Author: changabula

Chinese Tradition and Culture [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2007-4-19 16:15:54 |Display all floors
Chinese Porcelain

Qingbai wares

Qingbai wares were made at Jingdezhen and at many other southern kilns from the time of the Northern Song Dynasty until their almost complete eclipse, starting early in the fourteenth century, by underglaze-decorated blue and white wares. Qingbai in Chinese literally means "clear white". The qingbai glaze is a porcelain glaze, so-called because it was made using porcelain stone. The qingbai glaze is clear, but contains iron in small amounts. When applied over a white porcelain body the glaze produces a greenish-blue colour that gives the glaze its name (qingbai in Chinese means greenish-blue). Bowls, some with incised or moulded decoration and varying from the everyday to more finely made pieces represent the overwhelming bulk of surviving qingbai wares.

The Song dynasty qingbai bowl illustrated was possibly made at the Jingdezhen village of Hutian, which was also the site of the Imperial kilns established in the year 1004. The bowl has incised decoration, possibly representing clouds or the reflection of clouds in the water. The body is white, translucent and has the texture of very fine sugar, indicating that it was made using crushed and refined porcelain stone, rather than a mixture of porcelain stone and china clay. The glaze and the body of the bowl would have been fired together, in a saggar, possibly in a large wood-burning dragon-kiln or climbing-kiln typical of southern kilns of the period.

Though not the case with the bowl illustrated, many Song and Yuan qingbai bowls were fired upside down in special segmented saggars, a technique first developed at the Ding kilns in Hebei province. The rims of such wares were left unglazed but were often bound with bands of silver, copper or lead.

One remarkable example of qingbai porcelain is the so-called Fonthill Vase, described in a guide to Fonthill Abbey published in 1823 as "...an oriental china bottle, superbly mounted, said to be the earliest known specimen of porcelain introduced into Europe". The vase was made at Jingdezhen, probably around the year 1300 and was sent as a present to Pope Benedict XII from the court of the last Yuan emperor of China, in 1338. The mounts referred to in the 1823 description were of enamelled silver-gilt and were added to the vase in Europe in 1381. An eighteenth century watercolour of the vase complete with its mounts exists, but the mounts themselves were removed from the vase in the nineteenth century and lost. The vase is now in the National Museum of Ireland. It is often held that qingbai wares, which were not subject to restrictions and regulations applied to the production of some other porcelain wares, were made for everyday use and that, even though they are highly regarded today, they were not valued as significant at their time of production. The Fonthill Vase, given by a Chinese emperor to a pope, might appear to cast at least some doubt on this view. It is, however, also the case that qingbai wares were mainly mass-produced and that they received little attention from scholars and antiquarians.

Figure:
Song Dynasty qingbai bowl
Qingbai.JPG
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Post time 2007-4-19 16:17:44 |Display all floors
Chinese Porcelain

Blue and white wares


Following in the tradition of earlier qingbai porcelains, blue and white wares are glazed using a transparent porcelain glaze. The blue decoration is painted onto the body of the porcelain before glazing, using very finely ground cobalt oxide mixed with water. After the decoration has been applied the pieces are glazed and fired.

It is believed that underglaze blue and white porcelain was first made in the Tang Dynasty. Only three complete pieces of Tang blue and white porcelain are known to exist, but shards dating to the eighth or ninth century have been unearthed at Yangzhou in the Jiangsu province. It has been suggested that the shards originated from a kiln in the province of Henan. In 1957 excavations at the site of a pagoda in the province Zhejiang uncovered a Northern Song bowl decorated with underglaze blue and further fragments have since been discovered at the same site. In 1970 a small fragment of a blue and white bowl, again dated to the eleventh century, was also excavated in the province of Zhejiang. In 1975 shards decorated with underglaze blue were excavated at a kiln site in Jiangxi and, in the same year, an underglaze blue and white urn was excavated from a tomb dated to the year 1319, in the province of Jiangsu. It is of interest to note that a Yuan funerary urn decorated with underglaze blue and underglaze red and dated 1338 is still in the Chinese taste, even though by this time the large-scale production of blue and white porcelain in the Yuan, Mongol taste had started at Jingdezhen.

Starting early in the fourteenth century, blue and white porcelain rapidly became the main product of Jingdezhen, reaching the height of its technical excellence during the later years of the reign of the Kangxi emperor (du Boulay 1973) and continuing in present times to be an important product of the city.

The tea caddy illustrated shows many of the characteristics of blue and white porcelain produced during the Kangxi period. The translucent body showing through the clear glaze is of great whiteness and the cobalt decoration, applied in many layers, has a fine blue hue. The decoration, a sage in a landscape of lakes and mountains with blazed rocks is typical of the period. The potting is well executed and the porcelain body is finely textured, indicating the presence of a significant proportion of china clay in the paste. The piece would have been fired in a saggar (a lidded ceramic box intended to protect the piece from kiln debris, smoke and cinders during firing) in a reducing atmosphere in a wood-burning egg-shaped kiln, at a temperature approaching 1350 degrees Celsius.

Distinctive blue-and-white porcelain was exported to Japan where it is known as Tenkei blue-and-white ware and (or) ko sometsukei. This ware is thought to have been expecially ordered by Japanese tea masters and forms a part of the tea ceremony culture of Japan.

Figure:
Kangxi period (1662 to 1722) blue and white porcelain tea caddy
Bluepot.JPG
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Post time 2007-4-19 19:14:46 |Display all floors
We should love our culture more than the foreign goods,or one day we have lost everything!
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Post time 2007-4-19 20:37:56 |Display all floors
Chinese Cinema

Shanghai was the original center of Chinese filmmaking, giving birth to 1940s and 1950s Chinese movie stars such as Zhou Xuan, Ruan Lingyu and Hu Die. After the Communist takeover, the movie scene transferred from Shanghai to Hong Kong, where it has remained a center of Chinese filmmaking. In Hong Kong, the majority of films made centered around the common themes of martial arts (Wu-xia films), organized crime (in particular Triads), and other traditionally Chinese themes. While these films were always popular in the domestic Hong Kong market, they were also popular around the globe, and especially in the United States. This reached its zenith in the 1970s, when martial arts films were very popular in the United States. Now, in the 2000s, Asian-made films seem to be having a resurgence in popularity abroad. In the last two decades, Mainland China has also become a hotbed of filmmaking with such films as Farewell My Concubine, 2046, Hero, Suzhou River, The Road Home and House of Flying Daggers being critically acclaimed around the world. American filmmaker Quentin Tarantino plans to shoot his next film, a traditional Wu-Xia movie, in China and have its dialogue in Mandarin Chinese.

Another genre of films that become better known internationally is those depicting the exotic past of China with remarkable traditional and nostalgic symbols, notably under the directors Wong Kar-wai (Mandarin: Wang Jiawei) and Zhang Yimou.
2046_movie.jpg
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Post time 2007-4-19 20:41:49 |Display all floors
Chinese Cinema

The Beginnings: Shanghai as the centre, 1896-1945

Motion pictures were introduced to China in 1896. The first recorded screening of a motion picture in China occurred in Shanghai on August 11, 1896, as an "act" on a variety bill. The first Chinese film, a recording of the Beijing Opera, The Battle of Dingjunshan, was made in November 1905. For the next decade the production companies were mainly foreign-owned, and the domestic film industry did not start in earnest until 1916, centering around Shanghai, a thriving entrepot center and the largest city in the Far East then.


During the 1920s film technicians from the United States trained Chinese technicians in Shanghai, and American influence continued to be felt there for the next two decades. The first truly important Chinese films were produced starting from the 1930s, when the "progressive" or "left-wing" films were made, like Cheng Bugao's Spring Silkworms (1933), Sun Yu's The Big Road (1935), and Wu Yonggang's The Goddess (1934). During this time the Nationalists and the Communists struggled for power and control over the major studios, and their influence can be seen in the ensuing films produced. The post-1930 era is called the first "golden period" of Chinese cinema, where several talented directors, mainly leftists, worked. Three production companies dominated the market in the early to mid 1930s: the newly formed Lianhua, the older and larger Mingxing, and the Shaw Brothers' Tianyi.[1] The period also produced the first big Chinese movie stars, namely Hu Die, Ruan Lingyu, Zhou Xuan, Zhao Dan and Jin Yan. Other major films of the period include New Women (1934), Song of the Fishermen (1934), Crossroads (1937), and Street Angel (1937).

The Japanese invasion of China, in particular their occupation of Shanghai, ended this golden run in Chinese cinema. All production companies except Xinhua closed shop, and many of the filmmakers fled Shanghai, relocating to Hong Kong, Communist- and Nationalist-controlled regions, and elsewhere. The Shanghai film industry, though severely curtailed, did not stop however, thus leading to the so-called "Solitary Island" period (also known as the "Sole Island" or "Isolated Island"), with Shanghai's foreign concessions serving as an "island" of production in the "sea" of Japanese occupied territory. It was during this period that artists and directors (who remained in the city) had to walk a fine line between staying true to their leftist and nationalist beliefs and the Japanese censors. Director Bu Wancang's Mulan Joins the Army (1939), with its story of a young Chinese peasant fighting against a foreign invasion, was a particularly good example of Shanghai's continued film-production in the midst of war.[2] Following declared war with the Western allies in the aftermath of December 7th, 1941, this period largely ended; the solitary island finally being engulfed by the rest of the Japanese occupation. By the end of WWII one of the most controversial Japanese-authorized company, Manchukuo Film Association, would be separated and integrated into Chinese cinema.

Figure:
Actress Zhou Xuan in Yuan Muzhi's Street Angel (1937)
Street_Angle.jpg
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Post time 2007-4-19 22:15:13 |Display all floors

Enjoying this thread!

I've seen all the films you have mentioned (and have them on DVD)

Wong Kar Wai is a Hong Kong based director and has lived there from an early age.
I don't see as you claim that 2046 could be considered a mainland film.

As a matter of fact the location of In The Mood For Love was changed from Shanghai to Macau because the government wanted to approve the script (don't know if that's true but that's what I heard)

Zhang Yimou (Hero,The Road Home and House of Flying Daggers) is a terrific director. His big budget films have done alright but he seems to be pigeon-holing himself in the historical costume drama.
I thought that Curse of the Golden Flower was diasppointing and although Flying Daggers had a great cast and beautiful sets it too was just OK.
Hero on the other hand was a terrific movie.
I really enjoyed his low budget Not One Less featuring a cast of non-actors, a wonderful film, I highly recommend.
On a side note his outdoor spectacle in Yangshou Third Sister Liu is absolutely amazing and one of the best hours or so of any kind of entertainment, I have ever had the pleasure to experience

Chen Kaige (Farewell My Concubine) has stumbled recently relying on the historical costume drama genre to carry him. (see Emperor and the Assassin and The Promise, two less then satisfying films)
And his English language attempt Killing Me Softly disappoints as well.

Lou Ye's Suzhou River is reportedly banned in China and he was banned from filming for two years because of it.
I have his Purple Butterfly but haven't watched it yet.
His new fim Summer Palace is controversial for its full frontal nudity. (and he has reportedly been banned for 5 years from making films)
If true, this is a sad commentary on the present state of affairs and does not bode well for the development of the arts and artistic integrity.

I still think you should consider a thread on modern Chinese culture.

[ Last edited by wowzers at 2007-4-20 05:55 AM ]

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Post time 2007-4-20 05:24:21 |Display all floors
Originally posted by wowzers at 2007-4-19 22:15
I still think you should consider a thread on modern Chinese culture.


How about you starting one? It is obvious that you know quite a lot about it. I don't mind contributing.

The problem is that this is not one of my strong points. I am more into Science and Technology.
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