China is wonderous and awe-inspiring. It has a history of five thousand years. It is the only continuous ancient civilization. Other ancient civilizations have changed, discontinued, withered or perished. Why is it so enduring? Why is it so coherent, often sticking to itself, remaining undivided? Why is it so dynamic, always able to revive, regenerate and revitalise itself? Why is it an immortal phoenix able to rise again on its ashes? These are enduring questions. Nobody can give a complete answer, full stop. They will stimulate intellect, provoke interest, engage investigation. > read more
Silk Road - Introduction
Nowadays silk is available in markets around the world. It is transported easily and cheaply by sea and air freight. This was not always so.
To followers of the yin-yang Wu Xing theory, everything in the world is either yin, the negative and feminine force, or yang, the positive and masculine force. The two forces complement and oppose each other. It is not difficult to understand yin and yang, if we think of "the complementary opposites" such as heaven and earth, positive and negative, male and female, life and death.
There is an interesting folktale about how the order of the 12 animals was determined. Once upon a time, the 12 animals quarreled about the order of the cycle. Because everyone wanted to take the lead, no decision was made. Finally the animals agreed to ask the Jade Emperor, the ruler of all gods in Chinese mythology, to decide the order. The emperor decreed to hold a competition. The animals would run across a river and each animal’s position in the cycle would be set by its place in the race.
Revised June 20, 2011