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Unit 3

3.3 Value of Beauty and Art in Communities

4 min readdecember 21, 2020

emilyguo

Emily Guo


AP Chinese  🇨🇳

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Museums 🏛️

China's museums contain mostly information about ancient China and are very valued throughout the country. Some museums are preserved buildings that are ancient, while others are complete with many artifacts of history.

The Forbidden City (紫禁城(zǐjìnchéng)) - 15th Century CE

Built during the 15th century, the Forbidden City is the largest palace in the world 🗺️, located in Beijing. It was made to house emperors and to be the center of the government. It was announced as a World Heritage site (1987) and is considered to be the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world by UNESCO. With 980 buildings and 9,999 rooms, it takes up a whopping 72 hectares!
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Image Courtesy of CNN

Currently, the Forbidden City serves as the Palace Museum (故宫博物院(gùgōng bówùyuàn)) and receives roughly 14 million visitors annually. The collection of items within the museum include documents 📜 and artifacts 🍶 from the Ming and Qing dynasties. There are about 340,000 parts of ceramics, 50,000 paintings (including those from before the 13th century), 30,000 pieces of jade, 10,000 pieces of bronzeware, 1,000 pieces of timepieces, and lots of artifacts from the imperial court.
The Forbidden City 🌆 is known to be an influential part of Chinese architecture and many other architectural developments all throughout East Asia 🌏.

Terracotta Army Museum (秦始皇兵马俑(qínshǐhuáng bīngmǎyǒng)) - 3rd Century BCE

The Terracotta Army was built during the first emperor of China's reign in the 3rd century BCE. Located in Xi'an, Shaanxi, the Terracotta Army is a group of terracotta sculptures meant to protect Emperor Qin Shi Huang in his journey through the afterlife. There are roughly 8,000 soldiers ⚔️, 130 chariots ⚙️, 520 horses 🐎, 150 cavalry horses 🏇, officials 👮, musicians 🎵, and more. It was discovered in 1974, revealing the massive tomb. Each figure is life-sized but ranging in height. They were painted with materials from the time, however, once exposed to oxygen, much of the paint fell off.
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Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The mausoleum is modeled after the capital of the Qin dynasty, Xianyang. Made of an inner and outer city, it takes up a total of 3.9 miles circumference. The actual tomb of the emperor himself remains untouched.

National Museum of China (中国国家博物馆(zhōngguó guójiā bówùguǎn)) - 2003

Known as the third most visited museum in the world (palace museums are excluded), the National Museum of China 🇨🇳 has roughly over 7 million visitors visiting annually. It is located in Beijing on the eastern side of Tiananmen Square. The museum houses artifacts from items estimated to be 1.7 million years old to the end of the last dynasty in China, the Qing Dynasty. One exhibition focuses on China's recent history from the Opium Wars to the present, including details on the evolution of modern-day politics in China.
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Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Music 🎶

In Chinese history, the earliest musical instruments 🎼 found are estimated to be from 9,000 years ago. Musicians were seen to have a low social status while still being vital to the dynasties. Chinese instruments are grouped into categories called 八音(bā yīn): Silk, Bamboo, Wood, Stone, Metal, Clay, Gourd, and Skin. Within the silk category, instruments can usually be split into plucked, bowed, and struck categories for playing. China has many traditional musical instruments including the 二胡(èrhú), 古筝(gǔzhēng), 琵琶(pípá), 笛子(dízi), and the 萧(xiāo).
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Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The 二胡 is made of two strings (bowed silk instrument), and because of its size and cost, very popular among current street musicians while still being used in performances such as Chinese operas.
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Image Courtesy of Flickr

The 古筝 is a (silk instrument) plucked zither with usually 21, 25, or 26 strings. It's usually played in traditional music performances. Players will sit in chairs in front of the 古筝, which is placed on a desk.
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Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The 琵琶 is another silk instrument falling into the plucked category of instruments. With 4 strings and a pear-shaped body, the 琵琶 is thought to have originated during the Han dynasty (202 BCE-220 CE). It's usually played in an upright position.
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Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The 笛子 is a traverse bamboo flute. Original flutes are shown to have originated about 7,000 BCE, but the modern 笛子 comes from roughly the 5th century BCE. Usually with 6 or more holes, the 笛子 is light and easy to carry. One of the holes has a membrane called a 笛膜(dí mó) (made from reed) covering it to produce a specific buzzing sound.
The (also known as 洞箫(dòngxiāo)) ****is a vertically blown bamboo flute. The blowing hole is usually cut into a U or V shape with the player blowing air over it.

Modern Music 🎵

In recent years, the most popular genres of music in China include C-pop (Chinese popular music), hip hop, rock music, and music from other countries. Some of the most popular artists include 薛之谦, 周杰伦, 邓紫棋 (G.E.M.), 毛不易, and the group TFBoys. Many modern Chinese popular songs include some English lyrics mixed in with Mandarin.

Strive for Five Vocab! 🔑🔑

  • 博物馆(bówùguǎn)- Museum
  • 紫禁城(zǐjìnchéng)- The Forbidden City
  • 故宫博物院(gùgōng bówùyuàn)- Palace Museum
  • 秦始皇兵马俑(qínshǐhuáng bīngmǎyǒng)- Terracotta Army Museum
  • 中国国家博物馆(zhōngguó guójiā bówùguǎn)- National Museum of China
  • 音乐(yīnyuè)- Music
  • 汉语流行音乐(hànyǔ liúxíng yīnyuè)- Chinese Popular Music (C-pop)
  • 嘻哈音乐(xīhā)- Hip Hop Music
  • 说唱(shuōchàng)- Rap Music
  • 摇滚音乐(yáogǔn yīnyuè)- Rock Music

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