Jiangnan and Saibei Чжан Ин, КНР, провинция Хайнань, г.Хайкоу
Хайнаньский государственный Университет, ФИЯ
There is a legend that when goddess Nüwa was darning the sky, little stones suddenly fell out of it and one stone got into the goddess’ eye. Tears ran out of her eyes, but she wiped them off and went on mending the sky. A stone and a teardrop fell down to the Earth. The stone turned into Huangtu Plato and the teardrop became a lake and in thousands of years there appeared the place called Jiangnan.
Magnificent Jiangnan looks like it has been built from little bricks of water.
Huangtu is a pile of stones in grey mist.
My birthplace is the land of transparent springs, Jiangnan, where every natural sound is green in color, where it often rains in summer, a pleasant breeze blows and the grass is so emerald that it is easy to mistake it for the water stream when you look at it from the distance. If you come to Jiangnan in spring, you will feel freedom and lightness pouring into you with the air you inhale. Like a girl in a white chipao dress walking along a lonely street with an umbrella in her hands, Jiangnan spring embraces you with love. Summer comes and presents an absolutely different view. Rice fields promise a rich harvest and the croaking of frogs is heard everywhere. Wherever you cast a glance, you see a blooming garden.
Jiangnan mountains and rivers, simple and beautiful at the same time, give you their tenderness. But then autumn comes and everything changes again. You see gloomy landscapes with crows sitting on bare branches. A lonely stranger is watching locals who are hurriedly crossing the river over the bridge paying no attention to him. And what to say about Jiangnan in winter? A line from a famous poem is brought back to me: “…the road meets us with only cold sand and plum-trees in blossom, it is snowing slightly over the village, and the air is full with the scent of wine”. The local are really fond of wine. That’s whence a tradition to drink wine and admire snow. It must have originated from scholars, when they passed their free time in joy and friendly conversation.
But Jiangnan beauty is not only in seasons, but also – and above all – in two famous cities Suzhou and Hanzhou. A popular Chinese proverb says: “There is paradise in the heaven, there are Suzhou and Hanzhou on Earth”.
Thousands of kilometers away from Jiangnan there lies Saibei– a region to the north of the Great Wall. Comparing these two places one might say that Jiangnan is like verses of the Song period, so light and musical it is, while Saibei resembles heroic stances of the Tang period which fly into the sky like a loud song. In the mountains round Huangtu plato you won’t see the romantic rains and poetic sadness which can be felt in Jiangnan. “The Tianshan mountains are austere – you’ll meet no flowers here, only cold”. But Huangtu is more solemn and ripe with mystery. I admire the landscapes of Huangtu and fell no peace at heart. It feels like somewhere not far away, over the hills there is an army ready for assault.
If the winter view of Jiangnan is a snowy village smelling of wine, in Huangtu cold wind blows driving the clouds of dust and the broken flowers. And the snow flakes in Saibei are like lavish pear blossoms. Huangtu is not so rich in color as Jiangnan. There are only ravines and old strong trees which are afraid of neither storms nor droughts. They are like old warriors whose skin is dark and weathered.
I go crazy when I remember of tranquil Jiangnan, but at Huangtu I look in silence because it is only in silence that you can hear the sound of the horn declaring the start of a war. The inner content of the Taoism and the simplicity of Confucianism
I can’t imagine our culture without Taoism and Confucianism. Without them it would be pale and weak. Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism go hand by hand and it is only together that they can revive the spirit of China. Jiangnan and Huangtu embody two of them: Taoism and Confucianism.
Jiangnan is a place of choice of the hermits – the escapees from the “unrighteous” power. “There is nothing better than to try lean food and bitter tea and thus partake in the peasants’ life”. In this place it was possible to find harmony. They say Jiangnan is like the philosophy of black-and-white paintings: black are politicians and their crimes, the hermits who don’t want to get spoiled by the court intrigues are white. I think that’s the reason Taoists loved Jiangnan so much and the rulers of the Southern Song dynasty chose these place for their capital. Everything in Jiangnan is filled with the spirit and energy of Taoism.
And Huangtu carries the spirit of Confucianism in it. Yards and caves – everything there follows the rules of fengshui. “The blue dragon to the left, the white tiger to the right, the black tortoise to the north, the red phoenix to the south”. And in the south-west of Huangtu you can also see little cairns of stones in the yards, like little mountains. The yards themselves are square and regular. I think that apart from the house protection it has one more meaning. It’s the manifestation of the Confucian influence, of the character «Zheng» (right, regular). This embodies the spirit of respect.
While architecture is the manifestation of thought, drama is the declaration of person and deep-felt emotions. Once the famous singer A Bao from Da Xibei performed a popular song of these parts and was heard by the whole country, which served to the restoration of these lofty tunes. This masterpiece of Shanxi opera represented the simple culture of Confucian Huangtu, something that went out of the depth of its soul.
On the contrary, Jiangnan is a soft and fluid Shaoxin opera. The ones who have seen Shaoxin opera know it’s quite enough to see a shadow of a smile on the face of an actor or to catch the momentary movement of his brows and you’ll feel all the lightness and beauty of this art. And it is breath-takingly beautiful! The richness and tenderness of Shaoxin opera are in blood of the Jiangnan locals.
By the present moment, with the course of time, the characteristic features of these two kinds of opera have become quite contrary to each other. Being used to Shaoxin opera I enjoy absolutely new sensations when I listen to the popular songs of Huangtu. This unadorned music moves the heart with its dramatic spirit. The candid words of these songs astonish.
I’d like to conclude by saying I love the gracefulness of Jiangnan, its inner beauty and splendor, but I also love power and simple attraction of Huangtu. We and the Other World
Пан Сюэ Фен, КНР, провинция Хайнань, г.Хайкоу
Хайнаньский государственный Университет, ФИЯ We and the other world, China and the other world, is it or is it not our world? China with its ancient civilization is a part of the global world and it can add its own potential to the development of the other world. This is to my mind the nature of the relations between China and the global world – the world is not somebody else’s, it’s the world of all of us.
China is an ancient civilization that has the longest history of five thousand years. Our ancestors were clever and industrious, and they used their wisdom and their talents to create a brilliant culture, the one we should eternally be proud of. And though the Chinese people met in the past several centuries the challenge of facing other cultures, and the degree of self respect and self-confidence of Chinese people was sometimes attacked in the process, nevertheless the quintessence of Chinese culture, it’s most important part, still unceasingly develops and gets stronger, and the existence of other cultures can’t replace its ancient beauty.
Among these most important issues, the first thing I am going to discuss is Chinese hieroglyphs and Chinese poetry. History is like a tide, it has its moments of bringing things together and its moments of tearing things apart, but the historical processes unceasingly move forward in their development. And hieroglyphs -Chinese characters – played the role, and had the function in these processes which is difficult to overestimate. Innumerable times falling apart can be followed by joining together, so is with Chinese culture, its continuation and development; and Chinese characters played a very active part in it and were most closely connected with it. With all their awkwardness, Chinese characters mildly continue to run in our blood.
For the ceremony of opening of the Olympic games in Beijing we selected characters to be placed on the welcoming ads. These characters had a special meaning and were connected with the peculiarities of the Chinese culture. Though in their proper sense words “han shi” denote poems in the Han language, they comprise not only ancient verses. The beauty of the ancient verses is universally recognized, but they are quite difficult to translate into other languages. That’s why we may consider them the most unique cultural heritage of our nation. Chinese poems are reserved and solemn, delicate and appealing. They are the brightest example of the Chinese speech, the most precious stone of our language.
There is a proverb: “Food is like Heaven for the common people”. Surely the culture of cooking and eating is closely connected with the national well-being. Chinese culture of food is deeply rooted in the general culture of China. The vastness of Chinese territory and the greatness of its population resulted in the original culture of food which is a pearl of the global culture. The Chinese distinguish the so called “8 great dishes” or ways of food-proceeding: boiled, fried, roasted, smoked, fresh, etc. A well-made Chinese dish has specific taste, color, form, smell, all of which are impossible to achieve without proper training. And the art of producing tea and wine rises Chinese culture of food to the level of perfection. Everything has special ways of cooking and a secret meaning in it.
Now I’d like to comment on the basis of Chinese culture and thousands-year old worldview, its value system resting on the ideas of Confucius and Laozi. Laozi brought forward the concept of Dao, he believed that thousand of things take their laws from the Dao. The existence of Dao can’t be explained by material phenomena, it surpasses time and space. To comprehend the essence of Dao Laozi suggested the idea of the Great Hollow. He thought over the categories of phenomenon and movement, gist and appearance. As long ago as two thousand years Laozi used dialectic thinking to solve the ontological and gnoseological problems. His teaching was like a burst of thunderstorm.
Confucius founded his own school of thought which emphasizes humanity and respect. Out of this school all the ideology of ancient China takes its start. Confucians valued virtue. They thought virtue and moral were the basis of social and private life. This school is still actual and will be passed from generation to generation, because it is a real gift of China to itself and the rest of the world, so great is its contribution to the treasury of the world philosophy.
Though in Modern History when coming into contact with the outer world, China often faced hardships, and it still does, I have always believed that hard-working people of all the world can walk along a common way and avoid wars. The Chinese people continue their way to socialism which the elder generation has chosen. They sustain their originality, hospitality, love for peace and readiness to help others. And if the process of development is not to be stopped, we need the Other World and the Other World needs China.
1Pluralism – a great number of opinions about smth.
2 Here we speak about sexual, ethnical, national and other minorities.
3Chauvinism – extreme form of nationalism, which says to be more cruel to people of other nationalities.
4Xenophobia – intolerance to smth. alien, unfamiliar and foreign.
5Intergroup – smth caused between several social groups.
6Interrace – different process, interrelations etc. between several races.
7 Assimilation – a process of becoming similar with something.