Traditional Chinese characters
Traditional Chinese characters are Chinese characters in any character set that does not contain newly created characters or character substitutions performed after 1946. They are most the characters in the standardized character sets of Taiwan, of Hong Kong and Macau, in the Kangxi Dictionary; the modern shapes of traditional Chinese characters first appeared with the emergence of the clerical script during the Han Dynasty, have been more or less stable since the 5th century. The retronym "traditional Chinese" is used to contrast traditional characters with Simplified Chinese characters, a standardized character set introduced by the government of the People's Republic of China on Mainland China in the 1950s. Traditional Chinese characters are used in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau. In contrast, Simplified Chinese characters are used in mainland China and Malaysia in official publications. However, several countries – such as Australia, the US and Canada – are increasing their number of printed materials in Simplified Chinese, to better accommodate citizens from mainland China.
The debate on traditional and simplified Chinese characters has been a long-running issue among Chinese communities. A large number of overseas Chinese online newspapers allow users to switch between both character sets. Although simplified characters are taught and endorsed by the government of China, there is no prohibition against the use of traditional characters. Traditional characters are used informally in regions in China in handwriting and used for inscriptions and religious text, they are retained in logos or graphics to evoke yesteryear. Nonetheless, the vast majority of media and communications in China is dominated by simplified characters. In Hong Kong and Macau, Traditional Chinese has been the legal written form since colonial times. In recent years, simplified Chinese characters in Hong Kong and Macau has appeared to accommodate Mainland Chinese tourists and immigrants; this has led to concerns by many residents to protect their local heritage. Taiwan has never adopted simplified characters.
The use of simplified characters in official documents is prohibited by the government of Taiwan. Simplified characters are understood to a certain extent by any educated Taiwanese, learning to read them takes little effort; some stroke simplifications that have been incorporated into Simplified Chinese are in common use in handwriting. For example, while the name of Taiwan is written as 臺灣, the semi-simplified name 台灣 is acceptable to write in official documents. In Southeast Asia, the Chinese Filipino community continues to be one of the most conservative regarding simplification. While major public universities are teaching simplified characters, many well-established Chinese schools still use traditional characters. Publications like the Chinese Commercial News, World News, United Daily News still use traditional characters. On the other hand, the Philippine Chinese Daily uses simplified. Aside from local newspapers, magazines from Hong Kong, such as the Yazhou Zhoukan, are found in some bookstores.
In case of film or television subtitles on DVD, the Chinese dub, used in Philippines is the same as the one used in Taiwan. This is because the DVDs belongs to DVD Region Code 3. Hence, most of the subtitles are in Traditional Characters. Overseas Chinese in the United States have long used traditional characters. A major influx of Chinese immigrants to the United States occurred during the latter half of the 19th century, before the standardization of simplified characters. Therefore, United States public notices and signage in Chinese are in Traditional Chinese. Traditional Chinese characters are called several different names within the Chinese-speaking world; the government of Taiwan calls traditional Chinese characters standard characters or orthodox characters. However, the same term is used outside Taiwan to distinguish standard and traditional characters from variant and idiomatic characters. In contrast, users of traditional characters outside Taiwan, such as those in Hong Kong and overseas Chinese communities, users of simplified Chinese characters, call them complex characters.
An informal name sometimes used by users of simplified characters is "old characters". Users of traditional characters sometimes refer them as "Full Chinese characters" to distinguish them from simplified Chinese characters; some traditional character users argue that traditional characters are the original form of the Chinese characters and cannot be called "complex". Simplified characters cannot be "standard" because they are not used in all Chinese-speaking regions. Conversely, supporters of simplified Chinese characters object to the description of traditional characters as "standard," since they view the new simplified characters as the contemporary standard used by the vast majority of Chinese speakers, they point out that traditional characters are not traditional as many Chinese characters have been made more elaborate over time. Some people refer to traditional characters as "proper characters" and modernized characters as "simplified-stroke characters" (sim
Shangdi written "Emperor", is the Chinese term for "Supreme Deity" or "Highest Deity" in the theology of the classical texts deriving from Shang theology and finding an equivalent in the Tian of Zhou theology. Although in Chinese religion the usage of "Tian" to refer to the absolute God of the universe is predominant, "Shangdi" continues to be used in a variety of traditions, including certain philosophical schools, certain strains of Confucianism, some Chinese salvationist religions and Chinese Protestant Christianity. In addition, it is common to use such term among contemporary and secular Chinese, Hong Kong, Taiwanese societies for a singular universal deity and a non-religion translation for the God in Christianity. "Shang Di" is the pinyin romanization of two Chinese characters. The first – 上, Shàng – means "high", "highest", "first", "primordial"; the word itself is derived from Three "Huang" and Five "Di", including Yellow Emperor, the mythological originator of the Chinese civilization and the ancestor of the Chinese race.
However, 帝 refers to the High God of Shang, thus means "deity". Thus, the name Shangdi should be translated as "Highest Deity", but have the implied meaning of "Primordial Deity" or "First Deity" in Classical Chinese; the deity preceded the title and the emperors of China were named after him in their role as Tianzi, the sons of Heaven. In the classical texts the highest conception of the heavens is identified with Shang Di, described somewhat anthropomorphically, he is associated with the pole star. The conceptions of the Supreme Ruler and of the Sublime Heavens afterward coalesce or absorb each other; the earliest references to Shangdi are found in oracle bone inscriptions of the Shang Dynasty in the 2nd millennium BC, although the work Classic of History claims yearly sacrifices were made to him by Emperor Shun before the Xia Dynasty. Shangdi was regarded as the ultimate spiritual power by the ruling elite of the Huaxia during the Shang dynasty: he was believed to control victory in battle, success or failure of harvests, weather conditions such as the floods of the Yellow River, the fate of the kingdom.
Shangdi seems to have ruled a hierarchy of other gods controlling nature, as well as the spirits of the deceased. These ideas were mirrored or carried on by the Taoist Jade Emperor and his celestial bureaucracy. Shangdi was more transcendental than immanent, only working through lesser gods. Shangdi was considered too distant to be worshiped directly by ordinary mortals. Instead, the Shang kings proclaimed that Shangdi had made himself accessible through the souls of their royal ancestors, both in the legendary past and in recent generations as the departed Shang kings joined him in the afterlife; the emperors could thus entreat Shangdi directly. Many of the oracle bone inscriptions record these petitions praying for rain but seeking approval from Shangdi for state action. In the Shang and Zhou dynasties, Shangdi was conflated with Heaven; the Duke of Zhou justified his clan's usurpation through the concept of the Mandate of Heaven, which proposed that the protection of Shangdi was not connected to their clan membership but by their just governance.
Shangdi was not just a tribal but instead an unambiguously good moral force, exercising its power according to exacting standards. It could thus be lost and "inherited" by a new dynasty, provided they upheld the proper rituals. Nonetheless, the connection of many rituals with the Shang clan meant that Shang nobles continued to rule several locations and to serve as court advisors and priests; the Duke of Zhou created an entire ceremonial city along strict cosmological principals to house the Shang aristocracy and the nine tripods representing Huaxia sovereignty. The Shang's lesser houses, the shi knightly class, developed directly into the learned Confucian gentry and scholars who advised the Zhou rulers on courtly etiquette and ceremony; the Confucian classics carried on and ordered the earlier traditions, including the worship of Shangdi. All of them include references: The Four Books mention Shangdi as well but, as it is a compilation, the references are much more sparse and abstract. Shangdi appears most in earlier works: this pattern may reflect increasing rationalization of Shangdi over time, the shift from a known and arbitrary tribal god to a more abstract and philosophical concept, or his conflation and absorption by other deities.
By the time of the Han dynasty, the influential Confucian scholar Zheng Xuan glossed: "Shangdi is another name for Heaven". Dong Zhongshu said: "Heaven is the ultimate authority, the king of gods who should be admired by the king". In eras, he was known by the name "Heavenly Ruling Highest Deity" and, in this usage, he is conflated with the Taoist Jade Emperor. In Shang sources, Di is described as the supreme ordainer of the events which occur in nature, such as wind and thunder, in human affairs and politics. All the gods of nature are conceived as his manifestations. Shang sources attest his cosmological Five Ministries. Di, or Tian, as texts explain, did not receive cult for being too remote for living humans to sacrifice to directl
Yu the Great
Yu the Great, born Si Wenming, was a legendary ruler in ancient China famed for his introduction of flood control, inaugurating dynastic rule in China by establishing the Xia dynasty, for his upright moral character. The dates proposed for Yu's reign predate the oldest-known written records in China, the oracle bones of the late Shang dynasty, by nearly a millennium. No inscriptions on artifacts from the proposed era of Yu, nor the oracle bones, make any mention of Yu; the lack of anything remotely close to contemporary documentary evidence has led to some controversy over the historicity of Yu. Proponents of the historicity of Yu theorise that stories about his life and reign were transmitted orally in various areas of China until they were recorded in the Zhou dynasty, while opponents believe the figure existed in legend in a different form—as a god or mythical animal—in the Xia dynasty, morphed into a human figure by the start of the Zhou dynasty. Many of the stories about Yu were collected in Sima Qian's famous Records of the Grand Historian.
Yu and other "sage-kings" of Ancient China were lauded for their virtues and morals by Confucius and other Chinese teachers. Yu is one of the few Chinese rulers posthumously honored with the epithet "the Great". According to several ancient Chinese records, Yu was the eight-times-great-grandson of the Yellow Emperor: Yu's father, was the five-times-great-grandson of Emperor Zhuanxu. Yu was said to have been born at Mount Wen, in modern-day Beichuan County, Sichuan Province, though there are debates as to whether he was born in Shifang instead. Yu's mother was of the Youxin clan named either Nüxi; when Yu was a child, his father Gun moved the people east toward the Central Plain. King Yao enfeoffed Gun as lord of Chong identified as the middle peak of Mount Song. Yu is thus believed to have grown up on the slopes of Mount Song, just south of the Yellow River, he married a woman from Mount Tu, referred to as Tushan-shi. They had a son named Qi, a name meaning "revelation"; the location of Mount Tu has always been disputed.
The two most probable locations are Mount Tu in Anhui Province and the Tu Peak of the Southern Mountain in Chongqing Municipality. During the reign of king Yao, the Chinese heartland was plagued by floods that prevented further economic and social development. Yu's father, was tasked with devising a system to control the flooding, he spent more than nine years building a series of dikes and dams along the riverbanks, but all of this was ineffective, despite the great number and size of these dikes and the use of a special self-expanding soil. As an adult, Yu continued his father's work and made a careful study of the river systems in an attempt to learn why his father's great efforts had failed. Collaborating with Hou Ji, a semi-mythical agricultural master about whom little is concretely known, Yu devised a system of flood controls that were crucial in establishing the prosperity of the Chinese heartland. Instead of directly damming the rivers' flow, Yu made a system of irrigation canals which relieved floodwater into fields, as well as spending great effort dredging the riverbeds.
Yu is said to have eaten and slept with the common workers and spent most of his time assisting the work of dredging the silty beds of the rivers for the thirteen years the projects took to complete. The dredging and irrigation were successful, allowed ancient Chinese culture to flourish along the Yellow River, Wei River, other waterways of the Chinese heartland; the project earned Yu renown throughout Chinese history, is referred to in Chinese history as "Great Yu Controls the Waters". In particular, Mount Longmen along the Yellow River had a narrow channel which blocked water from flowing east toward the ocean. Yu is said to have brought a large number of workers to open up this channel, known since as "Yu's Gateway". In a mythical version of this story, presented in Wang Jia's 4th-century AD work Shi Yi Ji, Yu is assisted in his work by a yellow dragon and a black turtle. Another local myth says that Yu created the Sanmenxia "Three Passes Gorge" of the Yangzi River by cutting a mountain ridge with a divine battle-axe to control flooding.
Traditional stories say. For example, his hands were said to be thickly callused, his feet were covered with callus. In one common story, Yu had only been married four days when he was given the task of fighting the flood, he said goodbye to his wife. During the thirteen years of flooding, he passed by his own family's doorstep three times, but each time he did not return inside his own home; the first time he passed, he heard. The second time he passed by, his son could call out to his father, his family urged him to return home. The third time Yu was passing by, his son was older than ten years old; each time, Yu refused to go in the door, saying that as the flood was rendering countless number of people homeless, he could not rest. Yu killed Gonggong's minister Xiangliu, a nine-headed snake monster. King Shun, who reigned after Yao, was so impressed by Yu's engineering work and diligence that
Emperor of China
Emperor or Huangdi was the imperial title of the Chinese sovereign from 221 BCE to the early 20th century. It was established by Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor, after the reunification of the lands of the Zhou dynasty, it replaced the Zhou's own title of wáng, appropriated by numerous warlords during the Warring States Era. The Chinese title is not grammatically gendered, but the only empress to bear it was Wu Zetian, who replaced the Tang dynasty with her own in the years 690–705 CE. Use of the title is considered to have ended with the abdication of Puyi in 1912 following the Xinhai Revolution and the establishment of the Republic of China, although there were two failed attempts to reestablish an imperial government in China in 1915 and 1917; the Chinese emperor was considered the autocrat of All under Heaven. Under the Han dynasty, Confucianism replaced Legalism as the official political theory and succession theoretically followed Salic primogeniture; the Chinese emperors who shared the same family were classified into historical periods known as dynasties.
The absolute authority of the emperor was notionally bound with various obligations. In practice and heirs sometimes avoided the strict rules of succession and dynasties' ostensible "failures" were detailed in official histories written by their successful replacements; the power of the emperor was often limited by the imperial bureaucracy staffed by scholar-officials and eunuchs and by filial obligations to surviving parents and to dynastic traditions, such as those detailed in the Ming dynasty's Ancestral Instructions. During the Zhou dynasty, Chinese feudal rulers with power over their particular fiefdoms were called gong but, as the power of the Shang and Zhou kings waned, the dukes began to usurp that title for themselves. In 221 BCE, after the then-king of Qin completed the conquest of the various kingdoms of the Warring States period, he adopted a new title to reflect his prestige as a ruler greater than the rulers before him, he called himself the First Emperor. Before this, Huang and Di were the nominal "titles" of eight rulers of Chinese mythology or prehistory: The three Huang were godly rulers credited with feats like ordering the sky and forming the first humans out of clay.
In the 3rd century BCE, the two titles had not been used together. Because of the god-like powers of the Huang, the folk worship of the Di, the latter's use in the name of the God of Heaven Shangdi, the First Emperor's title would have been understood as implying "The Holy" or "Divine Emperor". On that account, some modern scholars translate the title as "thearch". On occasion, the father of the ascended emperor was still alive; such an emperor was titled the Tai Shang Huang, the "Grand Imperial Sire". The practice was initiated by the First Emperor, who gave the title as a posthumous name to his own father. Liu Bang, who established the Han dynasty, was the first to become emperor while his father yet lived, it was said he granted the title during his father's life because he would not be bowed to by his own father, a commoner. Owing to political fragmentation, over the centuries, it has not been uncommon to have numerous claimants to the title of "Emperor of All China"; the Chinese political concept of the Mandate of Heaven legitimized those claimants who emerged victorious.
The proper list was considered those made by the official dynastic histories. As with the First Emperor, it was common to retroactively grant posthumous titles to the ancestors of the victors; the Yuan and Qing dynasties were founded by successful invaders. Thus, Kublai Khan was Khagan of the Mongols and Emperor of China. On one count, from the Qin dynasty to the Qing dynasty, there were 557 emperors including the rulers of minor states. Some, such as Li Zicheng, Huang Chao, Yuan Shu, declared themselves the Emperors, Son of Heaven and founded their own empires as a rival government to challenge the legitimacy of and overthrow the existing Emperor. Among the most famous emperors were Qin Shi Huang of the Qin dynasty, the Emperors Gaozu and Wu of the Han dynasty, Emperor Taizong of the Tang dynasty, Kublai Khan of the Yuan dynasty, the Hongwu Emperor of the Ming dynasty, the Kangxi Emperor of the Qing dynasty; the Emperor's words were considered sacred edicts and his written proclamations "directives from above".
In theory, the Emperor's orders were to be obeyed immediately. He was elevated above all commoners and members of the Imperial family. Addresses to the Emperor were always to be formal and self-deprecatory by the closest of family members. In practice, the power of the emperor varied between different emperors and different dynasties. In the Chinese dynastic cycle, emperors founding a dynasty consolidated the empire through a
Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors
The Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors were two groups of mythological rulers or deities in ancient northern China. The Three Sovereigns is before The Five Emperors, The Five Emperors in history have been assigned dates in a period from circa 2852 BC to 2070 BC. Today they may be considered culture heroes; the dates of these mythological figures may be fictitious, but according to some accounts and reconstructions, they preceded the Xia Dynasty. The Three Sovereigns, sometimes known as the Three August Ones, were said to be god-kings, demigods or god emperors who used their abilities to improve the lives of their people and impart to them essential skills and knowledge; the Five Emperors are portrayed as exemplary sages who possessed great moral character and lived to a great age and ruled over a period of great peace. The Three Sovereigns are ascribed various identities in different Chinese historical texts; these kings are said to have helped introduce the use of fire, taught people how to build houses and invented farming.
The Yellow Emperor's wife is credited with the invention of silk culture. The discovery of medicine, the invention of the calendar and Chinese script are credited to the kings. After their era, Yu the Great founded the Xia Dynasty. According to a modern theory with roots in the late 19th century, the Yellow Emperor is the ancestor of the Huaxia people; the Mausoleum of the Yellow Emperor was established in Shaanxi Province to commemorate the ancestry legend. The Chinese word for emperor, huángdì, derives from this, as the first user of this title Qin Shi Huang considered his reunion of all of the lands of the former Kingdom of Zhou to be greater than the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors. A related concept appears in the legend of the Four shi; the four members are Youchao-shi, Suiren-shi, Fuxi-shi, Shennong-shi. The list sometimes extends to one more member being Nüwa-shi. Four of these five names appear in different lists of the Three Sovereigns. Shi is the meaning of clan or tribe in china，So none of them are a single person and in prehistoric times.
There is a saying that the Three Sovereigns are Youchao-shi, Shennong-shi. The Suiren teach people to drill wood for fire, so people can migrate; the Youchao teach people to build houses with wood, so that people leave the cave to expand into the plains. After the number of people became more, Shennong tried a variety of grasses to find suitable cereals to solve people's food problems. People call them the Three Sovereigns in order to miss their contribution,The tribe used their contribution as the name of the tribe. Depending on the source, there are many variations of who classifies as the Three Sovereigns or the Five Emperors. There are at least six to seven known variations. Many of the sources listed below were written in much periods and millennia after the supposed existence of these figures, instead of historical fact, they may reflect a desire in time periods to create a fictitious ancestry traceable to ancient culture heroes; the Emperors were asserted as ancestors of the Xia and Zhou dynasties.
The following appear in different groupings of the Three Sovereigns: Fuxi, Nüwa, Suiren, Gong Gong, Heavenly Sovereign, Earthly Sovereign, Tai Sovereign, Human Sovereign, the Yellow Emperor. The following appear in different groupings of the Five Emperors: Yellow Emperor, Emperor Ku, Emperor Yao, Emperor Shun, Shaohao and Yan Emperor. Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors portal List of Neolithic cultures of China Dawenkou culture Liangzhu culture Majiayao culture Qujialing culture Longshan culture Baodun culture Shijiahe culture Emperor of China. Translated by Allen, Herbert J. "Ssŭma Ch'ien's Historical Records, Introductory Chapter". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. 26: 269–295. 1894. Doi:10.1017/S0035869X00143916. "The Annals of the Bamboo Books: The reigns of Huang-te, Chuen-heuh and Hëen-Yuen. The Chinese Classics, volume 3, part 1. Translated by Legge, James. 1865. Pp. 108–116
Shaohao known as Shao Hao, Jin Tian or Xuanxiao, was a legendary Chinese sovereign who reigned c. 2600 BC. Shaohao is identified as a son of the Yellow Emperor. According to some traditions, he is a member of the Five Emperors; the historicity of Shaohao is controversial. The Doubting Antiquity School of historians represented by Gu Jiegang posit that Shaohao was added to the orthodox legendary succession by Liu Xin as part of a political campaign of revisions to ancient texts around the 1st century AD; the accepted version of his life, the provenance of which can only be reliably traced to the Han Dynasty from the 1st century AD onwards, posits that Shaohao is a son of the Yellow Emperor. He was the leader of the Dongyi, where he shifted their capital to Shandong. Ruling for eighty-four years, he was succeeded by his nephew Zhuanxu, the son of his brother Changyi. However, Shiji listed no emperor between Zhuanxu. Shaohao is mentioned as a person living between the two, fretting over an incompetent son, derisively called Qiongji.
If Shaohao were to be identified with Xuanxiao, the oldest son of the Yellow Emperor found earlier in the text. Jiaoji's son, Ku, grandsons would become emperors though. Shaohao's tomb, most built during the Song dynasty, is traditionally located in present-day Jiuxian village, on the eastern outskirts of Qufu; the tomb enclosure includes a pyramidal monument called Shou Qiu, which according to legend was the birthplace of the Yellow Emperor. A different legend, in the Bamboo Annals, posits that Shaohao was not the Yellow Emperor's son but the son of a certain Lady Jie, who miraculously conceived him after seeing a rainbow-like star flowing downwards onto the Hua islet. Another legend says that his mother, a weaver goddess, was a beautiful fairy named Huang'e who fell in love with the planet Venus while drifting along the Milky Way; the two enjoyed many intimate nights together on her raft and they created a son. She soon gave birth to Shaohao, his great uncle, the Yellow Emperor, was so impressed with him that he named him god of the Western Heavens.
The myth says that Shaohao created a kingdom in the five mountains of the Eastern Paradise, inhabited by different types of birds. As the ruler of this bureaucratic land, he captured the identity of a vulture. Other birds worked below him, such as a phoenix as his Lord Chancellor, a hawk that delegated the law, a pigeon, in charge of education, he chose the four seasons of the year to watch over the remaining birds. Although his kingdom was successful for many years, he moved back to the west and left his kingdom of birds to his son Chong. With a different son, Ru Shou, he made his home on Changliu Mountain, where he could rule over the Western Heavens. In union as father and son, they were responsible for the daily setting of the sun. In addition, Shaohao was thought to have introduced China to the twenty-five string lute. Whether Shaohao existed, or was a sovereign, is controversial; the Doubting Antiquity School of historians, represented by Gu Jiegang, posited that Shaohao was inserted into the orthodox legendary lineage of ancient rulers by Han Dynasty imperial librarian Liu Xin, as part of a wide-ranging campaign of editing ancient texts, in order to either justify the rule of the Han imperial house, or the brief Xin Dynasty that overthrew it.
This theory posits that Liu Xin was keen to create a narrative of the succession of legendary kings and subsequent dynasties, which would satisfactorily reflect the "succession of five elements" theory of dynastic succession, as well as a rotation between different lineages, which would together legitimise the rule of the Han Dynasty and/or the succession by the Xin Dynasty. There is general consensus that Shaohao was a real or legendary ruler of the Dongyi, a people who lived in eastern China, it is theorised. Documentary evidence of Shaohao originates in the extant version of the ancient text Zuo Zhuan, but the lineage recited there, that includes Shaohao, is not corroborated by contemporaneous or earlier texts; the Doubting Antiquity School therefore theorises that Liu Xin took an existing but separate legendary figure, inserted him into the legendary lineage of early rulers during his edit of the Zuo Zhuan. Whether, at what point, Shaohao was inserted into the narrative of ancient Chinese rulers remains controversial amongst historians.
The Samguk Sagi that Kim Yu-sin was of the ethnic Shaohao race
Chinese mythology is mythology, passed down in oral form or recorded in literature in the geographic area now known as "China". Chinese mythology includes many varied myths from cultural traditions. Chinese mythology is far from monolithic, not being an integrated system among just Han people. Chinese mythology is encountered in the traditions of various classes of people, geographic regions, historical periods including the present, from various ethnic groups. China is the home of many mythological traditions, including that of Han Chinese and their Huaxia predecessors, as well as Tibetan mythology, Turkic mythology, Korean mythology, many others. However, the study of Chinese mythology tends to focus upon material in Chinese language. Much of the mythology involves exciting stories full of fantastic people and beings, the use of magical powers taking place in an exotic mythological place or time. Like many mythologies, Chinese mythology has in the past been believed to be, at least in part, a factual recording of history.
Along with Chinese folklore, Chinese mythology forms an important part of Chinese folk religion. Many stories regarding characters and events of the distant past have a double tradition: ones which present a more historicized or euhemerized version and ones which presents a more mythological version. Many myths involve the cosmology of the universe and its deities and inhabitants; some mythology involves creation myths, the origin of things and culture. Some involve the origin of the Chinese state; some myths present a chronology of prehistoric times, many of these involve a culture hero who taught people how to build houses, or cook, or write, or was the ancestor of an ethnic group or dynastic family. Mythology is intimately related to ritual. Many myths are oral associations with ritual acts, such as dances and sacrifices. There has been an extensive interaction between Chinese mythology and Confucianism and Buddhism. Elements of pre-Han dynasty mythology such as those in Classic of Mountains and Seas were adapted into these belief systems as they developed, or were assimilated into Chinese culture.
Elements from the teachings and beliefs of these systems became incorporated into Chinese mythology. For example, the Taoist belief of a spiritual paradise became incorporated into mythology as the place where immortals and deities dwelt. Sometimes mythological and religious ideas have become widespread across China's many regions and diverse ethnic societies. In other cases beliefs are more limited to certain social groups, for example the veneration of white stones by the Qiang. One mythological theme that has a long history and many variations involves a shamanic world view, for example in the cases of Mongolian shamanism among the Mongols, Hmong shamanism among the Miao people, the shamanic beliefs of the Qing dynasty from 1643 to 1912, derived from the Manchus. Politically, mythology was used to legitimize the dynasties of China, with the founding house of a dynasty claiming divine descent. True mythology is distinguished from philosophical theories. Elaborations on the Wu Xing are not part of mythology, although belief in five elements could appear.
The Hundred Schools of Thought is a phrase suggesting the diversity of philosophical thought that developed during the Warring States of China. And subsequently, philosophical movements had a complicated relationship with mythology. However, as far as they influence or are influenced by mythology, John C. Ferguson divides the philosophical camps into two rough halves, a Liberal group and a Conservative group; the liberal group being associated with the idea of individuality and change, for example as seen in the mythology of divination in China, such as the mythology of the dragon horse that delivered the eight bagua diagrams to Fu Xi, methods of individual empowerment as seen in the Yi Jing. The Liberal tendency is towards individual freedom and Nature; the relationship of the Conservative philosophies to mythology is seen in the legendary Nine Tripod Cauldrons, mythology about the emperors and central bureaucratic governance, written histories, ceremonial observances, subordination of the individual to the social groups of family and state, a fixation on stability and enduring institutions.
The distinction between the Liberal and Conservative is general, but important in Chinese thought. Contradictions can be found in the details, however these are traditional, such as the embrace by Confucius of the philosophical aspects of the Yi Jing, the back-and-forth about the Mandate of Heaven wherein one dynasty ends and another begins based according to accounts where the Way of Heaven results in change, but a new ethical stable dynasty becomes established. Examples of this include the stories of Yi Yin, Tang of Shang and Jie of Xia or the similar fantastic stories around Duke of Zhou and King Zhou of Shang. Mythology exists in relationship with other aspects such as ritual. Various rituals are explained by mythology. For example, the ritual burning of mortuary banknotes, lighting fireworks, so on. A good example of the relationship of Chinese mythology and ritual is the Yubu known as the Steps or Paces of Yu. During the course of his activities in controlling the Great Flood, Yu was supposed to have so fatigued himself that he lost all the hair from his legs and developed a serious limp.
Daoist practitioners sometimes incorporate a curiously choreographed pedal locomotion into various rituals. Mythology and practice, on