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Chinese Proverbs: Chinese Bound

James Trapp

The elegant pen-strokes and visual harmony of Chinese writing have long been admired in the west. Classical Chinese calligraphy is a popular and valuable art form, and with the increasing economic and cultural power of China, its writing is becoming... Read moreRead less

The elegant pen-strokes and visual harmony of Chinese writing have long been admired in the west. Classical Chinese calligraphy is a popular and valuable art form, and with the increasing economic and cultural power of China, its writing is becoming more widely appreciated and understood. In particular, the deep layers of history and symbolism which exist behind even the most everyday phrases have a strong appeal to those seeking understanding from an alternative philosophy.

The sayings known as Cheng yu, represented by four characters, are used frequently in Chinese. They are comparable to proverbs or idioms in English, but each adds a depth of meaning and linguistic colour very unlike their English equivalents. Many are rooted in ancient Chinese culture, and make oblique references to poetry, philosophy or history. Four characters may take a whole paragraph to explain, yet, to a native speaker brought up and educated in the traditions to which they refer, they are instantly comprehensible. Chinese Proverbs: The Wisdom of Cheng Yu features 86 of the more than 5000 Cheng yu, reproduced in a large format, enabling the reader to trace, scan or photocopy them for transfer to any other medium. Alongside the phrase is an accessible and inspiring explanation of the phrase, its literal translation in English, what the particular strokes symbolize, and its various uses.

Format: 264 x 195mm chinese hb
Extent: 96pp
Word count: 5,000
Illustrations: 90 b/w artworks
ISBN: 978-1-78274-723-9

James Trapp

James Trapp is the author of Chinese Characters: The Art and Meaning of Hanzi, Chinese Proverbs and also has translated a new edition of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. A Chinese language graduate of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, he teaches Mandarin and is an Education Officer on the China Collection at the British Museum.

978-1-78274-723-9 hb

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