Why did a large number of "prodigy stories" emerge in the Han Dynasty? are there really so many prodigies?

Why did a large number of "prodigy stories" emerge in the Han Dynasty? are there really so many prodigies?
Since the Spring and Autumn period, there has been a prodigy story, that is, "the child prodigy Ligularia three difficult Confucius".

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The concept of "child prodigy" has been around for a long time, but when did it really become a cultural phenomenon? 

What is the rich connotation behind this cultural phenomenon? 

I. the origin of the "child prodigy" as a cultural phenomenon. 

Since the Spring and Autumn period, there has been a prodigy story, that is, "the child prodigy Ligularia three difficult Confucius". 

What is difficult to say is that Xiang Ligularia and his companions built a "city" with sand on the road. Instead of letting the convoy of Confucius master and apprentice ask Confucius, "since ancient times, it has always been a city to give way to a city, so there is no reason for a city to give way to a car." 

The second difficulty was that Confucius' disciples made it difficult for the farmer to ask how many times his hoe was lifted every day. The farmer's son was Xiang Ligularia. He wisely asked Confucius and his party how many horseshoes were lifted every day. 

The three difficulties are a series of questions and answers and rhetorical questions between Confucius and Xiang Liguli. In the end, Confucius lost the battle and worshiped a seven-year-old child as a teacher. 

This well-known story is the earliest, and there are other stories that have a long history and are handed down by word of mouth, but these stories are mainly to promote the wit of small children. 

However, the Han Dynasty was the formative period of "child prodigy culture". At this time, people respected child prodigy characters became systematic and extensive. 

In addition to the positive image of "child prodigy", there are also tragic characters like "injured Zhongyong". 

For example, at the end of the Han Dynasty, Hu Kang was "selected by different talents" at the end of the Han Dynasty, but although he had talent and bad character, he finally did nothing and wasted his precocious talent. 

In addition, there are many records of "child prodigy", which shows that "child prodigy" is formally regarded as a social group and as an image symbol, with a certain age range and unique qualities. 

The unique cultural phenomenon of "child prodigy" in the Han Dynasty can be seen as the result of social and cultural prosperity and the progress of folk education, reflecting people's concept and expectations of young children, as well as the spirit of pursuing cultural progress influenced by Confucianism. 

II. Examples of child prodigy culture: portrait stones and steles. 

On the other hand, the cultural prosperity of the child prodigy in the Han Dynasty is reflected in the image of the child prodigy widely appeared in the portrait stone materials of the Han Dynasty, and there is often the phenomenon of erecting a monument for the child prodigy. 

The image of "child prodigy" is very popular in the portrait stones of the Han Dynasty. 

Xiang Ligularia, as a model of child prodigy image through the ages, is naturally a popular choice among portrait stones. 

The image of Xiang Ligularia included in the complete Collection of Chinese Portrait Stone can be found in the northern portrait of Cao que in Pingyi, Shandong, the Han portrait of Song Mountain in Jiaxiang, Shandong, and the Han portrait unearthed in Liujiagou, Suide, Shaanxi Province, and so on. 

This phenomenon in the archaeological relics of the Han Dynasty is the reflection of the child prodigy culture in the material carrier, which shows that his deeds are quite popular and recognized by the people at that time. 

Then there is the filial piety Sun Yuanyuan, who appeared as an example in the portrait of Sun Yuan of Liang ci Xiao in Jiaxiang, Shandong Province, who is famous for surpassing his father in moral level and intelligence. 

III. The connotation of "child prodigy" 


Reduce the quality of adults. 

The so-called "prodigy" is not "God", they do not have some kind of supernatural divinity, they are only deified in social status. 

All the prodigies in the past have similar characteristics. The real character of "prodigy" is precocious and precocious. They show a level of knowledge or moral accomplishment that does not match their age, and sometimes even far outperform ordinary adults in some respects. 


Tools for adult communication. 

If we take a closer look at the inscriptions and the lives of the characters, we can see that they have no outstanding contribution to society, and their "intelligence" has no famous examples to convince everyone. They are only famous in the circle of acquaintance, but they are not "out of the circle". 

The exaggerated description of the indescribable child as an intelligent and brisk child prodigy is actually gaudy and flattened without flesh and blood. 

This alone makes it possible to have a monument with full weight after death, and these inscriptions have been written by famous writers. 

Just because they are not the children of ordinary people, Hu Gen's father is Chen Liutai Shou Hu Shuo, his grandfather is Taiwei Hu Guang, and Yuan Manlai is "the grandson of Tai Wei Gong and the son of Szeto Gong." 

At the end of Fengsheng inscription are: "students Dongwu Sun Li, Xiami Wang Sheng, etc., grateful for 30%, a list of synonyms, so a total of published stone, narrative beauty, immortal inscription." 

How could a 12-year-old boy have a pupil? it must be his father's. 

The original inscription of Li Shi has been lost, but it is certain that it is written in the same way as adult inscriptions, and those praise words are probably those students who cling to dignitaries to curry favor with their masters' loyalty. 

The early death of "child prodigy" is cleverly exploited, that is, eating "human blood steamed bread" provides adults with the opportunity to manage interpersonal relationships. 

It's just sad for children, they leave not only a world of nostalgia and grief for them, but a system set up for adults to do things conveniently. 

IV. Evaluation and reflection on the culture of "child prodigy" 

When recalling his childhood, Wang Chong, a scholar of the Han Dynasty at xa0, described himself as a good child who was sensible and eager to learn. The little adult said, "for children, play with Yulun, and do not want to be insulted." 

Luo Lun is good at hiding birds, catching cicadas, playing with money, and Lin Xi, but she refuses to do so. " 

Wang Chong later made some achievements, and he naturally became one of the dreams of child prodigies in the hearts of the people. 

The "self-portrait" in Wang Chong's impression is probably the image of Xiang Ligularia. although he is holding a child's toys and is small in size, his dress and behavior can not be seen to belong to the characteristics of the child. 

In contrast to Confucius, even Confucius' teacher, in the final analysis, is essentially a miniature model of the adult image. 

At the same time, as Wang Chong sighed, he did not have a normal childhood in which many children were counted. 

For example, in the portrait stone of the tomb of Miao Yu of the Eastern Han Dynasty in Pi County, Jiangsu Province, you can see: a group of lively and active children, immersed in the game of catching cicadas, they play together, naughty, lovely and happy. 

If the "child prodigy" in another world knows, they may be tired of their posture of sitting upright. They also want to break away from the title of "child prodigy" and envy the happiness and freedom of their peers who enjoy their childhood. 

The title of a child prodigy is not only a halo, but also shackles, more often the sustenance of parents for their children to become successful, and the urgency of social consensus to train their children to "grow up." 

However, everything should be done in accordance with the times, pulling seedlings to encourage is not desirable, contrary to the law of children's growth can not be imitated. 

Many prodigies may not be happy, and they yearn for an ordinary childhood. 

What's more, many "child prodigies" stories are originally mixed with water and wrapped in the desires of adults.