Chinese Culture

Chinese Idioms: Use One’s Spear Against One’s Own Shield (自相矛盾)

The merchant’s boast of having the most durable shield and the most effective shield-piercing spear was such a contradiction that it made people laugh. (Zona Yeh/Epoch Times
The merchant’s boast of having the most durable shield and the most effective shield-piercing spear was such a contradiction that it made people laugh. (Zona Yeh/Epoch Times

During the Warring States period (475–221 B.C.), there was a weapons merchant in the state of Chu who specialized in selling spears and shields. One...

  • The Chinese radical/character 田 (tián) stands for arable land, cultivated ground, or agricultural fields. (Epoch Times)

    Chinese Character for Fields: Tián (田)

    The Chinese radical/character 田 (tián) stands for fields, arable land, or cultivated ground. 田 (tián) is a pictogram that depicts plots of cultivated farmland, with... Read more

  • Justice Bao, the symbol of Justice and fairness. (SM Yang)

    Historical Figures: Bao Zheng, Symbol of Justice and Fairness

    Bao Zheng (A.D. 999–1062) was a well-known official and judge in the Northern Song Dynasty. During his service, he fought vigorously against corruption, solved many... Read more

  • The silly monkeys were quite happy with receiving three chestnuts at dawn and four at dusk, even though they had been unhappy with getting four chestnuts in the morning and three in the evening.
(Mei Xiu/Epoch Times)

    Chinese Idioms: Three at Dawn and Four at Dusk (朝三暮四)

    During the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 B.C.), there lived an old man in the state of Song. He was very fond of monkeys and... Read more

  • Detail of a mural from an Eastern Han tomb (25–220 A.D.) at Zhucun, Luoyang, Henan Province, China. The painting utilizes Han purple and Han blue pigments. (Wikimedia Commons)

    Han Purple: A 2,800-Year-Old Artificial Pigment That Quantum Physicists Are Trying to Understand

    Han purple is an artificial pigment created by the Chinese over 2,500 years ago, which was used in wall paintings and to decorate the famous... Read more

  • “Good advice jars the ear yet is beneficial for guiding one’s behavior; effective medicine tastes bitter yet is good for curing one’s illness,” Zhang Liang said to, Liu Bang. “What the general said to you was good advice.” (Catherine Chang/Epoch Times)

    Chinese Idioms: Good Advice Jars the Ear (忠言逆耳)

    Prior to the end of the Qin Dynasty (221–206 B.C.), the leader of the rebellion troops, Liu Bang, occupied the Qin palace. Liu was amazed... Read more

  • The Chinese character 字 (zì) stands for a word or character and is formed by placing 子 (zi), the character/radical for child or son, under 宀, the radical for roof. The character symbolizes a child in a house. (Epoch Times)

    Chinese Character for Word, Character: Zì (字)

    The Chinese character 字 (zì) stands for a word or a character. It is based on the character/radical 子 (zi), which gives 字 (zì) its... Read more

  • Fan Zhongyan endured many hardships while maintaining a philosophy of service that encouraged others to “Be the first to care about the nation’s fate, the last to enjoy its comforts.”  (Zhiching Chen/Epoch Times)

    Historical Figures: Fan Zhongyan, Advocating the Nation’s Fate Before Comfort

    Fan Zhongyan (A.D. 989–1052) was a prominent Confucian scholar and politician in the Northern Song Dynasty. He was known for the famous saying: “Be the... Read more

  • Han Xin, a brilliant strategist with a poor family background. (Blue Hsiao/Epoch Times)

    Giving Thanks the Ancient Chinese Way

    Let one drop of kindness be repaid with a fountain of reward, said the ancient Chinese. Many of them meant it. According to the teachings... Read more

  • The Chinese character 房 (fáng) stands for a house, an apartment, or a room. (Epoch Times)

    Chinese Character for House, Room: Fáng (房)

    The Chinese character 房 (fáng) stands for a house, an apartment, or a room. Examples of terms that contain 房 (fáng) include 房子 (fáng zi),... Read more

  • A statue of Confucius at Wen Miao, the Confucian temple in Shanghai. (Sebastiaan de Stigter/iStock/

    Confucius Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

    In today’s China, the philosopher Confucius is back. To mark his 2,565th birthday this September, the nation’s president Jinping, paid homage to the sage at... Read more

  • The Chinese idiom “引人入勝” (yǐn rén rù shèng) is commonly used to describe something that is beautiful, fascinating, and attractive. (Flora Chung/Epoch Times)

    Chinese Idioms: Lead One to Enter a Beautiful Place (引人入勝)

    By the end of the Eastern Jin Dynasty (A.D. 317–420), most affairs of state were entrusted to eunuchs while Emperor Ling spent much of his... Read more

  • The Chinese character 將 refers to a general or commander when pronounced as jiàng. When pronounced as jiāng, it means shall, or going to, conveying the idea of a future action, and also indicates taking or using something.  (Epoch Times)

    Chinese Character for General, Shall, Take: Jiàng, Jiāng (將)

    When pronounced as jiàng, the Chinese character 將 refers to a general or commander. When pronounced as jiāng, 將 means shall, will, going to, intend... Read more

  • A Chinese folk tale about a shepherd boy and a wolf suggests that it is foolish to believe that a wolf will change its nature and to trust it with the safety of your sheep! (Zona Yeh/Epoch Times)

    Chinese Idioms: Invite the Wolf Into the House (引狼入室)

    The wolf is one of the world’s most widely dispersed mammals. It is the ancestor of the domestic dog. There are many different wolf subspecies,... Read more

  • Wang Zhaojun, one of the famous Chinese “Four Beauties,” sacrificed life in her homeland to promote peace between the Han and the Xiongnu peoples. (Yu-Child/Epoch Times)

    Wang Zhaojun: ‘Beauty’ of Peace

    There are ancient Chinese legends about the “Four Great Beauties,” women of such beauty that they were able to influence emperors and kings, and change... Read more

  • mei

    Chinese Characters: Měi (美)

    Měi (美), the character for “beauty” or “beautiful,” consists of two other characters: the upper part is 羊 (yáng, ram/sheep), and the lower part is... Read more

  • The Chinese character 相 (xiāng) stands for appearance or countenance. As an adjective or adverb, it is used to describe the concept of "each other," or being mutual, reciprocal, or correlative.  (Epoch Times)

    Chinese Character for Mutual, Appearance: Xiāng, Xiàng (相)

    When pronounced as xiàng, the Chinese character 相means appearance or countenance, and when pronounced as xiāng it means mutual, correlative, or “each other.” 相 is... Read more