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China is wonderous and awe-inspiring. It has a history of five thousand years. It is the only continuous ancient civilization. It is mysterious, even inscrutible. Chinese culture is rich and profound. It has the richest historical records. Chinese have been most historically-minded. Perhaps, China has more historical records than the whole world put together. This guess will not be far from truth. She has a great deal of historical records from the pre-Christian era.
To Chinese, the Imperial Dragon (or Long), is considered to be the primary of four benevolent spiritual animals, the other three being the phoenix, the unicorn and the tortoise. It is believed that the Celestial Chinese Dragon is comparable as the symbol of the Chinese race itself. Chinese around the world, proudly proclaim themselves "descendents of the dragon". Dragons are referred to as the divine mythical creature that brings with it ultimate abundance, prosperity and good fortune.
The Chinese Dragon is energetic, decisive, optimistic, intelligent and ambitious, symbolizing power and excellence, valiancy and boldness, heroism and perseverance, nobility and divinity. Having such unrivaled characteristics, the dragon symbolized the Emperors of China themselves, who were actually called dragons.
Unlike the negative energies associated with Western Dragons, most Chinese Dragons are beautiful, friendly, and wise. They are the angels of the Orient. Instead of being hated, they are loved and worshipped.
Everything connected with Chinese Dragons is blessed. According to the Chinese calendar, the dragon is the animal for those who were born in the year 2000 and every 12 years before or afterwards. The year you are born is believed to influence your personality. Thus, for the dragons, they are softhearted, healthy, respected, energetic, and eccentric.
The Nine Entities (parts) of A Chinese Dragon
As imagined by the Chinese, the Chinese dragon has a serpentine body, four legs, and is usually without wings. It is said to be composed of various other animals on the Earth-the body of a snake, the antlers of a deer, the talons of an eagle, the soles of a tiger, the scales of a carp, and the eyes of a demon. It is believed that Chinese dragons have 117 scales.
There are two different views about the origin of dragons:
The origin of the Chinese dragon is not certain, but some scholars believe that it originated from totems of different tribes in
He Xin suggested that the early dragon depicted a species of crocodile. Specifically, Crocodylus porous is the largest living reptile. The crocodile is known to be able to accurately sense changes in air pressure, and be able to sense coming rain. This may have been the origin of the dragon's mythical attributes in controlling the weather, especially the rain. The association with the crocodile is also supported by the view in ancient times that large crocodiles are a variety of dragon. For instance, in the Story of Zhou Chu, which talks about the life of a Jin Dynasty warrior, he is said to have killed a "dragon" that infested the waters of his home village, which appears to have been a crocodile.
Others have proposed that its shape merged from totems of various tribes as the result of the merger of tribes. The coiled snake or dragon form played an important role in early Chinese culture. Legendary figures like Nüwa and Fuxi are depicted as having snake bodies. Some scholars have noted that a myth arose that the first legendary Emperor of China Huang Di (Yellow Emperor) used a snake for his coat of arms. According to the myth, every time he conquered another tribe, he incorporated his defeated enemy's emblem into his own, which may explain why the dragon appears to have features of various animals.
There is another belief that the Long is based on the Indian Naga.
The Nagas were dragon like beings, semi-divine snakes with human faces and serpents' tails who occupied palaces (Patala), in the watery region under the earth. They are divided into four classes: heavenly, divine, earthly, and hidden, depending upon their function in guarding the heavenly palace, giving rainfall, damming rivers, or guarding treasures. In
Types of Dragons
It is known that there are nine major types of Chinese dragons. They are as follows:
1. Tianlong, the Celestial Dragons are the celestial dragons who pull the chariots of the gods and guard their palaces.
2. Shenlong, the Spiritual Dragons, control the wind and the rain.
3. Fucanglong, the Dragons of Hidden Treasures, are underworld dragons which guard buried treasures, both natural and man-made. Volcanoes are said to be created when they burst out of the ground to report to heaven.
4. Dilong, the Underground Dragons, are earth dragons whose task it is to preside over rivers and streams. According to some accounts, they are the female counterpart of the Shenlong and they fly only in order to mate.
5. Yinglong, the Winged Dragons, are the oldest of all eastern dragons and the only kind with wings.
6. Qiulong, the Horned Dragons, are considered to be the mightiest dragons.
7. Panlong, the Coiling Dragons, are water dragons believed to mostly inhabit the lakes of the Orient.
8. Huanglong, the Yellow Dragons, once emerged from the River Luo and presented the legendary Emperor Fu Hsi with the elements of writing. They are known for their scholarly knowledge.
9. Lóng Wáng, the Dragon Kings, which actually consists of four separate dragons, each of which rules over one of the four seas, those of the east, south, west, and north.
The 4 Dragons: A Chinese Tale
Once upon a time, there were no rivers and lakes on earth, but only the
One day the four dragons flew from the sea into the sky. They soared and dived, playing at hide-and-seek in the clouds.
"Come over here quickly!" the Pearl Dragon cried out suddenly.
"What's up?" asked the other three, looking down in the direction where the Pearl Dragon pointed. On the earth they saw many people putting out fruits and cakes, and burning incense sticks. They were praying! A white-haired woman, kneeling on the ground with a thin boy on her back, murmured: "Please send rain quickly, God of Heaven, to give our children rice to eat.."
for there had been no rain for a long time. The crops withered, the grass turned yellow and fields cracked under the scorching sun.
"How poor the people are!" said the Yellow Dragon. "And they will die if it doesn't rain soon."
The Long Dragon nodded. Then he suggested, "Let's go and beg the Jade Emperor for rain."
So saying, he leapt into the clouds. The others followed closely and flew towards the
Being in charge of all the affairs in heaven, on earth and in the sea, the Jade Emperor was very powerful. He was not pleased to see the dragons rushing in. "Why do you come here instead of staying in the sea and behaving yourselves?"
The Long Dragon stepped forward and said, "The crops on earth are withering and dying, Your Majesty. I beg you to send rain down quickly!"
"All right. You go back first, I'll send some rain down tomorrow." The Jade Emperor pretended to agree while listening to the songs of the fairies.
"Thanks, Your Majesty!" The four dragons went happily back.
But ten days passed, and not a drop of rain came down.
The people suffered more, some eating bark, some grass roots, some forced to eat white clay when they ran out of bark and grass roots.
Seeing all this, the four dragons felt very sorry, for they knew the Jade Emperor only cared about pleasure, and never took the people to heart. They could only rely on themselves to relieve the people of their miseries. But how to do it?
Seeing the vast sea, the Long Dragon said that he had an idea.
"What is it? Out with it, quickly!" the other three demanded.
"Look, is there not plenty of water in the sea where we live? We should scoop it up and spray it towards the sky. The water will be like rain drops and come down to save the people and their crops."
"Good idea!" The others clapped their hands.
"But," said the Long Dragon after thinking a bit, "We will be blamed if the Jade Emperor learns of this.
"I will do anything to save the people," the Yellow Dragon said resolutely.
"Let's begin. We will never regret it." The Black Dragon and the Pearl Dragon were not to be outdone.
They flew to the sea, scooped up water in their mouths, and then flew back into the sky, where they sprayed the water out over the earth. The four dragons flew back and forth, making the sky dark all around. Before long, the seawater became rain pouring down from the sky.
"It's raining! It's raining!" "The crops will be saved!"
The people cried and leaped with joy. On the ground, the wheat stalks raised their heads and the sorghum stalks straightened up.
The god of the sea discovered these events and reported to the Jade Emperor.
"How dare the four dragons bring rain without my permission!" The Jade Emperor was enraged, and ordered the heavenly generals and their troops to arrest the four dragons. Being far outnumbered, the four dragons could not defend themselves, and they were soon arrested and brought back to the heavenly palace.
"Go and get four mountains to lay upon them so that they can never escape!" The Jade Emperor ordered the Mountain God.
The Mountain God used his magic power to make four mountains fly there, whistling in the wind from afar, and pressed them down upon the four dragons.
Imprisoned as they were, they never regretted their actions. Determined to do good for the people forever, they turned themselves into four rivers, which flowed past high mountains and deep valleys, crossing the land from the west to the east and finally emptying into the sea. And so
Symbols of Rain and Water
The Chinese dragon is as a symbol of auspicious power in Chinese folklore and art, it is the embodiment of the concept of yang [male] and associated with the weather and water as the bringer of rain.
Chinese dragons are believed to be the rulers of moving bodies of water, such as waterfalls, rivers, or seas. They can show themselves as water spouts (tornado or twister over water). There are four major dragons, one representing each sea,for instance the Dragon King of the
Because of this association, they are seen as "in charge" of water-related weather phenomenon. In pre-modern times, many Chinese villages (especially those living close to rivers) had temples dedicated to their local "dragon king." In times of drought or flooding, it was customary for the local gentry and government officials to lead the community in offering sacrifices and conducting other religious rites to appease the dragon, either to ask for rain or a cessation thereof.
Tianjin cuisine is derived from the native cooking styles of the Tianjin region in China,
and it is heavily influenced by Beijing cuisine. The city is famous for preparing a wide variety of snacks both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Goubuli Baozi (steamed stuffed bun) is one of the oldest snacks served in the city. The snack has grown so much in popularity that now it is found in almost all the eating out places in other parts of China. Shiba Jie Mahua (fried dough twist) is a sweet smelling and crispy snack that can also be stored for few months. Another traditional featured Tianjin snack is the fried cake. The snack has a distinct flavor with crispy outer surface and inside having soft thin bean feeling that is sweet in taste.
Another characteristic of Tianjin cuisine is its utilization of Tianjin preserved vegetables, which is similar to the salt pickled vegetable, or yancai of Guizhou cuisine, but the former takes much longer to prepare than the latter, usually half a year. Another clear distinction between the two is that instead of having two separate steps of salt pickling and then fermentation, the salt pickling and fermentation is combined in a single step that takes a much longer time: Chinese cabbage is mixed with salt and garlic together and then fermented, which creates the unique garlic flavor and golden color. In order to preserve the unique taste, Tianjin preserved vegetable is often used for soups, fishes, and stir fried and directly eaten.
Caoji Donkey Meat
Caoji donkey meat, acquired fame because the founder was named Cao, and has around more than a 200-year history. Caoji donkey meat, selects fresh high quality donkey meat, and is matched by the many kinds of spices, added to the pot on a slow fire to boil for seven to eight hours. Caoji donkey meat, which richly contains the protein and has a crisp taste, is easy to chew and has a tasty flavor. It is renowned near and far.
The "Goubuli" Steamed Stuffed Bun
The Steamed Stuffed Buns or Goubuli Baozi, an old all time favorite snack of Tianjin, is a steamed bun with a twist on top. With a history spanning over 150 years Goubuli Baozi is not only sold at the restaurants of Tianjin, but has even swarmed into countries like Korea, Japan and America.
The Palace Snack -"the Fruit Kernel Opens"
“The fruit kernel opens” takes the shelled peanut, the cashew kernel, the walnut kernel, the melon seeds and nuts, the almond, the loose seed kernel and the many kinds of legumes as its main ingredients. With various spices and other fragrances added, it has a robust appearance and flavor.
A Brief Introduction about the Development of Chinese Wine
Chinese wine, as a special form of culture, has a history of more than five thousand years and has developed a unique style. Wine has a close connection with Chinese culture both in ancient and modern times. According to the book “The Spring and Autumn in the Cup” by Lin Chao, wine drinking is something of learning rather than eating and drinking.
Wine permeates into every field of life: law, philosophy, ethics, morality and social customs. Wine became a part of political life due to the fact that most emperors and ministers in ancient China were fond of wine, playing an important role of moderation and destruction. The story, how Emperor Taizu of Song deprived a military commander of his command by serving him wine, is just one case.
The functions of wine were divided into three main categories by the Chinese people - to cure diseases, for longevity and for the practice of etiquette. For several thousand years, however, the functions also include drinking wine drinking wine to bring joy, to forget worries and to boost one's courage. Wine can be harmful to people’s health if they drink too much. To put it simply, wine is a sign of social civilization with rich connotations.
Chinese white liquor is the traditional distilled alcohol. Its brewing history can be traced back to the Yuan Dynasty. White liquor is made from various ingredients rich in starch like grains and potatoes through complex fermentation and distillation.Chinese white liquor often contains over 40% alcohol.
Yellow liquor derives its name from the yellow or brown color of the fluid, which is brewed from grain like sticky rice. Its process of braising, fermentation and compression is complex. The most distinct feature of yellow liquor is that its taste is influenced by the aging process. Generally, the longer the aging process, the better the flavor. Yellow liquor contains a high content of amino acids, sugar and vitamins, and it is nutritious. It is light with about 15% -18% alcohol.
Rice Wine, made from rice, is a fermented beverage. Generally, it is clear and somewhat sweet, with alcohol content ranging between 12% and 20%.Rice wine is usually drunk warm and also used in cooking. It is produced in both mainland
Among the liquor family, beer is the most popular of all, with the largest number of consumers. Beer has the lowest alcohol content of about 2.5% - 7.5% when compared with other alcoholic beverages. At present, the annual output of beer ranks second in the entire world. Qingdao Beer is the most famous brand in
New Year Wine of the Korean Nationality
This type of wine is the most famous for the Korean New Year Festival “Rosh Hashanah”. The main ingredient of the New Year Wine is rice, while the supplementary ingredients are several Chinese traditional medicinal materials such as root of balloon flower, parsnip, mountain pepper and cassia bark. It is known to have the effects of expelling the evil and prolong life span and used for self-drinking and entertaining guests during the Spring Festival.
New Grain Wine of the Hani Nationality
The New Grain Alcohol is a kind of home-made wine. Every year,prior to the autumn harvest, the Hani nationality, who lives in Yuanjiang in Yunnan Province, holds a sumptuous ceremony according to customs of drinking new grain wine to celebrate the joyous harvest of bumper grain and the safety of people and livestock.
Chinese Drinking Vessels
Bronze drinking vessels
During the Western Zhou dynasty, drinking vessels reached their historical peak, driven by the bronze boom. Various shape of drinking vessels appeared in the Western Zhou Dynasty, with various functions according to the occasion and the user. The design and the shape of the vessel usually symbolized the social status. Vessels with the design of tigers and dragons were often used by people with higher status.
After the fall of the Western Zhou Dynasty, lacquer quickly replaced bronze and became the main material to make drinking vessels. Both the use and appearance of the wine-storing vessels and the drinking vessels were different. The most well-known drinking vessels were those ear-shaped lacquer cups.
The quality of the clay is superior to lacquer, thus, clay was chosen to make drinking vessels later. The on-table vessel was necessary and possible due to the appearance of tables for dining. A kind of stoup-like vessel with beak and handle became the main wine container at that time. Other materials sometimes used to make wine containers include gold, silver, ivory and jade.
Private Schools Thriving in the Spring and Autumn Period
In the Spring and Autumn Period(770 B.C. – 476 B.C.), private schools prevailed. At that time, many scholars of different schools of thought spread their teaching in this way. Confucius, the great educator, devoted all his life to the private school system and instructed most students. Confucianism was established at that time. Besides that, other schools such as Taoism also taught widely and this led afterwards to 'a hundred schools of thought' in the Warring States Period.
Recommendation through Observation in the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. – 220 A.D.)
In 136 B.C. during the reign of Emperor Wudi (156 B.C. - 87 B.C.),the government introduced a system which was named 'taixue', under which students were required to study the classical Confucian books and take examinations. Those with good marks would directly be given official titles.
The Nine Grades of Rank in the Regime System in the Jin, Northern and Southern Dynasties
The Nine Grades of Rank in the Regime System (or Jiupin Zhongzheng system), employed the following method: in each state and county there was an official acting as 'Zhongzheng' with authority to decide how people were ranked in the local precincts according to ability. Although it had no relationship originally with family background, the 'Zhongzheng' was himself invariably a member of the upper class. Thus the disadvantages gradually became apparent and the system was abolished before long.
Imperial Examinations as the Main Form of Education
Keju (the system of the Imperial Examinations), which began to be put into practice in the Sui Dynasty and lasted for more than 1,300 years, became the method by which talented people were recognized and selected for future positions. The imperial examinations comprised two parts namely an arts exam and the wushu exam. The arts examination included composition, study of books, laws, calligraphy, paintings and so on, while the wushu examination was used for selecting military officials but was not subject to the same degree of importance as the arts examination. Under this system, children from poor families had opportunities to attend the examination and bring honor to their families. Despite the significant effect of promoting Confucian culture and education, it also influenced education systems in many other countries like
Radiation in the Tang Dynasty
The Tang Dynasty adopted the personnel selection system and gradually refined it. The main subjects of the examinations were writing and study of classical books, which were the most popular, as well as mathematics, law, calligraphy, etc. Most prime ministers during that feudal period were titled 'jinshi', and were good at writing. Candidates who passed the highest imperial examination held by the Board of Rites would have a promising future as court officials. The most successful scholar was then granted the title of 'zhuang yuan', the second 'bang yan', and the third 'tan hua'. When the results were declared, there would be much celebrating among these joyous people. During the reign of Empress Wu Zetian, she asked questions of candidates herself in the imperial hall. This was the initialization of the interview. She also created the form of Wushu examination in subjects such as the use of firearms.
Innovation in the Education System
In the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279) subjects raised by the government had been much fewer than that in the Tang Dynasty, but the examination for 'jin shi' was still fashionable. Meanwhile, regardless of form and content, the system underwent great innovation. Firstly, the extension of matriculation was broadened. Secondly, the frequency of exams was limited to a fixed 'once every three years'. Thirdly, so far as content was concerned, while the earlier examinations laid much stress on the ancient classical texts, the great reformer Wang Anshi (1021 - 1086) advocated an innovation which was much more practical. Finally, to prevent the practice of favoritism, examinees' names were closely covered on their papers, which were then exchanged among different local examiners. In the Song Dynasty, few governmental schools were erected, but it was the vogue for scholars to set up numerous private educational organizations - 'shu yuan' which were to cultivate talented people, to encourage a devotion to learning, as well as to spread culture. Scholars were invited to give lectures and students were provided with dormitories, desks and food while studying on their own. Subsequently, most of these institutes became places where students prepared for exams.
Full-Bloom in the Ming Dynasty
With the coming of the Ming Dynasty, the imperial examination system reached its period of full bloom. The provincial and metropolitan examiners tested only 'eight-legged' essays. They were required to write in a fixed style with a fixed word count - it had to be eight paragraphs, while imitating the tone of the classics. Eventually, it was realized that this method was harmful as it stifled both creativity and imagination. Once these bookworms had passed their exams, they could go further to take the simpler test set by the emperor. There were no failures during the Ming Dynasty, but each candidate's placing on the pass list was decided personally by the emperor.
Declination in the Qing Dynasty
As the tight hold on affairs held by the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911) became more and more unpopular, the education system also needed fresh ideas and input as it was a disservice to the country. A trend appeared towards the way in which the positions of court officials could be purchased and this sometimes even gave rise to unlawful pass to the degraded system.
People started to climb hills in honor of the Chonyang festival in ancient times and the practice continues strongly today. There are no rules on how high people should climb; just reaching some altitude is enough. For example, many people climb hills or high pagodas on this special day.
Eating Chongyang Cakes
Another custom that has been preserved since ancient times is the eating of Chongyang cakes, which are also known as flower cakes, chrysanthemum cakes, five-color cakes and some other names. Nowadays, all of the soft cakes eaten in honor of the Chongyang Festival are all called Chongyang cakes.
Appreciating Chrysanthemums and Drinking Chrysanthemum Wine
It is said that Tao Yuanming, a very famous poet in the Jin Dynasty loved looking at chrysanthemums and drinking chrysanthemum wine very much. Poets and high-level officers who were influenced by Tao Yuanming’s beautiful poetry accompanied Chongyang feasts by appreciating chrysanthemums and drinking chrysanthemum wine since they felt it brought them closer to the great man. This lead to the popularization of the tradition and so it as has been passed down the generations ever since.
According to the Chinese lunar calendar, the 15th of the eighth month is the date for the traditional Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. The reason for celebrating the festival during that time is that it is the time when the moon is at its fullest and brightest.
Gazing at the Moon
Gazing at the Moon is an ancient tradition from the Zhou Dynasty (around 500 BC) when people held ceremonies to welcome the full moon, with huge outdoor feasts of moon cakes, watermelons, apricots, apples, grapes and other fresh fruits. The popularity of this ancient tradition began to grow during the Tang and Song Dynasties when people of high rank held banquets in their big courtyards. They drank fine wine, watched the moon and listened to music. Common people who could not afford as big parties as the rich would lay some food such as moon cakes and fruits on a table in the courtyard and pray to the moon for a good harvest. This underwent a great rise during the Song Dynasty, and historical documents tell about mid-autumn night in the capital, where people would stream to the night markets and together with their families admire the beauty of the full moon. There are also many classic songs and well-known verses about this tradition.
Eating Moon Cakes
Eating moon cakes while gazing at the full moon is a central part of the mid-autumn festival throughout
Christmas Day in
Although it is not a public holiday in China, Christmas Day enjoys great popularity in China. Especially in urban areas, Christmas trees, lights, and other decorations permeate on the streets and in department stores. Children hang up muslin stockings in the hope of Christmas gifts delivered by Dun Che Lao Ren, the Chinese Santa Claus. Attendance at Christmas Eve Mass has also become popular in recent years.
In China, though the commercial aspect of the holiday is spreading, it is mainly Christians who celebrate Christmas, and only a small part of the Chinese population is Christian since Christianity is not an officially sanctioned religion in China.
1. Set up Christmas tree, usually an artificial tree, and decorate it with paper chains, paper flowers and paper lanterns.
2. Help children hang muslin stockings for Christmas gifts from Santa Claus.
3. Participate in local festivals (like Hong Kong’s Ta Chiu Festival), which may or may not be directly associated with Christmas.
4. Go to church. Midnight Mass is popular with the small Catholic population.
Valentine’s Day in
Chinese convey their extraordinary romance and tender love to their lovers in a unique way on Valentine’s Day, a traditional western festival. On that day, thousands of pairs of lovers send gifts (such as flowers and chocolate) to each other, symbolizing love, even their marriage.
Valentine’s Day is also a golden business opportunity for commercial businesses that are iattempting to create romance. Delicately packed boxes of chocolate in supermarkets and department stores, red, yellow and white roses in follower shops, lovers walking along the street with roses in hands, all these add more romance and sweetness.
Varied opinions towards Valentine's Day
A pair of college students in love said the festival gave them a chance to express love. However, it would not be as exciting for the older people as they do not know what Valentine’s Day is and the festival is for the young in their view.
Most people consider, it an occasion to express love. Valentine’s Day has become increasingly celebrated in
The Qingming Festival, a very old festival, usually comes on between Aperil 4 and 6 of according to the lunar calendar. Qingming is a good time to be outdoors as plants are returning to life after the severe winter.The Qingming Festival has many colorful and interesting customs, of which the most important one is“Saomu” (meaning "sweeping tombs"). Other customs includes taqing (a spring trip away from home), tree planting, and kite flying.
Saomu, which means commemorating the dead at their graves, is most commonly practiced among the Han nationality, as well as some other ethnic groups in
Taqing means “Spring Trip”. As nature comes to life at this time of year, taking trips away from home is a very pleasant and popular activity.
Since ancient times, people have planted trees during the Qingming Festival to mark the start of spring. In 1979, tMarch 12 was designated as Tree Planting Day in
People like flying kites in spring, whether in the daytime or at night. Sometimes, small lanterns are tied onto the kite string, or to the kite itself. The lanterns light up the night sky and look very romantic.
Traditional Chinese festivals are colorful and rich in content, which are of great importance in Chinese culture. Most of the traditional festivals in
There are also three key national holiday periods in
The traditional Dragon Boat Festival in China is on May 5, which has a history of more than 2,000 years. On that day, people hold dragon boat racing, eat Zongzi and hang calamus and Chinese mugwort to celebrate this festival.
Dragon Boat Racing
Dragon Boat Racing is a main activity in the Dragon Boat Festival. It is said that in the past, a famous minister named Qu Yuan suicided through jumping into the
Eating Zongzi during Dragon Boat Festival is an old tradition in
Hanging Calamus and Chinese Mugwort
Hanging calamus and Chinese mugwort is an important activity during the Dragon Boat Festival. Even in today, Chinese families follow this to celebrate this traditional festival.
Tea originated from China. It was in the southwest part of China that Chinese tea was first found. Southwestern China, with a large coverage of primeval forest, is located in the tropical and sub-tropical climate zone. The warm and moist climate is the perfect cradle for tea trees. Ancient wild tea trees with 2,700 years of history and ancient planted tea trees with 800 years of history can still be found there.
The following are probably the earliest records of Chinese tea.
Shen Nong Shi, God of Agriculture, was one of the prehistoric representatives of the Chinese people. It is said that he invented agriculture, medicine and that he found tea.
Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing (the God of Agriculture's Book of Herbs) recorded, “The God of Agriculture personally tasted hundreds of herbs. As a result, he was hit by 72 poisons in a single day. Fortunately, he found the tea trees and used the tea leaves to neutralize all poisons.”
In China, the Chinese drink tea at every meal for good health and simple pleasure. The beverage is considered one of the seven necessities of Chinese life, along with firewood, rice, oil, salt, sauce and vinegar. Chinese tea, as an important part of the Chinese traditional culture, has played an important role in boosting the development of economy. Moreover, it has gradually developed into splendid tea culture and become a bright pearl of the spiritual civilization of the society. The Chinese tea not only embodies the spiritual civilization, but also develops the ideological form. It is beneficial in enhancing people’s cultural accomplishment and art appreciation. There are not only books specially discussing tea, but also a large number of records about tea life, tea history, tea law and production technology of tea in historical books, local records, notes, textual studies and ancient books of calligraphy.
Historically, the origin of tea can be dated back to around 2,700 B.C. Tea was originally regarded as a detoxifying medicine. It grew to great social prominence during the Tang (620—907 A.D.) and Song (960—1279) Dynasties. Tea was appealing to people both at home and abroad due to its contribution to good health. Since the fifth century A.D., tea has been exported by land and sea throughout Asia, reaching Europe in 1610. It was Dutch traders that first brought tea to Europe, but it was the British who greatly developed it, transplanting it to India in the early 1800s.
Drinking Morning Tea in
Drinking tea has become a habit for Guangzhou residents, especially morning tea. When they meet in the morning, they meet in the morning, they usually greet each other by "Have you drunk tea?" indicating their love for tea. As a popular saying goes: “A cup of tea in the morning, no need for consulting a doctor.” Guangzhou residents like to drink tea in the teahouse, where they not only drink tea but also eat pastry as breakfast. In addition to morning tea, they drink afternoon tea and evening tea as well. Their habit of drinking tea in the teahouse not only means drinking but also means people want to spread news, enhance friendship and negotiate business. From these we can see that drinking tea is a mode of social exchange, which has become an important factor for the long history of prosperous teahouses in Guangzhou for centuries. Tea drinkers in Guangzhou can be classified into two categories: One is the regular tea drinkers who will go to a fixed teahouse each morning and have "One bowl" (spareribs rice) and "Two pieces" (pastry). These groups of people are usually elderly retired people. Another kind is Sunday tea drinkers who go to drink tea on holidays. They usually eat various kinds of pastry and taste tea in an easy and comfortable manner instead of taking only "One bowl and two pieces".
Teahouses are very common in
Most teahouses in Beijing are expensive, and the burgeoning coffee houses and bars become more attractive to young people. In Beijing, the teahouse has become a symbol of luxurious enjoyment and taste. Lao She Tea House is one of the famous teahouses in Beijing. Every day, at about 9 am, the Lao She Teahouse opens to customers. Lao She Tea House, founded in 1989, was named after Mr. Lao She, a famous artist in China. It occupies an area of more than 2,600 sq m and provides an antique-flavor and Beijing-styled environment. In the Lao She Tea House, you can watch wonderful performances by celebrities from folk arts and drama on any given day while enjoying famous tea, palace snacks as well as traditional Beijing flavors. It has been a window for exhibiting the national culture and a bridge that connects China with the world.
All tea snacks may be divided into four groups: substantial snacks, light snacks, sweet snacks, and fresh snacks.
The first group of snacks includes the dishes that are pies and pasties with substantial fillings: meat, duck, eggs, cabbage, fish, rice, mushrooms, potatoes, cottage cheese, etc. or with combinations of these fillings: meat and mushrooms, rice and eggs, and so on. Basically, barankas (short pastry of a wheel-form) can be ascribed to substantial snacks — if you spread them with butter, they become a very substantial food. Crepes with fillings are substantial snacks, of course, in the case when the fillings are meat, chicken (with mushrooms and horse-radish), vegetable mix, and other pleasant tastes.
Tea snacks refer to the food that is mixed with tea.
Tea mixed with other food for human consumption is an extension of the ancient tea law. According to investigation, such cakes have a history of more than three thousand years. Tea can be mixed with food to enhance the nutrition value of food and medicinal functions since some ingredients contained in tea will not be dissolved in water and beneficial to health. Tea snacks are not only suitable for middle-aged and elderly people, but are also suitable for the young. For cancer patients who have just experienced surgery and radiotherapy, it may reduce the side effects of radiotherapy.
A tea feast is delicious and healthy novelty for gourmets. The feast is to infuse tea into dishes by diversified cooking methods. Stir-fried prawns with Phoenix Mountain Tea is a typical delicacy. Permeated with the aromatic and highly prized Phoenix Mountain Tea, this dish pleases one's palate with the lingering fragrance of the tea and the crunchy texture of the shrimp.
The portion is not big, but the taste is excellent. The food presentation and table setup are elegant and full of cultural flavor.
Tea Feast Menu:
Combination of Jellyfish, Sliced Goose, Cuttlefish and Beef Shin
Deep Fried Prawns with Phoenix Mountain Tea
Braised Bird's Nest Soup with Green Tea "Bi Luo Chun" Dongting Lake
Sautéed Scallops with "Mao Jian" Green Tea, Xing Yang
Baked Scallops with Green Tea "Mao Feng", Yellow Mountain
Baked Cod Fish with "Long Jing" Tea, HangZhou
Fried Glutinous Rice and Diced Preserved Meat with Jasmine
Baked Pastry with Green Tea
Steamed Shrimp Dumpling with "Guan Yin" Tea
Seasonal Fresh Fruit Platter
Tea is a natural and healthy drink. People have enjoyed drinking it for thousands of years, and this tradition has developed and remained popular until now. Modern research indicates that tea contains many nutrients that help to build up good health.
Tea is refreshing and helps you work efficiently, and it is a thirst quencher and helps digestion of food. Tea is helpful for disinfecting and alleviating inflammation; also helpful for urinary output and to purge toxins. Tea makes nutrition sense and is good for health. Tea helps fitness and prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
The relationship between tea and health has been examined ever since the first infusions of Camellia sinensis about 4700 years ago in
The legendary emperor, Shennong, claimed in The Divine Farmer's Herb-Root Classic that Camellia sinensis infusions were useful for treating conditions including tumors, abscesses, bladder ailments, and lethargy. The possible beneficial health effects of tea consumption have been suggested and supported by some studies, but others have found no beneficial effects. The studies contrast other claims, including anti-nutritional effects such as preventing absorption of iron and protein, usually attributed to tannin. The vast majority of studies have been of green tea; however, some studies have been made of the other types of tea derived from Camellia sinensis, such as white, oolong black tea and green tea. Tea is helpful for prevention of atherosclerosis, LDL cholesterol, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, liver disease, weight loss, neurodegenerative diseases, and even halitosis.
Different kinds of tea wares serve different categories of tea. Green tea goes with white porcelain or celadon without a cover, while scented tea with celadon or blue and white porcelain with a cover. Black tea goes well with purple clay ware with white inside glaze, or with white porcelain or warm colored wares or coffee wares. Purple clay ware is the best choice for Oolong tea. In a word, the harmonious combination of function, material, and color of tea ware is quite essential to taste the essence of tea.
Tea wares mainly include ovens, teapots, cups, tea bowls and trays, etc...
You are probably most familiar with the Chinese words Kung Fu due to its reference to the martial arts. However, by association, these words actually have other meanings in Chinese. Kong Fu actually refers to hard work, labor, and dedication toward any task or any goal. The process of brewing Kong Fu tea well demonstrates this meaning. Here’s how to indulge in the beauty and warmth of Kong Fu tea in the comfort of your home.
Chinese literature developed differently in various times. Following are introductions to Chinese literature in the early Qin Dynasty, Qin and Han Dynasties, Tang Dynasty, Song Dynasty, Yuan Dynasty, Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty.
Early Qin Dynasty
The Early Qin Dynasty saw the birth of Chinese culture and the dawning of Chinese literary development. The literature that developed through this period was in fact very primitive, built on ancient fables and legends that had been passed on from generation to generation through word of mouth since ancient times, but its cultural spirit exerted a strong influence on Chinese literature for many generations to come.
The Analects of Confucius
The Analects, also known as the Analects of Confucius, are considered a record of the words and acts of the central Chinese thinker and philosopher Confucius and his disciples, as well as the discussions they held.
Written during the Spring and Autumn Period through the Warring States Period (ca. 479 B.C.- 221B.C.), the Analects is the representative work of Confucianism and continues to have a tremendous influence on Chinese and East Asian thought and values today.Chapters in the Analects are grouped by individual themes. However, the chapters are not arranged in any sort of way so as to carry a continuous stream of thought or idea. In fact, the sequence of the chapters could be said to be completely random, with the themes of adjacent chapters completely unrelated to each other.
Since Confucius' time, the Analects have heavily influenced the philosophy and moral values of
Shi Jing (Book of Songs)
Shi Jing, translated variously as the Classic of Poetry, the Book of Songs or the Book of Odes, is the earliest existing collection of Chinese poems. It comprises 305 poems, some possibly written as early as 1000 BC. It forms part of the Five Classics.The poems are written in four-character lines. The airs are in the style of folk songs, although the extent to which they are real folk songs or literary imitations is debated. The odes deal with matters of court and historical subjects, while the hymns blend history, myth and religious material.The three major literary figures or styles employed in the poems are fu, bi and xing. Fu means straightforward narrative. Bi means explicit comparisons. Xing means implied comparisons
Qin and Han Dynasties
Fu is a type of descriptive prose interspersed with verse and is a unique form of Chinese literature. It originated during the Han Dynasty, which was the first unified and prosperous dynasty in Chinese history. Fu is an artistic literature form that facilitated outstanding development in this period. In combining poetry with prose, this literary style is very forceful and expressive. The most influential representative of this literary style is Sima Xiangru, and his greatest works are Zeus fu and Shanglin fu.
Shi Ji (Records of the Grand Historian)
The Records of the Grand Historian, also known in English by the Chinese name Shiji, written from 109 BC to 91 BC, was the magnum opus of Sima Qian, in which he recounted Chinese history from the time of the Yellow Emperor until his own time. (The Yellow Emperor, traditionally dated ca. 2600 BC, is the first ruler whom Sima Qian considers sufficiently established as historical to appear in the Records.) As the first systematic Chinese historical text, the Records profoundly influenced Chinese historiography and prose. In its impact, the work is comparable to Herodotus and his Histories.
Joseph Needham wrote in 1954 that there were scholars doubting that Sima's Records of the Grand Historian had contained accurate information about such distant history, including the thirty kings of the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600–c. 1050 BC). While many scholars argued that Sima could not possibly have had access to written materials that detailed history a millennium before his age,
Yuefu Songs with Regular Five-Syllable Lines
This book contains 24 Yuefu songs, including "the Peacock Flew to the Southeast," and "the Ballad of Mulan". In China "poetic education" in the original meaning is learning The Book of Songs. This is the first comprehensive anthology of Chinese poems including including 305 poems of the Zhou Dynasty (1122-256 B.C.). It was originally called Shi (Poems) and Shi Sanbai (Three Hundred Poems). Each poem in The Book of Songs was set to music and could be sung. The compilers classified the 305 poems into folk songs, ceremonial songs, and sacrificial songs, according to their contents and the style of the music. Folk songs, which were popular among the people, made up the best part of The Book of Songs, while ceremonial songs and sacrificial songs were used mainly on sacrificial or ceremonial occasions to eulogize the merits and virtues of the Son of Heaven and of his forefathers.
He is most notable for the accessibility of his work. It is said that he rewrote any part of a poem which one of his servants was unable to understand. He tried to use simple language and direct themes. Two of his most famous works are the long narrative poems Song of Eternal Sorrow, which tells the story of Yang Guifei, and Song of the Pipa Player. Like Du Fu, he had a strong sense of social responsibility, and is well-known for his satirical poems, such as The Elderly Charcoal Seller. Bai Juyi's accessibility made him extremely popular in his lifetime in both
Du Fu was a prominent Chinese poet of the Tang Dynasty. Along with Li Bai (Li Po), he is frequently called the greatest of the Chinese poets. His own greatest ambition was to serve his country as a successful civil servant, but he proved unable to make the necessary accommodations. His life, like the whole country, was devastated by the An Lushan Rebellion of 755, and the last 15 years of his life were a time of almost constant unrest. He has been called Poet-Historian and the Poet-Sage by Chinese critics. His works include The Chariots Go Forth to War"The Fireflies" and “The Parrot”etc..
Li Bai or Li Po was a Chinese poet. He was part of the group of Chinese scholars called the "Eight Immortals of the Wine Cup" in a poem by fellow poet Du Fu. Li Bai is often regarded, along with Du Fu, as one of the two greatest poets in
One of Li Bai's most famous poems is Drinking Alone by Moonlight, which is a good example of some of the most famous aspects of his poetry -- a very spontaneous poem, full of natural imagery and anthropomorphism. Li Bai actually wrote several poems with the same title.
Lu You wrote over ten thousand poems, in both the shiand Ci forms, plus a number of prose works. In his poetry he continues to articulate the beliefs which cost him his official career, calling for reconquest of the north. Watson identifies these works as part of the legacy of Du Fu. Watson compares a second body of work, poems on country life and growing old, to those of Bai Juyi and Tao Qian. Lu You had written a lot of poems in his whole life, more than 10000, still having 9300 after erasing some of them himself. Lu You wrote many poems. Among his most famous are "To Son", “Rainstorm on Nov. 4”, “Mei Flower”, “Phoenix Pin”, etc.
Wang An-shih (1021-1086) was the most famous reformer in Chinese history, a poet, and a scholar. He developed a program of far-reaching reforms, which was vigorously attacked in his own day and has been controversial ever since.
The 11th century in
Wang Anshih was a noted poet. He wrote poems in the shi form, modeled on those of Du Fu. He was traditionally classed as one of the Eight Great Prose Masters of the Tang and Song.
Su Dongpo (Su Shi)
Su Dongpo was a writer, poet, artist, calligrapher, pharmacologist, and statesman of the Song Dynasty, and one of the major poets of the Song era.
Around 2,700 of Su Dongpo's poems have survived, along with 800 written letters. Su Dongpo excelled in the Shi, Ci and Fu forms of poetry, as well as prose, calligraphy and painting. Some of his notable poems include the First and Second Chibifu (The Red Cliffs, written during his first exile), Nian Nu Jiao: Chibi Huai Gu (Remembering Chibi, to the tune of Nian Nu Jiao) and Shui diao ge tou (Remembering Su Che on the Mid-Autumn Festival). Su Shi also wrote of his travel experiences in 'daytrip essays', which belonged in part to the popular Song era literary category of 'travel record literature' that employed the use of narrative, diary, and prose styles of writing. Although other works in Chinese travel literature contained a wealth of cultural, geographical, topographical, and technical information, the central purpose of the daytrip essay was to use a setting and event in order to convey a philosophical or moral argument, which often employed persuasive writing. For example, Su Shi's daytrip essay known as Record of Stone Bell Mountain.
During the Yuan Dynasty, drama and novels became the mainstream of artistic creation and Poetic Drama Set to Music emerged as the most popular literature form. Local Classical Opera in
Guan Hanqing, "the Old Man of the Studio", was a notable Chinese playwright and poet in the Yuan Dynasty.Guan was born in the capital city of the Yuan Dynasty, Dadu and produced about 65 plays, mostly in vernacular Chinese of the time. He has been considered as one of the Four Great Yuan Playwrights, the other three being Ma Zhiyuan, Bai Renfu, and Zheng Guangzu. Fourteen of his plays are extant, including:
The Injustice to Dou E a.k.a. Snow in Midsummer
Saving the Dusty-windy a.k.a. saving the Prostitute a.k.a. Rescued by a Coquette
The Conference of a Single Dao a.k.a. Meeting the Enemies Alone a.k.a. Lord Guan goes to the Feast
The Pavilion of Moon-Worship
The Butterfly Dream
The Jade Mirror-Stand
Ming and Qing Dynasties
During the Ming and Qing dynasties, the development of the novel in
The six most famous novels in this period were Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong, Outlaws of the Marsh by Shi Naian, Pilgrims to the West by Wu Chengen, Plum in the Golden Vase by Lanling Xiao, Scholars by Wu Jingzi, and A Dream of Red Mansions by Cao Xueqin. The first four of these listed books were honored as the "Four wonders of Books" in the Ming Dynasty and the "Four Classic Novels of China", and the lasy two were the most representative creations of the saga novel during the Qing Dynasty.
Journey to the West
Journey to the West is a household legend and myth throughout East Asia, especially
Dream of the Red Chamber
Dream of the Red Chamber, originally The Story of the Stone, is a masterpiece of Chinese literature and one of the Chinese Four Great Classical Novels. It was composed in the mid 18th century during the Qing Dynasty, attributed to Cao Xueqin. The work has brought about the field of Redology and is generally acknowledged as the highest peak of the classical Chinese novels. The novel is remarkable not only for its huge cast of characters (most of them female) and psychological scope, but also for its precise and detailed observation of the life and social structures typical of 18th-century Chinese aristocracy.
The Water Margin
Attributed to Shi Naian Luo Guanzhong, this novel depicts the joining of heroes to a bandit group in the Liangshan swamps. The earliest editions date from the early 16th century and there is evidence of the historicity of the main heroes during the Song period. Song Jiang, Wu Song and their followers were forced by bad officials, defamation and their own violent temper to go underground. Every one of them has his own story, and this shows that the novel is composed of many small parts and traditions, that are even themes for theatre plays. The bandit group promises to help Song emperor, Huizong, fight against the intruding Liao armies and therefore is given grace in spite of their crimes. Most popular editions do not describe the final battles against the Liao Empire in the north. The political content of the novel made it the object of occasional banishment during the Qing Dynasty for glorifying bandits, and of an example of a peasant uprising under a revolutionary leadership during the Maoist era. There exist a few sequels and continuations of this novel, that has been very popular for describing the brotherhood between honest men and thus also is given the title "All men are brothers".
The Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Myths from the Three Kingdoms era existed as oral traditions before any written compilations. In these popular stories, the characters typically took on exaggerated characteristics, often becoming immortals or supernatural beings with magical powers. With their focus on the history of Han Chinese, the stories grew in popularity during the reign of the foreign Mongol emperors of the Yuan Dynasty. During the succeeding Ming Dynasty, an interest in plays and novels resulted in further expansions and retelling of the stories.
The earliest attempt to combine these stories into a written work was Sanguozhi Pinghua, literally "Story of Sanguozhi", published sometime between 1321 and 1323. This version combined themes of legend, magic, and morality to appeal to the peasant class. Elements of reincarnation and karma were woven into this version of the story.
This novel reflects the Confucian values that were prominent at the time it was written. According to Confucian moral standards, loyalty to one's family, friends, and superiors are important measures for distinguishing good and bad people. In the novel, characters that were not loyal to the collapsing Han Dynasty are portrayed as bad people; on the contrary, modern mainstream ideology in Communist China would say that the deeply suffering masses were trying to overthrow the ruling feudal lords.
More than 2,000 years ago, the Tujia ethnic group began to live in Guizhou. They live in mixed communities with the Han and other ethnic groups. The Tujia people in Guizhou are mainly found in the Yinjiang Tujia-Miao Autonomous County, the Yanhe Tujia-Miao Autonomous County and the Yanhe Tujia Autonomous County. Tujia people have their own spoken language, but no written language, so they use the Han language. Most Tujia people build their houses in various styles by rivers and streams. They like to plant fruit trees and flowers around their houses. Tujia women wear collarless long, loose-fitting jackets that button up on the left side with decorative laces around the edges. Below this, they wear loose-fitting trousers and pointed embroidered shoes. They wrap their heads with white kerchiefs and wear silver ornaments. For men, the traditional dress is collared jackets with large front pieces buttoning up on the right. Nowadays, the young people like to wear short jackets buttoned in the front and white or patterned turbans. The Tujia people worship ancestors and believe in spirits. Their main festivals include the Spring Festival, Fourth Month Eighth Day, Dragon Boat Festival, Double Sixth and Double Ninth Festival.
Tujia people like singing. They have love songs, crying songs sung at weddings, hand waving songs, labor songs, and Pan Songs. Their traditional dances include the hand waving dance, Ba Bao bronze bell dance, and Mao Gu Si, in which people dance and sing. Tujia musical instruments are the so-na, mu ye, dong-dong-kui, and da-jia-huo. The women are master the art of weaving and embroidering. The other traditional handcrafts of the Tujia people are carving, drawing, paper-cutting, and wax printing. The Tujia brocade is called Xi Lan Ka Pu and is one of the three most famous in China.
The Tujia ethnic group possesses its own language, but most can speak Mandarin Chinese. At present, the Tujia language is used only in a few areas; it lacks written characters, so Chinese characters are used instead.
Tujia Marriage Customs
Tujia girls will cry to welcome their marriage day. The shortest number of days brides might cry is about 3 or 5 days. Tujia people judge a girl's intelligence and virtue by how well she can sing crying songs in the wedding.
Ten Sisters’ Accompanying is a unique form that a Tujia girl takes when she cries over her marriage. The day before the bride's marriage day, her parents will invite 9 unmarried girls in the neighborhood to their home, and they sit with the bride around the mat singing songs for the whole night, which is called Ten Sisters’ Accompanying singing. Ten girls sit around the table, and then the bride cries 10 times, which is called a Put. At each interval, the cook will put a dish on the table. When the bride finishes there are 10 dishes at the table. When all 10 dishes are at the table, the 9 unmarried girls will take turns to cry. After the 9th girl cries, the bride will cry 10 times, called Collects, and the cook collects 10 dishes in turns. That ends Ten Sisters’ Accompanying.
Naming the Babies: Nu names are simple. They name their sons and daughters separately according to the order of their births from the eldest to the eighth. The eldest son is named Penggou, the second eldest son is named Jinduli, the third son Kun, the fourth son Zeng, the fifth son Dian, the sixth son Ran, the seventh Lan, and the eighth Baliyi. The eldest daughter is named Nakele, the second eldest daughter is named Nitai, the third daughter Jianggele, the fourth Na, the fifth Nianguo, the sixth Ranluo, the seventh Da'en, and the eighth Ying. If they have a ninth child, they name him or her after an object they like, for example, crossbows or bows.
Funeral Customs: As far as the burial is concerned, Nu people have adopted several burial forms, such as sarcophagus (stone coffin) burial, bamboo coffin burial, wood coffin burial, cremation burial, rock cave burial and so forth. Some people bury the dead in the ground, with the graves being knoll-shaped or flat. After a Nu person dies, his family will blow bamboo trumpets to announce his death. When people hear the bamboo trumpet, they will stop whatever they are doing; take some meat and wine to visit the bereaved to express their condolences. The dead body will be put in a temporary shelter before burial. People hold memorial ceremonies three times a day, each time with different sacrifice, which are then put in a bamboo tube or bamboo basket and buried with the dead.
The Miao ethnic minority group is one of the few minority nationalities that have an extensive population existing in and out of Mainland
The Miao nationality pays great attention to etiquette, especially with respect to the treatment of guests. For instance, when a guest visits, the host kills a chicken or a duck to entertain and feed the guest. If the guest comes from afar or has a long journey, the host will first invite the guest to drink an alcohol called Horn spirit. When the chicken is eaten, the chicken head is presented to the senior member of the feast, while the senior himself presents the youngest with a chicken leg.
Another common tradition steeped in etiquette is a chicken/duck heart sharing custom unique to the Miao. The eldest person of the family uses chopsticks to pick up the chicken/duck heart and presents it to the guest. However, the guest cannot eat the whole chicken heart. He or she must share the chicken heart with the elder that has just presented him or her with the gift. If the guest has a low alcohol tolerance or does not like eating fatty meat, he or she can explain the reason to the host. While the host surely will not look down upon a guest that requests minimal refreshments, they do regard gluttony or over-indulgence as an insult to the host.
The Lusheng Festival is the most influential festival of the Miao minority. It lasts for five days from the 16th to 20th day in the first lunar month. It is popular throughout Guizhou, Yunnan, and Sichuan provinces. The Lusheng Festival in Kaili, the famous tourist hub in Guizhou province, is considered one of the grandest celebrations of the Miao.
Sisters' Meals festival
This lasts for three days from the 16th to 18th day in the third lunar month. The Sisters' Meals festival is for the celebration of love (similar to the western Valentine’s Day). It is celebrated by the Miao people in Guizhou province, especially in Taijiang and Jianhe Counties along the banks of the Qingshui River. It is the oldest Asian Valentine’s Day.
New Year of Miao Ethnic Group
According to Miao custom, the 10th lunar month is the beginning of a new year. Therefore the Miao New Year festival, the most important festival for Miao people, is usually celebrated around this time. However, the exact date varies each year and is only disclosed one or two months in advance. The celebration of the Miao New Year in Leishan, Guizhou Province is the grandest among Miao festivities. During the event, tourists can enjoy watching enchanting Miao customs come alive through various kinds of ethnic activities. These include the festival parade that features Miao girls and women in traditional Miao dress, the traditional music of the Lusheng (a kind of musical instrument made of bamboo), bullfights, horseracing, and of course, lots of singing and dancing.
The Jinuo (alternatively, Jino) ethnic minority, are also known as the Youle folk due to their homeland in the Youle Mountains. (The Youle Mountains are a sparsely-populated, densely-forested, mountainous region of Yunnan Province not far from Xishuangbanna Nature Reserve) The Jinuo live in a number of small enclaves in and around the village of Jinuo in Jinghong County (but with some scattered about in Mengla and Menghai Counties), about 40 km - as the crow flies - east-northeast of the city of Jinghong, capital of Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture.
The Jinuo are farmer-hunter-gatherers. They plant tea (their trademark tea is the Puer "brand"), rice, maize, bananas, papayas, and even cotton. Jinuo men, however, remain at heart hunters, being proficient with poisoned arrows, traps, crossbows, and - today - rifles and shotguns.
What Jinuo women wear includes: a white, pointed, cape-like hood, or cowl, that reaches the shoulders at the back; a short, collarless, embroidered tunic made of cotton that buttons in front, and typically has horizontal stripes in eye-catching bright colors on the front and an embroidered image of the moon on the back; a wrap-around black skirt hemmed with a broad red-lace border; and leggings, or heavy stockings, that go from the ankle up to just below the knee. Jinuo men wear a collarless, long-sleeve tunic similar in form to that worn by Jinuo women, except that the man's tunic is of white cotton with a band of narrow, horizontal stripes - usually in muted shades of brown and black - near the mid-section, and with similar but vertical stripes on either side of the front opening. There are also a couple of broad bands of narrow, horizontal stripes on the sleeves of the tunic, in the same color scheme as the stripes on the body of the tunic. The back of this tunic either is of the same motifs as in front, or embroidered with an image representing the sun. Jinuo men wear knee-length, broad-legged trousers made of flax or cotton, dyed black or blue.
The Jinuo are animists (animists believe that all things on earth have souls, or spirits, whereas non-animists distinguish between the animate, which can have a spirit, and the inanimate, which cannot) .The Jinuo are especially sun worshippers. The sun-drum is a sacred musical instrument in Jinuo culture. Each Jinuo village has two sun-drums, the Father Drum and the Mother Drum, which are the embodiment of the divine spirits and which therefore may not be handled except during sacred ceremonies, or festivals, where villagers pay homage to the divine spirits and entreat them to bless the Jinuo with a bountiful harvest, ward off disease, etc. The Sun-Drum Dance is performed during such ceremonies.
The Drungs mainly live in the Dulong River Valley in the Gongshan Dulong and Nu Autonomous County in the Nujiang Lisu Autonomous Canton of Yunnan Province. There are also a small number of them, numbering around 7,400, distributed in the areas along the Nujiang River in the north of Gongshan County.
The ethnic group uses the Drung language, which belongs to Tibetan-Burmese group of the Chinese-Tibetan language family. It is basically communicable with the Nu language of Gongshan. However, they have no characters of their own.
Marriage Persuasion: Marriage persuasion of the Drungs is civilized and interesting. When a young man takes a fancy to a girl, he will send a married man who good communication skills and prestige in the stocked village as the matchmaker. If the matchmaker accepts the task, he will take a teapot in hand and carry a varicolored bag on back with tea, cigarettes and an urn inside from the young man's home to the girl's home. When he arrives at the girl's home, no matter whether the girl's family are warm to greet him or not, the matchmaker will put down the teapot, fill it with water, make the fire in the fireplace burn fiercely, put up the tripod and then place the teapot on it in a smart way. Then he brings out the tea and the urn from the bag and fetches the bowls, each for one and without reference to age or sex, to make ready for making tea. At this moment, no matter whether the girl’s family consents to the marriage persuasion or not, and no matter whether they are delighted or not, they will draw up around the fireplace. When the water is brought to a boil, the matchmaker will start to make tea. After a while, he will pour the tea into the bowls and put the bowls in front of them in the order of father, mother, elder brother, elder sister, younger brother, younger sister and the last one, the girl before talking about the marriage. If the girl's father or mother finish the tea and the others follow him or her to drink up the tea, it means the marriage persuasion is a success. If the tea turns from hot to cold and from cold to hot until 11 or 12 o'clock and there is still no one drinking the tea, and if the second evening and the third one remain the same, this means the marriage persuasion is unsuccessful. If the young man wishes to, he has to send a matchmaker again one year later.
At the wedding ceremony, parents of both sides will introduce the circumstances of their own son or daughter, encourage them to show loving care for each other, run their home through hard work and thrift and get along in harmony, and admonish them not to get divorced even if one of them will get disabled or blind. After that, they will forward a bowl of rice wine to the bride and bridegroom. The couple will take the wine over and indicate in front of the guests to their parents that they will comply with the admonition of their parents to show respect for each other and take good care of each other for a lifetime and never to be separated. Finally, they will scoop up the wine bowl and drink up together the wine, which is called "wine of one heart".
The wedding banquet is quite simple. Most of the foods are fried noodles, buns, rice wine, and the like, which are made by the couple's families or brought by guests. The masters hand out the food, each share for one guest and add one piece of meat to show respect for them. On the wedding day, people of the whole village come to send congratulations. After the ceremony,
Clothing:Men wear a short garment, long trousers and wrapping turban, and women wear a wide front garment with buttons on the right, long trousers or plaited skirts, and jewelry such as silver bracelets, earrings and chaplets, etc. Buyi people like to live in places beside hills and close to water. Generally, one village is made up of one or several decades of families, and even a 100 or several 100 families.
Marriage customs: Many single young men and women get engaged by blowing wood leaves or singing songs, and then the family of the young man asks a matchmaker to the woman’s house to propose. Once they get engaged, the woman’s family should call for relatives and friends to have an engagement dinner. Two or three days ahead of the wedding, half a pig, a rooster, a duck and a pot of water are needed for the bridegroom to send to the bride's house. And the bride's family must entertain the guests with a banquet to celebrate it.
The Blang people mainly live in the Menghai and Jinghong counties in the Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture in southwestern China's Yunnan Province, with a small portion scattered around Shuangjiang, Yongde, Yunxian and Gengma counties in the Lincang prefecture, as well as the Lancang and Mojiang counties in the Simao prefecture. It has a total population of about 91,882.
They believe that men's production, lives, happiness and miseries are all governed by ghosts or gods and that all living things have souls. There are also those people who practice Shamanism and Totemism and have similar customs to those of Dais.
The rich oral literature includes legends, folk tales, stories, poetry, riddles and ballads. Most of these are about the origin of human beings. Among them, the most famous ones are "Yanbu Lingga", "the legend of the birth of humans from gourds. In addition, there are myths about the creation of the world, such as "The Myths of God Gumiya" and "The Story of How the Rhinoceros Created the World". Besides these, there are stories about "The Elephant and the Swan", telling how brave the Blang are, and how they fight against evil. All these are how the Blang tell their history, impart their knowledge and express their feelings.
The Blang also like singing and dancing. Young people like a courting dance called the "circle dance." Young women are in the inner side of the circle while young men are at the outer side. The girls dance gracefully while moving in an anticlockwise direction while the boys will dance like tigers in the circle. Yong men sing love songs to those they love. The Circle Dance is the most popular among young people. The Blang men like Wushu very much. They reveal their energy in the "knife dance." In this, dancing is mixed with Wushu , where they can use long swords, single sticks or short sticks. From these, their spirit of bravery is shown.
Handicrafts Textile goods: The Blang women are good at spinning and weaving. Raw materials like cotton, ramee and hemp are used to make into textile products of damask and brocade. This kind of cloth is thick, lasting, and therefore favored by the local residents.
Bamboo products: Most of the Blang men are able to make bamboo products by hand, such as bamboo baskets, buckets, dustpans, mats, tables, and workboxes.
Textile goods: The Blang women are good at spinning and weaving. Raw materials like cotton, ramee and hemp are used to make into textile products of damask and brocade. This kind of cloth is thick, lasting, and therefore favored by the local residents.
People of the Bai Ethnic Minority mainly live in Dali, Lijiang, Bijiang, Baoshan, Nanhua, Yuanjiang, Kunming, and Anning in Yunnan Province, Bijie in Guizhou Province, Liangshan in Sichuan Province, and Sanzhi in Hunan Province. The population of the Bai nationality is around 185,800.
Bai clothing is usually adorned with camellia flowers because they view these flowers as a symbol of beauty. The Bai enjoy their lives and love flowers. They like to wear a red scarf on their shoulders and a white outer upper garment, a combination that resembles blooming camellias. White is the favorite color of the Bai. They believe that white represents dignity and high social status, and this can be seen in their clothes. It is typical for men to wear white outer upper garments and white trousers. Girls and women have more choices of colors. They like to wear white, light blue or pink outer upper garments and rosy, purple or black waistcoats. An unmarried girl always combs her hair into one pigtail, tied with a red string at its end, and then coils it over her head. She also likes to wear an apron with embroideries. In general, girls enjoy dressing up like beautiful camellia flowers. The scarf on a girl's head is special and has a special name, "the flower in the wind and the moon on a snowy night." The overall shape of the scarf on a girl’s head is that of a crescent. The upper part of the scarf is as white as snow. The embroideries on the lower part are of flowers. The tail of the scarf falls down naturally on one shoulder, waving back and forth in the wind.
Sandao Tea Ceremony
The Sandao tea ceremony is well known at home and abroad. . In China, the tea ceremony is called Sandao tea, meaning “tea services of three times.” It is also called "thunderous tea" because it makes a loud sound when people add water to the baked tea in the pot for the first time. There are two types of tea ceremonies. The first serves baked tea. People put tea with large leaves or tea from a place called Xiaguan into a very small pot and bake it over a charcoal fire. They shake the pot at all times to avoid the leaves from burning. When they can smell the fragrance of the tea, they pour a little boiled water into the pot and immediately sense the aroma. After a while, they add more boiled water into the pot and then the tea is ready. Normally, the hosts pour the tea into guests' cups three times. The first time lets the guests smell the aroma, the second time lets them taste the tea, and the third time lets them satisfy their thirst.
According to statistics of the fifth nationwide census conducted in the year 2000, the population of the Achang nationality was 33,936, most of whom were living in Longchuan county and Lianghe county of Dehong Dai Autonomous Prefecture of Yunnan Province, and there are a few others living in the counties of Luxi, Yingjiang, Tengchong and Yunlong.
The Achang people have their own language but with no written words. The Achang language belongs to a kind of Burmese language, which belongs to the branch of Zang and Burmese, Han and Zang language system. In addition, there are three kinds of dialects in the Achang language, such as the Lianghe dialect, Longchuan dialect, and Luxi dialect.
The main musical instruments of the Achang people are Bamboo Lyre, Vertical Flute, Bottle Gourd Flute, March Flute, Bronze Jew's Harps, Three--Stringed Flute, Elephant Foot Drum, and gongs. A Bottle Gourd Flute is made of a gourd connected with three bamboo strings, which has seven tones, and which are usually in low volume and also slow and mellow. This instrument is usually used at night. A March Flute is made of one piece of bamboo, which also has seven tunes as well as a high volume, and an exquisite and bight melody. These kinds of musical instruments are usually used in the daytime. Both of the two types of musical instruments aforementioned are not only the Achang people's favorite, but also the mediums transmitting love between young men and women.
Men mostly wear blue, while, or black front opening jackets, and black trousers with a wide and short bottom. While the young men usually like to wear white headdresses, but they will change into black ones after getting married. The elderly people like to wear fur hats. Whenever the young men wear their headdresses, they like to make a forty centimeters long ear of grain at the back of their head. Whenever the men go out to the market or attend festival activities, they like to take with them a satchel as well as an Achang knife, which will make them look more handsome and natural. The women wear different clothes depending on how old they are and whether they are married. The unmarried young girls usually wear side opening and front opening jackets, black long trousers with a bellyband on their waists as well as black headdress on their heads. The young girls in Lianghe regions also like to wear straight skirts. The married women like to wear blue--black front opening jackets, and have their lower legs bound by leg wrappings, and they also like to make high headdresses with black cloth , which looks similar to peaked caps , with four to five colorful silk balls hanging from the top.
The Achang people usually have small monogamous families. The young men and women like free and independent love. Usually there are activities conducted by the young men such as going into the girls' families and talking with them to see if they fit each other. But the marriage is at last fixed by the parents from both families. In the past, there was no marriage between people sharing the same family names. However, they have intermarried with the Han and Dai people very frequently for a very long time. Levirate marriage is very popular among the Achang people. Widows can marry other men but they cannot take away any property from their original husbands. Moreover, the children still belong to their fathers' families.
At the wedding banquet of the Achang people, the bride's maternal uncle will be first invited to sit at the most important position of the table, and a cold dish of food made from the brains of pigs should be served. At the end of the banquet the bride's uncle will give her a piece of back leg of a pig with its tail, which is called Pork from the Bride's Family, indicating that the bride will never forget and always appreciate the fostering and deep affection from her parents.
Some of the people dying from cachectic diseases, or women dying from dystopias , should first have cremation and then burial. People who die outside their villages should not be taken back into the village. After the death the corpses should not be stepped across by human beings, cats, dogs or other animals. The deceased can be buried with their favorite things, but metals are not allowable, as a result the metal false tooth has to be taken out . During the funerals, the ceremony is usually held by a special wizard, chanting sutras all night long accompanied by funeral music, gong beating, and filial songs. After the funeral no gongs or funeral tools should be touched, otherwise it would be believed that there will be more death in the village. Generally speaking, burial is held after people's death. However, people dying from unnatural causes should be cremated.
Ceramic manufacturing enjoys a long history, starting 7,000-8,000 years ago in the Neolithic Age by our ancestors who started the craft of making and using pottery. Pottery is made by baking clay. After humans learned how to start a fire and use it to cook, they tried many different methods to cook hunted animals and vegetation, and then store the remaining food and water. After a long period of attempts, humans finally learned to make pottery by baking clay mixed with water. Pottery includes the process of baking, forming, and drying clay or a mixture of clay, feldspar and quartz. Ceramics represent the artistic features of the baking and forming techniques, as well as the color of the glaze and its decorative features.
Yixing Violet Sand Earthenware
Yixing violet sand earthenware is the most famous pottery made using violet sand, a local material with a hard and fine texture, dark colors and exquisite workmanship. Different mixing techniques and baking temperatures create a variety of colors, such as azure, chestnut, dark red, pear yellow, vermillion purple, crabapple red, light grey, greenish black, and more. Yixing violet sand earthenware boasts varied shapes and delicate combinations of lines and planes. Two major designs exist, including imitations with certain variations on natural objects, such as fruits or flowers. Major products include tea sets, flower pots and others, with tea sets being the most famous, as they maintain the scent of the tea while infusing and the color during storage. Traditional techniques include engraving, bass-relief, printing, appliqués, and others.
Tang tricolor pottery is pottery painted with three colors of glaze, such as yellow, green and white or yellow, green and blue.
Qingzhou Nixing Pottery
Nixing pottery of Qinzhou in
Through the unique quality of the clay and its delicate craftsmanship, Qinzhou Nixing pottery appears archaic, with a bronze or liver color. It displays a flambé glaze and turns azure after being fired in high temperatures. Moreover, it becomes smoother with polishing. The assortment of Nixing pottery items is over 600, with the major ones being tea sets, stationery, tableware, vases, coffee utensils, incense tripods and antique imitations. Nixing pottery is also popular because of its peculiar functions. It can withstand strong acids and bases, keeps things fresh against the dampness and is non- toxic. It also maintains the taste and color of tea for days, and even in hot weather, tea stored in the pottery does not spoil. This also applies to food. Moreover, a tea scent remains in the pot after it has been used for a long time, and the scent exists, even without tea, by pouring hot water into the pot.
The culture of silkworms began in
Silk moths lay eggs on specially prepared paper. The eggs hatch and the caterpillars (silkworms) are fed fresh mulberry leaves. After about 35 days and 4 moltings, the caterpillars are 10,000 times heavier than when hatched, and are ready to begin spinning a cocoon. A straw frame is placed over the tray of caterpillars, and each caterpillar begins spinning a cocoon by moving its head in a "figure 8" pattern. Two glands produce liquid silk and force it through openings in the head called spinnerets. Liquid silk is coated in sericin, a water-soluble protective gum, and solidifies on contact with the air. Within 2–3 days, the caterpillar spins about 1 mile of filament and is completely encased in a cocoon. The silk farmers then kill most caterpillars by heat, leaving some to metamorphose into moths to breed the next generation of caterpillars.
Silk fibers have a triangular cross section, which reflects light at many different angles, giving silk a natural shine. It has a smooth, soft texture that is not slippery, unlike many synthetic fibers. Silk is one of the strongest natural fibers but loses up to 20% of its strength when wet. It has a good moisture regain of 11%. Its elasticity is moderate to poor: if elongated even a small amount it remains stretched. Silk is a poor conductor of electricity and thus susceptible to static cling.
Silk's good absorbency makes it comfortable to wear in warm weather, and its low conductivity keeps warm air close to the skin during cold weather. It is often used for clothing such as shirts, blouses, formal dresses, high fashion clothes, negligees, pajamas, robes, skirt suits, sun dresses and underwear. Silk's elegant, soft luster makes it perfect for many furnishing applications. It is used for upholstery, wall coverings, window treatments (if blended with another fiber), rugs, bedding and wall hangings.
Among the more than 200 cities which have been capitals of China throughout its long history, the ones that have experienced many dynasties and have had more influences are the Seven Ancient Capitals in China, namely, Anyang, Xi'an, Kaifeng, Luoyang, Hangzhou, Nanjing and Beijing. In addition, Pingyao old town in Shanxi and Lijiang old town in Yunnan were registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997 for their unique folk cultural characters.
Xi’an Old City Wall
Xian City Wall was erected in the 14th century Ming Dynasty, under the regime of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang. When Zhu Yuanzhang captured Huizhou, long before the establishment of the Ming Dynasty, he was admonished by a hermit named Zhu Sheng, who told him to "build high walls, store abundant provisions and take your time in proclaiming yourself emperor." This advice Zhu Yuanzhang heeded. The current city wall is an enhancement of the old Tang Dynasty structure, as a result of the emperor's wall building campaign.
The first city wall of Xi'an was built of earth, rammed layer upon layer. The base layer was made of earth, quick lime, and glutinous rice extract, tamped together. It made the wall extremely strong and firm. Later, the wall was totally enclosed with bricks. A moat, wide and deep, ran around the city. Over the moat, there used to be a huge drawbridge, which once lifted would cut off the way in and out of the city. Xian's city wall, after its enlargement in the Ming Dynasty, stands 12 meters high. It is 12-14 meters across the top, 15-18 meters thick at bottom, and 13.7 kilometers in length. There is a rampart every 120 meters. The ramparts are towers that extend out from the main wall. The ramparts were built to allow soldiers to see enemies trying to climb the wall. The distance between the ramparts is within the range of arrows fired from either side. This allowed soldiers to protect the entire wall without exposing themselves to the enemy. There are altogether 98 ramparts; each has a sentry building on top of it.
Nanjing Old City Wall
The ancient city wall in Nanjing was constructed during the Ming Dynasty, taking 21 years to be completed. The design and construction of the wall were strictly controlled with every brick applied being inscribed with a name to guarantee its quality. A stupendous total of 35 million bricks were used in the construction.
The Great Wall
The Great Wall is the world's greatest man-made structure. It is a Chinese fortification built from the Spring and Autumn Period and Warring States Period. When the First Emperor of Qin unified China, the walls were connected. This majestic project of heavy expenditure is still a wonder of world. Time has witnessed vicissitudes but the great project still remains. When you climb up the Wall, you can not only admire the majestic appearance of the Great Wall among the lofty mountains and high ranges, but also feel the great intelligence of the Chinese people.
Ancient Capitals of China
The Ancient Capital Beijing
Beijing was first named Ji in literature. In the 11th century BC, Ji was a nation from the Dynasty of West Zhou governing the north of China. In the middle of the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC),Yan, another nation to the southwest of Ji, merged with it and the capital was moved there. After that, Ji was the capital of Yan until Yan was extinguished by the great Qin in 226 BC. Archaeologists have proved that Ji of that time is in the southwest of the city zone of current Beijing.
In the year 938, Ji became the second capital of Liao. Liao was set up by the Pidan minority from the northeast of China. Since Ji was in the south of its domain, Ji was renamed Nanjing, and then Yanjing. More than one century later, another minority, Nvzhen, extinguished Liao, set up Jin, and moved the capital to Yanjing in 1153. It was renamed Zhongdu. In 1214, Jin was forced by the Mongolian army to leave for Bianjing.
The new city, which was finished in 1258, is the unparalleled Yuan Capital in the itinerary by Italian traveler Marco Polo. Since then, Beijing replaced Chang'an, Luoyang, Bianliang and other old capitals and become the political center of China to the Ming and Qing Dynasty. Beijing, a famous city with a long history, is a masterpiece of the development of science, technology, culture and art of ancient China. Emperors of all dynasties conducted their rein in this precious royal place which epitomizes all Chinese civilization, and in succession they built those famous constructions such as the grand Ba Da Ling Great Wall; the Winter Palace, which epitomizes the merits all the gardens all over the country and is credited with the honor of "the garden of all gardens"; the Summer Palace, which was constructed by all the skillful craftsmen all over the country; and the world famous art showcase the Temple of Heaven. In a word, Beijing, the famous ancient capital of thousands of years of history and culture, is the zenith and apotheosis of the Chinese royal gardens and palace constructions It is also the world's cultural heritage of China which epitomizes the soul of Chinese civilization.
On Oct 10th, 1911, the demographic Bourgeois Revolution broke out in China. The emperor of the Qing Dynasty was forced to claim abdication in the February of the following year. After that, the last feudal dynasty was extinguished. The history of Beijing as the emperor’s capital finished. On Oct. lst, 1949, the People's Republic of China was established, and Beijing became the capital of the new Republic. A new page in the history of the ancient city unfolded.
The Ancient Capital Xian
Xian is an important center for the origin of ancient civilization in the drainage basin of the Yellow River. Xian, together with Athens, Rome and Cairo, are called the world’s four great ancient capitals. It was called Chang’an in ancient times. It has 3000 years of recorded history. From the Western Zhou Dynasty to the Tang Dynasty, Xi’an was the capital of 12 dynasties spanning 2000 years. The Han and the Tang dynasties are considered the zenith of Xian. Four great attractions are located in Xian, including the Great Islamic Mosque which was built during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), the Bell Tower which was built in the Ming Dynasty (1384), the Drum Tower which was established in 1380, and the Provincial Museum which has a rich collection of cultural relics. These relics include the famous Forest of Tablet Stones, which has over 2,300 stone tablets from the Han, Wei, Sui, Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties. These are truly treasures of calligraphic art of the world.
The Ancient Capital Nanjing
Nanjing witnessed the triangular balance of power of the Three Kingdoms (220-280), the ups and downs of six dynasties, and the insults inflicted on contemporary China, such as the Xinhai Revolution of 1911 and the War of Resistance against Japan (1937-1945). Nanjing has a long history. The six dynasties of the Wu, the Eastern Jin, the Song, the Qi, the Liang and the Chen, chose Nanjing as their capital. Later on, the Southern Tang Dynasty, the Ming Dynasty, the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom (1852-1864) and the Republic of China also made Nanjing their capital. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Nanjing became the capital of Jiangsu Province and the largest comprehensive industrial city of this province.
The Ancient Capital Luoyang
The ancient capital Luoyang also boasts rich humanistic cultures. The fables about Fuxi, Nuwa, the Yellow Emperor, Tangyao, Yushun, and Xiayu in ancient China mostly originated from here; the generation and development of traditional Chinese cultures, Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism, are closely linked with Luoyang; the Book of Changes and The Eight Diagrams were generated here; Laotze wrote the Taoism here; Confucius once asked the ceremony here; the Historical Book of the Han Dynasty and the Comprehensive Mirror for Aid in Government were complied here; Zhang Heng invented Armillary Sphere and Seismograph here; and the great poets Du Fu and Li Bai left their ever-lasting poems here. The rich and abundant historic culture of Luoyang has done its contribution to the Chinese nation and also leaves endless wealth and relic sites for following generations to visit and ponder on the past. Luoyang Longmen Grottoes is one of the three art treasures of the Chinese stone inscription; the first temple Baima Temple was the first temple built after the introduction of Buddhism into China and reputed as "Shiyuan" and "Zuting" of China's Buddhism; the Mangshan in the north has the largest ancient tomb cluster in China shaped since East Zhou Dynasty and more than 400,000 precious cultural relics have been excavated here and the first ancient tomb museum in the world has been built here. In addition, Luoyang is also famous for its three colored glazed pottery of the Tang Dynasty, Luoyang peony, Heluo Peculiar Stone (Yellow River Peculiar Stone), Luo embroidery and the Guanlin, one of the three famous Guandi Temples in China.
Sanxingdui Ruins (Three Stars Pile) is located in Nanxing Town of Guanghan City, Sichuan Province, China. A local peasant found some exquisite jade wares while digging the ditch in the spring of 1929. The ruins of this ancient Sichuan cultural remains site depict a culture 3000 to 5000 years old relics of the Bronze Age. The area covers about 12 square kilometers and is one of China’s most significant archaeological discoveries of the 20th century.
The Banpo Ruins, not far from the city of Xi'an, are divided into three areas: a residential area, a pottery manufacturing area and a cemetery, with the residential area being the body of the ruins. The Banpo Ruins relates to visitors the history of the ancient Chinese people with genuine artifacts from that period. In the Yellow River valley, the Banpo Village Ruins are a typical representation of the Neolithic Yangshao Agricultural Village. The ruins date back 5600—6700 years. It is the earliest known agricultural village in China. The term "Yangshao culture" is used because the first example was found near Yangshao Village. The oldest Yangshao-type village is Banpo. The Banpo Village Ruins were discovered in 1953 with a 50000 sq. meter built-up area. From 1954 to 1957, the Institute of Archaeology of the Chinese Science Academy organized five excavations, which obtained a great number of precious relics. The Banpo people, who lived during the Neolithic period, used wooden or stone tools in their time. The women were the dominant force in that society; they took responsibility in pottery manufacturing, weaving, raising poultry and the many household chores. The men were responsible for the job of hunting and fishing and bringing home the food to feed the family.
Famous Ancient Buildings
In order to consolidate the emperors' control, highlight the dignity of the imperial power, and satisfy their extravagant material lives, grand palaces were always built in large scale. For thousands of years, successive emperors spared no labor, material or money to build majestic palaces for them. Those solemn and magnificent palaces fully exhibit the wisdom and creative power of the Chinese people.
The Forbidden City
As the biggest and most integrated existing building complex in China, it was the imperial palace for the Ming and Qing Dynasties. In 1988, the Imperial Palace was listed as a World Cultural Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Altars and Temples
Altars and temples occupy an important place in ancient Chinese Architecture. They are ceremonial sites between religious and non-religious buildings and served to offer sacrifices to the heaven, the earth, the sun, the moon, the country, mountains, emperors and scholars of the past, as well as to ancestors.
The Temple of Heaven
Located several kilometers to the southeast of the Imperial Palace, the Temple of Heaven is a huge altar for the heaven covering an area of 2.7 million square meters, four times as large as the Forbidden City.
The Confucian Temple
The Confucian Temple, located in the center of Qufu City (Shandong Province) is famous for its oriental architectural features and large scale. The Confucian Temple is one of three great building complexes in ancient China, together with the Imperial Palace in Beijing and the Mountain Resort in Chengde, Heibei Province.
The Temple of Guanyu
The Temple of the God of Warriors is also called the Temple of Guanyu. It is a place to worship Guanyu, a famous warrior in the Three Kingdoms Period. Guanyu was greatly praised and was granted titles by many emperors after the Song Dynasty .He was regarded as a good example of man with faith, filial piety, justice and moral integrity. So he is called the God of Warriors.
Mausoleums are the most majestic and also the biggest building complexes in ancient China. These mausoleums are always built back on the mountains; some of them are also on the plains. There is usually a paved path leading to the tomb with stone persons and stone beasts on both sides. Many trees, usually pines and cypresses, are planted around the mausoleums, which add to the atmosphere of solemnity, respect and quiet. In ancient times, people in China believed that the sprit did not die with the body. They attached importance to the funeral so much so that every class of society designed elaborate mausoleums.
The Mausoleum of Qinshihuang
Tomb of the First Emperor (Qin Shihuang) stands at the foot of Mount Lishan, 30km east of Xian. This authoritative emperor left behind great achievements and a mysterious royal mausoleum as well. The huge tomb integrates with the Lishan Mountain, offering a unique landscape for sightseeing. The Tomb of Qin Shihuang boasts a Chinese history museum; therefore, it's well-known to the outside world. In 246 BC, after Qin Shihuang (which means "the first emperor of the state of Qin" in Chinese) ascended the throne of Qin (a state in that period), he ordered his final resting palace built. The construction lasted 38 years, using the labor of over 720000 wagons and prisoners. Modern surveys of the site show that the mausoleum is indeed divided into an inner sanctuary and outer city.
The Ming Dynasty Tombs
The Ming Dynasty Tombs are located in a small basin of 40 square kilometers at the foot of Mount Tianshou in Changping County, Beijing Municipality. The most famous tombs are the Chang Tombs for their majestic buildings, and the Ding Tomb, whose underground palace has been excavated. The Ming Tombs were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in August 2003.
The Thirteen Ming Tombs
The Thirteen Ming Tombs are located in a mountainous area which forms part of the Taihang Mountain Range. Each tomb could be an independent unit. They are all located in front of the mountains, adjacent to one another. Under the guideline of Chinese traditional theory of geomantic omen, the choice of location and layout of these Ming Tombs both emphasize the harmony and integration between mountains, rivers, and plants as well as that between nature and humans. The Ming Tombs reveal the deep and sophisticated conception of Chinese traditional culture, as represented in ancient Chinese royal tombs. In 2003, the Thirteen Ming Tombs were placed on the World Heritage List.
The Siheyuan Compound
The Siheyuan compound dates back to the Western Zhou (1027-771BC) Dynasty. Most attempts at describing a Siheyuan compound fall miserably short of conveying an intelligible image, via words, of how such a compound is actually laid out. It really is true that a picture (or diagram) is worth a thousand words in this case! The following is an attempt to give a brief verbal description of the Siheyuan compound, in the hope that the reader will finally "get it" the next time s/he runs across the term. It is built for good reason: with its walls on all four sides, it offered protection both from intruders, whether animal or man, and from the wind (and windborne dust, snow, etc.); it offered ample space for a hierarchy of different buildings with different functions, from the utilitarian to the social, the latter reflecting the social status of the individual; it offered space for smaller, more intimate gardens, including kitchen gardens where vegetables could be grown, as well as space for the larger, communal, center courtyard. In short, the Siheyuan compound met all the needs of a feudal lord, a bourgeois merchant, or an extended Chinese family in the way of a private residence, where privacy could be enjoyed when desired, and where communality could be pursued when broader social interaction was the order of the day.
Tulou means 'earth building'. It is named from its outer walls, which are made from rammed earth. They appear on the perimeters of Hakka and other ethnic groups or around locations where Hakka fast developed after the Ming and Qing dynasties. The Tulous in Fujian Province are divided into three types, Wufeng, Rectangular, and Round. Wufeng are located mainly in Yongding, and Rectangular and Round Tulous are distributed in Nanjing, Pinghe, Zhaoan West and Yongding East. In most of the villages, Round and Rectangular Tulous are mixed together. Among the three kinds of tulous, the Rectangular Tulous were the original ones.
'Three halls and two side rooms' are a feature of the Wufeng Tulous. The side rooms are the heightened wing-room of the Chinese courtyard. The center hall in the back yard becomes a multi-storey building. The earth walls in the four sides are enclosure. This was not only for defense reasons, but also as an expression of traditional Chinese architectural forms.
In reality, the Rectangular Tulous were built earlier than round ones. In the northern part of the Guzhu, Yongding, the Rectangular Tulous, named Wuyun Tulous were built five or six hundred years ago, while the round shape, Chengqi, had only been built for three or four hundred years.
The Round Tulou has distinct characteristics. It is high, gigantic, and complex. Generally speaking, Round Tulous can be divided into small, medium, and large types. Small Round Tulous are normally two or three storeys and consist of a single ring; medium Round Tulous are three or four storeys high and have wide diameters or two rings; large ones are four or five storeys with two rings or even three rings. A large number of Round Tulous are of medium size. The Tulou is occupied normally by a kinship group. As a result it is more like an apartment or a small village rather than a single building.
Dujiangyan Irrigation System
The Dujiangyan Irrigation System is a historical Chinese irrigation and flood control system constructed around 250 BC by the governor of Shu, Li Bing, and his son, and is located 56 km west of present day Chengdu, which it still supplies with water. This irrigation system diverts part of the Minjiang River into an aqueduct leading to Chengdu.
Pagodas in China were constructed after Buddhism was introduced to China. The pagodas, generally known as the vehicle of Buddhist culture, found its integration in the traditional Chinese architecture and the design was greatly changed. The nationalization of the Indian pagoda demonstrates the good virtues of the Chinese of both high intelligence and willingness to incorporate things of diverse culture. The most well-known Buddhist Pagoda is the Big Wild Goose Pagoda in Xian.
Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal. The Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, also known as the Grand Canal of China, is the largest ancient canal or artificial river in the world.
Storeyed Buildings (Lou)
When the Chinese speak of a Lou, they refer to any building of two or more storeys with a horizontal main ridge. The erection of such buildings began a long time ago in the Period of the Warring States (475-221BC), when Chonglou ("layered houses") were mentioned in historical records. The art of constructing tall buildings was already highly developed in China during ancient times. Many multiple-storied towers of complex structure had wholly wood frameworks fixed together with dougong brackets without the use of a single piece of metal. Yueyang Tower in Hunan and Huanghelou (Tower of the Yellow Crane) in Wuchang are masterpieces among ancient towers. Ancient buildings with more than one storey were meant for a variety of uses. The smaller two-storeyed buildings of private homes generally had the owner's study or bedroom upstairs. The more magnificent ones built in parks or at scenic spots were galleries from which to enjoy the distant scenery. In this case, it is sometimes translated as a "tower". A Tang Dynasty poet upon his visit to a famous riverside tower composed a poem, two lines of which are still frequently quoted "To look far into the distance, go up yet one more storey".
Storeyed Pavilions (Ge)
The name Ge is also used to describe the towers which shelter the colossal statues one finds in some great monasteries. The Chinese Ge is similar to the Lou in that both are buildings of two or more storeys. The difference between them is that the Ge has a door and windows only on the front side with the other three sides being solid walls. Moreover, a Ge is usually enclosed by wooden balustrades or decorated with boards all around. Such storeyed pavilions were used in ancient times for the storage of important articles and documents. Take Wenyuange as an example, in the Forbidden City of Beijing, which was in effect the imperial library. Kuiwenge in the Confucius Temple of Qufu, was devoted to the safekeeping of the books and works of painting and calligraphy bestowed by the courts of various dynasties. Some of the Ge, notably those erected in parks, like other pavilions or towers (ting, tai and lou), were used for enjoying the sights.
Zhaozhou Bridge, Hebei Province
This bridge has withstood 10 floods, 8 battles, and many earthquakes including a 7.2 degree earthquake in 1966 since it was built. Yet, the support structure remains intact and the bridge is still in use.
Lugou Bridge (Marco Polo Bridge), near Beijing
Lugou Bridge has a history of more than 800 years. It was constructed in the 29th year of the Dading Era in the Jin Dynasty (1189) and completed in the 3rd year of the Mingchang Era (1192). The bridge is 266.5 meters long. It has 11 arches and 501 stone lions (another report saying is that it has 502) on the balustrades.
In the Paleolithic Age, people lived by fishing and hunting, and were sheltered in trees and caves. In the Neolithic Age, men engaged in raising animals and farming, and settled down by digging caves and by building simple houses with twigs and lumber, thus commencing their architectural activities. During the 3,000 years of feudalist society, ancient Chinese architecture formulated gradually its unique system, coupled with a considerable progress in urban planning, garden design, and house construction technique. In 221 B.C., the First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty mobilized the resources of the country to do construction works on a massive scale, including A Fang Palace, the Emperor’s Mausoleum, the Great Wall and the Dujiangyan Water Conservation Project. From then on, many more massive construction works of lasting fame were carried out in the history of China.
Wood is the chief building material of ancient Chinese buildings. The components are mainly columns, beams, and purling that is connected by tenons and mortises. Thus, the wooden structure is quite flexible. The ancient Chinese wooden building possesses a unique design that can only be found in China, termed a dougong (i.e., a system of brackets inserted between the top of a column and a crossbeam), and it constitutes one of the most important features in ancient Chinese architecture.
Beautiful and Elegant Appearance
Ancient Chinese architecture is highly praised for its elegant profile and intricate structure. For example, the quintessential Chinese roof with its overhanging eaves characterized by upturned corners and colorful tiles whose shape varies from building to building contributes to an effect of architectural balance and proportion. These qualities, combined with the roof's unique and colorful tiled exterior, not only satisfy a functional need, they also contribute to the overall effect of the quintessential Chinese roof as a thing of charm and beauty.
Rich Color and Ornamentation
The architects of ancient China used different colors in accordance with particular needs or local customs. Some buildings employ multiple, bold colors to make a strong contrast, while others employ softer colors to make a statement of elegant simplicity. Besides the stress on colors, ancient Chinese buildings are characterized by an emphasis on the careful choice and form of interior furnishings as well as internal and external ornamentation, the latter to include gardens.
The origins of Chinese martial arts can be traced over 3,000 years ago to self-defense needs, hunting activities and military training in ancient China.
During the Shang and Zhou Dynasties, martial arts evolved into a kind of dancing. Usually the dancing movements in martial arts were utilized to train soldiers and increase morale. During the Zhou Dynasty, martial arts dancing was designated as a component of education. The application of wrestling techniques on the battlefield received much attention from various states during the Spring and Autumn Period. The emperor held twice yearly wrestling contests, in spring and autumn, to select the best exponents of martial arts. At the same time, skill and technology in sword forging was increasing and the sword ceremony developed rapidly.
During the Qin and Han Dynasties, wrestling, swordplay, and martial arts dancing were very popular. A well-known instance was Xiang Zhuang‘s Sword Dancing in the Hongmen Banquet of the same period. The style of his performance was very close to today‘s martial arts. Spear play reached its summit in the Han Dynasty when many techniques for spear usage were practiced. The Five-animal-style exercise was another innovation of Hua Tuo in the development of Chinese martial arts.
Kung Fu examinations were proposed and implemented during the Tang Dynasty. The best combatants would receive titles and awards through the examination thereby propelling the development of martial arts. By this time martial arts had evolved to be an artistic form and an independent genre and they were gradually introduced to many countries in Southeast Asia. Today Kung Fu is honored as the ancestor of kickboxing, karate, aikido, and judo.
The Song and Yuan Dynasties was one highpoint Kung Fu‘s development and the practice of Kung Fu by civil organizations became more and more popular. Some organizations or clubs centered on the use of spear play and cudgel, and they were called Yinglue Organizations; while others majored in the practice of arching and therefore called Arching Organizations. Performers were called Luqi .People made a living by performing martial arts all over the country. Usually the performances were carried out by one or two people only.
Chinese Kung Fu thrived during the Ming Dynasty. The Ming Dynasty saw many genres came into being and numerous books on martial arts were published. The Emperors of the Qing Dynasty banned the practice of martial arts, and the adherants had to set up clubs or societies to pass down the secrets of the art. Many schools sprang up, examples being taiji, xingyi shadowboxing and eight–diagram shadowboxing. The Qing Dynasty also saw the integration among genres. Wrestling techniques were introduced into martial arts, facilitating its improvement and maturing it. This period was a watershed shed between genres for appreciation and those for actual combat.
The present view of Chinese martial arts is strongly influenced by the events of the Republican Period (1912–1949). In the transition period between the fall of the Qing Dynasty as well as the turmoil of the Japanese invasion and the Chinese Civil War, Chinese martial arts became more accessible to the general public as many martial artists were encouraged to openly teach their art. At that time, some considered martial arts as a means to promote national pride and build a strong nation. As a result, many martial arts training manuals were published, a training academy was created and two National examinations were organized. As well as this, demonstration teams traveled overseas and numerous martial arts associations were formed throughout China and in various overseas Chinese communities. The Central Guoshu Academy established by the National Government in 1928 and the Jing Wu Athletic Association founded by Huo Yuanjia in 1910 are examples of organizations that promoted a systematic approach for training in Chinese martial arts. A series of provincial and national competitions was organized by the Republican government, starting in 1932, to promote Chinese martial arts. In 1936, at the 11th Olympic Games in Berlin, a group of Chinese martial artists demonstrated their art to an international audience for the first time. Eventually, those events lead to the popular view of martial arts as a sport.
Shaolin Kung Fu
Being an important part of Chinese traditional martial arts, Shaolin martial arts are considered to be the authentic Chinese kungfu. Originally, Shaolin Kungfu was developed from the Shaolin Temple, in the region of Songshan Mountain in Henan province. While cultivating in the thick forest of the high mountains, monks created a set of body-building exercises by learning the postures of flying, jumping and running from birds, beasts and fish. Gradually, these body-building exercises developed into a sort of boxing through long practice and improvement, which is generally called ‘Shaolin boxing‘.
Shaolin Kung Fu is comprised of shadowboxing, armed combat, free combat, hitting vital points, and grappling. Shaolin Kung Fu became popular in the Sui and Tang Dynasties, and soon grew stronger by absorbing techniques from many schools. It became the largest school of martial arts in China with branches all over the country.
Shaolin Temple,is located at the foot of Songshan Mountain and got its name from its location, It is China‘s most famous temple and of the Chan sect.
Shaolin Temple has a reputation for its Zen Buddhism and Shaolin Gong Fu, which is the main attraction of the scenery spot. Shaolin Temple was built for the Indian monk Patuo in A.D.495, on the 19th year of the Yaihe year under the reign of Xiaowen Emperor in the Northern Wei Dynasty .
Shaolin Temple was built against a backdrop of hills. In the period of its great prosperity, seven buildings lined the central line of the temple, but in the war among warlords in the period of Kuomingtang, some main buildings were burnt by Shisanyou, including the Hall of the Heavenly King, the Abbot‘s Room, the Hall for Preaching the Buddhist Doctrines, and the Bell Tower when many precious Buddhist sutras and pugilism charts were destroyed as well. In the late 20th century, Shaolin Temple was rebuilt to the old design. The stone tablets in Shaolin Temple are also well known, which are mainly in the Ciyun Hall, or the Tablet Passage. About 120 pieces of handwriting works are stored here, dating from the Northern Qi Dynasty. Many famous masters, such as Caijing, Mipei, Zhao Meng Fu and Dong Qichang, once left their handwriting here.
Tower Forest is where the monks were buried. The one in Shaolin Temple is the biggest in China, 232 all together. It is of great value in the study of Buddhist scriptures, buildings and Zen Buddhism. Besides, some other famous places include the Buddhist Convent, built in memory of Damo Buddhist meditating facing the wall; Damo Cave and the Sweet Dew Tower, where Batuo, the founder for the Shaolin Temple, translated the sutras.
In addition to the visit to the historic buildings, Shaolin can give performances of Shaolin Kung Fu, which will broaden your outlook and let you have a taste of the charm of Shaolin martial arts.
Shaolin, in popular culture, has taken on a second life. Since the 1970s, it has been featured in many films, TV shows, video games, cartoons, and other media. While much of this is a commercialized aspect of Shaolin, it is also widely credited as keeping the 1500 year old temple in the consciousness of the world, and from vanishing into obscurity like many other ancient traditions. The Abbot of Shaolin, Shi Yong Xin, has decided to embrace modern day pop culture and has used it to the advantage of the temple to keep the temple prominent on the world stage.
Some lineages of Karate have oral traditions that claim Shaolin origins. Martial arts traditions in Japan and Korea, and Southeast Asia cite Chinese influence as transmitted by Buddhist monks. Recent developments in the 20th century such as Shorinji Kempo practiced in Japan‘s Sohonzan Shorinji still maintains close ties with China‘s Song Shan Shaolin Temple due to historic links. Japanese Shorinji Kempo Group‘s financial contributions to the maintenance of the historic edifice of the Songshan Shaolin Temple in 2003 received China‘s recognition.
Wudang Martial Arts
The name Wudang refers to the Wudang Mountains of Hubei Province. Chinese legends say that Zhang Sanfeng created Tai Chi Chuan there. The word "quan" translates to English as "boxing" or "fist." In 1669, Huang Zongxi was the first to describe Chinese martial arts in terms of a Wudang or "internal" school versus a Shaolin or "external" school. However, this classification did not become prevalent until 1928 when Generals Li Jing Lin, Zhang Zi Jiang, and Fung Zu Ziang organized a national martial arts tournament in China; they did so to screen the best martial artists in order to begin building the Central Martial Arts Academy.
At that time, Sung Wei was the apparent grandmaster of the Wudang Sword. He taught Wudang Sword to General Li (who was nicknamed "God Sword Li") and to Fu Chen Sung. General Li also taught Wudang Sword to Fu Chen Sung, and would later employ Fu to train the Chinese army.
The two major lineages of Wudang Chuan were passed down from General Li Jing Lin. These lineages went to Fu Chen Sung and Li Tian-Ji.Fu Chen Sung worked the rest of his life to develop Fu Style Wudang Fist. The basis of the system was to train the mind and body for optimal performance, gradually working the martial aspects into the training. The system included exercises, empty hand and weapons sets in Tai Chi, BaGua, Hsing-Yi-- and Fu Chen Sung‘s signature form, Liang-Yi Chuan. In his lifetime, Fu had many notable students, including General Sun Pao Gung and Lin Chao Zhen. In 2008, there still remain two living students: Liang Qian-Ya in San Francisco and an unknown man in Hong Kong. Fu‘s oldest son, Fu Wing Fay (Fu Yong Hui), became Fu‘s prodigal son. Wing Fay grew up among many of the greatest martial artists in the Golden Era of Martial Arts in China. Wing Fay learned well from his father and the other great masters. Wing Fay practiced hard, and began developing Fu Style Wudang Fist even more. Wing Fay had two top students: his son, Fu Sheng Long and Bow Sim Mark.
The Wudang Mountains are a small mountain range in the Hubei Province of China, just to the south of the manufacturing city of Shiyan.
In years past, the mountains of Wudang were known for the many Taoist monasteries to be found there, monasteries which became known as an academic centre for the research, teaching and practice of meditation, Chinese martial arts, traditional Chinese medicine, Taoist agriculture practices and related arts. As early as the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220A.D.), the mountains attracted the Emperor‘s attention. During the Tang Dynasty (618-907A.D.), the first site of worship - the Five Dragon Temple - was constructed. The monasteries were emptied, damaged and then neglected during and after the Cultural Revolution of 1966–1976, but the Wudang Mountains have lately become increasingly popular with tourists from elsewhere in China and abroad due to their scenic location and historical interest. The monasteries and buildings were made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. The palaces and temples in Wudang, which was built as an organized complex during the Ming Dynasty (14th–17th centuries), contain Taoist buildings from as early as the 7th century. It represents the highest standards of Chinese art and architecture over a period of nearly 1,000 years. Noted temples include the Golden Hall, the Nanyan Temple and the Purple Cloud Temple.
Tai Chi (Taiji Quan in Chinese Pinyin) is a unique and powerful art, for both internal power and longevity. Tai Chi is a martial art which embodies Taoist philosophy. When Tai Chi was developed, the martial arts were very aggressive. One‘s proficiency was measured by the strength and aggression of attack, in terms of the Taoist principle of Yin and Yang this was a purely "Yang" conception of martial arts. What was revolutionary about Tai Chi was the incorporation of the Yin element to fighting. In Tai Chi one uses a balance of Yin techniques with Yang techniques, a balance between yielding and attacking. It is for this reason that Tai Chi is described as "a needle hidden in cotton" or "hardness concealed in softness".
Presently Tai Chi is rapidly growing in popularity for the tremendous health benefits which come through practice. Clinical studies have shown that Tai Chi practice can lower blood pressure, reduce nervous tension, and benefit the immune, digestive, cardiovascular and respiratory systems. At this time, over one hundred million people practice Tai Chi on a regular basis.
The heart of the Tai Chi system is the practice of the single Tai Chi form. The form practice of Tai Chi is the foundation of the training. Though Tai Chi is done slowly, the movements are very difficult and strenuous. Regular practice of Tai Chi greatly improves the functioning of the bodily systems.
The Wudang monasteries figure prominently in Chinese martial arts films, especially the genre known as Wuxia film and popular literature. For example, an ending scene of the famous movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, by Taiwanese director Ang Lee, was set at the Wudang monastery, although not actually filmed there. In some Wuxia films about the Shaolin Temple, characters employing Wudang martial arts are featured as Shaolin‘s competitors. It is in reference to this type of film that the American hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan named themselves. In many martial arts movies, however, actors portraying Wudang practitioners are also found in heroic or neutral supporting roles.
Li Xiaolong (Bruce Lee)
Li Xiaolong (Bruce Jun Fan Lee) was an American-born, Hong Kong Chinese martial artist, philosopher, instructor, martial arts actor and the founder of the Jeet Kune Do combat form. He is widely regarded as the most influential martial artist of the twentieth century and a cultural icon. He was also the father of actor Brandon Lee and of actress Shannon Lee.
In 1969, Lee made a brief appearance in his first American film Marlowe where he played a henchman hired to intimidate private detective Philip Marlowe (played by James Garner) by smashing up his office with leaping kicks and flashing punches, only to later accidentally jump off a tall building while trying to kick Marlowe off. In 1971, Lee appeared in four episodes of the television series Longstreet as the martial arts instructor of the title character Mike Longstreet (played by James Franciscus). According to statements made primarily after Bruce‘s death by his widow, Linda Lee Caldwell, Bruce would later pitch a television series of his own tentatively titled The Warrior. According to Caldwell, in which Lee‘s concept was retooled and renamed Kung Fu, but Warner Bros. gave Lee no credit. Instead the role of the Shaolin monk in the Wild West, known to have been conceived by Bruce, was awarded to then non-martial artist David Carradine because of the studio‘s fears that a Chinese leading man would not be embraced by the public. Books and documentaries about the show "Kung Fu" dispute Caldwell‘s version. According to these sources, the show was created by two writers and producers, Ed Spielman and Howard Friedlander, and the reason Lee was not cast was in part because of his ethnicity, but more so because he spoke English with a thick Chinese accent.
Not happy with his supporting roles in the U.S., Lee returned to Hong Kong and was offered a film contract by legendary director Raymond Chow to star in films produced by his production company Golden Harvest. Lee played his first leading role in The Big Boss (1971) which proved an enormous box office success across Asia and catapulted him to stardom. He soon followed up his success with two huger box office successes: Fist of Fury (1972) and Way of the Dragon (1972). For Way of the Dragon, he took complete control of the film‘s production as the writer, director, star, and choreographer of the fight scenes. In 1964, at a demonstration in Long Beach, California, Lee had met karate champion Chuck Norris. In Way of the Dragon Lee introduced Norris to moviegoers as his opponent in the final death fight at the Coliseum in Rome, today considered one of Lee‘s most legendary fight scenes.
In 1973, Lee played the lead role in Enter the Dragon, the first film to be produced jointly by Golden Harvest and Warner Bros. This film would skyrocket Lee to fame in the U.S. and Europe. However, only a few months after the film‘s completion and three weeks before its release, the supremely fit Lee mysteriously died. Enter the Dragon would go on to become one of the year‘s highest grossing films and cement Lee as a martial arts legend. It was made for US/$850,000 in 1973 (equivalent to /$4 million adjusted for inflation as of 2007). To date, Enter the Dragon has grossed over /$200 million worldwide. The movie sparked a brief fad in the martial arts, epitomized in such songs as "Kung Fu Fighting" and such TV shows as Kung Fu.
Robert Clouse, the director of Enter the Dragon, and Raymond Chow attempted to finish Lee‘s incomplete film Game of Death which Lee was also set to write and direct. Lee had shot over 100 minutes of footage, including outtakes, for Game of Death before shooting was stopped to allow him to work on Enter the Dragon. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a student of Lee, also appeared in the film, which culminates in Lee‘s character, Hai Tien (clad in the now-famous yellow track suit) taking on the 7‘2" basketball player in a climactic fight scene. In a controversial move, Robert Clouse finished the film using a look-alike and archive footage of Lee from his other films with a new storyline and cast, which was released in 1979. However, the cobbled-together film contained only fifteen minutes of actual footage of Lee (he had printed many unsuccessful takes) while the rest had a Lee look-alike, Tai Chung Kim, and Yuen Biao as stunt double. The unused footage Lee had filmed was recovered 22 years later and was included in the documentary Bruce Lee: A Warrior‘s Journey.
Yunnan cuisine, also named Dian cuisine, consists of local dishes from Kunming, Northeast Yunnan, Western Yunnan and Southern Yunnan. The characteristics of Yunnan cuisine lie in a moderate balance of sour and hot tastes mellow in deep oil, fresh and tender with sweetness, striving for their original tastes. Most of the ingredients are green, fresh and natural, including vegetables, fruit, bamboo and flowers. The dishes are not too spicy but have excellent flavor.
Guoqiao Rice Noodles are a dish that has long been famous in Yunnan. It came from a story in southern Yunnan. A scholar, preparing for the imperial examinations, isolated himself on an island in a lake to concentrate on his study. His devoted wife was dismayed that the meals she took to him always arrived cold after crossing a long, wooden bridge. But by chance, she discovered the way to keep soup boiling hot -- to top it with a thin layer of vegetable oil. Of course, her husband passed the exams. Soon it got quite popular and was named Guoqiao Rice Noodles. The dish is made of soup, sliced meat, rice noodles and seasonings. A big china bowl will be served with boiling soup and a cover of oil. The soup is made of boiled chicken and pork bone and the clearer, the better. Chicken, pork, liver, kidney, fish and pickled pork are cut into slices. Seasonings are made of boiled vegetables. The raw sliced meat should be the first to be put into the soup. After a few minutes, noodles and seasonings follow. The smell and the taste never fail the gourmands. No visit to Yunnan is complete without trying this unique and delicious dish.
Other typical dishes include: Steamed-pot Chicken, Earthen Pot Fish, Xuanwei Ham, Spiced Squab, and Chicken Wing with Goat Stomach and Local Fungus.
Steamed Doughball Made from Naked Oats
The willow-leaf shaped Chopped Noodles are garnished or fried. It has a delicious taste.
It is called this because its shape resembles a cat ear. Cat Ear is made of dough stewed in boiling water and then garnished or fried.
Also called Tounao, the syrup contains three fatty pieces of mutton, and tonic vegetables. Its aroma combines the smell of liquor, herb and mutton.
Cuisine of the Western Guangxi Flavor
This is made up of the local cuisines of Baise and Hechi, and features a strong national flavor. It is a good combination of various flavors, elaborately made with ordinary ingredients and full of variety. The dishes are light, hot, tender, crisp and delicately fragrant.
Cuisine of the Coastal Guangxi Flavor
This comprises the local cuisine of Beihai, Qinzhou and Fangchenggang. It puts emphasis on the flavor and color of the dish, and is good at cooking seafood. Dishes made of freshwater fishes and poultry are quite special.
To make fried tea, first pop the cooked sun-dried sticky ricewith oil, then put a handful of polished round-grained rice andtea into a wok and stir-fry them, and then add some water. Afterthe water is boiled, filter the tea, and add some salt in thewater. After that, put the popped rice or fried soybeans into thewater. Thus tea is ready. The fried tea can also be made sweet,which depends on individual taste.
Baihe Tao (Lily Peach) is so named because the dish is shaped like peaches. The washed fresh lily - a specialty of Lanzhou - is steamed for about 15 minutes. The lily is then stuffed with sweetened bean paste so that it looks like a peach. The peach is braised in a bamboo steamer for about twenty minutes and then served with a white sugar sauce.
Jincheng Babao (Eight Treasures) Melon Carving is a traditional food of Lanzhou. The carved melon peel is used as a bowl to hold white fungus, pineapple, cherry, longan, waxberry, and other delicacies. The carving is exquisite and the food is fresh and sweet. This dish will satisfy not only your palate but also your eye.
Quick Fried Camel Hump, a dainty dish, has a history of 1,500 years.
Jinyu (Golden Fish) Facai (a kind of fungus that grows in the desert near the Yellow River) is a classic dish in the Gansu Province. Its name comes from the shape. The Fa Cai is soaked in water until it is soft and then kneaded until it is round. Minced chicken flavored with salt, egg white, sesame oil, and cooking wine is used to stuff the Fa Cai so that it looks like a golden fish. The fish is steamed until it is cooked and then served in a dish surrounded with beer, giving the look of a golden fish swimming in water. This popular Lanzhou dish goes well with wine.
Lanzhou Beef Noodles (Stretched Noodles) is the most famous local dish in Lanzhou. It was first created during the reign of Emperor Guangxu (1875 - 1908) of the Qing Dynasty (1616 - 1911) and it is now popular all over China. This dish has five main features: clear soup, white radish, red pepper, green caraway and yellow noodles. The noodles can be wide or slim to meet different preferences. Boys like Er Xi (a little wider) while girls like slim ones, the middle-aged and the old like Jiuyezi (leek leaf) and Maoxi (slimmer) and scholars prefer slim and Jiuyezi. Farmers, soldiers and workers prefer wide or even wider. If a girl or an old man asks for wider noodles or a boy asks for Maoxi noodles, it would be rather strange. The noodles have gone beyond food to become a culture.
Niang Pi Zi cannot be missed among the local delicacies. Flour paste is steamed for 3 - 4 minutes, then cut into strips and served with mustard, garlic, sesame butter, chili oil, vinegar, and soy sauce.
As many Hui people live in Lanzhou, barbequed mutton, boiled mutton, and lamb with wide vermicelli are local delicacies among the various ethnic groups.
Beijing cuisine is the cooking style in Beijing, China, which is also formally known as Mandarin cuisine. There are numerous dishes that have been developed and have evolved with the history that some may prefer to call Traditional Beijing cuisine. There are also a number of new dishes developed since the recent economic take-off that many people call New Beijing cuisine or New Chinese cuisine.
Traditional Beijing Cuisine
Since Beijing has been the Chinese capital city for centuries, its cuisine has been influenced by culinary traditions from all over China, but the cuisine that has exerted the greatest influence on Beijing cuisine is the cuisine of the eastern coastal province of Shandong. Beijing cuisine has itself, in turn, also greatly influenced other Chinese cuisines, particularly the cuisine of Liaoning, the Chinese imperial cuisine, and the Chinese aristocrat cuisine.
Beijing cuisine can be characterized as follows: Foods that originated in Beijing are often snacks rather than full courses, and they are typically sold by little shops or street vendors. There is emphasis on dark soy paste, sesame paste, sesame oil, and scallions, and fermented tofu is often served as a condiment. In addition to the ingredients, many different cooking methods are also applied to make different tastes. These processes include pan-frying, sautéing, steaming and deep frying. There is a lesser emphasis on rice as an accompaniment than in many other areas of China, as local rice production is limited by the relatively dry climate.
Well Known Mandarin Dishes
Mustardy Chinese Cabbage
Beijing Preserved Fruit
Beijing Candied Fruit
Fuling Pancake Sandwich
Baked Sesame Seed Cake
Crisp Fritter with Sesame
Jellied Bean Curd
Glutinous Rice Ball
Kidney Bean Roll
Sugarcoated Haws on a Stick
New Beijing Cuisine
Since China's economic boom, local consumption in Beijing has evolved quickly to accommodate increasingly diversified new tastes among Beijingers as well as travelers. The creative ideas that feed into the recent development in Beijing come from other cuisines. As a result, non-traditional ingredients and processing methods have been introduced or developed into Beijing Cuisine, which is now commonly referred as New Beijing Cuisine. These new ingredients include pepper, onion, cheese, pepper oil, and salad dressing. Baking, which is not popular among the Old Beijing Cuisine, has become increasingly popular. In addition to innovative dishes, New Beijing Cuisine restaurant tends to carry some Beijing or Chinese culture components such as Chinese antiques, Chinese tea, Chinese music performance such as Guqin and Guzheng, and folk culture displays to entertain the diners.
Popular Dishes of the New Beijing Cuisine
Fresh Abalone Pumpkin Soup
Spicy & Fermented Crab
Crispy & Spicy Shrimp
Pork, Chicken and Beef
Cumin Roast Pork
Deep Fried Pork with Tea Leaves
Fried Pork Ribs
Vegetarian Spicy & Sour Fish Fillet Soup
Fried Mushroom with XO Sauce
Fried Vegetable Barbequed Pork
Fried Dried Bean Curd Chilies
Spicy Codfish Puff
Fresh Cream Tart
Steamed Green Tea Cake
Chinese culinary art enjoys a high reputation in the world. In recent years, connoisseurs of Chinese cuisine have also sprouted in Eastern Europe and South Asia. American Chinese cuisine and Canadian Chinese cuisine are popular examples of local varieties.
Chinese dishes appeal to the senses through color, shape, aroma and taste. In the process of preparing dishes, in order to achieve a stronger fragrant aroma to stimulate one's appetite, ingredients such as scallion, fresh ginger, root garlic, chili pepper, wine, aniseed, cinnamon, peppercorn or sesame oil are used . Complementary nuances are added. Soy sauce, sugar, vinegar and other seasonings may be used discreetly.
All Chinese chefs, professional or in the home, strive for the harmony of sight, smell, taste and texture, so that each individual dish has its unique features highlighted. The flavors must not overpower, yet they must be subtle enough to meet the tastes of those dining.
Regional culture varies greatly within China, which gives rise to different styles of food.
There are Eight Grand Traditions—Anhui, Cantonese, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Sichuan and Zhejiang.
Shandong Cuisine (more commonly known as Lu Cuisine)
Shandong cuisine, which consists of Jinan cuisine and Jiaodong cuisine, is clean, pure and not greasy. It is characterized by its emphasis on aroma, freshness, crispness and tenderness. Shallots and garlic are frequently used as seasonings so as to make Shandong dishes taste pungent. Soups are greatly emphasized in Shandong cuisine. Thin soups are clear and fresh, while creamy soups are thick and taste strong. Jinan chefs are adept at deep-frying, grilling, pan-frying and stir-frying, while Jiaodong chefs are famous for cooking seafood with a fresh and light taste.
Representative menu items: Bird's Nest Soup, Yellow River Carp in Sweet and Sour sauce
Sichuan Cuisine, which is known as Sichuan Cuisine in the West, is one of the most famous Chinese cuisines in the world. Sichuan cuisine is generally spicy and contains food preserved through pickling, salting, drying and smoking. The Sichuan peppercorn is commonly used, which has an intensively fragrant, citrus-like flavor and produces a "tingly-numbing" sensation in the mouth. Also common are garlic, chili, ginger, star anise and other spicy herbs, plants and spices. Broad bean (in Chinese Doubanjiang) is frequently used as seasoning in Sichuan cuisine.
Preparation techniques, which are commonly used in Sichuan cuisine, include stir frying, steaming and braising. Beef is somewhat more common in Sichuan cuisine than it is in other Chinese cuisines, perhaps due to the widespread use of oxen in the region. Stir-fried beef is often cooked until chewy, while steamed beef is sometimes coated with rice flour to produce very rich gravy.
Representative menu items: Tea Smoked Duck (in Chinese, Zhangchaya), Twice Cooked Pork (in Chinese, Huiguorou),Mapo Tofu, Sichuan Hotpot, Spicy Deep-fried Chicken (in Chinese, Laziji) and Bon Bon Chicken (in Chinese, Bangbangji).
Guangdong Cuisine (Cantonese Cuisine)
Of all the regional varieties of Chinese cuisine, Cantonese is the most well-known outside China, and most "Chinese restaurants" in Western countries serve Cantonese cuisines and dishes. Guangdong cuisine tastes clean, light, crisp and fresh. The flavors of a finished Cantonese dish should be well-balanced and never cloying or greasy. Also, modest amounts of spices should be used to avoid overwhelming the flavors of the primary ingredients, in turn; these primary ingredients should be at the peak of their freshness and quality. The typical cooking techniques in Cantonese cuisine include roasting, stir-frying, sautéing, deep-frying, braising, stewing and steaming, of which steaming and stir-frying are most frequently used to preserve the natural flavors of the ingredients.
Representative menu items: Cantonese Fried Rice, Sweet and Sour Pork (in Chinese, Gulurou) Dace Fish Balls, Cantonese Sea Food Soup, Snow Fungus Soup, Steamed Fish, Steamed Scallops with Ginger and Garlic, Char Siu (in Chinese, Chashao) and Roasted Pork.
Fujian Cuisine (Min Cuisine)
CombiningFuzhou Cuisine, Quanzhou Cuisine and Xiamen Cuisine, Fujian Cuisine is renowned for its choice seafood, beautiful color and magical tastes of sweet, sour, salt and savory. The most distinct feature is their "pickled taste".
Fujian cuisine consists of four styles:
Fuzhou style: The taste is light and often with a mixed sweet and sour taste. Soup is famous here.
Western Fuzhou style: The dishes taste slight spicy, and the cooking methods include steaming, frying and stir-frying.
Southern Fujian style: spicy with a sweet taste
Quanzhou style: It is the least oily but with the strongest flavor of Fujian cuisine, and places great emphasis on the shape of the material for each dish.
Representative menu items: Stuffed Fish Balls, Wucai Zenzhuko, Buddha Jumping Over the Wall; Snow Chicken; Prawn with Dragon's Body and Phoenix's Tail
Jiangsu Cuisine (Su or Yang Cuisine)
Jiangsu Cuisine is popular in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. In general, Yang cuisine is characterized as soft, but not too much so. For example, the meat tastes quite soft, but it cannot be separated from the bone when picked up. Other characteristics include the careful selection of ingredients according to the seasons, emphasis on matching the color and shape of each dish and using soup to improve the taste. Its cooking techniques include stewing, braising, roasting, and simmering.
Jiangsu cuisine consists of several styles:
Nanjing cuisine: Its dishes emphasize an even taste and matching color, and the excellent dishes incorporate river fish, shrimps and duck.
Suzhou cuisine: Its taste is stronger than Nanjing cuisine. It suggests a tendency to be sweeter than the other varieties of the cuisine, and is made with a strict selection of ingredients.
Wuxi cuisine: It is famous for various types of congee.
Representative menu items: Stewed Crab with Clear Soup, Long-boiled and Dry-shredded Meat, Duck Triplet, Crystal Meat, Squirrel with Mandarin Fish, and Liangxi Crisp Eel
Zhejiang cuisine enjoys a reputation of freshness, tenderness and smoothness of its dishes. Food made in the Zhejiang style is not greasy but has a mellow fragrance. The Zhejiang cuisine consists of at least three styles. The Hangzhou style is characterized by rich variations and the use of bamboo shoots. The Shaoxing style specializes in poultry and freshwater fish. The Ningbo style emphasizes freshness and salty dishes and specializes in seafood. Wenzhou style, as a separate subdivision, specializes in the greatest source of seafood and poultry and livestock.
Representative menu items: Sour West Lake Fish, Longjing Shelled Shrimp, Beggar's Chicken
Hunan Cuisine (Xiang Cuisine)
Hunan cuisine enjoys a high reputation for its hot spicy flavor, fresh aroma and deep color. The cuisine includes three styles. Hunan cuisine is well-known for being dry hot or purely hot, the opposite of Sichuan cuisine. Xiang River style is represented by the dishes of Changsha. Dongting Lake style is represented by the dishes of Hengyang. Western Hunan style is represented by the dishes of Xiangtan. The typical cooking techniques include stewing, frying, pot-roasting, braising and smoking.
Representative menu items: Dongan Chicken, Peppery Hot Chicken, Beer Duck
Anhui cuisine is famous for its use of wild game and herbs and simple methods of preparation. Anhui cuisine chefs are quite good at braising and stewing. Frying and stir-frying are used much less frequently in Anhui cuisine than in other Chinese culinary traditions. Anhui cuisine consists of three styles: Yangtze River style, Huai River style and southern Anhui style. Anhui has large areas of uncultivated fields and forests, so wild birds are readily available to be used in the region's cuisine.
Representative menu items: Stewed Snapper, Huangshan Braised Pigeon.
Fangshan Restaurant, Beijing
Beijing Fangshan Restaurant probably serves the most typical Man Han Quan Xi. This restaurant's history dates back to 1925 when Zhao Renzai, one of the imperial chefs of the Qing Court, with many of his friends, launched this restaurant inside the Beihai Park. Originally called Fangshan Teahouse, the restaurant was noted for its real imperial cuisines and ding sung. Now the restaurant maintains its old positive reputation of choosing the best ingredients and strictly following the original preparation expertise. Currently on the menu 134 hot courses and 48 cold courses are listed. If you come in a small group and do not want to be "an extravagant emperor" you do not have to order all. Order the mini Man Han Quan Xi instead; you will obtain a general idea about this fabulous feast.
Liqun Roast Duck Restaurant, Beijing
Liqun Roast Duck Restaurant, established by previous chef of Quan Ju De, Mr.Zhang Liqun in his quadrangle in 1902, has attracted people all over the world even national VIPs to taste the fantastic delicacy. With its genuine traditional decoration, creative cuisine and superior service, Liqun Restaurant makes customers fully enjoy themselves there.
Oriental Pearl Revolving Restaurant, Shanghai
Located on top of Shanghai Oriental Pearl TV Tower, the Oriental Pearl Revolving Restaurant is considered to be the highest one in Asia, with its unique views, outstanding cuisine and leisurely environment it is a giant in Shanghai. Hundreds of Chinese and western foods are placed on marvelously decorated buffet tables, while the view from the restaurant changes on a two-hour revolution, definitely leaving you with a deep impression while dining there.
Dai Jia Cun Restaurant, Shanghai
Delicious foods blend with cheerful songs and conversation interspersed with hearty laughter, beautiful scenery and wonderful music. The unique dining atmosphere will make you appreciate heartily the peculiar culture of the Yunnan Dai people. Sights nearby: Jade Buddha Temple.
Lianxiang Restaurant, Guangzhou
Lianxiang Restaurant, located in western Guangzhou, was opened in 1889. It is known as "the best Lotus-seed-Paste" because the lotus-seed-paste there is smooth and luscious. The famous specialties are sweetheart cake (wife cake), almond biscuit with lotus-seed-paste, chicken cake with lotus-seed-paste and all kinds of moon cakes. The products are well known in the market and loved by both domestic and overseas customers for their attractive design and delicious taste.
Guangzhou Restaurant, Guangzhou
Guangzhou Restaurant, which was founded in the 1930s, is known as "the best paradise of gourmets". It is representative of traditional Cantonese cuisine. The specialties include Wenchang Chicken, Three-Color Lobster, and Braised Duck’s Web with Flowers.
Guilinese Goodluck Restaurant (A La Carte), Guilin
Its good location at the Zhengyang Pedestrian Street, a famous commercial street in the center of the city, delicious food as well as the cozy atmosphere make this restaurant one of the most popular eating places for the locals. It mainly serves local food and snacks. Traditional Chinese music is played in the dining room.
Haodama Food Plaza, Guilin
This is one of the biggest restaurants in Guilin with the most kinds of food. The branches are mainly located in the food plaza of Bagui Mansion and the food plaza of Niko Niko Do. They can accept 2000 guests at the same time. The main foods there are the Guilin local snacks, snacks from all over the country, special local dishes in Guilin, western food and Japanese food. All the cooking materials are visible to the customers.
Dongxinjie Night Food Street, Xian
It is one of the biggest night food streets in downtown Xian with nearly more than 50 food stands selling local delicacies and flavors from all over China.
Recommended food: Jinan Rinse Ox Belly, Xiaoliu Roasted Meat and Grilled Fish, Xiaoli Family's Steamed Bun, Xie Family's Casserole of Rice Noodle, and An Family's Dumpling.
Xian Dumpling Banquet Restaurant, Xian
The dumpling banquet has 180 varieties which formed into Flowers Banquet, Dragon and Phoenix Banquet, Palace Banquet, Eighth Precious Banquet, and has 15 different series of banquets. The dumpling varieties include chicken, duck, fish shrimp, pork, beef, mutton and rabbit meat and also sea food, vegetables and fruits. Various preparation methods are used including steaming, frying, braising and roasting and the use of various tastes such as fresh, salty, sweet, spicy as well as using unique shapes such as flowers, butterflies, golden fish or pearls. It is thus said "one dumpling one shape, a hundred dumplings a hundred tastes". This banquet is a good combination of ancient and modern, of court and local dumpling skills.
Nanning Nanhu Fish Cafe, Nanning
The fish café is on the Nanhu Lake on Binhu Road, which specializes in cooking fish dishes. It can cook more than 100 kinds of dishes and the most famous one is the "Fresh Fish". Other famous dishes are steamed Siniperca Chuatsi, Carp with Brown Sauce, and Sliced Fish with Garlic and so on. Furthermore, the café can also cook delicious seafood and wild animals.
Yaxianglou Restaurant, Luoyang
Yaxianglou Restaurant-the Restaurant of Elegance and Fragrance - is the first joint-venture food and beverage enterprise in Luoyang. The position of the restaurant is excellent. It deals mainly in Cantonese foods and dishes, Cantonese breakfast, top-grade edible birds' nest, sea-ears, shark fin and other seafoods, etc. The area of the newly-decorated restaurant is more than 2,000 square meters .The layout of the restaurant is elegant and its decoration exquisite. The luxurious private rooms, dining halls, and reception room are all in various styles which have fully reflected that the restaurant is refined and top-grade.
Lianhu Sweet Foods Restaurant, Nanjing
Lianhu Sweet foods restaurant has a long history in selling traditional cakes. Among them the most famous ones are Osmanthus Stuffing Dumpling and Five-color Cake. Both of these are soft and delicious with beautiful colors, for which they are popular with nearly all the people.
Yongheyuan Restaurant, Nanjing
Yongheyuan Restaurant was built in the Emperor Guangxu period of the Qing Dynasty. It sells hundreds of kinds of pastries, among which the most famous ones are Huangqiao Baked Roll and Kaiyang Shredded Dried Bean Curd. Huangqiao Baked Roll got its name because it originated from Huangqiao Town in Taixing. It looks like the shape of a crab shell, and tastes crispy with two tastes, sweet and salted. Another specialty, Kaiyang Shredded Dried Bean Curd is slender but tough. Especially with the fresh chicken soup, it tastes more delicious.
The first Chain of Biewang Emperor Mansion, Taiyuan
The restaurant is not very large, but it is favored by many customs. The rice with juice is especially delicious.
Haoqingxiang Restaurant, Xiamen
With a long history of over 60 years, Haoqingxiang Restaurant enjoys a high reputation both at home and abroad for its original Southern Fukien dishes and Xiamen-flavored snacks. Located near a picturesque lake, it has excellent surroundings. With an area of 2000 square meters, it can accommodate nearly 1000 people, which makes it an ideal place for banquets, parties, celebrations and for the tourists to dine.
Jiali Seafood Restaurant, Xiamen
Located on Gulangyu Island which is known as the island of music, it is a high-class restaurant famed for original Fujian cuisine and delicate Cantonese cuisine. As soon as you walk into the restaurant, you can feel that you are in a paradise of delicious food. It has a noble and elegant dining atmosphere with over 40 separate luxurious rooms with 500 seats in all. It is an ideal place for the business luncheons, parties and banquets.
Caixiangyuan Restaurant (Set Menu), Chongqing
Caixiangyuan Restaurant, founded in early 1999, is the initiator of a new style of Sichuan Cuisine. Based on color, smell, flavor and form of traditional Sichuan Cuisine, the restaurant adds three more fashionable elements: music, health and utensils. By using and branding new principles, the cultural, technical and ordinary Sichuan Cuisine is combined into a new style of Sichuan Cuisine. The restaurant has created a "New Concept of Sichuan Cuisine". There are many specialties in this restaurant, including Glutinous Rice Duck with Matsutak, Duck Tongue with Chilli, and Salty Crispy Chicken with Chilli, and so on.
Kanglong Prince Restaurant, Wuhan
Serving up a mixture of flavors from around China is Kanglong's specialty. Cooking traditions stem mainly from the Hubei region but are influenced by Sichuan cuisine and Hunan cuisine. Steak, chicken breast, salmon and other western style dishes on the menu also are strongly recommended. Local specialties like Wuchang Fish (once immortalized in a Mao Zedong poem), Sliced Duck, Salt and Pepper Spareribs and Griddle Cooked Shredded Chicken shouldn't be missed. The food is usually delicate and consistently good, with acceptable prices and friendly and courteous staff.
Huamei Western Restaurant, Harbin
Huamei Western Restaurant is located at No.142, Central Avenue, Lidao District in Harbin. It has a long history. The restaurant assembles all the elite of the authentic Russian dishes. It mainly offers Russian cuisine. British Cuisine, French Cuisine, Italian Cuisine and some other cuisines can be found here. There are more than 40 famous dishes, such as, Pork Fillet with Milk, Chicken Stewed in Pot, Shrimp, Beef, Mutton, or Fish Roasted with Milk, Mixed Shrimp, Baked Mutton in Bunch, and Chicken Cooked on Iron Plate.
Apricot Flower Village, Dali
The atmosphere of the Apricot Flower Village is full of the ethnic style of the Bai People. There is classical furniture with carved flowers in every room. Furthermore, the environment of the restaurant is so quiet and beautiful that it makes you feel comfortable. The restaurant has more than 100 kinds of food. Most are the traditional foods of the Bai People. For example, Sand Pot Fish, Stewed Chicken, Pawpaw Fish, and so on. Some of foods are potherb. In the Apricot Flower Village, you can find every single type of Chinese cuisine here—Shandong Cuisine, Sichuan Cuisine, Cantonese Cuisine, Fujian Cuisine, Zhejiang Cuisine, Hunan Cuisine and Anhui Cuisine. When you eat here, you not only feast on delicious food, but also enjoy the wonderful landscape of Dali.
Blue Marlin West Restaurant, Suzhou
The Blue Marlin provides orthodox school European continent western-style food, whose main clients are foreigners. It is a good place to have a meal, relax or chat. The Blue Marlin was a pioneer back in the day when it was hard to get something other than local food. The restaurant has a good customer base around town, which allows it to organize exciting events and trips.
Chaotai Beef Restaurant , Shenzhen
The beef broth of the Chaotai Beef Restaurant, which is stewed for many hours every day, is a nutritious soup full of the flavor of beef. The sirloin tastes tender, the beef tastes delicate, the tripe tastes refreshing and the beef meatballs taste soft. Then, try the vegetables in hot broth and drink the thick broth. You will find that the taste of beef has penetrated into the radish, the dried rolls of bean-milk cream, the lettuce and the dried bean curd. Meanwhile, the fragrance of vegetables dissolves in the beef broth. The mixture of beef and vegetables makes them taste better. The thick broth, which combines the flavors of beef, sirloin, tripe and the vegetables, has been stewed thoroughly. It is a supreme feast to drink the broth. The famous dish of this restaurant is the Beef Chafing Dish. You can taste the delicious beef meatballs in it and drink the thick broth. The restaurant pays a lot of attention to stocking the ingredients. All the dishes here are made from high-quality ox in China, which tastes great.
Jixin Yunnan Food Palace, Kunming
Jixin Yunnan Food Palace, founded in 1994, redecorated then reopened for business in 2003. The architectural styles of three nationalities, Han, Bai and Dai, were used throughout the entire building when decorated. The ancient and traditional Chinese gate, the overhanging palace lights, and the royal style of the interior decoration, give customers elegant and graceful feelings. In the Jixin Yunnan Food Palace, you not only can enjoy the old Dian dishes, but also enjoy the new Dian dishes cooked with the latest ingredients and cooking skills. Here, you can taste different delicacies and snacks, as well as Bridge Mixian, the most famous food in Yunnan.
Yunxiao Lu Seafood Street, Qingdao
Yunxiao Lu Seafood Street, with all seafood restaurants on both sides, is the most famous seafood street in Qingdao. The seafood there is noted for its freshness, good taste and low price. Alorcha (Macao Peninsular), Macau Paella, and the Portuguese Seafood Rice and Clams Stir-fried with Garlic have all earned this street a great reputation. For dessert, try Serradura.
Hangzhou Lily Hotel Restaurant, Hangzhou
Situated at the side of West Lake, Lily Hotel Restaurant brings you a terrific opportunity for seeing a panoramic view of the lake. The restaurant is decorated in the style of this southern city of the Yangtze River, mainly offering Hangzhou cuisines that are prepared to please your palate as well as your eye. Visit this restaurant and you will enjoy a wonderful dining experience while traveling in Hangzhou.
Book of Songs
Pre-school education is an important component of education cause in
Children usually entered primary school at seven years of age for six days a week, which after regulatory changes in 1995 and 1997 were changed to five and a half and five days, respectively. The two-semester school year consisted of 9.5 months, and began on September 1st and March 1st, with a summer vacation in July and August and a winter vacation in January and February. The primary-school curriculum consisted of Chinese, mathematics, physical education, music, drawing, and elementary instruction in nature, history, and geography, combined with practical work experiences around the school compound. A foreign language, often English, is introduced in about the third grade. Chinese and mathematics accounted for about 60 percent of the scheduled class time; natural science and social science accounted for about 8 percent. Under the Law on Nine-Year Compulsory Education, primary schools were to be tuition-free and reasonably located for the convenience of children attending them; students would attend primary schools in their neighborhoods or villages. Parents paid a small fee per term for books and other expenses such as transportation, food, and heating. Previously, fees were not considered a deterrent to attendance, although some parents felt even these minor costs were more than they could afford. Under the education reform, students from poor families received stipends, and state enterprises, institutions, and other sectors of society were encouraged to establish their own schools.
By 1986 universal secondary education was part of the nine year compulsory education law that made primary education (six years) and junior-middle-school education (three years) mandatory. Chinese secondary schools are called middle schools and are divided into junior and senior levels. Junior, or lower, middle schools offered a three year course of study, which students began at twelve years of age. Senior, or upper, middle schools offered a two or three year course, which students began at age fifteen.
The regular secondary-school year usually had two semesters, totaling nine months. In some rural areas, schools operated on a shift schedule to accommodate agricultural cycles. The academic curriculum consisted of Chinese, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, geology, foreign language, history, geography, politics, music, fine arts, and physical education. Some middle schools also offered vocational subjects.
By the end of 2004,
Particular attention has been paid to improving systems in recent reforms. Many industrial multiversity and specialist colleges have been established, strengthening some incomplete subjects and establishing new specialties, e.g., automation, atomic energy, energy resources, oceanography, nuclear physics, computer science, polymer chemistry, polymer physics, radiochemistry, physical chemistry and biophysics. Merging schools of higher learning has produced far-reaching reform of higher education management, optimizing of educational resources allocation, and further improving teaching quality and school standards.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Modern Chinese Education
In high school (and even junior high school), the majority of Chinese students study hours on end. They are very used to going through hard times, as this prepares them for the rough work world that faces most Chinese workers, professional and blue collar alike. Years of night study sessions turn into a lifetime of overtime once the typical Chinese person begins their working life. Studying in tight quarters somewhat prepares Chinese students to eventually work in extremely cramped spaces.
The students are under pressure too heavy to broaden their horizons, which is not good for the students' development. It is therefore hard for students to foster various abilities.
The long poem Ashima adopts romantic poetic technique and rich figures of speech to highlight the kindness and beauty, wisdom and power, diligence and bravery of the character. It is affectionately called by the Sani people as "the song of our ethics", and Ashima even becomes the antonomasia of the women of the Yi ethics. It demonstrates the human ideal that light will finally substitute darkness, and kindness and beauty will eventually triumph over infamy. It reflects the national character and spirit of pursuing freedom of the Sani people of the Yi ethnics.
At present, the story of Ashima has been translated into more than 20 languages and published at home and abroad. In addition, the story was adopted and shot into Ashima, the first color film of the People's Republic of China.
At present, the story of Ashima has been translated into more than 20 languages and published at home and abroad. In addition, the story was adopted and shot into Ashima, the first color film of the People's Republic of China.
Chinese painting has its origins in the pictographs inscribed on bronze during the Xia, Shang and Zhou dynasties. Paintings on silk, possessing linear effects, had appeared during the period of the Warring States (475-221BC) and by the late Western Han era (206BC-AD24), paintings in rich colors were being done, such as the murals discovered in Han tombs.
In the history of Chinese painting, figure painting was the first genre to appear. The earliest examples, during the Warring States period, were on silk. (Paper began to be manufactured only in the first century AD.) By the prime Tang (AD740-70), figure painting was already well advanced. Mountains, rivers, flowers and birds served only as the background or embellishment of a painting; they developed into independent genres at a much later date. In time, however, landscape painting became the most important genre and numerous schools, theories and techniques relating to it evolved. The earliest extant Chinese landscape is Spring Excursion by Zhan Ziqian of the Sui (581-618 A.D.)an artist who paid special attention to brushwork and used dots and lines as his principal method of expression.
Wu Daoxuan (Wu Dzaozi)
During the Tang Dynasty,Wu Daoxuan was a renowned painter. Wu Daozi had started painting in the previous ruling period, that of Emperor Xuan Zong (at the close of the 7th Century/ the beginning of the 8th Century).The painted figures by Wu Daozi are images of immortals and monsters and of birds and beasts as well as representations of terraces and pavilions, which were seen as exquisite works of art. He was considered as a "Master of Painting" and an honored "Ancestor of Painting". The painting style of Wu Daozi exhibited power, vigor, boldness, and variation. The bold brush strokes of Wu Daozi became famous for their ability to convey a sense of motion and rhythm. The artist's bold style caused others to refer to him as "flying sleeves" Wu Daozi. Wu Daozi is perhaps best known as a great saint painter.
Xu Beihong (1895 - 1953)
Xu Beihong was in the forefront of the reform of Chinese painting, believing that only by bringing to Chinese art the realist approach of contemporary Western art would Chinese art regain its former prominence as a serious contemporary art form, rather than a glorious relic from the past. As a young man, Xu travelled abroad, initially to
The Difference between Chinese Painting and Western Painting
The unique appearance of Chinese Painting owes much to the use of the Chinese writing brush and Chinese paper. Four essential elements were implied in the creation of Chinese Painting, like the brush, ink, paper, and the ink stone. Lacking any one of them the job cannot be done. The most important factors for Chinese Painting are the special pedagogy, the close relationship with the painter’s personality and the unique Chinese philosophy. They are trained not only to convey the objects but also express the mood and the spirit of the subject. The Chinese also believe that painting is the expression of the painter’s knowledge and temperament. In this way, Chinese Painting becomes something much more than art. The most essential philosophy of
The history of Western painting represents a continuous, though disrupted, tradition from antiquity. Until the mid 19th century, it was primarily concerned with representational and Classical modes of production, after which time more modern, abstract and conceptual forms gained favor. African art, Islamic art, Indian art, Chinese art, and Japanese art each had significant influence on Western art, and, eventually, vice-versa. From the Middle Ages through the Renaissance painters worked for the church and a wealthy aristocracy. After the Baroque era artists received private commissions from a more educated and prosperous middle class. By the mid-19th century, painters became liberated from the demands of their patronage to only depict scenes from religion, mythology, portraiture or history. The idea "art for art's sake "began to find expression in the work of the Romantic painters like Francisco de Goya, John Constable, and J.M.W. Turner. During the 19th century, the rise of the commercial art gallery provided patronage in the 20th century. Western painting reached its zenith in Europe during the Renaissance, in conjunction with the refinement of drawing, use of perspective, ambitious architecture, tapestry, stained glass, sculpture, and the period before and after the advent of the printing press. Following the depth of discovery and the complexity of innovations of the Renaissance, the rich heritage of Western painting (from the Baroque to Contemporary art) continues into the 21st century.
Chinese calligraphy has a long history, lasting about 1,000 years. It is a unique artistic form of the treasury of Chinese culture, representing Chinese art and reputed as the most ancient artistic forms in the history of oriental world. Calligraphy has exerted wide influence worldwide and has even been introduced to many neighboring countries. Picasso, the world famous master of art, once expressed that "If I had ever lived in China, I would have become a calligrapher rather than a painter".
Seal Character is calligraphy of Han Character, which can be divided into Big Seal Character and Small Seal Character. The former appeared in Zhou Dynasty and evolved from oracle-bone inscriptions. The latter is more simple in form and standardized in structure and than the former. Small Seal Character, prescribed by Li Si after the unification of China by Qin Empire, is known as Qin Seal Character. Seal Character is very elegant in style and is widely favored by people today in the creation of calligraphy works.
Official Script was originated from the East Han Dynasty, ushering in a new stage of the development of Chinese Calligraphy. It laid a solid foundation for Formal Script. Official Script features flat, neat, and refined structure. When the East Han Dynasty began, left-failing stroke and right-failing stroke bent upwards, other strokes were characterized by variations and beauty of calligraphy. The style of Official Script features diversification and it has high value for appreciation.
Formal Script, also known as Zhengshu Script, or Zhenshu Script, evolved form Seal Character. It is simpler in structure and square in shape. The integral feature of Formal Script is neatness and orderliness. Formal Script became popular in the period of the Six Dynasties, and entered prosperity and boom in the Tang Dynasty. Yang Zhenqing, Liu Gongquan, and Ouyang Xun were famous calligraphers of the Tang Dynasty. Characterized by grandeur and strength, tablet inscription style is a very important component of the Formal Script system. Representative works of this style include the Twenty Articles of the Longmen School, the Stele of ZhenWengong, and the Stele of Zhang Menglong.
Running Script, originating from late Han Dynasty, is the cursive form of Formal Script. The most representative works of this script is Preface of Lanting Pavilion by Wang Xizhi in the Jin Dynasty. It is reputed by ancient people as "The best Running Script under Heaven" due to its sturdiness and elegance. Manuscript for Memorizing My Nephew by Yan Zhenqing in Tang Dynasty is famous for boldness and strength, honored as "The Excellent Running Script only second to that of Yan Zhenqing".
Although it looks irregular, Cursive Hand has high artistic value beyond its practical worthiness. Generally speaking, it can be divided into two categories: Zhangcao and Jindan. The former is a concise form of Seal Script written rapidly. Characters are not connected to each other and their strokes feature the style of Seal Character. Article Written in Rush is a famous work in Cursive Hand by Shi You in the East Han Dynasty. The latter is the concise form of Formal Script written rapidly. It is characterized by flying strokes connected to each other. The most representative works of this category are Seventeen Books by Wang Xizhi in the Jin Dynasty and List of Book by Sun Guoting in the Tang Dynasty. Zhang Xu and Huai Su in the Tang Dynasty are another two famous calligraphers whose scripts are bold, vigorous, and unstrained. Cursive Hand (also called Stretching Script) is hard to identify for average people and thus is reputed as Wild Script. Representatives of Wild Script include Four Books of Ancient Poems by Zhang Xu and Book of Bibliography by Huai Su.
This is a beautiful story that has been narrated for thousands of years, and is also one of four top Chinese folk love stories.
It was said long time ago, there was an honest and kind-hearted young fellow, Niu Lang (cowherd), in the Niu Family village in Nan Yang city. Since his parents passed away when he was young, Later, his parents passed away and he lived with his elder brother and brother’s wife. But this couple treated Niulang badly, and separated the family with Niulang. They just gave Niulang an old ox and a broken wheelbarrow.
After that, Niulang led a life with this old ox. They worked hard to assert the wild land and do the farming as well as build their house. But actually, Niulang’s life was isolated and lonely except this speechless ox. In fact, he did know this ox was also a god of heaven, and it was a Gold-Ox Star. One day, the old ox suddenly mouthed and said to Niulang: Niulang, go to Bilian Pool; some fairies are having a bath there, and you hide the red clothes, because the fairy wearing red will be your wife. Niulang was shocked and asked Ox: “Brother Ox, you can speak! Is your word true?” Ox nodded, and Niulang arrived and hid in the reed of Bilian Pool to wait the arrival of the fairy. In a short time, these fairies flew down and took off their clothes to have a bath in the pool. Niulang quickly came out and took the red clothes away. The fairies saw him and suddenly put on their clothes and flew away like birds except the fairy without clothes, and she was Zhinv. Zhinv was worried and shy when her clothes were stolen. At this time, Niulang appeared and let Zhinv be his wife. Zhinv discovered this young man was indeed her Qianniu star. Hence, Zhinv became Niulang’s wife.
As an ordinary man, Niu Lang could not go to heaven to look for his wife. At this time, again, the old ox helped him. He asked Niu Lang to use his skin to make shoes after he died, saying that those shoes could take him to heaven. Niu Lang followed the ox's word, and after he put on the shoes made of the ox's skin, he finally flew to the sky with his son and daughter. When they almost reached Zhinv in sky, the Queen of Heaven pulled off her hairpin, drawing a silver river to separate Niu Lang and Zhinv. The two cried sadly face to face on both sides of the river. Their loyalty to love touched thousands of magpies, and they flew to build a magpie bridge over the river. Niu Lang and Zhinv walked on to the bridge and met each other there. The Queen of Heaven was eventually moved, and from then on, she allowed the two to date on the magpie bridge every year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month.
Four Treasures of the Study is an expression used to refer to the ink brush, ink stick, paper and ink stone used in Chinese calligraphy. The name stems from the time of the Southern and Northern Dynasties (420-589 AD).
Brushes: goat, weasel and wolf hair have distinctive properties and are ideal for the brushes.
Ink: is made by burning pine or another wood in an earth ware container, mixing dense ash with glue, and compressing it into an ink stick, or another form.
The traditional brush can be traced back to the Neolithic age, but became recognized during the Warring States Period, in 476 B.C. to 221 B.C. It was improved by Meng Tian, a general of the Qin Dynasty, in 221 B.C. to 206 B.C.; brushes are usually made of animal hair, with a bamboo shaft and its crafting has become complicated. Different kinds of animals were once used, such as goat, ox, rabbit, sheep, marten, badger, deer and wolf, each having certain properties. Hair of different animals can be combined to create different textures.
The ink is solid, and commonly made by burning pinewood or another substance in an earthenware jar, and combining the densely packed ash with glue. An unusual antique piece of ink is shaped like a “ruyi”, a scepter tribute offering, that conveys wishes for happiness and good fortune.
By mixing ink with water, and then grinding it on the ink stone, the calligrapher or artist can create different densities and innumerable shades of black and gray.
The Shepherd Aniz
The Shepherd Aniz
Once upon a time, a landlord hired a shepherd boy whose name was Aniz. He was very well liked. What people liked most of all was to listen to him playing the flute. His flute looked very simple, no more than a length of bamboo; but in his hands it became a wonderful instrument. Whenever they were free, people would sit around Aniz and entertain themselves by listening to him play. The landlord was heartily sick of both the boy and his flute. He was constantly finding fault with him and scolding him, "You little wretch! Do I pay you to sit there playing the flute?" In point of fact, Aniz' flute-playing did not interfere with his work in the slightest.
One day the landlord found some slight pretext to give Aniz a terrible beating. That was not enough; he was not content until he had driven him out and trampled his flute into little pieces. "Good! I should like to see you play the flute now!"
Poor Aniz left the landlord's house and, with tears trickling down his face, wandered through the streets.
He chanced to meet an old man. "Hello! What's the trouble, young fellow? Who are your parents? Why are you out here all on your own, crying?" the old man asked, stroking Aniz's head.
"Grandpa! I am a shepherd. My name is Aniz. The landlord beat me, drove me out and trampled my lovely flute to pieces..." Aniz began crying again.
"Don't cry, Aniz," said the old man kindly. "Come along and stay with me! I shall show you a way to avenge yourself." He took Aniz to his home. There he used a length of bamboo to make him a new flute that was much better than his old one. He taught him how to play it, and after his lessons with the old man, Aniz could play more beautifully than ever. This time it was not just people who enjoyed his playing; even the various animals in the forest came and sat round him, listening to him quietly and never wanting to leave. As time passed, Aniz and the animals became close friends.
One day the landlord summoned his sons and said, "Last night I dreamt of a beautiful rabbit, white as snow, with a black spot on the top of its head. I liked the look of it very much. You must try your best to catch it for me in the forest."
"Father, we have never even heard of such a rabbit!" his sons replied. "Where can we go to catch it for you?"
"You hopeless creatures! Didn't you hear what I said just now?" cried the landlord in a temper. "Go and look for it. Whoever finds it will inherit all I have when I die."
The eldest son thought to himself, "I am the eldest. I should inherit father's property anyway, whether I catch the rabbit or not. But supposing they..." He stepped forward and said, "Brothers, let me go! I fear no danger, if only I can make father happy!"
He set off on his way looking around him carefully, and after a while an old man came towards him and asked, "Young man, where are you going?" The eldest son told him why he had come.
"Go to the forest then," said the old man, "and look for the rabbit! Aniz is tending my cattle there. Tell him what you want and he'll help you."
The eldest son went into the forest, found Aniz and asked him for his help. "Of course!" Aniz smiled, "I can help you to find the strange rabbit. Come and get it this evening. But you must bring with you a thousand strings of cash to pay for it."
The eldest son reckoned gleefully, "Compared with the property I am going to inherit, a thousand strings of cash are nothing!" In the evening he returned to the forest with the money and found Aniz sitting on a tree stump, playing his flute. All the little animals were squatting round him entranced, pricking up their ears to listen to the music. The eldest son saw the white rabbit among them at once. It really did have had a tiny black spot on the top of its head.
Aniz saw the rabbit too. He put down his flute, stretched out his hand, took hold of it by its long ears and handed it to the eldest son. "Here you are. Hold it tightly! If it escapes, it's none of my business."
The eldest son paid the money, thanked Aniz profusely and set off home with the little white rabbit. He was about to leave the forest when he heard Aniz playing the flute again. As soon as the rabbit heard the music, it burst from his hand and ran for all it was worth. The eldest son searched for it for a long time but could not find any trace of it. In the end he gave up and went to see Aniz again.
"The white rabbit has run away. What can I do?" he asked.
Aniz answered, "There is nothing I can do about it. Didn't I warn you a moment ago to hold it tightly? It's no use blaming me."
The eldest son had no alternative but to go home empty-handed and tell his story to the landlord.
The second son said, "Father, don't worry. I'll go and catch it tomorrow." Next day, the second son went to try his luck and met the same fate as his elder brother -- time wasted and another thousand strings of cash down the drain. On the third day, the youngest son went, but he fared no better.
It made the landlord very angry to watch his three sons lose three thousand strings of cash like this, without so much as a piece of fluff to show for it.
"You fools!" he cried. "You worthless pack of fools! Tomorrow I shall go and catch it myself!"
So the following day the landlord went into the forest. When Aniz spotted him, his eyes blazed with hatred. Before the landlord could open his mouth, Aniz took out his flute and began playing. All the beasts of the forest -- rabbits, bears, snakes, wolves, foxes and many different sorts of birds -- came and encircled the landlord. Terror drove the last drop of color from his cheeks. He fell to his knees in despair and entreated Aniz, "My lord, save me ! Save me!"
"Landlord! Do you remember Aniz? At one sound from my flute, these animals will eat you alive!"
"Alas... Ah! My lord! Don't treat me as once I treated you!" He lay prostrate at Aniz' feet and sobbed, "I promise to give you anything you want. Don't let them... I'm so scared...."
"Very well. I will spare your wretched life this once. But you must never bully poor folk again! If you don't turn over a new leaf, I won't be so easy on you next time. And when you get home, you must give half of all your worldly goods to the poor villagers. Is that clear?"
"Yes! Yes!" The landlord rose to his feet and fled in abject terror. He followed Aniz' instructions and distributed half of his estate to the poor. That made Aniz more popular than ever.
The Magic Moneybag
Long, long ago there was a young couple who lived in a small thatched hut in a gully. They were so poor that every day they had to cut two bundles of firewood and carry them to market on their backs.
One day, the young couple came back from the mountain carrying the firewood. They put one bundle in the courtyard and planned to sell it at the market the next day to buy rice. The other bundle they kept in the kitchen for their own use. When they woke up the following morning, the bundle in the courtyard had mysteriously disappeared. There was nothing to do but to sell the bundle that they had kept for themselves.
That same day, they cut another two bundles of firewood as usual. They put one bundle in the courtyard for market and kept the other bundle for their own use. But the following morning, the bundle in the courtyard had vanished again. The same thing happened on the third and fourth day as well, and the husband began to think there was something strange going on.
On the fifth day, he made a hollow in the bundle of firewood in the courtyard and hid himself inside it. From the outside it looked just the same as before. At midnight an enormous rope descended from the sky, attached itself to the bundle and lifted it up into the sky, with the woodcutter still inside it.
On his arrival in heaven, he saw a kindly looking, white-haired old man coming in his direction. The old man untied the bundle and when he found the man inside it, he asked, "Other people only cut one bundle of firewood a day. Why do you cut two?"
The woodcutter made a bow and replied, "We are penniless. That's why my wife and I cut two bundles of firewood a day. One bundle is for our own use and the other we carry to the market. With it we can buy rice to make porridge."
The old man chuckled and said to the woodcutter in a warmhearted tone of voice, "I've known for a long time that you are a decent couple and lead a frugal and hardworking life. I shall give you a piece of treasure. Take it back with you and it will provide you with your livelihood."
As soon as he had finished speaking, there came seven fairies who led the young man into a magnificent palace. Its golden eaves and gleaming roof tiles shone so brightly that the moment he entered; he could no longer open his eyes. Inside the palace there were many kinds of rare objects on display that he had never seen before. Moneybags of all shapes and sizes hung in one room. The fairies asked him, "Which one do you like best? Choose whichever you please, and take it home."
The woodcutter was beside himself with joy, "I'd like that moneybag, the one full of precious things. Give me that round, bulging one." He chose the biggest one and took it down.
Just at this moment, the white-haired old man came in and, with a stern expression on his face, said to the young man, "You cannot take that one. I'll give you an empty one. Every day you can take one tael of silver out of it, and no more." The woodcutter reluctantly agreed. He took the empty moneybag and, clinging onto the enormous rope, he was lowered to the ground.
Once home, he gave the moneybag to his wife and told her the whole story. She was most excited. In the daytime they went as usual to cut firewood. But from then on, whenever they returned home after dark, they would close the door and open the moneybag. Instantly, a lump of silver would roll jingling out. When they weighed it on the palm of their hand, they found it to be exactly one tael. Every day one tael of silver and no more came rolling out of the bag. The wife saved them up one by one.
Time went slowly by. One day the husband suggested, "Let's buy an ox."
The wife didn't agree. A few days later, the husband suggested again, "How about buying a few acres of land?"
His wife didn't agree with that either. A few more days elapsed, and the wife herself proposed, "Let's build a little thatched cottage."
The husband was itching to spend all the money they had saved and said, "Since we have so much money in hand, why don't we build a big brick house?"
The wife could not dissuade her husband and reluctantly went along with his idea.
The husband spent the money on bricks, tiles and timber and on hiring carpenters and masons. From that time on, neither of them went into the mountain to cut firewood any more. The day came when their pile of silver was almost exhausted, but the new house was still unfinished. It had long been in the back of the husband's mind to ask the moneybag to produce more silver. So without his wife's knowledge, he opened the bag for a second time that day. Instantly, another lump of snow-white silver rolled jingling out of the bag onto the ground. He opened it a third time and received a third lump.
He thought to himself, "If I go on like this, I can get the house finished in no time!" He quite forgot the old man's warning. But when he opened the bag for the fourth time, it was absolutely empty. This time not a scrap of silver came out of it. It was just an old cloth bag. When he turned to look at his unfinished brick house, that was gone as well. There before him was his old thatched hut.
The woodcutter felt very sad. His wife came over and consoled him, "We can't depend on the magic moneybag from heaven. Let's go back to the mountain to cut firewood as we did before. That's a more dependable way of earning a living."
From that day on, the young couple once again went up to the mountain to cut firewood and led their old, hardworking life.
The Gold Colt and the Fire Dragon Shirt
There once lived a landlord who loved money as he loved his own life. In his eyes the smallest coin seemed as large as a millstone. He was always on the lookout for some new way of making money and was very mean to his peasant tenants. They all called him "Skinflint."
One year a long spell of drought devastated the area, ruining the entire crop. The peasants, who were used to living from year to year, and never had a reserve of grain to fall back on, were reduced to eating bark and roots to survive, and now even these were all consumed. Starvation drove them to ask for a loan of grain from Skinflint, whose granaries, big and small, were filled to overflowing. Although the grain was sprouting and the flour was swarming with maggots, he was such a miser that he wouldn't part with a single speck of either. His peasants went away seething with anger and resentment, and resolved to find some way to teach him a lesson.
They put their heads together and came up with rather a good plan. They collected together a few tiny silver ingots and also managed to procure a scraggy little horse. They stuffed the silver up the horse's behind and bunged it up with a wad of cotton floss. Then they selected one of their number, a peasant whose gift of gab had earned him the nickname "Bigmouth" and who was credited with the power of talking the dead out of their graves. They sent him to Skinflint with the horse. Seeing them enter, Skinflint flew into a rage. His whiskers bristled.
He glowered at Bigmouth, pointing at him angrily and shouting, "You damn fool! You have fouled my courtyard enough. Get out of my sight!"
"Please keep your voice down, Master," said Bigmouth with a cunning smile. "If you frighten my horse and make him bolt, you'd have to sell everything you've got to make good the damage."
"There you go, Bigmouth, bragging again!" said Skinflint. "What can this scraggy little horse of yours possibly be worth?"
To which Bigmouth replied, "Oh, nothing, except that when he moves his bowels silver and gold will come out."
In an instant Skinflint's anger evaporated and he hastened to ask, "Where did you get hold of this beast?"
"I dreamt a dream the night before last," began Bigmouth. "I met a white-bearded old man who said to me, 'Bigmouth, the colt who used to carry gold and silver ingots for the God of Wealth has been demoted and sent down to Earth. Go to the northeast and catch him. When he moves his bowels, silver and gold come out. If you catch him, you'll make a fortune.' Then the old man gave me a push and I woke up. I didn't take it seriously, thinking it to be nothing but a dream. I turned over and fell asleep again. However, as soon as I closed my eyes, the old man reappeared and urged me to hurry up. 'The horse will fall into another's hands if you delay!' he said, and gave me another push, which woke me up again. I put on my clothes and ran out. In the northeast I saw a ball of fire. When I ran over, sure enough, there was the colt, grazing contentedly. So I led him home. The following day, I set up an incense burner and as soon as I lit the incense, the colt began to produce silver ingots from its behind."
"Did it really?" asked Skinflint eagerly.
Bigmouth replied, "There's an old proverb which says, 'The proof of the pudding is in the eating.' If you don't believe me, allow me to arrange a demonstration." He asked Skinflint to set up a burner and light some incense. Meanwhile, he himself held a plate below the horse's behind. He secretly pulled out the wad of cotton and the tiny silver ingots fell jingling onto the plate. On seeing the horse perform like this, Skinflint asked avidly, "How much does he produce a day?"
"Three or four taels a day for us less lucky folk," replied Bigmouth. "But the old man in my dream said that if he meets a really lucky person he produces thirty or forty."
Skinflint thought to himself, "I must be one of those. Supposing I get the horse, he is bound to produce at least twenty taels a day. That means six hundred taels a month and seven thousand two hundred taels a year."
The longer his sums became, the fonder he grew of the horse. He decided that he had to buy him, and talked it over with Bigmouth.
At first Bigmouth pretended to be unwilling. Skinflint tried again and again to persuade him and promised to pay any price he asked. In the end Bigmouth sighed and said, "Oh well, so be it. My luck is evidently worse than yours. I'll sell. But I don't want silver or gold, just give me thirty bushels of grain."
Skinflint considered the price very cheap and readily agreed. They made the exchange then and there.
Bigmouth hurried back with the grain and distributed it among his fellow peasants. They were all very happy to have it. Skinflint, for his part, felt even happier to have the horse, and just couldn't stop chuckling to himself. He was afraid of losing the horse, however, and tried to tie him up in a great many places, but none of them seemed safe enough. Finally, he tied him up in his own living room. He laid a red carpet on the floor and set up an incense burner. The whole family watched the colt in eager anticipation, expecting him any minute to start producing silver and gold.
They waited till midnight. Suddenly the horse opened his hind legs. Skinflint sensed that he was about to "produce." He quickly brought over a lacquered tray and held it right below the horse's behind. He waited for ages, but nothing happened. Skinflint was so anxious by now that he lifted the horse's tail, bent down and peered upwards to keep an eye on further developments. There was a sudden "splash," and before Skinflint could do anything about it, the horse had splattered him all over his face. The "liquid gold" ran down the back of his head and down his neck, covering his whole body. The stench was so vile that Skinflint started jumping and shouting and then felt nauseous and began to vomit again and again. Next the horse urinated in great quantity, ruining the lovely red carpet. The whole room stunk to high heaven. Skinflint realized that he had been cheated, and in a fit of rage, he killed the horse.
The following morning, first thing, he sent some of his hired thugs to track down Bigmouth. But the peasants had already hidden him away. Skinflint's men searched for him high and low but always came back empty handed, to his fury and exasperation. There was nothing he could do except send out spies and wait.
In the twinkling of an eye, it was winter. One day Bigmouth failed to hide properly and was caught by one of Skinflint's henchmen. When he came face to face with his foe, Skinflint gnashed his teeth with rage and without saying a word, had Bigmouth locked up in his mill. He had him stripped of all his padded clothes and left him with nothing but a cotton shirt, hoping to freeze him to death. It was the very coldest season of the year. Outside, snow was falling and a bitter wind was blowing. Bigmouth sat huddled up in a corner, trembling with cold. As the cold was becoming unbearable, an idea suddenly occurred to him. He stood up at once, heaved a millstone up off the ground and began walking back and forth with it in his arms. He soon warmed up and started sweating. He passed the entire night in this way, walking around with the millstone and occasionally stopping for a rest.
Early next morning Skinflint thought Bigmouth must surely be dead. But when he unlocked the mill door, to his great surprise, he found Bigmouth squatting there in a halo of steam, his whole body in a muck of sweat. Bigmouth stood up at once and begged him, "Master, take pity on me! Quick, lend me a fan! Or I shall die of heat!"
"How come you are so hot?" asked the dumbfounded Skinflint.
"This shirt of mine is a priceless heirloom," Bigmouth explained. "It's called the Fire Dragon Shirt. The colder the weather, the greater the heat it gives off."
"When did you get hold of it?"
"Originally it was the pelt cast off by the Lord Fire Dragon. Then the Queen of the Western Heaven wove it into a shirt. Later on, it somehow fell into the possession of my ancestors and became a family heirloom. It has been passed down from generation to generation until finally it came into my hands."
Seeing how unbearably hot he was, Skinflint swallowed the whole story. He was now set on getting hold of this Fire Dragon Shirt and had completely forgotten the episode of the gold colt. He insisted on bartering his fox-fur gown for the shirt. Bigmouth absolutely refused at first, but when Skinflint added fifty taels of silver to the price, he said with a sigh, "Alas, what a worthless son am I, to have thus lost my family's treasured heirloom!"
Having said this, he took off his shirt and put on Skinflint's fox-fur gown. Then he pocketed the fifty taels of silver and strode away.
Skinflint's joy knew no bounds. Several days later his father-in-law's birthday came round. In order to show off his new acquisition, he went to convey his birthday greetings wearing nothing but the Fire Dragon Shirt. In the middle of the journey, a fierce wind came up and it began to snow. Skinflint felt unbearably cold. The place was far from village or inn, and there was no shelter of any sort to be found. He glanced over his shoulder and saw a tree by the roadside, half of which had burnt away in a fire. It was hollow in the middle and the space was wide enough for a person to stand up in. Skinflint hurried over and hid inside. Shortly afterwards his whole body became numb with cold, and soon he died.
Several days later the family found his body. They knew that he had been cheated again by Bigmouth, and sent men to seize him.
"My precious shirt burns whenever it comes into contact with kindling, grass or timber," explained Bigmouth. "The master must have been burned to death in this way. I am not to blame. I never told him to hide inside a tree. If you look, you will see that half of the tree has been burnt away." When the family examined the tree and saw that it was indeed as Bigmouth had described, they had no choice but to set him free.