Chinese Culture and Traditions

About Chinese Culture

Present day Chinese culture is an amalgamation of old world traditions and a westernized lifestyle. The two co-exist like the traditional Yin Yang formula of balance. This can be seen in the juxtaposition of towering skyscrapers with heritage buildings,

the contrast of western fashion with the traditional qipao, the people's paradoxical affinity for both dimsums and McDonald's.

Ancient Chinese Culture is older than 5000 years. Chinese cultural history has enormous diversity and variety. The sophisticated Chinese civilization was rich in the Arts and Sciences, elaborate Painting and Printing techniques and delicate pottery and sculpture. Chinese architectural traditions were much respected all over the world. Chinese language and literature, philosophy and politics are still reckoned as a strong influence. Chinese culture managed to retain its unique identity till the advent of Western culture in the mid-19 th century.

Chinese Religion, Philosophy and Politics: Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism have left a collective and lasting impression on Chinese culture and tradition . Confucianism propagated "Ren" (Love) and "Li" (rituals), signifying respect for society and social hierarchy. Taoism advocated the controversial philosophy of inaction. Buddhism emphasized on the need to attain self- emancipation through good deeds.

Politics in China has a well-known tradition of diplomacy and statesmanship. The domination of successive dynasties left a deep impact on Chinese History. In fact, the fact that the term Mandarin describes a high ranking official is evidence enough of the impact of the ancient Chinese politicians.

Chinese Crafts: Chinese art down the ages was influenced by the different Historical periods, great philosophers and religion. Earliest examples of Chinese pottery and jade sculptures date back to the Neolithic period. The Shang Period was famous for it's highly effective technique of composite casting, mainly used for making strong and durable weapons. Exquisite castings from the Han period, of Horses and a Chariot have been found. Chinese pottery was so famous that it became eponymous with its region of origin. The High Fired translucent Ceramics with a clear glaze became the hallmark for fine china all over the world. Decorative blue pottery and beautiful Tang Dynasty artifacts are among the best examples.

Chinese Painting and Calligraphy was also highly developed. Done on silk scrolls, the exquisite brush techniques are still considered remarkable. Chinese artists were familiar with perspectives and used different brush strokes to show depth in color. Popular subjects were landscapes and detailed pictures of birds and flowers. The style was almost minimalist. Calligraphy was a prized skill in ancient China. The Chinese script has over 50,000 symbols with varying degrees of complexity.

Chinese Literature: Earliest influences on Chinese literature are said to be the mythical Book of Songs, the teachings of the great philosopher Confucius and the texts of the great statesman Qu Yuan. Chinese poetry is highly allegorical and abstract. Complex imagery is seen in the poetry of Li Fo and Du Fu of the Tang Period. Lyrical poetry called Ci was popular during the Song Dynasty. Gao Qi of the Ming Period and Yuan Mei from the Qing period are legendary for their elegant language and technical perfection. China has a rich cultural tradition of storytelling, numerous myths and legends about beautiful and wise princesses and bold heroes are available. There is also a prolific collection of Chinese proverbs, based on the wise words of Confucius or peasant common sense.

Early Chinese music was mostly percussion- based. Later stringed instruments like the Pipa and the Guzheng came into use. Traditional Chinese Wind Instruments are the flute-like Xiao and Dizi. The earliest musical composition on record, is attributed to Confucius, called the Solitary Orchid. The Qin Dynasty also established an Imperial Music Bureau for singers and musicians.

The Chinese Opera is one of the best examples of the Chinese culture . The masks, elaborate make up, costumes, distinctive songs and music, acrobatics and dance - all are witness to the rich tradition. Beijing Opera is the best known of the different styles.

Chinese Architecture is based on the principles of balance and symmetry. Every properly constructed building is supposed to have good Feng Shui. Aside from the Great Wall and the typical Pagoda structures, the fantastic Chinese tradition can be viewed in the exquisite Temple of Heaven and in the Forbidden City. The walls and ceilings are embellished with painting or enameled with precious red lacquer. The Kaogongji is the earliest and indisputable text available on ancient Chinese architecture.

Chinese Medicine : Ancient Chinese Medicine is world-renowned for it's effectiveness in curing various illnesses through concoctions made of indigenous minerals, herbs, and animal extracts. Chinese Acupuncture is based on the principle of controlling Chi and healing the body through natural processes.

Chinese Cultural Revolution

The Chinese Cultural Revolution was introduced by Mao Zedong chairman of the communist Party who was ruling China during 1960s. Revolution reforms the olds translating the existing system into a new dimension. Culture, literature, society and economy of any country meet revolutionary changes to grow further. In Chinese history, revolution in the field of culture occurred during 1966-76.

The reason behind Mao's contribution in the reformation of Chinese cultural history was the fear of Chinese getting influenced by Soviet Union that might lead to his downfall of political power. The Chinese Cultural Revolution is not a clear phenomenon to many Chinese people also but the fact is it made a great impact on Chinese youths, students, and lots of other people of the universe. The Chinese Cultural Revolution has frightened and disturbed the peace of Chinese people for over ten years. The Mao communist party and Red Guards have tried to dominate people of china introducing a number of changes forcefully to Chinese culture in the name of revolution.

There were multiple complexities behind Chinese Cultural Revolution, which are not clear and have never become too public. The mystic background of the revolutionary rise in Chinese culture makes it highly interesting subject to discover and study.

The Economy of china in 1960s was much affected by Chinese Cultural Revolution . Especially a number of students loosed their focus of life and had a shattered career due to being used by the ruling party as Red Guards. The tragedy of the Chinese Cultural Revolution witnessed lots of bloodshed. During 1980s people who were responsible behind the ten years long misfortunes were caught and punished. The lesson of this historic episode has been a great learning for all political leading parties that any major political revolutionary movements should be well-planned and calculative so that it does not initiate any rebellion against common people's lives.

Last Updated on: October 12th, 2017