Beijing Cultures

Beijing Cultures

In Beijing, the cultural aspects of the city have survived both time and war. Scroll down for an index of the most interesting Beijing culture articles.

In the eyes of most Westerns, Beijing is fascinating and strange, as foreign and as far away from home as one can possibly get.

All Aspects of Beijing Culture

Some aspects of Beijing and Chinese culture have spread to every corner of the world, such as the Chinese food, martial arts, etc, while others remain relatively mysterious, such as the Calligraphy, Confucianism, Opera, etc.

More about Chinese Culture

The Culture of China is one of the world's oldest and most complex cultures. The area in which the culture is dominant covers a large geographical region in eastern Asia with customs and traditions varying greatly between towns, cities and provinces.

Chinese Culture is developing in Isolation

Chinese culture developed in isolation from the rest of the world, protected by the Himalayas, the Gobi and Taklamakan Deserts, rainforests to the South and Siberian winters to the North. Therefore it grew up distinctly different from the rest of the world – that's what makes China such an interesting place. 

Chinese Culture varies regionally

Traditional Chinese Culture covers large geographical territories, where each region is usually divided into distinct sub-cultures. Each region is often represented by three ancestral items. For example Guangdong is represented by chenpi, aged ginger and hay. Others include ancient cities like Lin'an (Hangzhou), which includes tea leaf, bamboo shoot trunk and hickory nut. Such distinctions give rise to the old Chinese proverb: "the wind varies within ten li; customs vary within a hundred li."

Chinese Religion

It has often been said that the Chinese are not deeply religious. It is true that they have shown a comparative indifference to metaphysical speculation; Chinese culture was perhaps the first to develop an intellectual skepticism concerning the gods.

Traditional Chinese religion blended the 'three great teachings' of Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism with even older local religious beliefs.

Chinese Social Values

Most social values are derived from Confucianism and Taoism. The subject of which school was the most influential is always debated as many concepts such as Neo-Confucianism, Buddhism and many others have come about. Reincarnation and other rebirth concept is a reminder of the connection between real-life and the after-life. In Chinese business culture, the concept of guanxi, indicating the primacy of relations over rules, has been well documented.

Chinese Architecture

Chinese architecture, examples of which can be found from over 2,000 years ago, has long been a hallmark of the culture. There are certain features common to Chinese architecture, regardless of specific region or use. The most important is its emphasis on width, as the wide halls of the Forbidden City serve as an example. In contrast, Western architecture emphasize on height, though there are exceptions such as pagodas.

Another important feature is symmetry, which connotes a sense of grandeur as it applies to everything from palaces to farmhouses. One notable exception is in the design of gardens, which tends to be as asymmetrical as possible. Like Chinese scroll paintings, the principle underlying the garden's composition is to create enduring flow, to let the patron wander and enjoy the garden without prescription, as in nature herself. Feng shui has played an important part in structural development.

Chinese Cuisine

The overwhelmingly large variety of Chinese cuisine comes mainly from the practice of dynastic period emperors hosting banquets with 100 dishes per meal. A countless number of imperial kitchen staff and concubines were involved in the food preparation process. Over time, many dishes became part of the everyday-citizen culture. Some of the highest quality restaurants with recipes close to the dynastic periods include Fangshan restaurant in Beihai Park Beijing and the Oriole Pavilion. Arguably all branches of Hong Kong eastern style or even American Chinese food are in some ways rooted from the original dynastic cuisines.

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