walking), alteration, changing states of being, permutations or metamorphoses.
To back translate, then, the Chinese conception of “element” is quite different from the Western one, in that it does not imply a fixed substantial essence that remains unchanged and constitutes the discrete difference between one object and all others.
We may ask, are we speaking about five elements, five phases, five movements, five actions, or something altogether different?
The truth is that, depending on the use and context, any one of these might be an appropriate translation.
The novel's author portrayed him as an elderly widower and military arts tutor who counted Lin Chong and Lu Junyi, two of the fictional 108 outlaws on which the Water Margin is based, among his former pupils.
A later republican era folktale by noted Yangzhou storyteller Wang Shaotang not only adds Wu Song to this list, but represents Zhou as a knight-errant with supreme swordsmanship.
For the period before that date, his sources (now mostly lost) were unreliable and inconsistent, and he gave only lists of kings and accounts of isolated events.