Archive for May, 2009

China Travel – Site of Celadon Kiln at Longquan

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

The site of the Longquan Kiln spreads across the Lishui area and its surrounding counties, including Wuyi, Yongjia, Wencheng and Taishun in Zhejiang Province.

The Longquan Kiln is one of the most famous celadon kilns in southern ancient China. Kiln sites are densely distributed in Longquan County (over 300). Sites containing porcelain of better quality are concentrated in Dayao Village, which was regarded as the center of the Longquan kilns. Hence, the kilns of that area are generally known as the Longquan Kilns.

The Longquan Kiln is located in the upper reaches of the Ou River in south Zhejiang Province. The county is abundant in porcelain, clay and pinewood, which was used for baking porcelain.

The Longquan Kiln was implemented in the early Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) and reached its peak during late Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). During the Northern Song and Southern Song period, the kiln mainly produced daily commodities, such as plates, bowls and kettles. Such wares adopted high techniques: enchasing flowers supplemented with dots and waves and floating clouds. The glaze used on Longquan wares was thin and of a cyan hue mixed with yellow.

During mid-Southern Song period, stoves, bottles and statues appeared in various patterns. Most of the decorations consisted of carved flowers, and the insides of bowls were adorned with cloud carvings. With its thin, almost translucent glaze, the kiln’s technique had its own characteristics. Some of the most famous representatives include the pale, blue-glazed and plum, green-glazed wares that were created during the late Southern Song period. Wares from this period were rich in variety, including the ones imitating jade or bronze wares.

Due to the popularity of large wares, it was during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) that the kiln’s technique experienced a great breakthrough. Following the mid-Ming (1368-1644) period, a large number of technicians moved away from the Longquan Kiln due to the thriving porcelain industry around the country, especially with the development of the porcelain capital, Jingdezhen, which triggered the decline of the Longquan Kiln.


Chinese Culture – Tang Xianzu: Great Ming Dynasty Playwright

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

The great Ming Dynasty playwright Tang Xianzu (1550-1616), a native of Linchuan (in today’s Jiangxi Province), was born in a family of scholars, and was perspicacious and bookish. He displayed his talents at the age of 12, became a successful candidate in the imperial examinations at the provincial level at the age of 21, and a successful candidate in the highest imperial examinations at the age of 34. He served as officials in Nanjing of Zhejiang Province, Guangdong Province and so on. At 48, he abdicated his official post and returned to his hometown.

Tang Xianzu wrote four great legends that share the theme of dreams. These legends are collectively known as The Four Dreams at Linchuan or The Four Dreams at Yu Ming Tang. Tang’s legends, like many works of Kunju opera, are based on preexisting sources, such as short novels or stories. For example, Tang’s Zi Chai Ji (The Tale of the Violet Hairpin) was rewritten from an unfinished story, Zi Xiao Ji (The Tale of the Violet Flute). The Peony Pavilion, widely acknowledged as Tang’s masterpiece and the finest of all Chinese legends, is likewise based on a Song Dynasty (960-1279) short story.

Tang Xianzu wrote the libretto of The Peony Pavilion to preexisting, established melodies. The score was arranged and further refined for each production of the piece, but the music for these early productions has been lost. In 1792, during the reign of Emperor Qianlong in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), a new, complete score for The Peony Pavilion was notated, the work of a great number of creators over the years, who again based their work on traditional melodies. The present production is based on the 1792 score, the earliest manuscript source.

The young girl Du Liniang is learning her first love poems, when she dreams of a young scholar whom she meets in a Peony Pavilion. Deeply moved by this dream, she makes a stroll in the garden and suddenly falls ill. She paints her portraits, write a poem and tells her maid to hide these below a stone. Shortly after, Du Liniang dies and is buried in the garden near. Years later, a scholar named Liu Mengmei comes into the town to participate in the state examinations. When he falls ill and looks for therapy in a small shrine, he finds the painting of a beautiful girl — the picture of Du Liniang. That night, he dreams of her. Liniang asks him to revive her. Opening her coffin, Liu Mengmei is able to revive Du Liniang. Afraid of being seen by anyone else, the two lovers decide to go to the capital of that time Lin’an (present-day Hangzhou). After passing the examination, Liu Mengmei takes the painting with him and visits Liniang’s father. The father accuses Mengmei to be a grave robber. Even when Liniang herself appears, her father does not believe that she is revived. The emperor himself finally frees Mengmei and allows the lovers to marry each other.

The Peony Pavilion was especially appreciated by women, and hand-copied manuscripts of the play were widely read. In the seventeenth century, a woman named Fang Xiaoqing, who was trapped in an unhappy marriage, became engulfed in sadness after reading The Peony Pavilion. She was so identified with Du Liniang that she herself lost all will to live. Upon her death, Fang’s story was in turn played out on the stage in another opera. Other women, too, pined away in sympathy with Du Liniang, and the deaths of these women constitute another legend that has grown up around The Peony Pavilion.


Chinese Pinyin – bu (部)

Sunday, May 31st, 2009
国标码:B2BF 部首:阝 笔画:10 笔顺:4143125152

(a measure word for works of literature, films, machines, etc.)


  1. 环保门要求我们使用无烟煤。
    We are required by environment protecting department to use anthracite.
  2. 财政不在我们这个门的管辖范围之内。
    Finance is not within the compass of our department.
  3. 她在针织品买了很多袜子。
    She bought many socks in the hosiery department.
  4. 他在社会福利工作。
    He worked in community welfare department.
  5. 他把门的管理工作委托给助手了。
    He deputed the running of the department to an assistant.
  6. 他获任玩具的负责人。
    He was appointed to superintend the toy department.
  7. 学校的修缮将由教育门出资。
    The repairs to the school will be financed by the educational department.
  8. 队继续前进。
    The troops marched on.