Chinese Culture – Mysterious China Blog Welcome to Mysterious China Blog. The blog's main purpose is to let the world know the ancient, civilized and mysterious China. Mysterious China blog introduces all about China, including Chinese history, Chinese culture, Chinese scenery, China travel tour, Chinese food, China today, Chinese kung fu, Chinese legend and Beijing Olympics. Sun, 16 Aug 2015 22:21:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Chinese Zodiac Culture Sun, 16 Aug 2015 22:21:24 +0000 chinese-zodiac-culture

For a long time there has been a special relationship between humans and the 12 zodiacal animals. People under this rat sign are usually smart and willing to accumulate wealth and to take efforts to be successful. The ox is sedulous, simple, honest, and straightforward. Tigers, considered to be brave, cruel, forceful and terrifying, are the symbol of power and lordliness. People bom in the year of the tiger are tolerant, staunch, valiant, and respected. The rabbit has represented hope of the Chinese people for a long lime. People born under the sign of the rabbit are gentle, sensitive, modest, and merciful and have strong memory. The dragon enjoys a very high reputation in Chinese culture. People bom in the year of the snoke often hove a good temper, a skill of communicating, and a gracious morolity, but they ore likely to be jeolous ond suspicious. People bom in the year of the horse hove ingenious communicating techniques ond in their community they olways want to be in the limelight. People under the sign of the sheep are tender, polite, filial, clever, and kind-hearted. Most people bom in the Year of the Monkey are lively, flexible, and, versatile. The rooster is almost the epitome of fidelity and punctuality. The dog is the human’s friend who can understand the human’s spirit and obey its moster, whether he is wealthy or not. People bom in the Year of the Pig are honest and fronk.

The Origin of Chinese Zodiac

In ancient times, our ancestors counted the years with 10 celestial stems and 12 terrestrial branches. Although this was scientific, most people were illiterate and could not memorize or calculate easily. Thus the animals that influenced people’s lives were chosen to symbolize the terrestrial branches: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

For a long time there has been a special relationship between humans and the 12 zodiacal animals. Humans admired them, took them as totems, and in the artistic field, those animal signs were among the features of those themes. This can be reflected in ortisans’ paper-cut works, NewYoor pictures, pottery and bronze wares, especially on the bronze mirrors before the appearance of gloss ones, on which elaborate forms showed croolivity ond posslon as well as wishes for a good life.

Charaeter of Persons under the Rat Sign

Though in people’s eyes, the rot is not adoroble, ond even some Chinese soyings thot reloted to it have almost derogatory meanings, it ranged as the hood of the Chinese zodiac. It was recognized as an animal with spirit, wit, alertness, delicacy, flexibility and vitality. People under this rot sign are usually smart and willing to accumulate wealth and to take efforts to be successful. Throughout their life, there will be many other people who can bring great fortune to them. Thus despite timidity, most of them are happy and harmonious with others.

Character of Persons under the Dragon Sign

The dragon enjoys a very high reputation in Chinese culture. It is the token of authorily, dignily, Honor, success, luck and capocily. In ancient China, a dragon was thought to speed across the sky with divine power. Emperors entitled themselves exclusively as “dragon”; their thrones were called “dragon thrones”, their clothes “dragon gowns”.

People under the sign of the dragon are lively, energetic and fortunate. They often can be leaders and try to go for perfection. When they meet with difficulties, they are not discouraged. But they are a little arrogant, and impatient, and women are over-confident. If they overcome these defects, they can have a brighter future.

The Use of Zodiac Animal Signs

A Chinese horoscope may predict that a person born in the Year of the Horse is “cheerful, popular and quick to compliment others”. The year of a person’s birth is considered the primary foctor in determining a person’s personalily, physical and mental attributes, abilily and level of success and happiness throughout his or her lifetime. Events and occurrences in a given year are influenced by the nature of that year’s animal.

Animal signs also have a useful social function for determining someone’s age. Instead of asking directly how old a person is, the Chinese often ask about his or her animal sign, which places a person within a cycle of 12 years. This is a popular way to socialize.

Chlna’s Horse Culture

With the development of the horse breeding industry, abundant experiences were accumulated throughout the ages, The most famous master was named Bole ,and others like him that followed also adopted the name, The word” Bole” became a Chinese idiom, The monograph on distinguishing fine breeds of horses by Bole is the earliest of its kind in the world. Other monographs on the subject also appeared during the Tang Dynasly.

Horses is China are mainly distributed in the northem regions, including the vast area of Xinjiang and Qinghai in the west of lanzhou, Inner Mongolia, Northeast China and the northern part of North China, the mountainous regions in Sichuan Province, Yunnan and Guizhou Plateau. The number of horses in Northeast, Northwest and North China accounts for three-fourths of the country’s total.

Chinese Digital Culture Thu, 13 Aug 2015 21:56:57 +0000 chinese-digital-culture

Just like people all over the world, people in China traditionally associate luck with various things and numbers. The Chinese zodiac is also related to luck numbers, as well as “feng shui”, a set of principle to the layout of fumiture and the structure of the house. Numbers are, in fact, originally coming from the early hunting practice. People believe that some numbers can bring fortvne and luck. Influenced by religion and the Taoism, the Han people believe that even numbers are lucky numbers. The Han people worship” ten”, the top of even number, which implies “perfect and satisfaction” . People’s love for “ten”can be traced back to the times of Spring and Autumn and Warring States. Today” ten” is often used to sum up the work of a year. In expressions, “thousand” doesn’t mean the exact number, but again it means “a lot”. Similarly, there are many collocated saying with “thousand”, and “thousand” often goes together with “hundred”. In the minds of Chinese people, “zero” is the same as the Arabic number “0”, which means” nothing”.

The Origin of Chinese Numbers

Numbers came into use about 5 000 years ago in China. From “1” to “10”to hundred, thousand, ten thousand, the number system was complete even in Shang Dynasty and the decimal system even started since that lime.

Numbers are, in fact, originally coming from the early hunting practice. The ancients worship numbers as they do to the language, so numbers are always culturally connotative. People believe that some numbers can bring fortune and luck, and some may bring misfortune and even disaster to them. In China, the mystery of numbers has been much influenced by the concept of Yin and Yang. Ancients divide the ten numbers into two groups: the odd numbers are Yang, implying “the Heaven, the mole”; while the even numbers are yin, implying” the Earth, the female”.

Eyen Numbers and Odd Numbers

As a rule in day-to-day life in Chino, it is customary to regard even numbers os being more auspicious than odd numbers. In Chino, traditionally gifts are given as a pari of the celebration for all occasions. Thus, guests will always give even-numbered presents. As the number two, usually suggests germination and harmony, at wedding celebrations, clecoralions are invariably setout in pairs: a pair of red candles, a pair of pillows, and couplets hung on two sides of the hall. Six, pronounced as “liu”, conveys indirectly its homophony’s meaning- Do everything smoothly; and. eight in Chinese has a similar sound to “Fa”, which means to make a fortune. All business men favor this number very much. However four, is tha exception to the even number rule as it sounds like “Si” (death). So when people choose cor license togs, phone numbers, and room numbers, they try to ovoid it.

Chinese Number “one”

The Han People worship “yi” since ancient times. They hold the belief that all things on earth comes from “yi”, becouse “yi”has the similar meaning with “yuan”, “Shi”, “chu” ,meaning ” the source”. The Taoist believes that “One makes two, and two make three, and three make everything on earth. “”yi” sometimes means compiete. For example, “alltha things”, “yi” often goes together with other words expressing “quantity”, but means whole or complete”. For example, with mud all over the body”, lead a poor life the whole lifetime”. Even when “yi” goes with tittle “small” or other words expressing “small amount or little quantily”, “yi” again means “whole, complete”, For example, “not soiled by a speck of dust” ,”not be the least negligent”, etc, According to the latest Chinese dictionary, the collocated expressions beginning with the word “yi” has a list of more than 640 entries.

Chinese Number “Ten”

Today “ten” is often used to sum up the work of a year. For example, “Ten Best Singers of the Year”, “Ten Best National Sport Star of the Year” “Ten Most Important National News in 2004” ,and “Ten Most Important World News in 2004”, etc. When the new China was founded in 1949, there was “a 1 O-year anniversary celebration” for the founding of the nation in 1959, which was” big and grand”. The Han people do things in that way because they like round number and round figure, which in their minds means “perfect and satisfaction”.

Chinese Solar Terms Tue, 30 Jun 2015 17:10:05 +0000 chinese-solar-terms

Solar Terms is a calendar of twen1y-four periods and climate to govem agricultural arrangements in ancient China and fundions even now. Today the year comprises 24 Solar Terms. These solar terms hove meaningful titles. In each month there are often two solar terms. The Winter Solstice indicates the period of winter and people always want to keep themselves warm. The Beginning of SUmmer will bring abundant rain and lead directly to the harvest. The Beginning of Spring symbolizes the start of a lunar year and warmer weather. The Clear and Bright Festival is a moment of importance for it is the day on which to worship ancestors. Greater Snow is the day around which we will have dancing snow. For farmers heavy snow foretells a good harvest and so is regarded as auspicious.

A Brief Introduction of Solar Terms

Solar Terms is a calendar of twenty-four periods and climate to govern agricultural arrangements in ancient China and functions even now. As we have mentioned the Chinese calendar is a lunisolar calendar, it takes into account the longest and the shortest days and the two days each year when the length of the day equals that of the night. In other words, the significant days are the Summer and Winter Solstices and the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes.

What Are “Jie Qi” and “Zhong Qi”

These twenty-four solar terms each suggests the position of the sun every time when it travels 15 degrees on the ecliptic longitude. In each month there are often two solar terms; the first one is generally named “Jie Qi” and the other one “Zhong Qi”. Their dates are mirrored by the Gregorian calendar, so we find that during the first half of a year “Jie Qi” is around the 6th day of a solar month, “Zhong Qi” around the 21 st; in the second half of a year, “Jie Qi” is around the 8th and “Zhong Qi” around the 23rd.

The Winter Solstice

The Winter Solstice indicates the period of winter and people always want to keep themselves warm. In the northern China where the weather can be bitterly cold, our ancestors lacked sufficient warm clothing and would eat hot food to keep warm. Gradually there came a saying that only by eating dumplings can you avoid becoming so frozen that your ears drop off. Thus this custom is still widespread and on that doy we eat steaming hot and delicious dumplings. In China we have a custom of counting nine (“Shu Jiu”), that is, from the Winter Solstice people calculated the number of days until a change of climate came about. Usually nine days is a sectlon, there are a total of nine sections from the first Jiu to the ninth Jiu. In the folldore there is a widely prevailing ballad the general meaning of which is that: in the first and second Jiu (a section of nine days), we can’t take our hands outside; in the third and fourth Jiu we walk on the ice; in the fifth and sixth Jiu we see the light green willow; in the seventh Jiu our river thaws and in the eighth swallows come; in the ninth cattle begin to work.

The Beginning of Summer

The Beginning of Summer will bring abundant rain and lead directly to the harvest. Thus an agricultural adage is that “no rain, no rice” and “no rain, we will hang up the hoe.” In imperial China the emperors would perform a special rite to greet summer on that day. As the hot weather would cause people 10 lose weight and become exhausted it became the custom to weigh and drink tea as this was considered a guard against the torrid weather.

Chinese Lunar Calendar Sun, 28 Jun 2015 22:28:54 +0000 chinese-lunar-calendar

In English, yin Ii means “the lunar or agricultural calendar.” Yin Ii actually contains a mixture of solar and lunar elements. In China, many traditional festivities in a year are usually calculated according to the lunar calendar. The Chinese lunar New Year-known as Spring FestivQI today in China is the biggest holiday in China. The Chinese lunar calendar is the longest chronological record in history dating back to 2 600 BC. New Year Day can fall anywhere between late January and the middle of February. Each lunar year is associated with one of 12 zodiac animals. Each lunar year is given the name of one of these animals: the ral, the ox, the tiger, the hare, the dragon, the snoke, the horse, the goat, the monkey, the chicken, the dog and the pig. Each Chinese month starts on the day of the new moon. The New Year celebrations last for 15 days, from the new moon to the full moon.

The Origin of Solar Calendar and Lunar Calendar

Although Chino has adapted the Gregorian calendar in common with most other countries in the world for official and business purposes, the tra, ditional Chinese calendar continues to define the dales of festivals and is used for horoscopes. The calendar has a Very long history going back to the Xia (21st century BC-16th Century BC) and Shang Dynasty (16th century BC-11th century BC). It is based on a unique combinalion of astronomy and geography through observation and exploration. II is also referred to as the Lunar Calendar, Yin calendar, Xia calendar or the old Chinese calendar.

Following its creation in the Xia Dynasty, succeeding reigns continued to use the calendar but modified it from time to time. The Han Dynasty rulers instituted the Taichu calendar, while during Tang Dynasty the Huangji calendar was introduced and it was adopted by Japan, Korea and Vietnam. With the founding of the Republic of China in 1912, the Gregorian calendar was brought into use. Although ethnic groups such as Tibet and Dai have their own calendars, in essence they resemble that of the Han people. Islam reckons its own religion festivals according to the Islamic Calendar.

The calendar has links with natural sciences such as agriculture and astronomy, solar terms, the four seasons and traditional festivals such as the Spring Festival. There are links also with the FIVe Elements’ of which the ancient Chinese believed the physical universe to be composed namely, metal, wood, wood, water, fire and earth. Finally, of course, is sheng xlao – the symbolic animals associated with each year on a 12-year cycle.

Chinese Lunar Calendar

The Chinese lunar calendar is the longest chronolagical record in history dating back to 2600 BC. Like the Gregorian calendar, the Chinese Lunar Calendar is a yearly one, but the start of the lunar year is based on the cycles of the moon so that New Year Day can fall anywhere be1ween late January and the middle of February. Each lunar year is associated with one of 12 zodiac animals.

What Will People Do at Lunar Year

Each Chinese month starts on the day of the new moon. And the full moon comes on the 15th day of the month. The New Year always starts between January 21 and February 20. On the last day of the lunar year, there is a big family dinner. All members of the family except married daughters try to be present at this meal, even of they have to travel many miles to reach the home of their parents. Old quarrels are forgotten, and everybody is happy. After the dinner, the children keep awake to welcome the New Year.

Chinese Marriage Customs Tue, 10 Feb 2015 16:06:12 +0000 chinese-marriage-customs

Chinese marriage was systemized into custom in the Warring Stales Period. The Wedding leiter refers to the document which will be prepared and presented to the bride’s family on the day of the wedding to confirm and commemorate the formal acceptance of the bride into the bridegroom’s family. It was customary for the girl’s family to distribute the bridal cakes they received from the boy’s family to friends and relatives. Red is the traditional Chinese symbol of joy and Is a theme repeated in the wedding clothing and other ritual wedding objects. Symbolism plays a role in Chinese weddings as it does in the wedding traditions of other countries. On the day after the wedding, the bride awoke early to honor the ancestors. Traditionally, the newlyweds are to retum to visit the bride’s parents one or three days after the wedding. Traditional marriage customs lost its popularity due to the collapse of feudal marriage custom and its complexity. Now, traditional marriage custom revives in some ploces and attracts will-be-couples.

The Meaning of Wedding

Ever since ancient times, there has been a saying that the three most delightful moments in one’s life come with success in the imperial examination, marriage and the birth of a son. From the Oin (221BC-206BC) to Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties, the feudal system dominated over two thousands years. During this’ period, the importance of geHing married was for more than that a person found his beHer half. For the male side, it determined the prosperity and even the future fame of their family; while for the female side, it meant that parents lost the chance of seeing their daughter for a long time. Thus to choose on ideal partner was vital for both the individual and the family.

Conditions Required in a Feudal Marriage

In feudal sociely, a marriage would be decided not by a young couple’s love, but by their parents’ desires. Only after a matchmaker’s introduction and when parents considered the two family conditions were similar and could be matched, would the marriage procedures go forward. Conditions that should be taken into consideration included wealth and social status. If a boy’s family was well-off or an official family, his parents would never permit him to marry a girl from a poor family. Essential to the marriage process were the commonly recognized” three Letters and six etiquettes”. The three letters were the betrothal letter, the gift letter with a gifts list and the wedding letter used on the day the bridegroom met his bride at her home. Six etiquettes then led to the final wedding ceremony.

Paper-Cut in Wedding

At wedding ceremony, paper-cut “Fish playing around lotus,”” Fish biting lotus,”” Lotus bearing seeds” and “Happy dolls” (baby with coiled hair holding a pair of fish) are pasted on the ceiling of the bridal chamber.

Fish, being a proliferous legendary animal, is often used to symbolize having multiple children. A yin-yang paired fish became a cultural code in Chinese folk art works.

Procession from the Groom’s House to Obtain the Bride

Because traditions varied from region to region, there were some cases in which the groom slops to have dinner with the bride’s family. There he would receive a pair of chopsticks and 1wo wine goblets wrapped in red paper. These gifts were symbolic of his receiving the joy of the family in the person of their daughter. In some regions, the groom would be presented with other symbolic gifts such as sweet longan tea, two hard-boiled eggs in syrup and transparent noodles. Yet another regianal custom was the groom’s given soup with a soft-boiled egg. He was expected to break the yolk of the egg as a symbol of breaking the bride’s lies with her family.

The Wedding Ceremony

The wedding ceremony itself was simple. Bride and groom were led to the family altar, to pay homage to Heaven and Earth, the family ancestors and the Kitchen God. Tea, with two lotus seeds or two red dates in the cup, was offered to the groom’s parents. Bride and groom bowed to each other and the marriage ceremony was completed. In some regions both also drank wine from the some goblet, ate sugar molded in the form of a rooster, and shared the wedding dinner.

Red in Marriage

To the Chinese, red is the color of happiness, success, good fortune and prosperity. This tradition is thought to date back to prehistoric times, when early humans worshipped the sun. Red, therefore, is the dominant color at a traditional Chinese wedding-the hall is covered with red papercuts of the Chinese character for “double happiness”, the bride wears a scarlet wedding dress and the bridegroom pins a red flower to his lapel. This not only odds a sense of merriment to the occasion, it also indicates the couple’s desire for a happy, prosperous marriage.

Chinese Funeral Customs Sun, 08 Feb 2015 00:05:38 +0000 chinese-funeral-customs

On the passing away of the father, the eldest son becomes the head of the family. Leadership passes to the eldest son of the eldest son or the grandson of the father. The funeral ceremony, traditionally lasts over 49 days, the first seven days being the most important. The burial of the dead (cremation is traditionally uncommon) is a matter taken very seriously in Chinese societies. Improper funeral arrangements can wreak ill fortune and disaster upon the family of the deceased. According to Chinese custom, an older person should not show respect to a younger. If a baby or child dies no funeral rites are performed, as respect cannot be shown to a younger person: the child is burled in silence. Funeral rites for on elderly person must follow the prescribed form and convey relevant respect. A traditional Chinese coffin is rectangular with three “humps”, but it is more usual in modem times for a westem style coffin to be used. When a death occurs in a family all statues of deities in the house are covered with red paper (so as not to be exposed to the body or coffin) and mirrors removed from sight, as it is believed that one who sees the reflection of a coffin in a mirror will shortly have a death in his/her family. During the wake, the family do not wear jewellery or red clothing, red being the color of happiness. It is customary for blood relatives and daughters-in-law to wail and cry during mourning as a sign of respect and loyalty to the deceased. The length of the wake depends upon the financial resources of the family, but is at least a day to allow time for prayers to be offered. The coffin is not carried directly to the cemetery but is first placed on the side of the road outside the house, where more prayers are offered and papers scattered. A piece of colored cloth is worn on the sleeve of each of the children, blue by the grandchildren and green by the great-grandchildren. Chinese belief holds that seven days after the death of a family member the soul of the deported will return to his/her home.

A Brief Introduction of Death in China

The keynote for funeral and memorial service is spiritual eternity and continuation of life after death. Death at old age is a normal course of life referred to as “passing away” or” return to heaven” ,which means bock to mother’s body of the universe. Wedding and funeral are “red and white happy events” in Chinese culture.

Form of the Funeral Ceremony

The funeral ceremony, traditionally lasts over 49 days, the first seven days being the most Important. Prayers are said every seven days for 49 days if the family can offord it. If the family is in poor circumstances, the period may be shortened to from 3 10 7 days. Usually, it is the responsibility of the daughters to bear the funeral expenses. The head of the family should be present for, at least the first and, possibly the second, prayer ceremony. The number of ceremonies conducted is dependent on the financial situation of the family. The head of the family should also be present for the burial or the cremation.

The Burial

Chinese cemeteries are generally located on hillsides as this is thought to improve the feng shuL The further up the hill the grove is, the better its situation is thought to be. When the procession arrives at the graveside it is token down from the hearse and, again, all present turn away from the coffin, and also turn away when it is lowered into the grave. Family members and other relatives throw a handful of earth into the grove before it is filled. After the funeral, all dothes wom by the moumers will be burned in order to avoid the bad luck associated with death. After the coffin is buried, the keeper of the cemetery will also offer prayers for the deceased. Family members and relatives are presented with a red packet (a sign of gratitude from the deceased family, and the money contained in it must be spent) and a white towel, also as a sign of gratitude but also for funeral guests to wipe off perspiration.

Folk Custom in Modem Funeral

Modem funeral and memorial service have changed the old custom in many ways. Origami and other imitation articles are no longer used. Wreath is used for sacrificial burials, which is seen as sun flower; and instead of making paper posts, people now use ever green cypress twig to symbolize the tree of life. II is a different art form, but the same cultural implication.

The Chinese Name Culture Fri, 30 Jan 2015 18:37:04 +0000 the-chinese-name-culture

In China, most people’s names have two parts, the family names and the given names. In ancient China, however, naming was very complicated and involved a lot of things, such as the name of the tribe and the place where a person lived. The purpose of adopting xing was to clarify one’s race, ancestry and to determine whether it was appropriate for one person to marry another. Ancient Chinese people knew very well that marriage between close relatives might breed unhealthy and less intelligent offsprings. Baijia Xing (One Hundred Surnames) ,a book complied in the North Song Dynasty, listed 472 surnames, beginning with Zhao, Qian, Sun and Li. There were 19 most popular Han surnames, and people with the 19 surnames accounted for 55.6% of China’s total population. In ancient China, ming and zi were different from each other. It is said that the original pu~se of giving each person a name was for convenience. The purpose of having zi is to get respect from other people. Ancient Chinese people’s ming and zl were often related and they complemented each other. Hao was a person’s complimentary address or honorific title, which is similar to today’s pseudonym. The practice of having hao did not become popular until after the Tang Dynasty. People got their hao either from themselves or from other people. After the Song Dynasty, it became popular for scholars to address each other with their hao, while their nomes were seldom used. The three most common family names are Zhang, Wang and Li. As given names, all Chinese traditionally received a “milk name” at birth, and a ” formal name”upon entering school.

The Formation of Chinese Names

In China, most people’s names have two parts, the family names and the given names. One person may have different names. For example, when they are very young at home, they usually have pel names. In school and society they use their formal names. If someone is a writer, he or she has a pen name. Mosl of Ihe names have special meanings. Some show their parents wishes. Girls’ names show that their parents want them to be nice.

Chinese Common Used Sumames

There were not many matriarchal tribes in ancient China, in other words, there were not many different xing, therefore only a small number of today’s xing (surnames) were passed down from pure ancient xing. Based on The Spring and Autumn Annals, Gu Yanwu sorted out 22 ancient Surnames; and by studying ancient Chinese documents, Zhang Taiyan and other scholars found another 59 ancient Surnarnes. Altogether no more than 81 Surnames.

The Origin of Chinese Names

It is said that the original purpose of giving each person a name was for convenience. Ancient people found that whenever it was dark, they couldn’t see each other and they couldn’t lell who’s who. Each person was given a name, so that they could address each other easily, even in the dark. Later, people became more and more particular about their names. Under the influence of political, economic and other factors, people had different preferences at different period of time.

How to Address Chinese People

It is customary to address Chinese by their given name, using the title Miss, Mrs., or Mr. until persons become good friends and know other’s nicknames. There are a large range of official titles and formal address forms in daily use, especially occupation-linked titles such as doctor, professor, and mayor. Younger members address elder members according 10 their formal role within families such as elder brother, cousin, sister-in-law and so forth.

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The Culture of Chinese Clothing Mon, 03 Nov 2014 23:22:18 +0000 the-culture-of-chinese-clothing

Dress, or adornment culture is a culture formed in the course of protecting people’s bodies and beautifying their Images. Dress culture is characterized by distinctive development stages. Nowadays, the dress and adornments , even separate parts of garments, can find their prototype in ancient dress. From the Wei dynasty to the South and North dynasty , China was in a period of ethic merging. The dress of this period was characterized by diversified styles and obsolescence. Skirt-wearing was a fashion among women in the Tang Dynasty. There have been different customs between men’s dress and women’s dress in China.

There have been different customs between men’s dress and women’s dress in China. Originally, dress did not symbolize social status , but the, situation changed after class polarization. People usually wore different clothes on different occasions.

Ceremonial dress differs from practical dress as it only taters to the needs of social etiquette such as the mourning dress in ancient China, a purely ceremonial dress.

The development of chinese clothing

Chinese clothing saw a rapid development during the Wei, Jin, and Southern and Northern dynasties (220- 589). Some time before 265, the cultures and esthetic views of the peoples in north and south China merged because of the moves initiated by frequent wars. Many philosophical schools of thought influenced both people’s lives and the conceptions of clothing design.

The Tang Dynasty (618—907) wrote the most brilliant page in the history of Chinese clothing. People’s clothes were more varied than before because the state was more open to the outside world and people became more cosmopolitan in their thinking. The clothes for women could be called fashionable because they changed rapidly and were showy. When a new style came out, many people took to it.

About Clothes Texture

Clothes are different not because of lheir style and design, but because of the cloth texture too. With the development of silk dyeing industry, silk clothing is various in color and so they are called in many ways, such as “绢(iuan), 缣(iian), 素(su), 纨(wan), 纱(sha), 绡(xlao) , 绸(chou), 罗( luo) “, etc. These words tell how silk are made and dyed in various ways and, at the same time, show also the class difference when people are dressed in different silk.

Different Kinds of Ancient Clothes

Since remote ages, people usually wore different clothes on different occasions. So far as individual clothes wasconcemed, there were civilian clothes, working suit, ceremonial dress. And there were different ceremonial dress on different ceremonial occasions-such as wedding dress, mouming apparel, etc. Different clothes were also worn in different weathers such as urnbrella, parasols, alpine rush rain capes and bamboo hats. The dress custom defined by different occasions also restrained people’s behavior in their daily life. If people wore inappropriate, they might incurs blames for their inconsistency vvith customs. Changes occurred to the uses of this dress, such as a special rain cape and bamboo hats called suoyi and douil. The former used to be a rainproof cape, but later as it was mainly wom by fishermen, it gradually evolved info the career symbol of fishermen. The latter used to be a heat stroke proof utensils, later it was also used for rainproof.

Clothes and Wearer’s Position

Clothing in ancient China told something about the wearer’s position in their daily life. The color, fabric, and jewelry all had a meaning to the person. Also the type of jewelry a person wore showed what position they had in SOCiety. High ranking people wore the finest silk in pUblic. Peasants wore a long ,shirt like garment made of hemp fiber. Hemp is a rough fabric that is made of plant fibers. A man wore a hat in public almost always. The hat showed the man’s job and status in society. Fashions for the rich changed as the years went by, but the poor still had to wear the same clothing until recently. Women’s long hair had to be put in a knot type bun thing that the Chinese called a topknot that wos held in place by hair pins and other fancy hair ornaments. Also the wealthiest women wore very elaborate makeup.

The Change of Chinese Garments

Before the 1920s, women’s garments remained two-piece, with little difference from Qing Dynasty garments. Shortly after the Revolution of 1911, as more Chinese students studied in Japon, the influence of Japanese women’s wear on young Chinese women could be seen in a narrow, long blouse with a high collar and a long black skirt. Known as “modem garments, “these clothes were accompanied by little jewelry.

In the 1920s, Chinese women started to be conscious of “the beauty of curvaceousness, “and traditional straight, loose garments were replaced by close-fitting ones. Women of that period wore blouses narrow at the waistline, with small stand-up collars, sleeves reaching the elbows, and a curving hemline. The blouses were decorated on the collar, sleeves, front and hem. The skirts, which earlier hod been pleated and reached the feet, were not pleated and shorter, though the hem still fell below the knees. The skirts were also decorated along the hem, sometimes with colorful, sparkling jewelry.

Chlnese QiPao

The general characteristics of the early OiPao were a single piece of cloth that would cover the whole body, down to the feet. Around the neck, the collar would be high to help secure outfit. The materials was loose, with slits on the side only allow for easier movement.

While the Oing Dynasty fell, the center of Chinese fashion become Shanghai, where the Western influence was the highest. It was there that the form of OiPao we see most commonly today: slender fit and shorter sleeves, with two big slits at each side of the hem, for convenient movement, but now wonderfully display the slender legs of women. Simplicity is one of its features from the collar, loop, chest, waist and hips to the lower hem. OiPao almost varies with a woman’s figure. Practicality always goes with beauty. like a Chinese woman’s temperament. OiPoo is elegant and gentle.

Traditional Chinese Gardens Sat, 09 Jun 2012 14:09:09 +0000 traditional-chinese-gardens

The Chinese garden developed as a synthesis of two concepts linked in Daoist philosophy – scenery and serenity: the contemplation of nature in isolated meditation led to enlightenment. Therefore, the educated and wealthy built natural-looking retreats for themselves within an urban environment. The garden creates poetic and painterly concepts, and aims to improve on nature by creating a picture that looks natural but is in fact entirely artificial. For this the Chinese garden designer used four main elements: rocks, water, plants, and architecture.


Using these four elements the garden is like a series of tableaux painted onto a roll of silk. One by one they come before your eyes just as the artist intended them to. As you follow the paths, you see just what he wanted you to see. These may be borrowed views, where the scenery from somewhere else is made to look part of the picture; hidden views, where you round a corner to come upon an unexpected scene; or contrasting views where leafy bamboo softens the view of rock, or opposite views as the yin element water balances the yang element rock.

Plants were used sparingly and usually for their symbolic qualities. Thus the lotus is purity, as it flowers from the mud; bamboo is resolve, it is difficult to break; plum is vigor, as it blooms in winter; the pine is longevity, for it is an evergreen; the imperial peony, is wealth.

An intrinsic part of the garden, these pavilions and waterside halls provide a place for contemplation and more importantly a specific viewpoint, as well as shelter from the sun and rain. They could range from open kiosks to multi-story halls and meeting rooms.


Dating as far back as the Tang dynasty (618–907), penjing is the art of creating a miniature landscape in a container. Not limited to small trees, the artist may use rocks and specially cultivated plants to portray a scene of natural beauty, as though it were a landscape painting. As well as being beautiful, the harmony in these creations is seen as the spiritual expression of man’s relationship with nature, the meeting of the temporal with the omnipresent. Often part of a Chinese garden will be devoted to the display or cultivation of this delicate art.

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Traditional Chinese Arts Sat, 09 Jun 2012 03:45:48 +0000 traditional-chinese-arts

The earliest Chinese artifacts were found in royal tombs. These include bronzes, ceramics, and jades from the Shang and Zhou period, as well as terracotta warriors from the Qin period. Of the many rich art forms that subsequently developed in China, painting and pottery are perhaps the most important, and have reached the highest aesthetic level. Other significant art forms include sculpture, notably the Buddhist sculpture of Western China. There are also many distinctive and popular forms of Chinese decorative art.


Since inventing porcelain, China developed a huge range of potting, decorating, and glazing techniques that were imitated from Europe to Japan. Chinese ceramics led the world in aesthetic taste and technique up until the demise of the Qing dynasty.


Considered the highest traditional art form, Chinese painting is executed on silk or paper using a brush and inks or watercolors. Landscape painting, associated with the scholar class, reached a highpoint in the Northern Song and Yuan periods. Huang Gongwang, a master of the Yuan, was admired for his simple calligraphic style.


As well as the traditional high art forms of painting and pottery, China has a wealth of beautiful decorative arts. Delicate carvings in lacquer, ivory and jade are popular, as are colorful cloisonné items, decorated inksticks (or cakes), snuff bottles, and fans.

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