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History and Culture

Hunan Culture

Hunan is one of the origins of the Chu Culture of ancient China. It nurtures brilliant culture and all the unearthed relics in Hunan as well as antiques porcelain, institutions, calligraphy, paintings and ancient music are valuable cultural remains of the Xiangchu culture in the ancient times.

Unearthed relics

There are over 3,000 tombs of the Chu Dynasty and over 10,000 tombs of the Han Dynasty being found in Changsha. Here archaeologists have found the earliest copper sword, brush pens, scales, silk paintings, leather drums, bamboo slips, lacqurewares, weapons over 3m long, bronze musical instruments and over 200 glass wares.

Painted china

In the museum of Oxford University, the UK, as well as museums in Japan, North Korea and other countries, painted china can often be found. These are all fine works from the Changsha kiln during the Tang Dynasty.

Institutions

The Yuelu Academy, founded in A.D. 976, has been considered as one of the four academies in China during the Northern Song Dynasty. In the late Qing Dynasty, it was transformed into an institution of higher learning in Hunan which is later rebuilt into the Hunan University. The Yuelu Academy is one of the most ancient institutions of higher education in the world.

Calligraphy

Since the Han and Jin Dynasties, Changsha has been home of numerous calligraphers. The calligraphy of Ouyang Xun and Huaisu are some of the most renowned ones in Chinese history.

Painting

The painting skills in Changsha are long-standing and well-established. These skills are presented in the silk paintings of the Chu and Han Dynasties. Yi Yuanji, a famous painter in the Northern Song Dynasty, was said to be one of the most skilled painters in China. It is said that there were two nests of swallows in court. The eagle, Yi drew on the painted screen could even scared the swallows away.

Ancient Music

Qiu Zhimu, a musician of the Qing Dynasty created the Liuyang Wenmiao ancient music which recovers the long lost Hu sound, one of the 8 sounds in ancient Chinese music. It is said that Yuan Shikai wanted to use ancient music for his throne ascending ceremony and so he sent people to search for ancient music all over China. Finally, he came to an conclusion that the“ancient music of Qufu enjoys nothing but an underserved fame which is nowhere near the music of Liuyang”.

Hunan Dialect

Hunan is a region with various and complex dialects, including the Xiang dialect, southwestern mandarin, Gan dialect, Hakka dialect and other local dialects. Xiang dialect (also called Xiang language) is the most representative and the most widely distributed dialect in Hunan, covering 40 cities and counties along Xiangjiang River and Zijiang River. In some areas, people can speak both local dialects as well as Hunan dialect.