In just 30 years, Shanghai Pudong has opened up to the outside world at a high level, relying on the advantages of China’s large market to promote international cooperation and achieve mutual benefit and win-win results. I have overtaken the long years of the past, and have completed the 100-year path of New York and Tokyo.
A pot may contain the whole world and a single plant can form a landscape, says Chinese bonsai artist Rui Liangyuan. He invests all of his understanding and passion for nature and the botanical world into bonsai, an art form which utilizes cultivation techniques to produce small trees in containers that mimic the shape and scale of full-size trees.
After spending 42 years in landscape design with potted plants, Rui is planning to retire from the famed Lingering Garden in Suzhou City in a few months, but he promises to revisit the garden often to care for his beloved miniature trees.
The plant designer believes bonsais are poems and paintings that depict the balance of human life and nature’s way. The miniascape, he says, also reflects the profound artistic conception that Chinese culture draws on nature and surpasses nature.
Choose a profession and commit yourself to it for a lifetime—this is the belief of Qian Xiaoping, a top artist who revived China’s Song brocade-making techniques.
Named after the Song Dynasty (960-1279), the period during which it was invented, the Song brocade is China’s most luxurious and complicated form of brocade silk. The fabric is characterized by its vivid hues, exquisite patterns, and luscious, soft texture.
Eighty-one-year old Qian Xiaoping began to work in the silk-weaving industry in 1957, a time when the newly founded People’s Republic of China was eager to revive the flagging silk industry. Having dedicated almost her entire career to the preservation and restoration of this ancient art form, she is best known for reproducing in 2014 The Land of Bliss, a Buddhist painting weaved using Song brocade techniques more than 300 years ago.
In 2006, the Song brocade was listed as one of
China’s first national intangible cultural heritages, and Qian was named as the
inheritor of this craft.
In addition to her artistry, Qian also contributed to the medical field. In the 1960s and 1970s, she participated in the invention of China’s first and second generations of artificial blood vessels in partnership with a hospital in Shanghai. Because of her unique perspective and skills in fabric structure design, she suggested the research and development team use a “weaving” method instead of “knitting” method to make cardiovascular prostheses.
A perfect embodiment of both inheritance and innovation, the Song brocade maestro shows the world not only the ingenuity of traditional Chinese artisans, but also their spirit to boldly search and break new ground.
Thirty-two-year old Zhang Xue gave up a job in finance to become an embroiderer. The young man, born in 1988, has created numerous exquisite works with his delicate fingers, and is thus regarded as one of China’s best male embroiderers.
“I am Zhang Xue, the son of a traditional Su Embroidery family. My mother Xue Jindi, a senior artist certificated by the government of Jiangsu Province, has been practicing the traditional folk art for more than 40 years. She had wanted a daughter to inherit her profession, as traditionally women are the ones who design and make embroideries. After I was born, my parents named me ‘Xue,’ a girl’s name that also happens to resonate the sound of my mother’s family name, in the hope that I would follow in my mother’s footsteps.”
“I believe embroidery goes beyond craftsmanship itself. For me, the making of a piece of embroidery, all the stitches, patterns, not only cost time and energy, but also reflect the maker’s temperament. What I want to achieve is to touch people’s hearts with the finely twisted yarns.”
Su Embroidery used to be a popular folk craft in the Yangtze River area around Suzhou, a city in east China’s Jiangsu Province. Together with Yue, Xiang, and Shu embroideries, they are called the Four Famous Embroideries of China. Emerging in the Three Kingdoms Period (220-280), Su Embroidery has a history of more than 2,000 years. In the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, it prospered and developed its delicate and elegant style. The legacy of Su Embroidery has continued uninterrupted.
Suzhou gardens and homes are integrated, admirable, accessible, and inhabitable. The formation of this architectural form is that in a densely populated city with a lack of natural scenery, humans are attached to nature, pursue harmony with nature, beautify and perfect themselves A kind of creation of living environment.
The four classical gardens of Humble Administrator’s Garden, Lingering Garden, Master of the Nets Garden and Huanxiu Villa are complete in building types and well preserved. They systematically and comprehensively show the layout, structure, shape, style, color, decoration, and furniture of classical garden buildings in Suzhou. , Furnishings and other aspects.
Suzhou gardens are representative works of Jiangnan folk architecture during the Ming and Qing Dynasties (early 14-20 centuries), reflecting the high residential civilization in the Jiangnan area of China during this period. It once affected the architectural style of the entire Jiangnan city, driving the design of architecture, conception, layout, aesthetics and construction technology are moving closer to it, which reflects the scientific and technological level and artistic achievements of urban construction at that time. It is indeed a great historical building!
One of the important characteristics of Suzhou garden is that it is not only a product of history and culture, but also a carrier of traditional Chinese thought and culture. It is expressed in the naming, plaques, plaques, calligraphic stones, carvings, decorations, as well as the meaning of flowers and trees, stacking stones, etc., which are not only exquisite works of art decorating the garden, but also store a large amount of history, culture, thought and science Information, material content, and spiritual content are extremely profound and broad.
Some of them reflect and disseminate philosophical concepts and schools of thought such as Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, etc.; some promote the philosophy of life and cultivate noble sentiments; some use classical poetry and literature to embellish, grow, and exaggerate the landscape, so that people can In the inhabitation tour, the scenery is transformed into emotions, which produces the beauty of the artistic conception and obtains spiritual satisfaction.
The garden is a collection of well-preserved handwritings of famous Chinese calligraphy masters from the past dynasties, which are precious works of art with extremely high cultural value. In addition, Suzhou Classical Gardens, as the first residence garden that combines residence and garden, its architectural regulations reflect the life style and etiquette customs of the folks in the south of the Yangtze River in ancient China, and they are material materials for understanding and studying the folk customs of the south of the Yangtze River in ancient China.
Suzhou gardens are “literati freehand landscape gardens” with profound cultural connotations. The ancient garden builders had a high level of cultural accomplishment, and were able to paint well in poetry.
When garden was built, they were mostly painting-oriented, with poetry as the theme. They created a poetic and picturesque landscape by digging pools, building mountains, planting flowers and trees. It is called “silent poetry, three-dimensional painting”.
Traveling in the garden is like tasting poems and enjoying paintings. In order to express the owner’s taste, ideals, and pursuits, the garden architecture and landscape have poem inscriptions such as plaques and couplets. Some use the quiet lotus fragrance to describe their character (“Yuanxiangtang” in Humble Administrator’s Garden). The elegant vanilla is used as a self-evident temperament (“Xiangzhou” in the Humble Administrator’s Garden), there are those who admire the ancients like a boat and drift freely and contentedly (Yiyuan, “Paradise House”), and those who express the garden owner’s admiration for the tranquil life in the Four Gardens (The “True Meaning” of the Master of the Nets Garden, the “Little Taoyuan” of the Lingering Garden) and so on. These calligraphic inscriptions and the buildings, landscapes, flowers and trees in the garden are naturally and harmoniously blended together, so that the mountains, rivers, plants and trees in the garden can produce a profound artistic conception. Get the cultivation of the soul and the enjoyment of beauty.
Although the gardens in Suzhou are small, ancient gardeners used various artistic techniques to create rich and diverse scenery. Walking in the garden, you may see “the courtyard is deep and deep”, or “willow dark flowers and bright another village”, or See small bridges and flowing water, whitewashed walls and black tiles, or serene winding paths, winding peaks, or changing sceneries and endless changes. As for the flower windows with different forms and exquisite patterns, those paving roads that are endlessly stretched like brocades, and the sketches that seem to be scattered in various corners inadvertently, it is even more inexhaustible and endless.
Private gardens were built in the 6th century BC. It was especially popular in the Ming Dynasty. At the end of the Qing Dynasty, there were more than 170 gardens inside and outside the city. Won the title of “Garden City” for Suzhou.
There are more than ten famous gardens, among which are Canglang Pavilion, Lion Forest, Humble Administrator’s Garden, Lingering Garden, Net Lion Garden, Yi Garden, etc.
The area of Suzhou gardens is small. It adopts infinitely varied and eclectic artistic techniques. It embodies the artistic conception of Tang poetry and Song poetry with the taste of Chinese landscapes, flowers and birds. Suzhou gardens are based on the scenery, and the scenery varies from garden to garden, giving people the artistic effect of seeing the big in the small.
The Humble Administrator’s Garden enjoys the reputation of “Essence of Jiangnan Famous Garden”. The gardens of Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties each have natural, historical, cultural and artistic characteristics.
Suzhou is a well-known historical and cultural city and a national key scenic tourist city. It is known as the “Garden City” since ancient times, and its reputation is well-known at home and abroad.
Suzhou classical gardens have a history of more than 2,000 years, and they have a unique historical position and value in the history of gardening in the world. With the superb artistic techniques of freehand landscape and rich traditional ideological and cultural connotations, Suzhou shows a model of gardening art of oriental civilisation.
It is indeed an artistic treasure of the Chinese nation, and it is also a tourist attraction for tourists from home and abroad throughout the ages.