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Culture & Arts

Traditional Culture and Arts in China

Traditional Chinese Medicine

TCM is a 3,000-year-old holistic system of medicine combining the use of medicinal herbs, acupuncture, food therapy, massage, and therapeutic exercise. Chinese physicians look for the underlying causes of imbalance in the "yin" and "yang" which lead to disharmony in the "qi" energy in the body. Traditional Chinese Medicine addresses how illness manifests itself in a patient and treats the patient, not the ailment or disease.

Chinese Martial Arts

Chinese martial arts, or Wushu, are famous for their long history and high development. Correct Wushu training improves physical ability, health, and willpower; it gives an individual an excellent method of exercise, a personal art form, a competitive sport, and a basis for self-defense and sparring. Total martial training includes Ti (kicking), Da (punching), Shuai (throwing), Na (controlling), Gi (hitting), Ci (thrusting), etc. Each style has a certain number of basic forms or sequences, which may involve defensive strategies, offensive strikes and movements, different rhythms of speed and slowness, hard or soft postures and the use of weapons.

Chinese Acrobatics

The art of acrobatics has existed in China for more than two thousand years. In the long course of its development Chinese acrobatics has formed a distinctive style. Ancient acrobatics stemmed from people's daily life and so had a close link with their work. Instruments of labor such as tridents, wicker rings, tables, chairs, jars, plates, and bowls were used in their performances of "Flying Trident", "Balance on Chairs", "Jar Tricks", and "Hoop Diving". Wushu and the famous Lion Dance originated from folk sports and games. All of these acts became commonplace in acrobatic performances throughout China.

Chinese Opera

Chinese Opera is a very important aspect of Chinese culture. It evolved from folk songs, dances, talking, 'antimasque', and distinctive dialectical music. Gradually it combined music, art and literature into one performance on the stage. Accompanied by traditional musical instruments like the Erhu, the gong, and the lute, actors present unique melodies and songs. For Chinese people, especially the elderly, listening to this kind of opera is a real pleasure.

Traditional Music and instruments

The variations of rhythm, beat, tone quality, and embellishments in traditional Chinese music are highly distinctive and unlike their Western counterparts. This is mainly due to the unique sounds and playing styles of traditional Chinese musical instruments. Chinese instruments can be divided into four basic categories based on the method by which they are played: blown, bowed, plucked, and struck (i.e. percussion) instruments.

Chinese Calligraphy

Chinese calligraphy (Shu Fa) is regarded as the most abstract and sublime form of art in Chinese culture. It serves to convey thought but also shows the "abstract" beauty of the line. Rhythm, line, and structure are more perfectly embodied in calligraphy than in painting or sculpture.

Chinese Brush-Painting

Chinese brush-painting is an ancient art form. Typical motifs in Chinese brush-painting include flowers, birds, animals and landscapes. The style and technique of Chinese painting have varied greatly over the years -- from very detailed portraits to paintings of flowers executed with large brush strokes. Such variations have given rise to a rich and broad tradition with room for personal experimentation and development.

Chinese Knots

Chinese knot is a type of national handicraft with a long history and profound cultural connotations. In the Chinese language, "knot" has the meaning of reunion, friendliness, warm, marriage and love. In addition, "knot" and "luck, felicity" have the same pronunciation, so Chinese knots are often used to express good wishes including happiness, prosperity, love and protection from bad fortune.

Chinese Traditional Seals

Chinese stones have a long history. Traditionally they were used as a token of office and authority, as well as the signature of private persons. This is also how artists sign their works (look for the small red stamp-like characters).

Chinese Embroidery

Embroidery is a folk art with a long tradition. Embroidery was used as a means of decorating silk clothing and for silk flags and banners to denote rank or station. From the magnificent Dragon Robe worn by Emperors to the popular embroidery seen in today's fashions, embroidery is a fine example of traditional Chinese culture. 

Chinese Paper-cut

Paper-cutting is one of China's most popular and characteristic folk arts. It takes paper as the material and scissors or an engraving knife as the tool. Paper-cuts symbolise the idea of blessedness, luck and fortune. Most Chinese families use them as window decorations.

Chinese Kite

Kites were invented by the Chinese people over 2,000 years ago. About in the 12th century, Chinese kites spread to the West. Today many people like to fly kites in parks and outdoors areas, and can often by seen on a tour of Beijing or other cities. 

Chinese Jade

In Chinese, jade has an important place in both traditional and modern culture. Jade is pronounced as "Yu", and most words related to moral include this word (such as "Unpolished jade never shines", indicating that one cannot be a useful person if he is not educated). Jade also implies honor and conviction. Many girls in ancient times were also named with jade to reflect the love of their parents.

Chinese Porcelain

Porcelain, also called "fine china", was one of the earliest artworks introduced to theWest through the Silk Road. With their delicate and refined manufacture, Chinese porcelain comes in many forms, including bowls, cups, tea sets, vases, jewel cases, incense burners, musical instruments and boxes for stationary and chess, as well as pillows for traditional doctors to use to feel one’s pulse.

Chinese Folk Prints

Folk prints are an everlasting part of China's culture. The prints commonly depict the legends, religious imagery, and everyday lives of the Chinese people. Folk prints originated within popular Chinese culture, and their forms and content open a door into the outlook of the common person in China, illuminating the aspirations for a better life and the desire for recognition.

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