Ancient Chinese Culture:
A World of Its Own

Ancient Chinese culture is a product of vast diverse landmass dotted with people from various races and ruled over by numerous dynasties.

While Confucian thoughts became its mainstay, Buddhism and Taoism reinforced its crystallization into a distinct form. The habitual practices of the people of the land and their unique and interesting life style over the last 5,000 years had added mesmerizing aspects to the Chinese culture.

Cultural Identity in Ancient China
Ancient China’s cultural identity was highly sectarian until it amalgamated into a single hue during the imperial period.

pagoda - ancient Chinese culture

Though Manchus, Mongols, and other races dominated the national system in different periods, they adopted Chinese lifestyle and followed the core social adherence to Confucian thought. All ancient dynasties adopted same social motifs, cultural insignia, philosophy, art, and architecture. Even regional distribution of cultural symbol points toward uniformity.

Literature in Ancient China
In China no less than 290 languages are spoken. The country is credited to have developed the oldest writing system. Based on pictorial style, the scripts helped in the development of Chinese art and calligraphy. The first Chinese book dates back to 1000 BC while the literature was focused on a wide range of subjects since the early times. Printing technology was a part and parcel of ancient Chinese culture. Chinese calligraphy developed in pre-imperial days is considered to be the best in the world.

Philosophy and Religion in Ancient China
Confucianism was the most prevalent philosophy in ancient China. It shaped the course of culture and statecraft. The focus remains of primacy of family values, legalism, meritocracy, ethics in personal life, and rationality.

Shaolin Monk

Taoism or the harmonious living philosophy born in southern China was another important philosophy that dominated Chinese ancient culture. Longevity, immortality, simplicity, naturalness, physical exercise, and worldly detachment espoused by Taoism found their way to popular life style in ancient China.

The religious belief in ancient China was characterized by pluralism, thought systems, and ritualism. When Buddhism entered China in first century AD, it was influenced by Taoism and Confucianism leading to creation of a distinct spiritual form with many new cultural traits. Mythologies and stories surrounding local deities, folklore, heroes, and were part of ancient Chinese literature.

Art and Architecture in Ancient China
Ancient Chinese culture was characterized with development of a variety of folk, fine, and performance art forms. The ruling class was a great votary of art and painting and patronized men expert in these trades. Porcelain and pottery art forms were rampant during the pre-imperial era. Shan shui, a distinct painting, developed during the imperial era. The Han rulers patronized Paper cutting art form. The music culture developed around 1000 BC and there were evidence of use of percussion, stringed, and reed instruments in ancient China. Architecture focused on structural symmetry, floral patterns, and Feng shui. Royal palaces and massive city walls were built in this period.

Inventions in Ancient China
The ancient Chinese people are credited with inventing paper and printing press that aided development of calligraphy and literature. Their other notable inventions include compass, gunpowder, noodles, sericulture, silk clothing, bank notes, and medicinal practices, such as Acupuncture. A number of military technology, irrigation methods, and metallurgy techniques were also prevalent in ancient China.

Martial Art and Fashion
Martial arts were a part of ancient culture in China. Kung Fu and Wushu, two most important form of martial art training, began in China. Discovery of silk led to manufacturing of fashionable clothing in ancient China. Color arrangement, symbols, patterns, and decorative motifs were largely used on garments in ancient China.

Read more:

Religion in China: Pluralism and Diversity in Beliefs

Religion in China reflects the country's pluralism and cultural diversity. China is home to over 3,000 religious organizations and 100,000 religious sites.

Languages in China: The Great Symbol of Diversity

The vast array of spoken languages in China attests its cultural diversity, geographical strength and great past heritage.

Buddhism in China: The History of Development

Buddhism in China traversed through a long, eventful history dating back to the second century BC before cementing its position as the dominant religion.

Ancient Chinese Clothing: A Distinct Cultural Identity

Geography, social customs, and technological innovations played a key part in shaping ancient Chinese clothing habits.

Ancient Chinese Inventions: Symbols of Innovation, Creativity

There's no shortage of ancient Chinese inventions. Chinese have been at the forefront of inventions and China showcased four of the most famous of its inventions in the Olympic Games in Beijing.

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