Sunday, June 22, 2008

Chinese Honor Legendary Emperor Huangdi

A fascinating story from I believe it is Emperor Huangdi who is credited with the discovery a 3x3 perfect magic square (all rows and both diagonals sum to 15) on the back of a turtle. The numbers in the magic square are:

4 - 9 - 2 (first row)
3 - 5- 7 (second row)
8 - 1 = 6 (third row)

The image above is from Tony Smith's website that I found in years ago. I don't know if Smith's website still exists but if you can find it through googling, it's definitely worth an extended visit! The image on the left shows the traditional arrangement of the markings on the turtle; the image on the right shows their modern arrangement.

This arrangement of numbers either is or led to the invention of the Lo Shu pattern of the I Ching. I don't exactly understand all of this - after reading about numbers for a few minutes my eyes start to cross! I can, however, see from Tony Smith's images (above) how the numbers of the magic square were derived from the markings on the turtle.

This Huangdi is not to be refused with the Huangdi a couple thousand years later who founded the Han Dynasty, whose tomb at Xian contained all of those terra cotta warriors.

China remembers nation's ancester Huangdi on Tomb Sweeping Festival
2008-04-04 21:55:45.0
Xinhua)Updated: 2008-04-04 21:55

XI'AN - More than 8,000 Chinese from home and abroad gathered Friday morning at the tomb of Huangdi, the legendary "Yellow Emperor" who is considered the common ancestor of all Chinese.

The memorial ceremony started in Huangling County, Shaanxi Province at 9:50 a.m. That's an auspicious time because of the digits' association with the imperial line in ancient Chinese culture. The number nine is the biggest single-digit number, while five lies in the middle.

A drum was struck 34 times, once for each of China's 34 provinces, municipalities, autonomous regions and special administrative regions.

Yuan Chunqing, the governor of Shaanxi, delivered an memorial speech.

"May the Olympics promote the Chinese spirit. May the Chinese mainland and Taiwan reunite soon," he read. The address was followed by traditional dances in tribute to the Yellow Emperor.

Hua Jianmin, the vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC), Zhang Rongming, the vice-chairwoman of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Gu Xiulian, the president of the All-China Women's Federation and Edmund Ho Hau Wah, the Chief Executive of the Macao Special Administrative Region, also took part in the ceremony.

The Yellow Emperor, a sovereign and cultural hero in Chinese mythology, is believed to have reigned from 2,697 BC to 2,598 BC. Although he was an actual ruler, his deeds have been embellished with time: for example, he has been credited with introducing the systems of government and law to human kind, civilizing the Earth, teaching people many skills and inventing all manner of items.

China has commemorated the Yellow Emperor since the Spring and Autumn Period around 8 BC.

"Kindred or family lines are especially honored in Chinese culture," said Zhang Jingkui, a former professor at Xiamen University who now lives in Hong Kong. "Each spring when smoke from joss sticks rises in Chinese communities around the world, it is a unique event."

Chen Shaochun, with the veterans' association of Taoyuan county, Taiwan, left his hometown in Xingping, Shaanxi in 1949.

Recalling his first return visit to his hometown in 1985, Chen noted that it was a difficult journey. "I had to travel by way of Japan," he said.

During the past two decades, Chen has made the trip a dozen times.

"My hometown has changed a lot. The buildings are taller, the roads are better. The only thing unchanged is the spirit of the people," he said.

This time, old Chen flew back via Hong Kong. "It is more convenient, but I hope next time I can fly back directly from Taiwan," he said.

"It is the responsibility of the descendants of the Yellow Emperor to come and commemorate him," said a Taiwanese named is pronounced as Jia Xiaobao. "It is really exciting to see so many overseas Chinese get together in the year of the Olympics. I hope this event will go on for ever and become an eternal bond among all Chinese people around the world."

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