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So far Rhys Mumford has created 20 blog entries.

6 alternative forms for the concept of qi (氣)

'Qi', sometimes transliterated as chi or ch'i is a well-known concept in the worlds of Chinese medicine, philosophy, martial arts and geomancy. A traditional etymology suggests that the concept originally developed from the idea of clouds or mist and from there, by extension, the idea of breath. But actually there were many alternative ways of getting qi down in writing, and the different forms suggest a few different ideas were in play when nailing down this all-important concept in Chinese thought.

6 alternative forms for the concept of qi (氣)2024-05-29T20:42:52+00:00

3 Brothers of the Peach Garden

sworn brothers of the Peach Garden 3 The Han Empire is dying, beset by insurrection from marauding Yellow Turbans. Three noble men meet by chance and find common purpose in resisting the threat of tyranny and ruin. Amidst peach trees, the men swear an oath to unite unto death in the service of the downtrodden. So begins the celebrated Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and the fictionalised account of the real life founder and generals of the Shu Kingdom. 3 sworn brothers [...]

3 Brothers of the Peach Garden2024-06-02T15:22:27+00:00

5 punishments Yi Ting

punishments & the protest of Ti Ying 5 Ti Ying (緹縈)was the youngest daughter of a doctor condemned to receive one of the five corporal punishments of Han Dynasty China. Defying the societal restrictions on her sex, Ti Ying travelled to the capital to intercede on her father's behalf, boldly petitioning the emperor Wen (漢文帝, 203-157 BCE). Instead of appealing on the basis of her father's good character, she took on the whole system of corporal punishment itself, pointing out the inhumanity of the penal code. The emperor was [...]

5 punishments Yi Ting2024-06-02T15:21:23+00:00

5 Virtues of a Thief

sagehood "...appraising the valuables in a room - that's sagehood." 夫妄意室中之藏,聖也 courage "...being the first to break in - that's courage." 入先,勇也 righteousness "....being the last one out - that's righteousness." 出後,義也 understanding "...deciding whether the raid is possible - that's understanding." 知可否,知也 benevolence "dividing the spoils fairly - that's benevolence." 分均,仁也 [...]

5 Virtues of a Thief2023-04-15T11:55:10+00:00

Post: Xi Feng’s Way with Words

Xi Feng's Way with Words Xi Feng, or Phoenix, is among the most compelling characters in the Hong Lou Meng. Whenever she steps into a room she dominates the scene, and even when she absent, her influence is felt throughout the two households. One reason for her dominance in the family hierarchy is her quick wit and golden tongue, which she uses with expert precision: she can tear a strip off an underling, negotiate her way to financial advantage, or have a room in stitches. Having not grown up with a classical education, Xi Feng lacks the literary allusions [...]

Post: Xi Feng’s Way with Words2022-06-10T06:59:54+00:00

The Battle of Red Cliff

Feature: The Battle of Red Cliff The Battle of Red Cliff (208) was a turning point in history, checking the imperial ambitions of Northern warlord Cao Cao (曹操) and inaugurating the Three Kingdoms period. Having taken the Han emperor under his 'protection' and secured his territory in the north, Cao Cao marched his vast army southwards, seeking to complete his conquest of China. Yet he suffered cataclysmic defeat at Red Cliff at the hands of the allies Liu Bei and Sun Quan and was forced to retreat northwards, incurring devastating losses en route. [...]

The Battle of Red Cliff2023-03-25T11:31:59+00:00

A certain meretricious talent

I am very much enjoying the Penguin Classics version of the Hong Lou Meng, and in particular some delightful phrases courtesy of David Hawkes' excellent translation. One of these concerns the main character of Bao Yu in Chapter 17, during a set-piece scene that pits the enfant terrible entertainingly against his disapproving father. An imperial edict has made provision for an annual visit home for all palace concubines, provided they can be received in the manner to which they are accustomed. Cue a hasty scrambling to construct what amounts to a pleasure garden in the grounds of the family [...]

A certain meretricious talent2022-06-04T20:28:59+00:00

Latest Lists – April 2022

A year has passed since the previous written update to this website, which is cause to reflect on the work that has been done in the intervening months. Leaving aside improvements in the look of the site and working out how to make things work nicely, I have added six lists since the initial Seven Worthies. These run the gamut from "common knowledge" to "fairly obscure" and have been chosen based on nothing more substantial that whatever happened to take my fancy at that particular moment. Starting with the oldest, first up is The Six Schools of Sima Tan, which [...]

Latest Lists – April 20222022-04-13T05:58:04+00:00
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