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Mt. Panshan Scenic Area, the First Mountain East of Beijing

Panshan scenic spot, located in Tianjin, covers an area of 106 square kilometers and is also known as the “The First Mountain East of Beijing”. It is a tourist and leisure resort that combines natural landscape with scenic spots, Buddhism culture and royal culture. It is listed as one of the top fifteen mountains in China.

The mountain acquired its present name, early in the Eastern Han (25-220). Taizong, the second emperor of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), was prodigal of his praise of its scenery on his chance visit when he led the army in a campaign. Seventy-two temples, thirteen pagodas and numerous Xanadus and towers were built on the mountain in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Qianlong, a brilliant and wise Qing Dynasty emperor was so impressed that he made thirty or so visits and wrote 1366 poems to express his admiration of the area. In the first half of the twentieth century, the whole resort all fell to ruin due to hostilities and neglect. It has undergone a process of restoration since the 1990s and is now regaining its fame.

It is famous for jade pine trees, strange and astonishing peaks, clear waters, grotesquely shaped rocks and clusters of ancient temples. On its top, numerous pines hide the sky from view and block out the sunshine. Rugged rocks in a variety of shapes, some of which resemble a toad, a general or a boa, will greet you in the middle of the mountain. At its foot, clear water splashes on the rocks. The mountain consists of five peaks, with the main one, Guayue (Moon Hanging) Peak. Although Guayue Peak is only 2,835 feet(864 meters ) above sea level, to the north it is possible to see a section of the Great Wall while to the west Mt Taihang can be seen.

From the Wei State during the Three Kingdoms Period (220-280) onwards, emperors enthusiastically commissioned the building of temples, towers and Xanadus resulting in over 160 such sites. There are four main temples: Tiancheng Temple (God Proposing Temple), Yunzhao Temple (Cloud-Hiding Temple), Wanfo Temple (Ten Thousand-Buddha Temple) and Wansong Temple (Ten Thousand-Pine Temple). Tiancheng Temple built in the Tang Dynasty, was enlarged and repaired in the Ming and the Qing dynasties. To the east of this temple stands the Ancient Dagoba. As the biggest tower in this mountain, it has thirteen floors. The roof of the Yunzhao Temple was golden yellow, a color that normally was only allowed to be used on imperial buildings. By granting permission for this, Emperor Qianlong demonstrated his approval and admiration of the mountain. Wanfo Temple (Ten Thousand-Buddha Temple) has 10,960 small Buddha statues.

Beijing Opera, Jinghuang, Daxi, Pingju, Jingxi

Beijing Opera is extolled as ‘Oriental Opera’. Having a history of 160 years, it has created many ‘firsts’ in Chinese dramas: the abundance of repertoires, the number of artists, opera troupes and spectators.

Beijing Opera is developed from absorbing many other dramatic forms, mostly from the local drama ‘Huiban’ which was popular in South China during the 18th century. It is a scenic art integrating music, performance, literature, aria, and face-painting. Certain rules are set up and regulations are standardized during many artists’ long practice on stage. Different from regional plays, it is stricter on the variety of the workmanship. The combination of virtual and reality – a special technique of expression, keeps it largely free from the restriction of time and space on stage performance. Beijing Opera has had many interesting names since it came into being, such as Jinghuang, Daxi, Pingju, Jingxi.

History

Its main melodies originated from Xipi and Erhuang in Anhui and Hubei respectively, It is believed that Beijing Opera gradually came into being after 1790 when the famous four Anhui opera troupes came to Beijing. Beijing Opera underwent fast development during the reign of Emperor Qianlong and the notorious Empress Dowager Cixi under the imperial patron, eventually becoming more accessible to the common people.

It has a history of more than 200 years. It is a form of traditional Chinese theater which combines music and acrobatics. It arose in the late 18th century and became fully developed and recognized by the mid-19th century. The form was extremely popular in the Qing Dynasty. The art form is also enjoyed in Taiwan, where it is known as Guoju. It has also spread to other countries such as the Unite States and Japan.

Four Roles

There are four roles in Beijing Opera – Sheng(a male role, usually a leading one), Dan(female roles), Jing(painted-face roles) and Chou(Clown role). These roles have the natural features of age and sex, as well as social status, and are artificially exaggerated by makeup, costume and gestures. All but the second portray a male or masculine character. Until recently, even that of the female or feminine character was played by a male actor.

Sheng

It’s a common name of male characters and composed of Lao Sheng and Xiao Sheng. Lao Sheng refers to the middle-aged man with a beard who acts as the decency figure; for example, Zhugeliang in ‘Empty City Scheme’. Xiao Sheng means young man without a beard. Zhangsheng in ‘The Story of the West Room’ is a representative of Xiao Sheng.

Dan

The general name for female characters can be divided into Zhengdan, Huadan, Laodan, Wudan. Zhengdan is also called ‘Qingyi’, who mainly plays the part of the strong-minded middle-aged woman who behaves elegantly. Huadan refers to little girls who often live in the bottom of society. Laodan refers to the senior woman and Wudan indicates the female who is good at fighting.

Jing

Painted face often refers to male characters with unique appearance or personality, such as Baozheng and Caocao. Besides, Chou is a comic role or villainous character or righteous person. The actor’s nose is painted by a piece of white powder, making him or her easily recognizable.

Facial Painting

Facial painting in Beijing OperaLianpu is formed through dramatic artists’ long-term practice and their understanding and judgment of the roles in plays. It is the colorful dressing on actors’ faces. By using transformative and exaggerated figures, professional spectators would easily tell the characteristic of a role. In this way, it is called ‘the picture of hearts’. There are certain formats of the facial painting in the aspect of color, type and shape. Usually, eyes, foreheads and cheeks are painted like wings of butterflies, swallows and bats.

Colors of Lianpu are varied with each representing a characteristic. For example, red symbolizes loyalty, such as Guanyu, a great general during Three Kingdoms Period (220-280). Black signifies honesty and frankness, such as Lord Bao, a righteous official during Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), or abruptness and impertinence, such as Likui, an important figure in the famous Chinese ancient novel ‘All Men Are Brothers’. White stands for cattiness and cunning, with Caocao as its representative, a famous politician in the late Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220).

Costumes

Costumes are an integral part of the Beijing Opera performance. That are called Xingtou or Xifu in Chinese. In the early days, opera costumes were mainly made of wool or coarse cloth; later, satin, crepe and silk were used, decorated with various meticulously embroidered patterns. The making of opera costumes is a special and unique stagecraft. The costume box first appeared in the Ming Dynasty, and was greatly improved in the Qing Dynasty.

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.

Chaoyang Acrobatics Theater, the Best Daily Acrobatics Show in Beijing

To see the best of Beijing’s daily acrobatics, go to the Chaoyang theatre (chaoyang theatre; Chaoyang district juchang is located in the downtown area near Chaoyang district. Although it is a small theater, it has become one of the tourist hotspots in Beijing. There are two performances every night and the performances are very high quality.

Chaoyang acrobatic theater has been holding traditional acrobatic performances for nearly 30 years. The grand theater, a cultural center, boasts more than three million foreign guests, including foreign leaders and dignitaries. Built in 1984, chaoyang theatre covers an area of 3,000 square meters and can accommodate 1,400 people upstairs and downstairs.

The chaoyang acrobatic theatre puts on acrobatic performances twice a day. The show includes stunts ranging from bike riding and shooting to twisting and lion dancing, making it Beijing’s most popular acrobatic show.

The show also combines traditional acrobatics with more modern ones, bridging the gap between ancient Chinese culture and the modern globalized world. Its natural excellence and talented cast make the show a perfect tourist stop for people of all ages and cultures.

You will be attracted by all kinds of special effects, dancing and loud Chinese music. The performances include acrobatics, gymnastics and jiu-jitsu. They performed in quick succession to keep the audience on their toes in the suspense.

They spin the big spindles on the rope and spin them on the turntable. There are huge wheels on which you might see a blindfolded acrobat juggling and skipping rope. There are also martial arts instructors, acrobatic stunts, and female dancers in exotic costumes.

Motorcycle globe: the most dangerous stunt involves a motorcyclist riding in a see-through, 18-meter high globe. More and more riders come in and ride in fast loops. Most of them loop horizontally parallel to the stage, but sometimes they are perpendicular to the stage and weave complex patterns at rapid frequencies. At high tide, six cyclists circle inside the ball together.

A pyramid of bodies on a bicycle: a group of women ride in circles. More and more women ride bikes, either on their shoulders or on their bikes, until there are 11 women on a bike.

Chair tower: a solo acrobat USES a chair to build a taller tower while balancing on the chair.

Beijing 798 Art Zone, One of the 22 Most Famous Landmarks in the World

The 798 Art Zone, located in the northeast of Beijing, is named after a factory built in the 1950s. It was occupied by 798 plant, north China wireless joint equipment plant and other state-owned enterprises. Covering more than 600,000 square meters, it runs from east to west, ending the beijing-baotou railway from jiuxianqiao road (jiuxianqiao road). North from jiuxianqiao north road, eventually to jiangtai road.

Because the factory was designed by some German experts, it has an architectural style known as the Bauhaus. Simple design, flexible and vivid composition. The unique architectural style and wide space attracted more and more artists and designers, who started to set up studios here in 2001. They took full advantage of its original style and transformed it into a unique art exhibition center and creative studio. Now Beijing’s 798 art district has gathered a number of fashion art and culture celebrities. Many international art exhibitions are held there. In recent years, it has received worldwide attention. Now it is one of the landmarks of Beijing’s urban culture.

Walking in 798 Art Zone, visitors can feel the contrast between the present and the past. On one side were mottled red brick walls with slogans from different eras; On the other side are scattered industrial buildings and criss-crossing pipelines. Uniformed workers and stylish tourists form a unique landscape in the streets. History and reality, industry and art are perfectly blended there. This is the 798 art district.

A cursory tour of the 798 Art Zone will take about 40 minutes. At present, there are more than 100 cultural institutions in one square kilometer, such as publishing houses, architectural design companies, costume design companies, interior design companies, music and film production companies, and artist studios. In addition to these cultural institutions, there are clubs, restaurants, bookstores and yoga centers.