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The classical six arts–Propriety(礼 lǐ)

The classical six arts are aristocratic education system in Zhou Dynasty which include 礼lǐ (propriety), 乐yuè(music), 射shè (archery), 御yù (riding), 书shū (writing) and 数shù (math).


“礼lǐ ”(propriety)is the foundation of this system that includes five parts–吉jí 礼、凶xiōng 礼、军jūn礼、宾bīn 礼、嘉jiā 礼.

  1. 吉礼jí lǐ

Offering sacrifices to Sky Gods, Land Gods and ancestors.

In ancient China, people worship the sky and the land to pray for a fruitful year.Besides, people believe that their ancestors will bless them if they are sincere enough.


  1. 凶礼(xiōng lǐ)

The ceremonies that mourn tragedy loss of people or realm.The latter mostly refers to disasters or death of the king.

It’s similar to funeral.However in ancient China,people are supposed to condole with more than just their family.


  1. 军礼jūn lǐ

In ancient China,warfare is as important as the agriculture.

Armies and soldiers are trained during “军礼”,it’s military parade in ancient China.


  1. 宾礼(bīn lǐ)

“宾”means guest in China,you can see it in the words “宾客” and“嘉宾”.

In Zhou dynasty, when leuds or emissaries come to the capital to have an audience with the lord, the lord must treat them with “宾礼”.

  1. 嘉礼jiā lǐ

“嘉礼”is used in great occasions of realm, for instance, lord getting married, heir of the lord being born or lord going out for hunting.

“嘉”means good in China, therefore, “嘉礼”is only suitable for happy social events.

“嘉礼”is manner of how to bond with each other properly.

Key Words:

礼 lǐ         吉礼(jí lǐ)         宾客(bīn kè)

乐 yuè      凶礼 (xiōng lǐ)      嘉宾(jiā bīn )

射 shè      军礼(jūn lǐ)

御 yù        宾礼(bīn lǐ)

书 shū      嘉礼(jiā lǐ)

数 shù


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