Midsummer Health Preservation – Eat Cherries and Mulberries, Hang Wormwood

Written by Gioia Zhang

 

Every year around the 6thof June is MangZhong (the 9th solar term). From this point onwards, we enter the second phase of summer, Midsummer.  During this time, the yang qi between the sky and the earth is most prosperous and people are also at the peak of their growing capabilities.  Our new cells will grow very fast.  This is also a great time for us to repair our aging bodies and to delay the aging process.

Take good care of your heart during the summer as this helps to speed up your metabolism.  At the same time, cherries, known as a “heart care fruit”, are in season. Practitioners of Chinese medicine believe that the cherry is great for both your heart and blood.  Some Western nutritionists also refer to the cherry as the aspiring of the heart.

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Aspirin has an antithrombotic effect and can be used to treat cardiovascular diseases. It can also cause people to sweat, and long-term usage is therefore likely to cause a deficiency of the body’s yin. Compared with aspirin, cherries are even better.  They not only warm the heart, but also benefit your blood.  They help your body to produce more blood and also give your blood more energy. It is rich in iron which is very helpful for iron deficiency-based anemia.

In addition to eating cherries, you could also make cherry egg soup or cherry wine. These help to regulate different physical conditions.


How to make Cherry Egg Flower Soup

Ingredients:cherries, eggs, sweet glutinous rice wine (This is a traditional Chinese sweet soup, which should be available in Chinese supermarkets)

Method:Wash the cherries with salt water for 10 minutes and remove the stem. Put fresh water in the pot, add the cherries and a few spoons of sweet rice wine, and cook for a few minutes on a high heat. Pour the eggs into the pan and beat them until they become egg flower, then turn off the heat.

Effect: replenishes the blood, moisturizes the skin, conditions the body’s weaknesses and improves sleep.


How to make Cherry Wine:

Ingredients:500g – 1kg Cherries, 2.5kg low-degree wine

Method: Wash the cherries with salt water, put them in a clean glass bottle, pour in the white wine, cover it, wait for 10 days or longer and then enjoy!

Effect:Condition rheumatism, lower back pain and numbness of limbs.


By the way, not everyone is suited to eating cherries, because cherries have heating properties, and those who suffer from excessive internal heat and cough frequently should not eatn many cherries.  Eating too many cherries can easily lead to excessive internal heat. Please eat them in moderation!

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Hanging wormwood is also a midsummer tradition.  People think that wormwood can ward off evil and protect the peace. It has volatile medicinal ingredients that emit strong aromas which can sterilize the environment, prevent insect infestations, and purify the air.

In Chinese medicine, wormwood is a pure yang plant.  Moxibustion can open up the meridians and remove the body’s “cold” and “dampness”.  Using wormwood to boil water can also help to remove the “cold” and “dampness” of the lower jiao.

Summer is a period in which there are many pest infestations and many diseases are spread. The ancient Chinese people use sachets to prevent epidemics.  Putting a variety of aromatic herbs into sachets allows the strong aroma of the drugs to stimulate the body’s nasal mucosa which produces antibodies to help improve our resistance to diseases.  This helps us to fight against colds, rhinitis, a variety of respiratory infections, and can also prevent mosquito bites.


Homemade Sachet

Ingredients:dried tangerine peel, cloves (an aromatic flower bud used in Chinese medicine which comes from a tree in the Myrtaceae family), shan’ai (a Chinese medicine), moxa, cotton cloth and thread which is prepared in accordance with a ratio of 1:1.

Method:Use the materials above to make a small sachet and place the items inside it as you like. It can be placed in your pocket, hung on the edge of your bed or in your car. If you carry it around often, you need to change the moxa and tangerine peel every month.


Every year on the 21stor 22ndof June, we enter the summer solstice (the 10thsolar term).  This divides summer into two parts.  From the summer solstice onwards, it is important to pay attention to nourishing the Yin of our hearts.  Insufficient heart Yin can cause serious irritations, insomnia, hot flushes, palpitations and heart disease. 2017052351435925.png

Mulberry is good at nourishing your heart Yin.  Eating it in summer is very helpful for fighting palpitations and insomnia. It can also help to delay aging. However, the period in which you can eat fresh mulberries in a year is very short.  You can buy a lot during this period as they are on sale everywhere in large quantities.  You can therefore make mulberry jam in bulk, save it and then eat it slowly throughout the year.


How to make Mulberry Cream

Ingredients:fresh black mulberry, brown sugar

Method:Beat the mulberry into a juice, put it in a pot and make it thick by heating it on a low heat, add the brown sugar and stir until the brown sugar has completely melted and then turn off the heat. Put the mulberry jam in a clean glass jar, refrigerate, and eat two spoonfuls per day.

Effect: nourishes the Yin of the body, anti-aging effect, helps to reduce palpitations, insomnia, dizziness, tinnitus and menopausal syndrome, also leads to less whiteheads.


Did the summer heat make you feel uncomfortable? Use seasonal ingredients to recover!

 

 

About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide” 

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Kungfu Clothing, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.


P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!

If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

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Health Preservation throughout the 24 Solar Periods: Key Points for Summer Health

Written by Gioia Zhang

 


For the past several weeks, Milan has finally been enjoying an uninterrupted sunny summer.  What is your city like?  Just know that the season of the year which best helps delay aging and get rid of disease is right around the corner!  By making some small changes we can considerably boost our physical fitness. Let’s do it together!


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A Season of Growing

The word “summer” means “big” in ancient China.  This is because summer is the season in which all things grow, including the human body!

Sufficient yang1 during summer helps to stimulate various growth functions in your body.  Sufficient sunlight can, for example, provide our body with enough Vitamin D.  It can help to maintain bone health, regulate the body’s immune system, and it can also help to prevent diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.  At the same time, summer yang can speed up the body’s metabolism, enabling newly generated cells to repair aging bodies and improving bodily functions which have begun to slow down.

Summer is also the season in which the most physical energy is exhausted.  The same with qi and blood2Summer yang brings both qi and blood to just below the surface of the body’s skin and leads to a relative paucity of these two substances in the body.  Therefore, it is necessary to get enough sleep during the summer months so that you can make sure enough qi and blood get back into the body and strengthen your organs.

yang1In traditional Chinese medicine, yang is the driving force behind the body’s metabolism and physiological functions, and it is a determinant of human reproduction, growth, development, aging, and death.

qi and blood2Qi and blood are the two basic types of substance in the human body. They play an important role in daily human activities. Qi plays a role in promoting the regulation and control of the human body.Blood has a supportive effect on the human body.

 

Condition your Internal Heat by Sitting up Straight and closing your eyes

The five elements of Chinese medicine believe that of the four seasons, summer is a “fire”, and of the organs, the “heart system” which is composed of the heart and the small intestine is also a “fire”. This means that summer is the most prosperous season of “heart-fire”.  This kind of “fire” in the body can bring warmth to the body as well as converting food into nutrients which are absorbed by the body and then used in order to provide power for growth.
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However, during the hot summer months, our “heart-fire” can be prone to overheating.  At this time, you may find that your tongue is sore and your urine is yellow.  You may also feel regular discomfort and have insomnia. So, how should we condition our heart-fireIn Chinese medicine, every day from 11:00 to 13:00 is the time for heart meridian circulation. If we find the time to sit and rest for a few minutes during these hours, we can assure that our heart is nursed back to good health.   During these hours, try to sit in a chair, straighten your back, place the palm of your hands on your legs, close your eyes, relax, and take a deep breath. Staying quiet for a few minutes will refresh you.

 

Eat More Pungent Food and Dispel Diseases

0x1009a0a0During the summer, our pores are open more frequently.  This allows external evils to enter and invade our body.  Pungent tasting food helps to eliminate these evils from the surface and prevent them from entering the body.  Pungent food also has the same effect as diaphoresis and eating pungent tasting foods in summer helps the body to radiate heat. The qi and blood remain very close to the surface of the human body during summer.  Therefore, the spleen and stomach are relatively cold.  So, when cooking, add more green onions, ginger, garlic, peppers etc.  As well as being more appetizing, this helps to improve the functionality of both the spleen and stomach.

Taking advantage of this period of high metabolic rates can also help us to eliminate some of the “cold” and “damp” which has accumulated in the body during winter.  It can also help to alleviate respiratory diseases to which we are particularly prone in the colder, winter months.  Of course, eating too much cold food and excessive reliance on air-conditioning will put a huge burden on our spleens and stomach.  It will also hinder the elimination of pathogenic diseases in our bodies.

 

Skin Diseases Reveal the Status of your Internal Organs

1507171146041778-e1472101613535-400x400The health of our skin is an extension of the health of our internal organs, and we can tell by examining skin diseases if our internal organs need to be repaired. As the body’s yang qi floats on the surface of the body during summer, problems within the body are often reflected in the health of our skin.  For example, the “cold” and “damp” found in the body can cause sweat sores.  If the “cold” and “damp” are not removed in time, it will lead to the appearance of sweat spots and eczema.

If you happen to be affected by skin discomfort during summer, you should think about how you could take advantage of your available summer energy in order to help cleanse your body.  In the next article, I will introduce some health tips related to each solar term.

I hope you enjoyed this article and come back regularly to read the rest of the series!

 

About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide” 

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Kungfu Clothing, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.


P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!

If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

Top 6 Films to Get to Know Chinese Culture (II)

Written by Yuqing Yang

I hope the previous blog has already given you some insight into Chinese culture and history, so here is the other half!

 

~ Modern family relations (Family Drama) ~

推手 (Tui Shou; Pushing Hands)

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It is one and first of Lee Ang’s “Father Knows Best” trilogy together with the other two movies – The Wedding Banquet (1993) and Eat Drink Man Woman (1994). The story is about an old Chinese Taiji teacher emigrating from Beijing to live with his son, American daughter-in-law, and grandson in New York. The title of the film is a pun. Pushing hands is part of Taiji routine, for which two persons have to learn to exercise and balance their power. It also perfectly parallels with the family relations between father and son, old and young, and East and West. Since the story is limited to a family, every detail and cultural subtlety has been taken care of. The content judging from personal, philosophical, and cultural perspectives is extremely rich.

 

 

~ Justice in a new era (Western/Comedy) ~

让子弹飞(Rang Zi Dan Fei; Let The Bullets Fly)

It’s an action comedy written and directed by Jiang Wen. Set in 1920s in Sichuan, a battle of courage and wits between bandits and corrupted governors takes place.  The cast includes all well-known names of the Asian film industry like Chow Yun-fat, Ge You and Carina Lau. It is an ambitious project taken in China not only because of its unfriendly implication towards government also because of its western movie genre. Even till now, it is still one of its kind.

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~ Love in big cities ~

森林 (Chong Qing Sen Lin; Chungking Express)

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It is a romantic movie written and directed by the Hokng Kong director Wong Kar-wai. The film stars Takeshi Kaneshiro, Faye Wong, Tony Leung and Valerie Chow, exclusively pillars of Hong Kong entertainment industry. It consists of two separate stories about police officers’ breakups and encounters with drug smuggler and bar worker in Hong Kong. It is interesting that the title has nothing to do with the city Chongqing, merely referring to the concrete jungle main characters get stuck in. This movie perfectly captures fleeting moments in big and modern cities. Many of the actor’s lines have become catchphrases in the new generation and are still widely used and cited.

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I hope you would like some of them, and please let me know by commenting below if you want to get more recommendations or any thoughts you have!

 

 

 


About Interact China

“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 12 years of solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we are well positioned to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and directly bring you finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.


P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team! 
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Top 6 Films to Get to Know Chinese Culture (I)

Written by Yuqing Yang

When talking about Chinese films, first ones came to your mind might be Kung Fu and Hong Kong crime movies. Surely, they can’t be all what the Chinese style is about. From mythical ancient China to modern industrialized China, filmmakers have tried to capture these moments in all possible forms. Below is a list of films that will help you understand hopefully more about the Chinese culture and its aesthetics.

~ Ancient legends and mythologies (Animated Film) ~

海棠 (Da Yu Hai Tang; Big Fish and Begonia) – 2017

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To any fan of Ghibli films, the beautiful scenes in Big Fish and Begonia might bear a resemblance to those from Hayao Miyazaki. The movie itself, however, draws inspirations Zhuang Zi’s philosophy, the ancient texts such as Classic of Mountains and Seas (Shanhaijing) and In Search of the Supernatural (Soushenji). Set in a mystical undersea world, the magic-powered residents have to complete a coming-of-age ritual by transforming into a fish and traveling around the human world. The main character, Chun, is no exception. But she has involved herself in such an accident that she has to shoulder a responsibility to redeem a human soul. This movie is China’s best-animated film in recent years.

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One scene with the traditional architecture tulou (giant earthen round houses typical in Fujian Province)

 

 

~ Thousand years of kingship and traditions (Historical Movies) ~

末代皇帝(Mo Dai Huang Di; The Last Emperor) – 1987

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Don’t let the historical category put you off. The Last Emperor is a biopic directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, and it focuses on the life of China’s last emperor, Puyi Henry since he was three. It faithfully captures the end of China’s kingship that lasts thousands of years. Living under the rule of the emperor slowly has become an inseparable part of Chinese consciousness. In this movie, the mysterious life of Son of Heaven in an apocalyptic time has revealed itself gradually in front of the audience. This movie is about a transitional moment, a bygone age, and a kind of mentality. It has won nine Oscars in 1988, including Best Director and Best Picture.

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The bright yellow that symbolizes the royal blood.

 

 

~ Striving towards modernity (tragedy)~ 

活着 (Huo Zhe; To Live) – 1994

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The film was directed by Zhang Yimou and staged by Gong Li and Ge You. it is based on the novel by the same title; the story traces the life of a married couple throughout chaotic years from the 1940s to 70s under Mao Zedong’s rule. The main character, Xu Fugui (Ge You), is born in a rich family, but he gambles the family property away. Fugui accidentally conscripts himself into the army and participates in Chinese Civil War, but upon his return, Fugui becomes handicapped. Soon it is already Cultural Revolution, Fugui’s son, Youqing, exhausts from hard labor and dies in an accident. Misfortunes as such keep taking place all the way into Fugui’s last years. Throughout the movie, it is hard to distinguish personal and political tragedies, but the ending is unspeakably powerful and fulfilling.

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(Full movie with English subtitles)

 

 

If you haven’t found anything special yet, make sure to check Part II!

 

 

 


About Interact China

“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 12 years of solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we are well positioned to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and directly bring you finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.


P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team! 
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Top 3 Chinese Myths and Legendary Figures

Written by Francesca Zhu

The Myth of Sun WuKong

Sun WuKong, also known as the Monkey King, was born on the Mountains of Flowers and Fruits. He was powerful and with a rebellious trait, and one day, he went to the Heavens and caused havoc. The Gods were so angry with him that they tried to burn him but instead the fire made him even more powerful. The Gods then asked help to Buddha. Buddha punished the fearless Monkey King by suppressing him under the Mountain of Five Elements where he remained captive for five hundred years.

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After centuries, a monk named Tan Sen was on his journey to the West with an important duty, to bring Buddha’s sutras to the East. One day, he passed by the Mountain of Five Elements. He freed Sun WuKong on the pact that the Monkey King had to be his disciple and had to help him collect the sutras. As such, the Journey to the West proceeded, with other new discpiples; Zhu BaJie, Sha WuJing and Bai Long Ma; who would later join one by one protecting Tang Sen from the dangerous demons of the West.

The adventures of Tang Sen and his four disciples are a recurrent theme in the Chinese folk culture. They appear in a multitude of cinematographic productions, from Chinese cartoons, movies, TV series to American screens.

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Sun WuKong is probably the most popular character in the story; known for his power, braveness, repentance for his past and the willingness to become a better person under Tan Sen’s guidance. He is also featured in one of the most popular Japanese Anime that everyone knows about… that’s right, he is the undefeatable Goku in Dragon Ball. The synopsis of the anime is different from the Chinese myth but the character of Goku is indeed based on the story of Sun WuKong.

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The Myth of the Cowherd and Weaver Girl

The story of the Cowherd and the Weaver Girl is a romantic one, on which the Chinese Valentine’s Day is based. It is said that the Weaver Girl was one of the seven angels that came from the Heaven to visit the Earth. During the journey, she met the Cowherd, a poor kind-hearted man, and the two fell in love with each other. The Weaver Girl stayed with the Cowherd on the Earth, they got married and had a boy and a girl. One day, the Mother Queen of Heaven came to know about the Weaver Girl and strongly disapproved the love between the two. She brought the Weaver Girl back to Heaven while the Cowherd chased after her. When he was almost reaching his wife, the Mother Queen used her magic hairpin to create a river separating the lovers. The Cowherd and the Weaver Girl cried so much for losing each other that the Mother Queen was moved. She still didn’t allow the lovers to stay together but she allowed them to meet once a year on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar, when a flock of magpies will form a bridge crossing the river letting the Cowherd, the Weaver Girl and the children to reunite.

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This day is also called Qixi in the Chinese culture, the equivalent of Valentine’s Day, when young people appreciate the night sky with their loved ones. In fact, the Weaver Girl represents the star Altair, the Cowherd Vega and the river separating the two the Milky Way.

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The Myth of Chang E and Hou Yi

Once upon time, there were ten suns. It was so hot that all plants were burnt and people suffered drought. Hou Yi was an excellent archer, he took his arch and bow and shoot down nine suns only leaving one to provide light to people. Having saved the Earth, he was admired as a hero and many went to him to learn archery. To praise his bravery, the Gods gave him the elixir of immortality. Although Hou Yi wanted to become immortal, he was happily married with Chang E and didn’t want to be immortal without her, as the elixir was only enough for one person. So he just kept the elixir home.

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One day, a greedy scholar of Hou Yi decided to steal the elixir. He broke into the house where only Chang E was there. He forced her to give him the elixir and Chang E, not knowing how to fight him, drank the elixir herself. She immediately became an immortal and flew to the Moon. When Hou Yi was back, he was heartbroken. He laid out his wife’s favourite fruits and cakes in the yard as offerings to her. His neighbours did the same and soon it became an annual tradition. Today, we still pass on this tradition on Mid-Autumn Festival, when we paint and light on lanterns and make and eat mooncakes, remembering the tragic story of the Chang E and Hou Yi.

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Do you know any more Chinese Myths? If so, don’t hesitate to share them with us!

 

 

 


About Interact China

“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 12 years of solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we are well positioned to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and directly bring you finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.


P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team! 
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

 

Chinese Lanterns, a Culture of Lights and Art

Written by Francesca Zhu

Chinese New Year has just passed and many have attended the dazzling celebrations either in China or in the Western China towns with the largest Chinese community, such as London. You’ve surely been to some Chinese festivals or at least seen on TV or social media. What caught your attention the most? For me, it’s the lanterns!

The common lanterns that we normally see are Red Balloons. Red symbolizes joy and good fortune. As such, these lanterns are largely used for festivities and weddings. In Europe, we can see them during Chinese celebrations and along the streets of China towns to wish wellbeing to all visitors. But there is so much more than that!

Red Lanterns

In China, a special occasion for exhibiting colourful lanterns is on the 15th day of the first Lunar month each year, that is the Chinese Lantern Festival, when people decorate houses and streets with red lanterns.

lantern festival

Chinese lanterns come into many versions. You have certainly heard about flying lanterns, as known as Kong Ming Deng. These are made of thin paper and propelled by the hot air given by the flames. They are extremely popular on Mid-Autumn Festival, when it is custom for people to light a lantern up, make a wish and let it go high in the night sky, which will be then brightened with thousands of glowing wishes.

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Similarly, floating lanterns are well known, too. These are very popular on the Dragon Boat Festival, taking place near rivers and lakes. Lanterns of different shapes are released on the water creating an amazing exhibition. The most typical shape is the lotus one.

floating lanterns

Why are lanterns special? What makes them fascinating is their art and craft nature. The ability to make a traditional lantern is a combination of Chinese painting, paper cutting, paper arts, paper carving, embroidery and sewing, all handicrafts reflecting the Chinese culture. In the past, intellectuals even composed poetry on the body of the lanterns. Thus, besides their use during traditional festivals and as decorations, Chinese lanterns embed hard work, eye for details, and artistic and poetic meaning.

Which are the different styles of lanterns?

Zou Ma Deng Lantern is one of the most innovative. There is a shaft within the body of the lantern, fitted with paper vanes. The flames create a current of heat that rotates the shaft and sets a paper cut-out, usually a paper horse, in a round motion.

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Beijing style lanterns were originally decorations for royal palaces. The skeleton is made of wood and covered with glass and cloth. Some more refined versions of this are made of rosewood and patterned silk, which requires long hours of work.

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Suzhou style lanterns might have simpler raw materials than the Beijing ones but they have various shapes, such as birds, flowers, fish, towers, and even human beings. They are surely the most sophisticated and the most complex in terms of handicraft. On a yearly basis, all sorts of lanterns are displayed on the Yangtze River creating a life size shiny painting.

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Chinese Lanterns in Europe

No matter where you are, I believe there are occasions to admire this side of Chinese culture. As a big metropolitan city with a large Chinese community, London hosts several events and festivals. Just in December, I went to the amazing Magic Lantern Festival outside the city. Needless to say, the artists have perfectly combined Chinese tradition with western themes, ending up with an admirable result.

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About Interact China

“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 12 years of solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we are well positioned to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and directly bring you finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.


P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team! 
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

Not Just Sunflower Seeds – Hidden Culture Behind China Contemporary Arts by Ai Weiwei

Written by Yuqing Yang

 

It is well known that the artist Ai Weiwei is a Chinese dissident, an activist for humanity. Most of his works are seen as a rebellion towards the Chinese government. This is typical Ai Weiwei perceived under a projected European understanding. The hidden cultural context behind his works is largely ignored.

 

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Ai Weiwei, 2012, photo Gao Yuan, courtesy of neugerriemschneider

 

Ai Weiwei was born in 1957, and his father Ai Qing was a famous poet. Ai Weiwei was young when his father was forced into hard labor during the cultural revolution, and this experience marks the generations of strives for artist freedom in his family.  Ai Weiwei also recognizes this kind of creativity in adversities in one of his interviews with BBC.

However, the audience in the West has generally ignored his cultural upbringing. The work Sunflower Seeds would be a perfect art work to reflect such cultural insights. Sunflower Seeds simply is made of one hundred million porcelain pieces in shape pf sunflower seeds, which are ubiquitous in Chinese daily lives. As Ai Weiwei further explains, “sunflower seeds are the most common object in China, no matter where you are, or poor, or rich, in remote areas or in the city.” His work is undoubtedly closely related to the Chinese people.

 

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As shown in the documentary film made for Sunflower Seeds, this huge amount of porcelain sunflowers was handmade by 1,600 craftsmen in Jingdezhen, a renowned town for its traditional porcelain production over 1,700 years. This is the hidden story behind Sunflower Seeds. The cohesive and enduring Chinese culture is embodied by the cooperation and compassion among the skilled workers and hand-making in a communal environment. That is why Sunflower Seeds is indeed “a piece of art which contains one hundred million pieces of art.”

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Ai Weiwei has observed the relationships between individuals and entirety during the production process. During the cultural revolution, it was common to see Chairman Mao surrounded by sunflowers as sunflowers were the symbol of people. The people were identical and characterless. However, when producing porcelain sunflower seeds, everybody took a different role; while producing at home, some tended the children, some cooked the meals. Together they formed a harmonious community.

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Porcelain, as a medium that connects thousand years of Chinese history, is also a cultural symbol here. Sunflower Seeds is likewise more of a cultural art work instead of a political one. It is another side of the “Made in China” phenomenon.

 

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Sunflower Seeds (detail), 2010. Ai Weiwei (b.1957). Temporary installation at the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern, London.

 

 

 

 


About Interact China

“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 12 years of solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we are well positioned to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and directly bring you finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.


P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team! 
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

 

 

 

A Quick Look to Chinese Teapots Through the Centuries

written by Francesca Zhu

I love tea because of its tasteful aroma and warmth giving me a refreshing break from everyday tasks. I mostly use teabags and a mug, which make tea preparation simple and quick. However, I went to the British Museum last week and I saw a variety exquisite teapots and cups of different sizes and materials, dating back hundreds of years. And it made me realize the long history and the precious tradition of tea drinking behind that aromatized drink inside my daily mugs. Hence, I did a bit of research about teapots and cups utilized in tea preparation that I would love to share.

Tea drinking started in China as early as 3rd century AD. Back then, people used to boil tealeaves with spices such as ginger, leek, mint, and orange peel. Thus, it was more like a food.

In the Song Era, people introduced Mo Tea (matcha) by heating the tea leaves, compressing them into a cake, grounding it into powder, and adding it to hot water. Tea drinking became a culture. Parties were organised and poetries were composed. Teas were stored in black-blazed tea jars and drunk from black-glazed tea bowls, mainly made in Fujian and Jiangxi.

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It was more during the Ming Dynasty that people started to infuse loose tealeaves into teapots. It was a delicate procedure as the quantity of leaves and the temperature of water had to be carefully controlled. Teapots were at first in big sizes as people wanted to drink many cups from one pot but the tea was infused for too long and the taste became bitter and less fresh. Hence, teapots became smaller and smaller from then on.

The most cherished teapot by tea amateurs was the one made from Purple Sand of Yixing, for its ability to bring out and preserve the flavour and the colour of tea. This is because the pot itself is able to absorb the flavour, which is the reason why one pot should only brew one type of tea in order to avoid mixing up the tastes of different teas.

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Another type of material is pewter. Although teapots made from this metal were less aesthetically appealing, they were appreciated for keeping the drink warm for longer time.

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Porcelain teapots also emerged during Qing Dynasty, popular for its cleanness. These were typically made of blue under-glazed porcelain with floral decorations, which became extremely popular in the Western countries.

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Alternatively to using teapots, during Qing Dynasty, it was also common to brew tea directly in the cup, well covered, standing on a saucer. This was ideal for preparing tea for one person. This traditional cup is called “Sancai Bowl”, which has a deep meaning: the cover represents the heaven, the saucer the earth, and the cup the human being. These teacups were normally made of porcelain.

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Different ethnicities have different customs. Notable for their handicrafts skills are the Tibetans in West China. Qianlong Emperor used to order porcelain ewers, decorated with colourful floral patterns and animal figures.

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More fascinating are the large red lacquer jugs, decorated with carved dragons and geometric patterns. They were used to serve Tibetan butter tea, prepared by adding yak butter and salt to the fermented tealeaves and warm water. The jug can also be found in copper or wood.

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Tea culture is well preserved from the Ancient China until today. Almost every household has a set of tea implements and a variety of tealeaves, which are meant to welcome and treat visitors, so they can chat while drinking tea.

Having said that, I hope that next time that you are having tea this story can remind you of the rich tradition of hundreds of years.

About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide” 

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Kungfu Clothing, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.


P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team! 

If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

Culture Insider: Chic items in ancient China

The ancient Chinese are not that “ancient” as modern people imagine. They used refrigerators, barbecue grills, carried handbags, wore high-heeled shoes and even used a diving suit. The cultural relics left by them tell us how they fully enjoyed their lives a long time ago. Let’s take a peek.

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A maid from the Tang Dynasty (618-907) with a handbag is seen on a Dunhuang fresco. The murals in Dunhuang, Gansu province are gems of ancient Chinese art.
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A barbecue grill made with glazed pottery from the Eastern Han dynasty (25-220). The grill has pottery cicadas on it.
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This is regarded as the earliest refrigerator in China. The bronze fou (a crock with a narrow opening) from the Warring States Period (475-221BC) was excavated from the Tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng (Chinese: Zeng Hou Yi), an important archaeological site in Hubei province. Space between the fou’s layers can store ice.
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A watch-like finger ring was excavated from an archeological site in Shangsi county, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. This burial artifact belonged to a royal man who lived during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
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A “diving suit” with equipment to supply the diver with oxygen while collecting pearls. Its introduction can be found in The Exploitation of the Works of Nature (Tiangong Kaiwu ), an encyclopedia covering a wide range of technical issues, published during the Ming Dynasty(1368-1644).
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painting of women playing “Chinese golf”- Chuiwan, during the Ming Dynasty. Chuiwan, literally means “ball-hitting” and was a game in ancient China. The popularity of this game peaked in the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Its rules resemble modern golf.
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This artwork shows women from the Sui Dynasty (581-618) wearing suspender skirts.
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 A “mileage recorder” carriage used by noble people during the Han Dynasty (260 BC-AD220). Two wooden men stand on the carriage with drumsticks in their hands. When the carriage moved 500 meters, a wooden man would beat the drum. When the carriage moved 5,000 meters, another wooden man beat the drum as well.
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A painting of a woman wearing a hairnet during the Tang Dynasty (618-907).
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A pair of high-heeled shoes from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

(source: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/culture/2014-11/12/content_18879304.htm

 

About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide” 

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Kungfu Clothing, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.


P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!

If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival

China’s Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated on month 8 day 15 of China’s lunar calendar (in September or October). Mid-Autumn Festival 2015 is on September 27.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is the second most important festival to Chinese people after the Spring Festival. Every year, when the festival comes, Chinese go home from every corner of the country and the world for family reunions.

Chinese people believe the full moon is a symbol of peace, prosperity, and family reunion. On Mid-Autumn night the harvest moon is supposed to be the brightest and fullest of the year, so the festival is also known as the “Day of Reunion” and the “Moon Festival”. This day is also considered as a harvest festival since fruits, vegetables and grain are harvested by this time.

Here are the things you should know about this special occasion, perhaps they could be a guide to what you can do on this day.

 
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How Mid-Autumn Festival Began

The Mid-Autumn Festival has a history of over 3,000 years, dating back to moon worship in the Shang Dynasty (1600–1046 BC). It‘s such an important festival that many poems were written about it, stories and legends on the festival are widespread, and its origins have been guessed at and explained by generations of Chinese.

Legend about Mid-Autumn Festival

 
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In the ancient past, there was a hero named Hou Yi who was excellent at archery. His wife was Chang’e. One year, the ten suns rose in the sky together, causing great disaster to people. Yi shot down nine of the suns and left only one to provide light. An immortal admired Yi and sent him the elixir of immortality. Yi did not want to leave Chang’e and be immortal without her, so he let Chang’e keep the elixir. But Peng Meng, one of his apprentices, knew this secret. So, on the fifteenth of August in the lunar calendar, when Yi went hunting, Peng Meng broke into Yi’s house and forced Chang’e to give the elixir to him. Chang’e refused to do so. Instead, she swallowed it and flew into the sky. Since she loved very much her husband and hoped to live nearby, she chose the moon for her residence. When Yi came back and learned what had happened, he felt so sad that he displayed the fruits and cakes Chang’e liked in the yard and gave sacrifices to his wife.

When the local people heard this, they arranged incense tables to worship the goddess Chang’e, praying for happiness and safety. Since then, worshipping and appreciating the moon during Mid-Autumn festival has become popular.

Mooncakes — the Must-Eat Mid-Autumn Treat

 
 Chinese festival

Mooncakes are traditional Chinese pastries eaten to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival. The festival typically involves much giving, receiving, and eating of mooncakes.

Chinese mooncakes are the traditional dessert/snack of Mid-Autumn Festival. They are round in shape, like the full harvest moon of Mid-Autumn’s evening. Up to 10 cm (4 inches) wide and 5 cm (2 inches) deep, most mooncakes consist of a pastry skin enveloping a sweet, dense filling.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com

About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.

P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at bloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!