The tiger is a popular theme in Chinese folk art. One may encounter numerous images of tigers in almost all forms of folk art: paper cuts, embroidery, sculpture, new year print and so on.
The earliest image of the tiger was discovered in an ancient tomb unearthed in central China’s Henan Province in 1987. A tiger made of shells was found lying on the left side of a body buried there. On the right side was the earliest image of a dragon even found, also made of shells. These images are believed to the some 6,000 years old. Experts say that both tiger and dragon were totems in ancient times.
The Han people are actually a mixture of many ancient tribes from all over China. Tribes from the west, including the tribe of the Yellow Emperor, worshipped the tiger, while those along the eastern seashore worshipped the dragon. Of course, there were many other tribes with different totems. After many wars of expansion, these tribes gradually mixed to form the Han Nationality. Because tribes worshipping the tiger and dragon were more powerful, other totems disappeared, while these two continued to exist. Continue reading
The Mid-Autumn Festival is an occasion for family reunion. When the full moon rises, families get together to watch the full moon, eat moon cakes, and sing moon poems. With all these things together, the legend, the family, the full moon and the poems, one can’t help thinking this is really a perfect world. That may be the reason why Chinese are so much enjoyed in the Moon Festival and take it as a special day being so different from the festivals. They just can’t wait for the coming of the Moon Festival in each year.
The Moon Festival is also a romantic one. Lovers get together, watch the full moon, drink towards the moon, and taste the delicate moon cake, at such a quit night without a silk of could an with some mild breeze from the sea. Even for lovers who are located in different places, the moon becomes a symbol linking them together. They watch the moon at the same time and seem to have each other at that hour. A great number of poetry has been devoted to the romantic festival, representing how Chinese people hope the Moon Festival bring them romance and happiness.
The moon cake is the food for the Moon Festival. The Chinese eat the moon cake at the night with the full moon in the sky. Originally, moon cakes keep their family made tradition. But gradually they began to appear at markets and stores. However, the moon cakes made in various parts of the country have very different flavors. Continue reading
Li Shizhen (1518-1593) was a great Chinese pharmacist in the Ming Dynasty.
Born in Jinzhou of Hubei Province, Li Shihen decided to follow the trace of his father, a local renowned medical man, to study traditional Chinese medical science. He was very interested in the proper classification of the components of nature. His major contribution to medicine was the forty year project of sifting through the vast array of herbal lore and writing down the information that was, in his view, a reliable reflection of reality. His book, ”Ben Cao Gang Mu (1596)” , has been used as a pharmacopoeia, but it was also treatise on botany, zoology, mineralogy and metallurgy. The book was reprinted frequently and five of the original editions still exist. “Ben Cao Gang Mu” contains 1892 different herbs, divided into 6 sections, 521 scrolls and 60 different categories. In order to obtain first-hand information from the real world, he risked his life numerous times as he tasted every single herb in the book to test the pesticide effect. He also reached the habitat of dangerous Chai snakes, which at the time were considered a precious medicine, collecting them for testing and writing the book of “Chai Snake Compilation”. Continue reading