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Yuan

| 2018-08-31
(Chinese Social Sciences Today)

This character has a sense of being original, fundamental or the first. Words including this character usually have something to do with origins, vitality or beginnings.


元龙豪气
yuán lóng háo qì

Yuan Long is the courtesy name of Chen Deng, a military general in the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220). Hao qi means “to be bold and manly.” The term often serves as a description of someone who is brave and forthright.


The term originated from the Romance of Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong (c. 1330-c. 1400). In this novel, Liu Bei (161-223), the founder of the state of Shu Han, talked with his subordinate Xu Si about Chen. Xu complained that he was given the cold shoulder when visiting Chen for issues with purchasing farmland. Liu disagreed with Xu and said, “Since the state is beset by turbulence and people are suffering, you should have focused on the state affairs rather than the housing issues. No wonder Chen neglected you.” After that, Chen was praised for his honest manner and care for the country.

 

元嘉草草
yuán jiā cǎo cǎo

Yuan Jia is the era name of Emperor Wen of Liu Song (407-453) during the Southern and Northern dynasties. Cao cao means “to be reckless.” This term is derived from a historic event when Emperor Wen was faulted for making repeated reckless attempts to attack his rival, the Northern Wei, using the wrong strategies and finally weakening his state toward the end of his rule.


The term is a verse from the poem “Joy of Eternal Union” by Xin Qiji (1140-1207), a great Chinese poet and military leader during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). “His son (Emperor Wen of Liu Song) launched in haste a northern campaign;/ Defeated at Mount Wolf,/ he shed his tears in vain.” Xin cited the failure of Emperor Wen in order to warn Han Tuozhou (a consul of the Southern Song) not to rush into the war against the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234), but to conduct effective military moves. However, his advice was disregarded and he was removed from the army. Finding no chance to avenge the dishonorable victory of the Jin over the Song, Xin expressed disappointment as well as affection for his motherland through poems.

 

(edited by REN GUANHONG)