Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Top 10 Symbols of Chinese Culture

Each nation has characters or symbols that represent its culture. They may be food, famous people, historical landmarks or a certain fashion that have been associated with a particular country. When we come across pictures of Great Wall, giant panda, red lanterns and dumpling, the very first thing that comes to our mind is China because these things are part of Chinese culture. However nowadays Chinese culture is no longer contained in China primarily because there are so called “China towns” in every successful nations. Here are some of the famous cultural symbols of China that represent the nation’s rich and colorful culture.

The Great Wall of China is undoubtedly one of the famous symbols of China. It reflects the Chinese people’s spirit of courage and persistence. In fact, there is an old saying in Chinese that goes “You are a real man until you climb up the Great Wall” which only shows that courage and persistence are intrinsic values of Chinese culture. The magnificent wall winds up and down across deserts, grassland, mountain and plateaus. It features a remarkable piece of engineering making it one of the greatest wonders of the world.

This giant creature with cuddly features is regarded as one of China’s National Treasure. However it is sad to say that giant panda is on the verge of extinction. At present, there are fewer than 1,000 giant pandas living in the world thus the giant panda also symbolize Eco-environmental conservation. Their cute faces, unusual beauty and grace delight everyone who see them up close. Visitors to China can see this reclusive animal in Sichuan Province's Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.

We usually see the massive display of this symbol especially during Chinese New Year. Red lanterns with Chinese characters make China towns’ street alive and full of energy. People who would like to experience the fun and excitement of Chinese New Year need not go to China, they can secure cheap airfare to Singapore to witness how the Chinese folks drive away bad spirits and attract good fortune. Lanterns play an important and irreplaceable role in Chinese long history and symbolize the brilliant culture of China. The art of making Chinese lanterns is part of traditional culture of Chinese which was inherited from their ancient people and passed from generations to generations. The craft work of lantern is still widely used in current society which can be seen in some happy days such as the Lantern Festival, wedding and celebration ceremonies. Besides, lanterns have some other functions in daily life. For example, at ancient time, when there was no electricity, lanterns were used as a tool of illumination, which brought great convenience to everyday life.

An airfare to Beijing is worth it when you visit the place because you will surely be amazed of the costumes and make-ups of the Beijing Opera. Each costume is picked and made through high aesthetic standard signifying the Chinese culture of giving importance to detail and beauty. The costumes are graceful, magnificent, elegant, brilliant and most of them are made in handicraft embroidery. Make-ups on the other hand are rich and various, depicting different characters and remarkable images. Beijing Opera is the quintessence of China. As the largest Chinese opera form, it 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.

Chinese cuisine is quite popular with everyone because of its distinct method and excellent taste. Jiaozi or better known as Chinese Dumpling is one of the Chinese food that is greatly appreciated by foreigners, not only because it is easy to eat but most importantly it has such great flavor that appeal to varying taste buds of different nationalities. Dumplings are one of the major foods that you will often see in the table of Chinese folks during Chinese New Year which they believe bring luck and prosperity.

The most significant symbol of every nation is its flag. For the People's Republic of China, it is a red field charged in the canton with five golden stars. The design features one large star, with four smaller stars in a semicircle set off towards the fly. The red represents revolution; the five stars and their relationship represent the unity of the Chinese people under the leadership of Communist Party of China (CPC). Sometimes, the flag is referred to as the "Five Star Red Flag".

The Chinese culture of fashion has evolved through times however it retains its distinct designs. The Chinese “qipao” or “cheongsam” which simply means “long dress” enjoys a growing popularity in the international world of fashion. It appeals to the international market because of its aesthetic value and distinct features. Even those who do not possess Chinese features are keen to wear this kind of clothing but it surely looks better for those who have “chinky” eyes.

The Chinese Decorative Knots can trace its history to the Tang and Song Dynasty during 960 – 1279 AD. It began as a form of Chinese folk art which was popularized later in the Ming and Qing Dynasty. Chinese knots are usually lanyard type arrangements where 2 cords enter from the top of the knot and 2 cords leave from the bottom. The knots are usually double-layered and symmetrical.

Some Chinese figures became popular because of their outstanding skills in Chinese Martial Arts. Some of the names which made it to international knowledge are Bruce Lee, Jacky Chan, Jet Li and many more. Kung Fu and Wushu are examples of martial arts which originated in China. In Chinese, kung fu can be used in contexts completely unrelated to martial arts, and refers colloquially to any individual accomplishment or skill cultivated through long and hard work. In contrast, wushu is a more precise term for general martial activities.

A sedan chair is a human or animal-powered transport vehicle for carrying a person, once popular across China. It has different names like "shoulder carriage", "sleeping sedan" and "warm sedan" etc due to the time, location and structural differences. The sedans familiar to modern people are warm sedans that have been in use since the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The sedan body is fixed in the wooden rectangular frames on the two thin log poles. The top and four sides of the seat are enclosed with curtains, with a chair blind that could be rolled open in the front and a small window on each side. A chair is placed inside the enclosed space.

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