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Xiangyang Culture

xiangyang city

People's Daily Online

As to the culture, Xiangyang features the fusion of northern Chinese culture and the southern one more prominently than anywhere else does. The Central Plains culture of old northern China integrates and exchanges with the Chu Culture of southern China here. Xiangyang is not only edified by the Central Plains culture of "a Dynasty highly influenced by King Wen of Zhou," but also deeply influenced by the southern culture and custom represented by "Chu-style Song". Xiangyang has more than 20 regional business offices across the country, including Shan-Shaan Guildhall, Henan Guildhall, Jiangsu Guildhall, Zhejiang Guildhall, and Huizhou Guildhall. In art, Xiangyang is also a channel for exchanges between southern and northern operatic arts, leading to a unique pitch called Xiangyang pitch. Xiangyang Flower Drum is a local operatic art with a unique style that blends southern and northern operatic arts and local folk melody.

Intangible Cultural Heritage

Xiangyang has 6 projects included in the National Intangible Cultural Heritage List by the State Council and 18 projects included in the Provincial Intangible Cultural Heritage List by the provincial People's Government. Among them, 1 person is rated as the representative inheritor of a national intangible cultural heritage project by the Ministry of Culture, and 10 persons are rated as the representative inheritors of provincial intangible cultural heritage projects by the provincial Department of Culture.

Intangible Cultural Heritage

Folk literature of Baokang County Biography of Darkness, folk music of Baokang County and Nanzhang County Wu Music beside Ju River, folk music of Nanzhang County Weeding Song, folk music of Laohekou City Laohekou Silk String, folk dance of Yicheng City Elephant Dance, folk dance of Nanzhang County Duangong Dance, traditional opera of Yicheng City Xiangyang Flower Drum Opera, Chinese folk art form of Yicheng Yicheng Orchid Tube, folk fine art of Laohekou Laohekou New Year Wood-block Print, traditional dance of Nanzhang County (folk dance) Stilts Flower Drum, traditional music (folk music) Nanzhang Yin Drum, traditional music of Gucheng County (folk music) Nanhe Divertimento, Shihuakui Noodles Craftsmanship, and Xiangyang Pickles Craftsmanship.

Birthplace of the Jing-Chu Culture

The state of Chu had a history of more than 800 years. The Jing-Xiang region went through two important development stages, which last more than 500 years. In the early Western Zhou Dynasty, King Cheng of Zhou gave the title to Xiong Yi in Danyang of Jinshan Mountain. More than 100 years later, in 689 BC, King Wen of Chu established a capital in Yanyin. The capital was firstly established in Yanyin and then moved to Jinan City, during which process King of Chu changed for several generations in more than 300 years. Song Yu, the earliest founder of Chu Ode was born here. Literary quotations including "Song of the Rustic Poor", "The Spring Snow" and "Highbrow Song beyond Common People" have been handed down to this day. Chu-style old customs here include Chuantian Festival, Duangong Dance, Tug-Of-War, Suona Wu Music, and Baomaosuo Wine. Relic sites of the Chu Culture include Dengcheng of the Western Zhou Dynasty, Chu Imperial City of Yicheng, Chu Village Complex of Nanzhang, and Jiuliandun of Zaoyang. All of them manifest the thickness of the Jing-Chu Culture in Xiangyang.

Source of the Culture of the Three Kingdoms Period

In the Three Kingdoms Period between the end of Han Dynasty and Wei and Jin Dynasties when a group of independent warlords fought with each other in times of crisis, Xiangyang could be said to be the talent highland, culture highland, and spirit highland. Symbolized by Liu Bei's three visits to the cottage in succession and Zhuge Liang's drawing up the Longzhong Plan, Xiangyang became the source of the tripartite confrontation pattern. Symbolized by the fact that Yang Hu guarded Xiangyang and Du Yu proposed a general plan for conquering the state of Wu, Xiangyang became the source where the Jin Dynasty conquered Wu and completed the great cause of reunification. In the late Eastern Han Dynasty, northern China suffered from the chaos caused by war. Liu Biao held the post of magistrate in Jingzhou (190 AD to 209 AD). He cared for common people and cultivated talents for easy self-protection. Under his governance, Xiangyang enjoyed economic prosperity and social stability and became a peaceful "Oasis" in the turbulent days. Thousands of talents rushed to Xiangyang in succession. A number of excellent talents gathered in Xiangyang, including: strategic elites such as Zhuge Liang, Sima Hui, Pang Degong, Pang Tong, Xu Shu, and Cui Zhouping; Confucian scholar Song Zhong; litterateur Wang Can; calligrapher Liang Gu; musician Du Kui. At that time, Xiangyang gathered numerous talents and became so flourishing to be the academic center of the country. Besides, taking the lead in such respects as education, culture, and academic studies, Xiangyang became a region where a splendid cultural phenomenon demonstrated itself to the full. Learning from the Imperial College in Luoyang, Xiangyang established the only official school. Moreover, Xiangyang took the lead in determining the Five Classics Chapters and Sentences as the learning material for Confucian classics studies. The books collected by the feudal government were the most in the country. Such academic prosperity continued till the Eastern Jin Dynasty. Historian of Eastern Jin Dynasty Xi Zaochi wrote the Ages of Han and Jin Dynasties and the Old Records of Xiangyang, leading to a profound influence on the development of history as a study in China. The eminent monk of Eastern Jin Dynasty, Shi Daoan, stayed in Xiangyang for 15 years to study Buddhism and give lessons on sermons and doctrines. He unified the Buddhism and named it as Shi. By establishing the rules for monks, he was the first that created Chinese Buddhism system. He wrote the first catalogue of Buddhist texts in China and set up the foundation for sinicization of Indian Buddhism. Because of his great contribution to the pattern of Chinese cultures (Confucianism Buddhism Taoism) and the development of the whole Chinese Buddhism, Xiangyang once became the transmission center of national Buddhism. Being the "hometown of Chinese Culture of Three Kingdoms", Xiangyang has abundant heritages of Culture of Three Kingdoms. 18 volumes of the 86-volume Annals of Three Kingdoms mentioned Xiangyang, and stories mentioned in 32 chapters of the 120-chapter The Romance of The Three Kingdoms took place in Xiangyang. Now, there are more than 50 historical and cultural sites from the Three Kingdoms Period. Stories of the Three Kingdoms Period are popular among families in Xiangyang, including: Sima Recommended Talents, Liu Bei Visited Cottage Thrice in Succession, Horse Jumped through Tan Brook, Guan Yu Flooded Seven Armies, and Hua Tuo Cured Guan Yu by Scraping Bone and Removing Poison.

The Yangtze River, the Yellow River, the Huai River, and the Han River were usually mentioned together in ancient China. The Han River drainage basin is one of the birthplaces of the Chinese nation. Xiangyang, located in the middle reaches of the Han River, connected regions in all directions. "Xiangyang has been a key city for generations since the Han and Jin Dynasties" and the most important city in the Han River drainage basin. Due to its special geographic location, Xiangyang has been the regional economic, political, and cultural center in history and a representative region with important influence on the Han River Culture, which is mainly reflected in: firstly, Xiangyang has a long history of commercial civilization. The Han River is the most convenient, smoothest, and busiest "golden water channel" among inland rivers in ancient China. Xiangyang is known as "the Strategic Passage of North and South" and "A Thoroughfare of Seven Provinces", and is the most important ferry terminal in the Han River drainage basin with a history of commercial civilization more than 2000 years. Secondly, Xiangyang has a flourishing poetry and prose culture. Two sources of Chinese culture, The Book of Songs and The Songs of Chu, originate in the Han River drainage basin. The goddess of the Han River described in The Book of Songs Han Guang is the earliest River Goddess image with the most profound influence in the history of Chinese literature. This permanent image is still popular with modern people. Through ages, the goddess of the Han River becomes the beautiful, kind, intelligent, and noble symbol of the tens of millions of Han River girls, on which the people of the Han River drainage basin place their pursuit for beauty, praise for kindness, and yearn for love in different periods and cultural backgrounds. Song Yu and Wang Yi in Xiangyang were masters of the Songs of Chu. Song Yu further promoted the transition from Songs of Chu Odes, and Wang Yi further wrote Chapters and Sentences for Songs of Chu. Numerous ancient poems were created here to praise the beautiful landscape and tales of Xiangyang. More than 2500 poems have been published clearly and documented well. Particularly, as many as more than 300 Tang poems are the most flourishing. Xiangyang is the highland of the Tang Poetry era recognized by Chinese literature historians. All famous poets in the Tang Dynasty, including Li Bai, Du Fu, Wang Wei, Meng Haoran, Zhang Ji, Pi Rixiu, and Bai Juyi, once wrote poems praising or relating to Xiangyang. Three Hundred Tang Poems collects 27 poems about Xiangyang, including 15 of Meng Xiangyao's poems. Thirdly, Xiangyang's painting and calligraphy culture has a great influence. Xiangyang is "the famous city of Chinese calligraphy". Representatives in history include: Liang Gu and Handan Chun in the Three Kingdoms Period, Ding Daohu and Du Shenyan from the Sui and Tang Dynasties, and Mi Fu, Mi Youren, and Zhang Youzheng from the Northern Song Dynasty. Mi Fu, known as "Mi Xiangyang", was hailed as "four calligraphers of Song Dynasty" together with Su Shi, Huang Tingjian, and Cai Xiang. Mi Fu's paintings were famous for "Mi's Landscape Painting". His Yan Shan Ming has been people's model of calligraphy for practice in thousands of years. Xiangyang's Han River Culture has a profound influence. If Hanzhong Prefecture in the upper reaches of the Han River is said to be the source of the Western Han Dynasty, then Xiangyang Prefecture in the middle reaches of the Han River is the source of the Eastern Han Dynasty. After gaining fame and fortune in Chongling, Liu Xiu revived the Han Dynasty and became the first emperor of the Eastern Han Dynasty, which entitled Xiangyang a great influence on the transmission of the Han River Culture. South Korea still follows the organizational system of Han Dynasty to set Xiangyang Prefecture and retain the place names of Xiangyang including Xianshan, Hanshui, Lumen, and Taipingmen. Streets and parks named after Xiangyang are also found in America, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Tianjin.

Representative Region for Chinese Ancient City Culture

Xiangyang's Ancient City Culture is unique and representative among Chinese Ancient City Culture because of its deep cultural deposits, abundant contents, and distinct features, which are mainly reflected in: firstly, there are abundant ruins of ancient city with a long history. There are 3 sites of ancient city ruins within a downtown area of more than 130 km2. The site of Dengcheng of the Western Zhou Dynasty has a history of more than 3000 years, while both Fancheng and Xiangyang have a history of more than 2800 years. It is a rare phenomenon that there are 3 independently constructed ancient cities in one city with such a long history. Secondly, the military culture in the ancient city leaves a profound print and great reputation. Being the former ferry garrison of North Chu, Xiangyang is a large military ferry with a military culture sear since its foundation. According to the historical records, 172 famous wars took place in Xiangyang. Thirdly, with long and profound urban culture, Xiangyang was one of the few metropolises in ancient China. In the Yuanhe Period of the Tang Dynasty, Xiangyang was one of the four district governments with more than 100000 families. Fourthly, the ancient city learns from nature in determining its city layout and is a typical example of ancient landscape city in China. Built up along the river, Xiangyang and Fancheng faced one another across the river. Out of the ancient city, the southern region between Xianshan and Yicheng was Guangaili at that time, the gathering place of famous families and persons. The city was in the south and the market was in the north. The Xianshou Pavilion was on the top of Xianshan. The natural spatial layout along the rivers and mountains is rare in China, which is hailed as "Famous Landscape City in Interior China". Xiangyang Ancient City not only has a defense function, but also has water conservancy and ecological functions. The Han River was taken as the city moat of the ancient city, while Xiang River was imported (Nanqu) in the city, leading to a unique creativity and the Top 1 pool width. This fully reflected the harmony between the city and ecology and the harmony between nature and humanistic culture. The ecological intelligence and cultural value in the construction of Xiangyang Ancient City is praised by contemporary Chinese and foreign urban planning masters.

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