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Chinese Culture

Chinese Culture - A World Legacy

Chinese culture, one of the most ancient cultures in the world, developed along the Yellow River and Yangtze River. The breadth and depth of Chinese culture resulted from the continuous assimilation of hundreds of tribes in Asia since the Stone Age. From the unearthed artifacts, the Chinese Dragon, a totem in Old Stone Age has evolved to become the symbol of Chinese people and culture. Today, the 1.3 billion Chinese call themselves "Children of the Dragon." Some characteristics about Chinese culture are briefed as below:

Hanzi - China is a nation of 1.3 billion population and the home of 56 nationalities with 1.2 billion of Han, the biggest single nationality in the world. The other 55 ethnic minorities are Mongolian, Uighur, Dai, Yi, Korean, Russian, Manchurian, and many others. Hanzi, or Chinese characters, is the only active ideographic writing system, where characters are developed from pictures and symbols. The first record of nova was carved in hanzi on a turtle shell some 3,400 years ago. This is antedated by unearthed clay wine vessels, called "zun" from 4,500 years ago. Hanzi is the one written language in which all Chinese people can communicate.

Confucius (551-479 BC)- The great Chinese philosopher and teacher, Confucius believed in education to all people and selecting government officials from the most learned and capable through examinations. His philosophy for academic excellence has influenced generations of Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Vietnamese, and people of many other Asian countries.

Sunzi (around 600 BC) - Authored by Sunzi, the book The Art of War is studied in military academies and the business world today. National and world conventions to study his strategies and philosophy are taken places every year.

Performing arts - Chinese dance, music, and kung fu were developed from religious and hunting rituals that were daily activities of primitive tribes. The oldest Chinese musical instrument still played today is called "xun", a clay pot with wind holes, invented 7,000 years ago. As early as 200 BC in the Han Dynasty, performing arts described as "bai xi" or hundred acts, were highly sophisticated, even by today's standards. Nowadays, Chinese kung fu, dance, music, acrobatics, and magic shows, continue to dazzle audiences all over the world.

Technology - Taoism is regarded the father of technological development in China. Rooted in the philosophy of the Yellow Emperor, China's legendary chief of antiquity. Taoism's goal is to pursue a life of peace, health, and longevity. In this pursuit, Taoists developed alchemy, chemistry, biology, medicine, astronomy, etc. that were considered advanced science in the world before the 17th Century. Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) in his book Novum Organum, praised printing, gunpowder, and the compass as the greatest inventions of mankind. The ancient Chinese were also credited for the inventions of silk, paper, porcelain, cast iron, cross-bow, horse saddle, kite, deep drilling, and others, according to Joseph Needham (1900-1995,) a member of Royal Society of London for the Advancement of Science (once chaired by Isaac Newton,) a biochemist and archeologist, the most recognized authority in history of Chinese science and technology. In his 20-volume publication, Science and the Civilization in China, he easily listed 26 inventions transmitted from China to the West through the Silk Road, and he could only name four inventions originated from the West to China: screw, force-pump for liquid, crankshaft, and clockwork. Needham concluded that the advancement of technology in the West is built on the technology learned from the East (China.)

Ocean culture - Joseph Needham called the ancient civilizations "river cultures" as major cultures were developed independently along the world's great rivers: Yellow and Yangtze Rivers, Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, River Niles, and Ganges River. He analogized the modern civilization to "ocean culture," as all rivers flow toward the ocean, a process now called "globalization." He wrote, "Certainly it is that no people or group of peoples has had a monopoly to the development of science. Their achievements should be mutually recognized and freely celebrated with the joined hands of universal brotherhood."

Why Chinese came to America?

In the past 2,000 years, cultural and technology exchanges flowed through Silk Road and other channels. China's World trading flourished until Qing Dynasty (1688-1910). The Qing government adapted the "close door" policy. Since then, China to the West, was an unknown in a never, never land. In the notorious Opium War, 1840, the eight powers of the world forced China to open its door. China lost the war, and she was to pay the foreign invaders astronomical sums of money. The burden lay on the people of Kwongtung Province where the Opium War took place. The unbearably high taxation was the main reason for the Cantonese fleeing during 19th Century to overseas, mainly to America. As US became a world power in 20th Century, the American dream attracted even more people from all over the world.

Note: Any topic from above can be developed into a master thesis. Readers are encouraged to get more information from local libraries or from websites.


飛揚藝術團 - 成立於1991年,乃一非營利藝術機構。其宗旨為介紹和弘揚中華文化,以促使其成為美國多元文化社會中不可或缺之一元。本團以表演方式與大眾分享豐富、優秀的中華藝術。本團的創作節目教育與娛樂並重,使觀眾達到娛樂身心的目的,同時得到資訊與啟發。觀眾不需要到中國也能得到中華文化的薰陶。本團製作的《中國舞蹈-五千年巡禮》包括了許多傑出編導的作品,在美國及加拿大各地作巡迴表演。節目長達兩小時,展示了中華文化燦爛之錦繡一角。

團長:胡瓊君 408-973-8276 annwoo@comcast.net







孔子(551-479 BC)是世界公認的最偉大的教育家之一,他提倡“有教無類”-即貴族與平民都應該接受教育,提倡考試制度選錄政府官員,推崇學術與教育。這些觀點影響了世世代代的中國人和亞洲各國,也逐漸滲透到西方的教育領域。

孫子與希臘的柏拉圖(438-348 BC)同一時代,他的不朽之作“孫子兵法”經過了漫長的時間考驗,曆久彌新,已成為現代各國軍校的必修課題,被奉為學習軍事與經商的經典。

西元十九世紀李約瑟(Joseph Needham, 1900-1985)及許多漢學家經研究認為道家是中國古代科技發展的先驅。道家起源於中國傳說中四千年前各部落的領袖黃帝,道家崇尚以“無為”為健康長壽之道。在道家思想引領之下,過去幾千年在冶金,化學,生物,醫藥,天文等各領域都是世界最先進的。十七世紀曾是中國科技的鼎盛世紀。

被譽為現代科學之父的十七世紀英國大臣培根(Lord Francis Bacon, 1561-1626)曾在他的著作《新領域》中寫道:“印刷、火藥、指南針這三個發明改變了全世界的面貌”。他讚揚這是世界上最偉大的發明,當時他並不知道這三大發明都是來自古老的中國。

如今,經濟與政治都趨向全球化,瞭解和學習世界五分之一人口所擁有的文化是十分必要的。灣區的人口中,華人占10% 的比例,在東西交流之中起著舉足輕重的作用。我們希望全世界的人都從這五千年的文化中汲取精華,創造更美好的未來。


 Joseph Needham,Science and Civilisation in China.Cambridge Cambridge University press,1956-1998
《中國文化知識業書》(Knowlede Series on History of Chinese Cullure),vois,26,48 & 57.Published by Taiwan Shangwu Publishing Company,Taipei,Taiwan臺灣商務印書館,1993-1994.
《中國舞蹈史話》(Chinese Dance History)by Renxia Chang常任俠,Published by Ming Wen Book Ca.,Ltd,Taipei,Taiwan 臺灣文明書局,1995
《中國道家發明史略》(A Brief History on the Devetopment of Tooism in China by Hai-Jin Nan南懷瑾,published by Laogu Wenhua Shiye Company,Taipei,Taiwan臺灣老古文明事業有限公司,1987
《李約瑟與中國科學》(Joseph Needham and Chinese Sctence)by Juren Hu胡菊人,Pubilished by Wenhua Shenghou Publishing Company,Hong Kong香港文化生活文化出版社,1978)

Full text of Novum Organum by Francis Bacon:http://www.constitution.org/bacon/nov_org.txt
Joseph Needham and Science and Civilisation in China:
http://www2.soas.ac.uk is the website of University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies(osas)Formation of the Chinese Civilization

Mission of Chinese Performing Arts of America (CPAA)

Introduction - The cosmopolitan Bay Area, encompassing the beautiful city of San Francisco and the world-famous Silicon Valley, is renowned for its diversity. This diversity contributes to the area's strength in business and quality of life. The Bay Area has the largest population of Chinese-descent in USA, and they have preserved many aspects of the Chinese heritage including family value, respect to the seniors, Chinese cuisines, visual and performing arts, martial arts, tai chi, acupuncture, herbal medicine, etc. A large percentage of Chinese Americans engage in hi-tech in Silicon Valley are influenced by the philosophy of Confucius, which promotes a high respect for academic achievement. As the global economy network continues to expand, there is a growing interest in understanding the culture of 20% of the world's population representing 20% of the world market. Chinese Americans, who make up 10% of the Bay Area population, can serve as a bridge between the East and the West.

CPAA - Founded in Silicon Valley as a nonprofit organization in 1991, CPAA is chartered to introduce Chinese culture as an integral part of American society through performing arts. CPAA presents these arts of exceptional beauty and richness so that these cultural treasures can be shared by the people of the world.

The core members of CPAA are the highly trained professional artists from China under the direction of the artistic team:

  • Creative Director: Ann Woo, award winning art promoter
  • Artistic Director: Yong Yao, award winning choreographer
  • Music Director: Phil Young, award winning composer
  • Costume/Stage Designer: Ching Shyu, award winning visual artist

Entertainment and education are the criteria for CPAA's programming. Audiences will find the programs delightful, enchanting, and inspiring. It is a wonderful way to experience the highlights of Chinese culture through colorful and dynamic performing arts. Since 1991, CPAA performing company has presented many original works including Sorrow of the Great Wall in 1995; Dragon2000 in 2000; Middle Kingdom - Ancient China in 2005; Moon Reflection on Crystal Spring in 2006 ; Shaolin Kung Fu Monks in 2006; New Dream of the Butterfly in 2009, and Fantasy of Silk Road in 2010. These wonderful creations have established CPAA as a highly acclaimed performing arts institute in US.

CPAA Culture & Arts Center - Founded in 2003 as a subsidiary of CPAA, the Center is the CPAA's headquarters and the home of over 40 artists of Chinese, Indian, Latino, Iranian ethnic groups. With 14,000 sq. ft., professionally built and managed, the Center is an excellent facility for the local artists to create and teach their arts to 1,200 art enthusiasts in a wide variety of art classes of: Chinese and Indian classical and folk dances, piano and folk instruments, ballet and hip hop, ballroom and line dances, martial arts, and painting. Since 2005, CPAA Culture & Arts Center holds its annual IntMAT-PIVD International Arts Competitions throughout the year. One of a kind, CPAA Culture & Arts Center is a true multi-culture and multi-discipline event center.

CPAA with its performing art company and the culture center serves over 40,000 citizens every year. CPAA owes its achievements to the broad support of local governments, foundations, private corporations, media, and many individuals.

CPAA is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization. Donations to CPAA are tax-deductible.
FID#: 77-0301932
Tel: 408-973-8276
Fax: 408-973-8255
Email: cpaa@comcast.net
Websites: www.cpaasv.org
Address: CPAA, 6148 Bollinger Road, San Jose, CA 95129, USA





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