Elixir of life
The elixir of life known as elixir of immortality and sometimes equated with the philosopher's stone, is a potion that grants the drinker eternal life and/or eternal youth. This elixir was said to cure all diseases. Alchemists in various ages and cultures sought the means of formulating the elixir. In ancient China, many emperors sought the fabled elixir with varying results. In the Qin Dynasty, Qin Shi Huang sent Taoist alchemist Xu Fu with 500 young men and 500 young women to the eastern seas to find the elixir, but he never came back; when Shi Huang Di visited, he brought 3000 young girls and boys, but none of them returned. The ancient Chinese believed that ingesting long-lasting precious substances such as jade, cinnabar or hematite would confer some of that longevity on the person who consumed them. Gold was considered potent, as it was a non-tarnishing precious metal; the most famous Chinese alchemical book, the Danjing yaojue attributed to Sun Simiao, a famous medical specialist respectfully called "King of Medicine" by generations, discusses in detail the creation of elixirs for immortality as well as those for curing certain diseases and the fabrication of precious stones.
Many of these substances, far from contributing to longevity, were toxic and resulted in Chinese alchemical elixir poisoning. The Jiajing Emperor in the Ming Dynasty died from ingesting a lethal dosage of mercury in the supposed "Elixir of Life" conjured by alchemists. Amrita, the elixir of life has been described in the Hindu scriptures. Anybody who consumes a tiniest portion of Amrit has been described to gain immortality. Legend has it that at early times when the inception of the world had just taken place, evil demons had gained strength; this was seen as a threat to the gods. So these gods went to seek advice and help from the three primary gods according to the Hindus: Vishnu and Shiva, they suggested that Amrit could only be gained from the samudra manthan for the ocean in its depths hid mysterious and secret objects. Vishnu agreed to take the form of a turtle; this mountain was used as a churning pole. With the help of a Vasuki the churning process began at the surface. From one side the gods pulled the serpent, which had coiled itself around the mountain, the demons pulled it from the other side.
As the churning process required immense strength, hence the demons were persuaded to do the job—they agreed in return for a portion of Amrit. With their combined efforts, Amrit emerged from the ocean depths. All the gods were offered the drink but the gods managed to trick the demons who did not get the holy drink; the oldest Indian writings, the Vedas, contain the same hints of alchemy that are found in evidence from ancient China, namely vague references to a connection between gold and long life. Mercury, so vital to alchemy everywhere, is first mentioned in the 4th to 3rd century BC Arthashastra, about the same time it is encountered in China and in the West. Evidence of the idea of transmuting base metals to gold appears in 2nd to 5th century AD Buddhist texts, about the same time as in the West, it is possible that the alchemy of medicine and immortality came to China from India, or vice versa. But the elixir of immortality was of little importance in India; the Indian elixirs were mineral remedies for specific diseases or, at the most, to promote long life.
In European alchemical tradition, the Elixir of Life is related to the creation of the philosopher's stone. According to legend, certain alchemists have gained a reputation as creators of the elixir; these include St. Germain. In the eight-century Man'yōshū,'waters of rejuvenation' are said to be in the possession of the moon god Tsukuyomi. Similarities have been noted with a folktale from the Ryukyu Islands, in which the moon god decides to give man the water of life, serpents the water of death. However, the person entrusted with carrying the pails down to Earth gets tired and takes a break, a serpent bathes in the water of life, rendering it unusable; this is said to be why serpents can rejuvenate themselves each year by shedding their skin while men are doomed to die. The Elixir has had hundreds of names, among them Amrit Ras or Amrita, Aab-i-Hayat, Maha Ras, Aab-Haiwan, Dancing Water, Chasma-i-Kausar, Mansarover or the Pool of Nectar, Philosopher's stone, Soma Ras; the word elixir was not used until the 7th century A.
D. and derives from the Arabic name for miracle substances, "al iksir". Some view it as a metaphor for the spirit of God. "But whoever drinks the water. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." The Scots and the Irish adopted the name for their "liquid gold": the Gae
Qi was a state of the Zhou dynasty-era in ancient China, variously reckoned as a march and independent kingdom. Its capital was Yingqiu, located within present-day Linzi in Shandong. Qi was founded shortly after the Zhou overthrow of Shang in the 11th century BC, its first marquis was minister of King Wen and a legendary figure in Chinese culture. His family ruled Qi for several centuries before it was replaced by the Tian family in 386 BC. In 221 BC, Qi was the final major state annexed by Qin during its unification of China. During the Zhou conquest of Shang, Jiang Ziya served as the chief minister to King Wu. After Wu's death, Jiang remained loyal to the Duke of Zhou during the Three Guards' failed rebellion against his regency; the Shang prince Wu Geng had joined the revolt along with the Dongyi states of Yan, Xu, Pugu. These were suppressed by 1039 BC and Jiang was given the Pugu lands in what is now western Shandong as the march of Qi. Little information survives from this period, but the Bamboo Annals suggest that the native people of Pugu continued to revolt for about another decade before being destroyed a second time c. 1026.
In the mid-9th century BC, King Yi boiled Duke Ai to death. Under the reign of King Xuan, there was a local succession struggle. During this time, many of the native Dongyi peoples were absorbed into the Qi state. In 706 BC, Qi was attacked by the Shan Rong. Qi rose to prominence under Duke Huan of Qi, he and his minister Guan Zhong strengthened the state by centralizing it. He brought others into submission. In 667 BC, Duke Huan met with the rulers of Lu, Song and Zheng and was elected leader. Subsequently, King Hui of Zhou made him the first Hegemon, he intervened in the affairs of Lu. In 664 BC, he protected Yan from the Rong. In 659 BC, he protected Xing and in 660, from the Red Di. In 656 he blocked the northward expansion of Chu. After his death, a war of succession broke out among his sons weakening Qi; the hegemony passed to Jin. In 632 BC, Qi helped Jin defeat Chu at the Battle of Chengpu. In 589 BC, Qi was defeated by Jin. In 579 BC, the four great powers of Qin, Chu and Qi met to declare a truce and limit their military strength.
In 546 BC, a similar four-power conference recognized several smaller states as satellites of Qi, Jin and Qin. Early in the period, Qi annexed a number of smaller states. Qi was one of the first states to patronize scholars. In 532 BC, the Tian clan came to dominate the state. In 485 BC, the Tian fought several rival clans. In 481 BC, the Tian chief killed a puppet duke, most of the ruler's family, a number of rival chiefs, he took control of most of the state and left the Duke with only the capital of Linzi and the area around Mount Tai. In 386 BC, the House of Tian replaced the House of Jiang as rulers of Qi. In 221 BC, Qi was the last of the warring states to be conquered by Qin, thereby putting an end to the wars and uniting China under the Qin Dynasty. Before Qin unified China, each state had its own customs and culture. According to the Yu Gong or Tribute of Yu, composed in the 4th or 5th century BC and included in the Book of Documents, there were nine distinct cultural regions of China, which are described in detail in this book.
The work focuses on the travels of Yu the Great, throughout each of the regions. Other texts, predominantly military discussed these cultural variations. One of these texts was The Book of Master Wu, written in response to a query by Marquis Wu of Wei on how to cope with the other states. Wu Qi, the author of the work, declared that the government and nature of the people were reflective of the terrain of the environment in which they inhabited. Of Qi, he said: Although Qi's troops are numerous, their organization is unstable... The people of Qi are by nature unyielding and their country prosperous, but the ruler and officials are arrogant and care nothing for the people; the state's policies are not uniform and not enforced. Salaries and wages are unfair and unevenly distributed, causing disunity. Qi's army is arrayed with their heaviest hitters at the front while the rest follow behind, so that when their forces appear mighty, they are in reality fragile. To defeat them, we should divide our army into three columns and have two attack the left and right flanks of Qi's army.
Once their battle formations are thrown into disarray, the central column should be in position to attack and victory will follow. While visiting Qi, Confucius was impressed with perfection of performance of Shao music 韶 therein. During the Warring States period, Qi was famous for its capital's academy Jixia, renowned scholars of the era from all over China visited the academy; the state of Qi was known for having well organized cities that were nearly rectangular in shape, with roads that were neatly knit into a grid-like pattern. The palace was strategically positioned facing the south. To the left of the palace resided the ancestral temple, to its right the temple of the gods, both one hundred paces away; this ensured. In front of the palace was the court one hundred paces away and to the back of the palace was the city; this type of layout influenced the way cities were designed in subsequent generations. Smaller cities known as chengyi were abundant throughout Qi, they stretched 450 meters from south to north and 395 meters from east to west.
The perimeter was surrounded by a wall with the living headquarters situated within and a near
Weihai called Weihaiwei, is a city in eastern Shandong province, China. It is the easternmost prefecture-level city of a major seaport. Weihai borders Yantai to the Yellow Sea to the east. Weihai's population was 2,804,771 as of the 2010 census. Amongst them, 844,310 lived in the current built-up area though Wendeng district is soon being conurbated. Rongcheng, a county-level city within Weihai, has a built up area with 714,355 inhabitants. A subway is planned with 204,6 km to link all city districts; the first phase, Line 1 and 2 is planned for 2025. Between 1898 and 1930, the city was part of the British leased territory of Weihaiwei. Weihaiwei was the base for the Beiyang Fleet during the Qing Dynasty. In 1895, the Japanese captured it in the Battle of Weihaiwei, regarded as the last major battle of the First Sino-Japanese War; the Japanese evacuated on 24 May 1898, when it was occupied by the British. Since 2003, the Chinese battleship Dingyuan has been anchored here as a museum ship and memorial honouring Chinese personnel who fought in that war.
Weihaiwei was under British rule from 1 July 1898, under lease agreement with the Chinese empire, until 1930, with'Port Edward' as capital. A Royal Navy base was built on Liugong Island. Weihaiwei became a special administrative region after it was returned to the Republic of China in 1930, but Liugong Island and its facilities were leased back to the U. K. until 1940. In 1938, the Roman Catholic Independent Mission of Weihai was promoted to Apostolic Prefecture of Weihai but it has been vacant since 1970. Weihaiwei was occupied by the Japanese from 1938 to 1945. There was a withdrawal of most British forces and supplies from Liugong Island, a Japanese military landing and occupation of the island in 1940; the region was formally incorporated into Shandong province on 10 May 1945. In 1949, Weihaiwei City was established, its name was shortened to Weihai after the Communist revolution. Weihai is a commercial port and major fishing center with some light industries. Due to its close proximity to South Korea, Weihai has a large Korean business community and receives many Korean tourists.
Weihai is a key production area for peanuts and fruit. Weihai Economic & Technological Development Zone is a state-level development zone approved by the State Council on October 21, 1992; the administrative area has an area of 194 km2, including the programmed area of 36 km2 and an initial area of 11.88 km2. Its nearest port is Weihai Port, the airport closest to the zone is Wuhai Airport. Weihai Export Processing Zone was set up by the approval of the State Council on April 27, 2000. Weihai EPZ is located in Weihai Economic & Technological Development Zone with programmed area of 2.6 km2. Weihai EPZ belongs to processing zone; the EPZ is located 30 km from Weihai Airport, 3 km to Weihai Railway Station and 4 km from Weihai Harbor. Weihai Torch Hi-Tech Science Park is a state-level development zone approved by the State Council on March 1991. Located in Weihai's northwest zone of culture and science, the Park has the total area of 111.9 km2, a coastline of 30.5 km and 150,000 residents. It is 3 km away from the city center, 4 km away from Weihai Port, 10 km away from Weihai Railway Station, 30 km away from Weihai Airport and 80 km away from Yantai Airport.
Weihai Dashuibo Airport serves the city with regular service to Beijing, Guangzhou, Harbin domestically and the Korean cities of Seoul and Pusan, as the fourth busiest airport in Shandong following Qingdao and Yantai. Qingdao–Rongcheng intercity railway offers the high-speed rail services directly to Shanghai Hongqiao, Beijing South, Jimo North and Yantai, with five rail stations, Weihai North, Wendeng East and Rongcheng; as for conventional rail services, The K8262 train depart every day at and 10:18 PM for Jinan, the provincial capital, the K412 goes directly to Beijing at 8:54 PM, the No. K1068 train leaves at 9:38 AM for one of the three railway stations of Wuhan, Hubei. Internally, the city is served by more than 50 bus routes; the prefecture-level city of Weihai administers four county-level divisions, including two districts and two county-level cities. These are further divided including 52 towns and 14 subdistricts. Weihai is located on the north-eastern seashore of Shandong, its administrative area includes Chengshantou, the eastern tip of the Shandong Peninsula.
The city is surrounded by sea on three sides and its harbour is protected by Liugong Island. Weihai lies in the humid subtropical climate zone in terms of latitude, but as it is at the eastern end of the Shandong Peninsula, its climate is influenced by the surrounding Yellow Sea as well as the Siberian high and therefore experiences a humid continental climate. Springtime warming and autumn cooling are delayed by one month, winds are high, the average diurnal temperature variation throughout the year is small—at only 6.73 °C. Winters are still warmer than inland places located at the same latitude. Summers are hot and humid, August averages 24.7 °C. More than two-thirds of
Book of the Later Han
The Book of the Later Han known as the History of the Later Han and by its Chinese name Hou Hanshu, is one of the Twenty-Four Histories and covers the history of the Han dynasty from 6 to 189 CE, a period known as the Later or Eastern Han. The book was compiled by Fan Ye and others in the 5th century during the Liu Song dynasty, using a number of earlier histories and documents as sources. In 23 CE, Han dynasty official Wang Mang was overthrown by a peasants revolt known as the Red Eyebrows, his fall separates the Early Han Dynasty from the Later Han Dynasty. As an orthodox history the book is unusual in being completed over two hundred years after the fall of the dynasty. Fan Ye's primary source was the Dongguan Han Ji 東觀漢記, written during the Han dynasty itself; the book is part of four early historiographies of the Twenty-Four Histories canon, together with the Records of the Grand Historian, Book of Han and Records of the Three Kingdoms. Fan Ye used earlier histories, including accounts by Sima Qian and Ban Gu, along with many others, most of which did not survive intact.
The section on the Treatise on the Western Regions was based on a report composed by Ban Yong and presented to Emperor An of Han in around 125. It includes notes from his father Ban Chao, it forms the 88th chapter of the Book of the Later Han, is a key source for the cultural and socio-economic data on the Western Regions, including the earliest accounts of Daqin, some of the most detailed early reports on India and Central Asia. It contains a few references to events occurring after the death of Emperor An, including a brief account of the arrival of the first official envoys from Rome in 166. Fan Ye, himself says that the new information contained in this section on the Western Regions, is based on information from the report of Ban Yong: "Ban Gu has recorded in detail the local conditions and customs of each kingdom in the former book. Now, the reports of the Jianwu period onwards recorded in this'Chapter on the Western Regions' differ from the earlier. General Silk Road Seattle - University of Washington Hou Han Shu Book of Later Han 《後漢書》 Chinese text with matching English vocabulary
The Later Zhou was the last in a succession of five dynasties that controlled most of northern China during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, which lasted from 907 to 960 and bridged the gap between the Tang Dynasty and the Song Dynasty. Guo Wei, a Han Chinese, served as the Assistant Military Commissioner at the court of the Later Han, a regime ruled by Shatuo Turks. A teenager came to the throne of the Later Han in 948 after the death of the founding emperor, Gaozu. Guo Wei led a successful coup against the teenage emperor and declared himself emperor of the new Later Zhou on New Year's Day in 951. Guo Wei, posthumously known as Emperor Taizu of Later Zhou, was the first Han Chinese ruler of northern China since 923, he is regarded as an able leader who attempted reforms designed to alleviate burdens faced by the peasantry. His rule was well-organized. However, it was a short reign, his death from illness in 954 ended his three-year reign. Guo Rong, posthumously known as Emperor Shizong of Later Zhou, was the adoptive son of Guo Wei.
Born Chai Rong, he was the son of his wife's elder brother. He ascended the throne on the death of his adoptive father in 954, his reign was effective and was able to make some inroads in the south with victories against the Southern Tang in 956. However, efforts in the north to dislodge the Northern Han, while promising, were ineffective, he died an untimely death in 959 from an illness while on campaign. Guo Rong was succeeded by his seven-year-old son upon his death. Soon thereafter Zhao Kuangyin usurped the throne and declared himself emperor of the Great Song Dynasty, a dynasty that would reunite China, bringing all of the southern states into its control as well as the Northern Han by 979; the only series of cash coins attributed to the Later Zhou period are the Zhouyuan Tongbao coins which were issued by Emperor Shizong from the year 955. Emperor Shizong is sometimes said to have cast cash coins with the inscription Guangshun Yuanbao during his Guangshun period title, however no authentic cash coins with this inscription are known to exist.
The pattern of the Zhouyuan Tongbao is based on that of the Kaiyuan Tongbao cash coins. They were cast from melted-down bronze statues from 3,336 Buddhist temples and mandated that the citizens of Later Zhou should turn in to the government all of their bronze utensils with the notable exception of bronze mirrors, Shizong ordered a fleet of junks to go to Korea to trade Chinese silk for copper which would be used to manufacture cash coins; when reproached for this, the Emperor uttered a cryptic remark to the effect that the Buddha would not mind this sacrifice. It is said that the Emperor himself supervised the casting at the many large furnaces at the back of the palace; the coins are assigned amuletic properties and "magical powers" because they were made from Buddhist statues, are said to effective in midwifery – hence the many later-made imitations which are considered to be a form of Chinese charms and amulets. Among these assigned powers it is said that Zhouyuan Tongbao cash coins could cure malaria and help women going through a difficult labour.
The Chinese numismatic charms based on the Zhouyuan Tongbao depict a Chinese dragon and fenghuang as a pair on their reverse symbolising either a harmonious marriage or the Emperor and Empress, other images on Zhouyuan Tongbao charms and amulets include depictions of Gautama Buddha, the animals of the Chinese zodiac, other auspicious objects. Other than cash coins John E. Sandrock claims that the Later Zhou dynasty issued an early form of paper money, the reason for this is that because of a copper shortage the government of Later Zhou was forced to resort to a form of paper notes, these notes had the warning that those found counterfeiting them as well as their conspirators would be put to death and have their bodies displayed in public. Mote, F. W.. Imperial China. Harvard University Press. Pp. 13, 14. "5 DYNASTIES & 10 STATES". Retrieved 2006-10-08. Specific
Penglai is a legendary land of Chinese mythology. It is known in Japanese mythology as Hōrai. According to the Classic of Mountains and Seas, the mountain is said to be on an island in the eastern end of Bohai Sea, along with four other islands where the immortals lived, called Fāngzhàng, Yíngzhōu, Dàiyú, Yuánjiāo. Various theories have been offered over the years as to the "real" location of these places, including Japan, Nam-Hae, Geo-Je, Jejudo south of the Korean Peninsula, Taiwan. Penglai, Shandong exists, but its claimed connection is as the site of departures for those leaving for the island rather than the island itself. In Chinese mythology, the mountain is said to be the base for the Eight Immortals, or at least where they travel to have a ceremonial meal, as well as the illusionist Anqi Sheng. Everything on the mountain seems white, while its palaces are made from gold and platinum, jewels grows on trees. There is no winter. Qin Shi Huang, in search of the elixir of life, made several efforts to find the landmass where the mountain is located, to no benefit.
Legends tell that Xu Fu, one servant sent to find the island, found Japan instead, named Mount Fuji as Penglai. The presentation of Mt. Hōrai in Lafcadio Hearn's Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things, is somewhat different from the earlier idyllic Chinese myth; this version, which does not represent the Japanese views of Horai in the Meiji and preceding Tokugawa periods, rejects much of the fantastic and magical properties of Hōrai. In this version of the myth, Hōrai is not free from sorrow or death, the winters are bitterly cold. Hearn's conception of Hōrai holds that there are no magical fruits that cure disease, grant eternal youth or raise the dead, no rice bowls or wine glasses that never become empty. Hearn's incarnation of the myth of Hōrai focuses more on the atmosphere of the place, said to be made up not of air but of "quintillions of quintillions" of souls. Breathing in these souls is said to grant one all of the perceptions and knowledge of these ancient souls; the Japanese version holds that the people of Hōrai are small fairies, they have no knowledge of great evil, so their hearts never grow old.
In the Kwaidan, there is some indication that the Japanese hold such a place to be a fantasy. It is pointed out that "Hōrai is called Shinkiro, which signifies Mirage—the Vision of the Intangible", yet uses of Mount Hōrai in Japanese literature and art of the Tokugawa period reveal a different view than Hearn's Victorian-influenced interpretation. Avalon Dilmun, paradise-island in the Epic of Gilgamesh Luggnagg, the island of the immortal struldbrugs in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels Tír na nÓg Shangri-La "Horai". Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things. Retrieved February 22, 2006