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中国历史与文化

主编:旅舜

开本: 16开平装

文本:英文

China enjoys a long and magnificent history and a splendid and colorful traditional culture. Therefore, it presents a great challenge to cover such a wide array of rich and colorful content in so thin a book. The best solution is to present the brightest crystals of Chinese culture and history, which occupy only a fraction of the whole, with the purpose of providing our readers with a general but initial understanding of Chinese civilization.

Following a long and eventful prehistoric age, as early as in the middle of the 16th century BC China entered the earliest recorded written history and developed the earliest art of writing, i.e., inscriptions on oracle bones, and made grand bronze ware and pottery of excellent workmanship. In the following years, Chinese civilization has surprised the whole world with her great inventions and innovations one after the other. Although pottery is universal, porcelain is a Chinese invention from which people can get a glimpse of the exquisiteness of this Asian civilization. Moreover, the invention and spread of the Four Great Inventions from ancient China, i.e. the technology of papermaking, printing, the compass and gunpowder, had played a decisive role in promoting the development of the civilization of the whole world.

However, the above only reflect Chinese civilization from the perspective of the material; what’s more splendid lies in its spiritual contributions. As early as in the fourth or fifth century BC an unprecedented prosperity in the ideological and cultural fields of China along with the profound changes and reforms in politics and economy started to appear. Many schools of philosophy and thought came into being, and the representatives of Confucianism, Taoism, Legalism, Moism, the School of Yin and Yang, the School of the Political Strategists and others contributed books or delivered lectures to popularize their ideas, which led to a flourishing academic atmosphere and literally hundreds of schools of thought. None of the thought was superficial in any sense and each school distinguished itself and was worshiped as a classic by later generations with profound study, analyses, and interpretations. Confucianism was considerd the highest standard to reach for by the ruling classes and became the philosophy ruling ancient China for around 2,000 years. Acting as an efficient coagulant, Confucianism had guaranteed the harmony and stability of this patriarchal society, and delayed considerably the destruction and collapse of the feudal system. However, it had also slowed down China’s move to become a more advanced society so that China still lingered on as an agricultural society when many other countries in the world had been already industrialized.

In addition to developing its philosophies, ancient China spared no effort in perfecting and developing a fairly complete set of administrative systems, among which, the imperial examination system, i.e. to choose talented people for civil service through imperial examination, has always been dwelt upon by Westerners with great relish. All of these have become important components of traditional Chinese culture and laid an essential foundation for the solidity of the system. However, this patriarchal clan system had its inherent disadvantages and unavoidable limitations. The system of “a wise emperor being assisted by virtuous ministers” – the core of Chinese patriarchal clan system, kept being destroyed by the increasing centralization of emperor’s power. The imperial examination system was full of defects because of increasingly serious fraud. All these were fatal roots threatening the development and existence of a dynasty which would have to rely on the power of others to overturn the former one, or was replaced by more advanced systems.

As China steps into the 21st century, the rich cultural heritage spanning thousands of years still possesses great value for our reference. Some will come to an end with old systems, while some others will flourish under new historical conditions, becoming even more splendid with more sparkling colors. Maybe this is where the meaning of our reevaluation of the 5,000-year Chinese history and civilization lies.

 

 

天子

主编:旅舜

开本: 大16开平装

文本:英文

Throughout China’s long history the life of emperors living in the imperial palace has remained a mystery. How were they able to ascend the throne? What did they do all day, everyday? How were their emotional experiences different from others’? What were their values and how did they behave? There were many concubines - rumored to be more than 3,000 for one emperor alone - what was their life like? These questions have aroused a lot of curiosity among the people of more modern eras. This book intends to help shine a little light on this history by examining several of the most representative figures among these monarchs.

This book describes 12 of the most famous emperors in Chinese history. From the perspective of how they ruled, readers can see that, in a great and unified patriarchal society, the feudal monarchs operated in a way approximating a family type political system; the throne was inherited according to the priority of family members; and an emperor and his courtiers jointly formed a governmental system to control the country. In this system, the imperial power was sovereign, and it was regarded as an ideal condition when an august emperor and his sagacious ministers cooperated harmoniously. However, the emperors had continuously arrogated all powers to themselves until they turned into their opposites: this over centralized power resulted in corruption and degeneration within the government at the highest level, leading to collapse of the dynasty eventually. Before a new social structure came into being, in other words, fatalistic emperors seemed to continuously play this scenario out dynasty after dynasty.

Each of the 12 emperors described in this book, most of them established a dynasty, had made great contributions. They were all-powerful, wielding their power, each in turn, and leaving an indelible impression on Chinese history. Through their experiences, readers will see the earth-shaking dynastic changes and how common people, even a Buddhist monk who went begging, became an emperor. In China, there is a saying, “The times produce their heroes.” It was history that brought them their golden opportunities. They were good enough to be regarded as the most outstanding talents and the greatest heroic figures because they had crushed their enemies by winning decisive victories. Among the emperors discussed in this book some simply built on the achievements of their predecessors while others revived a nation. These emperors were well educated, versatile and outstanding. The full development of economy and culture provided necessary objective bases for them and they were required to play important roles in their time and make glorious achievements.

From this book, the readers are able to experience all these emperors’ strong, almost over-whelming characteristics. They had some things in common, such as, lofty aspirations, a willingness to take risks, possessing great talent, and bold vision with strong wills. Meanwhile they all had very different temperaments; some were bold and unconstrained, some reserved, and some even cautious. When dealing with their family members, friends and liegemen, and attendants, they could also show their emotional sides. They had their own experience of happiness, anger, grief and joy, and seemed to embody the feelings of the ordinary people. However, the sovereign imperial power made them honor every word. When exercising their power over people’s lives and property they did not need to go through any procedures and there was no accountability for wrong decisions. Therefore, they often quite randomly meted out of punishments or deposed people. Thus, the saying went among the people, “Being with a monarch was like being with a tiger.” This was as true for the liegemen as it was for the concubines; there were no exceptions.

From this book, the readers will experience, firsthand, the most terrifying part of the imperial power’s rule, namely, when facing the life and death struggle for imperial power, monarchs would show a complete lack of compassion and extraordinary cruelty, even to their relatives. Under such circumstances, they ceased to be ordinary people, but were monsters more than emperors. The uncontrollable lure of absolute power made all of them lose their last shreds of humanity.

The readers may feel that although these 12 emperors represent a small number of the emperors in China, reading this book will undoubtedly help to achieve a greater understanding of Chinese ancient society.

 

 

外国人学说中国话

策划:旅舜

开本:64开平装

文本:中英文对照

Hanyu Pinyin (汉语拼音), commonly called Pinyin, is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin in use. Hanyu means the Chinese language, pin means "spell" and yin means "sound". Pinyin uses Roman letters to represent sounds in Standard Mandarin, however, they are pronounced differently. The pronunciation of Chinese is generally given in terms of initials and finals.

Tones are an important part of Chinese. They are the variation of pitch within a syllable and are used to distinguish words with the same Pinyin. There are basically four tones plus a neutral tone in Mandarin Chinese. Each tone is represented by a diacritical mark above a non-medial vowel. The neutral tone is uesd for stressless syllables and its pitch is determined by the tones of adjacent syllables. N. B. a neutral is never a starting tone.

 
 
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