Classical erudition

baozi jiaozi

On the “Four Classics and Five Scriptures” (sishu wujing 四书五经), I’ve already quoted the fine saying (At home with a master Daoist, n.1)

孔子孟子包子饺子,都学过了!
Confucius, Mencius, various dumpling shapes, I’ve studied them all!”

So it’s good to see another old favourite at the end of a conversation between Ai Weiwei and Liao Yiwu, no less:

老装孙子 laozhuang sunzi,

which is a common expression for “always playing the fool” (cf. the more recent, and rather different, zhuang B). But it can also be handily pressed into service when satirizing one’s supposed education in the classics, subtly revising the zhuang character to 庄—the Daoist sages Laozi and Zhuangzi (Lao–Zhuang), followed by the ancient military strategist Sunzi.

Breaks the ice at parties, in the words of Monty Python.

 

2 thoughts on “Classical erudition

  1. Pingback: A feminist Chinese proverb | Stephen Jones: a blog

  2. Pingback: Notes from Beijing, 4: between cultures | Stephen Jones: a blog

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