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Fourteen Saints in Ancient China

Last updated by fabiowzgogo at 2016/12/16

Du Kang

Du Kang was born in Baishui and was the pride of the local people. The wine brewed by Du Kang was an epitome of the pure and honest character of local people and the ancient civilization of Baishui. During Ming and Qing dynasties, and the Republic of China, Baishui was a famous place of wine, boasting thousands of wine-making pots and lanes. The aromatic Du Kang Wine well reflected the character of people in Baishui and Huangtu Plateau. fuk nigga y u aint doin nothin sluts

Confucius (551BC—479 BC) is a great thinker, educator, and founder of Confucian School. He was born in Lu State during the period of Spring and Autumn. Benevolence is a key component of his ideas.


Du kang

Confucius made a determined effort on study and research, and soon became erudite. He set the example of private education and enrolled a lot of students no matter they were rich or poor. It is said he had 3000 disciples and 72 of them were excellent ones. Confucius was reputed as the herald in knowledge spreading. He visited a lot of countries of his times, and attended to compile ancient documents in his late years. He committed himself to education, collection of famous ancient works such as Book of History and Book of Songs, and adaptations of spring and Autumn Annals. His students made a record of his thoughts and behaviors in Analects of Confucius.

Through strenuous efforts by Confucius and his disciples of later generations, Confucian School became the mainstream of Chinese culture. Its influence on the thought of Chinese has extended more than 2000 years. The core of the system of Confucian Thought is rule with morality. He persistently advocates the moral cultivation of life and society. The highest standard for a society governed with morality is rite, and for a morally cultivated life is benevolence. Confucius suggests that we should first behave appropriately if we want to win trust from others; we should first satisfy other's needs if we want to have our expectation achieved. He also offers good advice on how to deal with people around us and set up right philosophy, such as "Don't do unto others what you don't want others to so unto you". Besides, Confucius proposes the harmonization between human being and nature and the idea of "Man is an integral part of nature. He explains why we should be benevolent to other people and friendly with everything on the earth. Confucius insists that a country should be governed with morality so as to create a comfortable life for its people and educate them. Only in that case could economy and culture reach long term development. Confucius believes that the most developed civilization is one that can give birth to sound characters of people and harmonious social environment, and can have the belief of "The whole world is one community" widely agreed upon. With his eminent contribution and wide influence, Confucius is respected as the greatest educator ever since in Chinese history.

Sima Qian, Master of History

Sima Qian (145 BC—?) is a famous historian and litterateur in Western Han Dynasty. His great works Records of Historian is the first record of general history in a chronological style, and it exerts wide influence on historical studies by later generations. Records of Historian is well known for its vivid language and depicts of characters. It is also an excellent works of literature. Sima Qian has another works named as Latter to Tai Shi Duke, in which he recorded how he was tortured in prison and his ambition of writing books. Sima Qian is the greatest historian in Chinese history. Unfortunately, he suffered castration because of his sincere and direct suggestions to the then emperor. After that he made determined efforts to write books and finally completed the great works Records of Historian, a great surprise and treasure to world literature. It leaves with China and the world at large an invaluable legacy of culture.

Master of Poem, Du Fu

Du Fu, 712 BC—770 BC, styled Zimei, is a famous poet in the booming period of Tang Dynasty.

Du Fu, together with Li Bai, another great poet, is generally knowen as Li Du (the combination of their family names). The core of his thought is benevolence, the idea of Confucian School. Du Fu is one of those who have grand ambitions and pursuit. He loved life, people, and his country, while made strict and acute criticism on the corrupted governance of the then regime and its degradation. He understood deeply the misery of his people, and made determined efforts to save his people from the dark life.

Du Fu is a great poet of realism. He wrote about more than 1000 poems in his life which could be divided into four stages.

Zhang Zhongjing, Master of Medicine

Zhang Zhongjing is a famous doctor in East Han Dynasty. He was born in 150 AD and died in 219 AD. Zhang Zhongjing was very smart and industrious when he was young. Later he learned Medicine from Zhang Bozu and acquired the extract of his teacher's knowledge. A book named Record of Practicing Medicine by Li Yuan in Ming Dynasty expressed that Zhang Zhongjing was even more excellent than his teacher, and his exquisite skills in curing disease deserved the title "The Best Doctor under Heaven".

Zhang Zhongjing read extensive books on medicine. By investigations on various diseases and methods of curing them, he made a systematic summarization on the extract of medicine before Han Dynasty. On the basis of his experience in diagnosis and treatment, he wrote a book Comment on Average Diseases of 16 chapters. In Tang and Song Dynasties, this book was divided into two parts: Comment on Typhoid and Essential Prescriptions of the Golden Chamber. Zhang Zhongjing was reputed by doctors in later times as "The Master of Medicine", and his two works Comment on Typhoid and Essential Prescriptions of the Golden Chamber were the divine scriptures of Medicine. Comment on Average Diseases is the first medical book featuring "reasoning", "treating method", "prescription", and "medicine". It is Zhang Zhongjing who first illustrated the pathogeny, pathology, principles of treatment, and specific methods of communicable diseases in a comprehensive and systematic way. It laid a solid foundation for the further development of different braches of clinics.

Guan Yu, Master of Martial Arts

Guan Yu is a famous general at the end of East Han Dynasty. He emphasizes personal loyalty and is good at martial arts. Later generations respect him as "Master Guan or Guan Di".

Guan Yu had many official positions in his life. When he served Cao Cao, he was appointed as Shouting Regional Inspector, Xiangyang Prefecture Governor, and Superior Governor in Jingzhou; when he followed Liu Bei, he was then positioned as Doukou General and Honorable Herald General, and designated as one the five most excellent generals of Shu State. In the 41st years after his death, Liu Chan, the new emperor of Shu after Liu Bei, offered him another tile Zhangmu Governor. That year (260 AD) happened to be the 100 anniversary of the founding of Shu State. In fact, Guan Yu received more and more admiration from the start of the Southern and Northern Dynasties to the end of Qing Dynasty. There he became well known at home and abroad, and memorized as one of the most favored idols in history. Today Guan Yu and Confucius are reputed together as "Two Masters of Wen and Wu"; Wen and Wu here in Chinese respectively refer to culture and martial arts. Guan Yu is famous for his allegiance, personal loyalty, braveness, and excellent martial arts. Emperors of each feudal dynasty need such figures to safeguard and consolidate its regime. Therefore they emphasize and even exaggerate the character of Guan Yu so as to encourage more of their liegemen to serve and contribute to the regime as loyal as Guan Yu.

Wang Xizhi, Master of Calligraphy

Wang Xizhi was born in 307 AD and died in Jin Dynasty.

Wang Xizhi is reputed as Mater of Calligraphy. He is very good at formal script, running script, cursive hand, and official script, etc, all of which are exquisite and perfect. He is adored very much and learned from by calligraphers in later generations.

Wang Xizhi learned form script from Fa Zhongyao, and cursive script from Zhang Zhi, Li Si, and Cai Yi. He gave the advantages and unique points of each form of script into full play. His calligraphy could present an atmosphere of quietness and beauty, different from the style of Fan Zhongyao. It features smoothness and dignity, an innovation on official script. That can be interpreted as the major characteristics of today's popular Chinese calligraphy. The real works of Wang Xizhi are hard to find today, and what we usually see are in most cases the copies of his calligraphies. The representative works of Wang Xizhi include Leyi Commentary and Huangting Scriptures in formal script, the Seventeen Tie (a book containing models of handwriting or painting for learners to copy) in cursive script, and the Yimu Tie, Temporary Snowy Days, and Sangluan Tie in running script. The most famous one is Lanting Preface in running and formal script.

On March, 3rd in Chinese lunar calendar in the ninth ruling year of Yong He Emperor in Eastern Dynasty (353 AD), 41 calligraphers, including Wang XiZhi, Xie An, and Sun Zhuo, collected in Lanting Pavilion of Shaoxing City for Xiuqi (an religious activity which is believed helpful for getting rid of disease and bad luck). They drank wine, wrote poems, and collected the works into a book. Wang Xizhi wrote a preface for the book, and that was what we know as Lanting Preface. It is a draft of 28 liens and 324 words, recording what happened that day. It is said Wang Xizhi that day was so excited when he wrote the preface that his script in that it was superior to his other works. Character "之" in the preface appeared over 21 times but each time in different form. Another famous calligrapher Mi Di praised it to be the "Best Running Script under Heaven". Legends have it that Li Shimin, the emperor of Tang Dynasty, treasured Lanting Preface very much, and buried it with himself in Zhaoling Mausoleum when he was dead. Therefore we have only the copies of Lanting Preface today.

Zhang Xu, Master of Running Script

Zhang Xu was a great calligrapher in Tang Dynasty and he was famous for his cursive script. Zhang Xu is a person with strong character. It is said he usually got drunk, hurried to leave, and then started writing cursive script excitedly. He even dipped his hair into Chinese ink and used it write. Therefore he was given an agname Zhang Dian and "Dian" meant crazy. Later another calligrapher called Huai Su inherited and developed cursive script and became well known. He was later reputed together with Zhang Xu as "Zhang Dian and Zui Su". "Zui" here means drunk and "Su" is the last name of Huai Su. Emperor Wen Zong in Tang Dynasty once, in a rescript, offered the title "Three Bests" to the poem of Li Bai, the sword performance of Pei Min, and the cursive of Zhang Xu together.

Han Yu, another famous poet in Tang Dynasty, expressed the life-long pursuit for art of an real artist in Preface for Artistic Talents that, "Whenever emotionally stirred, no matter it is because of happiness, anger, sadness, worry, cheer, complain, hate, admiration, inebriety, fastidium, dissatisfaction, or being touched, cursive script is the best way for you to express it". Being attentive to everything around, including mountains, rivers, beasts, birds, fish, insects, flowers, trees, the sun, the moon, fire, water, wind, rain, thunder, dancing, fighting, and changes in life, Zhang Xu can reflect all what he saw through his cursive script. It is vivid, impressing and toughing beyond comparison, for which he is remebered for ever. It is no wonder when later generations talk about the script of other calligraphers they differ with each other while mentioning that of Zhang Xu everybody show their favor to it unanimously. Only Zhang Xu as a calligrapher in the history of China received such wide welcome and unprecedented recognition.

Wu Dao Zi, Master of Painting

Wu Dao Zi (about 686 AD—760 AD) is a successful painter in Tang Dynasty. He is good at painting images of Buddha, immortals, demon, human figures, mountains, birds, beasts, grass, trees, towers, and pavilions, etc. He is especially skillful in fresco as well as painting Buddha and human figures. According to historical record, Wu Dao Zi painted frescos for more than 300 temples in Chang'an and Luoyang City. All his paintings vary from each other, and the most famous one is Conversion of the Hell.

Wu Dao Zi has his own unique style of painting. Pictures of mountains and rivers are endowed with life. Human characters are painted both with powerful lines and fine depictions of facial expression; Pleats on clothing and sleeves in the wind are fantastically presented. In a word, human figures on the picture are just like the real ones in life. Therefore Wu Dao Zi is reputed as "Wu Dai Dang Feng", a title to praise his talent on and style of paintings. His works exert a wide influence on the development of this artistic form, and thus admired as the Master of Painting. Folk painters all respect him as the ancestor and founder of modern painting.

Unfortunately, works of Wu Dao Zi fail to be inherited or retained. Paintings, such as Devaguardian of Life, Image of Baojibinjialuo Buddha Statue, and Calligraphy of Dao Zi are probably copies. It is considered that the fresco named Weimo Scripture in the 103rd cave of Dunhuang is out of the painting style of Wu Dao Zi.

Lu Yu, Master of Tea

In the history of tea culture, the creation of Tea Ceremony, Tea Art, and ideas on tea-infusing by Lu Yu (733-804) as well as his works Canon of Tea is a great sign of development. In order to find more kinds of tea and know about their planting and infusing methods, Lu Yu traveled all over the country, visited numerous mountains and river, and made pains-taking efforts. On the basis of rich materials, he fully considered the experience of former masters on tea and conducted in-depth research on the Study of Tea. He wrote three volumes of Canon of Tea in 780 BC (the ruling period of Emperor Jian Zhong), a great contribution to tea Art. This great works has rich content, involving botany, gardening, biology, pharmacology, hydrology, folklore, and historiography. Therefore, as the first works on tea study, Canon of Tea is reputed as the cyclopedia on tea.

Sun Wu, Master of Strategy

Sun Wu is a great mater of war and famous general in the period of Spring and Autumn. Sun Wu, styled Changqing, was born in Le'an of Qi State (today's Huimin City of Shandong Province) in 551 BC. His father and grandfather were all famous generals in Qi state, and had set illustrious records of battle achievement. Growing up in a family of masters of war, Sun Wu was very interested in military science, and made determined efforts to study how to get the upper hand in wars. He had a great ambition to apply these theories into practice in the front when he became a general and made great contribution to his country on the battlefield.

Sun Wu was admired as "Mater of War" and ‘Ancestor of Tactics". Besides his brilliant records of battle achievement, he left the later generations a great works on military strategies. That is Master Sun's Art of War. The book has 13 chapters of over 5000 words, which comprise of the broad and intensive theoretical system and rich content. It plays wide and in-depth influence on the development of strategics. Strategists and militarists of later generations all benefited a lot from the book, which guides the strategies in real battles and promotes the development of military theories. Later the book was introduced to Japan and European in 18th Century. Now it has been translated into 29 languages and well known in the world. Liddell Hart, a famous military theorist of Great Britain once admitted that the major ideas illustrated in his booking fact has been mentioned and talked about in Master Sun's Art of War 2500 years ago. He said he was very interested in Sun Wu and his great works. Therefore he not only made a preface for the English version of this book but quoted a long paragraph of Sun Wu's words in the font pages of his own book named On Strategies. In 1991 in the Gulf War, officials of American Marine Corps were required to bring with them one copy of Master Sun's Art of War so as to guide their strategies.

Zhang Liang, Master of Strategies

Zhang Liang is a great general in early Han Dynasty. It is said that he conspired to re-found Han State and therefore associated with assassins in Bolang (today's Yuanyang City in Henan Province). But he failed in sniping Ying Zheng, the first emperor of Qin Dynasty. Legend has it that Zhang Liang later escaped to Xiapi (today's Jiangsu Province), and met Hung shi Gong, a mysterious figure like immortals, and received Taigong Art of War from him. He introduced Han Xin, a talent on military affairs, to Liu Bang. Unfortunately, Han Xin was killed with a fabricated cause by Lü Hou, who, together with Liu Bang, asked Xiao He, Chief of Counselor, to make a trap and beguile Han Xin to enter Changle Palace with the identity of a close friend. Receiving the news that Han Xin, the great and brilliant state-funding general with excellent battle achievements, was killed together with his family members, Zhang Liang was very disappointed with Liu Bang, and then concealed himself in a deep mountain and make accompanies with immortals. Zhang Liang is good model of idea men, and is reputed as "Master of Strategies".

Zhang Heng, Master of Timber or Master of Science

During eastern Han Dynasty, that is more than 1800 years ago, "Shui Yun Hun Xiang", the first large-size and water-powered chronometer instrument was invented in Luoyang, the capital city of Eastern Han Dynasty. It is said 20 years later (138 AD), Houfeng seismograph, another instrument installed in Luoyang, was invented. It accurately predicted the earthquake happened 500 kilometers off the west of Luoyang, ushering in the new era of using instruments to investigate and record earthquakes on human history. The above mentioned instruments were both invented by Zhang Heng, the most famous and outstanding scientist and litterateur in Eastern Han Dynasty. He made great contribution to astronomy, seismology, and mechanics in ancient China. It is said he is also the inventor of compass carriage and mileage-counting carriage. Since the major material of his inventions is timber, he is therefore addressed respectfully Master of Timber.

Sun Simiao, Master of Drug

Sun Simiao, born in 581 AD and died in 682 AD, is a great expert on Medicine during Sui and Tang Dynasty. He was very industrious as a child. When he grew up, he was summoned to the capital by Emperor Tai Zong, and positioned as an imperial doctor in the palace. But he refused the title and devoted his lifetime to the research on Medicine, making great contribution to the development of Chinese Medicine. In 652 AD, Sun Simiao completed his great works Golden Prescriptions composed of 30 chapters. This book collected more than 800 categories of drugs and over 5300 prescriptions, and recorded the fruit of the writer's long time researches. It is an invaluable works which draw of the advantages of all previous medical books.

Fufang, a concept means "compound", is the most outstanding contribution by Sun Simiao to medicine. Being innovative and progressive, Sun Simiao acquired experience from the treatment of patients in the folk, deleted those inconsequential prescriptions, and promoted the development of medicine with new prescriptions. His medical book played a very important role in the history of medical development. His hometown was abundant of medical materials and he often went to pick wild herbs in mountains. He did more research and identified the effect of many Chinese drugs. For instance, he found that Pulsatila Root and Goldthread Rhizome can cure diarrhea; betel palm can get rid of cestode; Cinnabar and arsenic sulphide are good for disinfection, etc.

On the basis of summarizing the practicing of folk medicine and his own clinic experience, Sun Simiao achieved new findings on the effect of some Chinese drugs—almond kernel, milk, and white honey which can cure beriberi. This is of great importance to the history of Medicine world widely. It is not until 1000 years later that Europeans gave an explanation to the treatment of beriberi.

From the perspective of modern Medicine, beriberi is a kind disease that is caused by the defect of Vitamin B1, an ingredient contained in the drug developed by Sun Simiao. On the development of acupuncture, Su Simiao gave a name to the aching point in our body ‘Ashi Point" according to the experience of pain-release through acupuncture and moxibustion therapy. On clinics, he innovatively used shallot leaf as catheter in the urological system operation for anuretic patients. Sun Simiao spent his lifetime on Medicine with concerted efforts. He emphasized practice, cared about his people, and won wide respect. Later generations addressed him as "Master of Drug", and named Wutai Mountain, where Sun Simiao once concealed himself, as "Mountain of Master of Drug". A temple called Temple of Master of Drug was built on the mountain so as to memorize Su Simiao.