måndag 1 november 2010

Gutenberg och Kina

This is the upper part of a scroll kindly written for the author by Mr. Kung Hsiang Koh (or Alfred E. Kung as he signs himself in English). Mr. Kung is a descendant of Confucius (Kung Fut-zu) of the seventy-fifth generation, and the complete quotation of which the scroll is a reproduction in Chinese characters reads as follows:

"Ssu-ma Niu asked for a definition of the princely man."

"The Master said: 'The princely man is one who knows neither grief nor fear.' 'Absence of grief and fear?' said Niu, 'Is this the mark of a princely man?' The Master said, 'If a man look into his heart and find no guilt there, why should he grieve? Or of what should he be afraid?'"

från boken "An Australian in China, Being the Narrative of a Quiet Journey Across China to Burma" av George Ernest Morrison, från 1902.

Det var länge se'n jag sa' att jag skulle skriva om "Den goda jorden".
När jag nu letade efter en bild ur boken "Little Yellow Wang-lo" av M. C. Bell, hos Gutenberg, så snavade jag över en hel hop med intressant kinalitteratur. En del av bilderna får mig att tänka på Wang-Lung, huvudpersonen i Pearl Bucks bok. Det var nog så här han hade det, Wang-Lung, tänker jag när jag tittar på svartvita foton från reseskildringar skrivna i början av förra seklet.
Men det finns inte bara reseskildringar, en intressant bok är "Myths and Legends of China" av E. T. C. Werner. Där läser jag:

P'an Ku
The Ministry of Medicine
The celestial Ministry of Medicine is composed of three main divisions comprising: (1) the Ancestral Gods of the Chinese race; (2) the King of Remedies, Yao Wang; and (3) the Specialists. There is a separate Ministry of Smallpox. This latter controls and cures smallpox, and the establishment of a separate celestial Ministry is Page 247significant of the prevalence and importance of the affliction. The ravages of smallpox in China, indeed, have been terrific: so much so, that, until recent years, it was considered as natural and inevitable for a child to have smallpox as for it to cut its teeth. One of the ceremonial questions addressed by a visitor to the parent of a child was always Ch’u la hua’rh mei yu? “Has he had the smallpox?” and a child who escaped the scourge was often, if not as a rule, regarded with disfavour and, curiously enough, as a weakling. Probably the train of thought in the Chinese mind was that, as it is the fittest who survive, those who have successfully passed through the process of “putting out the flowers” have proved their fitness in the struggle for existence. Nowadays vaccination is general, and the number of pockmarked faces seen is much smaller than it used to be—in fact, the pockmarked are now the exception. But, as far as I have been able to ascertain, the Ministry of Smallpox has not been abolished, and possibly its members, like those of some more mundane ministries, continue to draw large salaries for doing little or no work.

The Medicine-gods
The chief gods of medicine are the mythical kings P’an Ku, Fu Hsi, Shên Nung, and Huang Ti. The first two, being by different writers regarded as the first progenitor or creator of the Chinese people, are alternatives, so that Fu Hsi, Shên Nung, and Huang Ti may be said to be a sort of ancestral triad of medicine-gods, superior to the actual God or King of Medicine, Yao Wang. Of P’an Ku we have spoken sufficiently in Chapter III, and with regard to Fu Hsi, also called T’ien Huang Shih, ‘the Celestial Emperor,’ the mythical sovereign and Page 248supposed inventor of cooking, musical instruments, the calendar, hunting, fishing, etc., the chief interest for our present purpose centres in his discovery of the pa kua, or Eight Trigrams. It is on the strength of these trigrams that Fu Hsi is regarded as the chief god of medicine, since it is by their mystical power that the Chinese physicians influence the minds and maladies of their patients. He is represented as holding in front of him a disk on which the signs are painted.

Och så finns det barnböcker av det slaget som inte skulle passera i dag. Minns ni Helen Bannermans "Lilla svarta Sambo"? "Little Yellow Wang-Lu" är något i den stilen.

Nu väntar jag med spännig på Olgakatts reseskildring från Kina av i dag!

5 kommentarer:

  1. Intressant, mycket!
    Jag minns att vi diskuterade per blogg någon gång i våras, att det skulle vara roligt att ha en läsekrets på bloggen. Vi läser alla samma bok och diskuterar kapitel för kapitel.
    Kommer du ihåg?


  2. Karin,
    Visst minns jag.
    Vill du diskutera boken? I så fall säger jag inte något om vad jag tyckte förrän du har kommit en bit i boken. Så kan jag fråga om fler vill vara med.

  3. Margaretha,
    ja, det skulle vara intressant och roligt att tänka till på annat sätt, bli bekant med Pearl Buck igen och Den goda jorden. Jag skall låna den på biblioteket och drar igång, för nu börjar det finnas tid för kvällsläsning:)


  4. Min skildring blir nog ingenting i närheten av det du citerar! Nu rasar resfebern som värst...

  5. Karin,
    Jamen, då gör vi så. Skriver ett kort inlägg om det när dagen tillåter.

    Än vet du inte vilka äventyr som väntar - det kanske kan bli en rysligt spännande historia.
    Kan du inte förskriva något lämpligt febernedsättande? Kinin?