12 votes

老氏讀易得間 Help me understand this, not homework

老氏讀易得間 老氏:即老子 Laozi。 讀易:研讀《易經》 to study 《I Jing》,《Book of Changes》 得間: ㄉㄜˊ ㄐㄧㄢˋ , dé jiàn 得:得到 to get, to find, to obtain 間:是「間隙、孔竅」的意思,引申為「竅門、訣竅」。 間 means "the gaps, orifices, openings or holes",...
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11 votes
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Does this building on chinese painting exist for real ? May the text which come along be of any help?

the building exists, it’s called “turtle tower”, in hanoi, vietnam: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoàn_Kiếm_Lake
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7 votes
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Clipping the Emperor’s wings

翦除羽翼 (Clipping one's wings) is a metaphor for "remove one's power base (assistants and supporters)" A bird cannot fly without wings ; an emperor cannot rule without able assistants 羽翼 itself is a ...
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6 votes
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What's the difference between Classical Chinese and Modern Chinese?

The following is an excerpt from wikipedia, Classical Chinese Grammar: Grammar Further information: Classical Chinese lexicon Classical Chinese is distinguished from written vernacular ...
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How are "vernacular" and "literary" readings of characters chosen and used outside of Mandarin?

Firstly, let us clarify one distinction: "literary Chinese" (文言文), a register of the written language in common use across the East Asian Sinosphere before the early 20th century. Its opposite is "...
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5 votes

What is the grammatical function of 當 and 自 in 爾男子,當自警 ?

If, 當 = should / must 自警 = self-discipline What do you think their grammatical roles are?
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张九龄《感遇》“奈何阻重深”句解/Translation of a sentence in one of Zhang Jiuling's poems

“可以荐嘉客,奈何阻重深”。这句在说,这个水果是很给朋友们的一件很好的礼品,但无奈路途遥远,不方便。隐含着诗人当前所处的位置远离曾经工作和生活的地方而表现出一种悲伤的心情。“阻重深”,表示路途险阻,“重” chong 一般用在强制“很多的”的情况下,表示有很多的东西(通常都用在表示有困难)包围着我们,在这里强调很困难,比如“需要克服重重险阻,被围困的军队需要突破重重包围圈”。“奈何”...
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Problem in understanding classical Chinese sentences

對揚王休﹒用作尊彝 this verse come from the inscription on 免尊 對 - 報答, to requite 揚 - 讚揚, to praise 王 - the king, or ruler 休 - 樹蔭 shade of a tree --> 庇蔭 to shield --> 美德 virtue 用作 - ~ use for 尊彝 - 彝 is ...
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4 votes

how to translate "何如" in 呂氏春秋?

there're 7 occurrences of "何如" in 呂氏春秋: http://ctext.org/lv-shi-chun-qiu/zh?searchu=何如 translate "何如" as "how" is appropriate, in some of them. 1 季冬紀﹒不侵 http://ctext.org/lv-shi-chun-qiu/bu-qin/zh?...
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What is the verbatim (grammatical) meaning of 不了​了之?

Your understanding for 不了 and 了之, respectively, are accurate. The key to your question is the relationship between the two parts. In classical Chinese, omission of conjunctions is a very common ...
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4 votes

Can anyone tell me what this means please? I think it is a proverb

From Tao Te Ching ("Canon of morality") attributed to Laozi. These words are excerpted from various parts. Various translation exists, and here I am just being literal. 上善若水。水善利萬物而不爭。(part 8) The ...
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4 votes

Is “之” usually used as a possessive pronoun (attributive) in Classical Chinese?

之 is a common way to say ‘him/her/it’ in classical Chinese. It’s usually in the object position, not the subject one though: 殺之 ‘kills him’; 由之 ‘from it’. The use like modern Chinese 的 is ...
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4 votes

What exactly is an ancient Tang dynasty 壺?

doesn’t a google images search of “故宮” + “館藏” + “唐代” + “壺“ suit your need? it would be something like these: ok, these three are “執壺” (a 壺 with handle & spout) update: the photo provided in ...
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Is my interpretation of "向右往后勾提。至甲势已背时" correct in the context of Tai Chi?

first of all a two-person push hands sequence the mentioned verse is of sparring (散手), not push hand (推手) 甲 is the left man, grey cloth; 乙 is the right one, white cloth 乙被掤・乘勢含胸拔背・向右轉腰坐腿・右手刁住甲右腕・...
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Meaning of 不之禁也 in context

As you may have noticed, the two senses of 禁 are pronounced with different tones: 禁 meaning "forbid": jìn 禁 meaning "endure/tolerate": jīn Actually the English word "...
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3 votes

张九龄《感遇》“奈何阻重深”句解/Translation of a sentence in one of Zhang Jiuling's poems

"重",应该读chóng 即阳平(2声) "江南有丹橘,经冬犹绿林。" 江南一带生长着一种奇异的丹橘,经历严冬橘林依然枝叶苍翠,郁郁青青。 "岂伊地气暖,自有岁寒心。" 难道这是因为那里地气和暖使然?原来是这种橘树自有凌寒傲霜的本性。 "可以荐嘉客,奈何阻重深。" 款待贵宾与亲朋,这丹橘作为上好的水果当之无愧,怎奈一路上山高水深,运送它交通不便。 "徒言树桃李,此木岂无阴?...
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3 votes

What is the cultural meaning of the practice 歃 when taking an oath ?

The passage is punctuated slightly wrong, it should be 葵丘之會,諸侯束牲、載書而不歃血: At the assembly at Kuiqiu, the feudal lords bound the sacrifice and placed their written pledges on it, but did not make blood ...
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3 votes
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what is the translation for 或啁之曰 ?

Here 啁 is a phonetic loan for 嘲, 'to mock', as in 嘲笑, so the phrase 或啁之曰could be translated "Someone mocked him, saying..." Using one character for another because they are pronounced similarly is ...
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What is the meaning of 豫兮 in 豫兮若冬涉川 ?

You must know that the character 豫 means being caution, being extremely careful; 兮 is modal particle, like 啊. So,the whole sentence means (他)犹豫小心,就如同冬天过河一样,不敢贸然下水似的. Being extremely caution so that ...
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3 votes
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Origin of Chinese Parable: Devils and Righteous Man

claiming this parable has chinese origin is doubtful. several themes in the text are very un-chinese, against the customs & culture: 1 "travelling through the country" 2 such travelling with a ...
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3 votes

What does 前後鼓吹 mean?

鼓 = (beat) Drum 吹 = blow (trumpet) "Beating the drum and blowing the trumpet around the person" Similar terms: 前后部鼓吹,两部鼓吹
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3 votes
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Chinese literature vocabulary

One way is: 书面语 . See http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E4%B9%A6%E9%9D%A2%E8%AF%AD for more information
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3 votes
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Meaning of 道生一,一生二,二生三,三生万物

The meaning I would present is With the principles of nature, the fundamentals were produced. Everything else are then produced from the fundamentals. The explanation of the principle and the ...
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將以求吾所大欲也 meaning of 將

i would interpret 將 in that sentence as "in near future" (即將). 抑王興甲兵.危士臣.構怨於諸侯.然後快於心與 王曰.否.吾何快於是.將以求吾所大欲也 mencius challenged 齊宣王, said "or (抑), your majestic (王) increases (興) armours ...
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Translation of 織草為茵 in context

织草为茵 (Weaving grass into a carpet/ grass is woven into a carpet) is the literal meaning It figuratively describes the scene as 'densely grown grass look like a woven carpet' (you can imagine it was ...
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2 votes

how to search words / clauses in classical / literary chinese?

to search words / clauses (combinations of 2-9 characters) in classical / literary chinese, it's straightforward; if you know the methods, and able to visit the recommended sites {some of them are ...
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2 votes

How to Interpret 認不真 in 須認真. 若認不真. 便都成了假的?

「認真」is a common two characters compound word. It means 'serious' (adj.) Since it is an adjective, we can add the negative function word 「不」(not ) before it, and form an negative phrase 「不認真」(not ...
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