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Some Chinese Ghosts by Lafcadio Hearn


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Some Chinese Ghosts by Lafcadio Hearn

TSING-JIN.--"Men of Tsing." From very ancient times the Chinese have been wont to call themselves by the names of their famous dynasties,--_Han-jin_, "the men of Han"; _Thang-jin_, "the men of Thang," etc. _Ta Tsing Kwoh_ ("Great Pure Kingdom") is the name given by the present dynasty to China,--according to which the people might call themselves _Tsing-jin_, or "men of Tsing." Williams, however, remarks that they will not yet accept the appellation.

VERSES (CHINESE).--The verses preceding "The Legend of Tchi-Niu" afford some remarkable examples of Chinese onomatopoeia. They occur in the sixth strophe of _Min-min_, which is the third chant of the first section of _Ta-ya_, the Third Book of the _Chi-King_.(See G. Pauthier's French version.) Dr. Legge translates the strophe thus:--

... Crowds brought the earth in baskets; they threw it with shouts into the frames; they beat it with responsive blows; they pared the walls repeatedly till they sounded strong.--_Sacred Books of the East_; Vol. III., _The She-King_, p. 384.

Pauthier translates the verses somewhat differently; preserving the onomatopoeia in three of the lines. _Hong-hong_ are the sounds heard in the timber-yards where the wood is being measured; from the workshops of the builders respond the sounds of _tng-tng_; and the solid walls, when fully finished off, give out the sound of _png-png_.

YAO.--"Porcelain." The reader who desires detailed information respecting the technology, history, or legends of Chinese porcelain-manufacture should consult Stanislas Julien's admirable "Histoire de la Porcelaine Chinoise" (Paris, 1856). With some trifling exceptions, the names of the various porcelains cited in my "Tale of the Porcelain-God" were selected from Julien's work. Though oddly musical and otherwise attractive in Chinese, these names lose interest by translation. The majority of them merely refer to centres of manufacture or famous potteries: _Chou-yao_, "porcelains of Chou"; _Hong-tcheou-yao_, "porcelains of Hong-tcheou"; _Jou-yao_, "porcelains of Jou-tcheou"; _Ting-yao_, "porcelains of Ting-tcheou"; _Ko-yao_," porcelains of the Elder Brother [Thsang]"; _Khang-hi-nien-t'sang-yao_, "porcelains of Thsang made in the reign of Khang-hi." Some porcelains were distinguished by the names of dynasties, or the titles of civic office holders; such as the celebrated _Tch'a-yao_, "the porcelains of Tch'a" (which was the name of the family of the Emperor Chi-tsong); and the _Kouan-yao_, or "Porcelains of Magistrates." Much more rarely the names refer directly to the material or artistic peculiarity of porcelains,--as _Ou-ni-yao_, the "black-paste porcelains," or _Pi-se-yao_, the "porcelains of hidden color." The word _khi_, sometimes substituted for _yao_ in these compound names, means "vases"; as _Jou-khi_, "vases of Jou-tcheou"; _Kouan-khi_, "vases for Magistrates."

Some Chinese Ghosts by Lafcadio Hearn