Chinese temple architecture
Chinese temple architecture refer to a type of structures used as place of worship of Chinese Buddhism, Taoism or Chinese folk religion/Shenism, where people revere ethnic Chinese gods and ancestors. They can be classified as: miào or diàn meaning "temple" and enshrining gods of the Chinese pantheon, such as Dragon King, Tudigong or Mazu. Cí, cítáng, zōngcí or zǔmiào, referring to ancestral temples enshrining the ancestral gods of a family or clan. Taoist temples and monasteries: 觀/观 guàn or 道观 dàoguàn. Temples of City God, which worships the patron God of a village, town or a city. Smaller household shrines or votive niche, such as the worship of Zaoshen and Caishen. Gōng, meaning "palace" is a term used for a templar complex of multiple buildings, while yuàn is a generic term meaning "sanctuary" or "shrine". Shen temples are distinct from Taoist temples in that they are established and administered by local managers, village communities, lineage congregations and worship associations, don't have professional priests, although Taoist priests, Confucian lisheng, wu and tongji shamans, may perform services within these temples.
Shenist temples are small and decorated with traditional figures on their roofs, although some evolve into significant structures. Chinese temples can be found throughout Mainland China and where Chinese expatriate communities settled over centuries. An old name in English for Chinese traditional temples is "joss house". "Joss" is an Anglicized spelling of the Portuguese word for deus. "Joss house" was in common use in English in western North America during frontier times, when joss houses were a common feature of Chinatowns. The name "joss house" describes the environment of worship. Joss sticks, a kind of incense, are burned outside of the house. Chinese folk religion China Ancestral Temples Network
The Qingming or Ching Ming festival known as Tomb-Sweeping Day in English, is a traditional Chinese festival observed by the Han Chinese of China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand. It's observed by the Chitty of Melaka and Singapore, it falls on the first day of the fifth solar term of the traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar. This makes it the 15th day after the Spring Equinox, either 5 April in a given year. During Qingming, Chinese families visit the tombs of their ancestors to clean the gravesites, pray to their ancestors, make ritual offerings. Offerings would include traditional food dishes, the burning of joss sticks and joss paper; the holiday recognizes the traditional reverence of one's ancestors in Chinese culture. The Qingming Festival has been observed by the Chinese for over 2500 years, it became a public holiday in mainland China in 2008. In Taiwan, the public holiday was in the past observed on 5 April to honor the death of Chiang Kai-shek on that day in 1975, but with Chiang's popularity waning, this convention is not being observed.
A similar holiday is observed in the Ryukyu Islands, called Shīmī in the local language. In mainland China, the holiday is associated with the consumption of qingtuan, green dumplings made of glutinous rice and Chinese mugwort or barley grass. A similar confection called shuchuguo, made with Jersey cudweed, is consumed in Taiwan; the festival originated from the Cold Food or Hanshi Festival which remembered Jie Zitui, a nobleman of the state of Jin during the Spring and Autumn Period. Amid the Li Ji Unrest, he followed his master Prince Chong'er in 655 BC to exile among the Di tribes and around China, he once cut meat from his own thigh to provide his lord with soup. In 636 BC, Duke Mu of Qin invaded Jin and enthroned Chong'er as its duke, where he was generous in rewarding those who had helped him in his time of need. Owing either to his own high-mindedness or to the duke's neglect, Jie was long passed over, he retired to the forest around Mount Mian with his elderly mother. The duke could not find them.
He ordered his men to set fire to the forest in order to force Jie out. When Jie and his mother were killed instead, the duke was overcome with remorse and erected a temple in his honor; the people of Shanxi subsequently revered Jie as an immortal and avoided lighting fires for as long as a month in the depths of winter, a practice so injurious to children and the elderly that the area's rulers unsuccessfully attempted to ban it for centuries. A compromise developed where it was restricted to 3 days around the Qingming solar term in mid-spring; the present importance of the holiday is credited to Emperor Xuanzong of Tang. Wealthy citizens in China were holding too many extravagant and ostentatiously expensive ceremonies in honor of their ancestors. In AD 732, Xuanzong sought to curb this practice by declaring that such respects could be formally paid only once a year, on Qingming. Qingming Festival is; this tradition has been legislated by the Emperors who built majestic imperial tombstones for every dynasty.
For over 5000 years, the Chinese imperials, nobility and peasantry alike have gathered together to remember the lives of the departed, to visit their tombstones to perform Confucian filial piety by tombsweeping, to visit burial grounds, graveyards or in modern urban cities, the city columbaria, to perform groundskeeping and maintenance, to commit to pray for their ancestors in the uniquely Chinese concept of the afterlife and to offer remembrances of their ancestors to living blood relatives, their kith and kin. The Qingming Festival commemorates the life of the departed in an elaborate set of rituals mistranslated in the West as ancestral worship, it is a Confucian form of posthumous respect and filial piety offered to a Chinese person's ancestors, departed relatives, or parents. Not all Chinese persons will pray directly to their ancestors in ancestral spirit but all will observe the Qing Ming Rituals; the young and old alike kneel down to offer prayers before tombstones of the ancestors, offer the burning of joss in both the forms of incense sticks and silver-leafed paper, sweep the tombs and offer food, wine, and/or libations in memory of the ancestors.
Depending on the religion of the observers, some pray to a higher deity to honour their ancestors while others may pray directly to the ancestral spirits. These rites have a long tradition in Asia among the imperialty who legislated these rituals into a national religion, they have been preserved by the peasantry and are most popular with farmers today, who believe that continued observances will ensure fruitful harvests ahead by appeasing the spirits in the other world. Religious symbols of ritual purity, such as pomegranate and willow branches, are popular at this time; some people carry willow branches with them on Qingming or stick willow branches on their gates and/or front doors. There are similarities to palm leaves used on Palm Sundays in Christianity. Furthermore, the belief is that the willow branches will help ward off the unappeased and troubling spirits, and/or evil spirits that may be wandering in the earthly realms on Qingming. After gathering on Qingming to perform Confucian clan and family duties at the tombstones, graveyards or columbaria, celebrants spend the rest of the day in clan or family outings, before they start the spring plowing.
They sing and dance. Qingming is a time when young coupl
Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year is the Chinese festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar. The festival is referred to as the Spring Festival in mainland China, is one of several Lunar New Years in Asia. Observances traditionally take place from the evening preceding the first day of the year to the Lantern Festival, held on the 15th day of the year; the first day of Chinese New Year begins on the new moon that appears between 21 January and 20 February. In 2019, the first day of the Chinese New Year was on Tuesday, 5 February, initiating the Year of the Pig. Chinese New Year is a major holiday in Greater China and has influenced lunar new year celebrations of China's neighbouring cultures, including the Korean New Year, the Tết of Vietnam, the Losar of Tibet, it is celebrated worldwide in regions and countries with significant Overseas Chinese populations, including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Mauritius, as well as many in North America and Europe.
Chinese New Year is associated with several customs. The festival was traditionally a time to honour deities as well as ancestors. Within China, regional customs and traditions concerning the celebration of the New Year vary and the evening preceding Chinese New Year's Day is regarded as an occasion for Chinese families to gather for the annual reunion dinner, it is traditional for every family to clean their house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for incoming good luck. Another custom is the decoration of doors with red paper-cuts and couplets. Popular themes among these paper-cuts and couplets include that of good fortune or happiness and longevity. Other activities include giving money in red paper envelopes. For the northern regions of China, dumplings are featured prominently in meals celebrating the festival; this is folklore said that there will come out like a beast called ‘Nian’ during the Spring Festival. The beast is seen once a year; this day is called ‘New Year’.
And the day before New Year is called ‘New Year Eve’. According to the legend, the beast was ferocious as it went to the house to eat people in the midnight. In order to avoid the beast, Yanhuang reunited the people together and sat around to resist the beast; as the beast appear once a year, Yanhuang discovered that the beast was afraid of red and loud noise. Therefore every household posted red couplet at the door, ignited a bonfire outside the home, fired the firecrackers; when the beast saw those red things outside every household, they would drive away. There is a say that the beast is ‘Xi’ rather than ‘Nian’; the Spring Festival included New Year’s Eve and New Year. ‘Xi’ is a kind of faint monster, ‘Nian’ is not related to the animal beasts in terms of meaning, it is more like a mature harvest. There is no record of the beast in the ancient texts, it is only folklore in China; the word "Nian" is composed of the words "he" and "Qian". It means that the grain is rich and the harvest is good; the farmers review the harvest at the end of the year and are full of expectations for the coming year.
According to Chinese historical documents, since the beginning of the era, people have celebrated the harvest in the New Year and welcomed the new folk customs. They became an established traditional festival. “Spring Festival.” While Spring Festival has since become the official name of Chinese New Year, the Chinese outside mainland China still prefer calling it Lunar Year. “Chinese New Year” is a popular and convenient translation for people of non-Chinese cultural backgrounds. Along with the Han Chinese in and outside China, as many as 29 of the 55 ethnic minority groups in China celebrate Chinese New Year. Six countries like Korea, Singapore and Indonesia celebrate it as their official festival; the lunisolar Chinese calendar determines the date of Lunar New Year. The calendar is used in countries that have been influenced by, or have relations with, China – such as Korea and Vietnam, though the date celebrated may differ by one day or one moon cycle due to using a meridian based on a different capital city in a different time zone or different placements of intercalary months.
Chinese calendar defines the lunar month with winter solstice as the 11th month, which means that Chinese New Year falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice. In more than 96% of the years, the Chinese New Year's Day is the closest new moon to lichun on 4 or 5 February, the first new moon after Dahan. In the Gregorian calendar, the Lunar New Year begins at the new moon that falls between 21 January and 20 February; the Gregorian Calendar dates for Chinese New Year from 1912 to 2101 are below, along with the year's presiding animal zodiac and its Stem-branch. The traditional Chinese calendar follows a Metonic cycle, a system used by the modern Jewish Calendar, returns to the same date in Gregorian calendar roughly; the names of the Earthly Branches have no English counterparts and are not the Chinese translations of the animals. Alongside the 12-year cycle of the animal zodiac there is a 10-year cycle of heavenly stems; each of the ten heavenly stems is associated with one of the five elements of Chinese astrology, namely: Wood, Earth and Water.
The elements are rotated every two years. The elements are thus distinguished: Yin Wood, Yang Fire, Yin Fire, etc.. These produce a combined cycle that repeat
The Qixi Festival known as the Qiqiao Festival, is a Chinese traditional festival celebrating the annual meeting of the cowherd and the weaver girl in mythology. "Qi" means seven in Chinese, "Xi" means night in Chinese, so "Qixi" points out that the cowherd and the weaver maid meet with each other on the night of seventh day of the seventh month on the Chinese lunar calendar every year, so Qixi Festival is called Double Seventh Festival, Seventh Evening Festival or Night of Sevens. The festival originated from the romantic legend of two lovers, Zhinü and Niulang, who were the weaver girl and the cowherd, respectively; the tale of The Cowherd and the Weaver Girl has been celebrated in the Qixi Festival since the Han dynasty. The earliest-known reference to this famous myth dates back to over 2600 years ago, told in a poem from the Classic of Poetry; the Qixi festival inspired the Tanabata festival in Chilseok festival in Korea. Contemporarily, the Qixi Festival has been given the cultural meaning of Chinese Valentine's Day, because the love tale of the cowherd and the weaver maid has made the Qixi Festival become a symbol of love.
The general tale is a love story between Niulang. Their love was not allowed, thus they were banished to opposite sides of the Silver River. Once a year, on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month, a flock of magpies would form a bridge to reunite the lovers for one day. There are many variations of the story. During the Han dynasty, the practices were conducted in accordance to formal ceremonial state rituals. Over time, the festival activities included customs that the common people partook. Girls take part in worshiping the celestials during rituals, they go to the local temple to pray to Zhinü for wisdom. Paper items are burned as offerings. Girls may recite traditional prayers for dexterity in needlework, which symbolize the traditional talents of a good spouse. Divination could take place to determine possible dexterity in needlework, they make wishes for marrying someone who would be a loving husband. During the festival, girls make a display of their domestic skills. Traditionally, there would be contests amongst those who attempted to be the best in threading needles under low-light conditions like the glow of an ember or a half moon.
Today, girls sometimes gather toiletries in honor of the seven maidens. The festival held an importance for newlywed couples. Traditionally, they would worship the celestial couple for the last bid farewell to them; the celebration stood symbol for a happy marriage and showed that the married woman was treasured by her new family. On this day, the Chinese gaze to the sky to look for Vega and Altair shining in the Milky Way, while a third star forms a symbolic bridge between the two stars, it was said that if it rains on this day that it was caused by a river sweeping away the magpie bridge or that the rain is the tears of the separated couple. Based on the legend of a flock of magpies forming a bridge to reunite the couple, a pair of magpies came to symbolize conjugal happiness and faithfulness. Interactive Google doodles have been launched since the 2009 Qixi Festival to mark the occasion; the latest was launched for the 2018 Qixi Festival. Qixi Tribute Seven Sisters' Fruit Hard copy Ju. China, Korea: Culture and customs.
North Charleston: BookSurge. ISBN 1-4196-4893-4. Kiang, Heng Chye. Cities of aristocrats and bureaucrats: The development of medieval Chinese cityscapes. Singapore: Singapore University Press. ISBN 9971-69-223-6. Lai, Sufen Sophia. "Father in Heaven, Mother in Hell: Gender politics in the creation and transformation of Mulian's mother". Presence and presentation: Women in the Chinese literati tradition. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-21054-X. Melton, J. Gordon. "The Double Seventh Festival". Religions of the world: A comprehensive encyclopedia of beliefs and practices. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-59884-203-6. Poon, Shuk-wah. Negotiating religion in modern China: State and common people in Guangzhou, 1900–1937. Hong Kong: Chinese University of Hong Kong. ISBN 978-962-996-421-4. Schomp, Virginia; the ancient Chinese. New York: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark. ISBN 0-7614-4216-2. Stepanchuk, Carol. Mooncakes and hungry ghosts: Festivals of China. San Francisco: China Books & Periodicals. ISBN 0-8351-2481-9.
Welch, Patricia Bjaaland. Chinese art: A guide to motifs and visual imagery. North Clarendon: Tuttle Publishing. ISBN 978-0-8048-3864-1. Zhao, Rongguang. A History of Food Culture in China. SCPG Publishing Corporation. ISBN 978-1-938368-16-5. Online Ladies on the ‘Night of Sevens’ Pleading for Skills. Dublin: Chester Beatty Library
Taoism, or Daoism, is a religious or philosophical tradition of Chinese origin which emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao. The Tao is a fundamental idea in most Chinese philosophical schools. Taoism differs from Confucianism by not emphasizing rigid rituals and social order, but is similar in the sense that it is a teaching about the various disciplines for achieving "perfection" by becoming one with the unplanned rhythms of the universe called "the way" or "dao". Taoist ethics vary depending on the particular school, but in general tend to emphasize wu wei, "naturalness", simplicity and the Three Treasures: 慈 "compassion", 儉 "frugality", 不敢為天下先 "humility"; the roots of Taoism go back at least to the 4th century BCE. Early Taoism drew its cosmological notions from the School of Yinyang, was influenced by one of the oldest texts of Chinese culture, the I Ching, which expounds a philosophical system about how to keep human behavior in accordance with the alternating cycles of nature; the "Legalist" Shen Buhai may have been a major influence, expounding a realpolitik of wu wei.
The Tao Te Ching, a compact book containing teachings attributed to Laozi, is considered the keystone work of the Taoist tradition, together with the writings of Zhuangzi. By the Han dynasty, the various sources of Taoism had coalesced into a coherent tradition of religious organizations and orders of ritualists in the state of Shu. In earlier ancient China, Taoists were thought of as hermits or recluses who did not participate in political life. Zhuangzi was the best known of these, it is significant that he lived in the south, where he was part of local Chinese shamanic traditions. Female shamans played an important role in this tradition, strong in the southern state of Chu. Early Taoist movements developed their own institution in contrast to shamanism, but absorbed basic shamanic elements. Shamans revealed basic texts of Taoism from early times down to at least the 20th century. Institutional orders of Taoism evolved in various strains that in more recent times are conventionally grouped into two main branches: Quanzhen Taoism and Zhengyi Taoism.
After Laozi and Zhuangzi, the literature of Taoism grew and was compiled in form of a canon—the Daozang—which was published at the behest of the emperor. Throughout Chinese history, Taoism was nominated several times as a state religion. After the 17th century, however, it fell from favor. Taoism has had a profound influence on Chinese culture in the course of the centuries, Taoists, a title traditionally attributed only to the clergy and not to their lay followers take care to note distinction between their ritual tradition and the practices of Chinese folk religion and non-Taoist vernacular ritual orders, which are mistakenly identified as pertaining to Taoism. Chinese alchemy, Chinese astrology, Chan Buddhism, several martial arts, traditional Chinese medicine, feng shui, many styles of qigong have been intertwined with Taoism throughout history. Beyond China, Taoism had influence on surrounding societies in Asia. Today, the Taoist tradition is one of the five religious doctrines recognized in the People's Republic of China as well as the Republic of China, although it does not travel from its East Asian roots, it claims adherents in a number of societies, in particular in Hong Kong, in Southeast Asia.
Since the introduction of the Pinyin system for romanizing Mandarin Chinese, there have been those who have felt that "Taoism" would be more appropriately spelled as "Daoism". The Mandarin Chinese pronunciation for the word 道 is spelled as tao4 in the older Wade–Giles romanization system while it is spelled as dào in the newer Pinyin romanization system. Both the Wade–Giles tao4 and the Pinyin dào are intended to be pronounced identically in Mandarin Chinese, but despite this fact, "Taoism" and "Daoism" can be pronounced differently in English vernacular; the word "Taoism" is used to translate different Chinese terms which refer to different aspects of the same tradition and semantic field: "Taoist religion", or the "liturgical" aspect – A family of organized religious movements sharing concepts or terminology from "Taoist philosophy". "Taoist philosophy" or "Taology", or the "mystical" aspect – The philosophical doctrines based on the texts of the I Ching, the Tao Te Ching and the Zhuangzi.
These texts were linked together as "Taoist philosophy" during the early Han Dynasty, but notably not before. It is unlikely that Zhuangzi was familiar with the text of the Daodejing, Zhuangzi would not have identified himself as a Taoist as this classification did not arise until well after his death. However, the discussed distinction is rejected by the majority of Japanese scholars, it is contested by hermeneutic difficulties in the categorization of the different Taoist schools and movements. Taoism does not f
The Ghost Festival known as the Hungry Ghost Festival, Zhongyuan Jie, Gui Jie or Yulan Festival is a traditional Buddhist and Taoist festival held in certain Asian countries. According to the Chinese calendar, the Ghost Festival is on the 15th night of the seventh month. In Chinese culture, the fifteenth day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar is called Ghost Day and the seventh month in general is regarded as the Ghost Month, in which ghosts and spirits, including those of the deceased ancestors, come out from the lower realm. Distinct from both the Qingming Festival and Double Ninth Festival in which living descendants pay homage to their deceased ancestors, during Ghost Festival, the deceased are believed to visit the living. On the fifteenth day the realms of Heaven and Hell and the realm of the living are open and both Taoists and Buddhists would perform rituals to transmute and absolve the sufferings of the deceased. Intrinsic to the Ghost Month is veneration of the dead, where traditionally the filial piety of descendants extends to their ancestors after their deaths.
Activities during the month would include preparing ritualistic food offerings, burning incense, burning joss paper, a papier-mâché form of material items such as clothes and other fine goods for the visiting spirits of the ancestors. Elaborate meals would be served with empty seats for each of the deceased in the family treating the deceased as if they are still living. Ancestor worship is what distinguishes Qingming Festival from Ghost Festival because the latter includes paying respects to all deceased, including the same and younger generations, while the former only includes older generations. Other festivities may include and releasing miniature paper boats and lanterns on water, which signifies giving directions to the lost ghosts and spirits of the ancestors and other deities; the timing and origin story of the modern Ghost Festival, however derives from the Mahayana scripture known as the Yulanpen or Ullambana Sutra. The sutra records the time when Maudgalyayana achieves abhijñā and uses his new found powers to search for his deceased parents.
Maudgalyayana discovers that his deceased mother was reborn into the hungry ghost realm. She was in a wasted condition and Maudgalyayana tried to help her by giving her a bowl of rice; as a preta, she was unable to eat the rice as it was transformed into burning coal. Maudgalyayana asks the Buddha to help him; the Theravadan forms of the festival in South and Southeast Asia are much older, deriving from the Petavatthu, a scripture in the Pali Canon that dates to the 3rd century BC. The Petavatthu account is broadly similar to that recorded in the Yulanpen Sutra, although it concerns the disciple Sāriputta and his family rather than Moggallāna; the Ghost Festival is held during the seventh month of the Chinese calendar. It falls at the same time as a full moon, the new season, the fall harvest, the peak of Buddhist monastic asceticism, the rebirth of ancestors, the assembly of the local community. During this month, the gates of hell are opened up and ghosts are free to roam the earth where they seek food and entertainment.
These ghosts are believed to be ancestors of those who forgot to pay tribute to them after they died, or those who were never given a proper ritual send-off. They have long needle-thin necks because they have not been fed by their family, or as a punishment so that they are unable to swallow. Family members offer prayers to their deceased relatives, offer food and drink and burn hell bank notes and other forms of joss paper. Joss paper items are believed to have value in the afterlife, considered to be similar in some aspects to the material world, People burn paper houses, cars and televisions to please the ghosts. Families pay tribute to other unknown wandering ghosts so that these homeless souls do not intrude on their lives and bring misfortune. A large feast is held for the ghosts on the fourteenth day of the seventh month, when people bring samples of food and place them on an offering table to please the ghosts and ward off bad luck. Lotus-shaped lanterns are lit and set afloat in rivers and out onto seas to symbolicly guide the lost souls of forgotten ancestors to the afterlife.
In some East Asian countries today, live performances are held and everyone is invited to attend. The first row of seats are always empty; the shows are always put on at night and at high volumes as the sound is believed to attract and please the ghosts. Some shows include Chinese opera, in some areas burlesque shows. Traditionally Chinese opera was the main source of entertainment but the newer shows, dramas, wars and so forth are referred to as Getai; these acts are better known as "Merry-making". For rituals and Taoists hold ceremonies to relieve ghosts from suffering, many of them holding ceremonies in the afternoon or at night. Altars are built for the deceased and priests and monks alike perform ritu
In traditional Chinese culture, qi or ch'i is believed to be a vital force forming part of any living entity. Qi translates as "air" and figuratively as "material energy", "life force", or "energy flow". Qi is the central underlying principle in Chinese martial arts; the practice of cultivating and balancing qi is called qigong. Believers of qi describe it as a vital energy. Qi is a pseudoscientific, unverified concept, which has never been directly observed, is unrelated to the concept of energy used in science; the cultural keyword qì is analyzable in terms of Sino-Xenic pronunciations. Possible etymologies include the logographs 氣, 气, 気 with various meanings ranging from "vapor" to "anger", the English loanword qi or ch'i; the logograph 氣 is read with two Chinese pronunciations, the usual qì 氣 "air. Pronunciations of 氣 in modern varieties of Chinese with standardized IPA equivalents include: Standard Chinese qì /t͡ɕʰi˥˩/, Wu Chinese qi /t͡ɕʰi˧˦/, Southern Min khì /kʰi˨˩/, Eastern Min ké /kʰɛi˨˩˧/, Standard Cantonese hei3 /hei̯˧/, Hakka Chinese hi /hi˥/.
Pronunciations of 氣 in Sino-Xenic borrowings include: Japanese ki, Korean gi, Vietnamese khi. Reconstructions of the Middle Chinese pronunciation of 氣 standardized to IPA transcription include: /kʰe̯iH/, /kʰĭəiH/, /kʰiəiH/, /kʰɨjH/, /kʰɨiH/. Reconstructions of the Old Chinese pronunciation of 氣 standardized to IPA transcription include: /*kʰɯds/ and /*C.qʰəp-s/. The etymology of qì interconnects with Kharia kʰis "anger", Sora kissa "move with great effort", Khmer kʰɛs "strive after. In the East Asian languages, qì has three logographs: 氣 is the traditional Chinese character, Korean hanja, Japanese kyūjitai kanji 気 is the Japanese shinjitai kanji 气 is the simplified Chinese character. In addition, qì 炁 is an uncommon character used in writing Daoist talismans; the word qì was written as 气 until the Han dynasty, when it was replaced by the 氣 graph clarified with mǐ 米 "rice" indicating "steam" This primary logograph 气, the earliest written character for qì, consisted of three wavy horizontal lines seen in Shang dynasty oracle bone script, Zhou dynasty bronzeware script and large seal script, Qin dynasty small seal script.
These oracle and seal scripts logographs 气 were used in ancient times as a phonetic loan character to write qǐ 乞 "plead for. The vast majority of Chinese characters are classified as radical-phonetic characters; such characters combine a semantically suggestive "radical characters" with a phonetic element approximating ancient pronunciation. For example, the known word dào 道 "the Dao. Although the modern dào and shǒu pronunciations are dissimilar, the Old Chinese *lˤuʔ-s 道 and *l̥uʔ-s 首 were alike; the regular script character qì 氣 is unusual because qì 气 is both the "air radical" and the phonetic, with mǐ 米 "rice" semantically indicating "steam. This qì 气 "air/gas radical" was only used in a few native Chinese characters like yīnyūn 氤氲 "thick mist/smoke", but was used to create new scientific characters for gaseous chemical elements; some examples are based on pronunciations in European languages: fú 氟 "fluorine" and nǎi 氖 "neon". Others are based on semantics: qīng 氫 "hydrogen" and lǜ 氯 " chlorine".
Qì 氣 is the phonetic element in a few characters such as kài 愾 "hate" with the "heart-mind radical" 忄or 心, xì 熂 "set fire to weeds" with the "fire radical" 火, xì 餼 "to present food" with the "food radical" 食. The first Chinese dictionary of characters, the Shuowen Jiezi notes that the primary qì 气 is a pictographic character depicting 雲气 "cloudy vapors", that the full 氣 combines 米 "rice" with the phonetic qi 气, meaning 饋客芻米 "present provisions to guests". Qi is a polysemous word; the unabridged Chinese-Chinese character dictionary Hanyu Da Cidian defines it as "present food or provisions" for the xì pronunciation but lists 23 meanings for the qì pronunciation. The modern ABC Chinese-English Comprehensive Dictionary, which enters xì 餼 "grain. N. ① air. Qi was an early Chinese loanword in English, it was romanized as k'i in Church Romanization in the early-19th century, as ch'i in Wade–Giles in the mid-19th century, as qi in Pinyin in the mid-20th century. The Oxford English Dictionary entry for qi gives the pronunciation as IPA, the etymology from Chinese qì "air.
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