On Going Home For Christmas - Merry Christmas!

He little knew the sorrow that was in his vacant chair;
He never guessed they'd miss him, or he'd surely have been there;
He couldn't see his mother or the lump that filled her throat,
Or the tears that started falling as she read his hasty note;
And he couldn't see his father, sitting sor- rowful and dumb,
Or he never would have written that he thought he couldn't come.

He little knew the gladness that his presence would have made,
And the joy it would have given, or he never would have stayed.
He didn't know how hungry had the little mother grown
Once again to see her baby and to claim him for her own.
He didn't guess the meaning of his visit Christmas Day
Or he never would have written that he couldn't get away.

He couldn't see the fading of the cheeks that once were pink,
And the silver in the tresses; and he didn't stop to think
How the years are passing swiftly, and next Christmas it might be
There would be no home to visit and no mother dear to see.
He didn't think about it -- I'll not say he didn't care.
He was heedless and forgetful or he'd surely have been there.

Just sit down and write a letter -- it will make their heart strings hum
With a tune of perfect gladness -- if you'll tell them that you'll come.

------ On Going Home For Christmas

* For you all come here: Merry Christmas and Happy
New Year!

* Original address of this China gift post: China Gift and Fine Arts & Crafts in China


Gem of China History - Yuan Ming Yuan

Yuan Ming Yuan, also known as the 'Old Summer Palace' and originally called the Imperial Gardens, was an extremely large complex of palaces and gardens 8 km (5 miles) northwest of the old city wall of Beijing, China. YuanMingYuan is very close to the Summer Palace.

The China Yuan Ming Yuan Park was know as ‘the Apotheosis of all Garden Art’ and ‘The Garden of Gardens’ with its grand geographical scale, excellent building techniques, fine groups of building landscape, rich culture collection and profound cultural connotation and reputation in the world. Its destruction can be said is the biggest regret in the history of China’s landscape architecture.

Formerly Yuan Ming Yuan was translated as ‘Old Summer Palace’, for it is the palace for the emperor living in summer days, which is very similar with the Summer Palace (Yihe Park) in China.

The Yuan Ming Yuan is composed by three main gardens, they are: the Garden of Perfect Brightness proper; the Garden of Eternal Spring; the Elegant Spring Garden.

TheYuan Ming Yuan inherited the outstanding tradition of garden building of three thousand years of China, it is both grand, elegant as court buildings and graceful as gardens in south of Yangtze River. At the same time, the Yuan Ming Yuan had absorbed the garden architecture style of Europe, combined different garden building styles into one, and create a perfect and harmonious overall layout.

And there is another garden in the Yuan Ming Yuan featured with style of foreign architectures, that named the European-style palace.

The Old Summer Palace is often associated with the European-style palaces built of stone. The designers of these structures were employed by Emperor Qianlong to satisfy his taste for exotic buildings and objects.

The Yuan Ming Yuan is not only famous for its gardens, but it is also a Royal Museum with very rich collections. French writer Victor Hugo once said: "Even if collected all treasures of all museums in French together, that can not match with this oriental grand and magnificent museum."

This great garden was destroyed during the second Opium War.

It took 3,500 British troops to set the entire place ablaze, taking three days to burn. The Palace was plundered and burned twice, . The first time was in 1860 by French and British army forces, and only 13 royal buildings survived to remain intact, most of them in the remote areas or by the lake side. The second time was in 1900 during the Eight-Nation Alliance invasion, and nothing remained this time.

Although the Yuan Ming Yuan has been destructed, but among the well-preserved gardens, we can still enjoyed the unique style of Chinese gardens: the combination of landscape, painting and poetry formed this unique poetic garden, which to provide a spiritual Utopia to the people living the garden.

Remark: The main several aesthetic elements of Chinese gardens include: asymmetrical;various types of spatial connections; trees, rocks and water; borrowed scenery; inscriptions; use of Feng Shui for choosing site.

* Original address of this China gift post: China Gift and Fine Arts & Crafts in China


How Much you Know about Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving Day is a festival of the United States and Canada, initially was intent on thanks for the good harvest sent by the god. In the U.S., since 1941, the Thanksgiving Day is the fourth Thursday in November annually, and from that day people will be on leave for three days, just like the Chinese New Year, as in that day, no matter how busy, thousands of people will back home to stay together with their families.

The Thanksgiving holiday celebrated an event from the earliest settlers in the United States. On this occasion, we eat turkey with mashed potatoes and the ubiquitous pumpkin pie "pumpkin pie".

The last Thursday of November, all Americans come together as a family to share the traditional Thanksgiving turkey and pumpkin pie.

Thanksgiving is a day of Thanksgiving to thank the Indians and Heaven have enabled the first pilgrims who came from England to settle and live on American soil thanks to good harvests they could do.

The Pilgrims settled at Plymouth Rock December 11, 1620. Their first winter was devastating. At the beginning of the next fall, 46 were dead on the 102 who came on the Mayflower. But the harvest of 1621 was one of the most successful so the remaining colonists decided to celebrate. This feast was more of a traditional "harvest festival" in the English tradition of a real Thanksgiving. It lasted three days.

This celebration of Thanksgiving was not reproduced the following year. But in 1623, during a severe drought, the Pilgrims got together to pray and invoke the rain. When a dense and continuous rain appeared the next day, Governor Bradford proclaimed another day of Thanksgiving, again inviting the Indians. Then it was not until June 1676 that another day of Thanksgiving was proclaimed.

On June 20, 1676, the council of Charlestown, Mass., met to determine what was the best time of year to express its gratitude to the good fortune that has allowed the community to settle. Unanimously, they decided to proclaim June 29 as a day of "Thanksgiving."

October 1777 was the first time or the 13 colonies jointly to celebrate a "Thanksgiving" was to commemorate their victory against the British at Saratoga. But this was the case only once.

Then came George Washington proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving in 1789, although some were opposed. Of discord reigned among the colonies, many believing that beliefs of a few Pilgrims did not deserve that devotes a national day. Later, President Thomas Jefferson laughed at the idea of having a "Thanksgiving Day".

It was Sarah Josepha Hale, a magazine editor, who contributed greatly to creating a "Thanksgiving Day". Hale wrote many articles defending his case in his magazines.

Finally in 1863, which President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November a national day of Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving was proclaimed by every president after Lincoln. The date changed from time to time, it was amended by including Franklin Roosevelt, who established one week after the last Thursday in order to lengthen the Christmas shopping season. The public protested against this decision so that the President returned it to its original date two years later.

It was during the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1941, as Thanksgiving was finally declared "legal holiday" by Congress and was introduced on 4th Thursday of November.

Today, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving everywhere.

Thanksgiving Day in Canada was starting in 1879, it is the second Monday of October every year, which is the same date with the United States Columbus Day.

In addition, the South Koreans are also accustomed to celebrate Thanksgiving, but this tradition has nothing to do with the Thanksgiving Day in North America, Koreans celebrate the Thanksgiving Day with in the Mid-Autumn Festival on the same day.

* Original address of this China gift post: China Gift and Fine Arts & Crafts in China


Do you know China Shadow Play?

Traditional Chinese Shadow Play

Shadow play is not a Chinese specialty, there are shadow plays in other countries as well. However, do you know the shadow play or shadow puppetry is what kind of play?

It is an ancient form of storytelling and entertainment using opaque figures in front of an illuminated backdrop to create the illusion of moving images.

In Taiwan, the shadow play was developed from the Chaochow(a county in Guangdong province, China) school of shadow puppet theatre, it was called ‘leather monkey show’ generally.

Chaochow Leather Monkey Show

Older puppeteers estimate that there were at least a hundred shadow puppet troupes in southern Taiwan in the closing years of the Qing. Traditionally, the eight to 12-inch puppet figures, and the stage scenery and props such as furniture, natural scenery, pagodas, halls, and plants are all cut from leather.

In France, although at the beginning the shadow play was spread from China in the past, but when it was added with their local characteristics, this kind of performance immediately become a type of authentic French Art.

The shadow play began to spread to Europe in the mid-18th century, when French missionaries in China took it back to France in 1767 and put on performances in Paris and Marseilles, causing quite a stir. In time, the Ombres chinoises (French for "Chinese Shadows") with local modification and embellishment, became the Ombres françaises and struck root in the country.

Silhouette Animation

Now in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey, these countries all have the tradition of shadow theatre. While Germany pioneered the silhouette animation, this new type shadow play used the same puppet as traditional shadow play, and filmed it frame-by-frame.

* Original address of this China gift post: China Gift and Fine Arts & Crafts in China


Do you Know the Double Ninth Festival in China Really?

As the annual Double Ninth Festival in China is coming, as for this traditional Chinese festival, how much do you know about?

The 9th day of the 9th lunar month is the traditional Chongyang Festival, or Double Ninth Festival. It usually falls in October in the Gregorian calendar. In an ancient and mysterious book Yi Jing, or The Book of Changes, number "6" was thought to be of Yin character, meaning feminine or negative, while number "9" was thought to be Yang, meaning masculine or positive. So the number nine in both month and day create the Double Ninth Festival, or Chongyang Festival. Chong in Chinese means "double."

Also, as double ninth was pronounced the same as the word to signify "forever", both are "Jiu Jiu," the Chinese ancestors considered it an auspicious day worth celebration. That's why ancient Chinese began to celebrate this festival long time ago.

The custom of ascending a height to avoid epidemics was passed down from long time ago. Therefore, the Double Ninth Festival is also called "Height Ascending Festival". The height people will reach is usually a mountain or a tower. Ancient literary figures have left many poems depicting the activity. Even today, people still swarm to famous or little known mountains on this day.

On this day, people will eat Double Ninth Gao (or Cake). In Chinese, gao (cake) has the same pronunciation with gao (height). People do so just to hope progress in everything they are engaged in. There is no fixed ways for the Double Ninth Cake, but super cakes will have as many as nine layers, looking like a tower.

The Double Ninth Festival is also a time when chrysanthemum blooms. China boasts diversified species of chrysanthemum and people have loved them since ancient times. So enjoying the flourishing chrysanthemum also becomes a key activity on this festival. Also, people will drink chrysanthemum wine. Women used to stick such a flower into their hair or hang its branches on windows or doors to avoid evilness.

In 1989, the Chinese government decided the Double Ninth Festival as Seniors' Day. Since then, all government units, organizations and streets communities will organize an autumn trip each year for those who have retired from their posts. At the waterside or on the mountains, the seniors will find themselves merged into nature. Younger generations will bring elder ones to suburban areas or send gifts to them on this day.

* Original address of this China gift post: China Gift and Fine Arts & Crafts in China


Introduction of 2010 China World Expo Pavilions XI - China Pavilion

China Pavilion at 2010 World Expo - Chinese Wisdom in Urban Development

Theme: Chinese Wisdom in Urban Development

National Pavilion Day: October 1

Location: Within Zone A of the Expo Site

Pavilion Features:

The appearance of China pavilion to be designed with the theme of "Oriental Crown, Splendid China, Ample Barn, Rich People," thus to express the spirit and temperament of Chinese culture.

The show of China pavilion is followed the main line of "Seeking", to lead visitors to walk through three areas of "Oriental Footprint", "Seeking Tour" and "Low-carbon Activity," and to find and feel the Chinese wisdom existed in urban development during the “Seeking” course.

The pavilion is cut-in from contemporary times, reviewed China's urbanization process over three decades, highlights the scale and achievement of China’s civilization over three decades, and retrospect, explore the inside heritage and traditions of China cites. Subsequently, a stretch of the "wisdom of the trip" guide visitors into the future, to nourish the developing route of future cities based on Chinese values and development.

Highlight 1: The “Chinese Red” picked out carefully from more than one hundred of red color samples

The “Chinese Red” decorated China Pavilion was picked out from one hundred of red color samples one by one, which was combined by from 7 kinds of red colors. Colors of the pavilion is turn to shallower from top to bottom, with conditions of different sun reflections in daytime and lights projection in night and different visual levels and so on, the color of China pavilion body will formed into an uniform deep and sedate red with classic visual effect.

In addition, red plates of China pavilion is made of metal material, with corduroy-like texture, not only put a piece of more quality ‘outerwear’ on China pavilion, but also endowed more steady and generous impression to the red color which originally a little more stink and jumpy.

Highlight 2: National Treasure 'Riverside Scene During The Qingming Festival' come out again on a one hundred meter long Wall

In the core area of China National Pavilion, which is also the highest level (49 meters high) exhibition area, a 100 meters long wall is covered with the famous painting in the Song Dynasty “Riverside Scene During The Qingming Festival” wholly. At the same time, the original copy of National Treasure “Riverside Scene During The Qingming Festival” will also come out in the China Pavilion during the Expo.

Highlight 3: Try all current high-tech means, Enjoy the civilization essence of five thousand years in 45-minutes

Visitors will firstly see a huge size Ring Theater and watch an eight-minute movie, to feel and touch the wisdom of China’s urban development. Then, people will look back the history, from the earliest module-like city development relic, to view the prosperity of the Bian city in the ancient Song dynasty through the enlarged painting “Riverside Scene During The Qingming Festival'”, finally entered into a stretched space with white basic design and full of future feelings, thus to find the Chinese-type answer to the future urban development.

From modern to ancient times, then to the future, the China Pavilion will show you a wonderful presentation concentrated five thousand years of Chinese civilization, the whole tour may takes about 45 minutes.

Highlight 4: "New Jiuzhou Qing Yan” depicting the typical Chinese landscapes, inspired from the Yuanmingyuan Park

On the roof platform of district of China Pavilion, the 2.7 million square meters urban sky gardens "New Jiuzhou Qing Yan will assumed several tasks of crowds evacuation, public recreation for the China pavilion. Among the ‘New Jiuzhou Yan Qing’, there are not only enriched the traditional Chinese garden and modern landscaping techniques, but also bears the Chinese wisdom and oriental charm. On each continent there are landscape arrangements of typical Chinese topographic feature. Visitors walk shuttled in, just like stroll on the miniature country of China, watching all wonderful natural creations, and the unique Chinese culture have a long history as well as the splendid sights showed in the garden is also an important part of the theme “Chinese Wisdom in Urban Development” of China pavilion.

Highlight 5: Focus on "Low-Carbon Action."

Focus on the future urban development in China with the core element of low-carbon, showing how the Chinese people through ”modern pursuit learn from nature“ to face challenges of urbanization in the future, and provide a “Chinese-style answer” for achieving global sustainable development.

Highlight 6: Transfer Chinese Temperaments, Seal Characters Wall composed of the Twenty-Four Solar Terms

In addition to the shape of China National Pavilion integrated elements of traditional Chinese architectural culture, the design of China regional pavilion is also rich in Chinese artistical Temperaments, which used a lot of experience ancient Chinese traditional elements. On the exterior wall of China regional pavilion, the designer used the ancient Chinese text - Seal as a decoration. The architecture surface of China regional pavilion decorated with “Overlapped Seal Characters” passing human geography information of twenty-four solar terms in China.

Highlight 7: Folk Workmanship "Three-Cut Ax" which is at the Verge of Extinction Reappeared

The seemingly simple steps of China Pavilion contained countless hidden wonders, there are total of 76 steps, whose quality and craftwork level is comparable to the big stage of the Great Hall of the people. At the same time, it reused the folk skill “Thee-Cut Ax” which is at the edge of extinction, on a piece of 1 square meter stone, the ax cutting times could be counted up to ten thousands, and to the whole China pavilion big stage need 54,000 thousands cuts.

All big stages of China pavilion are made of granite “China Ash”, showing a black and white visual effect.

Previous series of 2010 World Expo: German Pavilion

* Original address of this China gift post: China Gift and Fine Arts & Crafts in China


Chinese Fine Food (1) --- La Mian

We all know that Italian pasta is Garfield's favorite food, which is also the favorite of many people, but do you know La Mian, a type of hand-made or hand-pulled Chinese noodle is also very delicious?

Lanzhou La mian

Actually, when speaking of noodle, Chinese noodles have to be mentioned, and the world's oldest noodles was discovered by an archaeologist in Qinghai China.

Today in China, maybe many foreigners are very familiar with the "Lanzhou La mian" which can be caught at streets here and there, but does anyone know how "La mian" is made of?

There are several styles of twisting the dough but they all employ the same concept: a piece of dough is repeatedly stretched and folded onto itself in order to align the glutens and warm up the dough for stretching.

This dough is then pulled to about an arm span's length. The puller then makes a loop with the dough, joining the two ends into one clump of dough, and inserts his fingers into the loop to keep the strand from sticking to itself. Doing this, the pull has doubled the length of the dough while fractioning its thickness. This process is repeated several times until the desired thickness and quantity is achieved.

Daoxiao mian

The category of Lanzhou La mian is also includes "Daoxiao mian"(a type of knife-sliced noodles), and "Pao mo" (a type of steamed bread dipped in soup) as well.

He Fen (Thick rice noodle)

At the same time, Chinese noodle is also includes thick rice noodle ("He fen" in Chinese pronunciation), rice vermicelli or thin rice noodles("Mi fen" in Chinese pronunciation), and cellophane noodles or sweet potato vermicelli ("Fen si" in Chinese pronunciation).

* Original address of this China gift post: China Gift and Fine Arts & Crafts in China


The Mid-Autumn Festival in China is Coming soon!

Every year the day on August 15 of Chinese lunar calendar is the traditional Mid-Autumn Festival in China. At that time the season comes to mid-autumn of the year, so it is called Mid-Autumn Festival.

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

In China's Lunar Calendar, the year is divided into four seasons, each season is divided into three parts as ‘Meng’, ‘Zhong’ and “Ji”, so the Mid-Autumn is also known as Middle Autumn or ‘Zhong-Qiu’ pronounced in Chinese.

The moon on August 15th in Chinese lunar calendar is always more fuller and more bright than that in other months, so it is also known as "the Eve of Month", "August Festival". On this night, people looking up at the bright moon just like a fine jade, also like a disc in the sky, will naturally look forward to family reunion. Emigres far away from home will also used to express their thick homesick to their family members and hometown on the moon. Therefore, the Mid-Autumn Festival is also known as "Reunion Festival".

Since ancient times Chinese people has the custom of "Worshipping the goddess of the moon at the end of Autumn". In the Zhou dynasty, every year in the night of Mid-Autumn people will hold ceremonies of ‘Welcome Coldness’ and ‘Worship The Goddess of the Moon”, at the ceremony, a big size of incense table will settles, moon cakes, watermelons, apples, dates, plums, grapes and other offerings will placed on the table, among which, moon cakes and watermelons are necessary. And the watermelon should be cutted into lotus shape.

In the moon light, the statue of goddess of the moon will be placed toward the direction of the moon, with burning candles, the whole family will worship the moon one by one, then the housewife of the family will cut out the reunion moon cake into several parts. The number of divided moon cake parts always has been calculated before, which covers all members of the family, includes ones at home, and the members outside home. More or less is not allowed, and the size of parted moon cakes should be same.

Moon Cakes

As said in a legend that in ancient times there was an ugly girl named ‘Wu Yan”, who was accustomed to worship the goddess of the moon piously during her childhood, when she has grown up, she was been selected to enter the palace for her outstanding characters and virtues, but as for her ugly appearance she had not been favored by the emperor for a long time.

Later on the night of August 15 one year, when she worshipping the moon, the emperor seen her in the moon light and found her is very beautiful, then chose her as his queen, which is the origin of the custom of worshipping moon at the mid-autumn.

Fairy Chang-e, who is living in the moon, was known for her beauty, so young girls worship moon will willing to "look like the goddess of Chang’e, face as bright moon."

Fairy Chang-e - The Goddess of The Moon

During the Tang Dynasty of ancient China, the custom of admiring and enjoying the glorious full moon on the Mid-Autumn Festival is quite popular. On the night of August 15 in Chinese lunar calendar, peoples in the whole city, no matter they are poor or rich, old or young, will all wear on adult clothing, burn incenses and worship moon and tell out their wishes, and pray for blessing of the goddess of the moon.

During the South-Song dynasty in ancient China, people were accustomed to present moon cakes to each other, as to admire the auspicious connotation of reunion. In some area there will hold many activities as playing grass weaved dragon dance, building pagodas and so on.

Since the Ming and Qing dynasty in ancient China, the custom of celebrate the Mid-Autumn festival is become more popular in folk, there formed many special customs such as burning incenses, tree mid-autumn, light pagoda lights, play sky lights, walking with the moon, playing fire dragon dance and etc. in many local areas in China.

There are many customs of the Mid-Autumn Festival in China, as well as many forms, but all of them are repose trust of people’s infinite love and yearning for a better life.

Today, the custom of playing under the month has been far from popular than which ancient times in China, but the custom of host a banquet to enjoying the full moon is still very popular in China, people are still like to drinking wines to ask after the moon, celebrate the good life, or wish distant relatives good health and happy, share the moon with family members in common.

Now, as the traditional Mid-Autumn Festival in China is coming soon(will fall on September 22), I wish all lovers each other a long life so as to share the beauty of this graceful moonlight, even though miles apart.

* Original address of this China gift post: China Gift and Fine Arts & Crafts in China


Introduction of 2010 China World Expo Pavilions X - German Pavilion

German Pavilion at 2010 Shanghai World Expo - Balancity

Theme: Balancity

National Pavilion Day: May 19

Pavilion Area: Around 6,000 Square Meters

Location: Within Zone C of the Expo Site

Pavilion Features:

The theme of the pavilion is "Balancity." It demonstrates the importance of balance between modernization and preservation, innovation and tradition, community and the individual, work and leisure, and between globalization and national identity. Visitors will gradually explore various places typical of a city -- a harbor, a factory, a garden, a park and a depot where exhibits and urban projects from Germany will be on show.

Highlight 1: Metal Sphere

The highlight of the pavilion is a cone-shaped structure housing a revolving metal sphere, three meters in diameter and covered with LEDs, which will be activated by the noise and movement of spectators.

Highlight 2: Virtual Narrators

Germany Pavilion's virtual narrators Jens and Yan Yan will guide visitors to tour the pavilion. According to the plot, Jens, a male mechanics student in a German university, met female Chinese architect student Yan Yan in China. During the following parts of the exhibition, Yan Yan went to German and Jens introduced his lifestyle and the country to her. Visitor will follow the tour of the "narrators" to complete the visit of the pavilion.

Highlight 3: Performance

Visitors will be able to experience the youth culture of Germany. The hip-hop culture is so vigorous that it has gone beyond the national and language barriers, spreading around the world and coming into the Germany Pavilion. Visitors will see the street dance, and a type of "graffiti art" based on the urban culture.Another great show is the vocal percussion, relying on nothing but artists' mouths and microphones in creating wonderful rhythms.

Previous series of 2010 World Expo: Japan Pavilion
Next series of 2010 World Expo: China Pavilion

* Original address of this China gift post: China Gift and Fine Arts & Crafts in China


Introduction of 2010 China World Expo Pavilions IX - Japan Pavilion

Japan Pavilion at 2010 Shanghai World Expo - Harmony of the Hearts, Harmony of the Skills

Theme: Harmony of the Hearts, Harmony of the Skills

National Pavilion Day: 12 June

Pavilion Area: Around 6,000 Square Meters

Location: Within Zone A of the Expo site

Pavilion Features:

The Japan Pavilion is a semi-circular structure, covered by a purple membrane material. Several antennae and caves make the pavilion a "breathing organism," which will express the harmony between the human heart and technology. The pavilion has been dubbed "Purple Silkworm Island" by Chinese people.

Highlight 1: Journey through Time

People will experience a journey from ancient times into the future. At the "past zone," the friendship between China and Japan will be highlighted. Historic cases such as a Chinese envoy's visit to Japan in the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) and expertise such as Nishijin weaving will be showcased. Japan's modern energy saving and water purification technologies will be exhibited in the "present zone." The exhibition will focus on three topics: water source protection, global warming and the aging problem. The "future zone" will feature a modern opera developed by both Chinese and Japanese directors.

Highlight 2: Opera

The centerpiece of Japan's Expo showcase is an opera about a rare bird that avoided extinction in Japan with the help of China. The crested ibis was declared extinct in Japan in the 1970s. The Chinese government began giving some of its stock to Japan in the 1990s and the birds managed to re-establish themselves in Japan. The opera combines both China's Kunqu opera and Japan's Noh drama to show friendship and exchanges between the two countries.

Highlight 3: Cutting-edge Technologies

Japanese companies will highlight cutting-edge technologies at the pavilion, including a machine that can turn sewage into drinking water, floorboards that can generate electricity when walked on as well as intelligent robots and the country's most advanced vehicles. Several robots will play violins for visitors,etc.

Previous series of 2010 World Expo: France Pavilion
Next series of 2010 World Expo: German Pavilion

* Original address of this China gift post: China Gift and Fine Arts & Crafts in China


Chinese Valentine's Day - The Qixi Festival is Coming!

The traditional Qixi Festival in China is coming soon (will fall on August 16), the Qixi Festival is also called as the Chinese Valentine’s day, the Chinese Valentine's Day falls on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar. In China, this day is also known as "The Begging Festival".

Festival Origin: The seventh daughter of the Emperor of Heaven, the Weaving Maid, and an orphaned cowherd were separated by the Emperor; the girl was forced to move to the star Vega and the cowherd, to the star Altair. They were only allowed to meet on the magpie bridge over the Milky Way once a year on the day of seventh day of seventh lunar month - Chinese Valentine's Day.

The "Begging” custom of Qixi is a time-honored custom in China, on this day young girls will not only beg for wonderful needlework skills, but also begging for a good marriage.

On that night, unmarried girls prayed to the Weaving Maid star (Vega) for the special gift. When the star Vega was high up in the sky, girls performed a small test by placing a needle on the water's surface: If the needle did not sink, the girl was considered to be ready to find a husband. Once a year, on this day, girls could wish for anything their hearts desired.

So I wonder on the day of ‘Qixi’ this year, how many grils will pray silently under the stars?

In truth, as said to praying for a marriage, I wonder that is depends on the predestination, if you two are predestined to be together, so no matter what happened you two will meet, fall in love and been together finally.

Now, here, I wish All shall be well, and Jack shall have Jill!

* Original address of this China gift post: China Gift and Fine Arts & Crafts in China


China's 'Barbie' - Fisimi

China's 'Barbie' - Fisimi

Chinese Name:
Fu Xi Mei

English name: Fisimi

Fisimi is origin from English ‘fifty-six’ and the first two letters of Chinese pinyin ‘minzu’, which means China’s 56 nationalities.

"Fu Xi Mei" is the Chinese connotations of Fisimi, they are beautiful emissaries to convey blessings and share good luck.

China's has 56 nationalities, and each nation has its unique culture and charm, the magnificent cultural heritage shall be shared by all mankind. At all times, the world is excavating the Chinese element and ethnic culture themes, but only a few of Chinese ethnic names were mentioned in the world. Culture owned by the 56 Chinese nationalities is one of the most wonderful group cultures, Fisimi national culture series collection with affinity of Fisimi in black hair, share the diverse cultural treasures with a long history existed in China’s five thousands years with the whole world.

Fisimi collections are all handmade by minority artists, accessories are all classic national apparels made through hundreds of pieces, as well as hundreds of working procedures, and the craftsmanship such as mixed color combination involved in the production process is extremely difficult. And The variety of national boots wore by Fisimis itself has very complex craftwork, especially they were be made into a coin size, which is a type of craftsmanship with more highly difficulty, measure the special beauty within one inch, itself is a artwork. So each Fisimi is sold for a very expensive price, the retail price for each Fisimi is about 1,000 – 3,000 YUAN RMB.

Fisimi series national culture collections, with a blueprint of China's 56 ethnic groups, there are six patterns initially as following:

Fisimi of Han Nationality (Sold for RMB 2199)

Fisimi of Tibetan Nationality (Sold for RMB 2999)

Fisimi of Zhuang Nationality (Sold for RMB 1199)

Fisimi of Korean Nationality (Sold for RMB 1588)

Fisimi of Tujia Nationality (Sold for RMB 1688)

Fisimi of Naxi Minority (Sold for RMB 2199)

So far, there are 30 Fisimis have been produced, which are represent 30 different ethnic groups of China, and the other 26 pieces will come out in sequence in the next three years.

In addition to this series, other series of Fisimi is also in schedule, for example, bride, flight attendants and other different status of Limited edition Fisimi series.

Fisimi of Educated Youth

Initially Fisimi were used faces of Chinese girls as the design prototype by European team, whose hair were all imported from Japan, eyes are all made by blown process artificially and imported from Germany. The production team said that it represented the inclusiveness of the Chinese culture, and the same time ensured the perfect tiptop level of Fisimi.

I believe Fisimi will become an ambassador of Chinese culture, pass on Chinese history and culture to the whole world, as well as act as a bridge between China and other countries.

* Original address of this China gift post: China Gift and Fine Arts & Crafts in China


Introduction of 2010 China World Expo Pavilions VIII - France Pavilion

France Pavilion at 2010 Shanghai Expo - The Sensual City

Theme: The Sensual City

National Pavilion Day: June 21

Pavilion Mascot: Cat Léon

Pavilion Area: Around 6,000 Square Meters

Location: Within Zone C of the Expo site

Pavilion Features

The "Sensual City" itself is impressive with a large, classical roof garden and a pond. The walls of the square-shaped structure, which is made from a special concrete, are covered in plants and it looks like a white floating palace. Gardens are the centerpiece of the pavilion.

The "Sensual City" showcases the sights, smells, tastes, sounds and feel of France - visitors will be able to admire French gardens and paintings, smell French perfume, taste French cuisine, touch the cool water of pools and fountains, and watch clips from classic French films to soak up the glamor of France.

Highlight 1: Floating Palace

The France Pavilion appears to be floating in the beauty rhyme with water. The structure as a whole is "wrapped into" a huge wire mesh that is made of a new type concrete material, while featuring the plant walls, and water pools internal and external.

Highlight 2: French-style Garden

In the center of the structure stands a French-style garden, with streams flowing alongside. Small fountains and water gardens will help cool the space, where visitors may enjoy the singing of birds, fragrance of flowers, and delicious food under the sunshine and amid the aquatic environment. Surrounded by the space that is permeated with French city ambient sound effects, visitors may think they were in France.

Highlight 3: Alain Delon

As the spokesman of France Pavilion, Alain Delon will tell you his close ties with China at the "France Pavilion Channel" specifically set up for the pavilion exhibition.

Highlight 4: Romantic French Wedding

Visitors may also have the chance to witness a romantic French wedding, which has been held in the city of Tours for several consecutive years. New couples will tie the knot in the beautiful French-style garden within the pavilion.

Previous series of 2010 World Expo: U.S.A. Pavilion

Next series of 2010 World Expo: Japan Pavilion

* Original address of this China gift post: China Gift and Fine Arts & Crafts in China


China's Mona Lisa - Painting 'Riverside Scene During The Qingming Festival'

Part of Painting ‘Riverside Scene During The Qingming Festival’

One of Ten China Famous Paintings - Riverside Scene During The Qingming Festival is a custom painting work for the Northern Song Dynasty, which is 24.8 cm wide, 528.7 cm long, color on silk;

The painting scroll is the only survived artwork of Northern Song Dynasty painter Zhang Zeduan in the world, it is one of national treasures in China, now be collected in Beijing National Palace Museum.

Painting ‘Riverside Scene During The Qingming Festival’ in scroll form, with multiple vanishing points composition method, describing a vivid scenery of city living in China's 12 century.

Part of Painting ‘Riverside Scene During The Qingming Festival’

"The Qingming Festival By The Riverside’ Painting is a city scenery scroll describing the capital city of the Northern Song Bianjing, according to statistics, there are totally 1,659 varied characters, 209 animals in the painting, the number is larger than the character number in any of the China Four Classic Novels.

It captures the daily life of people from the Song period at the capital, Bianjing, today's Kaifeng. The theme celebrates the festive spirit and worldly commotion at the Qingming Festival.

The entire piece was painted in hand scroll format and the content reveals the lifestyle of all levels of the society from rich to poor as well as different economic activities in rural areas and the city.

Part of Painting ‘Riverside Scene During The Qingming Festival’

The painting is famous because of its geometrically accurate images of boats, bridges, shops, and scenery. Because of its fame, it has been called "China's Mona Lisa".

From the painting we can get a glimpse at the prosperous city scenery of the Northern Song Dynasty with contiguous tea houses, bistros, diners and arch bridges over the Bian river, crowds of people going out to make a spring outing, as well as varied characters, such as vendors and peddlers, jugglers, paupers and beggars, monks, fortune tellers and seers, innkeepers, metalworkers and carpenters and so on. The scenery on the painting is so dazzling and dizzying.

The city size and prosperity degree of the North Song Dynasty is supreme than any other country at that time, as the current World Expo in Shanghai is themed with 'City Life', so if you go to the China Pavilion at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, you will see such a famous painting describing scenery of ancient Chinese city.

* Original address of this China gift post: China Gift and Fine Arts & Crafts in China


Introduction of 2010 China World Expo Pavilions VII - U.S.A. Pavilion

U.S.A. Pavilion at 2010 Shanghai World Expo - Rise to the Challenge

Theme: Rise to the Challenge

Highlights: Gray Steel Structure

National Pavilion Day: July 2

Pavilion Area: Around 6,000 Square Meters

Location: Within Zone C of the Expo Site

Pavilion Features:

The USA Pavilion is a mammoth gray steel structure meant to resemble an eagle stretching its wings in welcome. The pavilion presents a dynamic and emotional story that conveys four core concepts: sustainability, teamwork, health and the spirit of striving for success.The exhibition tells the story of the American spirit of perseverance, innovation, and community-building in a multi-dimensional, hi-tech presentation.

The overall theme of the pavilion is "Rise to the Challenge." In keeping with the Expo's theme of "Better City, Better Life," the challenges depicted will be creating environmentally sustainable communities, engaging in a healthy lifestyle and using technology to improve people's lives. The pavilion showcases American business and technology, as well as culture and values, to foster stronger friendship between the American and Chinese peoples.

Highlight 1: Visual Parable without Dialogue

The USA Pavilion features a show entitled "The Garden" - the story of a 10-year-old girl who envisages turning a vacant city lot into an urban oasis, working with her neighbors to make that happen. The movie - a visual parable without dialogue - includes plenty of computer-generated imagery and 4-D effects, like vibrating seats, mist and lightning. The girl's passion and resolution has inspired her neighbors to work together to turn a dilapidated city into a fascinating place with the spirits of optimism, innovation and cooperation.

Highlight 2: Live Shows and Multimedia

In addition to a daily "Dance-America!" outdoor show, the USA Pavilion will stage a wide range of performances including jazz, pop, ska and classical music, university marching bands, theater and dance.

Previous series of 2010 World Expo: Switzerland Pavilion
Next series of 2010 World Expo: France Pavilion

* Original address of this China gift post: China Gift and Fine Arts & Crafts in China


Introduction of 2010 China World Expo Pavilions VI - Switzerland Pavilion

Switzerland Pavilion at 2010 Shanghai World Expo - Rural and Urban Interaction

Theme: Rural and Urban Interaction

Curtain of Woven Aluminium Elements

National Pavilion Day:
August 12

Pavilion Area:
around 4,000 square meters

Within Zone C of the Expo site

Pavilion Features

A combination of technological insight and beautiful dream - Switzerland Pavilion best shows the characteristics of modern Switzerland, including the pursuit of excellence, innovation and high-quality life, as well as concepts of future facing, forward looking and sustainable development.

The most distinguished feature of the Switzerland Pavilion is the chair lift ride. The jouney takes about 10 minutes. The chair lift will take people up and out to the roof garden from the inside pavilion. The chairs are sheltered to ensure operation under the raining weather.

Highlight 1: Interactive and Intelligent Facade

The interactive, intelligent facade enveloping the pavilion is a curtain of woven aluminium elements under which visitors pass to access the urban area on the ground floor of the building. LED lights comprised of an energy source, a storage unit and a consuming unit are incorporated into the facade.

The energy produced is made visible in the form of flashes that are triggered by the pavilion surroundings, such as the sun or flashes made by visitor cameras. Thanks to the storage of energy in each individual cell, the facade is also active at night, when the cells will trigger each other.

Highlight 2: Use of Chinese Philosophy

The design concept is visible in a mix of many contradictory elements. The Chinese Philosophy of "Yin" and "Yang" is well reflected in the entire building, to achieve an ingenious combination of high-tech and nature.

Highlight 3: IMAX Film "The Alps"

At the top end of the ramp of the exhibition area, visitors can see a 10-meter-high projection screen in the atrium. The IMAX film "The Alps," showcasing magnificent Swiss mountain scenery, will be projected.

Previous series of 2010 World Expo: Spain Pavilion

Next series of 2010 World Expo: USA Pavilion

* Original address of this China gift post: China Gift and Fine Arts & Crafts in China


The Dragon Boat Festival in China is Coming!

The Dragon Boat Festival, officially falling on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, also known as Double Fifth Day, is one of important traditional Chinese festivals, the other two being the Mid-Autumn Festival and Chinese New Year.

Now as the Dragon Boat Festival in China is coming soon, which will fall on 17, June this year, so maybe you want to know some interesting things about this tradtional Chinese festival.

While many stories regarding its origin abound, the most popular and widely accepted version regards Qu Yuan, a minister during the Warring States Period (475 - 221 BC)

Legend of the Dragon Boat Festival's Origin

At the end of the Zhou Dynasty, the area we now know as China had fallen into a state of fragmentation and conflict. While the Zhou dynasty had ruled for several centuries, several other states, originally feudal domains, tried to carve out their own kingdoms. The state of Qin would eventually emerge the victor and unify all of China under one rule for the first time in history.

Qu Yuan served as minister to the Zhou Emperor. A wise and articulate man, he was loved by the common people. He did much to fight against the rampant corruption that plagued the court-- thereby earning the envy and fear of other officials. Therefore, when he urged the emperor to avoid conflict with the Qin Kingdom, the officials pressured the Emperor to have him removed from service. In exile, he traveled, taught and wrote for several years. Hearing that the Zhou had been defeated by the Qin, he fell into despair and threw himself into the Milou River. His last poem reads:

Many a heavy sigh I have in my despair, grieving that I was born in such an unlucky time;
I yoked a team of jade dragons to a phoenix chariot;
And waited for the wind to come, to sour up on my journey.

As he was so loved by the people, fishermen rushed out in long boats, beating drums to scare the fish away, and throwing glutinous rice dumplings (namely 'zong zi' in Chinese) into the water to feed braver fish so that they would not eat Qu Yuan's body.

The Modern Dragon Boat Festival in China

Starting from that time to this day, people commemorate Qu Yuan through Dragon Boat Races, eating zong zi, and several other activities, on the anniversary of his death: the fifth day of the fifth lunar month.

Dragon Boat races are the most exciting part of the festival, drawing crowds of spectators. Dragon Boats are generally brightly painted and decorated canoes. Ranging anywhere from 40 to 100 feet in length, their heads are shaped like open-mouthed dragons, while the sterns end with a scaly tail. Depending on the length, up to 80 rowers can power the boat. A drummer and flag-catcher stand at the front of the boat. Before a dragon boat enters competition, it must be "brought to life" by painting the eyes in a sacred ceremony. Races can have any number of boats competing, with the winner being the first team to grab a flag at the end of the course. Annual races take place all over China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and other overseas Chinese communities.

Tzung Tzu / Zong Zi (Glutinous Rice Dumpling)

The traditional food for the Dragon Boat Festival, Tzung Tzu (in Chinese 'Zong zi') is a glutinous rice ball, with a filling, wrapped in corn leaves, so it also known as glutinous rice dumpling. The fillings can be egg, beans, dates, fruits, sweet potato, walnuts, mushrooms, meat, or a combination of them. They are generally steamed.

Talisman and Charms

Another aspect of the
Dragon Boat Festival is the timing: at the beginning of summer, when diseases are likely to strike, people also wear talisman to fend off evil spirits. They may hang the picture of Zhong Kui (a Chinese deity supposed to be a chaser of demons), guardian against evil spirits, on the door of their homes, as well.

Adults may drink realgar wine ('Xiong Huang Jiu' in Chinese), and children carry fragrant silk pouches, all of which can prevent evil. It is said that if you can balance a raw egg on its end at exactly noon on Double Fifth Day, the rest of the year will be lucky.

Last, wish all my Chinese friends in home or at abroad
Happy Dragon Boat Festival!

* Original address of this China gift post: China Gift and Fine Arts & Crafts in China