Source of wisdom

Couple of days before Lunar New Year, I visited the college I attended in 1980’s – Xi’an Jiaotong University (西安交通大學)。

I was wandering on its empty campus, picking up the time when I was a student almost thirty years ago.  At that time, I was occupied by a dream to become one of the top female scientists at China.  Even though I took a detour on my career path later and eventually landed on a field different from my original ideal, I truly appreciate the knowledge I learned here.

This sculpture is located in front of its main entrance, stands as its landmark.  On one side the four engraved Chinese characters means “Remembrance of Your Drinking Water” (飲水思源),on another side the engraved Chinese writing briefly introduces the history of the university since 1896.

There are four sculptures standing in front of newly built library – 錢學森圖書館, representing the four greatest contributions of ancient Chinese to the human civilization – dynamite, paper, printing and compass.  The university has inherited the creativity from Chinese ancestors to continuously innovate in science and technology.

Not only has the university been a pioneer in many fields, but also been a forerunner in education.  In over a decade of its history it has been cultivating countless outstanding scientists and engineers, who are working around the globe to make our world a better place.  This great achievement is reflected by one of its principles engraved in a polyhedron sculpture – Education in a Decade (百年樹人)。


While I was walking across one of the students’ dormitories, a pair of metal sculpture caught my eyes.  They are an ancient musician and a modern student with a backpack. I couldn’t decode its meaning, and nobody around to explain to me.  Does it imply that our knowledge is always sourced from ancestors’ wisdom, and we should also pass our knowledge and wisdom onto the next generation?


What do you think?


5 thoughts on “Source of wisdom

  1. HI Yan, I’ve seen many of these beautiful sculptures in many places across China, and over the past few years, there has been sculptures of modern day people creeping in along with the ancients…. in Suzhou there is Wu Zixu and other ancient Suzhounese at the train station, and alongside Jinji Hu is a sculpture of a man on skates with a mobile phone….. to me it symbolises the NOW of China – being proud of our heritage but also being proud of modern day advancements – just like your article says about the past achievements of China and how the university now has many great success stories….. the past to inspire the future, i guess.
    Many different interpretations, I guess that is the thing about art.
    I think that also post cultural revolution, china took a long time to be proud again of its past, and now many cities are remembering and reengaging with their proud past……

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I currently follow Mr. Lai’s blogging,…it was inviting to me too when started following him, the fact that English was not neither my original language, but, particularly I admirer, and appreciate in general his approaches to Life, and the gifted person he is, and how much he is capable to help others, with all the skills he has gathered in his earthly adventure, and the none stopping “career” to help others, and… of course it is specially fun for me the “graphic languages of photography-Art”, and the openness that this resource provide to “world-wild communication and knowledge”.
    Even though I was born in US, but left at six years old, Spanish is my “strongest achievement” in languages, and since a while ago, going for more in English, because it’s actually the most common language to different cultures.
    Study some other languages, like French, Italian in school time at Cuba, but really never got to have enough practice, communicating with other people speaking the language, but at the moment of studying was very good at it, and still keep my notes, and little translating books (Ha!,…Ha!, poor thing of me, but ….”something is always something”…right??. Languages is one of the things that I’m attracted the most. ( About things that I’ve study, you might go, and see about it, on my profile, and also my Blog “Design to Love”, that Mr. Lai liked ). At Mr. Lai’s site, of course, found your presentation to Him. Chinese culture, and people, has been always very compelling to me, cause I’ve always admired Knowledge, Wisdom, Arts, and Sciences, and you guys are really packed with that “from the ground and up”, and due to the Social-Economics relationships, between this two countries (China, and Cuba), I was early in my life, familiarized with the Chinese culture, and started to admire it, mainly because of its wisdom, and because always saw my humanitarian nature, reflected in almost all of their approaching’s to life. In Cuba, in “Pre- College” studies, when in “Literature subject”, they do establish, Confucius, and Lao Tse as the first philosophers, and about the first written documents, like “Ramayana”, etc., and about the paper, and everything you said, and the teachers that I had at the moment they did, emphasized on the importance of this culture in human history, and wisdom. Also through movies, and documentaries, you get a considerable insight to Chinese arts, martial arts, cuisine, sciences advancement, etc. ……So, I got that message of “Chinese Wisdom” really seriously, and even here in US I collect the “Chinese Wisdom Cookies”, from the Chinese Restaurant,…Ha!!…Ha!!, funny Hum??. “Really”, it helps me a lot “paraphrase” about my studies in religion, and readings about philosophical, and theological, subjects…..So, it’s amazing how Chinese wisdom truly has helped, and influenced from its “Roots” Humanity in its growth,… “thank You, by the way”,…I’m a human that do appreciate that greatly….And, Yes!!, Yan, my opinion is just totally “integrated” with that of the “Chinese University Sculptures Messages”…. “Of course”, our highest, sacred, main purpose, is the “Webs of knowledge, and Wisdom” ( “What contains in everything, Wisdom”…quoting Chinese Cookie.), described, traced, in our “Paths”, and let include in “our paths”, from “microcosm- to macrocosm”,…and as that Funny Show on TV says : ….”And Everything Started with the Big Bang”…..I just enthusiastically blog about the “Big Bang”, based on some other commentators documents, in “Design to Love”, I’m new to blogging, and really still learning how to manage the site, and the whole blogging-writing phenomena. Did liked everything you did on your Blog, enjoyed it, and added, and enriched me with some more knowledge that I already personalized it. “Thank You”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for visiting my blog and such a nice comment! I believe Mr. Lai you mentioned in your note is Michael Lai, who is from Hong Kong. Actually I am one of his followers, not only because we share the same cultural background, but also we have the same hobby – photography. I like to explore the world through my camera lens and to express my opinions through photos. I will check your blog, and I am glad that we can connect from now on, and communicate in the areas such as cultural, etc.


  3. “Thank you for your nice replay”, and yes, I’m talking about Mr. Michael Lai. It’ll be also glad to me to follow your photography- blogging, since I love to express too my opinions about what I see when I observe-through “photographs-images”, the “subject”, or “them” stimulates my artistic, religious, and philosophical optic, it functions, or it actually is a window that not only every human been can see objectively or subjectively through many other aspects of our nature, and purpose of existence, that by the way, either way, any way, in each particular opinion, all of us will be holding “a part of the whole reality-puzzle-view”,…”indeed each person is a whole new version of the world from its own mind-out”. Also photography is a source of interplay, and communication among us humans, and enriches, and broaden our understanding of the world. Lets let it flow then, and fly, all these beautiful, harmonious, healthy, and meaningful images, captured by our “human abilities”, on cameras, across, and in front of every human eye, for the purpose of growth, and development, since our “mind/eyes” reunite, and links together the totally of the incredibly creative, “reality-world”.

    Liked by 1 person

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