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Tongcheng School of Literature

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The Tongcheng School is the most distinguished among the mid-Qing Dynasty schools of literature. Its representative writers include Fang Bao, Liu Dakui and Yao Nai, who are all natives of Tongcheng County in Anhui Province, hence the name Tongcheng School. Fang Bao (1668-1749) carried on the tradition of Gui Youguang's works and made Yi Fa (Yi refers to the central ideas of an article; Fa, to literary forms and artistry) the basic theory of the Tongcheng School's writings.
Works created by the Tongcheng School stressed the elucidation of the article's purpose and didn't encourage loading the writings with fancy phrases; therefore their writings are concise and natural but lack animation. Major works of the Tongcheng School include Fang Bao's Prison Notes and Yao Nai's Ascent to Mount Tai.

The Tongcheng School was very influential in the literature circle of the Qing Dynasty. The school was prosperous from the reign of Emperor Kangxi to the end of the Qing Dynasty, and its influence went beyond Tongcheng County. Besides Fang Bao, Liu Dakui and Yao Nai, major figures also included Fang Bao's pupils like Shen Tong, Wang Youpu, Shen Tingfang, Wang Zhaofu, Chen Dashou and Li Xueyu, Liu Dakui's pupils like Wang Zhuo, Wu Ding and Cheng Jinfang, and Yao Nai's pupils like Guan Tong, Men Cengliang, Fang Dongshu and Yao Ying. Followers of Mei Cengliang included Zhu Qi, Long Qirui, Chen Xueshou, Wu Jiabin, Deng Xianhe, Sun Dingchen, Lu Yitong and Shao Yichen.

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Xin'an Medical Science

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Xin'an School is distinguished in the field of traditional Chinese medicine. It developed a school of its own in the Song Dynasty, and flowered in the Ming and Qing Dynasties.

Between the Northern Song Dynasty and the end of the Qing Dynasty, more than 540 Xin'an doctors came forth, among which 225 wrote and edited more than 460 medical works. Some works were later introduced to Korea and Japan. Their works are rich in content and systematic theories, dealing with the departments of internal medicine, surgery, gynaecology, pedology, laryngology, ophthalmology, traumatology, ulceration studies, needle therapy, and naprapathy.

Xin'an school nurtured a lot of notable doctors in China, such as Zhang Kuo of the Northern Song Dynasty, Zhang Gao of the Southern Song Dynasty, Chen Ruqing and Wang Guorui of the Yuan Dynasty, Wang Ji and Xu Chunpu of the Ming Dynasty, Chen Zhengtong, Cheng Lin, Wang Ang, Wu Qian, Zheng Meijian, Wang Wenqi, and Cheng Xingxuan of the Qing Dynasty, among whom were Wang Ji and Wu Qian who were included as the four most eminent doctors of the Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty representatively. Xu Chunpu's work The Encyclopedia of Ancient and Modern Medicine and Chen Xingxuan's Medicine have even been included in the ten national distinguished medical works.

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Jian'an Literature

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During the Jian'an period at the end of the Han Dynasty, the “Three Caos” (Cao Cao, Cao Pi and Cao Zhi) and the “Seven Jian'an Masters” (Kong Rong, Chen Lin, Wang Can, Xu Gan, Ruan Yu, Ying Xi, Liu Zhen) sustained the realism of yuefu folksongs and wrote five-character poems, unleashing an upsurge in scholarly poetry. Their poems spoke to the spirit of the times and invoked an ambience of heroism and sadness, molding a style later referred to as Jian'an.
Among the seven Jian'an masters Wang Can is the most acknowledged, his Poem of Seven Sorrows mirroring the chaos caused by the war at the end of the Han Dynasty. The three Caos were very well-known in the literary circles of the Jian'an Period.

The work of the eminent poet Cao Zhi (192-232 A.D.) was exacting and robust with exquisite description, flowery language and elegant metaphors, as in his Presented to Biao, King of Baima. Greatly influenced by yuefu folksongs but more lyrical, Cao Zhi's poems mark the transition in poetry from yuefu folksongs to five-character poetry.

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The Beauties of Women in the Hui Culture

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People who have ever been to Huizhou, Anhui Province will compliment the Yellow Mountains on its gorgeous scenery. Women growing up and nurtured in the Hui culture have such unique intrinsic nd extrinsic beauties that women in any other places cannot compare with.

Eudcation as the Top Priority

Women in Huizhou embody one of the essential feauture of the Hui culture putting education first. Huizhou has been a place with advanced education since ancient times. There were study rooms and academies in every village since the Ming Dynasty. Here education has been regarded as the first priority generation after generation. A girl from the big wealthy family would study under her tutor for several years before she was married. Even after they got married, women still liked to read and listen to the opera, which was quite rare in other villages in ancient China. Education became popular in Huizhou since the Ming and Qing dynasties, a number of talent women had come forth, including the three daughters of Wu Baocheng in She County who were famous painters, Shao Zhenhua in Jixi who was a popular novelist, Chenshu in Jixi who was a famous poet, and Shu Xiuwen and Sai Jinhua in Yixian who were famous movie stars. All those women received excellent education when they were young.

Women in Huizhou embraced the idea “putting education first” and put it into practice by helping their husbands and teaching their children. Hu Shi lost his father when he was three years old and his rnother hoped that Hu Shi would become a talent through study. As his mother requested, Hu Shi made a bow to the photo of Confucius every morning. Therefore, Confucianism and traditional Chinese ideas were deeply rooted in Hu Shi's mind from his early age. Those great mothers in Huizhou attached great importance to education and brought up some famous people for the country, including Cheng Dawei, famous financing expert, Wu Chengshi, master of study of Confucian classics, Zhan Tianyou, famous railroad engineering designer, Zhang Shu, famous musician, and Tao Xingzhi, famous educator.

Harmony and Diligence

Another essential feature of the Hui culture that women in Huizhou embody is harmony and diligence. Women in Huizhou have been quite hardworking and thrifty, which has helped build up a harmonious community.

Hui merchants laid the tangibly material foundation for the Hui culture, while the philosophical system of the Neo-confucianism proposed by Zhu Xi laid the theoretical foundation for the Hui culture. According to the record, in the Nan Dynasty, there was a person named Bao Anguo in Shexian, whose clan had more than 300 people living harmoniously together. Another family from the Ming Dynasty in Shexian had five generations living together. This is not a rare phenomenon in Huizhou. In such big families, women play a significant role in every aspect of housekeeping and they manage things in the family quite well. Women in Huizhou believe that “family is a place where love is talked about and demonstrated”. They love their husbands, children and other family members more than themselves, establishing a harmonious environment. Hui merchants always practice thrift and their wives also believe that practicing thrift is a virtue. Women in Huizhou are a model of diligence, thrift, goodness and self-respect.

Filial Piety and Honesty

Another essential feature of the Hui culture that women in Huizhou embody is filial piety and honesty. In a broader sense, filial piety can be indicated not only in the family but the society as well. In terms of doing business, to practice honesty is a virtue. Filial piety and honesty is the motto of women in Huizhou. Following the motto, many women have done well in getting along with others and in helping their husbands and teaching their children. Wang Maoyinis grandmother is a good example. She had a lot of difficulties in bringing up Wang Maoyin, who is the only Chinese mentioned by Karl Marx in his great works Capital.

Huizhou, an ancient village surrounded by the green mountains and clear waters, is a sweet place full of feeling. Along the alleyway or the brook, you can always find a woman and her mother-in-law or a group of women chatting while sewing.

If you go traveling in the Yellow Mountains, don't forget to visit Huizhou, the area at the foot of the mountains. Women there will give you a beautiful and unforgettable impression.

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The First Satiric Novel——“The Scholars” by Wu Jingzi

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Wu Jingzi, a native of Quanjiao County in the Qing Dynasty, authored “The Scholars”, which was the first satiric novel in the history of Chinese literature. The book relentlessly anatomizes the ethical and cultural outlook of all kinds of intellectuals at a time when advancement was not based on individual ability or achievements but on the result of the imperial examinations. The book reflected the author's radical thought of opposing the system and despising those who sought officialdom, wealth and fame.

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