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[CHIN 50] - Midterm Exam Guide - Everything you need to know! (16 pages long)


Department
Chinese
Course Code
CHIN 50
Professor
Nina Duthie
Study Guide
Midterm

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UCLA
CHIN 50
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE

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Mythological Origins of the World and the Creation of the Earliest Humans
- Creation comes out of chaos
- Early Chinese texts explain creation
Hundun (“Primordial Chaos”) 混沌
- Deity of chaos
- Looks like a shapeless yellow sack, red as cinnabar flame, six feet and four wings, no
eyes or face
- Knows how to sing and dance
- World was formed through his death
Pangu (“Coiled Antiquity”) and Primordial Egg 盤古
- Semi-divine, first human
- Crashed out of a massive primordial egg and caused heaven and earth to divide, forming
the world
- When he lay dying after 18,000 years, his breath became the winds and clouds and
voice became thunder. Eyes became sun and moon. Limbs became mountains. Flesh became
soil. Bodily fluids turned into rain and rivers. Hair became plants and trees. Insects on his body
became humans.
Nuwa 女媧
- The female deity with head of a human and body of snake
- Could transform herself 70 times a day
- Her guts produced 10 gods
- Created humans with yellow mud with her hands
- Lived with Brother Fuxi 伏羲 (ox-tamer, domesticated animals and invented the
family) on Kunlun Mountain 崑崙山 and produced 1st humans through procreation after a
favorable sign from gods. Snake tails intertwined
- After a catastrophe in which the sky crashed down to earth, Nuwa used a turtle’s legs as
4 pillars to support the sky and mended the sky with refined 5 colored stones
1. Geography changed after she fixed it
Shen Nong 神農
- Divine Farmer, invented plough and hoe
Huang Di 黃帝
- Founder of civilization
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a. supreme divine emperor who could command all animals and beasts.
Ruled over civilization from Kunlun 崑崙山
- Inventor of culture
a. Invented the bow and arrow, boats, carts (use a compass to determine
direction), ceramics, writing, and silk
- Tribe leader. First of the 5 great pre-dynastic rulers 三皇五帝. Constantly battling
for supremacy (fought 炎帝, supernatural figures/creatures, other deities)
- Invented fire (all techniques and crafts were started by Yellow Emperor)
3 Sage Kings
- Mythological
Yao
- Devised calendar and rituals
- Shun 舜, his minister, as his successor instead of his own less worthy son
Shun
- Poor peasant who devotedly served his blind father and evil stepmother well despite of
their poor treatment (known for his relationships with his family)
- Married two of Yao’s daughters
- Appointed Gun 鯀 and Yu 禹 (son of Gun) to fix flood issues
Yu 禹
- Fixed flood issue (took 13 years). Divided the realm into 9 regions (bronze vessels cast
to represent each one)
- Shun’s successor. After his death, people ignored the successor Yu had chosen and
turned to his son to lead them, thus establishing the precedent of hereditary rule
- Founded Xia dynasty 夏朝: lasted through 14 rulers, overthrown when Jie 夏桀 (a
tyrant) was deposed by 商湯 (with help of 伊尹) who founded the Shang 商朝
Three Main Source Texts
- 山海經 The Classic of Mountains and Seas
1. Consist of 18 chapters. Ancient people regarded their lands as being surrounded
by four seas based on the geography of Ancient China. Features mythical
creatures and mountains. Ancient folklore: how the world was understood in the
past. Written by more than 1 author. Published many times throughout the ages.
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