Art treasures of Henan Province

Source:Global Times Published: 2010-10-29 17:20:00

Jun Porcelain

China is home to a wide variety of arts and crafts throughout the whole world, such as pottery and porcelain. Only Shenhou city produced Jun Porcelain was famed as: its quality of fetus is sturdy; its mould making is dignified and unsophisticated, graceful and elegant; its colour is gorgeous. It really is one of the first leaders in porcelain of the world.

Jun Porcelain has more than 1,300 years history. It was named treasure for the emperors as special tribute and precious porcelain after Tang, Song Dynasty. Jun Porcelain enjoyed high reputation of "unique treasure", the spirit of art and elegant relic. Until Qing Dynasty Jun Porcelain came into the local place, nowadays it is still the elegant present for the friends which come from all over the world.


Nanyang Jade Carving

The Dushan Mountain, eight kilometers to the north of the Nanyang city, is abundant with fine jades. Besides topping the other three kinds of famous jades in China in output, Dushan Jade has a wide range of colors covering more than 30 categories including red, orange, yellow, green, green-blue, blue, purple and others. With hardness, transparency, high quality and shine, Dushan Jade is perfect for carving. Products of over 120 categories fall into four major groups, which are people, flowers and birds, animals, pavilions and buildings, to be specific.


Tang Sancai

Tang Sancai, the trio-colored glazed pottery of the Tang Dynasty, has three basic colors, yellow, brown and green, thus being called Sancai, which means "three colors" in Chinese. Colorful as it is, the three basic colors of red, green and white are distinct. So Sancai refer to the natural color of the pottery.

As the development of archeology, many Tang Saicai of other colors appeared, the three basic colors being far exceeded. Some believe that "San", namely "three" in Chinese, refer to a general idea of "many", especially in ancient Chinese, frequently, without stress on a specific number. Therefore the "San" of "Tang Sancai" means "many" instead of "three".


Yuju (Henan Opera)

As far as the tone is concerned, Yuju belongs to the category of clapper opera. It has four schools: namely Xiangfu tone centered by Kaifeng, Eastern Henan tone, centered by Shangqiu, Western Henan tone, centered by Luoyang and Shahe tone centered by the drainage area of the Shahe River in south-eastern Henan.

Yuju artists say that there were two early teaching schools, namely Jiang and Xu. They established schools to teach Yuju, the Jiang taught in Zhuxian town to the south of Kaifeng while the Xu taught in Qingheji to the east of Kaifeng. Later, those around the Kaifeng area developed into the Xiangfu tone. Those spread to Shangqiu area developed into the Eastern Henan tone; those spread into Luoyang developed into Western Henan tone and those spread into Luohe developed into the Shahe tone.

Since 1927, talented Yuju actresses like Wang Runzhi, Ma Shuangzhi, Chen Suzhen, Chang Xiangyu, Ma Jinfeng and others absorbed the essence of Zhuizi (ballad singing to the accompaniment of the Zhuiqin), Dagu (drum), and Beijing Opera while performing in Kaifeng and other cities. The new plays written by Fan Cuiting and Wang Zhennan for Chen Suzhen and Chang Xiangyu brought great changes to the stage performance of Yuju. In 1938, Chang Xiangyu started a new school of opera performance on the ground of Western Henan tones, absorbing some of the Eastern Henan tones, breaking through the confining boundaries.

Famous for its skillful voice control, fluent tones, vivid rhythms and popular spoken language, Yuju is clear in lyrics, lively in tone, easy to understand, plain in style and rich in local colors.


Shaolin Kungfu

As the saying goes, "The Chinese Kungfu impresses the world while Shaolin Kungfu is the origin of Chinese Kungfu".

The Shaolin Kungfu originated in the ancient Songshan Shaolin Temple. It is said that the Indian Dignitary Bodhidharma, who taught Zen sect of Buddhism in Songshan Shaolin Temple in the year 527 in Northern Wei Dynasty, created a body exercise named "Huoshenfa" on the basis of daily activities of Chinese ancient laborers to stretch the body, get rid of the tiredness out of long time of sitting and thinking, fight against beasts in the forest and protect the temple. In his spare time, he practiced some movements to strengthen the body and protect himself against theft with chains, sticks, staves and swords, later called "Tamo Chains", "Tamo Staves" and "Tamo swords". Thereafter, he learned from the flight of birds and jump of animals, etc, to develop the "Huoshenfa" into a set of exercises named Luohanshou, combining movements with quietness.

This set of body exercises developed into a martial art of over 100 kinds with generations of improvement, generally called "Shaolinquan" in martial art. Since the South and North Dynasties, the growing requirements of the society made the Shaolin martial art develop towards consummate fighting skills. Monk soldiers were organized to begin the training strictly, starting every morning at dawn, whether in steaming summer or in freezing winter, continuing their practice.

Shaolin Martial Art has been enjoying great fame since the Sui Dynasty and the Tang Dynasty. Zhao Kuangyin, the first emperor of the Song Dynasty, was a fan of martial art. He created some new martial art and kept them in his works which was preserved in the Shaolin Temple. Till the end of the Jin Dynasty and the beginning of the Yuan Dynasty, Shaolinquan had made great progress. Great masters of Shaolinquan such as Bai Yufeng, Jueyuan, Li Sou and others devoted themselves to Shaolinquan and paid much attention to its collection and spreading. They developed the "Luohan Shiba Shou", that is, the Eighteen Martial Skills, into seventy-two, later one hundred and seventy three skills. In the period of Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms, Dignitary Fu Ju invited famous martial art masters of 28 schools to Shaolin Temple to practice and teach martial art for two years.

Since the Ming Dynasty and the Qing Dynasty, it had been very popular among visitors of Shaolin Temple to watch martial art shows as the climax ending of the tour to this ancient temple.


Ancient Temple Fair of Xun county

Xun County town is historically well-known in China. The temple fair originates from over one thousand years ago when the emperor of the Later Zhao Dynasty organized people to carve the Pishan Buddha Statue. People at that time usually gathered to burn the incense and worship the mountain and the Buddha. During the period of more than one thousand years, a great number of monasteries and Taoist temples have been built one after another, and the fair has been increasingly expanded.

Lasting one month from the lunar New Year's Day to the 2nd of the second lunar month, the Temple Fair of Xun county attracts millions of pilgrims and tourists from about 20 neighboring provinces, such as Shanxi, Hebei, Shandong, Hubei, Anhui and even from abroad, for worshipping or sightseeing. Besides, many pilgrims from the surrounding cities come to burn incense and worship or to redeem a wish to the Buddha on the 1st, the 15th as well as the 3rd, the 6th, and the 9th of every lunar month.

The Temple Fair of Xun county is a big platform to gather and carry on both religious culture and folk customs. Religious belief used to be the subject of temple fairs in history. On the two mountains, Dapi and Fuqiu, where ancient temples stand here and there, the culture of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism coexist in harmony. All those religious characters can bless and protect mankind in the hearts of the locals. Still, there is one more saying that it would take three years to achieve perfect virtues and merits if you go there to burn incense and worship, with the first year to make a wish, the second year the wish fulfilled and the third year to redeem the wish.

The performance of traditional merry-making activities in temple fair of Xun county is peculiarly distinctive, with its snacks, a variety of handicrafts catching the eyeballs of visitors.

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