Dragon totem worship in China has been around for the last 8,000 years

Chinese Dragon

Dragon totem worship in China has been around for the last 8,000 years. The ancients in China considered the dragon (or loong) a fetish that combines animals including the fish, snake, horse and ox with cloud, thunder, lightning and other natural celestial phenomena. The Chinese dragon was formed in accordance with the multicultural fusion process of the Chinese nation. To the Chinese, the dragon signifies innovation and cohesion.

Dumplings

Dumplings are one of the Chinese people's favorite traditional dishes. According to an ancient Chinese legend, dumplings were first made by the medical saint---Zhang Zhongjing. There are three steps involved in making dumplings: 1) make dumpling wrappers out of dumpling flour; 2) prepare the dumpling stuffing; 3) make dumplings and boil them. With thin and elastic dough skin, fresh and tender stuffing, delicious taste, and unique shapes, dumplings are worth eating hundreds of times. There's an old saying that claims, "Nothing could be more delicious than dumplings". During the Spring Festival and other holidays, or when treating relatives and friends, Chinese people like to follow the auspicious custom of eating dumplings. To Chinese people who show high reverence for family love, having dumplings at the moment the old year is replaced by the new is an essential part of bidding farewell to the old and ushering in the new year.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an important part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). In accordance with the "main and collateral channels" theory in TCM, the purpose of acupuncture is to dredge the channel and regulate qi and blood, so as to keep the body's yin and yang balanced and achieve reconciliation between the internal organs. It features in traditional Chinese medicine that "internal diseases are to be treated with external therapy". The main therapy of acupuncture involves using needles to pierce certain acupoints of the patient's body, or adopting moxibustion to stimulate the patient's acupoints so as to stimulate the channels and relieve pain. With its unique advantages, acupuncture has been handed down generation after generation and has now spread all over the world. Nowadays, acupuncture, along with Chinese food, kung fu (otherwise known as Chinese martial arts), and traditional Chinese medicine, has been internationally hailed as one of the "four new national treasures."

Chinese Kung Fu

Chinese kung fu, or Chinese martial arts, carries traditional Chinese culture in abundance. It is a traditional Chinese sport which applies the art of attack and defence in combat and the motions engaged with a series of skill and tricks. The core idea of Chinese king fu is derived from the Confucian theory of both "the mean and harmony" and "cultivating qi" (otherwise known as nourishing one's spirit). Meanwhile, it also includes thoughts of Taoism and Buddhism. Chinese kung fu has a long history, with multi-various sects and many different boxing styles, and emphasizes coupling hardness with softness and internal and external training. It contains the ancient great thinkers' pondering of life and the universe. The skills in wielding the 18 kinds of weapons named by the later generations mainly involve the skills of bare-handed boxing, such as shadow boxing (Taijiquan), form and will boxing (Xingyiquan), eight trigram palm (Baguazhang), and the skills of kung fu weaponry, such as the skill of using swords, spears, two-edged swords and halberds, axes, tomahawks, kooks, prongs and so on.

Chinese Characters

Chinese characters were initially meant to be simple pictures used to help people remember things. After a long period of development, it finally became a unique character system that embodies phonetic sound, image, idea, and rhyme at the same time. The writing system, which was extremely advanced in ancient times, began with inscriptions on bones and tortoise shells, and these are regarded as the original forms of Chinese characters. Afterwards, Chinese characters went through numerous calligraphic styles: bronze inscriptions, official script, regular script, cursive script, running script, etc. Chinese characters are usually round outside and square inside, which is rooted in ancient Chinese beliefs of an orbicular sky and a rectangular Earth. The five basic strokes of Chinese characters are "---" (the horizontal stroke) "│" (the vertical stroke), "/"( the left-falling stroke), "\" (the right-falling stroke), and "乙" (the turning stroke).

Chinese Chopsticks

The Chinese way of eating with chopsticks is unique in the world. The recorded history of chopsticks started more than three thousand years ago. Chopsticks were named zhu in ancient Chinese. They look deceptively simple to use, but possess multi-various functions, such as clamping, turning over, lifting up, raking, stirring, scooping, poking, tearing, and so on. Chopsticks were taken as an auspicious mascot by ordinary people in ancient China. For example, the partial tone of chopsticks is often used by people as a metaphor at weddings to indicate a blessing or benediction for the couple to have a baby soon. Unlike using a knife and fork or one's own hands, a pair of chopsticks also implies the meaning of "Harmony is what matters". Chopsticks are highly praised by Westerners as a hallmark of ancient oriental civilization.

Chinese Seal

A seal can also be defined as a stamp. Both the Chinese official and private seal of various dynasties have different titles, such as stamp, zhu note, contract, fu, lease and others. The seals used by the emperors of ancient China were called xi, yin, bao, etc. According to historical records, seals were widely used during the Warring States Period (475BC-221BC). The making of a seal is to engrave fonts, such as seal characters and official script and so on; or images in the form of intaglio and embossment into the seal, basically shaped as round or square. Covered with a vermilion overlay, the Chinese seal is not only used in daily life, but it is also used to represent signatures on paintings and calligraphies. It is gradually becoming one of China's unique artworks.

Chinese Era

The Chinese era is the symbol that the Chinese calendar uses for recording and naming years. The ten Heavenly Stems are: jia, yi, bing, ding, wu, ji, geng, xin, ren, gui. The twelve Earthly Branches are: zi.chou, yin, mou, chen, si, wu, wei, shen, you, xu, hai. After observing the lunar month, the ancients found that the moon always wazes and wanes roughly 12 times a year, and two lunar months account for about 60 days, so the order of the ten Heavenly Stems and the order of the twelve Earthly Branches are properly matched in turn. In terms of recording date, 60 years is considered to be a full time cycle. The Chinese era chronology was first invented in ancient times and is still in use now. according to the chronology of the "ten Heavenly Stems," 2011 is the year of "the seventh of the ten Heavenly Stems" and " the fifth of the twelve Earthly Branches".

Chinese Beijing Opera

Praised as "Oriental Opera", Beijing Opera is a genuine national quintessence of China. It originated from many kinds of ancient local operas, especially huiban in southern China. At the end of the 19th Century, Beijing Opera evolved and took shape, becoming the greatest kind of opera in China. Beijing Opera is a blend of performing arts---song, speech, performance, acrobatix fighting and dance. Beijing Opera portrays and narrates the plot and characters through stylized acting. The main types of roles in Beijing Opera are sheng(male), dan (young female), jing (painted face, male), and chou( clown, male or female).

Chinese Taoism

Taoism first originated in China. The founder of Taoism is Laozi, a philosopher and thinker who lived in the late Spring and Autumn Period (770BC-476BC). Tao Te Ching whose authorship has been attributed to Laozi, is considered to be the main Taoist classic. Taoism advocates the value of a human being's life, recommends the discarding of all desires and worries from one's mind, and encourages the cultivation of moral character and the nourishment of human nature. The following is an example of Laozi's golden saying:
The way that can be told of is not an unvarying way;
The names that can be named are not unvarying names.
It was from the nameless that Heaven and Earth sprang;
The named is but the mother that rears the ten thousand creatures, each after its kind.
Truly, only he that rids himself forever of desire can see the secret essences;
He that has never rid himself of desire can see only the outcomes.

Chinese Idioms

Chinese idioms refer to comprehensive and integrated fixed phrases and expressions. Idioms are established and accepted by constant usage and common practice. An idiom is a language unit that is larger than a word, but has the same grammatical function as a word. Most Chinese idioms consist of four characters. For example, ziqiangbuxi ( make unremitting efforts to improve oneself), qingchuyulan(bluer than indigo), and houjibofa (success comes with time and effort). Idioms are extrated from folk proverbs, ancient works of literature, poems, fables, allusions, and well-known sayings. Idioms are a part of the Chinese language that are concise and have great vitality.

Chinese silk

China is the home of silk. Mulberry planting, sericulture, silk reeling and thickening are all great inventions of the ancient Chinese. As early as the Shang and Zhou Dynasties (1600BC-256BC), the Chinese people's silk-weaving techniques had reached an extremely high level. During the Western Han Dynasty (206BC-25AD), Zhang Qian, an outstanding diplomat, travelled around central Asia and connected China with the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean, opening up a new era of Sino-foreign trade, exchange and communication. From then on, China's silk became well known for its extraordinary quality, exquisite design and color, and abundant culture connotations. Hitherto, Chinese silk has been accepted as a symbol of Chinese culture and the emissary of oriental civilization.

Chinese Classical Garden

The Chinese classical garden is a precious treasure of our ancient Chinese architecture. It is a kind of environment art, which systematically combines artificial mountains and rivers, plants and buildings with the natural landscape. The construction standard of a Chinese classical garden is "artificial as it is, the garden must look ingenious and natural." When you go sightseeing in a Chinese classical garden, you should be able to appreciate its artistic concept which "makes use of the natural landscape to create the real fun of mountains and rivers for viewers." Of the world's three major garden systems, the Chinese classical garden is hailed as one of the origins of the world's garden due to its long history and abundant connotations.

The Four Treasures of the Study

The writing brush, ink stick, ink stone, and paper were requisite treasures in the study of the scholars of ancient China, and they are often referred to as the "Four Treasures of the Study." The writing brush and ink stick have been used by the Chinese to write and paint since 5,000 years ago. In the Qin Dynasty (221BC---206BC), people already used feathers of different hardness and bamboo trunks to make brushes. During the Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD), man-made ink was used instead of natural ink. After paper was invented by the Chinese, bamboo slips, wooden tablets, brocade and silk, which originally functioned as writing surfaces, gradually faded out. The ink stone was first developed with the use of writing brushes and ink. After the Song Dynasty (960AD---1279AD), the "Four Treasure of the Study" particularly referred to hubi, the writing brush produced in Huzhou, Zhejiang province; huimo, the ink stick produced in Huizhou, Anhui province; xuan paper, a kind of paper produced in Xuanzhou, Anhui province; and duanyan, the ink stone made in Zhaoqing, Guangdong province (Zhaoqing was earlier called Duanzhou). Indeed, the Four Treasures of the Study" have writtin the whole Chinese civilization, as it is.

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