FREE! Click here to Join FunTrivia. Thousands of games, quizzes, and lots more!
Quiz about Reading Chinese Classics in Beijing
Quiz about Reading Chinese Classics in Beijing

Reading Chinese Classics in Beijing Quiz


A virtual visit to Beijing seems the perfect opportunity to make acquaintance (or renew old friendships) with these ten classical works of Chinese literature, both fiction and non-fiction.

A matching quiz by looney_tunes. Estimated time: 4 mins.
  1. Home
  2. »
  3. Quizzes
  4. »
  5. Literature Trivia
  6. »
  7. Literature by Region
  8. »
  9. Chinese Literature

Author
looney_tunes
Time
4 mins
Type
Match Quiz
Quiz #
391,567
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
8 / 10
Plays
202
Awards
Top 10% Quiz
(a) Drag-and-drop from the right to the left, or (b) click on a right side answer box and then on a left side box to move it.
QuestionsChoices
1. Divination manual used for interpretation of randomly-produced hexagrams  
  Doctrine of the Mean
2. Collection of texts describing the social forms, administration, and ceremonial rites of the Zhou dynasty  
  Water Margin
3. Treatise on the fundamentals of Daoism traditionally ascribed to Lao-tze  
  Dao De Jing
4. Guidelines for conducting effective international diplomacy, attributed to Sun Tzu  
  Romance of the Three Kingdoms
5. Book that teaches the path to Confucian virtue  
  The Art of War
6. Book of sayings attributed to Confucius and recorded by his disciples  
  Book of Rites
7. Novel describing the transformation of a band of outlaws into a mercenary army in the Song dynasty  
  Analects
8. Historical novel set at the end of the Han dynasty and the start of the Three Kingdoms era  
  I Ching (Book of Changes)
9. Novel based on the pilgrimage of the Buddhist monk Xuanzang in the Tang dynasty  
  Dream of the Red Chamber
10. Semi-autobiographical novel describing Chinese society in the Qing dynasty  
  Journey to the West





Select each answer

1. Divination manual used for interpretation of randomly-produced hexagrams
2. Collection of texts describing the social forms, administration, and ceremonial rites of the Zhou dynasty
3. Treatise on the fundamentals of Daoism traditionally ascribed to Lao-tze
4. Guidelines for conducting effective international diplomacy, attributed to Sun Tzu
5. Book that teaches the path to Confucian virtue
6. Book of sayings attributed to Confucius and recorded by his disciples
7. Novel describing the transformation of a band of outlaws into a mercenary army in the Song dynasty
8. Historical novel set at the end of the Han dynasty and the start of the Three Kingdoms era
9. Novel based on the pilgrimage of the Buddhist monk Xuanzang in the Tang dynasty
10. Semi-autobiographical novel describing Chinese society in the Qing dynasty

Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Divination manual used for interpretation of randomly-produced hexagrams

Answer: I Ching (Book of Changes)

Also known as the "Classic of Changes" or "Book of Changes", this started life as a guide to interpreting randomly-generated figures, compiled between 1000 and 750 BCE. Over the following years, it was expanded, and the addition of a number of philosophical commentaries called the Ten Wings led to it being included as one of the designated Five Classics of Chinese literature in the second century BCE.

The original use, as a divination handbook, was associated with any of various methods of producing six separate results, each with two possible values, which are then arranged into a hexagram. The order of the results gives one of the 64 possible resulting arrangements; each of these has a name, and a significance which can be determined by careful study. The "I Ching" is considered to be a work of philosophical instruction, and one of the foundational texts of Daoisim and Confucianism.

The designation of the canon of Confucianism and Daoism has taken a range of forms over the years. One of the traditional ones is the "Four Books and Five Classics" (a classic being a collection of smaller works, and book applying to a smaller text), all written before 300 BCE. The Four Books are: 'Great Learning' (originally a chapter of the 'Classic of Rites'), 'Doctrine of Means' (also originally part of the 'Classic of Rites'), 'Analects' and 'Mencius'. The Five Classics are 'Classic of Poetry', 'Classic of Documents', Classic of Rites', 'I Ching' and 'Spring and Autumn Annals'. We will be encountering a number of these as we go.
2. Collection of texts describing the social forms, administration, and ceremonial rites of the Zhou dynasty

Answer: Book of Rites

This is another of the five texts (the Five Classics) that are considered to form the canon of Confucianism. As well as the descriptions of ceremonial etiquette, it contains passages describing the life and teachings of Confucius. Its Chinese name is 'Liji', indicating that it is a book about Li, a Confucian concept that incorporates the social and traditional norms that govern correct behavior, and guide individuals to fulfill their social responsibilities.

In 213 BCE there was an official assault on Confucianism, which led to the burning of most Confucian texts. The works were replaced by Confucian scholars who had memorised parts of them, or kept secret copies safe. The 'Book of Rites' is one of those thought to have been pretty much completely reconstructed.
3. Treatise on the fundamentals of Daoism traditionally ascribed to Lao-tze

Answer: Dao De Jing

Sometimes transliterated as the 'Tao Te Ching', the first word of the title means way, the second virtue or integrity, and the last a classic book. Hence, the English translation is variously given along the lines of 'The Way of Virtue' or 'The Book of the Way of Virtue'.

As used here, the word Way refers to the essential and indescribable workings of the universe. It is traditionally credited to the sixth century BCE figure Lao-Tze, a semi-legendary figure also referred to as the Old Master. If he lived in the sixth century BCE, he would have been a contemporary of Confucius, but some scholars believe he lived a century or two later than that.

The book is intentionally vague and ambiguous, leading to lengthy explorations of its possible shades of meaning that are made even more difficult for modern readers who are unaware of the subtle references to other literary works that would have been familiar to the contemporary reader, but which have since disappeared from the record.
4. Guidelines for conducting effective international diplomacy, attributed to Sun Tzu

Answer: The Art of War

That summary may sound misleading, since the book is ostensibly about the tactics of war, but much of it not only discusses how to avoid war by employing suitable strategies, but also how these principles can be applied to non-combatant confrontations between powers.

The original text was probably written about 450-500 BCE, with insights into the nature of military tactics that have made its precepts useful even for contemporary military strategists. It is the source of such familiar statements as "All warfare is based on deception" and "So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be put at risk even in a hundred battles; if you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose; if you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself." Students of Machiavelli will note a lot of commonality!
5. Book that teaches the path to Confucian virtue

Answer: Doctrine of the Mean

With a Chinese title of 'Shongyong', this book is attributed to Zisi, the only grandson of Confucius, and was originally published as a chapter in the 'Classic of Rites' described earlier. However, it has since been granted a significant place of its own as one of the Four Books that provide the core teaching of Confucianism. It is an analysis of the significance of the concept of the Mean in 'Analects', where the phrase is used but not explored. According to Zisi, there are three aspects (Self-watchfulness, Leniency and Sincerity) involved in moderating one's behavior so as to conduct a life of moderation, objectivity and integrity.

The title has had a number of other translations into English, including 'Constant Mean' (James Legge), 'Middle Way' (Pierre Ryckmans), 'Unswerving Pivot' (Ezra Pound) and 'Focusing the Familiar' (Roger Ames and David Hall).
6. Book of sayings attributed to Confucius and recorded by his disciples

Answer: Analects

'Lunyu' literally means 'Edited Conversations', and the full title is often given as 'Analects of Confucius'. The work is a collection of sayings, ideas and scraps of conversation that are traditionally thought to have been collected and written down by the followers of Confucius following his death in 479 BCE. Like many ancient texts, it evolved over the years, reaching its final form in the early third century CE.

It was at first considered to be essentially a commentary on the Five Classics, but by the time of the Song dynasty (960-1279 CE), it had been recognised as one of the Four Books that define Confucianism.
7. Novel describing the transformation of a band of outlaws into a mercenary army in the Song dynasty

Answer: Water Margin

'Water Margin' is a novel based on the historical outlaw Song Jiang, who features as one of the central characters in the group whose activities are chronicled. Written in vernacular (rather than classical) Chinese around 1300 CE by Shi Nai'an (or maybe at least in part by Luo Guanzhong, according to some scholars), and based on oral folk tales, it is considered one of the Four Classic Novels of Chinese Literature. The band of outlaws start off by fighting the authorities, but (after being given amnesty for previous offenses) end up defending the country against foreign invaders and domestic rebellions. (Is anyone else reminded of Robin Hood?)

While 'Water Margin' is the most common English title for this work, it has also been translated as 'Outlaws of the Marsh', 'All Men are Brothers' and 'The Marshes of Mount Liang', among others.
8. Historical novel set at the end of the Han dynasty and the start of the Three Kingdoms era

Answer: Romance of the Three Kingdoms

This sprawling historical novel, with mythical elements woven in, covers over a century, and involves around a thousand characters, mostly from one of three power blocks striving for ascendancy after the end of the Han dynasty around 200 CE. This era is known as the Three Kingdoms, a time of unrest that ended when the Jin dynasty gained control over a unified land in 280 CE.

Written in the 14th century, and attributed to Luo Guanzhong, it incorporates what is known of the historical characters and events, legends that had evolved as part of oral tradition in the following centuries, and the addition of fictional characters to provide plenty of subplots. Because Liu Bei is one of the protagonists, the Shu Han group tend to be shown in a more positive light than their rivals, the Cao Wei and Easter Wu groups. This fit in nicely with the political climate of the time when it was written, although at the time when the book was set the Cao Wei were actually seen as the legitimate inheritors of the Han dynasty.
9. Novel based on the pilgrimage of the Buddhist monk Xuanzang in the Tang dynasty

Answer: Journey to the West

'Journey to the West', attributed to Wu Cheng'en, was written in the 16th century CE as a highly fictionalised account of the seventh century trip of a Buddhist monk from China to India in order to bring back some authoritative texts of the sayings of Buddha, since most of what he found in China at the time was incomplete or corrupted. His trip took 17 years, and is recorded in detail in 'Great Tang Records on the Western Regions'. The novel adds a number of fictional/mythical elements, such as having Gautama Buddha himself order the trip, and provide three protectors for the journey, who defend Xuanzang from the attacks of demons who want to eat his flesh because it will offer immortality.

Those who have not read 'Journey to the West' may feel it sounds familiar. They may be recognising it from the abridged version titled 'Monkey', produced by Arthur Waley in 1942.
10. Semi-autobiographical novel describing Chinese society in the Qing dynasty

Answer: Dream of the Red Chamber

'Hong Lou Meng', an 18th century work from Cao Xueqin, is not only the fourth of the Four Classical Novels, it is often considered the greatest of them, and the pinnacle of Chinese literature. During the author's life it existed only in the form of handwritten copies, and was not published until nearly 30 years later. Thus, since the published manuscript differs in a number of details from any of the handwritten versions, and since the second edition included an extra 80 chapters, the exact authorship remains somewhat ambiguous. Nevertheless, it is an important novel for many reasons. One of these is the detailed view it provides of society and daily routines in the middle of the 18th century as we follow the rise and fall of the Jia clan, a trajectory that is thought to reflect that of Cao Xueqin's family, and to be an allegory of the entire Qing dynasty.

It is also significant because the dialogue was written in the Beijing dialect of Mandarin, the dialect that has since evolved to be the one used for modern spoken Chinese.

The novel was used by lexicographers in the early 20th century as an aid to the establishment of a standardised vocabulary. The interplay of this language with classical Chinese (both narrative and poetic) styles has made it difficult to translate into English without losing much of the novel's complexity.
Source: Author looney_tunes

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor LadyCaitriona before going online.
Any errors found in FunTrivia content are routinely corrected through our feedback system.
Related Quizzes
This quiz is part of series Globetrotting Quizzes:

These quizzes were written for the Globetrot Trivia challenge in early 2018, which visited a set list of sites around the world.

  1. Watching Shakespeare in the Park Average
  2. Wandering Around the Bullring Average
  3. On Safari in South Luangwa National Park Average
  4. Hanging Around the Musée d'Orsay Easier
  5. Checking Out Parisian Churches Average
  6. Shooting Films in Tunisia Average
  7. Writing About the Desert Easier
  8. Fighting for Life in the Colosseum Average
  9. Touring the Taj Mahal Average
  10. Scanning the Skies in Jaipur Average
  11. Dining Out in Thailand Average
  12. Reading Chinese Classics in Beijing Average

7/19/2024, Copyright 2024 FunTrivia, Inc. - Report an Error / Contact Us