Thousand Character Classic
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Thousand Character Classic
Thousand Character Classic
An Authentic Thousand Character Classic.gif
A calligraphic work titled An Authentic "Thousand Character Classic", Song dynasty
Chinese name
Chinese???
Hanyu PinyinQi?nzì Wén
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese alphabetThiên t? v?n
Ch? Hán???
Korean name
Hangul
Hanja
Japanese name
Kanji
Kana
Thousand Character Classic used as style dictionary : each character is given in different styles in each column
Japanese book of 1756

The Thousand Character Classic (Chinese: ; pinyin: Qi?nzì Wén), also known as the Thousand Character Text, is a Chinese poem that has been used as a primer for teaching Chinese characters to children from the sixth century onward. It contains exactly one thousand characters, each used only once, arranged into 250 lines of four characters apiece and grouped into four line rhyming stanzas to make it easy to memorize. It is sung in a way similar to children learning the Latin alphabet sing an "alphabet song." Along with the Three Character Classic and the Hundred Family Surnames, it formed the basis of literacy training in traditional China.

The first line is Tian di xuan huang (simplified Chinese: ?; traditional Chinese: ?; pinyin: Ti?ndì xuán huáng; Jyutping: tin1 dei6 jyun4 wong4) ("Heaven and Earth Dark and Yellow") and the last line, Yan zai hu ye (Chinese: ?; pinyin: Y?n z?i h? y?; Jyutping: yin1 zoi1 fu1 jaa5) explains the use of the grammatical particles "yan", "zai", "hu", and "ye". [1]

History

There are several stories of the work's origin. One says that Emperor Wu of the Liang dynasty (r. 502-549) commissioned Zhou Xingsi (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: Zh?u Xìngsì, 470-521) to compose this poem for his prince to practice calligraphy. Another says that the emperor commanded Wang Xizhi, a noted calligrapher, to write out one thousand characters and give them to Zhou as a challenge to make into an ode. Another story is that the emperor commanded his princes and court officers to compose essays and ordered another minister to copy them on a thousand slips of paper, which became mixed and scrambled. Zhou was given the task of restoring these slips to their original order. He worked so intensely to finish doing so overnight that his hair turned completely white. [2]

The popularity of the book in the Tang dynasty is shown by the fact that there were some 32 copies found in the Dunhuang archaeological excavations. By the Song dynasty, since all literate people could be assumed to have memorized the text, the order of its characters was used to put documents in sequence in the same way that alphabetical order is used in alphabetic languages.[3]

The Buddhist Uyghur Kingdom of Qocho used the thousand character classic and the Qieyun and it was written that "In Qocho city were more than fifty monasteries, all titles of which are granted by the emperors of the Tang dynasty, which keep many Buddhist texts as Tripitaka, Tangyun, Yupuan, Jingyin etc."[4]

In the dynasties following the Song, the Three Character Classic, the Hundred Family Surnames, and 1,000 Character Classic, came to be known as San Bai Qian (Three, Hundred, Thousand), from the first character in their titles. They were the almost universal introductory literacy texts for students, almost exclusively boys, from elite backgrounds and even for a number of ordinary villagers. Each was available in many versions, printed cheaply, and available to all since they did not become superseded. When a student had memorized all three, he could recognize and pronounce, though not necessarily write or understand the meaning of, roughly 2,000 characters (there was some duplication among the texts). Since Chinese did not use an alphabet, this was an effective, though time consuming, way of giving a "crash course" in character recognition before going on to understanding texts and writing characters. [5]

Japan

Wani, a semi-legendary Chinese-Baekje scholar,[6] is said to have translated the Thousand Character Classic to Japanese along with 10 books of the Analects of Confucius during the reign of Emperor ?jin (r. 370?-410?). However, this alleged event precedes the composition of the Thousand Character Classic. This makes many assume that the event is simply fiction, but some[who?] believe it to be based in fact, perhaps using a different version of the Thousand Character Classic.

Korea

The Thousand Character Classic has been used as a primer for learning Chinese characters for many centuries. It is uncertain when the Thousand Character Classic was introduced to Korea.

The book is noted as a principal force--along with the introduction of Buddhism into Korea--behind the introduction of Chinese characters into the Korean language. Hanja was the sole means of writing Korean until the Hangul script was created under the direction of King Sejong the Great in the 15th century; however, even after the invention of Hangul, most Korean scholars continued to write in Hanja until the late 20th century.

The Thousand Character Classic's use as a writing primer for children began in 1583, when King Seonjo ordered Han Ho (1544-1605) to carve the text into wooden printing blocks.

Forty-four legends from Cheon (heaven) to Su (water) among Thousand Character Classic were inscribed one by one on the reverse of Sangpyung Tongbo (a Joseon Dynasty Korean coin).

The Thousand Character Classic has its own form in representing the Chinese characters. For each character, the text shows its meaning (Korean Hanja: ?; saegim or hun) and sound (Korean Hanja: ?; eum). The vocabulary to represent the saegim has remained unchanged in every edition, despite the natural evolution of the Korean language since then. However, in the editions Gwangju Thousand Character Classic and Seokbong Thousand Character Classic, both written in the 16th century, there are a number of different meanings expressed for the same character. The types of changes of saegims in Seokbong Thousand Character Classic into those in Gwangju Thousand Character Classic fall roughly under the following categories:

  1. Definitions turned more generalized or more concrete when semantic scope of each character had been changed
  2. Former definitions were replaced by synonyms
  3. Parts of speech in the definitions were changed

From these changes, replacements between native Korean and Sino-Korean can be found. Generally, "rare saegim vocabularies" are presumed to be pre-16th century, for it is thought that they may be a fossilized form of native Korean vocabulary or affected by the influence of a regional dialect in Jeolla Province.

South Korean senior scholar, Daesan Kim Seok-jin (Korean Hangul: ), expressed the significance of Thousand Character Classic by contrasting the Western concrete science and the Asian metaphysics and origin-oriented thinking in which "it is the collected poems of nature of cosmos and reasons behind human life".[7]

The first 44 characters of the Thousand Character Classic were used on the reverse sides of some Sangpyeong Tongbo cash coins of the Korean mun currency to indicate furnace or "series" numbers.[8]

Manchu texts

Several different Manchu texts of the Thousand Character Classic are known today. They all use the Manchu script to transcribe Chinese characters. They are utilized in research on Chinese phonology.

The Man han ciyan dzi wen (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: M?n hàn qi?n zì wén; Jyutping: mun5 hon3 cin1 zi6 man4) written by Chen Qiliang (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: Chénq?liàng; Jyutping: cam4 kai2 loeng6), contains Chinese text and Manchu phonetic transcription. This version was published during the reign of the Kangxi Emperor.[9]

Another text, the Qing Shu Qian Zi Wen (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: Q?ngsh? qi?n zì wén; Jyutping: cing1 syu1 cin1 zi6 man4) by You Zhen (Chinese: ; pinyin: Yóu Zh?n; Jyutping: jau4 zan1), was published in 1685 as a supplement to the Baiti Qing Wen (simplified Chinese: ?; traditional Chinese: ?; pinyin: B?i t? q?ngwén; Jyutping: baak3 tai2 cing1 man4). It provides Manchu transcription without original Chinese. It is known for being referred to by Japanese scholar Ogy? Sorai for Manchu studies as early as the 18th century.[10]

The undated ciyan dzi wen which is owned by the Bibliothèque nationale de France is a variant of the Qing Shu Qian Zi Wen. It is believed to have been used by the translation office of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea. It contains Hangul transcription for both Manchu and Chinese.[11] It is valuable to the study of Manchu phonology.

Text

1 3 4 5 6 7
?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?,
?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?,
?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?,
?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?,
?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?,
?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?,
?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?,
?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?,
?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?,
2 ?, ?, ?, ?, ?,
?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?,
?, ?, ?, ?, ?,
?, ?, ?, ?, ?,
?, ?, ?, ?, ?,
?, ?, ?, ?, ?,
?, ?, ?, ?, ?,
?, ?, ?, ?,
?, ?, ?,
?, ?, ?,
?, ?,
?, ?,
?, ?,
?, ?,
?, ?,
?, ?,
?, ?,
?, ?,
?, ?,
?, ?,
?, ?,
?,
?,
?,

[12]

See also

  • Chengyu (traditional Chinese four-character parables)
  • Pakapoo (the use of the Thousand Character Classic as a lottery)

Similar poems in other languages

Notes

  1. ^ Paar, ed. (1963), p. 7, 36.
  2. ^ Paar, ed. (1963), p. 3.
  3. ^ Wilkinson, Endymion (2012). Chinese History: A New Manual. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center. ISBN 9780674067158., pp. 295, 601
  4. ^ Abdurishid Yakup (2005). The Turfan Dialect of Uyghur. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. pp. 180-. ISBN 978-3-447-05233-7.
  5. ^ Rawski (1979).
  6. ^ Encyclopedia Nipponica "(?)(?)(?)"
  7. ^ Lee (?), In-u (); Kang Jae-hun () (2012-01-03). [] "? ? ?". The Hankyoreh (in Korean). Retrieved .
  8. ^ "Korean Coins - ? - History of Korean Coinage". Gary Ashkenazy / ? (Primaltrek - a journey through Chinese culture). 16 November 2016. Retrieved 2017.
  9. ^ Ikegami Jir? (?): Manchu Materials in European Libraries (Y?roppa ni aru Mansh?go bunken ni tsuite; ), Researches on the Manchu Language (; Mansh?go Kenky?), pp.361-363, Publish date: 1999.
  10. ^ Kanda Nobuo ?: Ogy? Sorai no "Manbunk?" to "Shinsho Senjimon" (On Ogy? Sorai's "Studies of Written Manchu" and "The Manchu Thousand-Character Classic"), Shinch?shi Ronk? (Studies on Qing-Manchu History: Selected Articles), pp. 418-431?, 2005.
  11. ^ Kishida Fumitaka ?: On Ciyan dzi wen/Ch'ien-tzu-wen () in Bibliothèque Nationale (I) ( (I); Pari Kokumin Toshokan shoz? no Mankan "Senjimon" ni tsuite (I)), Journal of the Faculty of Humanities Toyama University (?; Toyama Daigaku Jinbungakubu Kiy?) No.21, pp.77-133, 1994.
  12. ^ Sturman, Nathan. "The Thousand Character Essay, Qi?nzì Wén, in Mandarin Chinese, (read as Senjimon in Japanese, Chonjyamun in Korean) (Archived)". Retrieved 2020.

Bibliography

External links


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