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Brief Introduction on Culture Heritage

Nanchang Porcelain Plate Painting

   As a particular painting art in Jiangxi, porcelain plate painting develops on the base of traditional Chinese painting, porcelain painting and western photography and combines the painting art and the porcelain firing technique together.
   Nanchang porcelain plate painting was born in ancient Nanchang City, and mainly popular among Nanchang City, Jingdezhen, Jiujiang City and other neighboring provinces and cities. Nanchang, a historical and cultural city, was called Yuzhang and Hongdu in ancient times. During the past 2,200 years, Nanchang enjoyed advantageous geographic location of “a marvelous place with rich resource and outstanding people” and “a crucial place controlling the Chu State and connecting the Yue State”, which made it a popular place for officials, rich merchants and liberators in the past dynasties. The neighboring porcelain culture in the Jingdezhen contributes to the development of the porcelain plate painting in Nanchang.
   In the early Republican era, the porcelain plate painting was created by a Nanchang citizen Liang Duishi, who opened a porcelain store called “Li Ze Xuan” on Zhongshan Road in the bustling downtown area. Liang employed artisans to paint portraits and make colorful porcelain wares according to the requirement of customers. Following Liang, various kinds of painting stores appeared in succession in Nanchang, including “Zhonghua Porcelain Store” on West Street and “Xiaolu Porcelain Portrait Studio” on Zigu Road, etc.. At the same time, a number of famous porcelain plate painters appeared, such as Liang Xieting, Wu Yueshan, Yang Houxing and Huang Liuzi, etc..
   After the New China was founded, a number of porcelain painting art organizations were set up by porcelain painters under the government assist, including Nanchang Porcelain Painting Cooperation Group, Nanchang Porcelain Portrait Craftwork Association and Nanchang Craftwork Factory, etc.. Nanchang porcelain plate painting has been sold abroad to Southeast Asia since the early 1940s. After the reform and open policy, a Hong Kong photographer Qiu Yongping cooperated with several local porcelain plate painters and created a large number of exquisite porcelain plate paintings, which were then introduced to the world. The extremely beautiful work attracted artisans from Japan, Australia and other foreign countries to come to learn the porcelain painting art in Nanchang, making a foundation for Nanchang porcelain plate painting’s position in the world art history.
   As the first batch of intangible cultural heritage in Nanchang, the porcelain plate painting has been enlisted in the state and provincial intangible cultural heritage, and urgently awaits further protection and development.

Anyi Suona Horn

   Suona horn was brought to Anyi County by two folk artisans (their family name is Wang) begging for food from Hubei Province in the early Qing Dynasty. Suona is played in important events such as foundation and beam laying for houses, family tree compilation, birthday party, shops opening ceremony, incense offering and making wish, sacrifice to heaven for rain, marriage, funeral and Bodhisattva carrying, etc.. For happy ceremonies, artisans would play happy music such as “High Pitched Tune”, “Little Boy”, “Wash Horse”, “Little Taohong” and “Yangzhou Gala” with other lively-rhythm music instruments such as snare drum, small cymbal, tinkle bell and chiming gong in order to create cheerful, harmonious and happy atmosphere. For sorrowful ceremonies, artisans would play sorrowful music such as “Climb to Watch Tower”, “Meng Jiangnu”, “Cry for Heaven” and “Get Pregnant” with other slow-rhythm music instruments such as small gong and bass drum to create slow, deep sorrowful and heart-broken atmosphere.
   As the first batch of intangible cultural heritage in Nanchang, the Anyi suona has been enlisted in the provincial intangible cultural heritage and is now actively applying for the state intangible cultural heritage. It urgently awaits further protection and development.

Ancient House Architecture Art of Anyi Official Residence

   At the foot of Meiling Hill of Mt. Xishan about 10 kilometers to the southeast of Anyi County, the ancient Official Residence is located in Luotian Natural Village of Luotian Village Committee in Shibi Town. The house was built by a rich merchant Huang Xiuwen in Luotian in Xinsi Year (1762) of Emperor Qianlong’s Regime in the Qing Dynasty, and now has been enlisted in the provincial heritage conservation units.
   Covering an area of over 4,400 square meters, this private house consists of a main building with three independent rooms, of which the back and front ones are connected tightly and aligned horizontally in an axis, forming three east-west rooms and eleven north-south rooms. The main building sits eastwards with a reversed V-shaped door. To its north are four ancient houses horizontally built together while the further north are another four ancient houses built together. The residence with eleven houses looks exactly like a super huge villa.
   The house is characterized in its high gate and large rooms. Due to the large span distance, the main room is applied with two wooden framework constructions of column-and-tie and post -and –lintel to form a tall and wide hall. The round-ridge-roof buildings near the dooryard expand space. More than 20 columns are used to support the hall and each one has a seat decorated with exquisite patterns making the hall glorious and splendid.
   The house is in exquisite and complex cut or embossed carvings. Door head of the main hall is engraved with beautiful hollow high relief and the horizontal hanging board is made of sacrificial red stone and carved with four Chinese characters “Shuang Yi Xi Lan”. The door head is divided into three layers: the bottom is carved like a carp jumping over a dragon gate; the middle is carved with the picture of Zhuangyuan (Number One Scholar) riding a horse and wandering streets and the picture of kylin; and the upper is carved like a phoenix facing to the sun. Walls on both sides of the door head are embedded several sacrificial red stones symbolizing flanks of the ancient officer’s hat, which makes the door head look like a huge officer’s hat on the whole. The grill windows on north side of the dooryard in front of the hall are engraved with pictures showing the story of the “Romance of the Three Kingdoms”.
   The ancient house is wood and brick structure. The roof is a pavilion in combination of the Chinese gabled roof and the jerkinhead roof architectural styles. Walls are in crib style with crow gables on both sides.
   This splendid official residence in Luotian is kept very well up until now, with four lanes, 80 doors, 22 dooryard, 60 rooms, 11 halls and three corridors. Each room has special function for schools, housemaids, ancestors worship and banquet, etc.. The house is a typical Jiangnan (area to the south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River) countryside architecture style of Southern China, boasting of its reasonable layout, exquisite decorations, grand and splendid buildings as well as primitive and solid style.

Architecture Art of Anyi Ancient Opera Stage in Jingtai

At the foot of Meiling Hill of Mt. Xishan about 10 kilometers to the southeast of Anyi County, the ancient opera stage is located in the very center of Jingtai Village of Shibi Town. The stage was built in autumn of the 10th year (1745) of Emperor Qianlong’s regime in the Qing Dynasty and originally belonged to one of the affiliated architectures of the Liu’s Family Ancestral Temple. It was rebuilt in 1971, and then enlisted in the provincial key cultural preservation units in December, 1987.
   Covering an area of 86 s.q. m., the wood-and-brick stage sits southwards with emplectum walls. It’s 7.5 meters tall, 10 meters wide, 8.5 meters deep, and is supported by twenty two 30cm-diameter columns. The stage is divided into front stage, affiliated stage, corridors and back stage.
   The stage consists of base, body and roof. The 1.7 meters tall base forms a huge empty van under the platform and produces resonant voice. 
   The roof of the stage is shaped like a funnel with upturned eaves and corners. The gray-tiled ornamental roof is covered with dripping limestone tiles. In the center of the ridge crest is a porcelain bottle with three iron halberds inserted, while the two edges are applied brick materials. The gable wall looks like a centipede with its head held high and tail upturning, hence its name “Centipede Wall”. The stage body consists of four emplectum wood structures making a convex stage. The base is installed with a stone hanging provided a wooden slot, which can be covered with a piece of hanging board to close the entire stage when there is no opera performance. In the center of the stage are square ceilings supported by 210 dragon-head bucket arches layer by layer.
   All of the stage columns and beams are carved with lions, deer, phoenix etc., and all the other subordinate ornaments are carved with meaningful patterns reflecting the social life of the citizens.
   The stage setting area is decorated with a piece of 3.25 meters long and 1.93 meters tall ancient painting work, which applies single outline and one color painting technique and reflects a happy harvest celebration scene. On the white limestone wall of the back stage is persevered a performance list in red and black ink of the opera troupe of that time.
   Featuring typical Jiangnan architectural style, this ancient opera stage in Jingtai serves as an important living material for the study of the characteristic, style and ornament of the Qing Dynasty folk architecture, the opera history in Jiangnan areas, and the feudal culture of the Qing Dynasty.

Making Skill of Zongshan Rice Noodle of Huangzhou Town in Anyi County

   Rice noodle is produced everywhere in Southern China and is regarded as one of the favorite traditional food among Jiangnan people. In Nanchang, the best quality rice noodle is Zongshan rice noodle produced in Huangzhou Town in Anyi County. The book “Anyi County Annals” in the 10th year of Emperor Tongzhi’s regime in the Qing Dynasty once wrote: “Zongshan rice noodle is better than the ones produced anywhere else.” The refined Zongshan rice noodle enjoys a long history. According to the Yang’s Family Tree in Zongshan Long, Zongshan rice noodle was created by Yang Jinggong, one of the “four virtuous scholars” in the early Northern Song Dynasty. Yang gave up his official life and came back home to make rice noodles. The making skill was then passed down from generation to generation, and finally formed today’s particular local snack “Zongshan Rice Noodle”. The material is purely natural fine quality rice and underground spring water. The hand-made process is also very complex including soak, polish, filter, boil, round shaped, extract and dry, etc.. The noodle is made with particular and meticulous technique and contains no antiseptic. The outstanding features lie in pure white color, soft and smooth taste, good water leaven, good flavor absorption and special flavor. The noodles can be boiled and fried, serving as the best dish on banquet and gift for friends and relatives. Moreover, Zongshan Rice Noodle has the effect of cancer and other disease prevention. Those who produce and eat Zongshan Rice Noodle seldom get cancer or skin diseases.
   In 1980s, there were 12 family workshops producing Zongshan Rice Noodle mainly spreading in several natural villages including Zongshan and Dongjiang in Maodian, Chenjia and Qifang in Zhenxi, Niufu and Laowu in Huangzhou, etc. Annual production of the big workshops was about 20,000 Jin (One Jin equals to half a kilo.) and that of the small workshops was about 3,000 Jin. Most of the workshops made noodles seasonally.
   The chief value of Zongshan Rice Noodle is explained in the following. The first one is its historical value. Created in the early Northern Song Dynasty, Zongshan Rice Noodle has long been serving as an important cultural carrier and playing vital role in the local economy development. The second one is its making skill. The making process is complex and each step requires high demand refine degree and technique, which is unparalleled to other rice noodles. As a crystallization of long-term wisdom and knowledge of the local Chinese people, the skill actually has become an extremely valuable cultural heritage and can not be replaced by modern technology. The third one is its economic value. Firstly, development of the rice noodle industry provides quite a number of job opportunities for local people; secondly, the materials come from the countryside, which effectively promotes the local agriculture and increases the farmers’income; finally except for meeting the local requirement, Zongshan Rice Noodle is also popular abroad and has broad prospects. The fourth one is its dietary value. Zongshan Rice Noodle is greatly appreciated by customers because it is a kind of pollution-free green food with no addictives and can keep people away from cancer and other diseases.
   As the first batch of the Nanchang municipal intangible cultural heritage, the making skill of Zongshan Rice Noodle of Huangzhou Town in Anyi County has been enlisted in the provincial intangible cultural heritage list and is now actively applying for the state intangible cultural heritage. It urgently awaits further protection and development.

Cake Mold Carving Technique of Anyi County

   In the Ming Dynasty, cake mold in Xiaoling Village in the southeast of Qiaole Town was already well known for its delicate craftsmanship, exquisite patterns and easy taking off of cakes, and once became the royal tribute honored as “One Treasure of Jiangxi”. In the village, most men took mold carving as their careers, and produced high quality molds sold all over China. At present, Anyi Cake Mold has got lots of carving sites and sales offices all over China and has set up a website in Hong Kong, which sells the mold to Southeast Asia and contributes a lot to the local economy development. The 600 years preservation plays an important role in promoting the development of cake industry.
   Xiaoling cake mold applies the technique of carving stretch marks and patterns on flat wood board. Molds are carved according to the patterns on bottom of the mold holes. By applying this technique, all the carved patterns would take the shape of “∨”. Molds are carved quickly with knives and with no wood residue, and finally painted with rape oil to make it easy for taking off cakes from the molds.
   The characteristics of this cake mold are explained as the followings. The first one is that it has improved cake productivity by ten times of the hand made cakes. It was an amazing progress in the past accelerating the cake industry development, saving labor and also reducing production cost. The second one is that cakes made through the molds can be weighed accurately at high speed. The molded cakes are in the same size and weight because of the same scale of molds. As a result, the total weight of cakes can be calculated after counting the total quantity, saving time on selling. The third one is that it has various delicate and beautiful shapes such as round, square, sector, rectangular, plum, lotus, human, etc.. The right side of the mold is carved with some traditional lucky patterns such as the Chinese characters of good luck, good fortune and happiness, etc. adding more appreciation value to the cakes. The final one is that patterns on the mold usually bear profound message to express people’s best wishes for beautiful life. For example, the three Chinese characters of good luck, good fortune and happiness symbolize best wishes for the three things; the picture of magpies standing on plum branches means great happiness and lotus flower means fairy lady. Other patterns like “Five Sons Passing Imperial Examination”, “Two Dragons Playing with One Ball”, “Dragon and Phoenix Dancing Happily ”, “Rich and Lucky” and “Good Luck and Longevity” also reflect people’s sweet dreams for life.
   As the first batch of the Nanchang municipal intangible cultural heritage, Anyi Cake Mold carving technique has been enlisted in the provincial intangible cultural heritage list and is now actively applying for the state intangible cultural heritage. It urgently awaits further protection and development.

Anyi Stele Calligraphy Carving Technique

   Zou’s family in Banxi Town has started stele calligraphy carving since the middle age of the Ming Dynasty. Their works were not only popular in the town, but appreciated by neighboring people and others from Yongxiu County, Fengxin County, Jing’an County, Jiujiang City and Nanchang City, etc., which brought business flourishes for Zou’s family. Later, another Zou brothers in Banxi Town on the Liao River south bank in Anyi County carried on the traditional stele calligraphy carving technique and created a unique new carving technique of “hook ‘√’ cutting”.
   The tradition cutting way of the characters cut in intaglio is to carve a “V” shape from both sides of a stroke with dark knife grooves. When the stele is hung upwards, only rabbet on the plane surface of the stroke could be seen, reducing the artistic charm of the stele carving. During the long term carving, Zou brothers gradually concluded and created their own cutting way of the “hook ‘√’ cutting”. Firstly cut directly from one side of a stroke, then cut on the skew from the other side, forming an equal measurement of the slope. This increases the solid three-dimensional feeling of the stroke, changes the optics principle of knife grooves and presents a more genuine calligraphic work with full expression. Quick and accurate cutting is the main characteristic of the “hook ‘√’cutting”. 
   Catering to the increasing cultural demand of people, Zou brothers present a brand new stele carving which takes the traditional wood carving and calligraphic work copying as the base and combines the modern house architectural style and lightening advantage together. The characteristics of the new stele carving are explained below. The first one is that it applies the “hook ‘√’cutting” , makes full use of the interior lightening advantage and presents genuine flavor and dynamic beauty of the calligraphic works of famous calligraphers. The second one is that all the carving processes are completed by one artisan rather than the previous work divides for copying, carving and decorating. This makes a perfect combination of calligraphy, carving and copying and promotes the artistic value of the steles. The third one is that unlike the previous heavy stele with less characters but more faces, it has hundreds and thousands of characters carved on the entire wood board in various shapes. The final one is that it focuses on the harmony between the decoration craftsmanship and modern building decoration art. 
   The poem “A Lone Duck Chases the Falling Sunset” of Wang Bo calligraphically carved by Zou brothers won the third prize of the “Competitive Products or Unique Techniques of Jiangxi Folk Culture and Arts” awarded by the provincial cultural department. From 26th October to 29th October in 2006, the mentioned work represented Jiangxi to participate in the “Central China (Wuhan) Cultural Industry Fair” in Hubei and caused sensational effect.
   As the first batch of the Nanchang municipal intangible cultural heritage, Anyi Stele Calligraphy Carving Technique has been enlisted in the provincial intangible cultural heritage list and is now actively applying for the state intangible cultural heritage. It urgently awaits further preservation and protection.

Introduction on Bada Shanren Memorial Hall (Qingyunpu)

   Bada Shanren Memorial Hall is located in Qingyunpu beside the Dingshan Bridge above the Mei Lake about 15 Li (One Li equals to 500 meters) away in the southern suburb of Nanchang. Qingyunpu is a typical Jiangnan style garden. Buildings with blue brick, gray tiles, white walls and red columns are covered with hundreds of years old trees such as camphor, castanopsis sclerophylla and podocarpus macrophyllus, forming a particularly peaceful environment. The bright sunshine penetrates thick leaves and falls down on the narrow paths, bringing twinkling dark and bright lights and making the garden full of wild and natural flavor. A pure clean lotus flower pool reflects shadows of tall bamboos, playing fish and dancing flowers. Outside of the garden, a clean brook with popling waves winds across crisscross farm fields. This tranquil scene, together with smoke curling up from kitchen chimneys, forms a paradise on earth.
   Qingyunpu was formerly a Taoism temple, where the son of King Ling of the Zhou Dynasty started his alchemy. The garden was called “Meixian Temple” in the Western Han Dynasty, “Taiji Temple” built by the Jingming Section of Taoism in the Eastern Jin Dynasty, “Taiyi Temple” in the Tang Dynasty, “Tianning Temple” in the Song Dynasty, and finally “Qingyunpu” in the Qing Dynasty. The ancient ruins consist of a main gate and second gate stone buildings. Stone head of main gate is carved with three Chinese characters “Qing Yun Pu” while the front and back heads of the second gate are carved with “Pure and Genuine Supreme Taoism State” and “Gate for All Wonders” respectively. Main buildings in this temple are “Hall of Guan Yu”, “Hall of Master Lu Zu” and “Hall of Master Xu Zu”, with three wing rooms of “Three Crown Hall”, “Doumu Pavilion” and “Yuanqiao Bridge” as well as two interior rooms of “Shu Residence” and “Bird Nest”. Having been destroyed and renovated for several times during the 300 years history, the temple was finally damaged and left in desolation in the early period of China’s liberation. With the fund appropriation of Nanchang Municipal People’s Government, Bada Shanren Memorial Hall, China’s first ancient painter memorial hall was set up in 1959.
   Bada Shanren Memorial Hall is a memorial museum with abundant treasures for collection, exhibition, study and promotion. The original halls are used as exhibition halls, which exhibit in system the calligraphic works and paintings of Bada Shanren and also the outstanding painting works of present famous painters. Inside the garden, the classic art treasures of Bada Shanren are carved in stones in a tablet corridor covered with green bamboos. The primitive flavor, meandering paths and particularly interesting environment make people walking in the garden feel completely relaxed and happy.
   Bada Shanren is the fancy name of Zhu Da, who was born in the sixth year (1626) of Emperor Tianqi’s regime in the Ming Dynasty and died in the 44th year (1705) of Emperor Kangxi’s regime in the Qing Dynasty. Zhu was actually the ninth generation of the 16th son of Zhu Yuanzhang, the first Ming Dynasty emperor. Being born intelligent, he studied Confucianism, received good art education and enjoyed noble life when he was young. After “The Coup of Jiashen”, the Qing Dynasty was set up and the 19 years old boy Zhu suffered badly the situation of country perish and family ruin. Zhu then cut off his hair and became a Buddhism monk and became a master quickly because of his hard study on Buddhism, but he resumed secular life for his painting dream. As a hermit, Buddhism master and painter, he combined Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism together with painting art and became a great art master inheriting the past and ushering in the future with his charm of leisure and excellent painting technique. Bada Shanren’s works are profound and meaningful, pure and tranquil, transcend the worldly and seem naturally produced. His ink and wash painting and Chinese traditional flower-bird painting are simple but beautiful, enjoying great popularity and well known in China. As the leader of the “Four Buddhist Painters” of the renovation school in the early Qing Dynasty, he enlightens the following painters in the 300 years such as "Yangzhou school" of Chinese painting, Wu Changshuo, Qi Baishi, Pan Tianshou, Zhang Daqian, Li Kuchan, etc. with his virtue, noble painting characteristics and evergreen artistic vitality.