“Chung-Li Chuan * Ho Hsien-ku * Chang Kuo * Lu Tung-pin * Han Hsiang-tzu * Ts’ao Kuo-chiu * Li T’ieh-kuai * Lan Ts’ai-ho
This Taoist pantheon of gods, heroes, and historical individuals had by the thirteenth century become a sort of national pantheon of Chinese saints. Painted on silk, depicted on vases, sculpted and used as a central motif in story telling, they are a ubiquitous element in art. They are also known as the Eight Immortal Scholars of the Han.
Chung-li Ch’uan is usually depicted as a bearded sage with fan; Ho Hsien-ku, as a young girl holding a lotus; Chang Kuo is a comical bearded figure mounted back to front on a white mule with a bamboo drum; Lu Tung-pin, the bearded patron of barbers, is equipped with a fly whisk and word slung across his back; Han Hsiang-tzu is a youthful flute player and the patron saint of musicians; Ts’ao Kuo-chiu is an elderly bearded figure (the patron of actors) usually seen playing castanets; Li T’ieh-kuai is a beggar with a gourd bowl and iron crutch; while Lan Ts’ai-ho is a woman holding a basket of flowers, who is (naturally) the patron saint of florists.
Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.
“Hittite: A member of an ancient people of Asia Minor who gained control of central Anatolia c. 1800-1200 BC. The Hittite empire reached its zenith under the totalitarian rule of Suppiluliuma I (c. 1380 BC). Whose political influence extended from the capital, Hattusas, situated at Bogazkoy (about 22 miles east of Ankara in modern Turkey) west to the Mediterranean coast and southeast into northern Syria. In their struggle for power over Syria and Palestine the Hittites clashed with the troops of Ramses II of Egypt in a battle (1285 BC) at Kadesh on the River Orontes which seems to have ended indecisively. The subsequent decline and demise of Hittite power by 700 BC resulted from internal and external dissension, probably following an outbreak of famine.”
Excerpted from: Wright, Edmund, Ed. The Oxford Desk Encyclopedia of World History. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.
“Isozaki, Arata: (b. 1931) Japanese avant-garde architect, he studied at the University of Tokyo and open in own studio in 1963. His first notable building is the Oita Prefectural Library (1966), which show the influence of the Metabolist school. Later works, which often synthesize Eastern and Western elements, use bold geometric forms and frequently make historical allusions. Among his innovative structures are the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (1986) and Art Tower in Mito, Japan (1990).”
Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.
“Subramania Bharati: (1882-1921) Tamil poet, songwriter, and essayist. Bharati is considered one of the giants of modern Tamil literature. His patriotic verse echoes with revolutionary romanticism. He wrote of a free India in which men and women will have broken their chains, as in his famous poem “Murasu” (“The Drum”). Panchali Sapahtam (1912), an epic in five cantos, uses the humiliation of Draupadi in the Mahabarata to symbolize India’s humiliation under colonialism. Bharati’s devotional poems and songs continue to be immensely popular, especially those forming the Kannan Pattu, some twenty-three lyrics celebrating the Hindu god, Krishna. As a journalist, Bharati contributed to the creation of a vigorous Tamil prose and worldview, affirming internationalism, social justice, and woman’s rights. Collections in English include Poems of Subramania Bharati (1978) and Subramania Bharati: Chosen Poems and Prose (1984).”
Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.