Crouching Tigers & Hidden Dragons - Historical Image of Nanjing



Hanban Article - EN

Nanjing, a historical city located to the south of Yangtze River, had been chosen as the capital city by ten dynasties in ancient China. It was reported that Zhuge Liang, the most famous strategist in the third century, had remarked, “the Bell Mountain in the east is like a coiling dragon, while the Stone City in the west is like a crouching tiger. Therefore the city is destined to be a capital city.” Since then, dragon and tiger has been a image of this city. Zhuge’s words were taken to be an omen and as well a spell, exerting influence on the rise and fall of the city for about 2000 years. On Wednesday, April 11, 2018, Dr. CHENG Zhangcan, Professor of Chinese literature and Director of the historic Nanjing University Library, gave a talk describing the construction of this image and analyzing its relationship with traditional Chinese thought. 

Speaker Bio

Profiel photo of Dr. CHENG Zhangcan.

Dr. CHENG Zhangcan got his BA from Beijing University (1983) and PHD from Nanjing University (1989). Since 1989 he has been teaching at Nanjing University. He has been a visiting scholar at Harvard, Oxford, University of Pennsylvania and University of Washington. He has also taught as visiting professor at several other universities such Taiwan University and Hong Kong Baptist University.

Since 2003, he served as the Director of Institute of Chinese Classics, Nanjing University. His research over the past thirty years has mainly focused on Chinese literature from Han to Sung Dynasty, ancient Chinese stone inscriptions, ancient Chinese textual culture, the western Sinology.

In these fields he has published more than 30 books, including monographs, collection of essays and translation of western Sinology. He is the author of The History of Fu in the Wei Jin Southern and Northern Dynasties (1992), The Great Families and the Literature in Six Dynasties (1998), Essays on the Fu (2005), New Interpretation of the Old Stone Inscriptions (2008), Studies on the Stone Inscribers (2009) and etc. He is also the editor of Researches on Chinese Classics (2003--).

At Nanjing University, he has taught courses on traditional Chinese literature, poetics and writing of traditional Chinese poem, ancient Chinese Classics, the history and culture of Jiangsu and Nanjing. Currently he is leading a group of scholars preparing a 9-volume book on the history of ancient Chinese textual culture.

The Nanjing University Library was established in the early 1900's and currently has a collection 5.77 million texts, including 400,000 ancient thread-bound books. Many of these are rare books, including annals from the Ming and Qing dynasties. 


Sponsored By:

The GW Confucius Institute

The Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library

The Sigur Center for Asian Studies