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                        Meng Jiangnu's Bitter Weeping
                        History and Culture

                        Meng Jiangnu TempleThis story happened during the Qin Dynasty (qīng cháo 清朝, 221BC-206BC). There was once an old man named Meng (孟 mèng) who lived in the southern part of the country with his wife. One spring, Meng sowed a seed of bottle gourd in his yard. The bottle gourd grew up bit by bit and its vines climbed over the wall and entered his neighbor Jiang’s yard. Like Meng, Jiang (jiāng 江)?had no children and so he became very fond of the plant. He watered and took care of the plant. With tender care of both men, the plant grew bigger and bigger and gave a beautiful bottle gourd in autumn. Jiang plucked it off the vine, and the two old men decided to cut the gourd and divide it by half. To their surprise when they cut the gourd a pretty and lovely girl was lying inside! They felt happy to have a child and both loved her very much, so they decided to bring the child up together. They named the girl Meng Jiangnu (mèng jiāng nǚ 孟姜女), which means Meng and Jiang’s daughter.

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                        Lady White and Xu Xian
                        History and Culture

                        ?? Lady White, Xiao Qing and Fa Hai
                        The folk of Lady White and Xu Xian (bái niáng zǐ hé xǔ xiān 白娘子和許仙) is one of the Chinese four greatest folklores. It reflects people’s recognition of love. The story goes like this: Taking the shapes of two women, White Snake (bái shé 白蛇), Bai Suzhen (bái sù zhēn 白素貞), and Green Snake (qīng shé 青蛇), Xiao Qing (xiǎo qīng 小青), toured on the West Lake (xī hú 西湖). A sudden heavy rain came at that time it sent everyone scurrying for shelter. When Bai Suzheng and Xiao Qing found their way, a young man holding up an umbrella protected them from the rain. The young man looked very handsome and gentle he was a local young scholar. Both Bai Suzheng and the young man flushed crimson with embarrassment when their eyes met together. They began to fall in love at that time. Seeing this, the clever Xiaoqing asked: "Thank you for your umbrella Sir, Could you tell us your name?"The young man replied: "My name is Xu Xian and I live in nearby the Broken Bridge (duàn qiáo 斷橋)." Then Bai Suzheng and Xiaoqin introduced themselves to the young man.

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                        The Butterfly Lovers -- Violin Concerto
                        History and Culture

                        ?Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai
                        The music of Liang Zhu (liáng zhù 梁祝), or "Butterfly Lovers," is undoubtedly the best-known and most popular in all of China. It is also one of the few Chinese pieces that have often appeared on the international stage. Almost everyone in China can hum a few lines of the violin concerto, which can be traced to a Chinese folk legend "Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai"(liáng shān bó yǔ zhù yīng tái 梁山伯與祝英臺).

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                        The Cowherd and the Girl Weaver
                        History and Culture

                        ????? Chinese Valentine's Day
                        The Cowherd and the Girl Weaver (niú láng zhī nǚ 牛郎織女) is one of the Chinese four great folklores. It is concerned with love, which reflect people's recognition of true love. As the story goes, an honest cowherd had been so kind to his ox that the creature told him of a secret pond where the beautiful daughters of the Emperor of Heaven (yù dì 玉帝) bathed. If the?cowherd stole one of their clothes, she would be unable to escape and become his wife. As it happened, the girl happened to be the seventh, youngest and most beautiful, daughter of the Emperor of Heaven. They fell in love and lived together happily for many years and bore two children.

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                        Gunpowder
                        History and Culture

                        The Invention of Gunpowder
                        Gunpowder (huǒ yào 火藥) was invented in China rest on variable interpretations of certain passages in ancient manuscripts. Few substances in history have had as profound an effect on human history as gunpowder, and its discovery was an accident.

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                        Printing
                        History and Culture

                        ?????????????? Block Printing & Movable Type Printing
                        Movable type printing
                        (huózìyìnshuāshù 活字印刷術) is one of the four great inventions in ancient China. Since the invention of paper in Han Dynasty (hàncháo 漢朝), the writing material is more convenient and economic than that of bamboo sheet and silk. However, it costs a lot of time to copy books, because a scholar had to do the transcription word for word if he wanted to own a new book, which cannot meet the demand of the developing society at that time. In the Sui? (suí 隋) and Tang (táng 唐) dynasties, the technology of block printing was invented, and therefore the speed of printing was increased. But when a book was to be printed, many wooden blocks had to be engraved. It wasted a lot of time and need a large quantity of boards. Moreover, the wooden blocks was hard to keep, and it is not easy to correct the mistakes that found in the blocks.

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