On October 3, Professor Wang Zhisheng from the Faculty of Education visited Shiu Pong College, and gave a talk on the Chinese concepts of “Orientation” (方位) and “Beidou” (北斗). The seminar was attended by about 50 SPC students.

How do you identify directions when you are at a place you’ve never been before? This is an interesting question which Professor Wang used to introduce the topic. He then explained the origins of the concepts of “Orientation” in Chinese traditional culture.  Moving from the worship of Polaris (北极星) in farming civilization to the twenty-eight stars and the four orientations surrounding the Polaris, and the octagonal star map formed by the tracks of the Big Dipper (北斗七星 – the sever stars at the Polaris) along the seasons, Professor Wang clarified the concept of “centre” (中心) and “four sides and eight directions” (四面八方) in Chinese traditional culture. The talk was illustrated by a series of beautiful star maps.

In addition, Professor Wang also discussed the relationship between the worship of divine turtle (神龟崇拜) and oracle (甲骨文). More specifically, our ancestors thought that the two pieces of turtle shells are just like the sky – which is curved – and the earth – which is flat. They came to see the turtle as a divine object, offering them in worshipping the heavens and earth and inscribing characters on them. The concepts of “heaven-and-earth united” (天地一统) and “heaven-and-man united” (天人合一) have had immeasurable influence on Chinese politics and ethics. Students have surely benefited from the talk which is so rich in contents.

Professor Wang Zhisheng has been teaching an elective course entitled “Chinese Traditional Culture and Education (中國傳統文化與教育)”. In the academic year of 2017/2018, he introduced SPC students to the origin of the concept of “dragon” (龍) in Chinese traditional culture.







Prof. Wang explaining the impact of “Orientation” on Chinese politics


About 50 SPC students attending the seminar talk


Prof. Wang answering questions from students