Monday, May 12, 2014

Tomb Robbers

Speaking, reading and writing in a second language is hard by any measure; and especially true for our Chinese students. Some of them really struggle to keep up with their smarter peers. I was proud of Fanny's presentation because she chose and interesting topic and did her best to present it in English.
Remember, there is no past or future tense in Chinese, no punctuation, no articles, no prepositions, no plurals, and no pronoun gender distinctions to name just a few obstacles. I admire Chinese who speak English as a second language.

     "As the subject name suggests, robbers steal things from tomb. It is a very ancient historical phenomenon in China.  In the Han dynasty, one-third of the national finance was buried with emperor to the underground. So it is huge fortune in tombs. The earliest recorded tomb robbery was more than 3000 years ago. Then it became a profession and the means of getting rich.

     "There were two kinds of tomb robbers. One was the officials, such as Caocao, Sunquan. There robbed for soldier's pay. Another one was civilian steal. Luoyang, Shanxi, Changsha and Guangzhou are the places where tomb robbery was famous.  There most common tomb robbers are two partners, one dig and go into tomb, another one is on the look out. And they are skilled in use of Chinese medicine approach: wang (look), wen (smell), wen (ask), qie (field visit).  Wang is looking at the terrain to find the tomb's location. Wen is smelling the soil to distinguish whether tomb exist or not.  Wen is chatting with the old local man to know their history, Qie is going into tomb.

     "As the saying goes, "there is honor among thieves." There are many guild regulations in tomb robbery. For example, they can't steal all objects in the tomb. They can't damage the dead body. They also can't bring anything after the crow of chicken. Before they open the coffin, they must lit up a candle in the southeast corner of the tomb. If the candle do go out, that means the dead don't allow them to steal things, they had better return with nothing. The fact is that the air in tomb  is too bad for people to stay long.  These rules are very dear to professional tomb robbers.

     "Tomb robbery is illegal, why so many people run after it? The cause is very simple…to gain wealth. In current domestic market, ancient Chinese art's price is very high. People are keen to collect relics.  I don't think it's an absolutely bad thing. Tomb robber's goal is economic interests; collector's goal is meeting their hobby. Their interests are both increased.  Our museum also buy relics from robbers. If so, it's good for cultural protection.

     "In conclusion, tomb robbery is unsavory. It damages the value of cultural relics. But sometimes it brings ancient secret to light and promotes the development of culture and art."

1 comment:

  1. That is not the usual topic of a school presentation for sure! 'A' for originality.