Gongbi Style Chinese Brush Painting

October 15, 2014

Chinese brush painting developed over a period of more than six thousand years.

Figure Painting developed beyond religious themes during the Song Dynasty (960 – 1127 AD), and landscape painting was established by the 4th century.

Another style is flower-and-bird painting, which became independent of other Chinese brush art around the 9th century, gradually developed into two different styles. Asia Art.net

One famous 20th century Chinese brush-painting artist was Chen Zhifo (1895 – 1963).

Chen was born into an educated family.  At 23, he went to Japan to learn patterns that later influenced his painting style.

Chen would become a renowned painter in the early 20th century.

His artistic career started in design, patterns and other arts. When he started Gongbi style flower-and-bird painting, he was almost 40, and he revived the declining tradition of Gongbi.

When Chen started painting, he usually sketched his subjects then went through many drafts modifying them before applying colors as he focused on the design of branches, leaves and birds to portray his subjects.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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China’s Mouth Organ—one of the oldest known musical instruments

September 24, 2014

If you look at the cover of the e-book for My Splendid Concubine, you might notice the dancing concubine is playing the Sheng. According to one source, the Sheng dates back as far as 1200 BC. Many Westerners also call it a “Chinese mouth organ”.

An early Sheng was discovered in Hubei Province in a Zeng royal tomb dating back 2400 years to the Zhou Dynasty (1111-222 BC).

The Sheng has also been found in Han Dynasty [206 BC – 220 AD] tombs in Hunan province.

The Sheng is a wind instrument with a bundle of between 17 and 37 pipes. Music is made by blowing and/or sucking the air through a tube connected to the base.

This instrument predates the organ, concertina, harmonica and accordion.

One source says that most modern Shengs have 17 pipes that produce crisp, melodious tones using a chromatic scale.  Sheng (instrument) – Wiki

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The not dizzy Dizi – a Chinese bamboo flute with a lot of history

August 19, 2014

The more than two thousand year old Dizi is a traditional Chinese musical instrument that was popular during the Warring States period (472-221 BC) and was used in opera during the late Ming and early Qing Dynasties.

There are two opinions about where the Dizi came from. Official Imperial documents say that a messenger for Han Emperor Wudi brought one with him from western China in 199 BC.

However, older bone and bamboo flutes have been found in ancient tombs. One was found in an Eastern Han tomb (206BC – 9 AD).  Several bone flutes were found in Zhejiang province and more than thirty flutes have been found that were nine thousand years old.  The number of holes varies.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The two-stringed Jing Hu

July 15, 2014

If you Google the name for this two stringed instrument, you may find the same name is used for girls names and a railroad that runs between Beijing and Shanghai. Jing is for the capital and Hu for Shanghai.

Since Chinese is a tonal language, each word is pronounced in a different tone.  The word is also written differently in Chinese when used for a girl’s name or the railroad.

京胡
for the musical instrument

京沪
Beijing-Shanghai

The Jing-Hu I’m writing about is a two stringed instrument often used with Beijing Opera. The Jing-Hu first appeared during the Qing Dynasty.  At that time, the strings were made of silk. Today, they are often made of steel or nylon.  The Jing-Hu is the smallest of the Chinese fiddles and is related to the larger Erhu.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves.

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The Pipa and Wu Man Wu

July 1, 2014

The Chinese pipa is a four stringed lute—or Chinese guitar—with a pear-shaped body. Historical records reveal that the pipa first appeared during the Qin Dynasty (222 – 206 BCE), and become one of the most popular stringed instruments in China surviving more than two-thousand years.

Traditional Chinese music has been traced back 7,000 to 8,000 years. For centuries this music was heard primarily by the royalty and high government officials.

But by the Tang Dynasty, records indicate this music had spread to the common people.

Traditional Chinese musical instruments can be divided into four categories: stringed instruments, percussion instruments, plucked instruments, and wind instruments.

Wu Man Wu is recognized as the world’s most famous pipa player and the leading ambassador of Chinese music. She was born 1963 in Hangzhou, China and moved to the United States in 1990. She has been nominated for a Grammy Award and in 2009 was asked to curate two concerts at Carnegie Hall.

Wu has performed as a soloist with many of the world’s major orchestras, including the Austrian ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Moscow Soloists, Nashville Symphony, German NDR and RSO Radio Symphony Orchestras, New Music Group, New York Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony Orchestra and the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra.

_______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves.

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

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Why bother to censor anything in China?

June 11, 2014

There are hundreds of thousands of expatriates in China. They come from all over the globe, as the Middle Kingdom is becoming the center of the world again.

Alexandra Pearson, one of those expatriates, originated from the south coast of England, and she has lived in Beijing for almost twenty years.

Pearson is the daughter of a British diplomat and first lived in Beijing in 1982. She speaks fluent Mandarin and has traveled extensively in China.

In fact, Pearson earned a degree in Chinese at the University of Westminster then returned to Beijing in 1992 to study at the Central Conservatory of Music.

However, in 2004, she opened The Bookworm in Beijing—a bookstore, lending library, literary venue and restaurant. Today, there are locations in Beijing, Chengdu and Suzhou.

In 2006, Pearson gained a business partner in Peter Goff, an Irish journalist and another expatriate. He opened the Chengdu and Suzhou Bookworms. In recent years, there have also been literary festivals organized by The Bookworms in all three cities.

In fact, books banned in Mandarin are often available in English and/or other languages and the Chinese Communist Party does nothing to censor banned books published in those other languages. Consider the fact that learning how to read and speak English is mandatory in China’s public schools, and one has to wonder why bother to censor anything unless its another way to generate jobs and keep the people busy.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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Do you hear the thunder of Chinese Drums?

March 26, 2014

The earliest evidence of the use of drums in China was found in Oracle inscriptions from the Shang Dynasty (1783-1123 BC).

Drums were used to motivate troops, set a marching pace and for sending orders or announcements.

The drum had a purpose in almost all elements of Chinese life. Copper drums come from southern China and date to almost a thousand years before Christ.  The copper drum was also called the war drum.

The Han Dynasty used copper drums for war too.

The Fengyang Drum Dance originated in Anhui Province and was used by traveling musicians and dancers in the streets of villages and towns. In time, it would represent poverty.

Tibetan drums are part of the Sholdon (Yogurt) Festival, which occurs in late August.

Drums are also used for the traditional Chinese New Year’s Lion Dance.

_______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

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China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


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