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qabristan (قبرستان)

Arabic-Persian. Term for a Muslim grave, tomb or sepulcher, derived from the Arabic word qabr (قبر) and related to maqbara (مقبرة), which means cemetery and is itself associated with the word macabre, whilst in Thai it is referred to as kubo or qubor (กุโบร์). Though customs and the exact manner of a burial ritual may vary somewhat by regional traditions, Islamic religious law forbids cremation of the body and calls for burial of the corpse as soon as possible, without a coffin and with the head faced towards Mecca. Thus if possible, the interment will take place on the same day of death, often within hours of the actual death, and it is preceded by bathing and shrouding the body, and followed by a funeral prayer. Muslim graves, even of prominent people, such as kings and high-ranking sheiks, are often nameless and unmarked, or marked only with a simple grave marker, as in death every soul is equal. See also ziarat.

qali (قالی)

Persian-Arabic. Carpets with a size of 180 x 280 centimeters or more. Besides this, there are two more groups of Persian carpets, i.e. rugs smaller than 180 x 280 centimeters, that include prayer rugs (fig.) and are called qalicheh, and large nomadic carpets, known as kilim or gelim. Qali are also known as farsh, a word meaning ‘to spread’, and sometimes transliterated khali.

qian kun ri yue dao (乾坤日月刀)

Chinese. ‘Heaven and Earth, Sun and Moon Sword’ or ‘Universe, life and livelihood Sword’. Name of a Chinese martial weapon consisting a bar with sickle-shaped knives attached at each end and in reverse direction near both grips. It is somewhat reminiscent of a hook sword or gou (fig.) and the ji or ji dao (fig.).

qibla (قبلة)

Arabic. The direction of prayer for a Muslim. In Malaysia called kiblat. See also mihrab.

Qi (气)

Chinese. Literally ‘air’ or ‘breath’, though usually translated as ‘energy flow’. The traditional Chinese character for Qi is 氣, which besides 气 also includes the character for rice, i.e. 米. As a radical, Qi (气) also means ‘steam’ or ‘vapor’, and hence, it is sometimes interpreted as ‘steam’ rising from ‘rice’ as it cooks. Besides this, it may also be translated as ‘to get/make angry’. According to one Chinese creation myth, the original Qi was split and divided during the formation of the Universe, once the stem of the Tao had been grown from its root, i.e. obscurity. Also transliterated chi and ch'i.

qiang (枪)

Chinese. ‘Spear’. A Chinese long weapon, which consists of a long wooden handle, with a leaf-shaped metal blade, and red a tassel tied just below the blade. It is used as a martial weapon in traditional Chinese martial arts. Its technique is considered a basis for the use of many other martial weapons and the spear technique is hence often trained as a the first weapon for apprentices of martial arts.

Qi Gong (气功)

Chinese. ‘Vital breath cultivation’ or ‘air achievement’. A Chinese system of deep breathing exercises that involve working with Qi, the energy within the body. Whereas the Chinese word qý literally means ‘air’ or ‘breath’, it is often translated as ‘energy flow’, and the word gōng (功), is the same character as used in the term Gong Fu, better known as Kung Fu, and is itself a compound word of two other characters, i.e. gōng (工) and lý (力), of which the first means ‘work’ and the latter (lý) ‘strength’, ‘ability’, ‘power’ or ‘(physical) force’. The objective of Qi Gong may be medical, therapeutic or spiritual, but it is also performed as a component of some Chinese martial arts. It is practiced in the form of breathing and movement exercises, that benefit health by creating calming effects and a sphere that reduces stress. It is seen as a spiritual, slightly mystical aspect of Chinese traditional medicine and is associated with Buddhist and Taoist martial arts and meditation practices. Chang Kuo Lao (fig.), one of the Eight Immortals (fig.), is said to have been a master of Qi Gong. In East Asia it is practiced widely in public parks and in Thailand it can be observed in Bangkok's Lumphini Park, early in the morning, just after daybreak, around the time when the monks are out on bintabaat. Also transcribed Chi Kung.

qila (قلعه)

Arabic. A fort or fortress.

Qing Dynasty

Chinese Dynasty that existed between ca. 1644 and 1911 AD. It was the last great dynasty of Imperial China, that ended with child Emperor Aisin Gioro Pu Yi (fig.), on 1 January 1912. With its rulers originating from Manchuria, this dynasty is also known as the Manchu Dynasty. See also LIST OF CHINESE RULERS.

Qing Long Yan Yue Dao (青龙偃月刀)

Chinese. ‘Green Dragon Crescent Blade’. Name for the traditional Chinese weapon held by Kuan U (fig.). It is a type of kuandao, an ancient halberd-like defense weapon consisting of a combined spear and battleaxe. It is made up of a heavy, serrated blade on a 1.5 to 1.8 meter long pole. The blade is decorated with the motif of a dragon (fig.), hence the name. It may also be translated Blue or Black Dragon Crescent Blade, as the Chinese word qing means both ‘green’ and ‘blue’, as well as ‘black’. In Thai it is either called (Dahb or) Ngaw Mangkon Khiaw Chan Siaw, ‘Green Dragon Crescent Hook (or Sword)’, or Ngaw Nin Mangkon Chan Changai, Dark Blue Dragon Distant Moon Hook’.

Qing Ming (清明)

Chinese. ‘Clear and bright’. Name of a traditional Chinese festival on the 104th day after the winter solstice (or the 15th day from the vernal equinox), usually on April 5 and every leap year on April 4. It is also known as Chinese All Souls Day and during the festival the living pay homage to their ancestors by tending to their graves, whereas during Ghost Month the deceased visit the living. Traditionally they will also offer food and burn gong de paper paraphernalia and/or hell money. However, people may also make altars with food in front of their homes with food offerings to deceased, whose wandering spirits may return at night to visit, a tradition normally reserved for Gui Yue, but it seems that traditions of those festivals are often mixed-up. Likewise, festivities may include setting lotus-shaped lanterns adrift on water at sundown (fig.), reminiscent of the Thai festival of Loi Krathong (fig.) and normally done on the Spirit Festival, which is also known as Water Lantern Festival and in Chinese called Xia Yuan Jie.

Qin Shi Huang Ti (秦始皇帝)

Chinese. Name of the first emperor of an imperial and unified China. READ ON.

Qi Qiao Jie (乞巧节)

Chinese. ‘Request for an ingenious union’. Chinese Valentine's Day, which in the Chinese calendar is celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, according to a love story between the seventh daughter of the Emperor of Heaven and an orphaned cowherd, who were separated from each other and are allowed to meet only once a year, on that particular day. The story relates of a good-looking but poor boy, whom —after his parents died— lived with his elder brother and sister-in-law. His brother had inherited the deceased parent's house and the land, while the boy inherited an old ox. Hence the boy was put to work with his ox, farming his brother's fields, and he was referred to as the cowherd. However, the ox was in fact an immortal from heaven, who was banished from heaven for some mistakes. One day, the ox advised the boy to go to the farm's brook. On arrival there, the boy found the seven pretty daughters of the Emperor of Heaven bathing there. Spellbound by the youngest and most beautiful one, he secretly took away her fairy clothes. When the other six fairies went away after bath, the youngest couldn't fly back without her fairy clothes. The handsome cowherd then appeared and told her that he would not return her clothes unless she promised to marry him, which she did. However, being the daughter of the Emperor of Heaven who was in charge of weaving the clouds and rainbows, the Emperor of Heaven thought that without her skills the skies weren't pretty any longer. So, he had her returned, carried away into heaven by her own grandmother. One day, the old ox was dying and told the now saddened boy that he should keep his hide, because -since he was formerly an immortal- it had magical powers. Using the hide, the boy was able to fly into heaven, but before reaching his wife, the grandmother made a milky way in the sky with her hairpin, which kept them separated. Though, compassionated by their love, the Emperor of Heaven allows the couple to be together once a year, on the evening of the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. To facilitate their annual reunion, magpies on that day will fly up and form a living bridge that crosses the milky way barrier. Compare with Matanapatha.

Qiu Chang Chun (丘长春)

Chinese. A Master of Alchemy and renowned as the founder of the Long Men (龙门) or Dragon Gate sect of Taoism, an offshoot of the Northern school of Quan Zhen, itself another a major sect of Taoism. Long Men rose to prominence in the 13th century, by combining three religions, i.e. Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism, and is today the largest existing branch of Taoism in the world. Chang Chun means ‘Always Joyful’ or ‘Eternal Spring’, yet Qiu Chang Chun is also known by the name Qiu Chu Ji.

Qiu Chu Ji (丘处机)

Another name for Qiu Chang Chun.

qiuqian (求籤)

Chinese-Mandarin. ‘To seek a lot’. Mandarin name for Chinese fortune sticks.

Qi Ye (七爷)

Chinese. ‘Seven Grandfather’. Name of a Taoist deity, who was a general and the best friend of Ba Ye (八爷), i.e. ‘Eight Grandfather’. He is a popular deity often seen as a giant puppet in street parades, usually together with Ba Ye. Qi Ye (fig.) is always portrayed with his tongue sticking out, because he hanged himself in mourning for Ba Ye, after the latter had drowned himself. He usually also depicted with very large ears (fig.). He is popular in Vietnam, where he is often placed in temples opposite of Ho Phap Vi Da (fig.), i.e. Wei Tuo (fig.), whereas in China, he is associated with Gui Wang, i.e. the ‘Demon King’ (fig.).


Latin. ‘Four-in-hand’. A chariot harnessed with four draught horses lined up next to each other.

quail's egg

See khai nok kra-tha.

quan (观)

Chinese. A place of worship for Taoists.

Quan Zhen (全真)

Chinese. ‘Complete Perfection’. A school of Taoism that specializes in Nei Dan (內丹), i.e. Internal Alchemy or Spiritual Alchemy, which consists of a series of physical, mental, and spiritual disciplines, aiming at prolonging ones physical life and at creating an immortal spiritual body for the afterlife. Nei Dan techniques gradually replaced Wai Dan (外丹), i.e. External Alchemy, which experimented with the ingestion of herbs and minerals, but often ended in fatal casualties, such as in the case of Qin Shi Huang Ti (fig.), the very first emperor of an unified China, who died of mercury poisoning, after consuming the matter, with the intend to gain longevity and immortality. Focusing on the internal cultivation of the individual, Quan Zhen also pursues the principles of Wu Wei.

Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute

Medical institute in Bangkok, that is part of the Thai Red Cross Society. READ ON.

Queen Sirikit Botanical Garden

A garden in the forested mountains of the ampheu Mae Rim, in Chiang Mai Province, dedicated to the collection, cultivation, and display of a wide range of mostly subtropical and tropical plants, labeled with their botanical names. READ ON.

Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles

Name of a museum located within the compound of the Grand Palace in Bangkok and housed in Ho Ratsadakon Phiphat (fig.), the former office building of the Royal Department of Tax Revenue, which was built on the site of earlier army barracks. The museum was established in 2003, under the auspices of Queen Sirikit Kitthiyagon, with the intend to publicize Thai textiles. The state-of-the-art museum consits of modern galleries, an education studio, a library, a lecture hall, and Thailand’s first dedicated textile conservation laboratory. During the transformation of the former office building into the museum, a new lobby was added and fascinating traces of the building’s 19th century origins were discovered, including a pediment ornament bearing the emblem of King Chulalongkorn, and a cache of 33 cannonballs, relics of the site’s military past. See also POSTAGE STAMPS (1) and (2), and MAP.

Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre

Name of a large exhibition hall and convention center in Bangkok, that opened in 1991. READ ON.


Latin. A square platform with five towers, one in each corner and one in the middle, such as e.g. Angkor Wat (fig.), built to resemble mount Meru.