Hey! So the results of the Labor Day Bonanza Quiz are in. 2 PGC chapters were up for grabs in the Chinese Culture quiz section, and readers got 0 of 2 questions correct. As a result, I shouldn't be releasing any PGC chapters today but...
*looks at hopeful readers* *looks at ample food sacrifices* *looks at impressive turnout for event*
*coughs lightly* You know what, let's give one as a celebratory prize for participation anyways. Here's chapter 271 a day early for ya!
Answers and explanations are below!
What is this?
a) Animal totem b) Ancient drum c) Hair ornament d) Ceremonial scepter (CORRECT)
Most Readers picked: c) Hair ornament
Explanation: Before we get into the details, let me show you the full, original picture first:
This is a ceremonial scepter known as a ruyi (如意), the origins of my translator name. The word 'ruyi' means "as you wish" or "as you desire," and the object associated with this namesake evolved throughout the dynasties from a conversation piece to a symbol of imperial power. Ruyi scepters were often made from a variety of materials ranging from ivory and bamboo to precious metals and gems. It'll be pretty heavy if you wear it in your hair as an ornament!
Below is a rough translated excerpt from an ancient Chinese poem. What was the motive of the poet in composing this particular piece?
“The beanstalk is burned to boil the beans, and filtered to extract the juice."a) He wanted to record a recipe for cooking beans b) He wanted to save his own life (CORRECT) c) He was hungry d) He wanted to code in a secret message for revenge
Most Readers picked: d) He wanted to code in a secret message for revenge
Explanation: The poem was written by Cao Zhi, third son of Cao Cao (yes, the same one from Three Kingdoms) in response to a challenge from his older brother Cao Pi. Elder brother Cao Pi had always been jealous of Cao Zhi, who was known for his literary genius. Cao Pi eventually took the throne, but accused his brother of trying to usurp his position and gave him the space of seven steps to compose a poem proving his innocence. The result of that became known as this poem, the Seven Steps Verse (七步诗), or the Quatrain of Seven Steps. It makes an analogy between the two brothers as beans from the same stalk. Cao Pi was so flustered by the poem that he eventually let Cao Zhi off...that time.
An interesting thing to note is that the historical equivalent of the "seven steps" referenced in the title is actually equal to 14 steps today; one movement each by the left and right foot equalled a single "step."
You can read the translations of the poem here.