Contents


 

Teochew Opera

 

Teochew opera, also called Chiu-chow opera or Chaozhou opera, performed in Teochew dialect, is one of the ten age-old Chinese opera types. It is popular in southern China’s Chaoshan region, such as Shantou, Chaozhou, Jieyang and Shanwei. Teochew opera gains a reputation of “southern miracle” for its unique form. Preserving the musical styles of the Song and Yuan dynasties, integrating melodic music and enchanting singing with martial arts and acrobatics, Teochew opera embodies a strong local characteristics and is well known both at home and abroad. Teochew opera entered the national first batch of intangible cultural heritage protection list in 2006 and plays an important role in inheriting Teochew culture and tying all of the Teochew people around the world together.

 

     

 

    2. Kungfu Tea /Gongfu Tea  

The word “Kungfu” (Chinese:功夫) here usually embodies four different meanings: skills, qualities, attainments and leisure time. While integrating with the skills of tea-cooking, Kungfu tea is also referred to as “Gongfu tea” (Chinese:工夫).

Originated in Song dynasty, Gongfu tea is now popular in the Chaoshan region of Guangdong Province and in Zhangzhou, Quanzhou of Fujian Province. In Chaoshan region, tea sets can be seen in every household and tea is an indispensable part in the life of the Teochew people. Drinking a few rounds of tea is just the Teochew people’s habit in everyday life. Even the overseas Teochew people still retain the habit. So to speak, where there are the Teochew people, there is the Gongfu tea. 

Instead of being the name of a certain kind of Chinese tea, Gongfu tea as a way of Tea-cooking, is particular about the choice of tea, water, apparatus and time, involving sophisticated and adept skills in tea drinking and tasting.

Formed in the Glorious age of Tang dynasty, the Chinese tea ceremony was then summarized in The Book of Tea (the origin of Gongfu tea and the classics on Chinese Gongfu tea), which detailed the six main processes of tea ceremony: drying, rolling, making fire , selecting water, boiling tea and drinking the tea.

The Chinese tea culture developed in Song & Yuan Dynasty and it entered its heyday in Ming Dynasty. The tea ceremony also reached the acme of perfection at that time.

By involving the mind, the etiquette, the skill of boiling, pouring as well as tasting, Teochew Gongfu tea has been shaped into the special Teaism.

 

     

   

3. Painting and Calligraphy

Chaoshan painting and calligraphy art has a great influence in Guangdong province and the whole country. The famous painters who were born in Jieyang city, such as Huang Dufeng, Lai Shaoqi, Liu Changchao, Fan Changquan, Yang Zhiguang, Wang Lanruo, etc., are all renowned both at home and abroad.

What’s more, different styles and schools of painting, large numbers of outstanding artists from Jieyang appear continuously in China’s painting and calligraphy circles. For example, Mr.Wang Huangsheng, the curator of the art gallery of The Central Academy of Fine arts, Mr.Feng Shaoxie, the vice-president of Guangdong painting Academy, are both famous in the world. It proves that "Each era brings forth new Genius on the noble land"!

Art and life are closely related. Jieyang people are known for their conscientiousness and fine-detail style not only in doing things or cooking food, but also in arts and crafts. Jieyang enjoys profound cultural heritage and gains a reputation of ‘Hai Bing Zou Lu’ (a seashore city of Zou Lu). Zou and Lu were the native places of Mencius & Confucius respectively. They were two famous saints in ancient China.

Children here would learn painting, paper-cut, Teochew music, couplets, lantern riddles and other folk arts. All these educations influence children’s taste in arts and literature, which motivates the development of painting and calligraphy in this city.

 

Painted by Mr.Lai Shaoqi

 

Painted by Mr. Yang Zhiguang

 

Painted by Mr.Wang Huangsheng

 

4. Introduction to Mr. Feng Shaoxie

Feng Shaoxie was born in 1964 in Puning, Jieyang city, Guangdong Province, China. He is currently the vice President of Guangdong Academy of Painting. He is also a national level-1 artist and a member of the China Artists Association.

In 2003 he hosted an exhibition in China Art Gallery in Beijing titled “Focus Chinese Cultural Market-Feng Shaoxie Art Exhibition”. In 2006 “Pigeons in the Middle East-Feng Shaoxie’s Oil Paintings” exhibition was held in the same place. Also in 2006 he hosted oil painting exhibitions in Shanghai Liu Hai Su Art Museum. In 2007 an exhibition was held jointly with Chen Lvsheng in Guangdong Museum of Art. It was titled “Shadows and Fragrance” and featured ink plums. From 2009 to 2011 the “Century-old Guangzhou-Feng Sahoxie’s Oil Paintings” series was hosted in the Art Museum of the Royal Opera in London, Hong Kong City Hall, China National Library, Library of Congress in Washington, Guangzhou Museum of Art, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport and Hefei Lai Shaoqi Art Museum. His works were accepted in numerous large national art exhibitions and had won many awards.

His paintings were collected by the National Art Museum of China, National Museum of China, Chiese Military Museum, Library of Congress in Wahington, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou Museum of Art, Guangzhou National Archives, the Great Hall of the People,the Guangdong Provincial Government, the CPC Guangzhou Municipal Committee, the Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport VIP Lounge, the Chaoshan airport VIP lounge in Jieyang , Royal Thai National Gallery and other collectors. 

 

PROBING INTO MARTIME HISTORY:
  ----On the Creation of Oil Painting Series Maritime Silk-Road by Feng Shaoxie

Feng Shaoxie has been refusing to rest on his laurels by surprising the community of artists with eye-openers. He has drawn inspiration from both the local and the world, and realty and history. It is his humanitarian concern and social focus that have distinguished his from the rest of the oil painters in China. In October, 2013, the National strategy of Building the Marine Silk-Road in the 21st Century was issued, triggering his desire for creation. He builds on his Centenary Guangzhou Series and tries to express his ideas on history via paintings. As an oil painter sensitive to topics, he is the first to create works on the Marine Silk-Road, which are also related to his previous works. All his artistic achievements prove that he keeps an eye on the world at large with China, his motherland, on his mind. Thanks to his broad horizons, his works are forward-looking.

Feng’s oil painting series-Marine Silk-Road is/are of great significance and value. Why and how did he paint the Marine Silk-Road ? Obviously, just like maritime archeology, it is full of challenges from not only the nature, but also the history that has been known and unknown. The Marine Silk-Road is actually a special Marine Ceramics-Road. Its history is not as clear as that of the Silk-Road on land. More insights will be gained into a certain period of history whenever a sunken ship is salvaged. Likewise, new findings and new interpretation of the history of the Marine Silk-Road will emerge with the progress of underwater archaeology. Paintings about the ocean are outnumbered by that about the land. Besides, there is just a small number of works about foreign relations by means of ocean or water. How can painters who create works on history present authentic aspects of history? In fact, their greatest challenge is to balance authentic history and artistic imagination. To tackle such a challenge, on the one hand, Feng reviewed historical literature in libraries for more information about history and latest research finding, and visited museums for various historical relics and underwater archaeological findings in this regard, with the focus on treasures left from foreign trade. On the other hand, he has taken painstaking efforts to visit the ruins of the Marine Silk-Road, such as Nahhai Temple and ancient Huangpu Port, Where he recalled the past.

The art history of China has witnessed just a few paintings on maritime trade. Feng’s series on the Marine Silk-Road is a breakthrough in systematic creation. In fact, the maritime trade between China and the rest of the world has spanned over one thousand years. Marine Silk-Road left a great number of ruins and relics. Related cultural relics are kept in many museums around the world, for instance, the voyage literature and images about the trade of China kept in the Peabody Essex Museum of the United States, exported ceramics in the Victoria and Albert Museum of the United Kingdom, the Nanhai No.1 Shipwreck Relics and the underwater archaeological discoveries in Kenya, which have proven the history and its details of maritime trade. Nonetheless, artists have to make full use of those details for their creation that are historically authentic and vivid so as to stimulate the great interest of the public in the Marine Silk-Road and present the glorious history by means of art. Feng’s series have been a breakthrough in the images of the Marine Silk-Road, which have provided more information to the public via beautiful paintings. In this sense, his works are of great importance.

Feng’s artistic creation about the Marine Silk-Road, a very broad topic of history that caters to the needs of the era, is of great value and challenge, where he has reproduced history and maritime trade with his unique wisdom and vision. His works are in line with the trend of the era as the breakthrough in creation of this kind. Their value is as self-evident as the focus of our society nowadays, namely the Economic Belt era as the breakthrough in creation of this kind. Their value is as self-evident as the focus of our society nowadays, namely the Economic Belt of the Silk-Road and the Marine Silk-Road in the 21st Century, if they can stimulate other artists’ interest in the artistic creation of those topics.

Academic Host: Chen Lvsheng, Vice Director of National Museum of China.
     March 2015, Beijing.

 

Reproduction of History with Art:
  ----On Oil Painting Series Maritime Silk Road Created by Feng Shaoxie

Thanks to China’s long and splendid traditional culture, Chinese writers and artists favor history as the topic for their creation, ranging from literature, drama, music to art, movies and dance. However, their ways of expression and techniques vary with categories of art. Just take fine arts for example. Artists can reproduce history by not only shaping the figures, painting the historical scenes, but also re-creating artistically the ruins and relics. But they are static and separated from the then activities. Therefore, it is a great challenge for artists who reproduce the then social atmosphere, and bring the static and lifeless scenes or objects to life so as  to capture the imagination and stimulate the interest of today’s readers.

That is why Feng Shaoxie’s new works on the “Maritime Silk Road” have interested me greatly. On one hand, the Road has been famous as an important bridge between Chinese and foreign civilizations. I, as a Guangzhou local, take great pride in and pay close attention to it. On the other hand, I just wondered how the artist presented the Road as it went down in written history against the historical backdrop of the vast ocean. He might find it quite easy to be highly imaginative and fabricate historical scenes about the brilliant achievements of ancient people who sailed across the raging sea.  However, Feng did not do it. He has adopted the second means as referred to previously, i.e. depicting the ruins and relics, which was obviously much more difficult in that it needed the painter’s skills of expression, artistic sensitivity and great interest in history.

His finished works can be categorized into three types, namely landscapes of sea ports, architectural ruins and cultural relics, reproducing history in an all around and in-depth way from three different perspectives. Visually, they have presented both the macro and micro picture of that period of history. Such an effect cannot be achieved by painting one scene only. A wide variety of wonderful scenes have been reproduced in his specific works that focus on specific objects. For instance, he has applied the technique of combing imagination and reality to his landscape paintings, such as Praia Grande, Huangpu Trade Port and Arab Merchant Ships in Guangzhou, which were created with his imagination against the real backdrop of landscapes. Generally speaking, he has created the then atmosphere while abandoning some details, which has added a historical touch to his paintings and captured the imagination of the readers. Likewise, his works such as Temple of God of South Sea and Guangzhou Minaret that aimed to present the historical ruins are not limited by reality. He hasn’t copied the images of the historical buildings in the past or at present, but rather painted by his intuition. His admiration for people’s aggressiveness, perseverance and entrepreneurial spirit has found expression in the historical touch of his paintings, which has surely won the sympathy of the readers. Personally, I like his simple but impressive and subtle works on the cultural relics more, such as Glass Bottle from West Asia, China’s Exported Commodities and Pot of Under glaze Blue. Importantly, Feng has reproduced the extraordinary cultural features of those seemingly ordinary still life with his touching paintings. Without any fancy painting skills, he has employed a simple style of painting that express his ideas to his heart’s content. I regard his style as close to the nature of art.

Feng is a painter sensitive to reality and dedicated to exploration and practice. It is not easy for him to go his own way and gain achievements in this era of diverse artistic creation. I wish his creation of Oil Painting Series Maritime Silk Road a complete success.

  By Liu Sifen,
Former President of Guangdong Federation of Literary and Art Circles & Former President of Guangdong Academy of Painting
    July 29, 2014

 

VISUAL MOTIFS CONNECTING THE LOCAL WITH THE WORLD AND REALITY WITH HISTORY:
   ----Self-account of Oil Painting Series-Maritime Silk-Road

My serious thought and exploration paved way for my oil painting series of Maritime Silk-road, which manifested the new direction of my artistic creation philosophy.

I have been trying to gain extensive insight into artistic creation from the perspectives of local and the world, and realty and history, resulting in a large number of works, including Series Focus on China’s Cultural Market with critical points, Pigeons in the Middle East Series with a focus on the fate of nations there, Wenchuan Great Earthquake Series with great sympathy for life and Century-Old Guangzhou with a demonstration of Guangzhou’s historical development over the past century. Last October, the National strategy of Building the Maritime Silk-Road in the 21st Century gave me some food for thought in terms of art creation in a more interesting historical context.

It is the mission of artists to show deep humanitarian concern about not only the social reality in the contemporary era, but also milestones in historical development and relics which are the basis of reality. In addition, it facilitates artists’ cultural pursuit, realization of their own values and social responsibility.

As one of the oldest route in the world, the Maritime Silk-Road had played an important role in economic and cultural exchanges between ancient China and the rest of the world, which had brought profound impact in this regard.

As far as I, an artist based in Guangdong, am concerned, artistic creation shall relate to local history, with world perspectives. Maritime Silk-Road turns out to be important motifs connecting the local with the world, and reality with history. The moment I decided on my topic, I began to collect relevant materials, reading historical literature in libraries for its history and latest academic achievements, observing related historical relics and underwater unearthed cultural relics in museums for more information about the treasures left from foreign trade, and visiting important nodes along the Road, such as Temple of God of South Sea and Ancient Huangpu Port, where I could recall their bustle then. That initial preparation has given me a burning desire to create increasingly well-defined works.

Thanks to 30-odd years of development, the landscape of the Pearl River has undergone great changes. The dense river courses, beaches and islands have already vanished without trace. To reproduce the authentic outlook there, I have made painstaking efforts with great interest to search for many old photos taken in the late 19th century and the first half of 20th century, and paintings of landscape and customs created by Western missionaries and delegations on their visits to China.

My round-the-clock research and creation have resulted in some oil paintings of same size on the Maritime Silk Road in the Pearl River Delta, Hong Kong and Macau. They reflect mainly the historical outlook of  port cities along the Pearl River as part of the Maritime Silk Road, such as Guangzhou, Dongguan, Hong Kong and Macau, supplemented with various types of historical relics. While giving top priority to color, tone, brushwork and fabric, I tried my best to put the scene that used to be bustling with life in a tranquil and quiet environment in order to create a kind of illusion that we were back to that period of time that was long long ago. My paintings of still life on exported commodities are proof of the prosperous trade between China and foreign countries then. I have added touches of solemnity to them, by which envoys are characterized. Besides, I have made some obscure straight lines with pigments on the series, which are well integrated with the landscape or are in a prominent position. They serve as the language of my series with the purposes of adding historical touches.

It is my hope that my works are able to reflect, from the perspectives of an artist like me, the efforts that China and foreign countries had made for the development of Maritime Silk Road. Based on my insights into Guangzhou, the ocean adjacent to Guangdong and underwater unearthed cultural relics, I have reproduced the ancient and present outlook of foreign countries and regions along the Road, Such as various port cities in Southeast Asia, coastal cities in the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. I also hope that my works will enable audience at home and abroad to learn about the long and splendid history about the Maritime Silk Road and harbor great expectations for the new Maritime Silk Road.

By Feng Shaoxie

 

Maritime Silk-Road Oil Painting by Feng Shaoxie

 

OLD ROUTE: MARITIME SILK ROAD          

Oil Painting, 150×100cm, 2015

In ancient times, trips were always dangerous. In an era without compass, one could only determine the course by observing the sky to see the stars. If a hurricane occurred it would be extremely dangerous. Yet nothing can stop people from chasing wealth and dreams. The ancient route was never short of sails.

 

 

UNEARTHED CHINESES COINS FROM TANG DYNASTY IN SRI LANKA          

Oil Painting, 50×100cm, 2015

600 years ago, a member of Zheng He’s entourage Ma Huan recalled that the Sri Lankan People were very fond of China’s musk, Paintings, celadon plated and bowls, camphor and coins and were willing to use precious stones and pearls to trade. Today, archaeologists also unearthed a large number of Chinese coins made in the Tang Dynasty including the coins in the first year of Tang Dynasty. This shows that Sri Lanka had a long history of maritime trade with China.

 

 

10TH CENTURY INDONESIA: CHINESE POTTERY          

Oil Painting, 50×100cm, 2015

According to historical records, the earliest Guangdong immigrants to Indonesia can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty. Since then, numerou Hakka people migrated to Indonesia. In early Ming Dynasty, the north shore region of the Island of Java became a place for Hakka immigrants to settle down. For the Hakka people far away from home, the pottery from hometown served as their daily necessities as well as a symbol of nostalgia.

 

 

HUMEN, 1967         

Oil Painting, 50×100cm, 2014

Ever since the mid-18th Century, the Qing government adopted the “one trading port policy. Therefore Guangzhou became the only port for import and export. From 1757 to 1784, the annual revenue for Guangdong Customs reached 500,000 taels of silver. Humen was the only gateway that foreign vessels went through. The barques from  Western Europe came with silver and left with silk ,porcelain and tea. For the European traders at that time, the word Guangzhou meant wealth and legend.

 

 

GUANGZHOU NANHAI TEMPLE          

Oil Painting, 150×100cm, 2014

14 years into Emperor Wen’s regime in the Sui Dynaty, The Nanhai Temple was built. It was a place for the imperial family to worship the sea gods and now it is the only preserved official temple among China’s four temples worshiping sea gods. In 2005 the archeologists found the relics of port in Ming and Qing Dynasties around the southern part of “No Wave” Memorial Archway. The Nanhai Temple was an important proof to the Maritime Silk Road.

 

 

VUNG TAU SHIPWRECK IN VIETNAM, 1690      

Oil Painting, 150×100cm, 2014

In 1690, a Dutch sailing ship suddenly caught fire in the sea near Vung Tau Province, southern Vietnam. Tens of thousands of pieces of exquisite Chinese porcelains sank into the sea. 70% of the goods were white and blue porcelains from Jingde Town. According to statistics which was incomplete, from 1602-1695, more than 20 million pieces of porcelains were sold to Europe. The blue-and-white, colourful porcelain as well as Guangzhou porcelain were favoured by the European aristocracy.

 


 

CHINESE POT WITH HIGH FOOT AND LONG HANDLE ON THE INDONESIAN SHIPWRECK IN TANG DYNASTY        

Oil Painting, 150×100cm, 2015

Another treasure on the Black Stone shipwreck of Tang Dynasty was the green glaze pot. Built in the 9th Century, it was more than 1 meter high and an engraved mosaic diamond pattern with Valencia style. It was later found that this treasure could possibly come from the royal treasury and was a national gift for the important guests from Arab. This elegant and exquisite porcelain is a symbol of the blending of Chinese and Arab culture.

 

 

TODAY STRAIT OF MALACCA         

Oil Painting, 150×100cm, 2015

The Strait of Malacca is a strategic passage linking the Pacific and the Indian oceans. It has been open to navigation for more than 2000 years, serving as an important spot of the Maritime Silk Road since time immemorial. Today, being the marine passage for countries in Asia, Africa, Oceania and Europe, the Strait of Malacca controls a quarter of the global seaborne trade. As the Maritime Silk Road in the 21st Century is being built, the Strait of Malacca, the golden waterway of great importance in the history of seaborne trade, will have a brighter future.

 

 

GLASS BOTTLE FROM WEST ASIA IN GUANGZHOU, SOUTHERN HAN KINGDOM

Oil Painting, 150×100cm, 2014

 In ancient times, trips were always dangerous. In an era without compass, one could only determine the course by observing the sky to see the stars. If a hurricane occurred it would be extremely dangerous. Yet nothing can stop people from chasing wealth and dreams. The ancient route was never short of sails.

 

 

GOTHENBURG’S LAST VOYAGE, 1745   

Oil Painting, 150×100cm, 2014

Gothenburg an 18th-century (Age of Discovery) Swedish East Indiaman and the world’s most famous sailing vessel, made three journeys to Guangzhou. The profit it made from one voyage to China equaled the overall GDP in Sweden in a year. In November 1745, it carried silk, tea and porcelain and left for home. Eight months later, it sank off while approaching the harbour. In 2006, Gothenburg’s replica Gothenburg revisited Guangzhou via the original route. The ship, which Guangzhou citizens are most familiar with, is a witness to Guangzhou’s achievements in the Maritime Silk Road. 

 

 

KEDAH PORT OF MALAYSIA IN 11TH CENTURY: CHINESE CELADON PLATES        

Oil Painting, 150×100cm, 2015

In the 11th Century, porcelain was the most important export commodity in China and it could be found in the eastern, southern and western parts of Asia as well as East Coast of Africa. The porcelain produced in the five most famous kilns were quite world-famous. In Kedah Port, an important transit spot on the Maritime Silk Road, Chinese celadon porcelains were also spotted.

 

 

KEDAH PORT OF MALASIA IN MING DYNASTY  

Oil Painting, 150×100cm, 2015

The old Kedah Kingdom was one of the most famous early kingdoms of the Malay Peninsula. The Kedah port enjoyed a superior location and became a transfer station for the merchants and sailors from Saudi Arabia, India, Sri Lanka, Persia, Europe to go to the east. It gathered goods and treasures from around the world and became an important ancient Maritime Silk Road terminal.