China: Cultural Geography Olivia Kerrigan and Isabelle Wozniak
Map and Flag (7) https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/ https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/
Brief History (7, 14) http://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/mao-zedong-56.php • Until the 19th Century, China was one of the most technologically and culturally advanced nations in the world. • Starting in the 19th and 20th Centuries, China experienced “civil unrest, major famines, military defeats, and foreign occupation” (2). • After this post WWII turmoil, Mao Zedong came to power and established the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949. • He revoked many freedoms under the guise of equalizing the people under communist ideals.
Brief History (7, 14) http://modmyi.com/forums/mac-news • After his “great leap forward” failed, Mao retired as chairman. • His successors such as Deng Xiaoping have focused on the developmentof China’s industry and economy. • Chinese manufacturing has since grown exponentially. • Although the overbearing government controls have not been lifted, Chinese citizens have seen an increase in personal freedom since the globalization of the world trade market.
Statistics (6, 7) • Total Population: 1 330 141 295 people • Arithmetic Density: approximately 350 people pet square mile • Human Development Index (HDI): 0.663 • Gross Domestic Product (GDP): $5.745 trillion • GDP per capita: $7 400 • Total Fertility Rate: 1.54 children born per woman • Natural Increase Rate: 6.3 • Literacy Rate (total population): 91.6% • Male: 96.7% • Female: 87.6%
Music (13) • Traditional Chinese music “originates with rural, peasant traditions, and has deep regional roots” (6). • Each region has distinguishing characteristics. • Northern China is known for wind-and-percussion ensembles. • Traditional music in western China is dominated by double reed instruments such as the guanzi and haidi. • Fiddles such as the pipa are frequently heard in eastern Chinese music .
Music (13) • In southern China, dance and folk music are frequently paired with one another • Known as the “lantern dance” in the West, the huadeng family of dances is a prime example of this duo. • From 1955 to 1966, China experienced its golden era of musical recording, during which some of the finest recordings were produced. • Shanghai Traditional Orchestra and Xinying Traditional Orchestra. http://wn.com/Duke_of_Zheng
Food – Ancient Staples (15) http://www.chemistryland.com/CHM107/EarlyChemistry • Wheat came to China from West Asia in 1 500 BC; it was boiled to make a porridge similar to that made of millet. • Soybeans, cucumber, oranges, lemons, peaches, apricots, ginger, and anise are all native to China. • Because meat was expensive and not eaten by Buddhists, the Chinese ate tofu for protein. • However, small amounts were consumed with rice on holidays and special occasions.
Food – Ancient Staples (15) http://www.turnberrycourts.org/newsletter/news2008 • Ricewas farmed as long ago as 5 000 BC along the Yangtze River. • It was either boiled in water or made into wine. • Northern China is too inhospitable for rice, so millet and sorghum were grown instead. • Millet has been farmed since 4 500 BC and was boiled with milk to make porridge. • Tea is found wild and has been drunk since 3 000 BC.
Food – Modern Diet (15) • http://touringmalaysia.wordpress.com/2008/04/15/food/ • Dim sum is a dining style unique to Chinese culture. • The meal is comprised of small but strongly-flavored dishes eaten as snacks or at tea time. • While usually steamed, they can also be braised or fried.
Food – Modern Diet (15) http://yeinjee.com/food/2008/03/ • Noodles are the hallmark of Chinese cooking; they were invented in China and only brought to Italy in 1300. • In Chinese superstition, long noodles insure a long life, • Mien are egg noodles reminiscent of spaghetti. • Known as “glass noodles” in the US due to their translucence, bijon are rice noodles. • Noodles are served in three ways: • In a clear soup with meat and vegetables • Mien mixed with a thick sauce and meat • Bijon mixed with meat and no sauce
Language (2) http://www.helensoointerpreting.com/map.html • China’s standard language is Mandarin, which originated from the Beijing area. • Many schools in teach Mandarin, so the majority of Chinese are able to speak it. • Other dialects include Cantonese, Wu, Min, and Kejia. • Most variation in language is seen in central and southern China.
Language (2) http://newshealth.net/the-chinese-symbols-that-bring-you-luck/ • Words are represented by individual characters. • Of the 50, 000 characters in existence, only 8, 000 are currently used. • Basic literacy requires a knowledge of 1, 500 to 2, 000 characters. • Characters are the same in every dialect; therefore, speakers of different dialects are able to communicate through writing.
Ethnic Groups (7) http://www.businessinsider.com/ • The largest ethnic group in both China and the world is Han Chinese, comprised of 1 159.4 million people. • Although they make up a very small percentage of the overall Chinese population there are nevertheless 55 ethnic minorities in China. • Yunnan Province is the ethnic regionwith the most (25 groups). • Native to Yunnan, the Achang are one of the oldest ethnic minority groups in China; they are known for their skill at rice growing and tool forging. • Native to southern Yunnan, the Dai are Southern Buddhists known for their versatility and musical achievements.
Nationalities (7) http://www.flickr.com/photos/joshmaxwell/ Aside from Chinese ethnic groups, two of the most populous nationalities are Mongolian and Tibetan, with 4 802 400 and 4 593 100 people respectively. There are 183 minority nationalities in China as of the 1963 census; however, at the time of the census, only 54 of these were officially recognized.
Religion http://en.wikipedia.org • Officially, China is atheist; however, its inhabitants are permitted to practice their religion with some restrictions (2). • Buddhists, Taoists, Muslims, and Christians (thanks to missionaries) can all be found in China (2). • Of these, Taoism, which emphasizes leading a simple and natural lifestyle, is the only religion native to China (8).
Religion (10) http://asiasociety.org • During the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese government frowned upon religion because it was seen as archaic. • It often destroyed or secularized religious building. • With the end of the Cultural Revolution, the government’s stance on religion softened; religious freedom is guaranteed in the 1978 constitution. • Nevertheless, the Chinese government does not tolerate any religions it feels are undermining its power (i.e. Falun Gong).
Environment (7) http://www.destination360.com/asia/china/himalayas • Western China is home to incredibly mountainous terrain; the Himalayas and the famous Mt. Everest are located in this region. • This area is sometimes referred to as the “Roof of the World” due to its high concentration of mountains. • Panda bears can be found in this area, particularly in the southwest. • The mountains have snow year-round and a temperature range of -40 - 100˚ Fahrenheit.
Environment (7) http://www.trekearth.com/gallery/Asia/Mongolia • Although it is nevertheless hilly, central China lacks the western region’s snow. • The climate is similar to that of western China, but no as extreme, • The environment alternates between Desert (Gobi Desert) and grasslands, which are good for cattle but not farming • Mongolia is located in central China.
Environment (7) http://marinewildlifepolicyandlaw.blogspot.com • Eastern China is flat and home to many rivers, notably the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers. • The Yangtze River is one of only two rivers with dolphins. • China’s populated is most concentrated in cities in this region.
Folk Culture – Tibetans (4) http://www.uespra.org • From music to architecture, many aspects of Tibetan folk culture are heavily influenced by religion, especially Buddhism. • Chanting is often done in either Tibetan or Sanskrit; the chants are generally comprised of intricate recitations of religious texts. • Yang chanting is an unmetered style generally accompanied by drums. • Usually stemming from Buddhism, Tibet celebrates a variety of festivals • Losar – the Tibetan new year is celebrated by giving gifts to deceased ancestors an painting intricate religious symbols on doors. • Monlam Prayer Festival – To celebrate, monks flock to monasteries where they partake in chanting, religious rituals, and, naturally, prayer.
Folk Culture – Mongols (5) http://www.asianaccess.org • Traditionally, Mongols are nomadic, traveling central China’s steppes with their herds of and living in portable homes known as gers. • Contortionism is considered an art form in Mongolian culture. • Young girls begin training to become contortionists as early as age 5.
Folk Culture – Mongols (5) http://naadam-festival.mn/event_tsam_dancing_festival.html • Mongolian culture features a variety of dance and music styles: • Cup dance – one dances with a full cup of water, balancing it either on the head, hands, or knees. • Long song – a difficult singing style to properly master for it involves “extraordinarily complicated, drawn-out vocal sounds” • Tsam religious dance – drawing upon Buddhist teachings, the tsam conveys stories through dance and incredibly elaborate costumes.
Popular Culture (12) • Confucianism has been China’s official philosophy and moral compass during the majority its imperial history. • It emphasizes values such as honesty, benevolence, and loyalty. • A theme in Confucianism was “social harmony,” leading to an emphasis of strong relationships, especially within the family. • Confucius believed that laws are an effective way to control behavior for people feel great shame when they have broken any law. http://www.logoi.com/pastimages/confucius.html
Popular Culture (3) http://arts.cultural-china.com/en/87Arts4665.html Chinese opera is one of the world’s oldest forms of theater. This art form was initially only enjoyed by the nobility, but, starting in the 17th Century, it spread to the proletariat “Chinese opera evolved from folk songs, dances, talking, antimasque, and especially distinctive dialectical music” (3). The performances are marked by elaborate costume and makeup as well as acrobatics.
Popular Culture (1) http://english.runsky.com/node_70355.htm • Once reserved solely for the scholastic elite, the delicate art of calligraphy—essentially the art of elaborate handwriting—is now practiced by a wide range of Chinese. • Today, calligraphy can be seen throughout China in decidedly inartistic locations such as shop signs. • The work of skilled calligraphers is so valued that it frequently been engraved into stone. • There are even calligraphy competitions.
Centripetal Forces (16) http://www.enioangelo.com/SolarSystem • Centripetal forces – the cultural tendency for a set of regional dialects to coalesce into a standard language in response to a center of gravity. • The standardization of Mandarin, particularly after the influence of mass media • Although China had been ruled by various warlords for decades, the Communist Party reunited the country under one central government.
Centrifugal Forces (16) http://www.synergialaitos.com/candle4tibet.htm • Centrifugal forces – the natural tendency of a nation to break into divided regions. • For example, Tibet and China were united in the 13th Century under Kublai Kahn. However, modern Tibet no longer wished to be part of China; this centrifugal force continues to divide the regions. • When the Chinese economy slowed in 1990, individual regions tried to protect their local economies.
Tourist Destinations (11) http://famouswonders.com/the-forbidden-city/ • Forbidden City (also know as the Palace Museum) • Directly north of Tiananmen Square, it was the seat of the Ming and Qing Dynasties from 1420 to 1912. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Sites. • The Great Wall of China • Over 5 500 miles long, contruction on the Great Wall began over 2 000 years ago but only ended in 1368. • Great Pandas at Chengdu • The breeding and research base of the Giant Pandas, who are native to the southwest mountains of China, is located in Sichuan.
Tourist Destinations (11) http://placestovisitinchina.com/terra-cotta-warriors.php • The Terracotta Warriors • In 1974, a farmer digging a well discovered an army of terracotta warriors that were buried during the Qin Dynasty. They were buried in 210 BC to accompany and protect Emperor Qinshihuang, the first Qin emperor, in the afterlife. • Each one is uniquely designed with its own hairstyle and outfit that is appropriate to its rank. Every warrior carries a weapon as well. • Hong Kong • Hong Kong is one of the most modern cities of both China and Asia; walking down the Kowloon Side Promenade, one can observe impressive and gorgeous modern architecture.
Works Cited Calligraphy in Modern China. (n.d.). Retrieved March 8, 2011, from http://depts.washington.edu/chinaciv/callig/7calmodn.htm China. (n.d.). Retrieved March 8, 2011, from http://online.culturegrams.com//world/index.php Chinese Opera. (n.d.). Retrieved March 8, 2011, fromhttp://www.travelchinaguide.com/intro/arts/chinese-opera.htm Chophel, N. (2002). Folk Culture of Tibet: Superstitions and Other Beliefs.Libraryof Tibetan Works & Archives. Culture of Mongolia. (n.d.). Retrieved March 8, 2011, fromhttp://www.mongoliatourism.org/mongolia-introduction/culture-mongolia.html
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Works Cited Simkin, J. (2011, February 21). Mao Zedong. Retrieved February 28, 2011, from Spartacus Educational website: http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/COLDmao.htm
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