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Four Great Classical Novels in China

The“Four Great Classical Novels” are commonly regarded by scholars as the greatest and most influential pre-modern Chinese fictions. Dating from the Ming and Qing dynasties, the stories, scenes and characters in them have deeply influenced Chinese people’s ideas and values.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms

Three Kingdoms is based on the history of the three kingdoms, Wei, Shu and Wu that strove to reunite the empire at the end of the Eastern Han Dynasty. The stories of the heroes and their deeds as well as various folk tales, plays, ballads and verses were weaved seamlessly together by Luo Guanzhong, creating an enduring historical and literary masterpiece.

The last years of the Eastern Han Dynasty was a period of chaos and disorder, with various military forces rising to fight with one another. The three forces led respectively by Cao Cao, Liu Bei and Sun Quan, who were the major powers of that time, all wanted to take over the throne and reunify China, so the political and military fights with one another were very fierce.

Three Kingdoms takes those historical events and combats among the kingdoms into account and gives a full range of vivid and poignant portrayal of the political stratagems and warfare, among which the stories of Three Heroes Swear Brotherhood in the Peach Garden, The Battle of Red Cliff, and The Stratagem of the Empty City etc. are so well received that they have been common subject matter of other literary genres.

Dream of the Red Chamber

Dream of the Red Chamber, or The Story of the Stone, is the greatest masterpiece of Chinese classical novels of the Ming and Qing dynasties. It has the most profound influence on later generations in literature.

Dream of the Red Chamber is a novel with great cultural richness. It depicts a multi-layered yet interfusing tragic world of humans through the eye of a talentless stone the Goddess used for sky mending.

Jia Baoyu, the incarnation of the stone, witnessed the tragic lives of “the Twelve Beauties of Nanjing”, experienced the great changes from the flourishing to decline of a powerful family and thus gained unique perception of life, the feudal system and culture as well as the mortal world.

The great literature success of Dream of the Red Chamber is remarkably reflected by the creation of characters with distinctive personalities and profound social culture, mirroring people in real life.

The success also lies in the breakthrough and innovation of traditional writing styles, completely breaking the mode of story-telling popular novels and greatly enriching the narrative art of novels, thus causing a far-reaching impact on the development of Chinese novels.

The Water Margin

Water Margin is one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. Attributed to Shi Naian, whom some believe to be Luo Guanzhong, the novel details the trials and tribulations of 108 outlaws during the mid Song Dynasty.

The story is generally based upon the historical bandit Song Jiang and his 36 companions, who were active in the Huai River region and eventually surrendered to government troops in 1119. “Water Margin,” however, is set on Mount Liang, a mountain in southern Shandong province which is surrounded by the largest marshland in north China. Because the area was largely a wasteland on the frontiers of several administrative units, government control was minimal, and bandit chiefs were active there during the Northern Song.

The story tells about the exploits of a group of 105 men and 3 women, representing all classes of Chinese society, who rose up, under the leadership of Song Jiang, against the tyranny of a corrupt and unjust official in the Song dynasty. Eventually, after defeating the Imperial forces sent to suppress them, they were granted amnesty and invited to form their own company in the Imperial army. They were then sent to attack Fang La in the south, who had declared himself an emperor, and met a tragic end.

The Journey to the West

The novel is based on the actual 7th-century pilgrimage of the Buddhist monk Xuanzang (602–664) to India in search of sacred texts. The story itself was already a part of Chinese folk and literary tradition in the form of colloquial stories, a poetic novelette, and a six-part drama when Wu Cheng’en formed it into his long and richly humorous novel.

Composed of 100 chapters, the novel can be divided into three major sections. The first seven chapters deal with the birth of a monkey from a stone egg and its acquisition of magic powers. Five chapters relate the story of Xuanzang, known as Tripitaka, and the origin of his mission to the Western Paradise. The bulk of the novel recounts the 81 adventures that befall Tripitaka and his entourage of three animal spirits—the magically gifted Monkey, the slow-witted and clumsy Pigsy, and the fish spirit Sandy—on their journey to India and culminates in their attainment of the sacred scrolls.

In addition to the novel’s comedy and adventure, Journey to the West has been enjoyed for its biting satire of society and Chinese bureaucracy and for its allegorical presentation of human striving and perseverance.

Detian Waterfall, Which Makes a Very Deep Impression on You

The detian waterfall scenic spot is located in daxin town, chongzuo city, guangxi zhuang autonomous region, about 145 kilometers (90 miles) from downtown nanning and surrounding Vietnam. This scenic spot has more than 40 tourist attractions. Among them, the most striking is Ban gioco-detian falls.

The waterfall crosses the border between China and Vietnam and is connected to banjuk falls in Vietnam. It has the reputation of being the second largest transnational waterfall in the world. Perhaps you have seen the famous Niagara Falls. You are impressed by its majesty. Similarly, the majestic tokuda waterfall gives a sense of breathtaking magnificence.

Below the tokuda falls is a deep pool more than 200 meters (0.12 miles) wide and more than 30 meters (0.02 miles) deep. There are many big fish in the pond and the fish are delicious. So the villagers who live there often come to the pond to catch fish. They usually sing folk songs while casting nets. The wild songs echoed in the mountains, a joyous, carefree, lively atmosphere.

Besides the detian waterfall, there are many other attractions waiting for you to visit, including heishui river, qiaomiao lake, guichun boundary river, shadun waterfall, no. 53 waterfall, as well as numerous cultural relics and rare animals. Abundant rainfall and moderate temperatures have brought evergreen to the picturesque landscape.

The blackwater river, as it is called in English, is dotted with verdant plants and strange hills. Of course, the water is not black. It gets its name from the black reflections of trees and hills. When you row on the heishui river, you can see the rotating water wheels, the houses of the minority zhuang people, the terraces and the laboring farmers.

Qiaomiao lake covers an area of about 5000 mu, surrounded by green mountains. The lake was as calm as a mirror. The mountains, trees and clouds reflected on the lake like a picture. Boating on miaomiao lake, listening to folk songs, enjoying the bright moon, enjoying the peace granted by heaven in the earth.

Guichun river originated in jingxi, baise city, guangxi. It flows into Vietnam and then back to China. The two countries are bordered by this river. On one side are zhuang-style buildings, on the other side is the face of another country. It’s interesting to think about the difference.

Shatun waterfall is another famous waterfall in the scenic area. The waterfall runs down seven terraces. Compared with the tokuda falls, the sandun falls are not so magnificent. It looks like a gentle woman who associates herself with the fascinating nature.

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.