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Chinese Twins

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#1 Zuo Zongtang

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 11:18 PM

How were twins treated in China before the modern ages? In most other cultures, Twins were revered or hated. Some saw twins as a sign from the Gods. Others, such as in Things Fall Apart killed twins because they were believed to be evil spirits? Did China have any of these thoughts or beliefs?
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#2 Publius


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Posted 11 February 2007 - 05:11 PM

Here’s a quote directly from Worfram Eberhard’s A Dictionary of Chinese Symbols:

Twins differing in sex were allowed to die in ancient China, as they were regarded as ‘ghost spouses’; and it was the custom in one of the aboriginal tribes of Taiwan to kill one of the twins at birth. In the province of Qinghai in North-west China, twins are always looked upon as bringers of ill fortune, especially whey they differ in sex. However, in another text we are told that the wife of a pious man was blessed at the age of fifty with male twins, allegedly as a reward for his piety. (300)

Though, I would guess that male twins would generally be seen as auspicious. Does anyone else know about this?
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#3 Ashura


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Posted 12 February 2007 - 03:43 PM

Chinese literatures do not mention twins at all. I suspect at least some brothers mentioned in histories were twins, but the description is never clear. Take Water Margin for example, of all the pairs of brthers, I think Jie Zhen解珍 and Jie Bao解宝 are twins because both of their titles have the meaning of double, while the other brothers titles are asymmetrical.

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