang and Sung times the activities were more steadily institutionalizedOnly since the Sung dynasty did the typology of historical writings become more diversifiedincluding the annals typethe biographical typethe event, recording typetheQiJiiZhu(records of emperorsdeeds and speeches)theShi-Lu (actual documents of emperorspolitical activities),“Ri-Lifdocuments made on a day-to-day basis)theYu-Die(chronology of emperorsfamilies), theHui-Dian(documents of institutions) and theFang-Zhi(documents of Iocal governments)Other  branches of studies to emerge since the Sung dynasty deal with bronze and stone scriptsstone tabletsmoney coinsjade articles and tablet scripts in general
7. 22Appreciative historiography
Traditional Chinese historiography is stylistically literary in nature and functionally political, with an evident intention to help strengthen the regimes or dynasties of the
timeThe historical language was therefore full of terms of praise and criticismThe texts of the millions of historical works contain intricate mixtures of factual records and expressions of valuesFor examplea great number of key words likewar,regime,death, etchave many a1ternatives with difierent positive or negative overtonesThe multiple moral implications of Chinese historical discourse make the scientific descriptions of modern historical research all the more difficultAt the same time, howeverthese very traits considerably enrich their literary attraction for scholars
723Traditional textuaI criticism
During the past two thousand years there have been two general scholarly tendencies concerning the investigation of classicsboth literary and historicalthe philosophical orientation and the philological orientationIf the former was representative of Sung timesthen the latter was typical of the Ching dynastyIn fact, under the Ching the 1atter reached its apex with a well, established discipline calledtextual criticism, which showed more of a philologically technical rather than
a hermeneutical character. The 1ater development of this philological technique was in part due to the terror of suppression of free thinking during the Ching period
8The fine arts
The fine arts play one of the most important parts in Chinese cultural historyAs early as six or seven thousand years ago painted pottery appearedDuring the Warring States periodsilk painting became the main form of Chinese artthis was in turn followed by fresco painting in the Han and Buddhist fresco painting in the Wei and Jin periods while the Tang dynasty saw the refinement of painting on clrawmg paperwhich was to become the most exquisite Chinese art form
811111e typology of paintings
The scholars of ancient China had only a fairly weak conception of the typology of
paintingsPaintings were in fact classified merely according to the categories of objects depictedA Ming scholar Tao Zong Yi in his Notes after the Ploughing  (1366) classified all paintings into 1 3 typesincludingthe person”,“the house”,“the scene”.“the flower and birdand othersAncient Chinese painters tended not to depict many kinds of obiectsas their interest did not 1ie in an exhaustive description of the worldInsteadthe emphasis was laid on stylistic arrangement within a confined space and under strict constraintsshowing a strong structural interest as determined by artistic heritage and traditional modelsTherefore Chinese painting is
weak in its representation but rich in its purely spiritual expressionAnother kind of
classification is based on the mediaeg.,a  wall surfacescreenscrolla fan or an album of paper
In ancient China the critics always were painters themselveswhose main critical interest was to judge the quality of paintings and explain the technique and skill involved,  thus showing an obvious practical interestA crucial development of Chinese painting in the Chin dynasty was due to the emergence of a new category,the mountain and water (1andscape)which was quite difierent in purpose from the earlier more practical as well as religious artsA famous painting critic Xie He(479502), raised a theory calledthe six methods, advocating that the loftiest objective of a painter is to express the spirit through depicting images and shapesAnother criticLu Jiat the same time inquired about the difierence between the literary and the drawing mediawhile Zhu Jing-Xuan in the Tang dynasty presented thefour basic criteria”:spiritual charmswonderfulness potentiality and natural graceDuring the same periodZhang Yan-Yuan more evidently maintained the principle that the spirit is always prior to drawing and explored the
relations between skilI(density of ink) and styleIn the Five dynastiesJing Hao further studied the skills of implementing ink and brushsummarizingfour drivesin brush strokesBut aesthetically speakinga step forward in the history of Chinese painting was concluded by Guo Xuan in the Sung period in his Meditations by a Brook in the Woods, He declared that genuine art could only be made in the category of what he calledthe literary mans paintings”.Beyond the traditional technical analysis he even discussed problems of artistic significationpresentlng a theory calledthree difierent feelings of remoteness”:high-remoteness (looking at the top of a mountain from its foot), deep-remoteness (looking at the utmost inside ot a mountain from outside)and obscure-remoteness(images disappearing on the horizon)consequently refining the aesthetic subtleties offeelinglandscape
Viewed historically, Chinese landscape painting was at its most developed in Yuan timesThe painters successfully escaped from the period of Mongolian occupation into the spiritual domain of drawing
813Landscape painting and poetical meditation
The aesthetics of c!assicaI Chinese landscape painting was more Taoist than ConfucianThe painters preferred black and white to the old rich colorswith a view to more effectively expressing spatial as well as spiritual remotenessThey also took more freedom in arranging the composition of figures and blanksmaking the latter play the same important and complementary role as the formerThe key figure of this genre is the mountam as a special signifying complex which had constantly and strongly drawn the attention of painters and poets alikeIn fact, the ancient painters and poets in their respective media of representation viewed the depicted mountains of their imagination as their eternaI dreamlands
814Symbolic functions of depicted objects
Due to the emphasis on the freehand sketching skill and styleinterest in representative details was further reduced to a minimumThe painters were content with a limited number of image types fixed on their drawing paperThe traditionally most favored images were the plum blossomcymbidiumchrysanthemum and bamboo in thestill 1irecategoryI hese four plants were considered symbols of a fine personalityWithin these figurespainters could search for abstract beauty by means of a formalist treatment of lines and curvesOf these four, the one with the greatest potential for abstraction was bambooits plain form(consisting of stems
twingsleaves and joints)being considered the purestThe Yuan period is famous for its numerous bamboo paintersThe contemporary painter Li Heng in his Models of Bamboo Paintings described various rules and norms concerning the proper ways of drawing bamboo joints and IeavesThe Ching is another dynasty noted for bamboo paintingthe most well known painter of the periodZheng Ban-Qiao ( 1 693-1 765), 1iked to depict the bamboo images in combination with stones which also belonged to the plainest category ofobjects
Chinese calligraphy is a special synthetic art formincorporating both painting and literary aspectsThe earliest calligraphical examples with some aesthetic effects appeared on the oracle bone scriptsThe artistic elements of calligraphy manifested themselves through graphic structures caused by particular brush strokesCalligraphy emerged as an artistic discipline in Han timeswhen there were about five alternative systems of graphic scripts available for drawingSince the Wei and Chin dynastiesthis half-painting - half-poem genre had been further developed in combination with the main schools of painting and accepted the same principle as the latterWang Xi-Zhi (307365) was called the sage of Chinese calligraphy, but its heyday came during the Tang periodwhen this art became a part ofstate learning”.In ancient Chinaevery writer was also a calligraphistand this art has survived to the presentIts aesthetic signifiers consist in the structure of the stroke lines within individual characters and their combinations in short textsexpressing proportional rhythm and inner drive at onceAlthough the contents of calligraphical works must be poetical, the literary part is in fact only secondary in its aesthetic functionAs a formalist or abstract form of artcalligraphy had often been regarded as similar to and comparable with dance and music in terms of dynamic structurefor in all three arts, rhythmic movement is an element of the workBy replacing the brush with a knife and paper with stonecal1igraphy is turned into the arts of signet and stone scriptanother popular genre
8. 3The theory of homological relations between poetry and painting
Following the rise of the‘‘literary painting schoolcomparative studies between poetry and painting were establishedemphasizing the similarity in spirit and objective of the two artsFirstly,the sentences of landscape poems then contained more words for concrete objects and images which have their obvious parallels in paintingsie, the visual mediaAt the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of the Sung dynasty,poetical sentences were often used as titles for the subjects of paintingsIt was widely accepted that poetry and painting were directly communicable to each otherThis implies that the two sign systems are equivalent in their signification functionSecondlyin the corner of the paper used for painting poetic sentences were be inscribedthe content of which was complementary to the theme of the paintingenriching the poetical associations of the pictures concernedIn fact, an individual painting was a combination of picturepoemcalligraphy and signet
84Sculpture and frescos
In Chou times the materials used for sculpture were bronzestoneiade and woodThe arts of sculpture were further developed in Chin and Han timesbut remained practical in characterand only during the Wei-Chin period were the Buddhist cave stone sculpture and fresco developed to the highest level of this artClassical Chinese sculpture and fresco are two art forms of a representative nature and full of historical and religious references
9 Architecture and gardens
91The typology of Chinese architecture
Traditional Chinese architecture has had a long and continuous history and retained a
coherent stylisticsUnder the Shang dynastyhouses were built with an earthen and
 wooden stuctureThe main body of a building was its wooden skeletonsurrounded by upright walls and sloped roofsThe types of buildings ranged over palacescivil housesstreet networkscity wallstombstemplesgardenstowerspavilions and bridgesCompared with other cultural manifestationsChinese architecture more apparently exhibits a symbolic character reflecting political, socialethical and religious hierarchies
92Buildings as symbols of social hierarchies
Following the totaIitarianization of the Chin and Han dynastiesthe patterns of architecture changedPalacesfor examplemore flauntingly displayed worldly dignity. The stipulations of design and techniques of palace building put forward in the ancient technical classic Kao-Gong-Ji (it was said to appear in the fifth century
 BC) were followed in the successive dynastiesThe palace was sited in the center ror the northern part of the center)of the capitaI cityit was square in form and surrounded by city walls with three gates for each point of the compassA11 buildings stood in symmetry and the street network resembled a large chessboardA substantial private house could consist of several connected courtyards enclosed by wallsThis structure made each house look 1ike a secluded molecular family worldInside the courtyards stood the main houses and the side buildings in their ordained positionsDifierence concerning the sizedirection and height of rooms obviously reflected the positions the various residents had in the family hierarchy
93Temples as synthetical symbolic systems
The Chinese Buddhist temples first appeared at the end of the East Han dynasty and were built on a large scale since the Wei and Chin dynastiesThe temples accepting the traditional Chinese architectural traditions also consisted of severaI courtyardsEach yard with a main hall and side halls contained Buddhist figuresMost temples were built at the foot of a mountain or on its slopeand afrorded spectacular viewsBeside religious functionstemples also became socially importantproviding visitors with various kinds of symbolismsuch as scenic beautyBuddhist buildings and figurespaintings and calligraphical works made by earlier men of letters and the living symbols of monks and nuns connected with the beyondMany old temples have indeed become religious and artistic sign systems of their ownwith rich cultural and historical dimensions
94Artistic gardens
Chinese gardens appeared as early as the 12th century BCIn Han times the number
of gardens of emperors and officials was already over 300The Wei dynasty saw a rapid increase in garden building due in part to the flourishing construction of templesLaterunder the influence of the idea ofliterary painting”,the architectural aesthetics of Chinese gardens became more sophisticated and independentDuring Ming and Ching times private gardens appeared everywhereconstitutmg a significant part of a literary mads daily lireIn practical terms, the gardens in towns helped the officialscholars harmonize the tension between their Confucian and Taoist philosophiesbeing capable of enjoying political as well as natural lire at the same timeThe so-calledspiritual-taste gardenis a symbolic wholeconsisting of surrounding walls (which make the garden an autonomous spot)roomspavilionsbridgescorridorspondsrockeriesflowers and trees as well as paintings and calligraphical works inside the roomsThe garden designers tried to give the impression and feeling of remotenessdepth and continuity of the scenes within a narrow spaceFlowerstreesrockeries and walls were specially arranged in order toobstruct” the visitors viewzig-zag corridorspathsbridges and net-shaped windows were designed to make visitors only see part of the scenesand accordingly to create false lmpresslons of spaceThey also made contrast between brightness and darkness and between emptiness and fullness in garden designsFinally, a special skill was calledborrowing scenes” from natural scenes (such as mountams) outside garden wallsThe garden aesthetics of China manifested a keen knowledge of artistic modes of signifying
95The symbolism of old city walls
City walls have long been an important cultural phenomenon in Chinese historyBeside their architectural functioncity wallsespecially broken oneswere one of the favorite objects to be depicted by poetsThe desolate aspects of old city walls became strong, historical signifiersFor examplethe city walls of Nankingwhich was once the capital city of six successive dynastiesserves to the present day as a poetic and historical reminder of vanished glories and sorrowsTheGreat
Wallof China - a state rather than a city wallbecame the traditional symbol of China
properphysically signifying the rise and the fall of past dynastiesAs the unique physical signifier ot a historical and geographical bodyit has been used to refer to the survival and failure of a nation, strong will and cruel slaveryglory and shamelessness in numerous ancient Chinese literary works
1 0The performing arts
Chinese music was remarkably developed as early as in Chou timesand was called one of the six great teachings by Confuciuswho advocated that music play a great role in both education and enjoyment alikeMusical instruments belonged to four categories windpercussionstring and pluck instruments, with over 70 and 300 kinds of instruments existing in the Chou and Tang periods respectivelyMusic was generally divided into courtly and folk musicIn the Tang court music covered 1 0 classesSince remote antlquity there had existed a five-tone scale consisting of the tones calledgong”,“shang”,‘'jiao”,‘‘zhi”,“yu”,which are equivalent to
12356 in numbered musical notation Around the 2nd century BCthis scale evolved into a seven-tone scale with the name Ya-Yue”.All semi-tones in the scale formed a system 0f 1 2 pitch-pipes, each of which has a proper nameBut Chinese music notation was never fully developedIn early times there was afinger scorewhich indicated the pitches according to the positions in the hole-order of a wind instrumentLater, scores marked with the strokes of some characters appearedAnd a standardGon-Che” score was formed under the Sung dynasty using ten characters to indicate 1 2 pitchesIt is noteworthy thatcompared with the Western music of modern times, music as an independent art form has not been highly developed in ChinaSince the Tang dynastymusical activities have mostly been connected with dance and 1ater with opera
In ancient Chinadance stemmed from witchcraftIn the legendary Hsia times dancing girls called “nu-yue” appeared, who danced at banquets and ceremoniesThe art of Chinese dance reached its peak in Tang times with the appearance of a special type of courtly danceThe Tang dance was developed further in combination with musical and dramatical elementsand gained more stylization and fixed patternsThis synthetic  tendency of dance was strengthened under the Sung dynastyuntil the times of operaRecording of methods and skills of dancing
was initially made through figures and special written dance scores in Wei timesIn
these brief scores each movement was indicated by one characterand so it could be only used by contemporary performersIn Sung times the much improveddance score of De-Shaou Palaceappeared, which could describe movements of handseyesand body in more detailpresenting 36 types of gestures belonging to 9 classesIn particular the description of hand movement was more detailed than in any other systemAfter Yuan timesdance as an independent art was on the wanebut it did develop further in connection with opera.
l 03Martial arts
The Chinese martial arts were in part formed after dance modelsIn antiquity the two arts were in fact combinedSince the Tang dynastymany sets of stylized movements have been developedApart from being an exercise for self defence, the martial arts were also regarded as a way of cultivating the sell of striving for an ideal personalitySome famous cycles in boxing 1ikeXing-Yi,Tai-JiandEight Trigramswere partly based on conceptions in the Book of ChangesPerforming with weapons was the most important part of martial artsThe codes of Chinese martial arts became a body 1anguage with several practical and symbolic functions
1 04Traditional Chinese Opera
Traditional Chinese Opera represents the highest achievement in the history of Chinese artIt is a synthetic art consisting of various elements from musicdancemartial arts, dramatic plotspoetry and acrobaticsThe history of traditional opera can be traced back to early ancient timesbut it was formally established as 1ate as Yuan and Ming timesAmong a variety of traditional operas, ”KunqueandPeking Operaare the most developed
i 041Opera as a synthetic sign system
Traditional opera of various types can be regarded as a three-dimensional dynamic sign system including three categories of signs(1) the spatial-static elements fall visual images On the stage)(2) the temporal-dynamic elements (musical and vocal parts)(3) the spatio-temporal dynamic elements (processes for performing within the elements from category 1 )Each element in the above categories has its signifying functionsand theroleundertaken by the actor realizes those functions
1 042Stylization as a typical way of performing
All patterns of signifying performances are completely prescribedshowing a strong
structural characterThe creativity of the actors iS 1imited to how they follow this strictly formed syntax of performance
1043Sign sub-systems in opera
An operatic work as a synthetic dynamic system consists of many constitutive sub-systemssuch as the types of facial make-up, the dramatic costumesthe stage propsthe forills of movementetcThe make-up stylized to represent the backgroundcharactersexagemoral staterank and biographical story of a particular roleA1l other sub-systems have their own strictly prescribed repertoire of elements and grammarThis indicates that traditionaI Chinese Opera as a language
of performance does indeed have its own vocabulary and syntax
1 044.“Qu-Paior aria-types
The most important sign sub-system is that of the melody-patterns calledQu-Pai,
which is similar toCi-Paiin poetryOne aria-type is a pattern of musical sequences to be filled in with lyrics when used in an opera pieceA piece consists of hundreds of word-filled aria types which are arranged in a special combinationThe aria types in all  pieces stay unchanged while the words used and the arrangement of connected aria-types may differ for each pieceThe reservoir of aria-types numbered several thousand in total, although only a few hundred have been used frequently from generation to generationChinese operaparticularly Kunqu Operais typical of the structureoriented art in Chinese cultural history
11 Selected references (excluded in this websie text; please refer to the original)