A Dramatic Shift in China’s Cultural Values

September 4, 2011

Before 1949, Chinese culture was heavily influenced by Confucian thought and poetry, and the arts were extremely popular for their aesthetic and moral importance.

The goal of Confucianism was to create gentlemen that carried themselves with grace, spoke correctly and demonstrated integrity in all things.

Confucius believed that the most important lessons for obtaining a moral education were to be found in the Book of Songs, because many of its poems were both beautiful and good.

In fact, to Confucius, the role of poetry and art played an important role in the moral education of a gentleman as well as that of society in general.

For this reason, before 1949, the cultivation of poetry and the arts was considered more important than that of science or business.

Prior to 1949, to have a son majoring in the arts was a source of pride for most Chinese parents.

However, today, if a parent says his or her son is majoring in the arts (such as poetry, literature, or painting) at this or that university, (shocked) silence is the usual response and many Chinese parents would not want a daughter to marry such a man since this career choice may often lead to a dismal future.

A better choice today might be to see one’s daughter marry a banker or an I.T. major working for Alibaba, China’s e-Bay, or Baidu, China’s Google.

This cultural shift may best be seen by popular majors in China’s modern universities.

According to a recent survey conducted by Beijing University, the 10 most popular college majors in China recently were I.T. (information technology, which refers to anything related to computing technology, such as networking, hardware, software, and the Internet), electronics, languages (study of foreign languages such as  English), law, mechanics, architecture, accounting and finance, journalism, medicine, environment and business management.

In comparison, according to College Stats.org , the most popular college majors in the United States are biology, business, communications (journalism), computer science, criminal justice (law), elementary education, marketing, nursing, psychology, and political science and/or sociology.

If we compare popular college majors in China to those in the United States, which country appears to be on the right track?

Discover China Investing BIG in Education

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The Ancient Yue – 9,000 Years Old

October 3, 2010

Music in China is traditionally associated with ritual observances and government affairs.

In 1999, Chinese archeologists unearthed what is believed to be the oldest know playable instrument – a seven-holed flute fashioned 9,000 years ago from the hollow wing bone of a large bird.

To establish the age, a U.S. chemist at the Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory analyzed data from carbon-14 dating done in China on materials taken from the site.

The 9,000-year-old flutes were “exquisitely-crafted” from the wing bone of a red-crowned crane.


Music from the Book of Songs

In the Book of Songs, an ancient collection of Chinese poetry from the 6th century BC, the three-hole Yue is the most frequently mentioned wind instrument.

By the Tang Dynasty, the Yue had all but vanished.  Source: China Daily

Discover more with The Hsiao (Xiao) – Chinese Flute

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


Emperor Wu of Zhou Dynasty – Part 4/4

September 7, 2010

The Temple of Heaven in Beijing is a tribute to the Rituals from the Zhou Dynasty.

What the Zhou Dynasty established is still embedded in everyday aspects of Chinese social life. Showing respect for family ancestors originated with the Zhou Dynasty and is practiced today all over China.

The Book of Songs was the first poetry collection in Chinese history. Among the poems is the Eulogy for the Zhou Dynasty.


Video: Chinese with English subtitles.

The Book of Changes, which also discusses military thought, came from the Zhou Dynasty.

The civilization established by the Zhou Dynasty influenced the cultures of Korea, Japan and Southeast Asia.

Duke Zhou, Emperor Wu’s younger brother, was regent for seven years when King Cheng was mature enough to assume the power of king.  Duke Zhou stepped aside.

The Zhou Dynasty is also known for its bronze castings with history unscripted on them. Jade became important at this time too.

Zhou Dynasty at its greatest

The Zhou Dynasty attached great importance to agriculture and a large number of bronze farming tools were extensively used.

The Zhou Dynasty continued to expand as other states were slowly absorbed.  The Zhou also fought the nomads to the north and northwest.

Return to Emperor Wu of Zhou Dynasty – Part 3 or start with Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top right-hand side of this page and then follow directions.