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Chinese Tradition and Culture [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2007-4-19 05:46:48 |Display all floors
The culture of China is home to one of the world's oldest and most complex civilizations.

China boasts a history rich in over 5,000 years of artistic, philosophical, political, and scientific advancement.

Though regional differences provide a sense of diversity, commonalities in language and religion connect a culture distinguished by such significant contributions such as Confucianism and Taoism. Confucianism was the official philosophy throughout most of Imperial China's history and strongly influence other countries in East Asia. Mastery of Confucian texts provided the primary criterion for entry into the imperial bureaucracy.
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Post time 2007-4-19 05:50:04 |Display all floors
Chinese art

Chinese art has varied throughout its ancient history, divided into periods by the ruling dynasties of China and changing technology, as well as influenced by great philosophers, teachers and religion. Early forms of art in China were made from pottery and jade in the Neolithic period, to which was added bronze in the Shang Dynasty. The Shang are most remembered for their bronze casting, noted for its clarity of detail. Early Chinese music and poetry was influenced by the Book of Songs, Confucius and the Chinese poet and statesman Qu Yuan. Early Chinese music was based on percussion instruments, which later gave away to string and reed instruments.

In early imperial China, porcelain was introduced and was refined to the point that in English the word China has become synonymous with high-quality porcelain. Around the 1st century AD, Buddhism arrived in China, though it did not become popular until the 4th century. At this point, Chinese Buddhist art began to flourish, a process which continued through the 8th century. Around this period, several well-known Chinese poets influenced Chinese poetry, which included Cao Cao and his sons and Tao Qian. It was during the period of Imperial China that calligraphy and painting became highly appreciated arts in court circles, with a great deal of work done on silk until well after the invention of paper.

Buddhist architecture and sculpture thrived in the Sui and Tang Dynasties. Particularly the Tang Dynasty was open to foreign influence. Buddhist sculpture returned to a classical form, inspired by Indian art of the Gupta period. Toward the end of the Tang Dynasty, all foreign religions were outlawed to support Taoism. Also during this period, Chinese poetry thrived and the Tang is considered the "Golden age" of Chinese poetry. In this period, the greatest Chinese poets, Li Po (李白) and Du Fu (杜甫) composed their poems. Late Tang poetry was marked by the influence of two poets, Li Shangyin (李商隱) and Li Yu (李漁), the latter of whom introduced the stanza form. Painting from the Tang dynasty period mainly consisted of landscape that was to grasp emotion or atmosphere to catch the "rhythm of nature." Also in the Tang dynasty, Chinese opera was introduced.

In the Song Dynasty, poetry was marked by a lyric poetry known as Ci (詞) which expressed feelings of desire, often in an adopted persona. Also in the Song dynasty, paintings of more subtle expression of landscapes appeared, with blurred outlines and mountain contours which conveyed distance through an impressionistic treatment of natural phenomena. It was during this period that in painting, emphasis was placed on spiritual rather than emotional elements, as in the previous period. Kunqu, the oldest extant form of Chinese opera developed during the Song Dynasty in Kunshan, near present-day Shanghai. In the Yuan dynasty, painting by the Chinese painter Zhao Mengfu (趙孟頫) greatly influenced later Chinese landscape painting, and the Yuan dynasty opera became a variant of Chinese opera which continues today as Cantonese opera.

Late Imperial China was marked by two specific dynasties: Ming and Qing. Of Ming Dynasty poetry, Gao Qi was acknowledged as the greatest poet of the era. Artwork in the Ming dynasty perfected color painting and color printing, with a wider color range and busier compositions than Song paintings. In the Qing dynasty, Beijing opera was introduced; it is considered the one of the best-known forms of Chinese opera. Qing poetry was marked by a poet named Yuan Mei whose poetry has been described as having "unusually clear and elegant language" and who stressed the importance of personal feeling and technical perfection. Under efforts of masters from the Shanghai School during the late Qing Dynasty, traditional Chinese art reached another climax and continued to the present in forms of the "Chinese painting" (guohua, 國畫). The Shanghai School challenged and broke the literati tradition of Chinese art, while also paying technical homage to the ancient masters and improving on existing traditional techniques.

Chinese art was heavily influenced by the New Culture Movement in the 20th century, which adopted Western techniques, introduced oil painting and employed socialist realism. The poetry was also influenced by the Cultural Revolution, but several poets attempted to resist the Cultural Revolution by incorporating pro-democratic themes. Contemporary Chinese artists continue to produce a wide range of experimental works, multimedia installations, and performance "happenings" which have become very popular in the international art market.

(a) Song Dynasty (960-1279) Jian tea bowl (Metropolitan Museum of Art)
(b) No. 4 of Ten Thousand Scenes. Painting by Ren Xiong, a pioneer of the Shanghai School of Chinese art; ca. 1850.

[ Last edited by changabula at 2007-4-19 03:46 PM ]
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Post time 2007-4-19 11:22:59 |Display all floors
should li yu a poet in qing dynasty

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Post time 2007-4-19 11:29:00 |Display all floors

should be “李商隐”and “杜牧”

i remeber that the late Tang poetry was marked by the influence of Li Shangyin and Du mu, who was called "junior li du" at that time. as to liyu, he is a poet in Qing dynasty, we have learnt one of his famous article named "ode of lotus" during high scool. Am i right?

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Post time 2007-4-19 12:31:04 |Display all floors
China is a country with a long histroy of 5000 years.I love the novels of  Ming &Qing dynasty such as the world-known 4 masterpieces.Chinese civilization is a miracle whose culture and art is so rich that so many foreigners are interested in them.Wish our civilization spread through all over the world.Everyone of us chinese should do whatever we can to accomplish the mission.

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Post time 2007-4-19 12:56:34 |Display all floors
5,000,000 years BC: Somewhere on the cooling igneous rock formed from millenia of geological turmoil that will one day settle and form the land we now know as China, sulphuric emissions from falling meteorites destroy stretches of lush forestry and wipe out all but the hardiest forms of life.  A cycle is begun that will be repeated many times throughout the entire history of this land.

4,999,999 BC - 3001 BC: A quiet time for Chinese civilisation.

3000 BC: Exactly 5007 years ago this Tuesday, primitive man all over the world began to pick up objects using small wooden sticks as tools.  Two advanced primates along the Yellow River basin decide that their way of picking up things with wooden sticks indicates their superior level of civilisation, and establish the foundations of Chinese civilisation after taking a ---- in a hole.

2500 BC: Chinese scientists rename the fatherland “the motherland” after determining the sex of China.

1600 BC: The great Yu, last of the Five Legendary Rulers, promises to eradicate bad habits such as spitting and queue jumping within the next five years.  “China is a developing country” he reminds critics.

770 BC - 476 BC: The Spring and Autumn Period occurs in China, and is only brought to an end by the invention of Summer and Winter by Chinese scientists.  

479 BC: Confucius: philosopher, educator, and the man responsible for consolidating the guidelines that would shape East Asia, dies after chocking on a chicken bone.  Though his earlier works were hailed as successes, commentators note that as he got older, the old man started to lose clarity.  Phrases like: “Confucius says: Kids today don’t know they’re born”, “Confucius says: Take your coat off or you won’t feel the benefit”, and “Confucius says: I remember when this was all fields”, fail to make it into final editions of The Analects.

221 BC: The armies of Qin Shihuangdi “peacefully liberate” the whole of China for the first time, and the government goes around relieving citizens of burdensome relics of the old feudal system, like life and happiness.  Qin Shihuangdi also builds the Great Wall of China: a feat of engineering so magnificent, that it can be seen anywhere in the world.

771 AD: At the height of China’s “Golden Age”, rebels An Lushan and Shi Siming lead an armed uprising against the ruling Tang Dynasty.  Disgruntled peasants complain that the government spends too much time and money having passionate affairs and stirring political intrigue in order to attract CCTV producers of costume dramas from the future.  The Curse of the Golden Flower fails to win a single Oscar nomination at the 2007 Academy Awards, and producers begin to leave the past as audience’s demand more modern dramas.  The An Lushan rebellion is quickly quelled and the Emperor blames everything on the time-travelling foreigners.

1167: The five year old Genghis Khan is left at home with his “Uncle Tommy” while his mother pops down the shops to buy some yak’s butter.  A disturbed Genghis promises not to tell his mother about the “special games” he’s been playing, and grows up to conquer Asia and slaughter millions.

1266: Marco Polo arrives in Beijing and brings with him the inventions of spaghetti, ice cream, and gunpowder.  Five years later, after investing in the Joint Venture “Sino-Polo Happy Food and Fireworks Factory”, a bankrupt Marco leaves China with all his ideas pirated and distributed freely around China.  The Mongol government responds to Venetian protests by saying it was all a ”misunderstanding”, and Marco “didn’t understand the Chinese way”.

1368: The Ming overthrows the Mongols and establishes a new dynasty that will last for nearly 200 years.  During his coronation, the Emperor promises to eradicate bad habits such as spitting and queue jumping within the next five years.  “China is a developing country” he reminds critics.

1405: Admiral Zheng He and his men arrive on the east coast of Africa: a feat accomplished 87 years before Columbus discovered America.  Zheng He and his men spend their time in Africa walking around in a tour group and refusing to eat the local food.  After being asked to leave for saying the locals were “too black”, Zheng He steals a giraffe, and cooks it upon arriving in China.  The giraffe disagrees with the stomach of the Chinese Emperor; Zheng He is imprisoned and the African natives are then asked to apologise for hurting the feelings of the Chinese people.

1793: Lord MaCartney, a well-known celebrity in Great Britain, sails to China and pleads with the Emperor Qianlong to accept British exports of microwaved vegetarian meals and recordings of The Mull of Kintyre.  MaCartney’s demands aren’t met, and he returns disheartened to the United Kingdom.  On the way he is robbed of most of his fortune by a one-legged gold-digging pirate.

1842: Faced against powerful slogans like “Keep China British” and “It’s time to euthanise the Sick Man of Asia”, feeble catchphrases like “Get high on Confucianism!” fails to win the War on Drugs for the Qing government.  Hong Kong is ceded to the British, and the Chinese vow to seek revenge by bricking the windows of the British Embassy 125 years later.

1911: Sun Yat-sen’s new Republic ends nearly 5000 years of imaginary imperial rule.  The new Chinese Congress promises to eradicate bad habits such as spitting and queue jumping within the next five years.  “China is a developing country” they remind critics.

1949: After years of civil war, Japanese invasion, and national humiliation, a giant poster of Mao gains control of China.  The giant poster wields power through an army of smaller, photocopied, versions of itself, and promises to rid all China of stamps featuring Queen Victoria and placards of Chiang Kai-Shek.  The giant poster of Mao is head of the Chinese Communist Party, which at the time was the biggest, and probably the best, Communist Party in the whole world.

1958: Mao begins the Great Leap Forward, which quickly leaps to the top of the BBC’s All-Time Best Misnamed Political Campaigns, pushing aside old favourites like Hitler’s “Great Hanukah Promotion Drive” and Gandhi’s “Let’s Kick Their ----ing Heads Open”.

1966: Mao follows his success with “The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution”.  A time which seemingly everybody chose to ignore completely and read a book about the Nanjing Massacre instead.

1969: The dreams of Man are realised as Neil Armstrong takes his first step on the moon.  China responds by stating it too will place a man selling lamb kebabs, t-shirts, and musical lighters, on the moon by 2040.

(May++) (3++)th 1988++: According to the official records of the CCP, on this day the sun was shining, so Deng Xiaoping decided to have a nice picnic with his friends out in the countryside.  On the way home, he saw a cute kid selling homemade lemonade by the roadside, so he bought six glasses for only one yuan each, and then gave the kid a shiny button to take home.

1997: The comet Hale-Bopp graced the heaven’s in one of the most beautiful sights ever to appear upon the celestial basin in recent years.  Angry that the arrival of the comet was diverting media attention from the upcoming handover of Hong Kong, Deng Xiaoping passed away in a pathetic face-saving attempt to bring global attention back to China.  The trick is a success, and none less that Dame Edna Everage himself arrives in Hong Kong to preside over the handover ceremony.

2000: Beijing authorities greet the arrival of the Olympic committee by painting the grass green and removing all the tramps off the streets.  Six weeks later, Beijing authorities greet the arrival of the Eurovision Song Contest committee by painting the grass brown again, bringing the tramps back in, and letting them run wild on crack cocaine.

2006: Sinocidal bursts onto the Internet like a shining beacon of truth in a forest of doubt.  Chinese nationalists are quick to logon and tell the authors that China promises to eradicate bad habits such as spitting and queue jumping within the next five years.  “China is a developing country” they remind us.

(from The Sinocidal History of China)

P.S. Don't you ever forget to mention to foreigners that China has 5000 years of history.

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Post time 2007-4-19 15:49:20 |Display all floors
Chinese architecture

Chinese architecture, examples of which can be found over 2,000 years ago, has long been a landmark of the culture. There are certain features common to Chinese architecture, regardless of specific region or use.

The most important is its emphasis on the horizontal. In contrast to Western architecture, which tends to grow in height and in depth, Chinese architecture stresses on the width of the buildings. The halls and palaces in the Forbidden City, for example, have rather low ceilings when compared to equivalent stately buildings in the West, but their external appearances suggest the all-embracing nature of imperial China. This of course does not apply to pagodas, which in any case are relatively rare.

Another important feature is its emphasis on symmetry, which connotes a sense of grandeur; this applies to everything from palaces to farmhouses. One notable exception is in the design of gardens, which tends to be as asymmetrical as possible. Like Chinese scroll paintings, the principle underlying the garden's composition is to create enduring flow, to let the patron wander and enjoy the garden without prescription, as in nature herself.

Feng shui designed architecture plays an important role in Chinese Culture. For example, Paifang is a Feng Shui designed gate of China town.

Mix of old and new at Jing'an Temple in downtown Shanghai.

[ Last edited by changabula at 2007-4-19 03:50 PM ]
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