Talk:Luan Da

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Good article Luan Da has been listed as one of the Philosophy and religion good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Luan Da/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

I plan to review this article. I understand and agree with your comments regarding the criteria. Robert Skyhawk (Talk) 03:30, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

Preliminary Review by Robert Skyhawk[edit]

I have read the article, and have mixed feelings about its status. For one, there are numerous grammatical, spelling, and prose errors, which are as follows:

Note:Done and Not Done status reflect whether the issue has been fixed in the article. If you fix anything indicated below, you may change the status of the issue.

  • Background section:
    • "early [I]mperial China" doesn't seem specific enough- a year range or dynasty would be much more descriptive.
      •  Done
    • "or perform ritual dances to perform supernatural actions." Use of the word "perform" twice seems redundant.
      •  Done - Rewording is better, I hope.
    • "The emperor Luan Da would eventually be employed by had killed the former court mystic, Shaoweng by poisoning, specifically by horse liver." This makes no sense; it seems like two sentences were accidentaly/improperly combined here.
      •  Done - I've explained and in fact changed the meaning a bit. I hope it's satisfactory now.
  • Rise to power section:
    • "Emperor Wu also granted him a marquisate of some 2,000 homes to rule over. He was also given a luxurious mansions..." Again, use of also twice seems redundant.
      •  Done - Reworded.
  • Fall from power and death section:
    • "Emperor Wu grew suspicious sent officers to track him down." Should be "grew suspicious and sent"?
      •  Done
    • "They found that he was living Mount Tai" Should be "They found that he was living at Mount Tai"?
      •  Done

Allow me to give my remaining critique using this checklist: GA review – see WP:WIAGA for criteria

  1. Is it reasonably well written?
    A. Prose quality:
    As mentioned above, there are several errors here.
    B. MoS compliance:
  2. Is it factually accurate and verifiable?
    A. References to sources:
    B. Citation of reliable sources where necessary:
    C. No original research:
  3. Is it broad in its coverage?
    A. Major aspects:
    I am not sure if this article has enough information on its subject to adequately satisfy this criterion.
    B. Focused:
  4. Is it neutral?
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. Is it stable?
    No edit wars, etc:
  6. Does it contain images to illustrate the topic?
    A. Images are copyright tagged, and non-free images have fair use rationales:
    B. Images are provided where possible and appropriate, with suitable captions:
    These criterion are invalid since there are no images in the article.
  7. Overall:
    Pass or Fail:
    I am unsure of whether this article meets some of the criterion, and so am putting this nomination on hold. Editors are now encouraged to edit the article, improving the aspects I have critiqued. Once this has been done, please contact me on my talk page and I will happily reassess the article. Editors are more than welcome to use the checklist above to keep track of the improvement.

Thank you very much in advance, and I hope to be able to award this article the Good Article status it is very close to attaining. Robert Skyhawk (Talk) 04:23, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

I've fixed the problems with the prose, and, furthermore, have given it a copyedit. I entirely forget about images when writing this; sorry. They might be difficult to find, but I'll try to find at least one relevant image suitable to the context. Yes, I am fairly sure the article is comprehensive - three secondary sources and the sole primary source have all been searched, and this article contains all the relevant information. Nousernamesleft (talk) 16:15, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
I've added a single image to the article, which I think is an appropriate number, considering its length. Nousernamesleft (talk) 16:19, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

Second Review by Robert Skyhawk[edit]

Thank you for correcting these issues. I will now conduct a second review.

GA review – see WP:WIAGA for criteria

  1. Is it reasonably well written?
    A. Prose quality:
    The changes look good; perhaps a few minor things that I will change myself after this is through.
    B. MoS compliance:
  2. Is it factually accurate and verifiable?
    A. References to sources:
    B. Citation of reliable sources where necessary:
    I am impressed at the amount of books you used; I usually prefer these over the internet, but they are much harder to come by. Well done.
    C. No original research:
  3. Is it broad in its coverage?
    A. Major aspects:
    B. Focused:
  4. Is it neutral?
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. Is it stable?
    No edit wars, etc:
  6. Does it contain images to illustrate the topic?
    A. Images are copyright tagged, and non-free images have fair use rationales:
    B. Images are provided where possible and appropriate, with suitable captions:
    The image is a nice touch, but the lack of an image would not have hindered this article's acceptance. Perhaps I was too vague about that. My fault. Anyway, good job on this image.
  7. Overall:
    Pass or Fail:
    Congratulations: by my review, this article fits the good article criteria, and is awarded good article status. Well done to User:Nousernamesleft and all other contributors to this article. I will now proceed to award this article GA status and remove it from the nominations list. Robert Skyhawk (Talk) 23:44, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

Confusing section[edit]

In Career -> Rise to Power, why did Luan Da reply, "My teacher has no reason to seek for men. It is men who seek for him. If your Majesty really wishes to summon him, then you must first honour the envoys that you send to him..." when the "emperor first asked whether Luan Da wished to fill Shaoweng's position". Why is Luan Da replying for his teacher when Han Wudi asked him to assume the post? Is there something missing here (like Luan Da requiring permission from his teacher, or the emperor actually requested for Luan Da's teacher to assume the post first), or is there some mistake with the translation (what is the original Chinese text)? Jappalang (talk) 01:35, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

I'll take a look at the source I used for that - it did seem odd to me at first, too. Nousernamesleft (talk) 15:45, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
Here we go. The original quote from the translation of the historical records is:

"As for Shaoweng," said the emperor, "he happened to eat some horse liver and died, that was all. But if you really carry on his magic arts, what will I not give you?" Luan Da replied, "Blah blah blah - this is the quote that's in the article."

I suppose I should reword that section; I'll get on it. Nousernamesleft (talk) 15:47, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
Done. It still actually seems a tad bit odd to me, but that's what the original source says. Nousernamesleft (talk) 15:50, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
I have managed to get an original text of Luan Da's quote at Sina.com. The link is a transcript of Feng Yun Ren Wu Han Wudi (Mythological Figure Han Wudi) by Zhang Zheng Zhong. I dare say Records of the Grand Historian mis-translated the pronouns. I can provide an alternative translation, but I am considered an "unreliable" source (by Wikipedia policies and guidelines) and WP:NONENG prefers translations by "reliable sources". Perhaps the original Chinese text can be inserted with a footnote explanation? (I will put the text and my translation later.) Jappalang (talk) 22:57, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

I found two sources with two different Chinese quotes to Luan Da's statement to Han Wudi.

  • From 风云人物汉武帝 (Fengyun Renwu Han Wudi, Mythological Figure Han Wudi) by 张正忠 (Zhang Zhengzhong). ISBN:7-5387-2180-0. Publisher: 时代文艺出版社 (Shidai Wenyi Chubanshe, Period Literature Publishing) Publishing date: 2006-08-01.[1]

    "我的仙人老师从来不求凡人,只有凡人求他。陛下如果一定要请到他的话,就应尊敬他的使者,使他的使者成为陛下家庭里的一员。而且陛下对待神仙的使者,不能像对待臣下一样,应该把他奉为上宾。这样神仙的使者会感到陛下的诚心,他就会把陛下求仙若渴的心情,转达到神仙那里,而且会为陛下美言几句的。"

    Translation:

    "My immortal master never asks favors from men, it is men who asks from him. If your majesty wishes to get his attention (thereby receiving his favor), then your majesty should respect my master's envoys (meaning Luan Da), making them one of the royal family. Moreover, your majesty should not treat envoys of immortals like a subject, but should treat the envoy as an esteemed guest. In this way, the envoy will be moved by your majesty's sincerity and convey your majesty's deep desire for the immortal's favor along with praises of your majesty to the immortal himself."

This source's quote is probably the closest to that used in the Records of the Grand Historian.

  • From 乱世之鞭:中国历史上最有争议的30个人 (Luanshi zhi bian: Zhongguo Lishi Shang Zui You Zhengyi De 30 Ge Ren, Chaotic Times: China's 30 Most Controversial Figures in History) by 许晖 (Xuhui). ISBN:9787801877000 . Publisher: 新世界出版社 (Xinshijie Chubanshe, New World Publishing) Publishing date: 2008-01-01.[2]

    "我老师从来不求人,只有人求他。陛下您如果一定要和神仙开经验传授大会,就要让神仙的使者身份尊贵,有自己的家属,像对待最尊贵的客人那样对待他,不能瞧不起他,还要让他佩戴陛下赐予的各种印信,才可以派去传话。即使这样,神仙愿不愿来开会还是两可。您想他们多忙啊!总之,谋事在人,成事在天,就看陛下您的表现了。"

    Translation:

    "My master never asks favors from men, it is men who asks from him. If your majesty absolutely wishes to have a conference with immortals (dealing with immortals), then your majesty should let the immortals' envoys (pointedly, Luan Da) attain a position of nobility and let them have a family, treating them like one's highly esteemed guest, never looking down upon them, and letting them have various seals and letters to allow them to convey your majesty's words with royal authority. Even so, it is still uncertain if the immortals might come to a deal with your majesty. Think of how busy they are! Anyway, men plans for things, heaven makes things happen; it is all up to your majesty."

The context behind this is that Luan Da and Shaoweng follow a master who has supposedly attained immortality. In Taoism (as a religon), this means that the immortal master has supernatural powers and can grant favors to those who beseech him. His disciples are considered his envoys (similar to priests). In his speech to Han Wudi, Luan Da is saying that he (as the emperor's personal spiritual adviser) can get his immortal master to give favors to the emperor, but only if Luan Da is employed and treated well in the emperor's service. Jappalang (talk) 01:51, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

I am not particularly opposed to the information being inserted by footnote, but I'm not sure whether it's absolutely necessary, either. If you feel it is, I'll give my support. Nousernamesleft (talk) 01:36, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

Translated by?[edit]

This source "Luan+Da"&ots=I40Hw0_U1o&sig=tsP-mAKQN0 says that Burton Watson was the translator rather than the editor of Records of the Grand Historian: Han Dynasty II, as does the Amazon.com site. So I changed it in the article, but of course you know best and can change it back if that is incorrect. —Mattisse (Talk) 03:42, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

Translator, editor, and annotator, as not uncommon for translations from ancient texts. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:36, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Copyediting suggestions[edit]

Here are some suggested alternative phrasings for a few sentences.

Current version:

Later, Emperor Wu had second thoughts, ruminating that perhaps Shaoweng was not a total fraud and that his chance for immortality could have been among the true arts of Shaoweng. Regretting his decision, the emperor began to seek for a new mystic.

Suggested version:

Later, Emperor Wu reconsidered Shaoweng's fraud, wondering if perhaps some of his mystical arts had been genuine. The emperor realized that his chance for immortality might have passed with Shaoweng's execution, and began to search for a new mystic.

Current version:

The trick was achieved by coating the pieces in a mixture of rooster's blood, iron shavings, and "magnetic dust".[1] In Science and Civilisation in China (1986), Joseph Needham discusses the details of this feat and proposed that lodestone was instead likely used; powdered magnetite would not have been very effective.[2] Nevertheless, the emperor was taken in by the trick and reassured that Luan Da was of true power.[1]

Suggested version, with a note where I think it would be good to name the primary source of "magnetic dust":

The emperor was reassured that Luan Da truly had power.[1] The trick was achieved by coating the pieces in a mixture of rooster's blood, iron shavings, and according to [source], "magnetic dust".[1] In Science and Civilisation in China (1986), Joseph Needham discusses the details of this feat and proposed that lodestone was instead likely used; powdered magnetite would not have been very effective.[2]

More tomorrow, if I have time, and if you feel this is useful. Mike Christie (talk) 04:26, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

More suggestions: current version:

However, Luan Da was not satisfied with mere titles;[1] thus, Emperor Wu also granted him the marquisate of Letong, giving him some 2,000 households to rule over.[3] Further lavished on him were a luxurious mansion, a thousand servants, opulent transportation, many decorations, a seal labelled "General of Moral Authority",[4] and even the hand of the emperor's eldest daughter, Princess Wei Zifu, in marriage, accompanied by an estimated dowry of 10,000 catties of gold.[1] The emperor himself, along with envoys, members of the royal family, and high-ranking officials often invited Luan Da to dine or paid him house calls merely to ask how he was doing.[5] Within a few months after his introduction to the emperor, Luan Da had become a man of great standing, having attained five generalships and a marquisate.[6] He was no longer a subject of the emperor, but an envoy of the immortal beings and equal to the emperor's status.[1]

Suggested version:

However, Luan Da was not satisfied with mere titles,[1] so Emperor Wu also lavished gifts on him. Luan Da was granted the marquisate of Letong, giving him some 2,000 households to rule over,[3] and the emperor also gave him a luxurious mansion, a thousand servants, opulent transportation, many decorations, a seal labelled "General of Moral Authority",[7] and even the hand in marriage of Princess Wei Zifu, the emperor's eldest daughter, accompanied by a dowry estimated at 10,000 catties of gold.[1] The emperor himself, along with envoys, members of the royal family, and high-ranking officials often invited Luan Da to dine or paid him house calls merely to ask how he was doing.[8] With his marquisate and five generalships, Luan Da had become a man of great standing only a few months after his introduction to the emperor.[6] He was no longer merely Emperor Wu's subject, but an envoy of the immortal beings with status equal to the emperor.[1]

Current version:

Bestowed these honours, Luan Da spent every evening at home, attempting to summon spirits. According to the Shih ji, no spirits appeared, but only "a multitude of ghosts who gathered around." These, the text claims, he was able to command.[6] Its author, Sima Qian, also scorned Luan Da, noting that "Everyone on the seacoast of Yan and Qi began waving their arms about, declaring that they possessed secret arts and could summon spirits and immortal ones."[3][6] Indeed, Luan Da's exponential growth in reputation and stature became a great source of discussion in the Han capital of Chang'an, and mystics were eager to imitate his success.[1]

Suggested version:

In possession of these newly-bestowed honours, Luan Da spent every evening at home, attempting to summon spirits. According to the Shih ji, no spirits appeared, but only "a multitude of ghosts who gathered around". These, the text claims, he was able to command.[6] The Shih ji's author, Sima Qian, was scornful of Luan Da, noting that "Everyone on the seacoast of Yan and Qi began waving their arms about, declaring that they possessed secret arts and could summon spirits and immortal ones."[3][6] Indeed, Luan Da's dramatic growth in reputation and stature became a great topic of discussion in the Han capital of Chang'an, and mystics were eager to imitate his success.[1]

In this sentence: "Luan Da's fall merely signaled the beginning of the end for these mystics" what's the reason for "merely"? Can it just be cut?

-- Mike Christie (talk) 12:54, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

As I recall, that sentence originally had a different context; cut. Anyways, your changes are vast improvements! Just make the changes yourself if you have more - I trust they'll all be useful. Nousernamesleft (talk) 23:53, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

What is Zhang's authority?[edit]

Sima Qian says, in Watson's and in Nierenhauser's version, that Luan promised to go to sea to see his master, but went to Mount Tai instead, so he never got to the beach. What is Zhang's authority for the version in the text? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:41, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Luan Da/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

* For this article's GA review, see the review page. Robert Skyhawk (Talk) 23:54, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

Last edited at 23:54, 28 July 2008 (UTC).

Substituted at 22:34, 29 April 2016 (UTC)

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Cite error: The named reference zhang was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference n1986 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  3. ^ a b c d Lewis 2007, p. 181
  4. ^ Qian 1993, pp. 32–33
  5. ^ Peerenboom 1993, p. 255
  6. ^ a b c d e f Qian 1993, p. 33
  7. ^ Qian 1993, pp. 32–33
  8. ^ Peerenboom 1993, p. 255