Every civilization has its own unique culture, which changes over the centuries. China has colorful folk cultures that include traditional artistic forms such as poetry, opera, calligraphy, and painting. The culture of China is as vast as the nation itself, and holds something for every one.
The history of Chinese literature is reflected in the Book of Songs, Songs of Chu, Poetry of Han Dynasty, Book of Jin, and the Poetry of Tang Dynasty. Other works include traditional Chinese novels from the Ming and Qing dynasties, and essays of the Republic of China.
Traditional Chinese music grew from influences found at home, and abroad. Today, there are several different types of Chinese music, including folk, scholar, religious, and court. The temperament is based on five notes corresponding roughly to do, re, mi, sol, and la. Chinese traditional music has distinct characteristics and common instruments used to play this music include the Guzheng, Qin, and Xiao. In addition, there is the bone flute, from China’s Neolithic Age, and is the world’s earliest wind instrument.
The time-honored Chinese dance reflects traditional Chinese culture and aesthetics. In addition, it is closely related to martial art, acrobatics, and Chinese opera, which includes singing, speaking, acting and acrobatic fighting. Traditional Chinese opera features many types of dramas such as Beijing Opera, Henan Opera, Hebei Clapper Opera, Shaanxi Opera, Pingju, Cantonese Opera, Shaoxing Opera and Flower Drum Opera.
Chinese painting is called Guohua and writing brushes, soft brushes, or fingers are mainly used to paint on silk or Xuan paper. Chinese paintings can be divided into bird-and-flower, mountains-and-waters and figure painting. They are further classified according to the medium, which includes elaborate-style, freehand brush, heavy-color, ink and wash, line drawing in traditional ink and brush style, mural, and inner painting.
Other forms of painting include concrete Chinese painting and abstract Chinese painting. Chinese painting, which is mostly done with freehand brushwork, emphasizes similarity in spirit, instead of form. Cavalier perspective is preferred to focus and artistic conception is highly prized, versus the more traditional scene.
As one of the world’s most ancient civilizations, China contributed numerous inventions and innovations in astronomy, math, medicine, mechanics, metallurgy, ceramics, spinning, and architecture. In China, the four great inventions includes papermaking technology, printing, compass, and gunpowder. Other useful inventions include the seismograph, abacus, steel, umbrella, toothbrush, stirrup, silk, matches, lacquer, kite, fan, crossbow, and bronze ware. Silk, porcelain, and tea were once the main export goods in China and transported via the Silk Road.
Today, China has learned from western civilization and advanced its own type of scientific research. The successful launch of the Shenzhou spaceships made China the third country that sent mankind into the space, after the Soviet Union and America.