Chinese Cloisonne, a Unique Art Form in China

Cloisonne is a unique art form that originated in Beijing during the yuan dynasty (1271-1368). During the “jingtai” period of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), the emperor was very interested in bronze casting technology and improved the color processing to create a bright blue color with an Oriental aesthetic. After making a breakthrough in technology, his daily necessities were mostly cloisonne. Later, it became popular among the general public; Their favorite is cloisonne.

During the reign of emperor kangqian of the qing dynasty (1644-1911), cloisonne craftsmanship was improved and reached its artistic peak. The colors were more subtle, the threads more flexible and fluid, and the scope expanded beyond sacrificial objects into snuff bottles, screens, censers, tables, chairs, chopsticks, and bowls.

Cloisonne is made in a comprehensive and delicate way, combining the techniques of bronze and porcelain with the techniques of traditional painting and sculpture:

Model hammer: hammer the copper pieces into various shapes according to the design and connect them at high temperature.

Tinsel welding: in tinsel welding, the artist bends the copper wire into a delicate flower pattern and sticks it to the copper mold. Heating to 900 degrees Celsius is probably the most challenging step in the whole process. It solidifies the metal.

Enamel filling: through this interesting process, cloisonne wears a coat of color. The craftsman filled the glaze into a grid of filaments. One filling is not enough – filaments are squeezed and the surface is dull. They must melt the powder glaze in a melting furnace at 800 degrees Celsius, then remove the object and repeat the process three or four times until the surface becomes smooth.

China National Flower Garden in Henan Province

Established in 2001, the national park of China is located on the south bank of luojiang, luoyang city, henan province. Covering 255 acres, it is the largest peony park in China. China’s national parks have bred about half a million 9-color peonies and two million peonies of more than 1,000 different species. Among them, a 100-year old, 2-meter (7-foot) tall giant peony known as the “flower goddess” has caught people’s attention. April to early may is the best time to see peonies in full bloom in China’s national parks. Visitors can enjoy peonies, pavilions, lakes and mountains, as well as distinctive architecture. In the history of the sui and tang dynasties (581-907), traditional imperial garden art and peony flowers were perfectly combined in China’s national gardens. Here are the main sightseeing areas.

The place consists of burnt peonies and a huge gourd with three golden balls. There is a legend that the peony was brought up by the Taoist god taishang lao-jun who used fire to create golden jade, so it is called burnt peony.

The pavilion was inspired by a story about qiuweng and peonies. Qiu weng is a farmer who likes to plant peonies. He takes care of them as his family. The attraction consists of five pavilions, one on two floors and one on four. Visitors can see all kinds of rare peonies here.

The two pavilions here merge into one, like two qiao peonies, a treasure flower with two different colors. The tree was known as “big Joe” and “little Joe” during The Three Kingdoms period (AD 220-265) in China.

The lake covers more than five acres. Weeping willows flaunted on the Banks of the river, and countless fish swam in the river. Visitors can lie on the grass by the lake and feel the smell of spring. The mountain is man-made and has many jagged caves. The waterfalls flow down, creating a breathtaking landscape that brings the park to life.

This particular garden covers an area of more than 2,000 square kilometers (2,400 square yards). The aim of the design was to integrate butterfly elements into the landscape. During the peony cultural festival from April to early may, visitors can see more than 20,000 butterflies dancing around the peonies, which is a fascinating sight.

This is the first and only private writing museum in luoyang. Founded by the two brothers in 2012, it aims to preserve, protect and display cultural relics from different regions and dynasties. There are now more than 2,000 written artifacts and samples.

Shuanglin Temple and Zhenguo Temple in PingYao Ancient City

Pingyao County is 58.4 miles southwest of Taiyuan. This small county was noted for some magnificent residences in ancient traditional styles rather than any appeal in natural beauty.When Pingyao was inscribed on the UNESCO list as a World Heritage Site, two temples were added to the town itself as being worthy of preservation.
Shuanglin Temple

Located in the Qiaotou Village about six kilometers (four miles) to Pingyao Ancient City, the Shuanglin Temple is reputed to be the ‘ancient painted sculptures museum’. It houses more than 2,000 colorful sculptures reflecting the exquisite skills of the artisans of the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. In 1997, it was included in the World Heritage List by UNESCO as an important cultural site of Ping Yao City in 1997.
Reconstructed in 571, the Shuanglin Temple has a history of about 1,400 years. It consists of ten large and small halls, and the sutra chanting hall and the monks’ rooms.


In Chinese, Shuang means two or double, and Lin, forest. The temple got its name from a Buddhist story. According to the Buddhist sutra, Sakyamuni who was the founder of Buddhism, entered nirvana under two trees; Hence, its name Shuanglin.
Most valuable colorful sculptures housed in Shuanglin Temple are made with wood moulds from Ming Dynasty, which kept traditions of the former dynasties of Tang Dynasty to Yuan dynasty. As a part of Pingyao Ancient Town, which is listed a world Heritage site, Shuanglin Temple attracts lots of tourists every year for its long history and profound culture.
Zhenguo Temple

Zhenguo Temple is about 12 kilometers (about 7.5 miles) away from the northeast of Pingyao Ancient City, occupying an area of 10,892 square meters (about 2.7 acres). It was first built in 963 in the Northern Han Dynasty (951 – 979). Its 44 ancient constructions of different periods houses 62 painted clay sculptures, over 100 frescoes and more than 20 stone tablets which truly record the easy fusion of the Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism in China. The fairy tale of Lu Ban, the ancient carpenter master building the temple adds a desolate mysterious color to the temple. Especially, the original structure of its Ten-thousand Buddha Hall constructed in the Five Dynasties Period (907-960) has never been changed for over 1000 years though it has undergone many restorations in previous different periods. The fine frescoes of the Beiqi Dynasty on the hall’s walls are also rarely seen in China, as provide precious evidences for studying the Chinese development history of architecture and fine arts.
The Thousand Buddha Hall is the oldest architecture in Zhenguo Temple; it is also one of the oldest existing wood-made architecture in mainland China. Different from other wood-made buildings, the whole architecture was miraculously built without nails. It is the rigid structure, strict materials and highly skilled technique employed with principle of statics that make this building stand stably for more than 1000 years. It is the gem of ancient Chinese architectures.


Painted sculptures in Zhenguo Temple are also precious. In Thousand Buddhist Hall, 11 of the 14 statues were made in Five Dynasties. Five Dynasties is a period full of wars, only several ancient buildings of that time are preserved, let alone painted sculptures. Except for the few ones in Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang, Zhenguo Temple is the only temple that preserves painted sculptures of Five Dynasties. Although the quantity of the painted sculptures in the Zhenguo Temple is limited, they are of utmost importance in researching the sculpture evolution especially in Tang and Song dynasties.

Chinese Music, Traditional Musical Instruments

Ancient Chinese have left a wealth of music instruments and classic tunes. Erhu, Guzheng, Guqin, Xun, Pipa, and other traditional Chinese music instruments may alter your acquired definition of “music”. The great works that have been playing for hundreds or thousands of years may also echo in you.

Melody and tone quality are prominent expressive features of Chinese music, and great emphasis is given to the proper articulation and inflection of each musical tone. Most is based on the five-tone, or pentatonic, scale, but the seven-tone, or heptatonic scale, is also used, often as an expansion of a basically pentatonic core. The pentatonic scale was much used in older music. The heptatonic scale is often encountered in northern folk music.

The variations of rhythm, beat, tone quality, and embellishments in traditional Chinese music are highly distinctive and unlike their Western counterparts. In traditional orchestras, the combination of all the different instruments served to create a harmonious and beautiful auditory atmosphere. Unbelievingly beautiful music was made and is still made. Many instruments can produce purely unique and amazing sounds.

Feature of Chinese Traditional Music

Chinese music was often addressed as “Virtue Music”, “Elegant Music” and “Etiquette Music” in ancient times. In ancient Chinese society, music was not regarded as a way of entertainment, but as a practice to refine one’s virtue. Playing Guqin (Ancient Stringed Musical Instrument) was regarded as one of the primary skills that a scholar had to learn. Chinese traditional culture intensively emphasizes that a musical instrument player pay attention to one’s heart state and virtue, and that one cannot play musical instrument casually.

Traditional Musical Instruments

Pipa

Pipa has four-stringed lute with 30 frets and pear-shaped body. The musician holds the instrument upright and play with five small plectrums attached to each finger of the right hand. The history of Pipa dates back at least 2,000 years. This instrument has extremely wide dynamic range and is remarkably rich and expressive.The Pipa tunes have very diverse styles, and are traditionally classified as either Wen Qu (civil and mild tone) or Wu Qu (martial and fierce tone).

Xun

Xun is a kind of wind instrument. It’s one of the oldest musical instruments found so far in China with a history of more than 7,000 years, and play a important role in world music circle. The instrument has been found along the Yangtze River and the Yellow River as Neolithic relics, and is believed very popular in ancient China. The ancestors used a kind of oval stone with naturally formed holes on it to hunt the preys. When thrown it at the animals, the stone produced a whistling sound as the air flowed through the holes, which could have provided inspiration for early wind instruments.

Horse-Headed Fiddle

The Horse-headed fiddle is a bowed stringed-instrument with a scroll carved like a horse’s head. It is popular in Mongolian music. With a history of over 1,300 years, it even influenced European string music when Marco Polo brought one back from his travels through Asia. Its wide tonal range and deep, hazy tone color express the joy or pathos of a melody to its fullest.

Erhu

The Erhu, also called ‘Huqin’, was introduced from the western region during the Tang Dynasty. During the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279), it was refined and improved and new variations appeared. It was also an important instrument for playing the melody of Beijing Opera. Its music is usually very expressive and touching, especially when you feel down and blue.

When playing, the player usually stands the Erhu on his lap, and moves the bow across the vertical strings. The well-known music ‘Two Springs Reflect the Moon’ was created by the blind folk artist Liu Yanjun, also named A Bing by the people. Though he could not see anything of the world, he played his Erhu using his heart and imagination. This melody conjures up a poetic night scene under the moonlight and expresses the composer’s desolation and hope.

Suona

 

Suona, a very expressive reed instrument with a conical metal bell, is very popular in China’s vast countryside in funeral, wedding, and other celebrative occasions. The Suona has a distinctively loud sound and is used in many Chinese traditional music bands. Meanwhile, it is also an indispensable part of a number of local operas in Hebei, Shandong, Liaoning, Shandong, Shaanxi, Shanxi, and Guangdong provinces.

Modern Chinese Music

Today’s music in China is quite similar to that of modern Western’s. Just like young Westerners, now young people in China attend the concerts of famous pop stars. Modern orchestras play both adapted versions of traditional pieces and classical and modern symphonic compositions.

In modern music, many traditional facets still remain. Many traditional instruments are used in conjunction with popular instruments of Western cultures. The mixing of traditional instruments with western instruments creates a wide variety of euphonious sounds and rhythms, and the mixing with western styles of singing creates unique sounds. Many modern artists also incorporate traditional melodies into their songs, so even music using only popular Western instruments sounds different. The mixing of Western and oriental styles with traditional instruments and other instruments allows for the creation of an endless scope of expression with modern music.

Chinese Kung Fu, Chinese Traditional Martial Arts

Kungfu, also called Wushu or Chinese martial arts, is the fruit of Chinese people’s wisdom. It is a traditional Chinese sport which applies the art of attack and defence in combat and the motions engaged with a series of skill and tricks. It is also an important part of Chinese traditional culture and is the unique “martial art” in the world. Chinese Kungfu has exerted a great influence on the world.

In Chinese, Kung Fu can be used in contexts completely unrelated to martial arts, and refers colloquially to any individual accomplishment or skill cultivated through long and hard work. In contrast, wushu is a more precise term for general martial activities.

History

Chinese Kungfu has a long history in China, which originated from the productive labor of our ancient ancestors. In their hunting activities, they gradually developed the skills of splitting, chopping and pricking. This kind of primitive skills of both offensive and defensive are the basis of the martial arts.The Martial Arts we recognize today as Kung Fu had their origins in the Shang and Zhou Dynasties. During the following Qin and Han Dynasties, wrestling, swordplay and spear skills became well developed and were popular among civilians and troops. Following the Song Dynasty, various schools, boxing styles, movement sets and weapon skills flourished.

After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, martial arts flourished. In 1985, the first International Marital Arts Invitational Tournament was held in Xi ‘an, and the Preparatory Commission for the International WuShu Federation was established. This is a historic breakthrough in the development of Chinese martial arts. In 1999, International Martial Arts League was invited as a member of International Individual Events Federation by International Olympic Committee, which was the sign of Chinese Martial Arts walking global.

Classification of Chinese Kungfu

Shaolin Kung Fu

Originated in the Shaolin Temple in Henan, this is considered the premier style in China and is widely spread all over the world. Both of its physical exercise and mental training are based upon Buddhist philosophy. The Shaolin Boxing, Southern Fist (Nanquan), Northern Legs (Beitui) and Wing Chun are the representatives of this school.

Emei Kung Fu

Emei Kung Fu originated from the pre-Qin period (the 21st century – 221 BC) in the famous Mt. Emei of Sichuan Province.It is named after the place where it is based, Mount Emei. Emei sect was originally created by a women. With its style stronger than Wudang sect and softer than Shaolin Kungfu, it emphasizes both strength and softness, quickness and slowness, dynamic and static, virtual and actual, ups and downs, lightness and weight.Together with Shaolin and Wudang, Emei is one of the three main schools of Chinese Kung Fu.

Wudang Kung Fu

Wudang Kung Fu was created in the early years of the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644) by a Taoist named Zhang Sanfeng. It combines the essence of the Book of Changes and the Tao Teh King (Daodejing) of Laozi (an ancient well-known philosopher). Originated in Mt. Wudang, a Taoist holy land, it is of great value to fitness and body-building. By now, it has become popular in China and worldwide, as a kind of fitness sport. Wudang boxing, also known as the Neijia boxing, this kind of boxing is aiming at cultivating the body and health protection. At present, its major skills are well presented by Tai Chi (Taiji), Form/Intention Boxing (Xingyiquan) and Eight Diagram Palm (Baguazhang).

Kung Fu Masters

Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee is a Hong Kong and American actor, film director, martial artist and the founder of the martial art Jeet Kune Do, one of the Wushu or Kungfu styles. He is widely considered be one of the most influential martial artists of all time and often credited with helping to change the way Asians were presented in American films. He pioneered the Chinese approach to Hollywood, making it possible for westerners to understand and learn Chinese Kungfu, while making action films one of the mainstream films in Hong Kong.

Jackie Chan

Jackie Chan not only represents the brilliant achievements of Hong Kong films, but also has an important influence on the world film industry. He is known for his acrobatic fighting style, comic timing, use of improvised weapons, and innovative stunts. He is the spokesman of Chinese Kungfu movie, showing foreigners the concept of the hero in Chinese traditional culture, and has opened a window for the world to understand Chinese culture, who become the disseminator of Chinese traditional culture.

Jet Li

Jet Li is one of the most famous martial arts stars in the world today. He had won the national martial arts all-around champion for five consecutive years , later made his debut with the film Shaolin Temple. Jet Li has created classic figures on the screen, Fong Sai Yuk, Zhang Sanfeng, Huo Yuanjia, Chen Zhen, and so on, reputed as a Kungfu emperor by domestic and foreign media . After 1997, he starred in a number of Hollywood blockbusters, joining a-list action star in Hollywood.

Donnie Yen

Yen is one of Hong Kong’s top action stars. Yen has displayed notable skills in a wide variety of martial arts, being well-versed in Tai Chi, Boxing, Kickboxing, Jeet Kune Do, Hapkido, Taekwondo, Karate, Muay Thai, Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Wing Chun, and Wushu. In Hong Kong’s action actors and martial arts guides, Donnie Yen is alone into one.

Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, A Global Arts Center in Beijing

The ullens center for contemporary art (UCCA) aims to become a global arts center in Beijing. It is a non-profit entity that offers exhibitions and other programs designed to help visitors learn about Chinese art and culture. The centre is also actively involved in promoting the growth and development of Chinese art to revive public interest in all things cultural.

UCCA was founded by baron and baroness guy and Miriam ullen DE schutten. They are considered one of the world’s greatest patrons of the arts and formidable collectors of art. The baron retired in 2000 and now devotes himself to charities including the ullens centre.

UCCA is based on three factories, reflecting some of the influence of Bauhaus architecture. They were recently refurbished and offer less than 10,000 square metres of international exhibition space. It is one of the best preserved exhibition Spaces in the country.

The ullens exhibition is not permanent. They are designed to make it easier for people to have access to a particular style of art, or to a particular artist. Visitors should familiarize themselves with the current exhibition program before visiting UCCA.

In writing about UCCA, xu zhen (a manufacturing company) from Shanghai and his sensible critique of consumerism. The exhibition includes performance art, installation, video, painting, etc.

Past exhibitions include; Tyronn Simon, wang keping, tianuo sejal, wang xingwei, tepe kanoki, xie tannin, duchamp, and the conceptual and practical achievements of young Chinese artists.

Future exhibitions planned include art-post Internet, Lee Mingwei, Pawel Althamer and Broached retreat.

UCCA is heavily involved in public education of the arts. The centre offers more than 500 cultural programmes a year. There are regular art lectures, film screenings, performances, festivals and workshops that visitors can attend (although Numbers may be limited, depending on popular demand for any program).

There is a store on the UCCA grounds. It offers the largest limited edition collection of contemporary art in China. The collection typically includes more than 40 artists, many of whom were custom-made for the store. You can also find plenty of designs from many of China’s leading designers.

There’s also an art book store where you can store a lot of art materials. It is worth noting that the vast majority of teaching texts are only in Chinese, with very few English works to choose from.

Pingyao Ancient Town, Famed for the China’s First Bank

Pingyao is a well-preserved “ancient city” famous for its ancient buildings and China’s first bank. Located between Beijing and xi ‘an in northern China, it is suitable for lovers of photography and history.

It is an outstanding han Chinese city in the Ming and Qing dynasties, and its historical features are well preserved. Pingyao ancient city wall, Shuanglin temple and Zhenguo temple are national protected cultural relics and world heritage sites.

Pingyao was the birthplace and earliest bank of shanxi merchants, and was the financial center of Shanxi Province during the Ming (1368-1644) and qing (1644-1911) dynasties.

Pingyao was included in UNESCO’s world heritage list on December 31, 1997 because of its well-preserved urban landscapes from the Ming and qing dynasties.

Pingyao is a famous city in China’s tourism industry. Although it no longer thrives on trade, its historical and cultural heritage makes it one of China’s premier tourist destinations.

Pingyao is temperate continental climate, hot summer and cold winter. The average maximum temperature is 29°C(84°F) in July and 2°C(35°F) in January. The middle seasons offer the most comfortable weather, the freshest air in the summer and the lowest prices in the winter.

Summer is usually hot, and July and August are the wettest months, with 100 millimeters (4 inches) of rain. Most of the rain in pingyao falls in summer, drying up the rest of the year.

In the middle of winter, strong winds blow in from the north and nighttime temperatures are around 10°C (14°F). The temperature difference between day and night is large, and the air quality is poor in winter, but not as good as in big cities in the north.

Chinese Paper Umbrellas, Beautiful and Elegant

In addition to the most basic function of sunshade, the traditional paper umbrella has many other USES, which are deeply rooted in Chinese traditional culture. The Chinese paper umbrella originated in China and has been developed and popularized in several Asian countries over the years, but the Chinese paper umbrella is colorful, almost like gauze, and still has typical Chinese characteristics like chopsticks.

Although the foldable Chinese paper umbrella is thought to have existed at the beginning of the Christian era, the first historical reference to the Chinese paper umbrella comes from 21 AD, referring to a four-wheeled “chariot” of paper umbrellas by emperor wang mang (royal officials of the han dynasty usurped the throne in a short period — often referred to as the wang mang transitional period — creating the short-lived xin dynasty.

Although it only consists of five parts, the production of Chinese paper umbrella involves 80 working processes to complete the finished product. In this sense, the craft of Chinese paper umbrella can be compared with Japanese lacquer art.

A typical Chinese umbrella is made of two materials: silk or paper. Silk umbrellas are the most expensive and considered to be the most delicate, but also the most difficult to fashion and maintain. Paper umbrellas are easier to make, can be treated with oil to make them impermeable, or waterproof, and they are perfect for art deco. Most paper umbrellas produced today are made from sticky tung oil (also known as Chinese wood oil, derived from the euphorbiaceae tung tree found throughout central Asia). The main producing areas of China’s impermeable paper umbrellas are fujian and hunan.

The decorations range from solid colors to flower-and-bird paintings, flower-and-bird paintings, landscapes, and calligraphy. As one of the highlights of Chinese paper umbrella, a lot of work has been devoted to the art decoration of paper umbrella. In addition to waterproof, paper curtain still needs to withstand the destruction of wind and rain, like its decoration can resist the fading over time.

Chinese Knot, Which Has a Long History and a Symbolic Meaning

Is knotting an art? It’s in China. There is a long history of decorating clothes with knots or hanging them from ceilings or walls. Skilled knot artists weave complex knots that you may see for sale as souvenirs that you can take back. They have a long history and symbolic meaning, even today.

A Chinese knot is a knot made of a piece of rope or string tied into various shapes and complexities. Each shape has its own symbolic meaning, and now you can use them as decorations, gifts for special occasions, and ornaments on clothes.

Most knots are bilaterally symmetrical, with two ropes entering from the top of the knot and two leaving from the bottom. Each knot is named after its shape or the symbolic meaning it carries.

Knot weavers can use a variety of colors, but they usually weave dark red as shown above. Red represents good luck.

Before people start writing, they may be asked to record and convey information. Tools dating back 100,000 years have been found that may have been used for knotting and unknotting, and knots have also been mentioned in ancient texts. But it is not known when they began to be used symbolically or artistically.

It is known that during the tang dynasty (618-907), it was used for art decoration and to symbolize and express thoughts and feelings. The tang dynasty covered a vast area of modern China, and its traditional art forms were passed down from generation to generation as part of culture.

Even today, Chinese knots are rich in symbolism, so they have sentimental value when given as gifts or passed on to family members.

For example, in ancient times and even now, lovers may give a knot as a symbol of their love. “True love knot” and “double knot” are given or used at weddings to express mutual love and loyalty to each other. Knot means love and marriage in Chinese culture.

Chinese Batik, One of the Three Ancient Chinese Handicraft Methods

Batik, one of the three handicraft methods in ancient China, by preventing the dye from reaching certain parts of the fabric after the dyeing process is completed, the fabric is allowed to dry completely, then the fabric is washed with hot water, the wax is dissolved, the finished product is a piece of cloth with patterns, designs, pictures, etc., dyed in contrasting colors, or background colors.

In general, although those who elaborate on the subject tend to do so in a more subtle way than is reasonable, the methods of producing multi-coloured textiles by one or more dyeing processes fall into two broad categories: mechanical and chemical. These three handicraft methods in ancient China all belong to the former category.

Mechanical part dyeing method is essentially for body blocking, in some cases, the only hinder or reduce, to access the target area of fabric dye, and chemical method is to use chemical temporarily present a insoluble soluble dye, can absorb the goal of the part of the fabric, where once dry absorption dyes in this part of the fabric will be returned to the state of insoluble, so when a whole piece of fabric dye in a different color of dyes, insoluble dye can prevent the dye is absorbed by the fiber in the fabric of a part of the insoluble dyes are absorbed.

Naturally, these color patterns can create multiple different shades of one dye more than once, using the same or different dye colors, more hot wax in the target area (not necessarily the same area of the dyeing process) will retain the existing color, while other fabrics are affected by the dyeing process.

Applying color through the batik method, if not an art, at least the process requires a high degree of skill, especially since hot wax must be applied in small amounts, quickly — otherwise the wax cools rather than will absorb the fiber fabric correctly, often subtly, otherwise the outline of the image will lack clarity. The nature of the design or image determines the type of spatula used: either wide or thin.