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31
May
2009
General Culture Tips E-mail
City Life - Culture
Written by ND
The culture of Xi'an descends from one of the world's earliest civilizations. The Guanzhong Ren (关中人/關中人) culture is considered the cultural antecedent of Xi'anese; their features are satirized as the "Ten Strangenesses of Guanzhong Ren" (关中十大怪/關中十大怪). Xi'an is also known for the "Eight Great Sights of Chang'an" (长安八景/長安八景), a collection of scenic areas in the region.

Seven styles of architecture dominate urban Xi'an, the first three include the architecture of Qin and Han dynasties (秦汉风格), the architecture of Tang Dynasty (唐风) and the architecture of Ming and Qing dynasties (明清风格). These three styles are all Chinese traditional, but they may be differentiated by the colors of the roof and certain details. For Qin and Han Style, the roof is black, and no decorations are used under the roof. For Tang style, red roofs may be seen but a majority retain the use of the black or dark green roof; buildings were designed to be large and monumental. During the Ming and Qing dynasties, roofs were usually yellow and highly detailed drawings and prints were placed under the roof.

The Republic of China style (民国风格) is perhaps best exemplified by the People's Showplace. The Sino-Soviet style (苏式风格), popular from the 1950s to 70s, is often used in the west of the city in factories built with the help of the U.S.S.R.. Modern architectural forms (现代风格) — can be found in the High-Tech Zone and the Economic-Development zone.

A new Chinese architectural form called New Tang Style (新唐风) can be mainly found in Qujiang (曲江), which inherits the soul of tradition and develops itself on the base of modern architecture; the Shaanxi History Museum and the Xi'an Museum are examples of this style.

Drama and literature

Qinqiang (秦腔, Voice of Qin) is the oldest and most extensive of the four major types of Chinese opera. Also called "random pluck" (乱弹), Qinqiang is the main type of drama in Shaanxi province. As the earliest ancestor of Beijing Opera, Yu Opera, Chuan Opera and Hebei Opera, Qinqiang has developed its own system of unique vocal music, spoken parts, facial makeup, posture, role, category and acting. It can be traced to Xi Qinqiang (西秦腔, Voice of West Qin) in Qin Dynasty, and blossomed until Qing Dynasty, with direct influences on Jingju (京剧, Chinese Opera). The Tang Dynasty Music and Dance show presents ancient music and dance.

Art, music, film and others

Chang'an School (长安画派) is a very important modern Chinese school of traditional arts. The main artists are Zhao Wangyun (赵望云), Shilu (石鲁), He Haixia (何海霞), Liu Wenxi (刘文西).

Much like Beijing 798 and Shanghai 1933, Xi'an has an art district called Textile town (纺织城). The district is not an actual town but derives its name from the many textile factories built there since the 1950s. Today it is no longer a centre for the textile industry but a new art factory with 4 workshops in total. Since March 2007, more than 40 artists have taken a part in these workshops.

Xi'an is known for its rock music, and is one of the vigorous underground musical centres in China - the other three being Beijing, Kunming and Chengdu. It is home to contemporary Chinese Stars such as Xuwei (许巍), Zhangchu (张楚), Zhengjun (郑均).

Zhang Yimou (张艺谋) and Gu Changwei (顾长卫) are directors from Xi'an. Xi'an is also the only city in China to win the Golden Bear (Berlin Film Festival) twice. The first film is Red Sorghum and the second one is Tuya's Marriage. They are produced by Xi'an Filmmaking Factory (now called Xi'an Qujiang Filmmaking Group) and Xi'an Filmmaking company respectively.

Chinese economists from Northwestern University in Xi'an include Zhang Weiying (张维迎), Zhang Shuguang (张曙光), Weijie (魏杰), Liu Shijin (刘世锦), Songze (宋则), Fenglun (冯仑), Feng Zongsu (冯宗苏), Zou Dongtao (邹东涛), Li Yiping (李义平), Zhuo Zhonghai (左中海). Zhang Chaoyang (张朝阳), the CEO of SOHU (Nasdaq) company, born and grew up in Xi'an, is the leader in the field of Chinese Internet. Liu Chuanzhi(柳传志), the founder and president of Lenovo Holding, completed his higher education in Xidian University of Xi'an in 1960s.

Our valuable Editor ND has been with us since Monday, 15 June 2009.

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