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China Brief

China, one of the countries that can boast of an ancient civilization, has a long and mysterious history - almost 5,000 years of it! Like most other great civilizations of the world, China can trace her culture back to a blend of small original tribes which have expanded till they became the great country we have today. Chinese society has progressed through five major stages - Primitive Society, Slave Society, Feudal Society, Semi-feudal and Semi-colonial Society, and Socialist Society. The rise and fall of the great dynasties forms a thread that runs through Chinese history, almost from the beginning. Since the founding of the People's Republic of China on October 1st, 1949, China has become a socialist society and become stronger and stronger.


China Arts and Crafts

   

It is common knowledge that China has a long history and glorious history in both arts and traditional crafts. These are just two of the many jewels in China's over five thousand-year culture. The arts and crafts are not only the embodiment of the people's longing for aesthetic beauty for themselves and as gifts for others, but also great treasures for China and the rest of the world. Many of the master artisans have had their skills handed down via one generation to the next so that only the offspring of such an artisan could learn the necessary skills required. The result being that they are the most valuable treasures both for a family and for the nation.Of all the Chinese arts and crafts, the most representative are Bronze Vessels, Folk Toys, Embroidery, Calligraphy, Music, Opera, Painting, Cloisonne, Jade, Kites, Lacquer Ware, Paper-Cuttings, Porcelain, Pottery, Seals, and Silk. They are not only a vivid reflection of Chinese culture but also the embodiment of both the Chinese people, and of the nation itself.


Bronze Vessels, invented some 5,000 years ago that led the ancestors of modern China from the Stone Age into a new era - the Bronze Age. The bronzes produced being delicately decorated with a diverse range of designs and motifs and were widely used in many aspects of life, such as musical instruments, ceremonial offerings and weapons of war being of great significance in Chinese history.   

Embroidery originated in the Shang Dynasty (16th - 11th century BC), and now has four major traditional styles: Su, Shu, Xiang, and Yue. It is also an accomplished skill for the Chinese ethnic minority groups such as the Bai, Bouyei and Miao.    


Calligraphy to which people both then and now attach great importance this highly stylized form of writing and has been developed by many eminent calligraphers of many different dynasties. Referred to as the ‘four treasures of study' (writing brush, ink stick, paper, and ink slab) are regarded as the indispensable tools when writing.


Opera is recognized as one of the three oldest dramatic art forms in the world. It is a combination of music, art and literature and is characterized by the unique facial make-up, excellent acrobatics and has many different regional variations.


Painting is divided into three genres - figures, landscapes, and birds-and-flowers and each type has its distinctive characteristics. In addition, difficult skills are required to the painters of Chinese painting.


Cloisonne is an enamel artwork with the primary color being blue. It is renowned for its use of high-quality material, complex manufacturing process and its use of bright and vivid colors.


Paper-Cuttings is diversified patterns cut into red paper with scissors. Different patterns such as monkey, flowers and figures can be cut vividly and perfectly by some female artisans in rural areas. People paste paper-cuttings onto their windows and other places to express their hopes and wishes.


Porcelain derived from the Shang Dynasty (16th - 11th century BC), it is characterized with fine texture, bright colors, and distinctive shapes and styles. Jingdezhen, located in Jiangxi Province is the Porcelain Capital of the world and attracts countless people from near and far to appreciate, and buy the choicest porcelain around.


Potterya has a history of over 8,000 years and known as the oldest artwork of human beings. Chinese accomplishments in pottery works can be seen from Terra Cotta Warriors, in Xian, Shaanxi Province, and the Tricolor Glazed pottery of the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907) and so on.


Silk, a silkworm produces 1000 meters (3280feet) of silk thread in its lifespan of just 28 days and is of great value. Major local silk products in China are Shu, Yun, Song Brocade and brocades by ethnic minorities such as the Zhuang and the Dong peoples are well renowned.

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