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A Quirky Indicator of Summer Solstice


Water returns to the Eastern Sea and transforms into vital force. Cranes swallow food from the top of their heads and allegedly give birth once in a hundred and sixty years. Cattle do not listen with their ears, but with their horns. On the summer solstice, a cat’s nose becomes warm, [yet] it is cold on all the other days. I told someone about this. Trying to verify it on the summer solstice, [he] found [his] cat’s nose cold and poured discredit [on this theory]. I said, “It is not precisely the moment of summer solstice yet.” Suddenly [the moment] came, and its nose became warm. This is why it is essential to scrutinise everything.

* From Cao An 曹安 (fl. 15th cenutry), Lanyan zhangyu 讕言長語, Wenyuange Siku Quanshu 文淵閣四庫全書 (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 1987) edition, vol. 867, 53b:

"Heting naliang" 荷亭納涼 (Escaping the heat in a Pavilion among the Lotus), anonymous artist of the Song dynasty (960-1279)

To be tested on the next summer solstice...


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