officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a
sovereign state located in sovereign state located in East AsiaEast Asia. It is the world's . It is the world's
most populous countrymost populous country, with , with
a population of over 1.3 billiona population of over 1.3 billion. The PRC is a. The PRC is a
single-party statesingle-party state governed by the governed by the Communist PartyCommunist Party, ,
with its with its seat of governmentseat of government in the capital city of in the capital city of BeijingBeijing..
It exercises jurisdiction over 22 It exercises jurisdiction over 22 provincesprovinces, five , five
autonomous regionsautonomous regions, four , four
direct-controlled municipalitiesdirect-controlled municipalities (Beijing, (Beijing, TianjinTianjin, ,
ShanghaiShanghai, and , and ChongqingChongqing), and two mostly self-), and two mostly self-
governing governing special administrative regionsspecial administrative regions ( (Hong KongHong Kong
and and MacauMacau).).
The PRC also claims The PRC also claims TaiwanTaiwan – which is – which is
controlled by the controlled by the Republic of ChinaRepublic of China (ROC), a separate (ROC), a separate
political entity – as its political entity – as its 23rd province23rd province, a claim , a claim
controversial due to the complexcontroversial due to the complex
political status of Taiwanpolitical status of Taiwan and the unresolved and the unresolved
This was perhaps the simplest
of all traditional Chinese
clothing. In its essence the
Chang Pao dress was a fusion
of the above mentioned two
traditional Chinese dresses.
It was a one piece suit that
started from the height of
the shoulders and extended
down to the wearer’s ankles.
There are a couple of things
that were common amongst
the different kinds of
traditional Chinese dresses.
One was the fact that the
locals usually preferred to
wear dark colors. Secondly all
traditional Chinese clothing
made use of excessive
draping, voluminous sleeves
and had a wide loose fit.
The most popular traditional
Chinese dress is by far the Pien
Fu. This is a unique two piece
costume which was considered
to be a ceremonial suit. It had
a tunic for a top that extended
all the way to the knees. This
was worn on top of a skirt that
reached the length of the
ankles. The skirt under the
tunic was reserved for formal
occasions. The Pien Fu dress
would not be complete without
the Pien which was a cylinder
The process began with an elaborate marriage proposal and acceptance. This process
was placed in the hands of a go-between, who acted as a buffer between the two
parties – a role similar to that of a real estate agent today. The important parties in
proposal and betrothal negotiations were the parents of the prospective bride and
groom, rather than the bride and groom themselves.
“Marriage was for continuing the ancestral line and creating alliances between families
–; too important a duty to be left in the rash hands of the young," Costa
explains.”When the boy’s parents identified a likely bride-to-be, they would send
the go-between to present gifts to the girl’s parents and to sound out their
feelings about the match. If the proposal was well-received, the go-between would
obtain the date and hour of the girl’s birth recorded on a formal document.
The groom’s family would place this document on the ancestral altar for three days. If
no inauspicious omens, e.g. quarrels between the parents or a loss of property, took
place within that time, the parents would give the information to a astrological
expert to confirm that the young woman and their son would make a good match. If
the boy’s family found the horoscope to be favorable, they gave the boy’s birth date
and hour to the go-between to bring to the girl’s family, who would go through the
Only after both outcomes were favorable, would the two families arrange to meet.
Finally face-to-face, each family evaluated the other in terms of appearance,
education, character, and social position. If both were satisfied they would proceed
to the betrothal.
♦ First both sets of parents exchanged family credentials as tokens of intention. Then, after extensive
bargainingbargaining, the two families would arrive at the amount of money and goods that would make up, the two families would arrive at the amount of money and goods that would make up
the gift to the girl’s family. After presentingthe gift to the girl’s family. After presenting engagement tokensengagement tokens, the go-between would ask the, the go-between would ask the
bride’s family to chose among severalbride’s family to chose among severalauspicious wedding datesauspicious wedding dates suggested by the boy’s family andsuggested by the boy’s family and
also set a date for presenting betrothal gifts.also set a date for presenting betrothal gifts.
♦ The boy’s family presented betrothal gifts The boy’s family presented betrothal gifts of money and significant items such as tea,of money and significant items such as tea, "Dragon "Dragon
(male) and Phoenix (female)"(male) and Phoenix (female)" bridal cakes, pairs of male and female poultry, sweetmeats andbridal cakes, pairs of male and female poultry, sweetmeats and
sugar, wine and tobacco, accompanied by an itemized statement of these gifts. Tea was such asugar, wine and tobacco, accompanied by an itemized statement of these gifts. Tea was such a
primary part of these gifts in some areas that they were known collectively asprimary part of these gifts in some areas that they were known collectively as cha-licha-li, that is, "tea, that is, "tea
presents." The girl’s family reciprocated with gifts of food and clothing.presents." The girl’s family reciprocated with gifts of food and clothing.
♦ It was customary for the girl’s family to distribute theIt was customary for the girl’s family to distribute the bridal cakesbridal cakes they received from the boy’sthey received from the boy’s
family to friends and relatives as a form of announcement and invitation to the wedding feast. Thefamily to friends and relatives as a form of announcement and invitation to the wedding feast. The
number of cakes given to each was established according to a rigid etiquette, on the basis ofnumber of cakes given to each was established according to a rigid etiquette, on the basis of
seniority and degree of intimacy. Those who received the bridal cakes, were expected to presentseniority and degree of intimacy. Those who received the bridal cakes, were expected to present
congratulatory gifts to the girl’s parents.congratulatory gifts to the girl’s parents.
♦ The boy’s family’s gifts acknowledged the parents’ efforts in raising the girl, andThe boy’s family’s gifts acknowledged the parents’ efforts in raising the girl, and by accepting the by accepting the
gifts, the girl’s family pledged her to the boy’sgifts, the girl’s family pledged her to the boy’s. It is interesting to note that the bride was given to. It is interesting to note that the bride was given to
the family rather than the groom alone. Although the bride and groom probably had not met yet,the family rather than the groom alone. Although the bride and groom probably had not met yet,
betrothal was considered bindingbetrothal was considered binding unless both families agreed to annul the contract.unless both families agreed to annul the contract.
♦ Several days after the presentation of the betrothal gifts, the girl’s family sent porters with anSeveral days after the presentation of the betrothal gifts, the girl’s family sent porters with an
inventoriedinventoried dowrydowry to the boy’s house. The dowry consisted of practical items, including a chamberto the boy’s house. The dowry consisted of practical items, including a chamber
pot, filled for the occasion with fruit and strings of coins. This procession gave the girl’s family thepot, filled for the occasion with fruit and strings of coins. This procession gave the girl’s family the
opportunity to display both their social status and their love for their daughter, and wealthy parentsopportunity to display both their social status and their love for their daughter, and wealthy parents
often included serving girls to attend their daughter in her new home.often included serving girls to attend their daughter in her new home.
♦ Betrothals generally lasted for a year or two, although child betrothals would last until the childrenBetrothals generally lasted for a year or two, although child betrothals would last until the children
had grown to marriageable age.had grown to marriageable age.
Day of the Wedding
♦ The "Hair Dressing" Ritual of the bride and the "Capping" Ritual of the groom
symbolized their initiation into adulthood and were important parts of the
wedding preparations. Red, symbolic of joy, featured prominently in the
clothing and other ritual objects pertaining to the wedding.
♦ The "Hair Dressing" Ritual
♦ At dawn on her wedding day (or the night before), the bride bathed in water
infused with pumelo, a variety of grapefruit, to cleanse her of evil influences
–; and one suspects as a cosmetic to soften her skin in the manner of
contemporary alphahydroxls. She put on new underclothes and sat before lit
♦ A ‘good luck woman’ attended the bridal preparations. She spoke auspicious
words while dressing the bride’s hair in the style of a married woman.
♦ After her hair was styled, the bride emerged from her retreat. She was
carried to the main hall on the back of the ‘good luck’ woman or her most
senior sister-in-law. There she donned a jacket and skirt and stepped into a
pair of red shoes, placed in the center of a sieve. The bride’s face was covered
with either a red silk veil or a ‘curtain’ of tassels or beads that hung from the
bridal Phoenix crown. (The photo below was taken at the mock wedding at a
prior year’s Chinese Summer Festival.
The "Capping" Ritual
♦ Dressed in a long gown, red shoes and a red silk sash with a silk ball on his
shoulder, the groom knelt at the family altar while his father placed a cap
decorated with cypress leaves on his head.
♦ The groom bowed first before the tablets of Heaven and Earth and his
ancestors, then to his parents and the assembled family members. His
father removed the silk ball from the sash and placed it on top of the bridal
♦ The Procession from the Groom’s House to Obtain the Bride
♦ The dim of firecrackers, loud gongs and drums marked the start of the
procession from the groom’s home. The groom led the procession
accompanied by a child as an omen of his future sons, and the bridal sedan
chair was proceeded by attendants with lanterns and banners, musicians, and a
‘dancing’ lion or unicorn. According to Hsiang, "Several decades ago, when
there was a wedding in Fukien, the groom would to the bride’s house to fetch
her, taking with him the bridal chair, which was completely covered with red
satin and fresh flowers. He himself made the journey there and back in a blue
and yellow teak sedan chair. "
♦ On arriving at the bride’s house, the groom’s party was met by the bride’s
friends, who would not ‘surrender ’the bride until they were satisfied by red
packets of money, ang pau from the groom’s representative. This was the
occasion of much good-natured haggling before the two parties could reach an
♦ In contrast to the elaborate preparations, the
wedding ceremony itself was simple. The bride and groom
were conducted to the family altar, where they paid
homage to Heaven and Earth, the family ancestors and the
Kitchen God, Tsao-Chün. Tea, generally with two lotus
seeds or two red dates in the cup, was offered to the
♦ Then the bride and groom bowed to each other. This
completed the marriage ceremony, except in some regions,
where both also drank wine from the same goblet, ate
sugar molded in the form of a rooster, and partook of the
wedding dinner together.
Day After the Wedding
♦ On the day after the wedding, the bride awoke early to
attend honor the ancestors at dawn. It was only then that
she was then formally introduced to the groom’s relatives
and friends. As she knelt before each of the older
relatives, she received a small gift. The bride’s parents-
in-law gave her a title according to her husband’s seniority
in the family hierarchy.
♦ Three Days After the Wedding
♦ In general, three days after the wedding, the couple paid a
visit to the bride’s family home, where the bride is now
received as a guest.
♦ "bound feet" or Chinese: 縛腳 ; Peh-ōe-jī: pak-kha, "Lotus̍ ̍
feet") is the custom of applying painfully tight binding to the
feet of young girls to prevent further growth. The practice
possibly originated among upper class court dancers in the
early Song dynasty, but spread and eventually became
common among all but the lowest of classes. Eventually foot
binding became very popular because men thought it to be
highly attractive. Even today in China (Guangzhou), there are
families with "lotus foot ancestry". In Guangzhou in the late
19th century, for example, it was usual to bind the feet of
the eldest daughter of a lower-class family who was
intended to be brought up as a lady. Her normal-footed
sisters would grow up to be bond-servants or domestic
slaves, and, when old enough, the concubines of rich men or
the wives of laboring men - able to work in the fields
alongside them. In contrast, the tiny narrow feet of the
"ladies" were considered beautiful and made a woman's
movements more feminine and dainty. It was assumed these
eldest daughters would never need to work.
Confucius or Kung Fu-tzu (551–
♦ Born of a poor but aristocratic family in the
state of Lu, he was orphaned at an early
• Held minor government posts
• Died at the age of 72
• Taught a total of 3,000 disciples
• His former students and disciples gathered
together, in order to assemble all the
sayings of their teacher.
♦ They looked upon their great teacher as an
- & the Founder of Chinese Literature
5 Books of Confucius
1. Book of Changes (Yi King)
- made up of a geometrical combination of six
lines plus sixty four explanatory essays.
- used for divination
- supposed by some to present a secret and
profound philosophy but no key has been
2. Book of Ceremonies (Li King)
-this voluminous work on etiquette was re-
edited about 100 B.C. by two Tai cousins,
based on documents allegedly written by
3. Book of Historical Documents (Shu King)
- this is a formulation of the political ideals
and fundamentals of good government.
4. Book of Poetry (Shi King)
- a selection of 305 best poems, the book stresses
the cherishing of thoughts and sentiments of
- Some poems are odes written for various
occasions; some are lyric.
- The book is valuable for insight into manners and
customs of the ancient Chinese
5. Book of Spring and Autumn (Ch’un Ch’iu)
- its praises were as stimulating as spring,
while its censures were as withering as
- a good organizer and proselytizer
- Gathered the discourses and sayings of
Confucius as recorded by the disciples and
organized them into books, the best known
of which is the book of Analects.
1. Human nature is good and evil is essentially
2. Man is free to conduct himself as he will, and he
is master of his choice.
3. Virtue is its own reward’. If one does good for a
reward or avoids evil for fear of punishment –
that is not virtue.
4. The rule for individual behavior is: what you do
not want others do unto you, do not do to them.
5. A man has five duties: to his ruler; to his
father; his wife ( and she to him); to his
elder brother; to his friends; and the most
important of these is filial duty.
6. Man should strive to become a superior
- the philosophical system founded on the
teaching of Confucius (551-479 B.C.)
- It sought to help the rulers maintain
domestic order, preserve tradition, and
maintain a constant standard of living
for the tazpaying peasants.
- to the humanistic understanding of Heaven,
humanity and the harmony between them,
while also forming its own distinctive
doctrines through concentrating on human
self-cultivation and self-transformation.
♦ At the heart of Mencius' teaching is the
belief that human beings are born with the
knowledge of the good and the ability to do
well. Everyone is born with what Mencius
described as the 'four beginnings':
benevolence, righteousness, respect and the
capacity to distinguish the "right" from the
♦ Anyone who fully realises his heart/mind
understands Heaven and serves the mandate
of Heaven, through which he is able to
become a sage, and participates in the
creation and recreation of Heaven and
♦ These beliefs influenced Mencius'
perception of politics. The doctrine of
benevolence must be brought into politics
so that government is humane and moral. It
is the responsibility of the ruler to ensure
the economic well being of his subjects, to
provide them with education and, in doing
so, to rule through winning their loyalty and
confidence rather than through force.
1. Wang Wei (699-759)
- Chinese painter
- Founder of the pure landscape style of
- One of the masters of lyrics verse in the
- withdrew from society to paint
- Founder of southern school of Chinese art
- And a model for the later literati (wen-jen)
artist, or unworldly poet-painter.
The Cold Mountain
The cold mountain turns dark green
The autumn stream flows murmuring on.
Leaning on my staff beneath the wicket
In the rushing wind I hear the cry of the
I have just seen you go down the
I close the wicket gate in the setting sun.
The grass will be green again in the
But will the wandered ever return?
Walking at Leisure
Walking at leisure we watch laurel
In the silence of this night the spring
mountain is empty.
The moon rises, the birds are startled.
As they sing occationally near the spring
Drinking Alone in the Midnight
A cup of wine, under the flowering trees;
I drink alone, for no friend is near.
Raising my cup I beckon the bright moon,
For he, with my shadow, will make three
The moon, alas, is no drinker of wine;
Listless, my shadow creeps about at my side.
Yet with the moon as friend and the shadow
I must make merry before the Spring is spent.
To the songs I sing the moon flickers her beams;
In the dance I weave my shadow tangles and breaks.
While we were sober, three shared the fun;
Now we are drunk, each goes his way.
May we long share our odd, inanimate feast,
And meet at last on the Cloudy River of the sky.
In the third month the town of Hsien-yang
Is thick-spread with a carpet of fallen flowers.
Who in Spring can bear to grieve alone?
Who, sober, look on sights like these?
Riches and Poverty, long or short life,
By the Maker of Things are portioned and
But a cup of wine levels life and death
And a thousand things obstinately hard to
When I am drunk, I lose Heaven and Earth.
Motionless—I cleave to my lonely bed.
At last I forget that I exist at all,
And at that moment my joy is great indeed.
If High Heaven had no love for wine,
There would not be a Wine Star in the sky.
If Earth herself had no love for wine,
There would not be a city called Wine Springs.
Since Heaven and Earth both love wine,
I can love wine, without shame before God.
Clear wine was once called a Saint;
Thick wine was once called “a Sage.”
Of Saint and Sage I have long quaffed deep,
What need for me to study spirits and hsien?
At the third cup I penetrate the Great Way;
A full gallon—Nature and I are one ...
But the things I feel when wine possesses my
I will never tell to those who are not drunk.
Tu Fu (710-70)
- regarded by many as the greatest Chinese
- Raised according to Confucian tradition
- Failed an examination that would have
assured him of a government post
- Spent much of his youth traveling around
The Empty Purse
The bitter pine cone may be eaten,
The mist on high give nourishment
The whole world takes to go-and-getting;
May way alone is difficult:
My Oven is cold as the well at morning,
And the bed wants warmth from coverlets;
My purse ashamed to found empty
Still keeps on hand a single coin.
Cool perfume of bamboo pervades my room,
Wild moonlight in the whole courtyard:
Drop my drop falls the crystal dew.
One by one the moving stars appear.
The feeling glow worms sparkle in dark corners,
The waterfowl on the riverbank call to one another;
Everything in the world follows the path of war...
I sit on my bed, meditating through the long night.