China has been in existence for over 5000 years. It has developed in both philosophy and art over this period of time. Invention of products and technologies has taken place too. This includes silk, paper, gunpowder and moveable-type printing. China has fought fights, some of which it conquered, while some it lost (Thorp 56).
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The Chinese culture over its long history; how it has remained constant throughout as seen from the Silk Road and Opium Wars, by the evidence of artifacts.
Chinese Artifacts Museum
It is a museum that is located at the lower level of Culture Center. It receives students and tourists since it showcases rare replicas of different kinds of Chinese artifacts. Situated at the Award-winning Exhibit Hall: “Our Chosen Land: 100 years of development of Chinese community in Calgary”.
The exhibition is divided into two main parts: “History of Chinese Canadians in Canada” which showcases the life of the Chinese immigrants in Canada. The other part: “Evolution of Chinese Community in Calgary” which shows and illustrates the development of Chinatown. At the museum, one can look for replicas of horses and soldiers in different postures, replica sets of handcrafted furniture among others (Dingbo 78).
The use of cowry shells was used in China as a monetary value, about 1800BC. By 400BC bronze coins had replaced cowry shells. There is no evidence whether this change was brought about by the Chinese people or by the interaction with the West Asia. These coins were made by being shaped out of clay and Chinese characters painted on them. They also had squared holes in the middle for easy storage.
The existence of the Silk Road boosted trade. It was a 5000 mile stretch that linked Asia to Europe and to Africa. At this long stretch, the Chinese exchanged their coins and other products for others. Today people still travel through the Silk Road and have found evidence of goods, bronze coins included, that were traded during those times. This clearly shows that the Chinese culture remained unchanged during a long period of time (Wei 80).
The Opium Wars took place in two phases. The first was between 1839 and 1842 while the second was between 1856 and 1860. The first was the Great Britain against China. British merchants smuggled opium into China so as to balance their trade with tea. China’s prohibited this kind of trade.
In response to this, the British sent gunboats to attack several gunboats to attack several coastal cities of China. The second Opium war involved the attacking of Beijing by British and French troops during which China lost. All along during these wars, trade drastically dropped and the bronze coins lost value.
Communal art was created alongside other tools. Shelter and appliances necessary for basic life were created too. The emergence of social classes separated the art. However, the parallel growths of these arts have been the main factor in the driving of the Chinese national art.
The life of fork art for example, brings out the idea of the emotional and psychological attributes of a country that has been through major periods in its history. Hence, the Chinese culture will remain unchanged. The Museum trip shed light on the nature and historical facts that are unknown by most people. Traditions and culture play a big role in shaping today’s society.
Dingbo, Wu. Handbook of Chinese Popular Culture. Shanghai: Chao ta Publishers, 2009, Print.
Thorp, Richard. Chinese Art and Culture. London: Liturgical Press, 1991, Print.
Wei, Francis. The Spirit of Chinese Culture. Taiwan: Shengdu,2008, Print.