job enabled us to take many foreign friends on tours in China. During
such tours they asked a lot of questions, such as why the Chinese eat
dumplings, post portraits of the Gate Guardian God on their doors and
let off firecrackers on New Year's Day.
Why should the tiles that cover
roofs in Beijing come in yellow, green or black? What do the animal
figurines that perch on roof ridges symbolize? Why the stone turtles are
burdened with stone tablets? What's the purpose of the ceremonial
columns in front of Tian'anmen Gate? Twenty years ago, a French friend
told us that during his travel in China be was keenly on traditional
Chinese culture but found it difficult to understand. He suggested that
we write a book on Chinese culture.