Here introduce you the Shaanxi Cuisine for your Xian tour.
Shaanxi cuisine is represented by Guanzhong, south Shaanxi and north Shaanxi cuisine styles. Shaanxi Province occupies an important position in the development history of Chinese culture. Its cooking techniques can be traced back to Yangshao Culture period. In the Han (206BC-220AD) and Tang (618-907) Dynasties, Shaanxi's cooking techniques reached a splendid period. Thanks to its unique position in Chinese history, Shaanxi chefs gathered all eating and cooking advantages from all over the country, and formed its own characteristics.
Local chefs of Shaanxi Province are good at using local materials to prepare delicious dishes, such as hump and hoof of camels, fat sheep from north Shaanxi, Qinchuan oxen, carps from the Yellow River, and black rice fromHanzhong. Through boiling, stewing, braising, frying and cooking, they produce a wide variety of dishes of different tastes.
Famous dishes include: bottle gourd chicken, mustard and upper part of a pork leg, white lotus in a limpid pond, scorpion and fish on bamboo plate,Guozifish in milky soup, Chrysanthemum pot, Han cinnamon chicken slices saute, chicken rice and sea cucumber, tomato juice and ox tongue, steamed mutton, etc.
1. Bottle gourd chicken
It is a famous traditional dish of Shaanxi Province, with golden red color, crisp skin, tender meat, strong smell and mellow taste.
2. White lotus in a limpid pond
This dish was created by Van Culinary Research Institute based on historical records. It features well selected ingredients, meticulous preparations, a crisp and tender and refreshing taste, just like a white lotus flower in a limpid pond, hence the name.
3. Scorpion and fish on bamboo plate
This dish is a creation of Van, featuring delicious and tender fish, a strong fragrance of scorpions, a graceful smell of bamboo and abeautiful shape, with a role of dietotherapy.
4.Guozifish in milky soup
As a traditional dish of Van of Shaanxi Province, Guozi fish in milky soup evolves from an imperial dish of the Tang Dynasty of more than 1,000 years ago. It features delicious and tender fish meat and milk-like and mellow soup. It is a nutritious dish rich in protein, minerals and vitamins.
5. Chrysanthemum pot
With a time-honored history, this traditional dish is full of fragrances of flowers, wine, meat, and vegetables.
6. Han cinnamon chicken slices saute
It is a famous dish of Hanzhong of Shaanxi. Legend has it that when Liu Bang became King of Hanzhong, Prime Minister Xiao He, planted this cinnamon tree in person in Shengshui Temple in the south of Hanzhong, hence the name Han cinnamon. This dish features tender and delicious chicken slices, with aroma of cinnamon, and a graceful color.
If you want a tailor-made China tours, Xian should be must contained.
There are numerous attractions for tourists' Beijing tours. Among them is Yuanmingyuan which is a destroyed royal park. The following give you the history of this place.
YuanMingYuan, (圓明園) located at north-west Beijing, is called the Old Summer Palace by tourists to distinguish it from the nearby Summer Palace (頤和園YiheYuan). Actually YuanMingYuan was a large imperial park of three separate parks viz. the Garden of Perfection and Brightness (圓明園Yuanmingyuan) to the west, the Garden of Ten Thousand (Eternal) Springs (萬春園Wanchunyuan) to the south and the Garden of Everlasting Spring (長春園Changchunyuan) to the east, all centered around Fuhai, (福海 Lake/Sea of Fortune/Blessings). The latter two gardens were added during the Qianlong Reign. The Garden of Ten Thousand (Eternal) Springs Wanchunyuan was also known as Yichunyuan (怡和園 Garden of Exquisite Spring).
Anyone who appreciates beauty and human enterprise will be outraged when they visit the present YuanMingYuan. This was once a beautiful imperial park, with exquisite gardens, Chinese palaces and Western Baroque buildings, treasures of art and cultural relics and an imperial library of irreplaceable books. It was plundered and razed to the ground by the barbaric Anglo-French forces in 1860 under the order of Lord Elgin (James Bruce 1811-1863), son of the famous British lover of Greek art who stole the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon in Athens.
It was a tragedy that YuanMingYuan took so many years to raise to glory but only a few days of wanton destruction in 1860 to obliterate. Such was a painful waste for humanity, this fruit of man’s ingenuity, conceived as a Garden of all Chinese Gardens. Again, in 1900 the allied forces of the Eight Powers invaded Beijing and sacked the remaining buildings in the park. Many priceless artifacts that were plundered made their ways to the museums and private collections in Europe.
Under the order of Premier Zhou Enlai, Yuanmingyuan became a park to remind the Chinese and the world of the destruction wrought by European colonial powers to a harmless and priceless cultural entity that rightly belongs to mankind. The only surviving building was Zhengjuesi (正覺寺 Enlightenment Temple) at the southern part in Wanchunyuan. The other remains are the broken marble columns, some at the Peking University campus and the Beijing Library courtyard.
The garden was already in use in the 12th century AD during the Liao (Khitan) dynasty, but major construction was only started in 1709 during the Kangxi Reign, and completed 150 years later. The compound covered an area of some 350 hectares (about 150,000 square meters) equal to that of the Imperial Palace (Forbidden City). Artisans were recruited from all over China to enact the exquisite Chinese garden settings, the mountain scenes and the a hundred odd palaces, pavilions and halls with bridges, pagoda and temples. A third of the ground was given to nature in the form of streams, ponds, rockeries, hillocks, cliffs, ravines and caves.
At the southern sector in Wanchunyuan was once three rows of beautifully designed palaces centralized by the Hall of Uprightness and Brilliance 正明殿, the site of official imperial business. The sole remaining building of Zhengjuesi west of the front gate of Wanchunyuan is now under restoration. It was part of a temple complex of 2.5 acres built by the Qianlong Emperor for the imperial family, and it comprises of Sanshengdian (三聖殿Hall of Three Sages), Wenshuting (文殊停 Manjusri or Wenshushiyi Bodhisattva Pavilion), Zuishanglou (最上樓 Top Tower). The European buildings and Fountains were at the north-east in Changchunyuan, and the ruins here are the best preserved relics in the garden.
The future of Yuanmingyuan was one of contending arguments as to rebuild it to its former glory or to let it stay as a lesson of destructive Western imperialism for the Chinese people. It has been formally decided that the Western relics should remain, and the remaining areas restored to their previous state. The present park has trees replanted and paths and bridges renovated, but nothing similar to the splendor before its destruction. In 1984, half a million cubic meters of water was diverted from the Minyun Reservoir into a 28 hectare lake, a renewed Fuhai (the Lake of Fortune). The restoration will affect one fifth of Yuanmingyuan and includes the enactment of the impressive Dagongmen 大宮門Palace Gate.
For the historically minded, one must not miss the museum elaborating the history of YuanMingYuan and its future restoration. In this museum is a copy of a letter written in 1861 by Victor Hugo condemning the destruction by the invading Anglo-French troops as barbaric. My visit to Yuanmingyuan in 1999 was rather painful when I saw a lake with Western boats, a Western-style fun park for children and a section with South Pacific buildings. Surely, the park administrator has no lingering knowledge of Chinese history and culture.
A smaller Yangmigyuan has been constructed in Shenyang in the northern Liaoning Province. The area is only 2000 square meters with numerous buildings, scenic sites and bridges. However, the largest building was reduced to a tenth of the original size. If Shenyang is too far, one can always visit Shezhen to see a replica of the European baroque palaces and fountains. Shenzhen is just two hours from Hong Kong or Guangzhou. The buildings in Renaissance style have Chinese glazed tiled roofs, reflecting of enhanced Sino-Western beauty. Here, one can admire the exact replicas and understand the beauty and glory of a former Yuanmingyuan in daylight or under night lighting, as in the Shenzhen photos below.
Lastly, what happened to those Yaunmingyuan artifacts stolen from China? The Yuanmingyuan fountain had twelve animal heads sprouting water from their mouths. In April and May 2000, three heads, the ox, monkey and tiger, were auctioned by Sotheby and Christie in the face of widespread protests from Chinese worldwide. However, they were bought for US $3.8 million by a Beijing company called Poly Group, which out of patriotism, had them housed in a museum. The animal heads were also sent on exhibition tours to various cities in China. Beside these three returned animal heads, the remaining ones are in France, Japan and Taiwan, plus some unaccounted for.
If you have more traveling questions about this place, you can contact with China tour operator.
China in the ancient times was a Buddhist country. When you have China tours to the northwest China, you may find that there are many temples and buddhists figures. The following introduce you the art of Buddhist Figures.
The art of Buddhist figures in China took shape with the introduction of Indian Buddhism. The legend had it that on a certain night of the year 60, Ming Emperor Liu Zhuang in Eastern Han dreamed a golden man without knowing where he came from. The next day, the emperor called his subjects together to explain the dream. A minister named Fu Yi said Xitianzhu (in ancient India) had such a sage called Buddha dressed in gold. What the emperor had dreamed must be the Buddha. Then the emperor sent one of his attendants, Cai Yin, with thousands of soldiers, to Tianzhu on a diplomatic mission to seek Buddhist doctrine. In 67, they returned to China with Buddhist scripture and figures. This was the first record on China's Buddhist figures in ancient books, but it didn't tell what kind of figures they were. From the existing stone sculptures and pottery Buddhist figures, we will find that the Han people carved them according to the images of celestial beings in vogue at that time.
In the Five Dynasties and 16 States, Buddhist figures in Chinese style began to show up. They were not reliefs or shallow-carved images attached to other objects, but whole Buddhist figures with complete body structure. The statues, however, still followed the suit of Indian models.
In the Northern Wei period, the art of Buddhist figures flourished and began to shake off trace from ancient India. At that time, emperors believed in Buddhism which resulted in a nationwide practice to cast figures. The early works were greatly influenced by the Indian arts. The most attractive was two gold-plated copper buddhas sitting abreast. Hebei region was then the figure-carving centre and had gathered many skillful craftsmen from the country. Among the Yungang Grottoes we found many ancient outstanding works.
Figures of the middle of the Wei Dynasty changed a lot in that Buddha's faces which once had been plump and decorous became fine and decated. In the late Northern Wei, Longmen style which laid stress on realness and meticulosity became the main stream in Buddhist figure carving. The works presented fine workmanship and a realistic approach. In the era of Xiaoming Emperor, this exciting artistic style was widely accepted as a rule for the then figure-carving craftsmen to follow.
Buddhist figures in Western Wei not only preserved the delicated and elegant bearings of Northern Wei but also were permeated with more artistic interest of life. The varied looks and unrestrained carriage were most fully displayed in the Grotto Temple on Maijishan Mountain.
Buddehist figures in temple are very usual. Even you have Hong Kong tours, you can also find some temples.
If you have a China travel and want to buy souvenirs for your wife or your daught or your femal friends, I think jade pendant is a best choice. The following introduce the ancient jade pendant in China.
Chinese people were fond of jade in the ancient time. There is an old saying that “Men of honor will keep jade with them, and with reasons.” Letters on Ancient Poems explains that “Decorating tassel with jade symbolizes knot of love.” Luoying was a colorful silk belt tied by women in the ancient when they got married, showing they were affiliated with their husbands. Jieli was another term in the old days to describe people getting married. There is a line in The Book of Songs, “When a daughter gets married, the mother would remind her again and again to keep fine appearances.” It depicted the scene that when a daughter was married, the mother was reluctant to part the daughter, whispered to her, while helping her bind up the silk tassel.
True lover's knot
Weave a brocade belt into a circular true lover's knot and return it to the lover, It has contained all the unbroken love and passions. Xiao Yan, who was Emperor Wudi of Liang Dynasty, wrote a poem with the lines “dual-Yee waist belt, dream for the end of one mind.” Lin Bu, a poet of the Song Dynasty, left us a Ci-poem reading “Tears from your eyes, tears from mine eyes, could silken girdle strengthen our heart-to-heart ties? O see the river rise!”
Words are the voice of the mind, as in the lines “heaven is forever young, love never gives up, my heart is bound like a net, with thousands of knots inside.” The Chinese word “knot” was simply like a net “bear in mind constantly, fasten the emotions with knots.” However, it could not catch all in one draft the stories of the idiotic lovers in the world. We could only witness the sight with dismay.
The patterns of jade pendant is very different between Han and ethnic groups. If you have a Shangri-La tour to the enthnic group of Yunnan, you will find the difference.
Here will introduce you two ancient Chinese ornaments armlets and finger rings which are symbols of love, If you plan to have a China business travel, you should learn something about them.
In the early days, armlets largely appeared in North China areas, where people had gold bars or silver bars hammered flat, and coiled them in screw loops. The loops might diversify from three circles to five circles and even eight circles. They were separated into the decorated type and plain type. Those engraved with decorative patterns were called decorated bracelets, and those without decorative patterns were called plain bracelets. No matter what angles they are observed, they present several rounds of circular rings, as if the women wear a number of bracelets. In pictograph, the Chinese character for bracelet comprises gold and river.
In ancient days, unmarried women would not wear any finger rings, because finger rings were tokens of marital ties or tokens of love. This token, smallest compared with other tokens, was yet the heaviest in the mind of women. This remains true up to these days. Offer your hand, and the man on your opposite will wear the ring for you. After that, you might live happily with it all your life, or weep upon it with broken heart some day.
There is a story in Taiping Era, in which Li Zhangwu, a scholar, fell in love with Wang Zifu, a woman from Huazhou. When they parted, Wang presented Li a white jade finger ring, and inscribed a poem, “Twist the finger ring I am lovesick at heart, How I miss you with the ring at my side. Hope you hold and enjoy it forever, all in an ending cycle never.” Many years later, Li retuned to Huazhou, finding that Wang had died of profound melancholy. The two finally met in Wang’s house in a dream.
Discussions with Friends in Cloud Village presented a love story between Wei Gao and Yuxiao. Distressed at parting, Wei sent a jade finger ring to Yuxiao, pledging to return and marry her in five to seven years. But Wei broke his promise and Yuxiao fasted and died. Later when Wei took the post of Xichuan governor, he heard of the news and lamented. He had a lot of figures of Buddha built to atone for his crime. In the end, Yuxiao was reincarnated as a singing girl and returned to the side of Wei to renew the previous love story.
If you happen to have a Beijing tour package, you should buy some for your female friends or your wife or your daughter.
Buying a local souvenir is an indispensable things for popular China tour. Chinese knot may be your best choice because it is cheap and convinient to carry. The following introduce you the original of Chinese knots.
The much-discussed topic of making records by the knots of the rope demonstrated the important role of the knots in the development of the human being. According to the historical literature of Book of Changes, and the Annotations of The Book of Changes by Zheng Xuan in the Eastern Han Dynasty, knots are endued with the legal meaning of contract and agreement and meanwhile it functions as a tool to record historical events. Therefore, knots are much respected by the Chinese. With the passing of time, the recording method changes from the rope, the oracle bone, paper and brush, lead and fire up to fire and electric. Nowadays, the tiny colorful rope is no longer used as a recording method; however, tangling it into all kinds of knots revives a string of beautiful ancient legendary stories.
It can be bought in the most cities of China. Even you have Hong Kong tours, you can also buy it in a boutique.
If you have Guilin tours, you may have a chance to visit Big Banyan Tree.
Big Banyan Tree, located 7.5km south of Yangshuo, is one of the main scenic attractions of Yangshuo county. It is said that the banyan was planted in the Jin Dynasty and is famous for its age and towering beauty. If comparing Yangshuo to a big bonsai, then Big Banyan scenic area is the must-see adornment in it. It can be said without any exaggeration that Big Banyan scenic area is just like a Chinese landscape painting full of artistic inspiration.
You can see the Moon Hill to the south of Big Banyan Tree. You will the chance to get close to the village under the hill to experience the local life. The hill, the water, the peculiar karst landform, the rural scenery as well as the profound Zhuang culture are crucial in forming the impressive landscape. As Big Banyan Tree is only about six kilometers away from the county of Yangshuo. It is quite a pleasure to visit there either by bicycle or electric car.
This sight alway contain in the itineraries of popular China travel package, so you should not miss it.
Kuqa in ancient China was called Qiuci. It is one of famous states on Silk Road. The culuture of this state was very comprehensive because it located on
the Silk Road and attracted cultures of many countries. If you have a Silk Road adventure, you should learn history of this place.
The Kuqa County is a county in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and is under the administration of the Aksu Prefecture. It contains an area of 15,200
km². According the 2002 census, it has a population of 450,000. It was once the home of an ancient Buddhist Kingdom of Kucha.
*Kiril Grottoes. One of China's four grottoes which was built earlier than Mogao Grottoes of Dunhuang. The 10,000 sq m of murals, kept in 236 caves are
still in place today, are of high value for artists and researchers alike. edit 55RMB entry, 25 for students. Be advised you must go with a guide when
visiting the grottoes who will open the door to each individual cave for you from the outside. However unless you pay 100RMB for an English guide you will
have to do this with a Chinese group for free. As all the guides are volunteers they're (rightly so) very interested in their subject, which means you'll be
subjected to very long descriptions in Chinese about each grotto and frescos meanings, which can get a bit tedious if you don't speak the language!
*Kuqa Old Town Mosque. Sleepy town mosque, center of the local community.
*Tian Shan Grand Canyon Scenic Area a surprisingly impressave mountain trail through some beautiful red mountains, relative low on the annoying tourist
groups and some fantastic photo opportunities, especially on a clear day. 40RMB entry, half price for students.
A driver to take you to both the Tian Shan Grand Canyon and Kizil Grottoes (and a few other "sights" if you like...) can be arranged through the bus
station adjacent Jiao Tong Hotel (transportation hotel) 交通宾馆 front desk. It'll cost anywhere between 300 and 600 RMB depending on your bargaining skills
/ how Chinese you are (the guy started at 600, we managed to get him to 450 being Western but speaking Chinese, and then I was later told by an amused
policeman that I shouldn't have paid more than 300).
If you are interested in ancient history, you will find it is very worthwhile to have a China travel to Kuqa.
Don't miss Yanjing on your way If you join China tour packages from Yunnan to Tibet: its unique salt terrace fields/pans using century-old techniques to extract salt, its fascinating multi-racial/religious population and the only Catholic Church in Tibet. The scenery around here is stunning with beautiful villages and ancient salt pans clinging to the sheer slopes on both sides of the Mekong River Gorge.
Yanjing whose Tibetan name is Tsakalho (擦卡洛) is situated in the south of Tibet, 110 km north of Deqin (德钦) and 115 km south of Mangkang (芒康), along the only road that connects Tibet to Yunnan (the so-called Yunnan-Tibet Highway).
The town is situated 914m above the Mekong gorge. Mekong River is known as Lancang Jiang (澜沧江) in China - at an attitude of 3,109 m. Yanjing has a long history and is an important staging post in ancient times on the “Tea Horse Trade Route” (茶马古道) where tea from Yunnan were transported on horse caravans to Tibet, India and further to trade.
However the town itself is well-known and important as it is the only source of salt for this part pf China for close to a century (until recent times when salt can be easily imported from other parts of China).
*The salt pans
Salt mining has been the main industry in Yanjing for a very long. There are no written records of when it all started but there were references to wars started due to disputes over salt resources in this region. Yanjing’s salt-mining technique is unique as it capitalizes on the long hours of sunshine and strong wind along the Lancang Jiang to dry the brine.
The salt pans are along a curve of the Lancang Jiang, clinging to the hillside. The reason that the pans are concentrated near the bend is the strong wind generated as the river flows south around the bend. These are multiple levels of wooden platforms covered with dry clay and supported by round wooden stilts. There are supposedly around 3,000 of such platforms, each measuring about 5m by 8m on both sides of the river. The sides of the platforms are about six inches high and this is where brine are spread out to be evaporated leaving behind layers of salt crystal.
The brine is collected from a few wells on the river bank, dug a few meters onto the river bed. Apparently this is the only place in the world where salt are collected from river brine; all the other salt fields are either from sea or lake brine. Farmers collect water from the salt wells in wooden barrels carried on their backs. These are emptied into salt ponds in their own courtyards and left there to allow the brine to concentrate. The brine is then poured onto salt pans where the water is evaporated by a combination of hot sun and wind- it takes 2-5 days to dry, depending on the facing of the pans against the wind. In Yanjing, all of the above chores are performed by the womenfolk. Only when salt is collected on the pan, is the men’s turn to collect them into bags and transported by mules to higher up the river gorge to be sold.
There are different qualities of salt being produced here. The top layer of the salt collected is the best quality, normally for human consumption. This can fetch 2 RMB/kg. The middle portion can be sold for 1.6 RMB/kg whereas the bottom layer- closest to and hence, mixed with the clay surface is only used for livestock feed and priced at 1 RMB/kg. For some unknown reasons, the salt produced from brine on one side of the river is red while that on the other side is white. Hence the villages on the banks are also known as White and Red Yanjing (白盐井和红盐井) respectively. During the spring months, the salt acquires a slightly reddish tinge as a result of the flowering season and the wind conditions; this is supposedly higher quality salt and is known as Peach Salt (桃花盐).
Salt is produced all year round, though the busiest months are during spring when the wind conditions allow the brine to dry faster. There are lesser activities in the summer months due to the frequent rain. Furthermore in the summer the farmers are more interested to harvest walnut (核桃) which can fetch much higher price than salt.
Yanjing will give you a totally different view by comparison with that of Shangri-La adventure.
The Avenue of Stars was designed to recognize the film industry's contribution in promoting Hong Kong as a destination worldwide. The Avenue of Stars is an indispensable for your Hong Kong tours.
This attraction goes a few steps further than Hollywood's popular Walk of Fame. Along Hong Kong's Avenue of Stars, visitors will find not only plaques
A star on the Avenue of Stars, Hong Kong emblazoned with the names of famous Hong Kong actors and actresses, but will also be treated to a video about the local movie industry, sculptures of particularly notable stars, souvenir kiosks, and interesting tidbits about Hong Kong's more than 100-year film history.
One of the most recent additions to the Avenue of Stars is a 2-meter-high bronze statue of the world's most famous martial arts actor, Bruce Lee. Dedicated in 2005, Avenue of Stars at night the statue marked the 65th anniversary of Lee's birth.
Some actors whose names are included on the Avenue of Stars are recognizable only to the Hong Kong community or aficionados of Hong Kong films. Others may be recognized by film fans the world over, such as Jet Li and Sammo Hung, considered the king of the Hong Kong action film.
Initially, 100 actors - both living and dead - were honored along the Avenue of Stars. The local film board notes that they hope to add more stars to their walkway each October.
Visiting Avenue of Stars
Avenue of Stars is a free attraction that can be visited any time of the day or night. It's especially lovely in the evening when it's illuminated with tons of twinkling lights.
The promenade at Tsim Sha Tsui also provides a stunning view of the harbor and is an especially good place from which to watch the nighttime Symphony of Lights, a must-see for visitors to Hong Kong.
Many peope have their business China tour in Hong Kong. The time for travelling is not very enough so that you can only visit the most-visited places.
Hong Kong is always contained in the itineraries of popular China tours for tourists.
It is indispensable to watch Beijing opera. But many Chinese don't know what the performers are singing, let alone foreign tourists. If you really wanna watch Beijing opera during your Beijing tour, the following elements will be very helpful.
This special art derived from Chinese opera with different origins. But no matter what its origin, facial painting is worth appreciating for its artistic value. The paintings are representations of the characters' roles. For example, a red face usually depicts heroic bravery, uprightness and loyalty; a white face symbolizes a sinister, treacherous and guile character and a green face connotes surly stubbornness, impetuosity and lack of self-restraint. In addition, facial painting patterns reveal information about a character, as well. Essentially, the unique makeup allows characters on stage to reveal them voicelessly.
Peking Opera performers mainly have two types of facial decorations: masks and facial painting. The frequent on-stage changing of masks or facial makeup (without the audience noticing) is a special technique known as changing faces.
Changing faces is a difficult technique in operatic performance. It is considered to be a stunt that can only be mastered after extensive training. Face changing is also a special technique used to exaggerate inner feelings of characters, portray their dispositions, set off the atmosphere and improve effects. Facial changes expressing sudden changes in a character's feelings are done in four ways:
Blowing dust: The actor blows black dust hidden in his palm or close to his eyes, nose or beard, so that it blows back into his face.
Manipulating beard: Beard colors can be changed while the beard is being manipulated -- from black to gray and finally to white -- expressing anger or excitement.
Pulling-down masks: The actor can pull down a mask that has previously been hidden on top of his head, leaving his face red, green, blue or black to communicate happiness, hate, anger or sadness respectively.
Mop: The actor mops out the greasepaint hidden in his sideburns or eyebrows, around his eyes and nose, to change his facial appearance.
Peking Opera costumes are called Xingtou or, more popularly, Xifu in Chinese. The origins of Peking Opera costumes can be traced back to the mid-14th century when operatic precursors first began to experiment with large, ornate articles of clothing.
Since each dynasty in Chinese history had its own unique operatic costume, the number of costumes was too great for performers to master. Hence, artists and costume designers worked together to create costumes that would be unwieldy on stage and acceptable no matter when or where the action was supposed to take place. The stage image of some well-known historical figures, such as Guan Yu, Zhang Fei and Zhang Liang, were already fixed in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
Lavish costumes include:
1.Toukui, or opera headdress: crown, helmet, hat and scarf
2.Costume (about 20 kinds): the ceremonial robe, or Mang; the informal robe, or Pei; and the armor, or Kao, for soldiers
3.Opera shoes and boots, or Xue in Chinese
Audiences can distinguish a character's sex and status at the first glance by the type of headdress, robes, shoes and baldrics associated with the role.
*Main Roles in Peking Opera
1. Male Role (Sheng): civil, military; Lao Sheng (old man with a beard: dignified, polished, official, scholar); Xiao Sheng (young man, shrill voice, young warrior, young man of society, stature, elaborate dress), Wu Sheng (acrobatic male, extremely agile and physically skilled).
2. Female Role (Dan): Qing Yi (modest, virtuous), Hua Dan (flirtatious, playful), Gui Men Dan (young, married girl), Dao Ma Dan (strong woman, female general), Wu Dan (female acrobat), Lao Dan (old woman).
3. Painted Face Male (Jing): Spectators are usually startled by the appearance of the Jing. His facial colors symbolize the type of character: red = good, white = treacherous, etc.
4. Comedy Actor or Clown (Chou): dim-witted, amusing, rascal, occasionally slightly wicked.
There are many local operas in China. If you have Tibet tours, you can hear Tibetan Opera. If you are in Xian, it is Qingqiang Opera. Huangmeixi, Kun Opera, Anhui Opera and other local operas make China culture very colorful.
Lacquer is a natural substance obtained from the lacquer tree which has its home in China, a country still leading the world in lacquer resources. Much of the country is suitable for growing the tree, but most of the output comes from five provinces-Shaanxi, Hubei, Sichuan, Guizhou and Yunnan. If you have Xian tours in Shaanxi, you can buy lacquer ware.
Raw lacquer is the sap of the lacquer tree, which hardens in contact with air. A tree becomes productive 3-5 years after planting, and entails hard work on the part of the tapper. He can only get the latex in June and July each year and must tap it in the predawn hours before the cock's crow and sunrise. For the sun would reduce the moisture in the air, stopping the flow of the latex.
Lacquerware has a long history which extends back to the remote ages in China. From the neolithic remains at Tuanjie Village and Meiyan Township (both in Wujiang County, Jiangsu Province) were unearthed in 1955 a number of lacquer-painted black pottery objects, two of which, a cup and a pot, were discovered intact and found to bear patterns painted in lacquer after the objects had been fired. They are the earliest lacquered articles ever discovered in China and are now kept in the Museum of Nanjing.
Before the invention of the Chinese ink, lacquer had been used for writing. Twenty-eight bamboo clips found in a Warring States (475-221 B. C. ) tomb at Changtaiguan, Xinyang, Henan Province, bear a list of the burial objects with the characters written in lacquer.
Lacquerware is moisture-proof, resistant to heat, acid and alkali, and its colour and lustre are highly durable, adding beauty to its practical use. Beijing, Fuzhou and Yangzhou are the cities leading in the production of Chinese lacquerware.
The making of Beijing lacquerware starts with a brass or wooden body. After preparation and polishing, it is coated with several dozen up to hundreds of layers of lacquer, reaching a total thickness of 5 to 18 millimetres. Then, gravers will cut into the hardened lacquer, creating "carved paintings" of landscapes, human figures, flowers and birds. It is then finished by drying and polishing. Traditional Beijing lacquer objects are in the forms of chairs, screens, tea tables, vases, etc. Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty, an enthusiast for lacquerware, had his coffin decorated with carved lacquer.
Yangzhou lacquer articles are distinguished not only by carvings in relief but by exquisite patterns inlaid with gems, gold, ivory and mother of pearl. The products are normally screens, cabinets, tables, chairs, vases, trays, cups, boxes and ashtrays.
Fuzhou is well-known for the "bodiless lacquerware", one of the "Three Treasures" of Chinese arts and crafts (the other two being Beijing cloisonne and Jingdezhen porcelain).
The bodiless lacquerware starts with a body of clay, plaster or wood. Grass linen or silk is pasted onto it, layer after layer, with lacquer as the binder. The original body is removed after the outer cloth shell has dried in the shade. This is then smoothed with putty, polished, and coated with layers of lacquer. After being carved with colourful patterns, it becomes the bodiless lacquerware of extremely light weight and exquisite finish.
Yunnan is the place to produce lacquer ware and it is also the hot tourist destination included in Shangri-La tour.
Temple fairs have been a part of daily life in Beijing for hundreds of years becoming especially popular during the Qing dynasty. If you are interested in the temple fairs and want a Beijing tour, you should know the following information.
Scattered all over the city so residents could easily make their way to the nearest, some fairs were held as regularly as every fortnight. Between stalls perhaps hawking the kind of tat we all find so difficult to resist (especially during the holiday season) were opera and acrobatic troupes, puppet shows and cross-talk (the Qing equivalent of a stand-up comedy act).
The Spring Festival fairs were, of course, a much bigger deal. Back in the day, it was the Changdian fair that raked in the crowds, with long sticks of sweetened hawthorn fruits and visiting opera stars guaranteed. To get a real taste of the Chinese New Year or just to get outside, we've picked out a whole range of outdoor festivities for today's fair-goer.
Dongyue Miao (东岳庙)
Housing the Beijing Folk Customs Museum, this temple (originally built in 1319) is host to one of Beijing's most traditional Spring Festival fairs. The most recent version of its temple fair kicked off in 1999.
Themed this year 'soaring golden dragon', like any good old fair it will feature drum troops, Chinese opera, acrobatics and cross-talk shows will provide plenty of noise and entertainment.
The fair will also feature an exhibition of antique Chinese boxes. Not necessarily one for thrill-seekers out there, this should be pretty fascinating with genuine pieces dating from the Ming and Qing dynasties. 'But why an exhibition on boxes?' You may well ask. Since the Chinese word for box (he) sounds like the word for harmony, the exhibition is all part of the plan to ring in an auspicious New Year. There will also be an exhibition of the Chinese zodiac beasties in various guises, with no prizes for guessing which animal will be taking top spot.
Wooden puppets, block puzzles and a whole bunch of old-time games will keep the little ones busy and you'll also be able to choose from a host of Chinese snacks such as lvdagun (a kind of bean flour roll) and wandouhuang (yellow pea flour cakes).
The temple will be giving out couplets written on the spot by local calligraphers and holding talks on traditional Chinese etiquette.
Dongyue Temple, 8.30am-midday on Monday 16 and 8.30am-4.30pm from Monday 23 to Saturday 28.
Chaoyang International Fengqing festival (朝阳国际风情节)
Principally catering to the laowai crowd, the fair is celebrating it's tenth anniversary this year. Not actually held in a temple, you'll find it inside Chaoyang park. The entertainers will also be of international stock, including dance troupes from Holland, the UK, France, Greece and Russia. Look out for Grecian trikala dance and the Russian tryn-trava.
Various embassy representatives will also introduce some of their country's customs, with plenty of international dishes available. If that's not enough, you can even get in on some karaoke while you're there.
Chaoyang Park, 9.00am-5.00pm from Monday 23 to Saturday 28.
Beijing is always contained in the itineraries of popular China tours. Beijing temple fair will give you a different experience.
It is seem to be a fashion to get a tattoo. When you have a China travel deals to the Guizhou Province, you will find some ethnic group are used to have tattoos.
Chinese tattoos have become a raging phenomenon among tattoo enthusiasts of the western world. Chinese tattoos offer beautiful characters with a sense of the exotic and often much deeper meaning than that which lies on the surface.
Ci Shen - Chinese Tattoos
The art of tattooing has been known in China for thousands of years. Tattooing in China is called Ci Shen (Or Wen Shen), a term that means literally “puncture the body.” Although the art has been known in China for ages, it has for the most part been an uncommon practice. Throughout Chinese history tattooing has been seen as a defamation of the body, something undesirable.
Water Margin, one of the four classical novels of Chinese literature, does reference tattooing. Water Margin tells the stories of bandits of Mount Liang area of China during the early 12th century. The novel talks about the 108 companions of the historical bandit Song Jiang. Three of these characters are referenced as having tattoos covering their entire bodies.
The most famous tattoo in Chinese history comes from the legend of the Chinese general Yueh Fei. Yueh Fei served the South Song Dynasty. During battle with northern enemies the Field Marshall under whom Yueh Fei served betrayed the South Song and went over to the enemy.
In protest Yueh Fei resigned and returned home. His mother grew angry with him, telling him that his duty was first and foremost to his country, despite all else. To remind him of this fact she tattooed four characters on his back with her sewing needle. These characters, jin zhong bao guo, are difficult to translate but mean something like “Serve his country with ultimate loyalty.”
At some points in Chinese history Chinese tattoos were also used to mark criminals. Criminals convicted of a severe crime would be ordered to have a tattoo printed on their face and exiled into a faraway land. Even should the criminal ever return the tattoo would mark them forever as a criminal? This form of punishment was known as Ci Pei (Tattoo/Exile).
In modern China Chinese tattoos have grown somewhat of a stigma as being affiliated with organized crime and the criminal underworld.
Chinese Tattoos among Chinese Minorities
Although tattooing does not have a strong tradition among mainstream Chinese, many Chinese minority groups have much stronger tattooing traditions. Strongest among these are the Dulong and Dai tribes, along with the Li people of Hainan Island.
Tattooing among women of the Dulong group, who live along the Dulong River, dates back to the Ming Dynasty some 350 years ago. During this time the Dulong were under attack from many of their neighbors, and the women would often be taken as slaves.
The Dulong women began tattooing their faces in reaction. It was thought that the tattoos would make them uglier and less likely to be raped. This tradition has continued into modern times despite the fact that the Dulong are no longer under attack from neighboring tribes.
At the age of 12 or 13 all Dulong girls are tattooed on their faces. This is a rite of passage among Dulong women and is seen as a sign of maturity.
The Dai people of China have an ancient tattooing tradition. Both men and women among the Dai are tattooed. Dai women are generally tattooed on the backs of their hands, their arms or have a small dot tattooed between their eyebrows.
Among Dai men tattoos are seen as a sign of strength and virility. Generally tattoos will be made in such a way as to accentuate and draw attention to their muscles. Although there are no fixed traditional designs among the Dai people, most commonly the tattoos will be of a ferocious beast such as a dragon or a tiger.
In ancient times Dai tattoos were given to young children of the ages of 5 or 6, however it grew to be more common to be given about the ages of 14 or 15, sort of a rite of passage into adulthood. Tattooing among the Dai is still practiced to this day.
Tattooing also has a long standing tradition among the Li people of Hainan Island. Most commonly tattooing among the Li people, like those of the Du Long, are practiced among the women. Men have been known to have three blue circular rings tattooed on their wrists for medicinal purposes, but other than that the tattooing is among women.
Like both the Du Long and the Dai, the art of tattooing among the Li is seen as a rite of passage into maturity and adulthood. A Li girl is tattooed sometime during the ages of 13 or 14. The girl would first be tattooed on the nape of the neck, the throat and on the face. This process would take about four or five days.
Over the next three years, the girl would then have her arms and legs tattooed. Her hands were not tattooed. Among the Li only married women could have their hands tattooed, it was not appropriate for single women to wear them.
Li tattoos differed greatly among the different Li tribes, and could be easily used to differentiate between a woman of one tribe and another.
During the 1930's a German ethnologist Hans Stubel studied the Li people, and wrote extensively of their tattooing practices. It is mostly from his work that our understandings of their tattooing customs come from. During his day few still wore facial tattoos, tattooing was primarily of the arms and legs. Today hardly anyone in Hainan sports the traditional tattoos of the Li people save a few elderly women.
*Chinese Tattoos in the West
The west's fascination with Chinese tattoos has little to do with the history of Chinese tattoos and Chinese tattooing traditions, however. It is not an outgrowth of any strong Chinese tattooing tradition but is rather a testament to just how perfectly Chinese characters mesh with the art of tattoos. It is for the most part a recent phenomenon, but one that continues to grow.
If you are planning on getting a Chinese tattoo, or even multiple Chinese tattoos, you should make sure that your tattoo is what you think it is. Too often there are stories of people getting Chinese tattoos that say something completely different from what they thought it would say. There is the story of a young man in England who thought he was having the Mandarin characters for “Love, honor and obey” tattooed on his arm. He later found out from a Chinese woman that what he actually had tattooed on his arm said “At the end of the day, this is an ugly boy.”
Chinese tattoos can be beautiful and powerful tattoos, but you should do thorough research before getting any Chinese tattoo put on your body. It is, after all, going to be with you the rest of your life.
But if you have Silk Road tours, you will find people there didn't have tattoos.
Hotpot is the most famous and favorite dish in Chongqing. Chongqing local people consider the hotpot a local specialty, which is noted for its peppery and hot taste, scalding yet fresh and tender. Nowadays, as a matter of fact, Chongqing hotpot is famous and popular all over the country. Most Chinese are fond of specy food so that Chongqing hotpot is featured by spiciness. For tourists for China travel, they are not used to eating spicy hotpot so that you can choose other hotpot without peppers.
Chongqing hotpot was first eaten by poor boatmen of the Yangtze River in Chongqing area and then spread westwards to the rest of Sichuan Province. Now it is a very popular local flavor and can be found at every corner of the city.
People gather around a small pot filled with flavorful and nutritious soup base. The pot may be boiled by various means, such as charcoal, electric or gas. You have a choice of spicy, pure or combo for the soup. There are a great variety of hotpots, including Yuanyang (Double Tastes) hotpot, four tastes hotpot, fish head hotpot, tonic hotpot, entire sheep hotpot, etc. Chongqing hotpot is characterized by its spiciness, but to suit customers of different preference, salty, sweet or sour flavors of hotpot are available. As long as you can stand the spiciness, you are advised to try the spiciest one to ensure an authentic experience.
Thin sliced raw variety meat, fish, various bean curd products and all kinds of vegetables are the main ingredients for this cuisine. All of these are boiled in the soup, and then you can dip them in a little bowl of special sauce.
Chongqing people love their hotpot, especially when the weather is steamy. The fire dances under the pot, the heavily oiled and spiced soup boils with hazy steam, and the people are bathed in sweat. Chongqing hotpot can be found wherever there are street vendors or small restaurants, it has the greatest variety and is known for its delicious soup base and dipping sauce. Tasting this traditional dish will be the first choice of tourists who come here.
The most representative and famous types of hotpots are as follows:
Hotpots are the traditional famous course of Sichuan, of which Chongqing hotpot is specially noted, characterized by hotness, heavy flavors and dense soup. The traditional Chongqing hotpot's materials include cattle guts, cattle waists, beef and other vegetables, being a real self-help course. Hotpot enjoys an age-old history in China.
Yuanyang hotpot is characterized by its unique flavor. In fact, Yuanyang hotpot is a mixture of the hot soup of traditional cattle-gut hotpot and the bree of mum hotpot. Thus it is honored Sichuan Innovative Hotpot. The pot is divided into two parts by a copper slice in the middle. One side is the container of hot soup, the other side is bree. The option of hotpot's materials is decided at your will.
Time-honored "Qiaotou" Hotpot
Chongqing hotpot is well known throughout China as a unique local eating culture, and the Qiaotou hotpot is said to be among the top ones, and it has been enjoying a high reputation in generations of Chongqing natives. The staff of Qiaotou has created Yuanyang hotpot, hotpot banquet and various nourishing series stockpot on the basis of hot-soup hotpot.
The other famous local food is hot and spicyMa La Tang, which is similar to hotpot in some way. Literally, "ma" means numbness in the mouth, "la" is chili hot and "tang" means piping hot.Ma La Tang, with various raw ingredients cooked in a communal pot of steaming stock blended with spices, originated in Sichuan's largest city, Chongqing. The double-sided soup pot, placed on a central table burner, is the focal point of the meal. Ingredients include fresh sliced abalone, sea cucumber, hog tendon, Beijing cabbage and beef dumpling, prawns, carp fish fillet, bean curd, chicken fillet and vegetables. The excellent dipping mixture of sesame oil, chili sauce, peanut sauce, chopped chilies and garlic combine to make magic. Savory titbits are appetizingly tasty -- egg coated glutinous square, crispy spring roll, fried buns, eight treasure black rice and water chestnut jelly. Diners cook their food right at the table in steamingMa La Tang, a savory broth blended with the spices found in abundance in Sichuan.
Hotpot can be found in the most places in China. But in some cities of south China, it is not easy to find hotpot. If you have Shanghai tours, the hotpot may not be very authentic compared with that of Chongqing.
Chinese puppetry has a long history. If you have a China tour to Fujiang, you can watch puppet show.
Chinese puppetry has a long history. It is noted for its many types of puppets and superb manipulative skill.It's a truly unique art combining opera, music, fine art and craftsmanship. It creates magic with a beam of light.
Puppet shows from various places had their own unique characteristics with strong local color in terms of figure modeling. String puppets from Quanzhou and Heyang, glove puppets from Zhangzhou, rod puppets from Guangdong, wire puppets from Chaozhou, shoulder-pole puppets from Wuqiao and large rod puppets from Sichuan were all finely and vividly crafted. They had all types of roles -- Sheng dan, jing and chou -- as in Chinese opera. Especially in the last few decades, Chinese puppets have been modeled using modern techniques. Generally speaking, the puppet design and modeling have reached a considerably high level.
If you are really interested in the ancient art, you can customize China tour to watch or learn something about it.
It is important to get some ancient Chinese culture before travel to China. The following tell you the story of how to make fire in the primitive times.
In the ancient time, people did not know the existence of fire; let alone how to make use of it. When the night came, it was as black as pit and the cries of the beasts lingered on. People had to stick together, cold and frightened. Since there was no fire, they had to eat raw food, as a result of which they got ill easily and lived a short life.
Fuxi, sympathetic towards people who were suffering, wanted to introduce fire to them. Therefore, he created a thunderstorm in the forest during which the trees were struck by the lightning and started to burn. Very soon, a big fire started in the forest. Greatly frightened by the thunder and the fire, people fled away in all directions.
Later the rain stopped and it grew dark. The ground became wet and cold, forcing the dispersed people to gather again. They were very afraid of the burning trees. At this time, a young man found that the regular cries of beasts were gone. He asked himself, “Is it possible that beasts are afraid of this glowing matter?” Then, he bravely went to the fireside and suddenly felt it so warm to get close to the fire. In great delight, he beckoned the crowd, "Come here quickly! It doesn't hurt at all. Instead, it brings us brightness and warmness. " People gradually gathered towards the fire. Soon, attracted by the pleasant smell nearby from the burnt animals, they tried some toasted meat and found that they had never tasted such delicious food.
It was in that way people discovered the wonderful use of fire. They picked up branches and set them on fire in order to keep it alive. Every day, people worked in turns to prevent the fine from goingout. But one day, the person who guarded the fire fell asleep and the fire went out when bRanches were burned up. Thrown back into darkness and coldness, people felt a pain more acute than before.
Seeing all this in heaven, Fuxi went into the dream of the young man who discovered the use of fire and told him, "In the far west, there was a country called Sui Ming where you could find fire and bring it back. When the young man awakened, he recalled the words of the god in his dream and determined to find fire in the country of Sui Ming.
Having climbed over mountains, waded across rivers, went through the forest and undergone many other hardships,the young man finally arrived in Sui Ming. Yet to his great disappointment, the place was enveloped in complete darkness, having no light from the sun or the moon, let alone any sign of the existence of fire. The young man had to take a rest under a tree named u Sui Wood".
The Sui Wood was such a huge tree that its roots and leaves stretched over 10,000 square kilometers away. It should be even darker under the shelter of the tree, for the country was already a dark one. However, the truth was quite otherwise. While sitting under the tree, the young man suddenly sensed flashes in front of him, which lightened the surrounding areas. The young man stood up at once and started to locate its source. Then he found some big birds pecking for worms in the tree with their short and hard beck. Whenever they pecked, sparks would appear on the bark. A method of getting fire suddenly occurred to the young man at the sight of that. He immediately broke some branches of the Sui Wood and used a small branch to drill a bigger one. Sparks really appeared but it did not make a fire. The young man did not lose heart and keep drilling with different branches. Finally, smoke came out and a fire was started. The young man was so excited that tears rolled down his face.
After the young man returned home, he brought with him the fire that would never go out, that is, the method of drilling wood to make a fire. Hence, people did not have to live in coldness and fear. To express their gratitude to the young man, people elected him as their leader and addressed him "Sui" which meant the person who brought the fire.
The story is best known among Chinese people. But in some places such as Tibet, there may be different legend about making fire. If you have Tibet tours, you may hear of it from locals.
There are many Buddhist temple in China. Dajue Temple is one of them. Dajue Temple is popular not only for its long history and ancient construction but also for its distinctive but charming view in the four seasons. The following depict its beautiful view in autumn for your Beijing tour.
In fall, people flock out to the western Beijing temple to see the 1000+ year old gingko tree. Situated in the courtyard between the Amitabha and Mahavira Halls, it towers over them, reaching its ancient arms up toward the heavens, frozen mid-prostration. An explosion of glowing leaves shimmer in the air, clinging to the branches for a short while longer. For the moment, this tree is the star of the show, and shutterbugs flock to her before her beauty momentarily flutters away.
Hobby photographer Wang Xin was excited to shoot such an ancient and beautiful tree. "It's really hard to find a gingko tree like this one," he said in wonderment. "The tree has grown for a thousand years, so it's amazing to see it. And I'm happy to take pictures of it. Taking photos can be like a religious practice. Religious practice isn't just reading texts; it can be every day, every second of your life."
Wang noted how Dajue Si Temple miraculously escaped the last two days of snowfall. "It shows that the leaves don't want to leave; they want people to see their beauty."
Sun Jingwen was visiting the temple grounds for the first time, and was particularly impressed with the gingko tree, which he likened to a giant bonsai. "It's better than I expected," he admitted, noting that his timing to see this tree was just right. "I thought, 'If I don't come, I'll have to wait until the next year.'"
The temple grounds also include a wonderful park area toward the back, filled with trees, rugged stone walkways, and a red pagoda. Rust and sunshine colored leaves hesitate over whether to join their friends resting on the ground.
And of course, the temples themselves are lovely, dating back to the 15th century and housing a large number of centuries old Buddhas. Although the temple is centuries old, it stays current with its Weibo (microblog) account, where periodically uploaded photos show the current state of leaves or flowers.
If you have last minute China travel deals, Dajue Temple may be one of your choice.
Tibet is a mysterious place for many tourists. It is also the home of Tibetan Buddhism which is different from the Mahayana in the middle and east China. When you have a Tibet tour to the Tibetan Buddhist temples, you should know something about the Tibetan Buddhism. The following introduce you the three treasures of Tibetan Buddhism.
The Tar Monastery, one of the six most important monasteries of the Gelukpa (Yellow Hat) school of Tibetan Buddhism, is a large complex featuring dozens of halls and towers on a mountainside in both Tibetan and Han architectural styles.
Located in Huangzhong County, 25 kilometers from Xining, capital of Qinghai province, the monastery was built in 1560 in honor of the founder of Gelukpa School, Tsongkhapa. It’s known for its many butter sculptures, mural paintings and barbolas which fully demonstrate the artistic style and skill of Tibetan culture.
Butter sculptures 酥油花
Traditionally, Tibetan butter sculptures are displayed on monastery altars and family shrines as offerings. The butter sculptures originated in Tibet and were introduced to the Tar Monastery in the early 17th century. Many monks in monasteries in China make butter sculptures, but those of the Tar Monastery excel in technique and scale.
Butter sculptures cover a broad range of themes, but mostly, they center on Buddhism, historic stories, Buddha, personal biographies, flowers, birds, fish, insects, and pavilions. Often the sculptures are part of a series that depicts a story, such as the life of Sakyamuni.
The making of a butter sculpture is itself a daunting task. As butter made from yak milk melts in warm weather, butter sculptures have to be made by hand during the coldest months of the year, usually from October to January.
As time goes on, they are imbued with the trends of the times. For example, the butter sculpture "The Story of Sakyamuni" not only enriched the traditional style of butter sculpting, but also reflects real life. In this way, the former singular method has evolved into a multi-method system, including a combination of stereoscopic sculptures and reliefs -- a combination of single sculptures and multi sculptures.
In a group of butter sculptures, a pavilion, a Buddha or an arhat may be as high as several meters; and a flower, a bird, an insect and a fish may be as small as three to five centimeters. All of them are lifelike.
Deformities begin appearing above 15 degrees Centigrade and the sculptures begin to melt at 25 degrees Centigrade. With a view of guaranteeing the quality, the monks need to dip their hands in freezing water from time to time. This is why they tend to suffer from arthritis and some become crippled. Their contribution to Buddhism is really incredible.
Mural paintings 壁画
The Tar Monastery contains countless murals. There are numerous large-sized colorful and vivid mural paintings in the Great Temple of Golden Tiles, the Great Scripture Hall and the Small Scripture Hall.
The murals are done directly on walls and beams, but in most cases on fabrics. A kind of stony mineral dye is used in painting to keep pictures fresh for hundreds of years.
The murals are rich in content and elegant in style. Most of them depict Buddhism stories. Figures in the murals are in different postures, looking extremely true to life. The pictures of the image of flying Bodhisattva clad in transparent fine gauze are the masterwork among the temple murals. Mountains and rivers, flowers and trees, pavilions and terraces fit well together, displaying a serene landscape.
The oblong sheets or streamers of silk fabric with barbolas of Buddha, scripture etc. hang from the ceilings or upon pillars all over the places in the monastery. They constitute a dazzling silk gallery. Artists of barbolas pay particular attention to projecting the lines and contours of an individual figure. This fully demonstrates the artistic style and skill of Tibetan culture.
Two large-sized barbolas are hung on the wall of the Great Scripture Hall, with one focusing on the story of 16 disciples of the Buddha sakyamuni and the other the Chinese legend of Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea.
You will have a totally different experience compared with Beijing tour.
The artists normally sit before a wooden stand where there is a polished slab of marble in the middle. On the side of the stand is a revolvable bamboo arrow and a wooden plate painted with various patterns in a circle such as a loong (Chinese dragon), bird, dog, flower basket and so forth.
After paying about 5 jiao, or 1 to 2 yuan, the customer, normally kids, turn the arrow and wait till it stops. The pattern the still arrow points at is the one the artist is supposed to make with sugar.
Some rich kids or adults who do not want to gamble could order any pattern the artist could do by paying a higher price.
The painter uses the brown sugar or white sugar as the raw material, the bronze spoon and a shovel as the tool, and the slab of marble as the “paper”. To acquire liquid sugar, he/she has to cook the solid sugar in a pot before painting. The liquid sugar falls down as a thin thread onto the “paper” from the slanting spoon. After a short while, a plane animal is created, or even a solid bike and a flower basket. Then the painter separates the painting from the marble with a shovel, puts a wooden prod on the painting or wraps it with a transparent plastic bag, and gives it to the kid. In the sunshine, holding the shining sugar painting when walking along the street, the child is proud and happy.
As a unique art for producing artistic pieces entirely composed of sugar, sugar painting is very different from normal painting. First, since the hot liquid sugar could freeze solid if it cools, the painter has to produce his/her work very quickly. Second, the painter has to follow some orders of strokes and draw a continuous line into a picture of an animal or other pattern. To get familiar with the whole process, the painter has to do some practice of normal painting in the first place.
These impressionist-style paintings fall into two main categories: plane painting and solid painting. It is comparatively easier to do the former. When producing the latter, the painter needs more knowledge and techniques of sugar painting. For example, to produce a flower basket, he/she has to do a round sugar pancake first, and then make a smaller sugar circle on the pancake. Due to the difference of the two parts in temperature, it is easy to pull up the whole smaller and resilient sugar circle with some tool and form a solid basket. Later on, the artist adds a lifting beam and flowers to the basket, making a vivid flower basket.
According to some academic studies, sugar painting originated from the Ming Dynasty when sugar animals and figures were made in molds as part of a sacrifice in religious rituals. In the Qing Dynasty, sugar painting gained more popularity. The production techniques were upgraded and the patterns became more various, most of which were auspicious such as fish, loong and monkey. Afterward, the folk artists in Sichuan developed this art by incorporating techniques of Chinese shadow puppet and Chinese paper cutting. The molds were also replaced with a small bronze spoon. As time passed by, the contemporary form of sugar painting has gradually evolved.
Although the number of sugar painters has decreased, due to its unique charm, a certain number of artists are making sustained efforts to preserve it by offering classes, holding relevant activities such as sugar painting contests and applying for the National Non-material Cultural Heritage.
Nowadays, this art is garnering support again, from both the general public and the government. It has already been listed as Provincial Non-Material Culture Heritage by the Sichuan Government. Moreover, the sugar painting artists have gained increasing recognition.
But now the making the sugar paintings is seldomly seen. But I once see in some area like Muslim Quarter Street. If you have a Xian tours, you may come across the making sugar painting.
The Tibetan Plateau is surrounded by massive mountain ranges. The plateau is bordered to the south by the Himalayan range, to the north by the Kunlun Range which separates it from the Tarim Basin, and to the northeast by the Qilian Range which separates the plateau from the Hexi Corridor and Gobi Desert. To the east and southeast the plateau gives way to the forested gorge and ridge geography of the mountainous headwaters of the Salween, Mekong, and Yangtze rivers in western Sichuan (the Hengduan Mountains) and southwest Qinghai. In the west the curve of the rugged Karakoram range of northern Kashmir embraces it.
The Tibetan Plateau is bounded on the north by a broad escarpment where the altitude drops from around 5,000 metres (16,000 ft) to 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) in less than 150 kilometres (93 mi). Along the escarpment is a range of mountains. In the west the Kunlun Mountains separate the plateau from the Tarim Basin. About half way across the Tarim the bounding range becomes the Altyn-Tagh and the Kunluns, by convention, continue somewhat to the south. In the 'V' formed by this split is the western part of the Qaidam Basin. The Altyn-Tagh ends near the Dangjin pass on the Dunhuang-Golmud road. To the west are short ranges called the Danghe, Yema, Shule and Tulai Nanshans. The eastenmost range is the Qilian Mountains. The line of mountains continues east of the plateau as the Qin Mountains which separate the Ordos Region from Sichuan. North of the mountains runs the Gansu or Hexi Corridor which was the main silk-road route from China proper to the west.
Still want to experience the miracle of God, the scenes along the Yangtze River may be another this destination if you have a Yangtze River tour.
Cuju is regarded as the earliest football in the world. It originated in the Qi state during the Spring-Autumn Warring States Period. The ancient forms of cuju can be seen in the museum. If you are a football fan, you should see the earliest footbal for your China tours.
Cuju is to kick a ball with feet. Cu means kicking with feet, while Ju refers to a kind of leather ball stuffed with feathers. So combined together, Cuju means to play the ball with feet. As a kind of ancient Chinese sport, it is the prototype of the contemporary football.
The form of Cuju is similar to that of modern football, but it has many kinds of playing modes and skills, and can be divided into three types: direct-fight, indirect-fight and individual playing.
With a history of about 2300 years, it started from Linzi, capital of Qi State during the Spring- Autumn and Warring States Period. It achieved great development in the Han Dynasty, and due to its popularity, 25 Articles on Cuju, a research work on Cuju appeared, which is the earliest sports research work in China and also the first professional sports book in the world. The heyday of Cuju is in the Tang and Song Dynasties, and the fresco Picture of Playing Cuju on the Horses depicts the scene of the nobles playing Cuju on horses. Cuju got huge development in the Song Dynasty. There are some descriptions of the Emperor playing Cuju with the court officers in the ancient classic Water Margin.
Cuju has exerted great influence on modern football. In the Tang Dynasty, Chinese Cuju spread to Japan and Korea in the east and Europe in the west, and evolved into modern football in Britain. On June 9, 2004, the Forum on Football Game Originating was held in Linzi District, Zibo City of Shandong province, and achieved the consensus that ancient Cuju originated from Linzi, capital of the Qi State during the Spring and Autumn Period and Warring States Period. On July 15, 2004, on the press conference of the Third China International Football EXPO, FIFA(Federation International Football Association) and AFC(Asian Football Confederation) jointly announced that China is the birthplace of football game, and the world football originated from Cuju game in Linzi District, Zibo, Shandong Province of China.
For your popular China tours, don't forget see the ancient footballs.
Do you a worshipper of Buddhism. If you do, you should visit Nanputuo Temple when you have a China travel.
South Putuo or Nanputuo Temple (Nán Pǔtuó Sì 南普陀寺) is a famous Buddhist temple founded in the Tang Dynasty in the Chinese city of Xiamen. It is so named because it is south of the Buddhist holy site Mount Putuo in Zhejiang Province. South Putuo Temple located under the Xiamen Wulao Peaks (wǔlǎofēng 五老峰) the main temple is Bong Goddess of Mercy, Zhejiang Zhoushan Putuo Mountain, south of and located in one of China's four Buddhist temples, it is known as the South Putuo Temple.
South Putuo Temple Main Hall building has the typical sign of "Minnan (Mǐnnán 闽南) Temple " characteristics: a clear picture “shadow shake the wind” and Landscape just as birds standing on flowers and birth of Buddha Muni story comics on the wall; roof is the meniscus warped, Ziyan volley. seem lightweight and clever; compact, pay attention to skills, roof nine carp of Long patterns are cut porcelain inlaid; building materials derived local granite, green bucket stone, beams, columns, foundation, brackets, railing alone with unique characteristics. South Putuo Temple enjoys highly reputation each year the temple will hold a grand event in some important days, for example, in February 19th lunar calendar, June 19 and a buddism godness Guanyin Festival in September 19. The temple is fronted by a lovely lotus-flower-filled lake. In front of the courtyard is the twin-eaved Big Treasure Hall (Dàxióng Bǎodiàn 大雄宝殿), presided over by a trinity of Buddhas representing his past, present and future forms. Behind rises the eight-sided Hall of Great Compassion (Dàbēi Diàn 大悲殿), in which stands a golden 1000-armed statue of Guanyin, facing the four directions.
Nanputuo Temple History
During the remaining years of the Tang dynasty, Nanputuo Temple History the monks who inhabited the place had established it into a Buddhist sacred land. It used to have different names. In 1622, around the beginning of the Qing dynasty, general Shi Liang provided funds to rebuild the temple, where the Bodhisattva Guanyin was mainly worshipped. The general named it after the Buddhist holy site Mount Putuo of Zhejiang Province, which is considered the abode of Guanyin .In 1924, Hui Quan was appointed the first abbot of the South Putuo Temple and other masters like Hong Yi and Yin Shun taught here. The temple underwent further renovation in the 1980s.
Maybe you will have a different experience here compared with that of Shanghai tours.
There are many mysterious attractions and ruins on the route of Silk Road. Many tourists are very interested in Silk Road adventure, but do they know Niya Ruins in Xinjiang. The following will introduce something about Niya ruins.
Ruins of Niya, located in the desert 150 kilometers north of Minfeng County, covers an area of 220 square kilometers. There are traces of canals and river courses. Unearthed from the ruins were a great number of books, coins, wooden tools, and silk and gunny articles.
In 1900, Aurel Stein set out on an expedition to western China and the Taklamakan Desert. In Niya he excavated several groups of dwellings, and found 100 wooden tablets written in 105 CE. These tablets bore clay seals, official orders and letters written in Kharoshthi, an early Indic script, dating them to the Kushan empire. Other finds include coins and documents dating from the Han dynasty, Roman coins, an ancient mouse trap, a walking stick, part of a guitar, a bow in working order, a carved stool, an elaborately-designed rug and other textile fragments, as well as many other household objects such as wooden furniture with elaborate carving, pottery, Chinese basketry and lacquer ware.
Official approval for joint Sino-Japanese archaeological excavations at the site was given in 1994. Researchers have now found remains of human habitation including approximately 100 dwellings, burial areas, sheds for animals, orchards, gardens, and agricultural fields. They have also found in the dwellings well-preserved tools such as iron axes and sickles, wooden clubs, pottery urns and jars of preserved crops. The human remains found there have led to speculation on the origins of these peoples.
Some archeological findings from the ruins of Niya are housed in the Tokyo National Museum. Others are part of the Stein collection in the British Museum, the British Library, and the National Museum in New Delhi.
Most people would agree that Peking (or Beijing) duck is the capital’s most famous dish. Once imperial cuisine, now the legendary duck dish is served at restaurants around the world. It is one of dishes for Beijing tour.
The culinary history of Peking duck goes as far back as the Yuan dynasty, where it was listed in royal cookbooks as an imperial food. The Qing poet Yuan Mei once wrote in a cookbook, “Roast duck is prepared by revolving a young duckling on a spit in an oven. The chief inspector Fang’s family excel in preparing this dish”. When the Qing dynasty fell in 1911, former palace chefs set up restaurants around Beijing and brought the dish to the public.
To prepare the duck, chefs go through a lengthy process. First the ducks are inflated by blowing air between the skin and body. The skin is then pricked and boiling water poured all over the duck. Sometimes the skin is rubbed with malt sugar to give it an amber colour and is then hung up to air dry before roasting in the oven. When roasted, the skin becomes crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. The bird is meticulously cut into 120 slices and served with fermented bean paste, light pancakes, sliced cucumbers and green onions.
Perhaps the best Peking duck restaurant in Beijing is Liqun Roast Duck Restarant. The duck here is so popular that you need to call in advance to order one (or arrive after 2:30pm and be prepared to wait). The restaurant itself is a little ramshackle, but the sublime duck makes it a culinary experience to savour. With development crashing through the hutong, this is a restaurant to visit sooner rather than later.
The most famous restaurants that serve Peking duck though, are part of the Quanjude Restaurant chain, which first opened in 1864. There are six branches around Beijing, but the flagship of the empire is at Qianmen Dajie. This place is geared to the tourist hordes (both domestic and foreign) – check out the photos of Fidel Castro and Zhang Yimou. Ducks here are roasted with fruit-tree wood, giving the dish a special fragrance. If the crowds are too much, there is another location just off Wangfujing Dajie.
Another well-known roast duck restaurant is Bianyifang, founded in 1855. Instead of fruit-tree wood, the ducks here are cooked in an oven with straw as fuel. On a budget? Make sure you get the cheaper menlu-style half duck with pancakes, scallions and sauce which some say is more tender. The more expensive Huaxiangsu style is available for those willing to spend the yuan. If Peking duck is not your style, the restaurant has many other duck variants on their English menu.
There are famous universities in Beijing. If you have an educational China tours, you should know something about ducks.
Xi'an is an ancient city with a long-standing history and is known for being the capital city for 13 dynasties. Now, this city harmoniously combines its ancient charm with a modern atmosphere. It is also the jumping off point of the famous ancient Silk Road. As the most important city in northwest China, Xi'an attracts millions of visitors from all over the world with its historical relics, unique landscapes as well as its unique local cuisine. And the city can be your China customized tour.
Hereafter is a comprehensive index of Xi'an City Guide:
How to get Xi'an
Xi'an Xianyang International Airport is the major airport serving the city and is the largest airport in the northwest region of China. The airport is located to the northwest of the city, between Xi'an and Xianyang(咸阳). There are direct flights from Xi'an to many major cities in China.
There are shuttle busses between the airport and the urban area with a 25 Yuan admission fee per person. Alternatively, at a price of 100 - 120 Yuan the journey can be made by taxi.
Here we will offer some information on shuttle bus in detail.
1. Line 1-between airport and Melody Hotel(西安美伦酒店) near the Bell Tower Tourists can reach many luxurious hotels in the city center by this line, like Hyatt Regency(西安凯悦饭店), Howard Johnson Ginwa Plaza Hotel(金花豪生国际大酒店), Bell Tower Hotel(西安钟楼饭店), Prince International Hotel(王子国际酒店)and City Hotel(西安城市酒店), etc.
2. Line 2-between airport and railway station, passes by Qinfeng Hotel(西安秦丰大酒店)and Jiefang Hotel(解放饭店), passengers can take this line to get to the Diamond International Hotel(西安钻石国际大酒店).
3. Line 3-between airport and Huoju Dasha(火炬大厦) in Xi'an Hi-tech zone
4. Line 4-between airport and Guomao Dasha(国贸大厦)in southern suburb, passes by Tangcheng Hotel(西安唐城宾馆)and Orient Hotel(东方大酒店).
5. Line 5-between airport and Jianguo Hotel(建国饭店) in eastern suburb, passes by Empress Hotel.
6. Line 6- is between airport and downtown Xianyang, which passes Caihong Hotel of Xianyang City.
Though shuttle bus departing at downtown area leaves hourly from 6:00 to 18:00 for airport, the line 2 to 5 may be not in service after 15:00 or 16:00 except Line 1. While the departing time of bus from airport to downtown be according to the arrival time of flights. Even passengers of late arrivals can catch the service, but it will take passengers to Melody Hotel (near the Bell Tower) possibly not on to other destinations of lines above.
So if your hotel is not in the lime, you’d better first get to the Bell Tower, which is the center of Xi’an, and then transfer a bus or taxi to get to your hotel.
With a reputation as 'the Gateway to the West', Xi'an Railway Station is one of the most pivotal terminals of the domestic railway system. You can take a direct train to Xi’an from almost cities in China.The station lies in the north urban area, so it will take you about half an hour by car from the downtown area. Buses traveling to the railway station can be found on every main street, and will only cost you 1 or 2 Yuan. If you choose to travel by taxi, the fare should be less than 10 Yuan (from the city center).Purchasing train tickets can be troublesome for foreigners, as the ticket windows are usually crowded and have few English-speaking staff. One solution to such a problem is to ask for the ticket-booking service at any star rated hotel, who will offer their assistance for a nominal service charge. You are better off buying train tickets one week in advance of travel, especially during the peak travel seasons.
Attractions in Xi’an
Zhu Yuanzhang, the first Emperor of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) began to enlarge the wall built initially during the old Tang dynasty (618 -907), creating the modern Xi'an City Wall. It's the most complete city wall that has survived in China, as well being one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world. After the extension, the wall now stands 12 meters tall, 12-14 meters wide at the top and 15-18 meters thick at the bottom. It covers 13.7 kilometers in length with a deep moat surrounding it.
The Bell Tower, is a stately traditional building, that marks the geographical center of the ancient capital. The tower was built in 1384 by Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang as a way to dominate the surrounding countryside and provide early warning of attack by rival rulers. Now the wooden tower, is the largest and best-preserved of its kind in China.
Big Wild Goose Pagoda (大雁塔)
As the symbol of the old-line Xi'an, Big Wild Goose Pagoda is a well-preserved ancient building and a holy place for Buddhists. It is located in the southern suburb of Xi'an City, about 4 kilometers from the downtown of the city.Originally built in 652 during the reign of Emperor Gaozong of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), it functioned to collect Buddhist materials that were taken from India by the hierarch Xuanzang.
Surrounding Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the scenery is also quite charming, especially the square north of the Da Ci'en Temple. Till now, it holds many records: in Asia, it is the biggest Tang-culture square, the biggest fountain and waterscape square, and the largest-scale sculptures area. In the world, it has the most benches, the longest light-belt, and the largest-scale acoustic complex.
Museum of Qin Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses(秦始皇兵马俑)
The Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses are the most significant archeological excavations of the 20th century. It is Qin Shi Huang’s mausoleum.
Upon ascending the throne at the age of 13 (in 246 BC), Qin Shi Huang, later the first Emperor of all China, had begun to work for his mausoleum. It took 11 years to finish. It is speculated that many buried treasures and sacrificial objects had accompanied the emperor in his after life.
Shaanxi History Museum(西安历史博物馆)
Xian tours should be indispensable when you have a China tour.
Cruise on Yangtze River, the world’s third-longest river, is one of the most memorable water-borne journeys on earth. When the river threads through the Three Gorges, flowing between rock formations and stunning cliffs, it’s nothing less than magical.
1.Watching the Three Gorges peek into view through a shroud of mist.
2.Changing boats at Wushan for the Little Three Gorges.
3.Enjoying the ancient town of Fèngjié overlooking Qutang Gorge, the entrance point to White King Town.
4.Taking it easy as the boat slowly wends its way.
Before visiting a new place, know the culture of this place is very necessary. The following will give you some information of Mahjong when you China tours.
Mahjong is a traditional Chinese game, played by four people around a square table. The game is played with tiles rather than playing cards. The aim is to be the first player to get a complete hand-four sets of three and a pair. The rules for playing and scoring vary drastically between different parts of China. This article will introduce you to the basic rules for playing. The scoring rules can be learned later, depending on which rules you choose to follow. Use of the "flower tiles" will not be included.
Mahjong is rumored to have originated in the court of the king of Wu. This was roughly the time period in which Confucius lived, about 500 years before the Christian era. A beauty lived in seclusion in the court. To keep herself from utter boredom, she invented a game. She began to carve domino-shaped pieces of ivory and bamboo. When she was finished, she invited three of her maids to play her newly invented game.
It is a very popular game throughout China. Even when you visit the cities of Silk Road adventure, you can also see people play Mahjong.
For years, Hong Kong, a British colony until 1997, was the West’s window onto China, a place where Americans and Europeans could capture a tantalizing glimpse of Chinese culture. But now this teeming city-state — the financial hub of Asia — has been transformed into China’s window on the West. Luxury stores like Louis Vuitton are so mobbed with mainland Chinese customers that velvet ropes are installed on the sidewalk for crowd control. Outposts of Tiffany, Starbucks and other Western companies have pushed egg tart vendors, florists and silk shops out of gracious stone buildings, which have been replaced with opulent shopping malls and high-rises connected by aerial walkways. Stanley Market, where snakes lurked in apothecary jars and pigs were slaughtered in the alleys during my boyhood in Hong Kong in the early 1970s, is now a warren of touristy stalls selling cheap paintings and T-shirts.
While downtown Hong Kong feels like a more frenzied and costlier version of Midtown Manhattan, this metropolis of 7 million inhabitants — one of the most densely populated places in the world — still has much to offer visitors, especially those who know when and where to look. The secret is to visit as many places as possible in the morning, before the tides of Chinese visitors — 28.1 million of them last year, compared with 1.8 million visitors from the Americas and a similar number from Europe — flood tourist sites and stores. Then have an afternoon nap to cope with jet lag before heading out to dinner, with reservations made well in advance.
And, whatever you do, avoid visiting on or close to Chinese holidays, like National Day on Oct. 1, when even larger crowds of mainland visitors come. Culture Situated close to where the Pearl River pours its muddy waters into the island-dotted expanses of the South China Sea, Hong Kong is justifiably famous for its harbor, but the city has a colorful background as well. For great views and an introduction to Hong Kong’s history — from the British conquest in the early 1840s to the Japanese attack hours after the bombing of Pearl Harbor — try the Museum of Coastal Defense, which stands at the eastern entrance to Victoria Harbor, where craggy bluffs plunge into the sea. Largely undiscovered by tourists, the museum is actually a series of half-ruined British fortifications. With exhibits ranging from a wire-guided torpedo concealed in man-made caves to a gun battery at the crest of the hill, it is a great destination for children. The museum has a simple cafe with a balcony overlooking the South China Sea, and sells delicious grilled cheese sandwiches for 19 Hong Kong dollars (about $2.50).
To get there, take a taxi or catch the Island subway line to the Shau Kei Wan stop. Right outside the subway stop is one of the oldest sites for the worship of Tin Hau, a local sea goddess who protects sailors and fishermen. The current temple dates from the 1870s; inside, it is black with soot from decades of incense burning. On the three-block walk to the museum, you’ll pass Hong Kong’s oldest temple to Tam Kung, a fishing god believed to have power over the weather.
Can’t Miss Arriving early is especially important for what is justifiably one of Hong Kong’s top attractions, the Peak Tram, a funicular railway to Victoria Peak that offers stunning panoramas of Hong Kong Island and the surrounding area. Long lines form by 10 a.m. and last into the night. To avoid the crowds, get there soon after the tram starts running at 7 a.m. After reaching the terminus, take a hard right onto Lugard Road for a stroll around Victoria Peak. Lugard changes its name to Harlech three-fifths of the way around the mountain, and the two roads form a fairly flat two-mile circuit with magnificent views of downtown, the bustling harbor and the South China Sea. The path is seldom crowded except on Sundays, as most mainland tourists are met by tour buses after reaching the top of the Peak Tram.
If you want to know some other information on Hong Kong, you can contact with China tour agents.
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