Chinese Ceramics (Part II) - Life Sentiments origins from Elegance

Part II: Ceramics - Life Sentiments origins from Elegance

The origin of ceramics and porcelain is an important symbol of human civilization, it is also the first time human take advantage of nature to creat a brand new thing in accordance with their own wishes. A thousand years ago, Chinese ancestors had already learned the technology of ceramic production.

As it can be seen from the pottery, our ancestors were made creations in accordance with the spirit of "revere for heaven and earth and desire harvest".

The Majiagou Kiln Culture was first discovered in Majiagou Village, Lintao County, Gansu province, China. Its greatest feature is the pottery industry there was developed very well.

                      Cloth Textured Incense Burner

The above pottery is a cloth textured incense burner produced during the Warring States period, and was unearthed in Xiaoshan, Zhejiang province. As we all known, heart-shaped ornamentations appeared most in weatern artworks, and spices also were special for westerners. However, as early as 2,000 years ago, Chinese ancestors already had such an elegant living atmosphere.

The Tang Tri-colored Pottery was invented in Southern and Northern Dynasties and flourished in the Tang Dynastyy over 1300 years ago, its color is mainly yellow, brown, and green. The Tang Tri-colored Pottery featured with vivid styles and bright colors, all the Tang Tri-colored Pottery unearthed are full of life air.

The Tang Tri-colored Pottery is a low-temperature lead-glazed pottery, different metal oxides were added to the color glaze, then during the calcination process a variety of colors formed, and showing grand splendid artistic charm.

                Musicians on Camel Figurine of Tang dynasty

The Musicians on Camel Figurine of Tang dynasty unearthed from Xi'an Tang dynasty tomb in 1959, its shape is very vivid. There are 7 singing and dancing musicians (6 males and 1 female) on the camel.

Although buried in the ground for over 1,300 years and still dazzling when it was been unearthed.

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* Original archive: Chinese Ceramics (Part II) - Life Sentiments origins from Elegance


Chinese Ceramics (Part I) - Art Treasures from Nature

Part I: Chinese Ceramics: Important Symbol of Human Civilization

The origin of ceramics is an important symbol of human civilization, it is also the first time human take advantage of nature and a brand new thing created by human in accordance with their own wishes. As early as more than one thousand years ago, our ancestors had already grasped the technology of making ceramics.

As the birthplace of the ceramics industry, China enjoys the reputation as a "porcelain country" in the world. As Jingdezhen even known as a famous porcelain city in the world, its porcelain techniques has reached the most peak height, the world rating its ceramics "white as jade, thin as paper, sound as chime, bright as mirror".

Not only Jingdezhen known as the ‘porcelain city’ of China, it is also the world's ‘porcelain city’. Word "China" in English, the pronunciation is just origins from its name of Jingdezhen in history as "Chang South."

Before the 18th century, Europe was still not capable of making porcelain. So at that time,  Chinese porcelain, especially fine porcelain manufactured by Chang South town are popular in Europe widely, even the royal family will proud with getting to a piece of Chang South porcelain ware. Since then, porcelain got the name as "China" went around in Europe.

During the Song Dynasty, Emperor Song Zhenzong changed the Chang South county into "Jingdezhen". Since then, Jingdezhen become a world-class porcelain city with the longest firing history, the largest scale and the most sophisticated technology in the world.

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* Original archive: Chinese Ceramics (Part I) - Art Treasures from Nature


Legend of the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival - Commemoration of Qu Yuan

The Dragon Boat Festival, the 5th day of the 5th lunar month, has had a history of more than 2,000 years. It is usually in June in the Gregorian calendar.

There are many legends about the evolution of the festival, the most popular of which is in commemoration of Qu Yuan (340-278 BC).

Qu Yuan was minister of the State of Chu and one of China's earliest poets. In face of great pressure from the powerful Qin State, he advocated enriching the country and strengthening its military forces so as to fight against the Qin.

However, he was opposed by aristocrats headed by Zi Lan, and later deposed and exiled by King Huai. In his exiled days, he still cared much for his country and people and composed immortal poems including Li Sao (The Lament), Tian Wen (Heavenly Questions) and Jiu Ge (Nine Songs), which had far-reaching influences.

In 278 BC, he heard the news that Qin troops had finally conquered Chu's capital, so he finished his last piece Huai Sha (Embracing Sand) and plunged himself into the Miluo River, clasping his arms to a large stone. The day happened to be the 5th of the 5th month in the Chinese lunar calendar.

After his death, the people of Chu crowded to the bank of the river to pay their respects to him. The fishermen sailed their boats up and down the river to look for his body. People threw into the water zongzi (pyramid-shaped glutinous rice dumplings wrapped in reed or bamboo leaves) and eggs to divert possible fish or shrimp from attacking his body.

An old doctor poured a jug of reaglar wine (Chinese liquor seasoned with realgar) into the water, hoping to turn all aquatic beasts drunk. That's why people later followed the customs such as dragon boat racing, eating zongzi and drinking realgar wine on that day.

Wish all my Chinese people in China or abraod Happy the Dragon Boat Festival!


China Fine Bamboo Carving Art

Bamboo carving, also known as bamboo sculpture, as described by Zhao Ruzhen in the "Antiques Guide - Bamboo Carvings": "bamboo carving is carvings on bamboos, the artworks are same as paintings and calligraphy, just to use knife to replace brushes, and use bamboo to replace papers", this summary is concise and comprehensive, and quite finespun and exquisite.

China Fine Bamboo Carving - Sisters

China is the first country in the world that began to use bamboo products, so in China bamboo carving is also has a long history. Carved a variety of decorative patterns and words on bamboo utensils, or carved bamboo roots into a variety of ornaments and furnishings.

Bamboo carving become a form of art since the Six Dynasties, and accepted and loved slowly by mass people until the Tang Dynasty. When bamboo carving developed to the prosperous times in the Ming and Qing dynasty, the exquisite techniques of bamboo carving had exceeded to previous generations, and bamboo carving become a unique and attractive art form in the history of Chinese arts and crafts.

China Fine Bamboo Carving - Worship the Heaven

In earlier times, bamboo carvings were usually palaces, figures, landscapes, birds and flowers and so on decorations carved on utensils, and bamboo carving artworks survived in the world are very rarely, mostly are artworks created in the Ming and Qing dynasties.

Bamboo carving products in the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the exquisite carving skills has gone beyond the previous generation for a long time. Most of bamboo carvings created in the Ming dynasty is simple and vigorous, full composed and deep carved, as well as have powerful lines, usually the carved patterns will coved the whole body of utensil.

China Fine Bamboo Carving - Back Home

While bamboo carvings created in the Qing dynasty were descended from the art style of the Ming dynasty, but has more rich and varied performance ways, carving techniques as relief carving and bas-relief are used simultaneous.

Some bamboo sculptures and carvings are carved concisely, simple and generous, and some delicate and exquisite, some have dense and rich patterns, and ever-changing. The main carving methods of bamboo carving there are shade lines, positive carving, round carving, engraved carving, deep and shadow relief or high relief and so on.

* Originally archive: China Fine Bamboo Carving Art


10 Fun Facts in China

1. Mother-in-law is the law of the family in China. Son-in-law and daughter-in-law have to please the mothers for a happy marriage.

2. Go to weibo.com to freshen up your Chinese vocabulary on a regular basis.

3. In summer, Chinese ladies carry umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun, because they are allergic to tans.

4. Most girls are not allowed to have boyfriends before they graduate because parents want them to "concentrate on their studies". But after they graduate? Then the parents will urge them to get married quickly.

5. Most Chinese don't use laundry driers. We prefer to dry our clothes under the sun.

6. If a girl is over 25 years old and still single, most of the time, she will be urged to get married by her relatives. This explains why a girl who is 30 might tell you that "I am already 30! I am too old."

7. Foreigners speaking Chinese (Mandarin) will win people's heart. And even if you aren't fluent in Mandarin, your attempt to speak Chinese (even a few words) will be a good icebreaker.

8. Chinese love to offer gifts and buy meals for their guests. Turning them down might embarrass them. A good suggestion would be to tell your Chinese friends (or business partners) earlier: "no gifts please."

9. China is diverse. People living in the big cities may behave differently from those living in the inner provinces (more traditional and conservative). You cannot easily generalize all Chinese people.

10. People from different cities speak different dialects, which are quite different from Mandarin. If you can speak their dialect, even a few words, they will be very happy to talk to you.

* Originally archive: 10 Fun Facts in China


Hot Dishes for Spring - Oysters

It is spring, and time to give yourself a boost of energy. So today i'd like to offer you a special oyster menu for the months of March and April.

One other apparent reason is that the Chinese believe a lot in natural aphrodisiacs - and the oyster is a famous one. The Chinese often say oyster is "a man's gas station", and "a woman's beauty station".

If you like, many restaurants can serves oyster in many different dishes, three cold, two soups, and four hot. And as i known, there are five kinds of oysters: French belon, French fine de Claire, Japanese kumamoto, Canadian Fanny Bay and Australian Pacific gigas.

Asians are likely to prefer the silky, milky texture of the Japanese kumamoto oyster. But the French belon has a metallic smell of the shell, which some people will consider a fresh sea smell. The Canadian Fanny Bay and Australian Pacific gigas are somewhere in-between.

So you can order all the oysters and taste the difference. Or they can just order what they like.

One day, I tried to pair the oysters with ingredients of the same region. For example, kumamoto is paired with tobiko salad and ginger ponzu. Belon is served with lemon frisse and Champagne vinegar.

The side ingredients are designed not to taste stronger than the main ingredient of oysters. Moreover, many alcoholic drinks are used in the dishes, to enhance the flavor, and to help with digestion.

Vodka is used for a gazpacho of lime-marinated fine de Claire. Fanny Bay is paired with chardonnay bearnaise and garlic spinach. Brandy and beer are served with hot oyster dishes.

The vodka gazpacho is outstanding, and the fragrance of chilled tomato helps to make the oyster taste even better, while the celery works to limit the sea smell.

In the hot dishes, the oysters are baked with cheese, grilled, poached and deep-fried with batter. I will use stronger tasting ingredients such as garlic and cheese to cover up any possible sea smell caused by heating.

The fresh oysters taste bright and salty, with firm and clean flesh. A ponzu sauce helped them go down very easily. and i believe the best oysters should still be enjoyed fresh.

I'd aslo have to admit that the hot oyster dishes are tailored for those who cannot deal with the sea smell. Some Chinese people prefer not to eat seafood raw, for health reasons.

* Originally archive: Hot Dishes for Spring - Oysters