What would you be willing to do to Enhance your Beauty?

February 10, 2016

According to historical accounts, foot binding appeared in China during the Sung Dynasty (960-1276 AD).

The process of foot binding often started between the ages of four and seven. Feet were soaked in a blood and herb mixture. Toes were broken. Then the arch was broken. There was extreme pain since no pain relief was used. It is estimated that in a thousand years about two billion women went through the process.

Manchu women did not bind their feet, and the Manchu leaders of the Qing Dynasty (1644 to 1911 AD) attempted, but with little success, to stop foot binding among the mostly Han (the majority in China) women who continued the practice.

In 1928, the Nationalist government announced plans to do away with foot binding. This attempt to end foot binding met with mixed success. In rural areas, large feet were still considered unattractive and unacceptable and the practice of foot binding continued.

While working in China for National Geographic Magazine on a three part Marco Polo series, Michael Yamashita, a veteran photographer, went in search of women who had bound feet. He found them living in remote urban villages. Yamashita’s book Marco Polo: A Photographer’s Journey was published April 5, 2011.

Even in 19th century San Francisco, there were Chinese girls and women with bound feet. Source: Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco

In most of China, like all countries, social and sexual customs resist rapid change. For millions of women, the practice would continue until 1949 when the Chinese Communist Party came to power under Mao. That is when the popularity of foot binding to enhance a woman’s beauty—according to the men who wanted women to suffer for what they thought was beauty—ended.

______________________________

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 unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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China’s Ancient Capital: Part 3 of 5

January 28, 2016

From the Qin Dynasty (221 – 206 BC) to the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 AD), 62 emperors ruled China from Qin Xianyang and Han Chang’an. The China Daily reported that there are about 500 burial mounds where the remains of emperors and aristocrats rest.

The largest tombs mark the resting place of Emperors Qin Shi Huangdi (259 – 210 BC), Tang Gaozong (628 – 683 AD), and his wife Empress Tang Wu Zetian (624 – 705 AD).

Map of China showing location of Chang'an

When I mentioned Neville Gishford’s documentary, China’s Most Honourable City, in Part 2, Chang’an was the capital of the Tang Dynasty with a population of over a million — six times the size of ancient Rome.

The Daming Palace, where the Tang Emperors ruled China, was 800 years older and nearly five times larger than Beijing’s Forbidden City, and this huge palace was built in one year.

However, it wasn’t the Daming Palace that made Chang’an powerful. Long before Manhattan, Hong Kong, Paris and Dubai, Chang’an was where the world came to shop.

Over a thousand years ago, the wealth of the West poured into China and arrived at Chang’an over the Silk Road.

But wealth wasn’t the only thing China gained. Major religions also arrived in China at this time.

Islam was barely a century old when Silk Road traders brought this religion to Chang’an. In another post, A Road to the Hajj from China, I wrote, “The ancient city of Xi’an in Shaanxi province is home to about 60,000 ethnic Chinese Muslims.”

Chang’an and Xi’an have a Muslim history going back thirteen hundred years when Islam was first introduced to China in 650 AD.

In fact, the oldest mosque in China was built in 685-762 AD in Chang’an during the reign of Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty.

Continued on January 29, 2016 in Part 4 or Return to Part 2

______________________________

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 unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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China’s Ancient Capital: Part 2 of 5

January 27, 2016

In Part One, I mentioned the subway system under construction in modern Xi’an.  That was in September 2008.

For an update, Travel China Guide.com says, “The Xi’an subway system is scheduled to have 6 lines, with a total length of 251.8 kilometers… While the first phase of subway Line 2 has been in use since Sep 16, 2011, the other five lines are designed to be finished in 2018 in sequence.”

When the second phase is completed, the full length of Line 2 will be 26.64 kilometers (about 16.5 miles).

The population of Xi’an has also increased since Neville Gishford hosted The Discovery Channel’s documentary of China’s Most Honourable City. Today, there are more than 8 million people living there.

Gishford’s documentary started with Archaeologist Charles Higham (born 1939), a world famous authority on ancient Asian cities. Higham is a British archaeologist most noted for his work in Southeast Asia. Among his noted contributions to archaeology are his work (including several documentaries) about the Angkor civilization in Cambodia, and his current work in Northeast Thailand. He is a Research Professor at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand.

Higham said, “A delegation of jugglers from Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180 AD, who is regarded as one of the greatest emperors in Roman history) traveled and performed in the Han Court of Chang’an.”

More than two thousand years ago, the walls of Chang’an were made of rammed (compressed) earth and much of the city from kiln fired clay bricks, which was a revolutionary building material at the time that changed the history of architecture.

The builders of Han Chang’an used this new technology in revolutionary ways. For instance, building an underground sewer system connected to the moat that surrounded the city.

Continued on January 28, 2016 in Part 3 or Start with Part 1

______________________________

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 unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

IMAGE with Blurbs and Awards to use on Twitter

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China’s Ancient Capital: Part 1 of 5

January 26, 2016

China’s Ancient Capital: Part 1 of 5

Most people outside of China only know of Beijing—first known as Peking—as the capital of China. However, another city was China’s capital for more than a thousand years, and more than 4,000 historical sites and tombs have been excavated there.

That city was Chang’an and it served as the capital of China from the Han to the Tang Dynasty spanning more than eleven hundred years. It was also the cultural center of the Silk Road.

In 2008, the last time we visited Xi’an (near the original site of Chang-an), subway construction was running behind schedule due to a law that does not allow the destruction of historical sites such as the tombs of emperors.  There are so many of these tombs below ground that the subway tunnels must be diverted to avoid them causing construction delays.


This is the first part of a documentary about Xian produced by the Discovery Channel. I watched the five-part series on You Tube in 2011 but only found Part 1 to share with this series of Blog post.

To learn about Chang’an and Xi’an’s also teaches us a lot about China’s civilization.

In the Discovery Channel’s documentary, Neville Gishford said, “It (Han Chang’an) was more powerful than Rome. If any Roman army had actually gone there, they would have been absolutely annihilated.”

The city of Han Chang’an was larger than Constantinople and richer than Egypt’s Alexandria.

The three cities of Xian

Today, another city called Xi’an, near the original location of Chang’an, is home to millions of people and thousands of men made of clay, the Terra Cotta Warriors guarding China’s first emperor.

In addition, the current massive city wall for Xi’an is more than six hundred years old and longer than 12 kilometers. Cracks are appearing and an engineering team keeps close watch and makes repairs

Soon after the Qin Dynasty capital of Xianyang was destroyed, the Han Dynasty built the second city Chang’an, which is close to the modern city of Xi’an, and the old eroding walls of Chang’an are still visible.

Covering 36 square kilometers, Han Chang’an (202 BCE – 24 CE and again in the 4th to 10th centuries AD) was more than one and a half times the size of Rome.

Continued January 27, 2016 in Part 2

______________________________

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 unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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Book Promotion for “My Splendid Concubine” on Sale for $0.99

January 16, 2016

“My Splendid Concubine” is based on a true story. A larger-than-life bronze statue of Robert Hart, ordered by the Emperor of China, was placed on the Bund in Shanghai, China to honor this Irishman, and it stood for several decades before the Japanese removed it during World War II and turned the metal into bullets. It took almost a decade to research and write this novel.

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99 cent sale from Jan 16 - 18 2016

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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 unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

Two 99 cent sale Jan 16 - 18 2016

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China’s Historical and Cultural Impact on the Rest of Asia: Part 2 of 2

January 13, 2016

This post at History World.org explains The Spread of Chinese Civilization to Japan.

“Although its full impact on global history has not been felt until the last century or so, the transmission of key elements in Chinese culture to the offshore islands that came to make up Japan clearly provides one of the most important examples of the spread of civilization from a central core area to neighboring or overseas peoples. In the 1st centuries A.D., the peoples of Japan imported a wide range of ideas, techniques of production, institutional models, and material objects from the Chinese mainland. After adapting these imports to make them compatible with the quite sophisticated culture they had previously developed, the Japanese used what they had borrowed from China to build a civilization of their own.”

Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Korea, India, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan are also collective cultures like China is. You can see the complete list here: Collectivist and individualist cultures

For instance, Japan’s written language, ancient architecture and religions originated in and/or spread from China.

For Thailand, the CIA Fact book lists 14% of Thai people are of Chinese origin. They don’t have Chinese surnames anymore because in the 1920s, the Thai king issued a royal decree to erase their last names. Thailand was going through sort of an ethnic cleansing at the time and I recall reading that they also made it illegal for Chinese to own businesses, but that didn’t last long because the Chinese owned so many businesses and banks that business came to a stop when they were forced to close their doors. In addition, through the centuries, significant intermixing has taken place such that there are few pure ethnic Chinese anymore, and those of partially mixed Chinese ancestry account for as much as a third to a half of the Thai population.

In Burma, known today as Myanmar, it is estimated that Burmese Chinese form about 3% of the population.

Chinese Filipinos are one of the largest overseas Chinese communities in Southeast Asia. Sangleys—Filipinos with at least some Chinese ancestry—comprise 27-35% of the Philippine population totaling up to 30 million people. There are approximately 2 million Filipinos with pure Chinese ancestry, or around 2.5% of the population.

Singapore is a multiracial and multicultural country with a majority population of Chinese (75.9% of the resident population).

Vietnam was ruled by China for more than a 1,000 years (111 BC – 1427 AD) before the Vietnamese finally succeeded in driving them out after a 1,000 years of rebellion to regain their homeland, and that had an impact on Vietnamese culture.

In fact, before the Chinese actually colonized Vietnam by force, groups from southern China began to move into the Tonkin Delta in order to start new lives after being forced to leave their homelands. Thus, around the 3rd century BC, changes in China began to heavily influence the Đông Sơn culture which was thriving in Vietnam. Ten centuries of Chinese colonization left a substantial demographic footprint, with settlement by large numbers of ethnic Chinese

In conclusion, what happens when civilizations influenced by individualism attempt to influence and/or control collectivist cultures?

Return to or Start with Part 1

______________________________

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 lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

IMAGE with Blurbs and Awards to use on Twitter

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China’s Historical and Cultural Impact on the Rest of Asia: Part 1 of 2

January 12, 2016

In the West, and the United States in particular, few know that China was the wealthiest—and after the Roman Empire fell—the most powerful and technologically advanced civilization in the world for about 1,000 years until the 15th and 16th centuries and the rise of the Western colonial empires: the British, French, German, Italian, Netherlands, Portugal, Belgium, Spain, Russia, and, yes, the United States.

In fact, Global Research.ca reports “The study of world power has been blighted by Eurocentric historians who have distorted and ignored the dominant role China played in the world economy between 1100 and 1800. … As early as 1078, China was the world’s major producer of steel (125,000 tons); whereas Britain in 1788 produced 76,000 tons.

“China was the world’s leader in technical innovations in textile manufacturing, seven centuries before Britain’s 18th century ‘textile revolution’.

“China was the leading trading nation, with long distance trade reaching most of Southern Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe.  China’s ‘agricultural revolution’ and productivity surpassed the West down to the 18th century.

“Its innovations in the production of paper, book printing, firearms and tools led to a manufacturing superpower whose goods were transported throughout the world by the most advanced navigational system.

“China possessed the world’s largest commercial ships.  In 1588 the largest English ships displaced 400 tons, China’s 3,000 tons.  Even as late as the end of the 18th century China’s merchants employed 130,000 private transport ships, several times that of Britain. China retained this pre-eminent position in the world economy up until the early 19th century.

“British and Europeans manufacturers followed China’s lead, assimilating and borrowing its more advanced technology and were eager to penetrate China’s advanced and lucrative market.

“Banking, a stable paper money economy, manufacturing and high yields in agriculture resulted in China’s per capita income matching that of Great Britain as late as 1750.

“China’s dominant global position was challenged by the rise of British imperialism, which had adopted the advanced technological, navigational and market innovations of China and other Asian countries in order to bypass earlier stages in becoming a world power.”

It is safe to say that the concept of ‘face’ is similar throughout most of Asia. China was a regional super power for more than 1,500 years starting before the Han Dynasty in 206 BC to the Qing Dynasty’s collapse in 1911 AD. In addition, Chinese merchants sailed to and traded with most if not all of the nations in Asia during that period and Chinese merchants and business people migrated to many of those areas spreading the influence of a collective culture—Europe and North America, for instance, are individualist cultures.

Continued in Part 2 on January 13, 2016.

____________________________

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 lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

Where to Buy

Subscribe to “iLook China”!
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