The history of Chinese literature begins with the Shih Ching or Book of Songs, an anthology of 305 lyrics of various types, compiled ca. 600 B. C. Most of the songs probably were composed and sung between 1000 and 700 B. C., mostly at Chou court ceremonies (and thus provide a cross-section of early-Chou culture). Some Sinologists have suggested, however, that certain lyrics from the Book of Songs may represent much earlier work, dating from the Shang dynasty
(as early as ca. 1700 B. C.).

Dongyi (Easter Yi) Origin

Whatever the work's true dates of composition, two important traditions account for the origin and survival of the Book of Songs. The first, recorded by a Chinese historian from the first century B. C., maintains that Confucius personally selected these 305 poems from an earlier collection of over three thousand. Choosing poems which exemplified his ideas about statecraft and harmonious personal relations, Confucius arranged them in their present order, revising the musical scores to which the songs were customarily sung.

Myth Origins

Cranes are possibly one of the oldest birds on earth and
have a long history in Chinese traditions and legends.
The crane is among the most majestic of all birds. Pure
white with a magnificent red-crest.

Legend holds that the crane lives for a thousand years.
In Japanese, Chinese and Korean traditions, cranes
stand for peace and long life. Folded white paper
origami cranes are often placed at memorial parks
to symbolize peace.

Folded paper cranes are also given to ill people to
wish them a quick recovery. It is said that 1000
folded paper origami cranes makes a wish come true.

Written Chinese is well known for its beauty


The English word "myth" comes from the Greek word "mythos"
which means word or story. Humans have used myths to describe
or explain things that they couldn't have comprehended otherwise.

Questions like:

Why do the seasons change?
Where did the first human beings come from?
Why does the sun travel across the sky?

Myths served as the basis for rituals by which the ways of
humanity and those of nature could be psychologically reconciled.

Myths are an important part of every society, including our own. Without at least a basic understanding of a cultures myths it's impossible to fully understand that culture because myths express a societies beliefs and justify it's institutions, customs and values.

Compiled by: Glenn Welker

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