Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

this work have soon found themselves seriously embarrassed by a scarcity of suitable tracts. To meet this want we decided during the past year to publish a series of small tracts suitable for use in systematic tract distribution. In connection with this series we have issued an edition of the tract entitled the “Two Friends" in five sections. Including these and the prize tracts aforementioned, and omitting the larger tracts published by us (which are too large and for other reasons scarcely suitable for such work), we have now an assortment of twenty-two tracts and sixteen sheet tracts, published at such moderate cost, that we are (charging about half price) enabled to offer to all wishing to engage in such regular tract distribution a supply of 100 copies of each of them, i.e. a total of 2200 tracts and 1600 sheet tracts for $7.

“The work of our Tract Society engages the warmest sympathies and has the heartiest confidence of us all. We feel too that we have much to be thankful for and rejoice in when we compare our present position, with a large assortment of cheap and excellent tracts available at any time, with our position some years ago when it was with difficulty we could succeed in getting any tracts at all. Our work too is widening in area and increasing in interest. We hope therefore that the help so kindly rendered by your Committee in the past will be as readily granted for the present year."

The Financial Statement presented with the foregoing Report showed that Tls. 408.57 had during the year been received from purchasers of tracts, which with the grant of £100 from the Parent Society made a total Income of Tls. 782.84. Of this Tls. 671.87 have been paid to the Hankow printer, other minor expenses however reduce the balance in hand to Tls. 101.71.

75,700 tracts and 68000 sheet tracts have been printed during

a

the year

After the adoption of the Report the following were elected to serve as Officers and Examining and Managing Committee for the year 1882:-President, Rev. W. Scarborough ; Secretary and Treasurer, Rev. Thomas Bryson; Editor, Rev. W. Scarborough ; Committee, Rev. Messrs. Scarborough, John, Bryson, A. Foster, B.A., W. S. Tomlinson and J. W. Brewer.

Among others the following Resolutions were passed by the Meeting :

1. That the publications of this Society be offered at half the cost price to all non-members, who are buying with other than Tract Society Funds.

2. That for the encouragement of systematic Tract Distribution a parcel containing 2200 tracts and 1600 sheet tracts be offered for $7 to any one desirous of engaging in such work.

3. That the Treasurer be requested to apply for permission to draw £50 in addition to the grant of £100, if found necessary during the year in order to meet the probable increase of expenditure.

4. That the Secretary be requested to send a copy of the Annual Report for insertion in the Chinese Recorder and Missionary Journal.

THE WORSHIP OF THE MOON.

By J. DUGON, M.D. KUT UNG-YUEFI, or the worship of the moon, takes place on the 15th

of the 8th moon; that of the sun on the 1st day of the 2nd moon, with half a year of an interval, the one being precisely opposite the other in regard both to month and day. There are sun cakes, called tai-yang-kau, and moon cakes called yueh-ping, employed in the worship of these two great luminaries; the former having a golden raven, the latter a rabbit delineated upon them. As the sun is the essence of the yang-chi or male principle, and is represented by fire; so the moon is made up of the essence of the female principle (yin-chi) and represents water, and thus the foundation of Chinese philosophy, like that of the Greek theory of the same elements, springs from fire and water. One Chinese author declares that the “vital essence of the moon governs water, and hence when the moon is at its brightest, the tides are high.” We read too in certain Hindoo hymns of the Rig Veda of the frog, which typfies the clouds, being also identified with the pluvial moon. The early Chinese mythological writers convey a similar idea. And because the silent watcher of the night represents the concrete essence of the female principle in nature, so we find tho moon chiefly reverenced by the weaker sex.

On the 15th of the 8th moon may be seen at shop doors, stretched upon a frame of millet stalks, a large sheet of red paper, with some flowery yellow or blue border, containing figures of the character for longevity and the eight diagrams. The sheet is divided into three divisions, tbe lower one being the principal one. On the night of the 15th a table is placed in the middle of the court yard; the framed picture is fastened to the west side of it, the figure looking towards the moon just as it rises in the east. On the table are all manner of fruits and moon cakes, candles and incense. The members of the family kucel in front. This is called kung-yuch. Women and children

i

are the chief worshippers. The rabbit picture is afterwards burnt and the fruit and cakes are eaten. After the celebration of any of the Buddhist idols at the new year or other time, the offerings to the gods are however not eaten by the priests but distributed among the people as Buddha's food. If favours and happiness result from this, the recipients present money to the priests. The upper division of the picture has the god of riches on the left, holding a sceptre or ju-i in his hand. Immediately below him is a basin, holding all manner of precious things, with the three characters chü-pau-pën inserted upon it. In the mouth of the basin is an ingot of silver, containing a cash with the characters Tien-hia-tai-p'ing one on each side of the square hole after the manner of the ordinary cash. The god of wealth has nothing particularly to do with the moon and is inserted here, either as a god to be always worshipped or one who is universally reverenced. This god does not seem to have the same fixed day in all parts of China. Each place seems to have its own appointed day. In some parts of Shantung, he is worshipped on the 6th day of the 6th moon; in other places on the 21st day of the 7th moon; in Peking on the 2nd and 16th of each month, which may be taken as an indication of the reverence of the Chinese for this god. The great day at Peking for the adoration of mammon is the 17th day of the 9th moon. Along with this divinity there is worshipped also equally frequently, the tutelary deity of the district or family. He is represented on the right of the picture as the god of happiness. He holds a scroll in his hand, in which is supposed to be inscribed the characters fuh-show, happiness and longevity. There is frequently no images of these divinities but merely a written or printed piece of paper having the god's name inscribed upon it, in front of which candles and incense are burnt. Both gods are dressed in the style of hat prevailing

. during the last dynasty and both have white silvered faces with black moustaches; the god of wealth with whiskers and beard, that of happiness with beard alone. They are each supported on the two outer sides by two assistants who are dressed as Mohammedans, with the peculiar cap of the children of Islam, curly whiskers and moustache, holding a sword and wearing Chinese official boots. There seems to be a Mohammedan and a non-Mohammedan god of wealth, both of which have their devotees. Our illustration seems designed as a compromise between both ideas, the god himself being Chinese, and his assistants Mohammedan. The Chinese god is usually figured with a red face and long black beard. The Chinese type of a good face consists in its being square and having a long beard. The god of wealth is often drawn with a white face and black whiskers; and the god of happiness with a red countenance and white whiskers. Each

a

a

family has its own god of happiness along with his wife, for the god of happiness is married! In the court yard, each family has a small erection like a dog kennel for the worship of these two deities, and on the specified days incense is burnt and three boiled eggs are presented. The proper thing to present is a fish (i-wei-ü), a chicken (i-chih-chi), and a sheep (i-chïh-yang). The latter would prove far too expensivo and it is compounded for by one square of mutton being offered in its stead. Three cups of samshoo are burnt, not drunk by either the worshipper or the god, so far as I can learn.

In the middle illustration of the picture we have of course Kwanti the god of war, with his servant Chow-tsang on his right, and his son Kwan-p'ing on his left. The son carries a box containing a seal (of office). Kwan-lau-ye became melebrated in the struggle which ushered in the Three Kingdoms. He was a native of Shansi and was deified as Kwan-ti, the god of war. He is reverenced by every person in China. His birth-day occurs on the 24th day of the 6th moon. A pig is sacrificed to him. He is seated at a square table in the picture, studying by night the Spring and Autumn Annals of Confucius, with a lighted lamp beside him ; by day he is engaged in directing the military affairs of the empire. In front of the table is the character for longevity. No one could desire a greater or more sincere admiration and reverence than is bestowed upon him. His daring exploits and particularly his courage in baring his arm and allowing the celebrated surgeon Hwa-to to scrape the poison from the bone, without the administration of the then known anæsthetics, is perpetually being referred to, to his credit.

In the third or lowermost division of the picture, there is a round circle to represent full moon. Above and cutside of the circle, in the centre, is an illustration of Kwan-yin-pu-sah, the goddess of mercy, holding a small bowl. On each side stand three individuals. On her right adjoining her is a female figure holding an edict (ful-chï) in her hand ; similarly on the left, another holding a sceptre; next in order stand two officials, the one on the right wielding a sword, that on the left a folded umbrella and still further removed from the goddess, on the outside on her right is an official holding a musical instrument called a pipa, and on the other side corresponding one holding a serpent. On each side of the goddess above and at the two corners are four more figures in all. Inside the circle, the most conspicuous figure is the rabbit tu-rh which some have translated hare. But the former animal is the more highly esteemed and most likely the animal meant. Although both may be called by one and the same name, the latter is more frequently called here ye-mau wild cat. The

a

season,

figure of the rabbit is gilt, perhaps to make it more attractive and as more honorific. The colours yellow and white can both be applied to the harvest and harvest moon. They are here as in some other places interchangeable. Like the fox, the rabbit is said to attain the age of 1000 years and at the end of half that period to become white. The Chinese connect the four seasons with certain colours derived from their philosophy of the four elements and five colours ; as for example, spring is represented by green, summer by red, autumn by white and winter by black, and hence in ancient times, the Emperors in worshipping or sacrificing to the gods of heaven, earth, agriculture, etc., always appeared in colours suitable to the

Black at one time is said to have been the mourning colour, as indicating the absence of life and light. The rabbit is coloured white (or yellow) because its worship takes place in the autumn. On this account too, the animal is called ü-t'u the jade (white colour) rabbit. This Chinese legend of the rabbit and the moon is doubtless of Indian origin. In Sanscrit the moon is named from the fancied resemblance to the spots of a leveret. One Chinese writer asserts that this animal conceives by gazing at the moon, though earlier writers allege that the femalo rabbit becomes with young by licking the fur of the male. One curious circumstance is stated, that her young are produced from her mouth. In Kang Hi's dictionary it is said : man has nine openings, the rabbit only eight, therefore in bearing her young they issue from the mouth. In the moon the rabbit is called the ming-yueh-cho-ching. One very curious origin for the legend of the lunar rabbit is derived from Chinese ancient history. The story runs that Wěn-wang, the hereditary chieftain of one of the principalities and who became the virtual founder of the Chow dynasty, under Chow-wang, who was the T'ien-tse or Emperor and who was reported to this debauched tyrant as a man dangerous to his supreme power, had him seized and cast into prison. Wen-wang's son Po-i-kau was slain by Chow-wang and up to this point we have historical data. Legend however adds that Chow-wang ordered the son's body to be roasted and sent to the father in order to test him, the idea being if he ate his son and recognised the flesh to be that of his son, he was an upright man, but if not, that he was a depraved and evil one and therefore worthy of death. After eating the son, the father vomited and the matter thrown out took the form of a rabbit and scampered off; hence the vulgar origin of the expression t'u-tse.

The tree in the moon is called krcei-hua, the cassia tree, by some translated cinnamon, but in China this latter tree is not found. There seems to be much confusion in the application of the terms. This

« AnkstesnisTęsti »