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Worship Culture

imageChinese worship culture has a long history and it has strong national characters. It has four categories: worship of animals, worship of plants, worship of objects and worship of immortals.

Worship of animals includes dragon, phoenix, turtle, unicorn, mandarin duck, koi fish, tiger, lion, rooster, monkey, crane, butterfly, etc.

Worship of plants includes pine, cypress, cassia, bamboo, peach, orange, gourd, red bean, and so on.

Worship of objects includes bottle, mirror, three-legged ancient cooking vessel, ancient coin, longevity stone, shoe and so on.

Worship of immortals includes Buddha, the Jade Emperor, the Bodhisattva, the Eight Immortals, the God of Wealth, the Stove God, the Gate God, the God of marriage, the Land God, Confucius, and so on and so forth.

Among all these categories, dragon, phoenix, turtle, and unicorn have the biggest influence on Chinese culture.image

The dragon is the totem that Chinese most worship. Chinese called themselves "the descendants of dragon", the emperors called themselves "the real dragon emperor". In China, the dragon image penetrated people's lives in many ways. It appears mostly in two forms: engraving and cast, drawing and painting.  You can see engraved dragon images in the imperial palaces. A dragon pattern is also shown in folk arts such as paper cut. Dragon boat is the art which combined engraving and painting.

Phoenix is the king of birds, it can regenerate in the fire. The male is called Feng, the female is called Huang. Phoenix is the symbol of empresses.

Unicorn is also a imaginary creature. It's the symbol of benevolence. The fable said the unicorn delivers the child.

The longevity of the turtle made it worshipped by ancient Chinese. It was believed that the spirit turtle can foretell the future. Thus the turtle Ding (three-legged ancient cooking vessel) was cast to symbolize the imperial throne. The turtle is also the symbol of glory, authority and longevity.

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Chinese Zodiac

More than 30,000 years ago, Chinese ancestors invented the 10 Tian Gan (or heavenly stems) and 12 Di Zhi (or 12 earthly branches) for chronological purposes. Twelve animals are used to symbolize the 12 earthly branches, in order they are: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. There are a lot of legends about the origin of the Chinese Zodiac.

One legend said that the twelve animals quarreled one day about who was to head the cycle of years. The God decided that they hold a contest: whoever reached the opposite bank of the river would be the first, and the rest of the animals would receive their years according to their finish. All the twelve animals gathered at the river bank and jumped in the river. The rat jumped on the back of ox stealthily, the ox was in the first position, when the ox was about to reach the final line, the rat jumped off the ox's back, and won the race.

Most Chinese believe that the signs of Chinese Zodiac reveal the hidden secrets of a person's character.

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Chinese Tea

Tea is the most popular beverage for Chinese. The culture of Chinese tea originates two thousand years ago. Legend said Shen Nong (the founder of Chinese medicine) tested hundreds of herbs daily by tasting them and caught 72 kinds of poison, found tea accidentally and was cured. The culture of Chinese tea includes tea planting, tea drinking, tea pot art, and tea house. There are five major types of tea: black tea, jasmine tea, Oolong tea, green tea, and brick tea.

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Chinese Opera

There are 48 kinds of Opera in China, among them Peking opera (Beijing opera) is the most famous. It's a national treasure with a history of more than 200 years. It's a performing art combined stylized action, singing, dialogue and mime, acrobatic fighting and dancing.

There are four main types of roles: Sheng, Dan, Jing, Chou. "Sheng" is the positive male role, "Dan" is the positive female role, "Jing" is a supporting male role with striking character and painted face, and "Chou" is the clown. The performance is accompanied by a tune played on wind instruments, percussion instruments and stringed instruments.

The costumes in Peking opera are brilliant with traditional patterns, mostly made in handicraft embroidery. Facial make-up is rich and various, depicting different characters and remarkable images. Yellow and white mean sly, red represents uprightness and loyalty, black stands for valor and wisdom, blue and green indicate rebellious heroes, and gold and silver represent mystic or super power.

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Chinese Literature

China has a very old and rich tradition in literature. It has poetry, novels, and dramas.

Poetry is the earliest form of Chinese literature that originated from folk songs before the written Chinese language. Shi Jing (Book of Poetry) is the earliest Chinese literature, it dates back to between the 11th and 6th century BC. Early writings generally were philosophical, religious, and historical writings. Such as Writings of Confucius (551-479 BC), which is about how people should act and how the society and political system should be organized and operated.

The heyday of poetry was in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Li Bai and Du Fu were the two greatest poets.

The dramas of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) are poetic dramas set to music and have been popular with the common people. A variety of popular and standard themes are presented in Peking Opera.

Zhanghuiti-Style is the main form of Chinese classic novels. It appeared at the end of Yuan (1271-1368) and the beginning of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Each chapter of this form has a different title, and the paragraphs are generally the same in length with complete beginnings and endings. It originated from the storytellers' scripts. At the end of the Ming (1368-1644) and the beginning of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Chinese saga novels and novelettes generally took the form of Zhanghuiti-Style. Famous novels such as " Romance of the Three Kingdoms", "Pilgrim to the West" (Monkey King), " Tale of Water Margin", "The Golden Lotus" and "Dream of the Red Chamber".

China's literary tradition continues to the present, the most famous 20th-century writer is Lu Xun(1881-1936), a poet, essayist, and novelist, the founder of modern literature in China, whose work focused on the need to modernize through revolution. The literary style of modern Chinese fiction was formed based on foreign fiction and the reformed traditional Chinese storytelling scripts.

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Acrobatics
imageAcrobatics has a long history and is famous in the world. The history of acrobatics can be traced back more than 1600 years. Wuqiao County in Hebei province is internationally recognized as the birthplace of Chinese acrobatics. People in Wuqiao today, young or old, often possess astonishing acrobatic ability.

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