A monthly quiz of general history, traditions, geography questions for August
1. How old was Puyi when he became the last Emperor?
Puyi became emperor on 2nd December 1908 when he was aged 2 years and 10 months. His predecessor, the Guangxu Emperor (his uncle) had died on 14th November aged just 37. His great-grandmother the Dowager Empress Cixi then died on the following day: 15th November.
2. Zhuangzi described a thinker musing whether he was in fact what kind of creature dreaming itself a human?
The Daoist thinker Zhuangzi wondered whether he was in fact a butterfly dreaming he was a person.These paradoxes are a feature of Daoist philosophy that was written down at least 2,000 years ago.
3. Lacquer is a protective coating often applied to works of art, from where is it obtained?
Lacquer is normally made from the sap of the Lacquer tree. The solid resin is dissolved in turpentine and water and is applied in many, many thin layers to wood or paper to make a waterproof, antibacterial, durable surface that withstands modest heat.
4. Wang Mang led a successful revolt during which dynasty?
Wang Mang founded a one man Xin dynasty (9-23CE) at the time of Christ which broke the Han dynasty into two halves (western and eastern).
5. Loess is often seen in northern China, what is it?
type of insect
fine calcareous sand
The fine, yellow soils of northern China are both a blessing and a curse. It is rich in nutrients but is easily washed away by rain. It is the reason that the Yellow River is yellow.
6. Mencius or Mengzi is a famous philosopher of which tradition
Without Mencius it is unlikely that Confucius would be known about today. In a situation rather like Plato with regard to Socrates; it was Mencius that refined and championed the work of his idol Confucius.
7. How many jiao make up one yuan?
Most weights, measures and currency units were arranged by units of ten in China from very early days.
8. The eastern section of the Great Wall was extensively rebuilt in which dynasty?
The Ming dynasty followed the Mongol (Yuan) dynasty in 1368. There was continuing concern that the Mongolians to the north might try to conquer China again. After unsuccessful military campaigns against them it was decided to spend huge sums building up the Great Wall defenses to keep them out.
9. The world famous Shaolin monastery for martial arts is located in which province?
Henan attracts many martial arts enthusiasts particularly to Shaolin near Mount Song.
10. Which country is NOT considered an Asian Tiger
During the 1960s through to the 90s the Asian Tiger group of countries all showed rapid economic growth and persuaded China to take the same road to development.
11. Acupuncture points control the flow of what?
qi - life energy
In the Daoist tradition acupuncture is used to control the flow of 'qi' (which can be roughly translated as 'life force') through the body, it must not flow too sluggishly or too fast.
12. Who married the Republican leader Sun Yatsen in 1915
Song Qingling was one of the famous three sisters who married leaders of early 20th century China: the banker Kong Xiangxi , Sun Yatsen and Chiang Kaishek.
13. Journey to the West is a book describing the introduction of which religion to China?
The Journey to the West is best known for the Monkey King character's antics as the group carry Buddhist scriptures back from India to China.
14. In Singapore, ethnic Chinese make up what proportion of the population?
The former British colony of Singapore was extensively settled by Chinese people over the last four hundred years. it is now one of the richest nations on the planet. The British handed over control in 1963 and it became self-governing 'city state' in 1965.
15. Which is NOT true of the Great Wall of China?
Five horsemen could ride abreast along it
It can be seen from the moon
Shanhaiguan is at the eastern end
It was suggested that it could be seen from the Moon long before space travel. This did not turn out to be true, the Great Wall is only a few yards wide, and features that small can not be seen from such a distance.