Chinasage : All about China



About Chinasage

We're building an extensive information source all about China. We found other sites were poorly structured, too detailed (such as Wikipedia) or just too old-fashioned. What we thought was needed was a carefully constructed set of pages with strict editorial control so that links and pages are consistent, up-to-date and easy to navigate without clutter.

The name “Chinasage” came about because this can be read as either “China sage” ( zhōng guó yīng míng) or “China’s age” ( zhōng guó shí dài) , which promotes our new knowledge resource at a time when China has come of age in the World.

China Sage News

We keep track of news reports from China but steer clear of the headlines that are well reported elsewhere. Here are some news stories, visit our news page for more stories and also follow us on facebook pageFacebook .

Thu 23rd Jun

Southern China is often subject to heavy rain but this year the rains have come early and in greater quantity than normal. In some parts of Guangxi, Guangdong and Fujian rainfall records have been broken and hundreds of thousands have been evacuated from flooded homes. Yingde, Guangdong on the Bei River is one of the worst affected areas. This is worrying because the bulk of the rainy season (June-September) is yet to come.

Northern China is suffering not from rain but the heat, the increased drain on the electricity supply for air conditioning is causing concern. All in all, with the excessive heat in Europe and US, the predictions of climate change do seem to be confirmed this year.

Guangdong flooding

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Thu 16th Jun

The Jumbo Kingdom Floating restaurant that for many years has graced the harbor of Hong Kong has shut up shop. Severely hit by the pandemic it has continued to lose money and has now closed permanently. Eight dedicated boats used to ferry diners to the traditional styled mammoth restaurant.

hong kong,  restuarant,  boat
Jumbo Kingdom restaurant, Hong Kong. December 2000. Image by Maksym Kozlenko available under a Creative Commons License

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Thu 9th Jun

It's the time of the grueling university entrance examinations gāo kǎo that are vital for future careers. There has been a tradition of mothers wearing a traditional silk dress 旗袍 qí páo to bring luck. Now some fathers and brothers have taken to wear the dress to bring luck and also lighten the serious mood. The origin is partly from the similar sounding proverb/idiom qí kāi dé shèng which means 'Success at first attempt' that has for centuries been associated with good wishes for examination success.

man wearing Qi pao dress

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Wed 25th May

The most famous Chinese alcoholic liquor Moutai or Maotai from Guizhou province is now available as an ice cream flavoring. The availability of 14 different flavors at a new ice cream parlor in Zunyi, Guizhou is aimed at attracting younger people to the already very popular drink. Liquor distiller company ‘Kweichow Moutai’ is the second most valued company in China with a market capitalization of over $338 billion.

Maotai icecream
©Photo Kweichow Moutai
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Wed 18th May

An unusual blue, silver and gold vase has sold for nearly ?1.5 million ($1.8 million). Another of those amazing stories of an overlooked treasure originally bought for about $500 found in Berkshire, UK. The vase was made for the Emperor Qianlong's court and includes symbols for longevity (crane), luck (clouds) and good fortune (bat).

Qianling vase
©Photo by the auctioneers Deweatts
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Tue 12th Apr

An exhibition celebrating the famous book 'Dream of the Red Chamber' has opened in The Hague, Netherlands. The exhibition brings together calligraphy, painting and translations of this epic story written mostly by Cao Xueqin in the mid 18th century

novel, Dream of the Red Chamber
These are from an exhibition outside Beijing showing different scenes from the classic Chinese novel 'The Dream of the Red Chamber'. Image by Klariti available under a Creative Commons License

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Tue 5th Apr

Today (April 5th) is the Qing Ming festival in China. It is an ancient festival tied with sweeping and tidying the ancestral tombs as Spring gets under way.

Also associated with Qing Ming is China’s most famous painting called ‘Along The River During the Qingming Festival’ Qīng míng shàng hé tú sometimes dubbed the Chinese ‘Mona Lisa’ but this painting is older and far more interesting. It is an amazingly meticulous painting of teeming life of all sorts in the then capital of China Kaifeng in around 1117 - it's incredible that it is 900 years old. The detail and naturalism is amazing and perspective is drawn accurately. Compare this with the comparatively crude Bayeux tapestry of around the same date. It was painted as a long scroll 10 inches [25 cms] by 17 feet [5 meters] with details of the bustling everyday life of the people - rich and poor. It is a valuable document of life at that time showing people eating and shopping. Very little is known about the artist Zhang Zeduan. All seems peace and opulence yet within ten years the capital city fell to Jurchen invaders and Kaifeng never again recovered its former splendor.

Qing Ming river festival
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Thu 31st Mar

On the third day of the third lunar month the Shangsi festival (or Double Third) is held in China. In 2022 it falls on Sunday 3rd April. This is an ancient festival that has faded over the centuries. It goes back over 2,000 years and is believed to have been based on an annual ritual bathing in rivers. This cleared away the grime accumulated over winter and ritually cleared away evil to make a clean start to the year. In modern times some people go out by water and collect orchid petals.

There are several legends associated with the festival. It may mark the birthday of the founding Yellow Emperor and the birthday of the important Daoist goddess The Queen Mother of the West. There is a traditional saying to celebrate the day 轩辕 Sān yuè sān Xuān Yuán shēng 'third month, third day, Huangdi born' (轩辕 is the personal name of the Yellow Emperor).

In 2018 there was a move to re-badge the festival as 'Chinese National Costume Day' where people of the many ethnic minorities of China are encouraged to wear their traditional costumes.

The following day is another rather obscure festival - Monday 4th April will be the ‘Cold Food Festival.’ In this case it is more straightforward to explain. The day was traditionally when the fires were put out that heated the house and cooked the food. The ashes were cleared out and everything cleaned. As there was no fire all the food was cold.

But the following day this year (this does not occur every year) is a much more important festival ‘Qing Ming’ on Tuesday 5th April when people pay respect to their ancestors. It is associated with ritually cleaning the graves and graveyards and making offerings to the departed. It is also the time to sow and plant crops and so is anchored to the solar year rather than the lunar year; this makes it falls between April 4th and April 6th. It is a public holiday.

Qingming, tomb, ancestor veneration
Making offerings at the family tomb, Qingming festival Copyright © Dreamstime see image license

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Chinasage Site updates

We continue to improve the web site as you can see from these updates and upgrades, for older entries please visit our site news page.

shanghai, skyscraper,
Modern Shanghai. Copyright Richard Wingfield, October 2017.

Conventions

We use a consistent style for links within Chinasage. An internal link taking you to another page within our site is shown like this while a link to a page on any other web site is shown like this .

We use Chinese characters wherever appropriate. Most browsers should display both the characters and the pinyin correctly. We highlight any use of the older Wade Giles system. Except where stated all characters are the modern simplified form used in the People's Republic rather than the traditional ones (pre-1970s). To help you learn Chinese characters many of the very common characters are highlighted thus: hovering the mouse over the character will pop up a box showing further information about it.

Dates are given using the BCE/CE (Before Common Era and in Common Era) year convention rather than BC/AD. If a date is not followed by BCE or CE it should be taken as CE.

Authorship

All the text on the Chinasage web site is our own, we do not copy and paste from other web sites. We research each topic from a number of authoritative sources (mainly books). The only exception to this are quotations and image credits. All text is our copyright and can not be used/copied without our permission. We are independent of any other company or government, the opinions expressed are our own. We do not receive funding or backing from any other agencyor organization .

Teacup Media (China History Podcast)

We are delighted to be able to promote links to Laszlo Montgomery's excellent Teacup Media series created over the last twelve years. Laszlo Montgomery has in depth knowledge of building commercial contacts with China over 30 years. The set of 290 podcasts totals 150 hours of audio commentary which covers every conceivable topic in Chinese history. Highly recommended.

Acknowledgments

We are extremely grateful to the many people who have put their photographs online for anyone to adapt and use. Without them our site would be very drab. If we are not using the image license correctly please let us know. We are grateful to Kim Dramer for permission to use her short videos all about Chinese culture and traditions. Some pages use Javascript to create special effects such as our airport table and calendar. We are grateful to the original authors for providing their code to be used and adapted by anyone else. The online Chinese dictionary uses the definition from the CC-CEDICT project for which we are grateful for a generous free license. Sound files kindly provided by shtooka.net under a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike License.

Feel free to contact Chinasage to point out any errors, omissions or suggestions on how to improve this web site.

If you would like to support our work and keep us independent become a Patreon or make a Donation via Paypal.