Scholars the ninth and beggar the tenth: A myth that is still prevalent in Hong Kong secondary school textbooks on Chinese history

Jun FANG

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers

Abstract

Virtually all of the Hong Kong’s secondary school textbooks on Chinese history adopt the phrase “scholars the ninth and beggars the tenth” to describe the “lowly” status of Confucian scholars in the Mongol Yuan dynasty (1260-1368). This paper analyses the popular saying by looking at the lives and works of the two Song loyalists who created the expression, the obligations and privileges of Confucian households in the Yuan, as well as the chances of Yuan scholars in joining the officialdom. It concludes that the phrase “scholars the ninth and beggars the tenth” is an anti-Mongol exaggeration rather than a true reflection of the Yuan reality, and it’s time for Hong Kong’s secondary school textbooks to discard the old myth.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1996

Citation

Fang, J. (1996, November). Scholars the ninth and beggar the tenth: A myth that is still prevalent in Hong Kong secondary school textbooks on Chinese history. Paper presented at the Hong Kong Educational Research Association (HKERA) 13th Annual Conference: Restructuring Schools in Changing Societies, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, China.

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