Chinese an Amazing Culture Term Paper

Pages: 10 (2555 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 14  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: History - Asian

China: An Amazing Culture

Society overview

Philosophy and ideas

Life style - cooking and cuisine

Medicine

Economics

Inventions and technology

China is the world's most densely populated counties in the world. It has a cultural and history that extends back nearly 5,000 years. (Country profile: China) the Chinese culture is unique for many reasons. The special contributions of China to world culture are wide - ranging and include important contributions in the areas of art, philosophy, religion, architecture, cuisine, science and medicine.

The Chinese culture has had a profound and continuous influence on the rest of the world. Many of the foundations of the modern world and contemporary culture have their origins in Chinese culture. For example, it was the Chinese who discovered paper, gunpowder as well as credit banking and the compass, among many others. (Country profile: China)

China also now has the world's fastest growing economy in the world.

However, the country is possibly best known in the West for the various important and interesting cultural aspects. "The culture of China is home to one of the world's oldest and most complex civilizations, China boasts a history rich in over 5,000 years of artistic, philosophical, and political advancement." (China) This paper will discuss some of the main elements of the Chinese culture and society and the importance that this culture has for our modern world.

Society overview

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According to a 1982 census the population of the country is 1,008,180,738. The official estimate at end of 1986 was "....nearly 1.1 billion with 1.4% annual rate of increase." (Library of Congress Country Studies: China) the Urban population has been officially estimated at 382 million.

Approximately 94% of population lives on approximately 36% of land. " (Library of Congress Country Studies: China)

Term Paper on Chinese an Amazing Culture Assignment

Chinese society is composed of hundreds of various ethic groups. One of the largest of these is the Han which is a group that has many diverse cultural and language aspects. The Han ethic group has however been largely homogenous and has "...maintained distinct linguistic and cultural traditions." (China)

3. Philosophy and ideas

One of the greatest contributions to world culture and an aspect that shows the greatness and insightfulness of the Chinese mind and culture, are the philosophies and ideas that have emerged from China. Many of the Chinese cultural ideas are contained in the philosophy of Confucianism. This mode of thinking is "...distinctive for its this-worldly emphasis on society and public administration and for their wide diffusion throughout Chinese society. "

Library of Congress Country Studies: China) This form of thought is very practical and mainly focuses on the problem of social order, social harmony and the correct way to run society and the state.

The foundations of traditional Chinese thinking show a sophisticated complexity and a concern for the interaction between the individual and society - which has also become a central concern in modern Western countries.

Traditional Chinese thought thus combined an ideally rigid and hierarchical social order with an appreciation for education, individual achievement, and mobility within the rigid structure." (Library of Congress Country Studies: China)

The depth of Chinese thought and perception can also be seen in the philosophy of Taoism.

In essence Taoism is a "...philosophical school based on the texts the Tao Te Ching....ascribed to Laozi and alternately spelled Dao De J-ng..." (Taoism) Taoism has been described as "The Way" and is a mode of thinking which attempts to expand our perceptions and understanding of the world in which we live. Taoism has become imported to the West and has become influential through ideas of "nonaction" (wu wei) and emptiness. This philosophy is also known for its investigation of the relativism of human life and the perfection of balanced and appropriate forms of behavior and actions in life.

There are of course many other examples that could be given of the rich creativity and originality of Chinese thought. A more contemporary example is the belief system and practice of Feng Shui. Feng Shui is a way of thinking that has recently been imported to the West from China and which is proving to be increasingly popular. This way of thinking actually originates in ancient traditions. Feng Shu is also linked to the invention of the compass or Luopan. (Feng Shui)

Feng Shui is a term which refers to place or environment and the essential aim of Feng Shui is to create a balanced and harmonious environment for individuals to work and live to achieve their potential. Feng Shui means "wind and water." This method and philosophy applies principles of ecology, psychology and ergonomics. It also provides instructions on how to orient our living space and design room layouts to enhance the quality of life dramatically. Feng Shui is an orderly practice of bringing balance and harmony to your environment and teaches you to control how positive energy flows through space, especially in the design of buildings and furnishings. The key is to bring balanced energy, or chi, into the space where you work or live.

Suffice to say that the contributions in terms of thought and ideas, as well religion and philosophy by the Chinese culture is incalculable.

Art

Chinese art is one of the outstanding aspects of this culture. The characteristic architecture of the culture is not only an artistic achievement but also is designed for maximum functionality. "The procedure of Chinese architecture is certain, and each color has its meaning." (Chinese Art) Chinese culture has also developed the art of calligraphy and Chinese painting has a distinctive place in world culture - particularly with regard to the art of brush and ink.

In the Imperial Age in China both painting and calligraphy had a high status in the society. Calligraphy was seen to be an extension and perfection of painting. The expertise and art involved in the process of painting on silk is only one of the many artistic achievements of this culture. Silk was replaced by the Chinese invention of paper from wood pulp in the1st century CE.

The creation of art has continually progressed in the country, even during the Cultural Revolution when art schools were closed. The artistic spirit of the country resurfaced later when art schools and professional organizations were reinstated. " Exchanges were set up with groups of foreign artists, and Chinese artists began to experiment with new subjects and techniques." (Chinese painting)

Chinese literature also has a long and venerated history. This relates mainly to the production of religious documents. Before the discovery of printmaking the literature and manuscripts were manually produced. There are many of the ancient texts that are still extant and they are evidence of the early creative and intellectual output of the Chinese culture.

5. Life style - cooking and cuisine

The style of Chinese cooking shows a unique balance between practicality and traditional cultural values. In general Chinese meals are a combination of a carbohydrate source or starch, which is usually rice, and an accompanying dish of vegetables, fish, meat. (Chinese cuisine) This balance is different to Western cooking where meat is often seen as the main element of the meal and which is less balanced.

Interestingly, traditional Chinese culture considered eating with knives and forks as "barbaric" a they see these as weapons. (Chinese cuisine) They therefore developed the use of chopsticks. An indication of the sophistication of the culture as it is expressed through their style of eating in that, "It was also considered ungracious to have guests work at cutting their own food. Fish are usually cooked and served whole, with diners directly pulling pieces from the fish with chopsticks to eat..." (Chinese cuisine)

Another aspect of note is that Chinese eating style places emphasis on family and sharing. This can be seen by the fact that communal plates are shared by everyone sitting at the table.

6. Medicine

China is renowned for its various medical therapies and techniques that have often been adopted in the west as 'alternative' medicine. The history of Chinese medicine is very ancient and extends back to approximately 200 BC. Chinese medical techniques are also seen as forming the foundations of modern medical practices to a certain extent.

However, the unique aspect that Chinese medicine offers today is its emphasis on a holistic approach to health - a view that is being adopted by more and more practitioners and therapists in the West. This refers to methods such as acupuncture, which has been adopted by Western medical science due to its amazing beneficial and healing aspects.

The holistic approach is one which takes into account the way that the various components of the body interact, as well as the interaction between of the body, mind and environment. "Traditional Chinese medicine...says processes of the human body are interrelated and constantly interact with the environment." (Traditional Chinese medicine)

The focus on the interactions between the various parts of the body and environment and the way that this understanding can be used to increase health and cure disease, is evidence of the genius… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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