Match Made in the Stars: a Chinese Folklore Story

Written by Stefania Miletti

All of us have a soft spot for love stories. Let’s admit it, deep inside we all want to believe that true love concours all. This believe is deep rooted in all culture and has prevailed though time till nowadays. 

Well, the other day I stumbled across this fascinating story and wanted to share it, hoping that it will make you smile.

The cowherd and the weaver girl (牛郎与织女)

This is one of the most famous Chinese folklore stories, believed to date back to the 6th century B.C.

The two main characters, the cowherd and the weaver girl are stars, the first one denotes to the Altair star and the second one to Vega star. 

The two stars fell hopelessly and deeply in love with each other.

Unfortunately, according to the rules of the Heavens, for stars and deities it is forbitten to have passionate relationships. So, when the word of their tender love reached the Empress of the Heavens (plot twist: also the grandmother of the Weaver Girl) she was outraged and, as a punishment, she banned the Cowherd star to earth as a mortal. On the other hand, the weaver girl was bound to weave forever without rest. In fact, according to Chinese mythology, the clouds were “weaved” with magical silk threads of different colors according to the time of day or season.

But one day, thanks to the pleads of a group of fairies that wanted to pay a visit to the Bi Lian lake, the Heavenly Empress let the Weaver Girl join them. At the same time, the Cowherd Star, was reborn into a farming family, and was named the Cowherd. Unfortunately, after his parents died, he was left alone with his siblings, who treated him badly and after some time, they chased him out the house with only a cart and an Ox. Together with the old animal, the brave protagonist was able to overcome great hardships, and managing to rebuild their life and live happily in a tiny house.

What the Cowherd didn’t know, is that the Ox was no ordinary animal, in fact he was a Golden Ox star.

One day, the Ox spoke to the Cowherd, much to his surprise. The animal said to him: “You have to go to the Bi Lian lake today, there you’ll find fairies. If you steal the red dress, while they are in the water bathing, the fairy will become your wife”. The Cowherd, not quite believing what he had just heard, took the advice since he was feeling lonely and yearned a partner. 

He went to the lake, and hold and behold, he found the fairies. Once they were all in the water, he took the red dress. But the fairies, realizing that there was a human around, left the lake, all but the one whose red dress was missing.  Gathering his courage, the Cowherd walked forward and asked the Weaver girl if she was willing to marry him in exchange for her dress. The girl immediately realizes, upon seeing him, that he was her long lost love so, hesitantly, she accepted.

From that day, their life together was perfect. They had a daughter and a son and were really happy as a family. But it was too good to be true, their happiness was not long lived. In fact, when the Heavenly Empress heard the word that the two were reunited, she was simply furious! Blinded with rage she sent the heaven guards to retrieve the Weaver girl. 

Back on earth, the old Ox sadly passed away, but before he died, he spoke again telling the Cowherd to keep his ox hide because he will need it to fly to the sky.  Once the Weaving Girl heard this story, she realized that the old Ox was indeed the Golden Ox Star that was sent to earth because he tried to plead in favor of the Cowherd Star.

Unfortunately, the heavenly guards found the two lovers, they took the Weaving Girl and run away. But right when she was flying away, the Cowherd shouted: “Weaver girl, wait for me!”. When she looked back, she saw the Cowherd following her and the guards wearing the magical ox hide and carrying their two children, each of them in a basket. They came closer and closer, the Cowherd almost managed to catch up with the heavenly guards, when the Heavenly Empress appeared. Raging with fury with a wave of her hand, she created the Milky Way between the two spouses, creating an impassable barrier. 

Now the only thing they could do is gaze at each other for eternity, knowing that they are so close yet so far apart. They cried and cried, all of the celestial being felt sorry for them, hence a flock of magpies build a bridge between the lovers. Eventually even the Heavenly Empress pitied them and finally allowed the family, mother, father and the two little children, to stay in the sky and let them meet each other once a year on the 7th day of the 7th month.

After this story, the 7th day of the 7th month of the traditional Chinese lunar calendar, is known as “the Chinese Valentine’s Day” (七夕节) 








About Interact China


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

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact Chinain 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 13 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 Fashionvia ChineseFashionStyle.com, Kungfu Fashion, 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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Pig-In The Chinese New Year: Happy 2019!

Written by Maria Giglio

As you probably already know, on Tuesday 5th February in China and among Chinese communities around the globe started the celebration of the new Lunar Year, aka Spring Festival. The festival will last for the next few weeks, following the Lunar Calendar. Each year is represented by a Zodiac animal and 2019 is the year of the Pig.

In the traditional Chinese Calendar years follow a sexagenary cycle named Ganzhi. This 60-year system is characterised by the combination between 10 Tiangan (heavenly stems) and 12 Dizhi (earthly branches). Each year is then determined by – and named after –a pair of stem and branch.

Each heavenly stem corresponds to one of the 5 Chinese elements – Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water – each combined either with the Yang or the Yin polarity. Therefore, for each of these elements we have respectively: Wood (Yang) & Flower (Yin), Sun (Yang) & Fire (Yin), Mountain (Yin) & Soil (Yang), Metal (Yang) & Gold (Yin), Water (Yang) & Air (Yin).

The 12 Earthly branches instead correspond to the Zodiac Animals: Rat (鼠, shǔ), Ox (牛, niú), Tiger (虎, hǔ), Rabbit (兔, tù), Dragon (龙, lóng), Snake (蛇, shé), Horse (马, mǎ), Goat (羊, yang), Monkey (猴, hóu), Rooster (鸡, jī), Dog (狗, gǒu) and Pig (猪, zhū).

So, forget about the daily horoscope: the Chinese Zodiac is a 12-year based one!

Are all Pigs Equal?

We have already said that 2019 is the year of the pig, the last of the zodiac symbols. But what does it mean, and what kind of pig? Well, according to the sexagenary cycle, for this year the Earthly branch of “Hai” – the pig – is paired with the Heavenly Stem of  “jǐ”, the Yin Earth. So 2019 is the year of the “己亥” (jǐhài), the Earth Pig.

Along came the Pig

Why the pig is the twelfth and last element of the Chinese Zodiac? According to one version of the Chinese mythology, it is because the Jade Emperor called for a great race to the Heavenly Gate to select his 12 guardians. The rat, the first animal of the Zodiac, came first thanks to his cunning, outsmarting all the animals that ran faster than him. Due to his laziness and constant hunger, the pig stopped several times during the race to eat and rest. The legend holds that the Emperor was just about to close the race and proclaim the 11 winners when the Pig came snorting.

The Pig born identity

In Chinese horoscope there are 5 kinds of Pigs depending on the heavenly stem the sign is matched with: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water.

In general, the Pig born have a peaceful, generous and friendly personality. Pigs are also intelligent and particularly ambitious and passionate in pursuing their objectives. However, because they are very generous and naive, it is very easy to take advantage of them.

As to the Earth Pigs, extroversion is their distinctive feature among all others.

Thanks to his personality, the Earth Pig usually excels in many highly remunerative careers such as medicine, finance and law. Thanks to the fact that he is also very extrovert, the Pig easily succeeds in performing arts.

Past and future Earth Pigs

Because of the sexagenary cycle, the only other living Earth Pigs apart from 2019 babies are those born in 1959 and the next ones will be born in 2079!

Among the Earth Pig celebrities there are actress Emma Thompson, Dr. House Hugh Laurie and Rupert Everett.

Sadly you won’t find George Clooney, even though he definitely is a Pig lover.

Luck in 2019 for Earth Pigs… and others

Unlike the western Astrology, in Chinese Horoscope the birth sign year (本命年) is considered to be unlucky.

But seriously, this is not a Pig deal! In fact, this animal is traditionally associated with luck, thus entering the year of the Pig is seen to bring about fortune and wealth to everybody.

Having that in mind, there is nothing left but wishing you all an amazing 2019!

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 13 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 via ChineseFashionStyle.com, Kungfu Fashion, 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!

Peeking into the Fascinating World of Chinese Bookbinding

Written by: Stefania Miletti

From the Mesopotamia clay tablets, in the 3rd millennium BC, to the modern books, humans have always found a way to transmit knowledge, stories and values through writing.

All over the world different bookbinding techniques were invented and modelled throughout time, and China is not an exception. Chinese history is full of different bookbinding types and techniques, with many inventive and fascinating styles, from the traditional and renown scroll, to the most unique and peculiar such as Scale Dragon binding or Pothi. 

Butterfly Binding

The Butterfly Binding (hudie zhuang), popularized during the Song dynasty, is the historic mark that ended the traditional usage of the scrolls, opting for the folded leaf book instead. Contrary to other techniques, such as the whirlwind binding, that presented some of the features of folded leaf books but with stronger influence from the scroll, the Butterfly Binding completely departed from the traditions and started a new wave for Chinese bookbinding.

Illustration of Butterfly Binding

The design was solid and rather simple, sheets of paper were folded together to make a single signature, where the last page was slightly glued to the first of the following signature, hence the sheets would be stacked together with the edges forming the spine. No reinforcement, such as carboard, wood or leather was applied, in contrast to western costumes.

The way in which the pages closed and opened, resembled a butterfly, giving this style its peculiar name.

Example of Butterfly Binding

The practical aspect of this technique was the easiness in the travel. In fact, the compact design made it easier to carry compared to the concertina or the traditional scroll. Moreover, it could increasingly hold more words than previous designs. More than for normal folks, this was extremely helpful for Buddhists that usually carried sutras with themselves. 

In Chinese culture rather often, different types of bookbinding techniques were associated with particular meaning and usage. For example, whirlwind books usually contained reference work, meanwhile the pothi and concertina were the chosen bookbinding method for Buddhists. On the contrary, similar to the scroll, Butterfly binding did not have any particular limitations regarding the type of users or content.

Chinese Pothi Binding

This fascinating and peculiar technique was originally invented and imported from India. The traditional Indian technique involved stacking on top of each other dry palm leaves that were cut into a rectangular shape. These were then stitched together with a cord and held into place by two ending wood peices that not only helped the structure, but also protected the fragile pages.

Example of Indian Pothi

On the contrary, the Chinese pothi did not use the same prime resources, due to the fact the materials used by the Indians were not generally available in China, while bamboo, wood and paper were more common. This is why the Chinese pothi, also known as “Fanjia Zhuang” (sandwiched Sanskrit binding) denoting the method used and the language used by the Indian pothi, or “Beiye Jing” (palm leaf sutra) indicating the prime material used in the Indian pothi, was predominantly made with paper.

Example of Chinese Pothi

The type of paper used, due to the thickness, made the structure stiffer and ensured the durability and quality of the book. Contrary to the Indian pothi, the Chinese one is considerably larger and presented only one thread hole for the binding. However, different from the Indian pothi, it is believed that no protective wood or protective layer holding the sheets together was used in the Chinese pothi, which, consequently, contained only loose sheets stacked in the right sequence.

Since the pothi was brought to China mainly by Buddhists, it had maintained the religious usage, meaning that it was mainly used for religious purposes.







About Interact China


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

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact Chinain 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 13 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 Fashionvia ChineseFashionStyle.com, Kungfu Fashion, 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!

Introduction to Qingming Festival: the Chinese Day of the Dead

Written by Juliette Qi

 

The Day of the Dead or Qingming (清明节 Qīngmíng jié, literally “purity (of air) and light”) is one of the most popular traditional festivals in China. For thousands of years, on the occasion of this festival, which takes place at the beginning of the spring, the Chinese are accustomed to going to the graves of their deceased loved ones, a little like the Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos) celebrated in Mexico and South America. Both of these festivals have a long history of bringing together rituals and activities of different origins.

 

The Legend of Qingming

寒食节
The Cold Meal Festival

This holiday is also called the Festival of the Cold Meal. Where does this name come from? About two thousand years ago, Chong’er, son of Prince Xiangong of Jin, was expelled from his country for nineteen years. During his exile, he suffered many trials and most of his companions abandoned him one after the other, but Jie Zitui remained at his side as his  most faithful subject.

At the end of his exile, Chong’er returned to his country and ascended the throne, wishing then to reward his companions according to their merits. However, Jie Zitui was not interested in fame and fortune, so he took refuge on Mount Mianshan as a hermit with his mother. Wengong looked for them for several years, without success. Knowing that Jie was a dutiful son, Wengong  ordered for the mountain to be set on fire with the intention of forcing him to come down. However, Jie Zitui and her mother had preferred to die rather than be appointed high officials. Wengong, extremely sad, buried them on that mountain.

The day Jie Zitui chose to die rather than accept the reward became the Day of the Dead. In memory of his humility on that day, all families have a cold meal that was prepared the day before to avoid using fire. Over time, it has become a custom of the Day of the Dead.

 

Customs of Qingming

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Poem Qingming by Du Mu

The customs of the Qingming festival are varied and interesting. Apart from the sweeping of the tombs and the rejection of fire, there are other traditional habits such as flying kites, going on excursions to enjoy the beautiful landscapes of spring and playing on swings etc.

 

  1. Visit the Graves of the Ancestors

That day, the most important activity for the Chinese is to visit the tombs of their ancestors. After firstly cleaning the graves, offerings are prepared like food or a bouquet of flowers to express the nostalgia felt towards ancestors.

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The Visit of the Tombs of the Ancestors

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Offerings in Front of the Grave

 

  1. Go on An Excursion

The Qingming festival takes place in early spring. After visiting the tombs, it’s a good time to go on a mountain excursion with the family and enjoy beautiful spring landscapes.

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Go on an excursion with Family

 

  1. Fly A Kite

The ancients believed that if one wrote their illness on a kite and made it fly high before cutting the rope, the disease would fly away with the kite. It later became a common recreational activity.

风筝
Painting: “The Kite and the Ten Beauties”

 

  1. Eat the “Green Ball”

Last but not least, a special green cake is often eaten at the Qingming Festival. Its dough is made of flour and herb sauce. The cake is stuffed with red bean puree or meat, so it is tastes sweet or salty.

Qingtuan
The “Green Ball” Cake

 

 

 

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 atbloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

The legend of the Chinese New Year or “Nian”

Written by Juliette Qi

 

The Chinese New Year 农历新年 (Nongli Xinnian), also called Spring Festival 春节 (Chunjie), is the most important festival for Chinese communities around the world. The celebration of this festival lasts a fortnight, from the new moon to the first full moon of the year, which corresponds to the lantern festival.

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Have you noticed that the Chinese New Year, which begins the Year of the Dog this year, has already arrived? Have you ever wondered what is the origin of this traditional festival and its many customs? Here is a short video that will provide an overview of the origin of this festival through a Chinese legend:

After watching this cartoon on the “Nian”, do you find the monster terrifying or cute? According to Chinese legend, in the deepest corner of the world lies this frightening and mythical creature called “Nian”. He woke up each winter and became a real disaster for the villagers because he devoured and destroyed everything in his path. Yes, as you may have guessed, he must have had a ferocious appetite after having rested for a long time …

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Le Féroce  Nian

As a result, the poor villagers lived in anguish and even domestic animals were scared. Until one day, an old man traveling through the country explained to them that the monster was afraid of the noise and the red color. To drive the monster away, the people hurried to hang lanterns and red banners in their houses.

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Lanterns and Red Couplets as Decorations Today

When the creature arrived once more to frighten the people in village , everyone made as much noise as possible by beating gongs and drums, as well as snapping firecrackers. Terrorized by the color red and the incessant noise, Nian fled and never came back. Therefore the New Year’s celebration is called Guo Nian in Chinese (literally “pass the year”).

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The Noises to Chase Nian

Nowadays in China, some traditions are still practiced like sticking red couplets on the entrance of the houses, with New Year’s greetings inscribed on it. The Chinese New Year has also evolved to adapt to the contemporary situation. To avoid the air pollution, children no longer crack firecrackers as fun in the cities. However, in some specific places, we can still watch beautiful fireworks while wishing for a prosperous new year.

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The Chinese New Year is a moment when everyone enjoys the holidays and family gatherings. “HAPPY NEW YEAR” in Chinese: 新年快乐 (Xinnian Kuaile) or 新年好 (Xinnian Hao) are exclamed to wish an excellent year that brings us joy, happiness, prosperity, love and good health!

 

 

 

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 atbloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

The Most Beautiful Water-Towns in China

Written by Juliette Qi

 

In eastern China, especially in Jiangsu Province, Zhejiang Province and Shanghai City, there are many towns and villages built around rivers. Many of these are surrounded by water, so that these cities are often compared to the Italian city Venice. It is not by chance that a famous Chinese proverb says “In heaven, there is Paradise , on Earth earth, there are the cities of Suzhou and Hangzhou. (上有天堂, 下有苏杭)

watertown-in-china-15

 

Here is a short video about Zhouzhuang, a most famous Chinese watertown :

Canals and bridges

Water-towns are often furrowed by canals. These cities only reveal the true extent of their beauty during the spring and autumn months. In the Jiangsu Province, the capital city Suzhou is known as the Chinese Venice. The Venetian explorer Marco Polo himself gave it this nickname! Founded almost 2,500 years ago, Suzhou also has its Grand Canal, a route used for centuries to transport silk. Nowadays you can leisurely visit the city on a cruise. The beauty of its canals and bridges is renowned throughout China.

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Stone Arch Bridge

Nanxun is one of the most recommended small water-towns. Cannels, bridges, alleys and Chinese traditional old buildings that rival the contributions of Western architecture make Nanxun unique among the other cities presented here. Walking along the canals, under the centuries-old weeping willows,you will meet more locals whose families have lived there for generations than tourists.

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Bridges and Buildings with their Symmetrical Reflections

The historical town Nanxun does not enjoy the same degree of bustle as other water-towns like Zhouzhuang or Tongli. And that’s a good thing in some ways because it preserves a quiet atmosphere and allows it to remain, in our opinion, more original and more picturesque.

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Traditional Buildings along the Canal

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Wooden Bridge with Roof

Cultural and Natural Heritages

 

Zhouzhuang
Traditional Fishing Boats

The small old town of Tongli, surrounded by 5 lakes, is a classical ancient water-town established along the Yangtze River. The fishermen of Tongli go fishing in the surrounding lakes with cormorants, which is an ancient custom often documented by Chinese and foreign television programs. Most buildings in Tongli are located along the waterways, hence it also has the nickname “Little Venice of the East”.

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Covered Walks (left)

Halfway between Shanghai, Hangzhou and Suzhou, Xitang is known for its famous bridges, alleyways and covered walks along the canals (langpeng (廊棚 / lungpnng /) – Xitang is the only one of these cities to have these covered walks. Calm because of less commercialism, it is a prime location for photos. After a visit to the former residence of the Xue Family (the Fastener Museum), the art gallery for “sculpture of root” or the Western Garden, you can enjoy a fishing party with locals and dinner on a boat.

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Rain Season in Xitang

Xitang offers a landscape that has inspired many great Chinese painters. Some people think that the village is even more beautiful on rainy days.

Zhujiajiao
modern architecture with traditional style in Zhujiajiao

Only one hour’s drive from downtown Shanghai, the old town of Zhujiajiao is a good destination to enjoy the contrast between modernity and traditional architecture, take pictures and enjoy the 36 old bridges that connect the different neighborhoods of this small city which covers 1.3km² and offers a nice example of traditional Chinese-style residences.

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Zhouzhuang : popular but more commercial

Zhouzhuang is one of the oldest water cities in China and therefore has an interesting architectural heritage. Its craftsmanship and folklore also add to the interest for tourists. Although it cannot be denied that the large number of visitors to this small town may be a detriment to the quiet contemplation it offers, it is unquestionable that the ancient houses, the water way and the old trees make Zhouzhuang a must-visit place.

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Historical Residences in Zhouzhuang

Over 1,000 families still live in residences built between the Ming and Qing period (1368-1911). Do not hesitate to take a ferry to discover these views from the water. For some tourists, the beginning of the day is a good time to enjoy the quietness, and spending the night there is also a plus.

 

 

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 atbloggers@interactchina.com, we would love to hear from you!

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!

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!