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Chinese Embroidery

Thursday, June 19, 2014 10:29:41 PM Australia/Darwin

Chinese Embroidery, a folk art with a long tradition, occupies and important position in the history of Chinese arts and crafts. It is, in its long development, inseparable from silkworm-raising and silk-reeling and weaving.

China is the first country in the world that discovered the use of silk. Silkworms were domesticated as early as 5,000 years ago. The production of silk thread and fabrics gave rise to the art of Chinese embroidery. According to the classical Shangshu (or Book of History), the "regulations on costumes" of 4,000 years ago stipulated among other things "Chinese dresses and skirts with Chinese designs and Chinese embroideries". This is evidence that Chinese embroidery has become and established art by that remote time.

In 1958 a piece of Chinese silk was found in a tomb of the state of Chu of the Warring States Period (475-221 B.C.).It is embroidered with a Chinese dragon-and-phoenix design. More than 2,000 years old, it is the earliest piece of Chinese embroidery ever unearthed.

The art became widespread during the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-220 A.D.); many embroidered finds date back to that period.

Today, Chinese silk embroidery is practiced nearly all over China. The best commercial Chinese products, it is generally agreed, come from four provinces: Jiangsu (notably Suzhou), Hunan, Sichuan and Guangdong, each with its distinctive features.

Embroidered works have become highly complex and exquisite today. Take the double-face embroidered "Cat", a representative work of Suzhou embroidery...

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Posted in Chinese culture By Editor

Chinese wedding

Wednesday, June 4, 2014 3:40:57 PM Australia/Darwin

Given China’s immense history and the fifty-six ethnic groups encompassed in its boundaries, it should come as no surprise that wedding traditions vary from area to area. The weddings in the cities are coming more and more to resemble Western weddings.

Historically, the goal of a marriage was the joining and strengthening of two families, and the incorporation of the bride into the groom’s family. Marriages were – and sometimes still are – arranged. Therefore, the most important players in the marriage arrangements were the parents, not the bride and groom themselves. The criteria for choosing a bride varied depending on the wealth and status of the groom’s family. For a wealthy family, the important thing was that the bride bear many sons to continue the family (though this is no longer true in China). For a poorer family, it was critical that the bride be able to work hard to contribute to the family’s livelihood and to give birth to many sons who would also help out. Under the circumstances, wealthy families invariably sought to marry their sons to the daughters of other wealthy families, while the daughters of poor families married into a family of similar standing.

Although wealth and social status many still play a very important role in choosing a mate, education, character, and personality are increasingly more important to the younger generation. Parents may still try to arrange a relationship, but more often it is classmates, coworkers, teachers, and friends, who will play “matchmaker”.

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Posted in Chinese culture By Editor

Chinese business etiquette

Saturday, May 31, 2014 5:41:58 PM Australia/Darwin

Take care of the “Face issue”
Good quality business card and good quality accessories such as cell phone, watch and shoes certainly give you “more face” thus leaving a positive first impression.

Gifts during the initial meetings are not encouraged until you already have cooperation. Meanwhile don’t accept valuable gifts from your Chinese counterpart.

Meeting will be similar to those in "western world" with some differences:
Business relations in China require the "personal contact". It may start with some personal questions "to know each other", you may be asked if you have wife, kids, etc.

Meetings in restaurants (some of your meetings) can differ from those held in company offices. Tips: 
- Business lunch is for everyone, business dinner is for the business partners.
- Honored seat is facing the door.
- You may ask for the fork, but it would certainly be a nice gesture if you could use chopsticks.
- You don't have to eat everything that is on the table (They may try to impress or "shock" You).
- There will be a lot of strong drinks meaning they will try to drunk you by "drinking in turns" - if They try, always ask everyone to drink with you the same time. Explain that it is the custom in your homeland.

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Posted in Chinese culture By Editor

The work unit (Dān Wèi) in the Chinese society

Friday, May 30, 2014 12:01:50 AM Australia/Darwin

Once upon a time, each individual was assigned to a dānwèi upon graduation from university. The dānwèi could be a factory, office, farm, school, etc. The dānwèi system guaranteed lifetime employment, but, unfortunately for the worker, the assignments were made by government agencies where decisions were rarely based on the individual’s goals or talents.

Although dānwèi is translated as “work unit”, its actual description goes much deeper. The nature of the dānwèi is more like and extended family in that in addition to a job, the employee receives a host of benefits, including housing, childcare, health insurance, and pensions. Some dānwèi even provide extended facilities and social subsidies, such as a cafeteria where workers and their families can eat at little or no cost. The dānwèi, in turn, controls the career of its employees. Each individual has a personnel file which records his or her family background, job performance, and other activities; it is virtually impossible for the employee to transfer to another dānwèi without this file, and therefore without your current dānwèi’s permission. The dānwèi reflects in many ways the Confucian beliefs, with the company acting as provider and protector, the parental role, in exchange for absolute loyalty, the role of the child, in this case the employee.

The dānwèi has been called the “Iron Rice Bowl”, symbolizing lifetime employment and social support. Under this system...

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Posted in Chinese culture By Editor

Chinese chopsticks

Sunday, May 18, 2014 2:14:33 PM Australia/Darwin

Chinese chopsticks

Chopsticks, a traditional Chinese eating utensil, have undergone a long history of development and become a symbol of traditional Chinese food and drink culture and representative of Eastern civilization. They are also used in other countries, especially Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia.

Chopsticks are utensils for picking up food. According to legend, Yu invented chopsticks 4,000 years ago when he was taming the Yellow River. He had to eat meals in the field. When he was in a hurry, he could not wait for food to cool and had to pick up the hot food with twigs. Hence chopsticks were invented.

According to historical recordes, chopsticks have a history of at least 3,000 years. Few bamboo and wood chopsticks have been found among unearthed cultural relics, because they rot much faster than bone, jade and metal chopsticks...

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Posted in Chinese culture By Editor

Chinese Silk

Wednesday, May 14, 2014 10:38:13 PM Australia/Darwin

With its long history, Chinese silk has been one of the oldest “envoys” of Chinese culture. As early as the third century B.C., when colorful Chinese silk made its appearance in West Asia and Europe, a king of the Western world was shocked to see before his eyes the fleecy cloud-like, silk fabrics. It is said that a European emperor marveled at Chinese silk, exclaiming, “This is just like a dream!”

Suzhou is the generally recognized home of Chinese silk, or the silk capital of China. It is known to people who are interested in Chinese silk, that 90% of the genuine-silk trade in the world comes from China, and of the silk products exported from China, one third is from Suzhou. The large assortment of Suzhou silk, long known for its quality and beauty...

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Posted in Chinese culture By Min Zhong

History of Chinese Brocade Fabric

Monday, May 12, 2014 1:27:25 AM Australia/Darwin

Chinese brocade fabric

Brocade is a class of richly decorative shuttle-woven fabrics, often made in colored silks and with or without gold and silver threads. Nobody knows the exact origin of the brocade fabric. However, pieces of Chinese brocade existed in China from Sung Dynasty (960 to 1279 AD). In Europe, we know brocade was in use by the 13th century.

When you hear the term "brocade," you may instantly associate it with the word old. But brocade isn't just for grannies. This rich and versatile fabric is still adored by modern-day fashion designers. Thinking about adding some brocade to your wardrobe or home? Do it, be fashionable and be classic!

Through much of brocade's history, the cloth was reserved for the wealthiest and most powerful people. In Chinese culture, brocade was only used for special ceremonies.However, the use of brocade became more widespread later. Men and women from the upper and middle classes wore brocade as a regular part of their wardrobe. For men, brocade was reserved for either vests or waistcoats. Women might wear brocade accessories (including shoes), but many Chinese dresses featured large amount of the cloth...

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Posted in Chinese culture By Editor

Chinese Dragon Culture

Saturday, May 3, 2014 12:03:01 AM Australia/Darwin

Out of some cultural psychology and ideology, the Chinese ancestors created dragon, a cultural product which was actually non-existent. A great number of explanations and descriptions of dragon can be found in ancient Chinese books. One says, “The entire body of the dragon was integral with different part. Riding floating clouds, it nourished Yin and Yang.” Another says, “The dragon, born in water and covered with five colors, could change into a tiny silkworm when it wanted to become small; change into a formidable giant when it wanted to become big; rise above the clouds when it wanted to go up; and sink to the bottom of the spring when it wanted to go down.” Still another says, “Its horns looked like those of a deer; head, camel; eyes, ghost; neck, snake; scales, carp; talons, hawk; palms, tiger; and ears, ox.” These descriptions show that, in ancient Chinese people’s minds, the Chinese dragon was a mixture of various animals with no regular shape but with e abilities of raising winds and rains, soaring to the sky and diving to the bottom of a sea, and bestowing favors on all creatures on earth.

As far back as 5,000 years ago, each clan or tribe regarded a deity as its guardian god as well as its symbol. When a clan or tribe annexed another one, it would add its most distinctive symbols into its own to represent its victory. Therefore, the mixed shape of the dragon was actually an agglomerate of the totems characteristic...

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Posted in Chinese culture By Editor

The Confucian Traditions of China

Sunday, April 27, 2014 11:57:36 PM Australia/Darwin

China’s cultural roots are deeply embedded in Confucianism. Confucius (Kong Qiu) was a philosopher who lived from 551 BC to 479 BC. His philosophies became the foundation upon which Chinese society was built and which sustained it for nearly 2,000 years, shaping the mores and behaviors of the Chinese. Confucius believed that moral behavior stemmed from the fulfillment of traditional roles and hierarchies. He defined five basic relationships, which he called wu lun. Each relationship represents a reciprocal obligation.

Emperor to Subject
An emperor must show his subjects kindness;
A subject must be loyal.

Father to Son
A father must provide protection and favor to his son; the son reciprocates with respect and obedience...

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Posted in Chinese culture By Editor