Naming conventions for Song, Yuan, Ming, Qing dynasties

Jun 2014
1,020
Earth
Someone posted here a while ago about the meanings behind these dynasty names.

Song - Wood
Yuan - Gold
Ming - Fire
Qing - Water

That each of these dynasties represented one of the five elements and that each successive dynasty was the element that defeated the previous dynasty's element.

Anyone have a source for this?
 
May 2009
1,316
I think they were talking symbolically, not literally. Yuan doesnt mean gold, it means "source." Ming means "radiant", Qing means "pure", and Song is the Song surname. They might've been talking about the element of each dynasty. Chinese dynasties would often pick an symbolic element for themselves. I'm not sure what elements each of these dynasties chose for themselves so I'm not sure if that list is correct. I think the Song element might've been fire.

Also gold isn't an element in the Chinese system. The five Chinese elements are wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Although gold is a metal, so I guess it sort of counts.
 
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heylouis

Ad Honorem
Apr 2013
6,512
China
yuan comes from Yi, the same source where korean natioanl flag comes from.(大哉乾元)(qian/乾 is the symbol on the top left of the flag, meanling heaven; yuan meanling start/source; 乾元 meanling the start of everything, every way)
 
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Jan 2015
1,309
meo
I think they were talking symbolically, not literally. Yuan doesnt mean gold, it means "source." Ming means "radiant", Qing means "pure", and Song is the Song surname. They might've been talking about the element of each dynasty. Chinese dynasties would often pick an symbolic element for themselves. I'm not sure what elements each of these dynasties chose for themselves so I'm not sure if that list is correct. I think the Song element might've been fire.

Also gold isn't an element in the Chinese system. The five Chinese elements are wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Although gold is a metal, so I guess it sort of counts.
Oh, so it's the same. In Vietnam, these empires are called:

_Tong - no meaning as far as I know.
_Nguyen - means "source".
_Minh - means "light" or "radiance".
_Thanh - means "pure/blue color/a blade of sword/a bar of something".
 
Jun 2014
1,020
Earth
I think they were talking symbolically, not literally. Yuan doesnt mean gold, it means "source." Ming means "radiant", Qing means "pure", and Song is the Song surname. They might've been talking about the element of each dynasty. Chinese dynasties would often pick an symbolic element for themselves. I'm not sure what elements each of these dynasties chose for themselves so I'm not sure if that list is correct. I think the Song element might've been fire.

Also gold isn't an element in the Chinese system. The five Chinese elements are wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Although gold is a metal, so I guess it sort of counts.
Yes I know it is symbolically speaking. I am asking about the source for this theory on naming(as I know there are many)

The element system uses 金 which I believe means gold today. Perhaps in olden times it also meant metal in general?

The Song dynasty was founded by Zhao Kuangyin, so I don't know whose surname 宋 they are using

As for 元 it is the same yuan used for currency. Perhaps because back then gold was the prime currency of choice so that's how it represented gold?
 
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Jun 2014
1,020
Earth
Oh, so it's the same. In Vietnam, these empires are called:

_Tong - no meaning as far as I know.
_Nguyen - means "source".
_Minh - means "light" or "radiance".
_Thanh - means "pure/blue color/a blade of sword/a bar of something".
I believe Nguyen is the transliteration of the 阮 surname (similar to the 元 character)
 

greatstreetwarrior

Ad Honorem
Nov 2012
3,852
Someone posted here a while ago about the meanings behind these dynasty names.

Song - Wood
Yuan - Gold
Ming - Fire
Qing - Water

That each of these dynasties represented one of the five elements and that each successive dynasty was the element that defeated the previous dynasty's element.

Anyone have a source for this?
why no earth dynasty???

considering the Indic five elements did Chinese ever have a air/wind, sky dynasties?
 

greatstreetwarrior

Ad Honorem
Nov 2012
3,852
because in the five elements theory, earth overcomes water and the Qing dynasty (water) was the last dynasty
can you call the communists earth dynasty of sorts considering how they repressent the pesantry and the working class?
The KMT or nationalists could be sky or air since they moved freely. Interesting concepts though.