Cuju

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Cuju
Chujutu.jpg
Chinese ladies playing cuju, by the Ming Dynasty painter Du Jin
Chinese 蹴鞠
Literal meaningkick ball

Cuju or Ts'u-chü (蹴鞠, literally "kick ball") is the earliest form of football for which there is evidence according to FIFA, played in ancient China and also in Korea, Japan and Vietnam. [1] It is a competitive game that involves kicking a ball through an opening into a net. The use of hands is not allowed. Invented in the Han Dynasty, it is first mentioned as an exercise in a Chinese military work from 3rd–2nd century BC. [2] [1]

Contents

History

One Hundred Children in the Long Spring (Chang Chun Bai Zi Tu ), a painting by Chinese artist Su Hanchen (Su Han Chen , active 1130-1160s AD), Song Dynasty One Hundred Children in the Long Spring.jpg
One Hundred Children in the Long Spring (長春百子圖), a painting by Chinese artist Su Hanchen (蘇漢臣, active 1130–1160s AD), Song Dynasty

The first mention of cuju in a historical text is in the Warring States era Zhan Guo Ce , in the section describing the state of Qi. It is also described in Sima Qian's Records of the Grand Historian (under Su Qin's biography), written during the Han Dynasty. [3] A competitive form of cuju was used as fitness training for military cavaliers, while other forms were played for entertainment in wealthy cities like Linzi. [3]

Warring States period Era in ancient Chinese history

The Warring States period was an era in ancient Chinese history characterized by warfare, as well as bureaucratic and military reforms and consolidation. It followed the Spring and Autumn period and concluded with the Qin wars of conquest that saw the annexation of all other contender states, which ultimately led to the Qin state's victory in 221 BC as the first unified Chinese empire, known as the Qin dynasty.

The Zhan Guo Ce, also known in English as the Strategies of the Warring States or Annals of the Warring States, is an ancient Chinese text that contains anecdotes of political manipulation and warfare during the Warring States period. It is an important text of the Warring States Period as it describes the strategies and political views of the School of Diplomacy and reveals the historical and social characteristics of the period.

Sima Qian Chinese historian and writer

Sima Qian was a Chinese historian of the early Han dynasty. He is considered the father of Chinese historiography for his Records of the Grand Historian, a Jizhuanti-style general history of China, covering more than two thousand years from the Yellow Emperor to his time, during the reign of Emperor Wu of Han, a work that had much influence for centuries afterwards on history-writing not only in China, but in Korea, Japan and Vietnam as well. Although he worked as the Court Astrologer, later generations refer to him as the Grand Historian for his monumental work; a work which in later generations would often only be somewhat tacitly or glancingly acknowledged as an achievement only made possible by his acceptance and endurance of punitive actions against him, including imprisonment, castration, and subjection to servility.

During the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD), the popularity of cuju spread from the army to the royal courts and upper classes. [4] It is said that the Han emperor Wu Di enjoyed the sport. At the same time, cuju games were standardized and rules were established. Cuju matches were often held inside the imperial palace. A type of court called ju chang was built especially for cuju matches, which had six crescent-shaped goal posts at each end.

The sport was improved during the Tang Dynasty (618–907). [5] First of all, the feather-stuffed ball was replaced by an air-filled ball with a two-layered hull. Also, two different types of goal posts emerged: One was made by setting up posts with a net between them and the other consisted of just one goal post in the middle of the field. The Tang Dynasty capital of Chang'an was filled with cuju fields, in the backyards of large mansions, and some were even established in the grounds of the palaces. [6] Soldiers who belonged to the imperial army and Gold Bird Guard often formed cuju teams for the delight of the emperor and his court. [6] The level of female cuju teams also improved. Records indicate that once a 17-year-old girl beat a team of army soldiers. Cuju even became popular amongst the scholars and intellectuals, and if a courtier lacked skill in the game, he could pardon himself by acting as a scorekeeper. [6]

Changan ancient city of China

Chang'an was an ancient capital of more than ten dynasties in Chinese history, today known as Xi'an. Chang'an means "Perpetual Peace" in Classical Chinese since it was a capital that was repeatedly used by new Chinese rulers. During the short-lived Xin dynasty, the city was renamed "Constant Peace" ; the old name was later restored. By the time of the Ming dynasty, a new walled city named Xi'an, meaning "Western Peace", was built at the Sui and Tang dynasty city's site, which has remained its name to the present day.

Mansion large dwelling house

A mansion is a large dwelling house. The word itself derives through Old French from the Latin word mansio "dwelling", an abstract noun derived from the verb manere "to dwell". The English word manse originally defined a property large enough for the parish priest to maintain himself, but a mansion is no longer self-sustaining in this way. Manor comes from the same root—territorial holdings granted to a lord who would "remain" there.

Cuju flourished during the Song Dynasty (960–1279) due to social and economic development, extending its popularity to every class in society. At that time, professional cuju players were quite popular, and the sport began to take on a commercial edge. Professional cuju players fell into two groups: One was trained by and performed for the royal court (unearthed copper mirrors and brush pots from the Song often depict professional performances) and the other consisted of civilians who made a living as cuju players. During this period only one goal post was set up in the center of the field.

<i>Water Margin</i> 14th century Chinese novel, attributed to Shi Nai’an, about how a group of 108 outlaws gather at Mt Liang to form a sizable army, are eventually granted amnesty, and campaign to resist invaders and suppress rebels

Water Margin, also translated as Outlaws of the Marsh, Tale of the Marshes, All Men Are Brothers, Men of the Marshes or The Marshes of Mount Liang, is a Chinese novel attributed to Shi Nai'an. Considered one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature, the novel is written in vernacular Chinese rather than Classical Chinese.

Emperor Taizu of Song Founding emperor of the Song Dynasty

Emperor Taizu of Song personal name Zhao Kuangyin, courtesy name Yuanlang, was the founder and first emperor of the Song dynasty in China. He reigned from 960 until his death in 976. Formerly a distinguished military general of the Later Zhou dynasty, Emperor Taizu came to power after staging a coup d'état and forcing Emperor Gong, the last Later Zhou ruler, to abdicate the throne in his favour.

Qian Xuan Chinese painter

Qian Xuan courtesy name Shun Ju (舜举), pseudonyms Yu Tan, Xi Lan Weng (习嬾翁), and Zha Chuan Weng (霅川翁) ) was a Chinese painter from Hu Zhou (湖州) during the late Song dynasty and early Yuan dynasty.

Gameplay

Historically, there were two main styles of cuju: zhuqiu and baida.

Zhuqiu was commonly performed at court feasts celebrating the emperor's birthday or during diplomatic events. A competitive cuju match of this type normally consisted of two teams with 12–16 players on each side.

Baida became dominant during the Song Dynasty, a style that attached much importance to developing personal skills. Scoring goals became obsolete when using this method with the playing field enclosed using thread and players taking turns to kick the ball within these set limits. The number of fouls made by the players decided the winner. For example, if the ball was not passed far enough to reach other team members, points were deducted. If the ball was kicked too far out, a large deduction from the score would result. Kicking the ball too low or turning at the wrong moment all led to fewer points. Players could touch the ball with any part of the body except their hands, whilst the number of players ranged anywhere from two to ten. In the end, the player with the highest score won.

Cuju began to decline during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) due to neglect, and the 2,000-year-old sport slowly faded away.

Cuju clubs

In the 10th century, a cuju league, Qi Yun She (齊雲社) (or Yuan She), was developed in large Chinese cities. Local members were either cuju lovers or professional performers. Non-professional players had to formally appoint a professional as their teacher and pay a fee before becoming members. This process ensured an income for the professionals, unlike cuju of the Tang Dynasty. Qi Yun She organised annual national championships known as Shan Yue Zheng Sai (山岳正賽).[ citation needed ]

See also

Notes

  1. 1 2 "History of Football - The Origins". FIFA. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  2. Post Publishing PCL. "Bangkok Post article". bangkokpost.com.
  3. 1 2 Riordan (1999), 32.
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-04-23. Retrieved 2008-08-06.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  5. "Star Wars tops Xmas toy list". msn.com.
  6. 1 2 3 Benn, 172.

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References

Commons-logo.svg Media related to Cuju at Wikimedia Commons