Here you find general basic resources from around the web.
Chinese transcription systems
Pinyin is the most widely used system for mainland China (People’s Republic of China), but some materials use, or quote from, older materials that use other transcription systems. The most commonly used alternative transcription system is Wade-Giles. These are some resources to help you convert between these two.
There are a couple of clues to look out for that can tell you which system an author/translator uses. Pinyin uses x, q and z, knits syllables together as one word (Zhongguo, lishi). It occasionally uses a ‘ to prevent confusion between two different ways to separate syllables, for instance Chang’an versus chan’gan. Wade-Giles uses ‘ to indicate an aspirated consonant, and uses – to separate syllables (Chung-kuo, li-shih). The letters x and q are not used (and z only in tzu/tz’u). That said, there are some syllables that look the same in transcription but are pronounced differently, for instance ju, chi, chuan. Check for other transcribed words in the same text, they will offer more clues.
- http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/mulu/wgpy.html is a simple list
- http://www.eastasianlib.org/ctp/RomTable/Chipinyintowade.pdf is a downloadable PDF for handy reference when you’re offline
- http://ctext.org/pinyin.pl?if=en&remap=gb is an online conversation tool. Select the original transcription system and the one you want to convert to, from the drop-down menus. Be careful and double check spelling in original and in final result, the tool may make mistakes or not insert hyphens in the required places.
- https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-pacific-13017882 A quick overview of some key dates in Chinese history
- http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/timelines/china_timeline.htm A slightly more developed timeline
- http://www.chaos.umd.edu/history/time_line.html: A useful timeline which also includes some smaller (shorter) dynasties.
- https://etcweb.princeton.edu/asianart/china.jsp Princeton University Art Museum section on Chinese art. The searchable catalogue is here.
- https://www.metmuseum.org/about-the-met/curatorial-departments/asian-art The Metropolitan Museum in New York has an extensive collection, and a great online catalogue.
- “What does it mean to think historically?” The “Five C-s” of historical thinking explained: change over time, causality, context, complexity, and contingency