Tuesday, March 21, 2017

千字文 / The Thousand Character Classic, part 13

Today the Thousand Character Classic gives us an oblique history lesson, and reminds us that all kinds of things can be used as names in Chinese.

jiàn hào jù què

"A sword named Juque."

Paar's edition of the 千字文 says that Juque was one of several famous- or, perhaps more accurately, legendary- swords made by 歐冶子 Ou Yezi during the Spring and Autumn period, of which more can be learned here. The characters that make up the sword's name are interesting in that one way of reading them together produces "massive flaw," which is not something I'd look for in a weapon. Another reading could be "gigantic watchtower," which to my ears may sound odd, but, unlike the other reading, at least tries to sell the would-be wielder of the sword on some sort of martial virtues.

It appears that the Juque sword makes an appearance in a famous Qing dynasty 武俠 wuxia novel titled either 忠烈俠義傳 (The Tale of Loyal and Upright Heroes) or 三俠五義 (Three Gallants and Five Righteous Ones). Based on the Wikipedia description of it, it sounds like a neat read, but one that's far beyond my skill and patience. Better to stick to the Thousand Character Classic and the occasional poem for now, I think.

Until next time, take it easy, dear readers.


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