A Cultural Reflection: The Auspicious Sign in Miscellaneous Notes of the Tang Dynasty (618-907)


The belief in auspicious sign from the scientific point of view may probably be regarded as a kind of superstition, but for many of the people in their nations, it has become a part of their folk culture. Such a belief comes basically from the seeking and fondness of auspiciousness which should be ordinary and common in people's psychology. For the Chinese, not only religious beliefs and various thoughts like Confucianism have been involved in the propitious interpretations but also a symbolic association with the recognition from Heaven on the performance of the ruling class to consolidate the regime has been made all through the dynasties. This paper gives a focused study on the auspicious sign of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). With quoted examples from the Tang miscellaneous notes and the use of supporting documentation such as official historic records and literary works, it elaborates and analyses the Tang auspicious sign from the cultural perspective. Discussions and comments are made on (1) the classification and cultural context of various signs relating to natural phenomena (e.g. snow falls in lunar March), animals (e.g. a white fox appears at home), birds (e.g. white magpies nest in human's living area), plants (e.g. pear flowers bloom in winter) and objects (e.g. stone), (2) Tang people's attitudes towards the signs and their opposite interpretations on the same sign, and (3) the factors like Confucianism in developing the auspicious concepts and signs to be part of the Chinese culture.

Author Information
Yiu Kay Tse, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Paper Information
Conference: ACCS2016
Stream: Linguistics, Language and Cultural Studies

This paper is part of the ACCS2016 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon