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Thread: CHINESE Culture and Language Help

  1. #31
    The I Ching is a book. I think the idea is that someone would cast the spell (put bones in the fire, whatever) and after the cracks form, they would pull it out and "read" it using what is set down in the I Ching... which still has nothing to do with wands or staves as far as I know.

  2. #32
    I've found a few Chinese legends about wizards, as well as some namesfor you to look up. You might be able to find some stories, or even some piece of artwork that could help answer your questions.

    And knowing the names of some well-known Chinese wizards might be of use too.

    Dongfang Shuo
    Fei Jiang-fang
    Ge Hong
    Kiang Tzu-ya
    Ko Hsuan
    T'ai-hsuan Nu
    Tang Guangzhen

    Something else I have notice is that wizards also seem to be called Immortal in some stories. Might be something to look up.

  3. #33
    The Daoists were obsessed with immortality. Ok, obsessed might be an unfair word. They believed in it and thought that they could make elixirs that could make it happen. That is part of how Qin Shi Huang Di died - he took too much mercury as part of immortality potions. He was also a big believer in Daoism - power obsessed emperors tend to be because Daoism promises the possibility of immortality.

    Dongfang Shou - seems to have actually been a court official during the Han dynasty. There are legends that he stole a peach from the gardens of the Queen Mother of the West. Those peaches make the eater immortal. Though apparently, it wears off. I've read a story where the Immortals gather around and eat peaches every so often. *shrug*

    Fei Jiang-fang - apparently made miniature landscapes which may be the actual origin of bonsai. Interesting, but... not sure how it fits in with HP canon.

    Ge Hong - another one of these Daoist/minor court official types. Interested in immortality and proving that there was a way to achieve it. See what I mean about the Daoists being obsessed with immortality? Also a philosopher type.

    I'll look up the rest later, but I found this interesting bit on Daoists and immortality:

    Taoist immortals can be divided into four classes according to their level of cultivation. At the lowest level are the human immortals. Human immortals are not very different from ordinary mortals except that they live long and healthy lives. In this book, Fan Li, Hsi Shih, and Kiang Tzu-ya are examples of human immortals.

    Next come the earth immortals. These immortals live for an unusually long period of time in the mortal realm, far beyond the life span of ordinary people. In this book, Tso Chi, Fei Chang-fang, and Chang Chung are examples of earth immortals.

    Above the earth immortals are the spirit immortals, who live forever in the celestial lands. Some, like the Yellow Emperor, Wei Po-yang, and Wen Shih, take their bodies with them when they enter the immortal realm. Others, like Pal Yu-ch'an, Kuo P'u, and Chang Po-tuan, leave their bodies behind when they liberate their spirits.

    At the highest level are the celestial immortals. These immortals have been deified and given the titles of celestial lord, emperor, or empress. Some, like Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu, are de facto deities because they are considered manifestations of the cosmic energy of the Tao. Others, like Lu Tung-pin and Ho Hsien-ku, were "promoted" to deity status because of the meritorious works they had done in the mortal and immortal realms.
    That's from the Introduction to Tales of the Taoist Immortals by Eva Wong.

    They're not really wizards. Some of them can do things that could be considered magical, but a lot of them just did good works and separated themselves from society or retired from public service "after their work was done".

  4. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by AidaLuthien
    They're not really wizards. Some of them can do things that could be considered magical, but a lot of them just did good works and separated themselves from society or retired from public service "after their work was done".
    Well, you also have to keep in mind that J.K. based a lot of her own world on the legends of Europe and the Western world. While most societies have some concept of magic in their legends, they're not all going to fit in neatly with what J.K. has created in her books.

    Concepts of magic practiced in the Harry Potter books certainly don't match what is consider by natives in the Americas, tribes in Africa. This is kind of where we need to start getting flexible. What you do is to look for stories that are about any sort of magic in whatever culture you are researching, and think to yourself "How can this be shifted so it could be a possibility in the Potter-verse?"

    As to the staff vs. wand thing, in most of the art I have seen, as well as movies (though I'm not sure this should be the basis for any fact), the wizards mostly seem to use staves as opposed to shorter-style wands. Although I do wonder how an eleven-year-old can truly handle a two-and-a-half, three foot staff.

    Maybe when wizarding child are young, they are given short-European style wands, and sh they get older, they have the option of getting instead, a more full-sized staff.

    Just a thought.

  5. #35
    My point was more that a lot of the Daoists who are considered "Immortals" did not even do anything particularly interesting that could be even stretched to be considered magical. They were just unusually clever or devoted and were rewarded.

    The thing that seems most immediately applicable is reading oracle bones as a form of Divination, but nothing else really jumps to mind. Everything else is just too far away from canon to even be bent into shape.

  6. #36
    Yes, I am also finding few references to anything resembling wizards in Chinese myth. You might have to just take what you can get and try and shape that into something resembling the world of J.K. Even if it is just the stories of people using isolated incidents of magic and then retreating from society.

    There might be a way to say these stories were extrememly edited for the Muggle audience to keep the Muggle population from finding out about the existance of wizards.

    As far as the world of J.K. I did find one notable Chinese wizard she created.

    Quong Po: 1443 1539
    Chinese Wizard who found uses of the powdered Fireball Eggs.

  7. #37
    Since I have been contemplating a beginning of the school year feast for my Australian story, I have also begun wondering about what foods would be served at a feast at a Chinese school. I know that Chinese food that you eat in America isn't really Chinese food, just what Americans think Chinese food is.

    Would you think a Chinese school would even have a beginning of the school year feast?

  8. #38
    For some odd reason, the first thing that came to mind is xiao long bao.... and now I want some. Gotta make it to a Shanghai-nese restaurant sometime soon. I don't know how "fancy" they're considered, but I'm fond of them. They're like dumplings with the soup inside, instead of served in soup. They're really good.

    I'm trying to remember what kind of really amazing food I had when I was in China. Unfortunately, the only other thing that sticks out is this really awesome dessert that is like... deep fried apple chunks with this crazy caramel sauce on it. It's so hot and sticky you have to dunk it in water before you can eat it, so the sauce doesn't stick to everything.


    Oh, if they would even have an opening feast. Why not? If it's a boarding school anyway, wouldn't it be a nice way to welcome everyone back? Besides Chinese like food for everything. It's not a holiday if it doesn't have some kind of food attached (New Year's, Moon Festival, hell, even the Dragon Boat Festival supposedly has some kind of connection to food).

    Though as usual with a country the size of modern China, regional variations will apply to food. *considers* Dang, poor house-elves having to cook all kinds of regional varieties of food.

  9. #39
    As of late, I have been doing a lot of contemplate about where the hanging of old customs ends and begins. I have several points I wonder about on this point, but her are just a few points of discussion to begin on.

    I am quite aware of how widespread the old practice of polygamy was in China. Do think wizards ever practiced it? When do you think the practice was put to an end, or do you think it is still carried on?

    How do you think one of the Chinese schools of magic would go about transporting their student to the school? What would be a method you would truly associated with China?

  10. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by OliveOil_Med
    I am quite aware of how widespread the old practice of polygamy was in China. Do think wizards ever practiced it? When do you think the practice was put to an end, or do you think it is still carried on?
    As far as I know, it wasn't that widespread among the entire population. It was very much an upper-class thing and at least according to Confucian traditions, you weren't supposed to do it unless you hadn't gotten a son by your first wife. Since for some reason that's her fault. Definitely didn't know about chromosomes, these guys.

    Apparently, the Han Chinese were scandalized by the Mongol traditions regarding lots and lots of extra wives. Apparently, anyway. They were scandalized by a lot with the Mongols in the Yuan Dynasty.

    Anyway, that's neither here nor there.

    The practice of polygamy, I think, arises from gender imbalance in the population and from the relatively lower position of women versus men.

    Without a lot of wars or a very rough lifestyle, the number of men to women, should be roughly equal, slightly more men than women actually, if I recall my population statistics.

    So, how discriminatory do you think wizarding China would be based on gender? A lot? A little? That's where you'd find your answer for that.

    Quote Originally Posted by OliveOil_Med
    How do you think one of the Chinese schools of magic would go about transporting their students to school? What would be a method you would truly associate with China?
    People didn't travel a whole lot in dynastic China. I mean, people weren't traveling all the time, and people who did travel (merchants, actors, etc) were looked down upon.

    People who did travel... well China doesn't have rails until about World War I/World War II. So, I think people were pretty limited to their own feet, horses, camels, and horse drawn carts. Oh and rich people always seem to have those things that they get carried around in, at least in the movies.

    So... there's not really a method of travel that I would associate with China. Not with old style, dynastic Muggle China anyway. When I think about traveling around in China these days, I think of airplanes and over-long car trips.

    Oh, in terms of magical travel (though not one that is consistent with Harry Potter canon), people in the Journey to the West series often travel by cloud. They just literally get on a cloud and it takes them some place.

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