Yuan Xiao and lantern riddles History of lantern riddles  

¡§Riddles¡¨ is one of traditional and historic expressions for implying, in the <Guo yu> called ¡§hidden words¡¨, <Han fei zi> called ¡§enigmatic language¡¨, < IV Shi Chan Qiu> called ¡§hinting language¡¨, ¡§hidden¡¨, ¡§enigmatic¡¨ and ¡§hinting¡¨ are the meaning of ¡§hide and lurk¡¨. Basically, it used some words, objects or movements to ¡§replace¡¨ the real meaning in expression. It looks prosaic from outside, but inside contain deep and far
meaning. The most two famous ¡§enigmatic language¡¨ records, which were the phases that Chun Yu Kun wanted to convince Qi Wei King ¡§there is a big bird resting in king¡¦s garden, it has not flown and it also hasn¡¦t cried for three years¡¨, also Shao Ru Zi tried to admonish Wu King fighting Jing ¡§The mantis stalks the cicada, unaware of the oriole behind¡¨. The first one used analogy method and the latter one also used movement. They all speak out of meaning, and really mean something, there were really typical ¡§enigmatic language¡¨

In these two stories, we could see some buffoonery meaning. In fact, ¡§enigmatic language¡¨ was the trick that ¡§comedians¡¨ used to abolish tedium and made jokes to please liege lord in early Qin and Han dynasty, it was just one kind of entertainments or games. However, someone liked Chun Yu Kun and Shao Ru Zi who used those kinds of traceless and buffooning talk to mock and remonstrate against monarch skillfully, had showed great results. Therefore, literati and officialdom started to pay attention on ¡§enigmatic language¡¨. Like Dong Fang Shao in HanWu monarch period, he was one of famous scholars and ¡§implication experts¡¨. <Wen Xiao Diao Long-Xie Yin> was written by Liu Xie had said: ¡§Since Wei dynasty, not comedians, but gentlemen liked to use implied words and riddles¡¨. Since then ¡§riddle¡¨ appeared formally, and became a new literature game for scholars.

According to Liu Xie¡¦s explanation, ¡§riddle¡¨ was ¡§resound its words, confused people¡¨. The word ¡§confuse¡¨ was intentionally to confuse people with words various usage. It could use words to make riddles was one of characteristics in Chinese Han words. In the ¡§Cao E Bei Mi¡¨ was written by Cai Zi, Eight words ¡§huang juan you fu wai son ji jiu (¶À¸h¥®°ü¥~®]÷ñ¦Ý)¡¨ had implied four words ¡§jue miao hao ci(µ´§®¦nÃã)¡¨. ¡§huang juan¡¨ was one kind of colors (colored silk); ¡§you fu¡¨ meant teenage girl (young girl); ¡§wai son¡¨ meant daughter¡¦s son (grandson); ¡§ji jiu¡¨ meant spicy (ji was one kind of spice plants, it was often quashed in stone mortar before eating, jiu in this sentence meant ji jiu and used to take spices, combined spices as part of phase ¡V ancient time writing). It was fully used the shape of han characters ¡V ¡§separated-combined character¡¨ (words could be separated and also could be combined), and it was first developed skill in riddle language.

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