A monthly tough quiz of general history, traditions, geography questions for July
1. Who is mostly attributed for taming the Yellow River?
Yu the Great
The flooding of the Yellow River has been the scourge of northern China for thousands of years. It is the legendary emperor 'Yu the Great' who is said to have put in the first flood prevention measures.
2. Emperor Yao is credited with which important innovation?
adopting Confucian doctrine
appointment on merit
Emperor Yao (2333 - 2234 BCE) chose Emperor Shun as his successor rather than one of his own ten sons on the basis of Shun's merit. The importance of choosing the best person for a job rather than family/friends had huge repercussions. The innovation was only taken up elsewhere ater many centuries.
3. Suzhou in Jiangsu province is famous for what?
The low lying land with its many canals made it an ideal place to create gardens. Some gardens in Suzhou are world famous and give UNESCO protection status.
4. The grand canal link used to originally link which city to Hangzhou?
The original Grand Canal route ran from the old capital at Luoyang to Hangzhou. It was only after Beijing became the capital in the Yuan dynasty that the extension was made and the old route to Luoyang bypassed.
5. Which three cities are considered the three furnaces of China?
Nanjing, Guangzhou and Shanghai
Nanjing, Chongqing and Wuhan
Nanjing, Guangzhou and Tianjin
In the summer heat it is the cities close to the Yangzi river in southern China that have a reputation for being unbearably hot and humid.
6. Pudong is a district of which major city?
Pudong means 'east of the Huang Pu river'. Before the 1980s only the western bank had been developed
7. The Dawn Redwood is a living fossil which was 'rediscovered' in which province?
The Metasequoia or Dawn redwood was found as a fossil in rocks dating to 100 million years ago before it was discovered still living in China.
8. The tulou houses of the Hakka people are mostly found in which province?
The distinctive, traditional round structure acted as a refuge for the community of several large families should they come under attack. It also held storerooms, mainly for tea which is the main crop where the Tulou houses can still be found in Fujian.
9. During the Ming dynasty most paper was made from the leaves of which plant?
The bamboo plant that grows well in China and its tough leaves have been used to make paper for centuries.
10. Which of these items is not claimed as a Chinese invention?
China has always been a very inventive nation with very many everyday objects and technologies discovered there.
11. Lady Hao was a military leader from which dynasty
Although men took military posts throughout much of Chinese history (apart from a few notable exceptions such as Mulan) if you go back over 3,000 years then some women were appointed as military commanders. Lady Hao ➚, whose tomb has been excavated, is the best known example.
12. Dandong is on the major crossing point to which neighbouring country?
There are many ethnically Korean people on the Chinese side of the border with North Korea. Dandong is on the Yalu River that forms the boundary between the two countries.
13. What was the 'Mukden incident' of 1931?
outbreak of plague
attack on Chiang Kaishek
Shenyang, then known under the Manchu name of Mukden was the scene of a Japanese plot to legitimize the seizure of Manchuria. Japanese agents planted a bomb under a raiway line and blamed the attack on Chinese nationalists.
14. Early compasses were often made in the form of what?
When the key Chinese invented the compass they only used naturally occuring magnetic lodestones. These were carved into a delicately balanced ladle that would swivel to always point south (in China south not north is the most important direction).
15. Which chemical element traditionally provided the red color for seals and inks?
Mercury in the form of cinnabar (mercury sulfide) was traditionally used for the ink paste used for seal marks on documents and paintings. All mercury compounds are rather toxic. The strange properties of cinnabar made it a popular elixir that was intended to give people a longer life but had the opposite effect.