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Top 10 Traditional Chinese Arts that Foreigners Like Most

Dec 30, 2009
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Chinese painting | from {link:http://www.chinesepaintings.com/}chinesepaintings.com{/link}

This post concludes the series of “Chinese Traditional (Folk) Art” (10 individual posts total.)

During the 29th Olympic Games held in Beijing in summer 2008, Chinese government had also organized lots of exhibitions, trying to introduce more about China to athletes and tourists from all over the world. Among these exhibitions, traditional Chinese art had taken an important part.

Obviously, visitors were all astonished by the huge diversity and artistic delicacy of Chinese traditional art. They experienced a deep impression of oriental culture from them. So somebody summed up a list of top 10 Chinese traditional arts that foreigners like most. I have already covered all of them individually in the previous months. Now it’s time for me to wrap all together in one post.

For further readings about Chinese art, I recommend you this book by Oxford Press: Art in China (Oxford History of Art).

Please click the title link or the thumb pic for full article. Enjoy~


Siyi: Four Arts of the Chinese Scholar

How do you show somebody your wit and civilization as a person of learning? Speaking 6 different languages, playing piano or violin, having doctoral degrees, etc., nowadays, the criteria could be pretty diversified in a modern world.

In ancient China, to qualify yourself as a well-educated person, you should learn four skills for your self-cultivation and to prove your talent. These four skills are:


Chinese Opera – Top Five of Its Colorful Faces

Chinese opera is known as one of three ancient theatres in the world. The other two are ancient Greek tragicomedy, and Indian Sanskrit play. Chinese opera has a long history that dates back to as early as the third century. During thousands of years of development, it has now become a rich system of drama and musical theatre with more than 360 regional branches. Today, I will introduce you the top 5 most popular regional branches of Chinese opera.


Shadow Puppetry: the Oldest Motion Picture Storytelling

China’s shadow puppetry is the “forerunner of film.” — French film historian Georges Sadoul, General History of the Cinema (Histoire générale du cinéma) History: more than 2000 years old. Originated in China more than 2000 years ago in Qin Dynasty, shadow puppetry is known to be the oldest motion picture storytelling.

Once upon a time in Han dynasty, Emperor Wu was very unhappy when his mostly loved princess consort passed away. One of the most talented shadow puppetry performer went to the royal palace and played a dedicate shadow puppetry for him.

The …


Paper Cut: Art Happens When Paper Meets Scissors

Easiest and most popular folk art. Since paper was invented by Cai Lun in Han Dynasty, no wonder paper cutting was also originated in China around 2000 years ago. The oldest surviving paper cut out is a symmetrical circle from the 6th century found in Xinjiang, China.

Paper cutting is probably the most popular Chinese folk art because of its simple material, low cost, immediate production, broad adaptation, variety of design and vivid presentation. One can very easily get access to a piece of paper and try one’s own creativity with …


Huishan Clay Figurine – Painted Sculptures

With a 5000 years long history and a 9,600,000 square km territory, no wonder China has magnificent culture diversity. Thousands of different types of folk art have thrived and enlightened the country for centuries. Starting today, ChinaBlog.cc will present a series of posts about the colorful folk arts around China.

Huishan Clay Figurine – Painted Sculpture. Huishan Clay Figurine made in Wuxi is one of the best-known folk arts in China. And it is also one of the four representative schools of clay figurines in China. It has a history of more …


Chinese Knotting: the Art of Knotting

Like many other traditional Chinese art, Chinese knotting has a long history. It dates back to prehistoric times, when ancient Chinese ancestors tied knots to record events and things in their everyday life.

The phenomenon of knot tying continued to steadily evolve over the course of thousands of years with the development of more sophisticated techniques and increasingly intricate woven patterns. During the Qing Dynasty, knotting finally broke from its pure folklore status, becoming an acceptable art form in Chinese society and reached the pinnacle of its success.


Chinese Puppetry: Oriental Art of Puppets

Puppet show is a common form of performance art that you can find in many different cultures. Although its exact date of origin is hard to define, many historians believe that puppet show is developed with other drama forms around 2000 years ago independently in various ancient cultures.

As a performance art, puppet show is believed to be “originated in Han dynasty, and thrived in Tang Dynasty”. In Three Kingdom Period, puppets were used in juggling performances; in Sui Dynasty, puppet show was introduced in storytelling.


Chinese Juggling: Challenge the Limits of Humankind

China is one of many civilizations that have recorded juggling in early cultures. Most history books recorded this vivid performance art throughout Chinese history. The earliest juggling record dates to more than 2,000 years ago.

Here I list some Chinese juggling videos selected from YouTube for you. Some of them are totally unique for Chinese juggling; some are Chinese originated but also adapted by western juggling; some are universal but of Chinese characteristics.


Kite: When Human First Thought about Flying

The earliest flying craft were the Chinese kite and rocket – National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC. Thanks to the Americans for giving us the credit. The real origin of kite is hard to investigate now. Most historians believe that it was invented in China. The first kite was built with wood by philosopher and engineer Mozi (478 – 392 B.C.). He spent three years to build it, but only flied for a day before broken. Later people used bamboo or animal skin to make kites. In Han Dynasty, Cai Lun invented …


Dragon and Lion Dance: Art, Culture, Entertainment, Sports, and more

China is the birthplace of dragon dance and lion dance. Since their inception around 2000 years ago, dragon/lion dance, has been loved by people of many ethnic groups. It is an extremely brilliant performance art and the symbol of Chinese culture among the Chinese communities worldwide.

Dragon/Lion Dance: A Rich Culture Within Dragon/lion dance was originally a spontaneous, entertaining, arbitrary traditional cultural and sports activity. After more than two thousand years of development, its form and style …

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