China Foshan City:
The total population of the whole city is 3.3585 million, including city proper population of 0.8008 million. The non-agricultural population is 1.3988 million. Foshan is a famous homeland of overseas Chinese, with more than 1 million living overseas, including 0.6 million living in Hong Kong and Macao.
Foshan Prefecture is located at the center of Guangdong Province, the inland of Pearl River Delta, within north latitude 22¡ã38' to 23¡ã34' and east longitude 112¡ã22' and 113¡ã23'. It is adjacent to Guangzhou at the east, to Jiangmen and Zhongshan at the south, to Zaoqing at the west and to Qingyuan at the north. The Foshan City enjoys superior geographic location, located at the inland of the Pearl River Delta, the economic developed area in South China, less than 50km to Guangzhou, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Zhuhai, Zaoqing and Dongguan, about 100km to Macao and Hong Kong.
Foshan City is near to sea, with most of the area located at the south of the tropic of cancer, where the climatic type belongs to subtropical seasonal wind humid climate, with annual average temperature at 22.1¡ã and rainfall of 1600-2000ml.
Shunde's Ecological Paradise
Shunde's Junan town, located at the hinterland of Zhujiang Delta, is a provincial level vacationland with a total occupying area of 2 million sq.m.. Based upon the base pond agriculture mode of long history in Zhujiang Delta and advantaged natural ecological environment of Shunde, it has integrated sightseeing, travel, culture, entertainment, production and environmental protection, and incorporated "restoring, demonstration and forward-looking", thereby bring forth a new ecological notion and ecological environment.
Focusing on the theme of ecology, Shunde's Ecological Paradise has made elaborate and skillful designs such that it has been divided into five scenic spots including ecological protection area, ecological education area, ecological entertainment area, ecological leisure area and ecological agriculture area. The ecological education area, focusing on the ecological plaza, is composed of artificial waterfall, ecological sculpture, Earth plaza as well as spring, summer, autumn and winter gardens. Therefore, this area is just like a cyclopedia containing all ecological mysteries that reflect the relationship between human beings and Heaven, human beings and earth, human beings and nature. Thus, it's available with mysterious ecological knowledge, thereby ecological history can be deducted in respect of closely linked and circulative nature. And, it also contains both ecological beauty and ecological alarm against destruction. The ecological protection area is mainly composed of crane gorge natural protection area and tortoise peak natural protection area, with clustered forests and numerous cranes. Therefore, it's available with endless artistic dreams ecological enjoyment. The ecological entertainment area, located at the eastern side of the Paradise, is composed of a dozen of scenic spots such as water paradise, lovers bay, funny labyrinth, etc. The tourists can participate in novel and funny entertainment programs in the area, where most of recreational facilities are available. The ecological leisure area is composed of such scenic spots as fishing pavilion, pumpkin pavilion, military affairs museum, chess room as well as bamboo sea and orchard, etc, with a feature of primitive simplicity and tranquility. Therefore, fishing, leisure, game, enjoying "tide" and playing chess with friends are made up of this "Heaven on earth" for the purpose of leisure and amusement in this area. Focusing on restoring and reproducing the base pond agriculture mode highly admired by FAO, the ecological agriculture area is typically bringing forth an ecological agriculture civilization well-known at home and abroad.
Inside the Paradise, there are plenty of mountains, flourishing forests and many base ponds, wherein a vivid ecological world is composed of 22 peaks and water area of a few hundred thousands sq.m., presenting a landscape of lakes and mountains contrasting finely with each other, bamboo sea and forests stretching endlessly, and therefore outlining a broad and profound ecological picture. When lingering inside it, you can realize an essence of recovering the nature, returning the nature and take the education of "loving the nature, enjoying the nature and protecting the nature".
There is a wide range of restaurants in Foshan, which are operated around the clock. Foshan people are always having tea either in the morning or in the afternoon. During teatime, the tea buildings are flooded with people. Both families and friends like to chat there for enjoyment, forming an exotic local repast culture.
Foshan's economy has traditionally been based on its handi-crafts?especially pottery, metal casting, silk weaving, and papercutting. The tradition of pottery making began in the village of Shiwan (which is practically an extension of Foshan) about 1,000 years ago. By the Tang Dynasty, Shiwan pottery was already fairly famous and, beginning in the 14th century, much of the ware began to be exported to Southeast Asia. However, Shiwan pottery did not acquire its distinctive characteristics until the early Qing Dynasty (1644?1911), when artisans concentrated on producing realistic animal and human figures.
Also about 1,000 years ago, the village of Nanpu (now a suburb of Foshan) developed the art of metal casting. Many of the bells, weapons, tripods, and statues produced by the early artisans are still to be seen in temples in the vicinity of Guangzhou. After 1949, the industry was modernized, and the metal casting factories around Foshan today produce tools and household hardware as well as artistic metalwork and re-productions of old decorative pieces.
Silk weaving became an important cottage industry during the Tang Dynasty. Local weavers were much in demand for their brocade and liangchou (gambiered silk gauze), a soft, light fabric which made the coolest and most comfortable garments for wear during south China's hot and humid summers.
The art of papercutting became a specialty of Foshan during the Ming Dynasty (1368?1644). Using only small, pointed scissors, Foshan's artisans turn out astonishingly intricate free hand designs, both large and small, that are framed as pictures or used to decorate lanterns and books.
Foshan, which "was founded in Jin Dynasty and was given the name in Tang Dynasty ", is a famous cultural city with a long history. As early as in Qin and Han dynasties, this was already a considerable inhabiting village of people engaging in agriculture and fishery.
At the Zhenguang Second Year of Tang Dynasty (A.D. 628), three Buddhist figurines were dug out at Tapogang in the city, hence the city was named ¡°Foshan¡±.
In the Tang Dynasty and Song Dynasty, Foshan was already famous for handicraft, commerce and culture, which was an important trade port in Southern China. In the Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty, it evolved into an economically developed town in Lingnan area, which together with Hankou Town in Hubei, Jingde Town in Jiangxi and Zhuxian Town in Henan were listed as Four Famous Towns in China. It was also the biggest commodities terminal, listed as one of the ¡°Four Terminals¡± (Beijing in North, Foshan in South, Suzhou in East and Hankou in West).
After establishment of the People's Republic of China, the Foshan City (Chancheng District) was set up on January 12, 1951. In 1958, the Foshan Administrative Region was established, governing 3 cities of Foshan, Jiangmen and Shiji and 13 counties like Zhongshan. In 1970 Foshan Administrative Region was renamed Foshan Prefecture, governing 14 counties (cities); In June 1983 the system of City Leading County (City) was implemented. Since 1985, the area under administration was totally transferred into the Pearl River Delta Economic Open Zone.
Foshan has be equipped with a comprehensive modern traffic network of roads, railways, airlines and river transport.
It is via Foshan that Guangzhou-Zhanjiang Railway gets connected to the national railway network. Available in Foshan Airport are flights to over 20 medium and large cities such as Beijing, Guilin, Hangzhou, Nanking, Jinan and Kunming. There are 16 outward ports, 4 (Shunde Port, Nanhai Port, Gaomig Port and Foshan Railway Station) of which are classified as grade-one. There are also 9 container wharves.
Recently, Foshan has developed a series of high profile and high grade tourist sites and vacationlands, such as Nanhai Kwan-yin Culture Park, Wang Daxian Fairyland, Baolin Temple in Shunde, Forest Park in Sanshui, Water Lily World, Southland Peach Park in Nanhai, CCTV's Screen and Video Town in Nanhai and Aiwen Education Farm in Gaoming, etc. Thus, Chancheng District has become a tourist attraction for the visitors from Zhujiang Delta, Hong Kong, Macao and Southeast Asia.
Transport in Foshan:
Guangzhou-Zhuhai, Guangzhou-Zhanjiang, Guangzhou-Zhaoqin, Guangzhou-Kaiping, Guangzhou-Sanshui speedways pass through its territori.
Foshan folk arts have unique features. Tens of artistic items like paper-cut, binding item, color lantern, Qiuse (including paper puff, sculpture, engraving, sticky brick and casting products), wood New Year pictures and paintings and handwritings, are made with the techniques of cutting, engraving, puffing, sculpting, casting, painting and sticking. The Foshan folk arts are popular among people for its local styles.
Shiwan Artistic Ceramics Co. Ltd
Shiwan's ceramics technique was shaped in Tang and Song Dynasty and flourished in Ming and Qing Dynasty. Therefore, owing to its history over one thousand years, it's compared to a precious flower in Chinese arts' history. The leader of Shiwan ceramics technique is Shiwan Artistic Ceramics Co.,Ltd,. The Company, founded in 1956 as a small factory producing only artistic pottery, has been developed into a large-scale modern enterprise engaged in the production of many products with "Red Lion" brand names, such as artistic ceramics, ancient garden ceramics, Spanish-type roof tile, western-style roof tile, stone-resembled tile, stone-porcelain tile, artistic garden tile, etc. Shiwan Artistic Ceramics Co.,Ltd, famous at home and abroad for its traditional Shiwan ceramics, has a professional team of designers, which are represented by 6 Chinese industrial arts masters. This company has inherited and developed the outstanding tradition of Shiwan ceramics techniques ranging from lively earthen figures and animals with thick and earthy ceramics glaze, to modern ceramics of plain, elegant and fresh patterns, thus forming its own unique artistic style and making Shiwan ceramics techniques extraordinarily splendid.
The artistic ceramics of Shiwan Artistic Ceramics Co., Ltd are divided into four types of figures, animals, micro-sculpts and daily utensils, of which the figure ceramics is granted the national Golden Medal in three consecutive times, the animal ceramics is granted the Hundred Flowers Medal and Silver Cup Medal, micro-sculpt and daily utensils are granted Quality Product Medal of Guangdong Province. Following the principle of "quality product is based upon elaboration", each piece of ceramics with "Red Lion" brand name is produced via six complicated procedures (including design, plaster molding, pouring slurry for figuration, amending cog, glazing and burning).
Xinghua Shopping Mall
Xinghua Shopping Mall is located in Zumiao Road, the most flourishing commercial street of Chancheng District. The sharp white building, the red Xinghua logo, and the shopping crowd coming and going, constitute a dazzling scene in Zumiao Road.
Xinghua Shopping Mall has a business area of over 18,100 square meters, involving in over 60,000 patterns and varieties of commodities. Inside the mall the first floor is for household electrical appliance, food supermarket, cosmetic, cigarette and wine, drug, medicinal materials and marine food products, the second floor is for daily-use articles, toys, leathers, shoes, jewelry and handicraft, the third floor is for knitting wear and textile, bedding articles, clock and watch, camera, stationery and sports articles, the fourth floor is a garment center with an area of 2,300 square meters, offering over 80 famous Chinese and foreign brand men's and women's fashion wear. Xinghua Restaurant at the fifth floor offers morning tea, lunch and supper service. Standard suites which are inexpensive but substantial, neat and comfortable with perfect functions are available at the sixth and seventh floors, facilitating guests from different areas. Xinghua Shopping Mall opened a choice product street by the mall in July 1999, promoting all kinds of novel and fashionable clothes and shoes to the crowd by franchise. Meanwhile, it developed the ''Milky Way Train'' game world at the second floor, providing abundant, healthy, excited and funny recreation facilities, which becomes a Stood place for both adult and children. Xinghua Shopping Mall has become a large size multifunctional commercial enterprise with an integration of shopping, recreation, restaurant and accommodation.
Located at the Baihai Plaza of the cross road of Zumial Road, Jianxin Road and City Door of Foshan. This complex building of 54 storeys is available with large-scale mall, first-class business offices, deluxe apartments, dining rooms and recreation halls, skyscraper, large-scale underground park, helipad, banks and sightseeing elevator highest in Asia, as well as companies engaged in business and administration and telecommunication networks. Therefore, it's not only a largest multifunctional commerce mansion integrating trading, housing, playing and purchasing, but also a landmark building of Chancheng District.
Nanhai City Mall
The total occupying area and building area of this plaza amounts to 130 thousands sq.m. and 100 thousands sq.m. respectively. This wide and grand plaza is the largest one in Foshan and Nanhai regions. And a fluid and streamline architectural design is adopted and is in conformity with a wide open-ended indoor shopping space, four theme grounds, 4 sunshine cortiles and a hydrophilic subtropical garden of 20 thousand sq.m.. Thus, it features beautiful indoor environment. The design of the Plaza has been focused on a worldwide design fashion of "leisurely shopping" in conjunction with first-class design notion and style stemming from Japan, the U.S. and Hong Kong, as well as local features. According to its business functions, the following business areas are available: foods, clothes, choice consumer goods, cosmetics, sports goods, medicines, gold headdress, eyeglass, watches, leather goods, caps and shoes, household electric appliances, hi-fi equipments, telecommunication facilities, household decorations, household furniture, screen and video electronic equipments, books, children's toys, children's entertainment facilities, etc. One leading trader (such international famous traders as Tai Makro, Mcdonald's and Kentucky, etc) is available with every functional area, where leisure, shopping, dinning, entertainment, sightseeing and performance are integrated so as to satisfy all-around requirements of the customers, forming a diversified and harmonized development momentum and providing to the people of Foshan and Nanhai a new leisurely shopping environment.
An unrivaled large-scale outdoor park of 30 thousands sq.m. (including 800 parking spaces) is available for 1000 private cars and 4000 motorcycles, thus providing not only a more free and comfortable driving and shopping environment, bust also a fashionable garden-style leisurely shopping environment.
According to unique local foods and tastes, Foshan people have created a wide range of dishes. For example, there are Foshan's Zhuhou Catsup, Shunde's Fengcheng (Daliang) Chaomai, all of which are famous far and near and appetizing.
There are many snacks available in Fosha, such as Foshan Pot-stewed Port Trotter, Daliang pheasant rolls, Daliang Bengsha, fried milk, shuangpi milk, Xiaofeng cake, Nanhai Yusheng, Dafu cake, Jiujiang Jiandui, Sanshui Gouzai duck, crystal ravioli, braised cake with bamboo shoots flavor, sugar-stewed cotton cake, Yingji Yuntun noodle, Number one Scholar's porridge, etc.
The origin of Zhuhou Catsup
It's said that over 100 years ago, there was a busy restaurant at Sanyuanli village nearby Zumiao Temple. There was a chef named as Liang Zhuhou, who was well experienced in cooking and therefore capable of cooking some unique dishes, especially meat dishes. In fact, Liang Zhuhou made dishes via an ingredient of self-produced catsup, other than bean paste traded in the market. Therefore, his dishes were appetizing, coupled with booming business. Afterwards, Liang Zhuhou himself dealt in a little restaurant, concurrently selling his catsup. With regard of the catsup's name, people called it Zhuhou Catsup. Since then, Liang Zhuhou devoted himself to this Catsup such that he intensively selected soybean, mix it with salt, sugar and gingili, etc, making it more appetizing. When Liang Zhuhou passed away, people adopted his unique processing method and develop it. Thus, Zhuhou Catsup was marketable to the country as Foshan's charactertistic dish.
Dexinzhai's Pot-stewed Trotter
In Qing dynasty, at the riverside of Fenjiang River of Foshan, there was an "Officer-Receiving Booth" (officers took by ship from/to Foshan in the past) as a resting-place. Nearby the Booth, there was a Deji Meat Shop. Usually, except for the fresh meat sold in the morning, other left meat were used to cook for passengers, therefore, no much more meat had been left everyday.
One dusk, when the owner of Deji Shop was to close the door, some office employees rushed here, saying that an officer would like to have dinner here and ordered the owner to cook some dishes immediately. The owner replied in haste: "all the meat have been sold out, what can we do for you respected officer?" One of the office employees roared: "our respected milord was waiting in the Booth, you have no other choice but cook some dishes." Then, the owner Yade had to immediately prepare. But where was the good food? He suddenly hit a way out of a predicament: no fresh meat but some pork trotter was available. Then, he started to make dishes by pork trotter. Normally, while selling meat, Yade collected the left meat scrap and pork trotter and marinate them in the salt or vinegar. In the case of incapability of buying fresh meat, the poor usually bought this kind of dish. Today, Yade cooked elaborately some dishes for the milord. Maybe the milord was very hungry, or he usually ate delicacies from land and sea. Anyhow, he tasted these delicious dishes unusual than before, and praised it. Then, he ordered Yade to come around, asked: "what's it?" Yade was afraid of being blamed, explained in haste: "Please don't be angry at me. Today, I have sold out all the meat but some marinated pork trotters." That officer thought it strange, said: "The pork trotter is so delicious? I would like to have a meal on it again if I pass by in the future." The officer took a look at the roadside, said: "This is the only way to follow, I've eaten your pork's hand(pork trotter compared to pork's hand), which is after my heart. Okay, you'd better call you shop as Dexinzhai" As if awakening from a dream, Yade got to understand that the port' trotter had not only helped him, but also been appreciated by the officer. Then, he changed the shop' name from Deji to Dexinzhai. Since then, he made every effort in processing the Pot-stewed Port Trotter, which was gradually more marketable and famous far and near.
Dragon Boat Race
In the ancient documents, the earliest record of dragon boat is in the ¡°Story of Mutianzi¡±. About origin of dragon boat, the most popular belief is that it resulted from the activity of memorizaliation of Chu poet Qu Yuan. On the fifth day of the fifth month in B.C. 278, the patriotic poet Qu Yuan, whose political propositions were not accepted and who was framed by some ville officers, sunk himself with hatred into Miluo River. The Chu people were sympathizing with him and one after another sailed on the river to save him. This legend gradually resulted in the Dragon Boat race, which evolved from the folk custom to official professional contest and finally formed the Dragon Boat Sports Culture.
During the dragon boat festival each year, in Foshan the dragon boat races will be held everywhere, when competitors will be sent by various villages. The beautiful and striking dragon boats are racing on the river, with the audience standing along the riverside, when the noises of gongs and drums as well as shouts can be heard everywhere.
Foshan is the origin of Cantonese Opera. At the end of Ming Dynasty and the beginning of Qing Dynasty, the Cantonese Opera was very prosperous in Foshan, where there was the ¡°Qionghua Assembly Hall¡±. Of all ages, a lot of famous persons and good operas came out of Foshan.
The Cantonese Opera is popular in Guangdong, south of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Hong Kong and Macao etc. In some places in Southeast Asia and Australia and America where there are overseas Chinese from Guangdong, the Cantonese Opera is also popular. In Southeast Asia there are artists of generations, fixed society, trade association and traditional performance places, such as ¡°Qing Wei Xin¡± in Singapore, ¡°Pu Chang Chun¡± in Kuala Lumpur, where many famous Cantonese Opera actors and actresses have been trained.
At the end of Ming Dynasty and the beginning of Qing Dynasty, Yiyang Tune and Kunshan Tune were introduced into Guangdong by ¡°Other Group¡±, and then there appeared Guangdong ¡°Local Group¡±, with the tune called ¡°Guang Tune¡±. Later, in the theatrical performances of ¡°Prime Minister of Six States¡±, ¡°Xianji Sending Son¡± and ¡°Eight Immotals Congratulating Birthday¡±, this tune was maintained. In Jiaqing and Daoguang periods of Qing Dynasty, the Gao Tune and Kun Tune gradually declined, then the ¡°Local Group¡± used the bangzi operas (referring to the tune near to the Han Tune Xipi and Qiyang Opera ¡°Beilu¡±) as the main tune. Later the Hui Group became increasingly important, and the ¡°Banghuang¡±(namely Xipi and Erhuang) as the basic tune. At the same time, partial Kun Tune, Yi Tune, Guang Tune and the Guangdong folk operas and tunes were absorbed, which finally resulted in Cantonese Opera. During the 1911 Revolution period, some patriotic artists, under influence of new operas of Chunliu Society (commonly called Civilized Opera), one after another organized ¡°Integrity Person Group¡±, who together with the workers and students conducted propaganda against Qing Dynasty, feudalism and imperialism, and created and performed operas like ¡°Wen Tianxiang Died the Country¡±. The words were simple and easy to understand, and the folk music was inserted into the ¡°Banghuang¡± Tune, and the falsetto was changed to ¡°real voice¡±. After repeated practice, all the words were performed in Guangzhou dialect. Around 1920, many Cantonese Opera maters performed in Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Macao, who were commonly called ¡°GD-HK Master¡±. They absorbed the partial artistic essence from drama, opera and film to enrich their own techniques. After establishment of the People's Republic of China, the infuence of capitalist commercialization was gradually eradicated, and the excellent tradtion was actively excavated and inherited. Meanwhile, the overall reformation has also been conducted in the artistic form, which has resulted in many excellent operas and a group of new artists.
As to the traditional Cantonese Operas, in the early times, there was ¡°Yi Peng Xue¡±. After 1868, there appeared ¡°Huang Hua Shan¡±; In the middl eof Guangxu period of Qing Dynasty, there appeared ¡°Shi Lin Ji Ta¡± etc. During the ¡°GD-HK¡± period, there appeared ¡°Ze Wang Zi¡±. Some influential operas include ¡°Pingui Bie Yao¡±, ¡°Fengyi Pavillion¡±, ¡°Zhao Zilong Urging Return¡±, ¡°Lotus Lantern¡±, ¡°West River Meeting¡±, ¡°Luo Cheng Letter¡± and modern opera of ¡°Changes in the Mountain Village¡±. Some operas have been made into films, such as ¡°Searching Academy¡± and ¡°Guan Hanqing¡± etc.
The basic tune of Cantonese Opera is ¡°Banghuang¡±, which also retains partial tune names of Yiyang Tune and Kun Tune as well as Guangdong folk tunes like Nanyin, Yueou, Muyu, Longzhou and Banyan etc, plus the folk songs, musics, modern songs and canzonets. The roles of the Cantonese Opera originally included 10 roles, namely Mo, Sheng, Dan, Jing, Chou, Wai, Xiao, Fu, Tian and Za, which were reduced to ¡°Six Pillars¡±, namely Wenwusheng, Xiaosheng, Zhengyinhuadan, Erbanghuadan, Chousheng, and Wusheng.
The performance arts of Guangodng Opera maintain the bold and simple features of the early ¡°Guoshan Group¡±. Many famous actors and actresses had the unique skills of single foot, somersault, stropping, stepping silts, moving eyes, throwing hair and artificial whiskers. The acrobatic fighting is based on ¡°Southern Wushu¡±, including strong target, Hand Bridge, Shaolin Boxing and extremely difficult chair skill and high platform skill. The famous actors included Erhualian Li Wenmao, who jointed Taiping Heavenly Kingdom uprise and called himself Pingjing King after establishment of ¡°Dacheng State¡±, Kuang Xinhua, who established Cantonese Opera Trade Association ¡°Bahe Society¡±. The period from 20s~ 40s of the 20th century was called ¡°Xue-Ma Competition¡± Period, when the Wenwusheng Xue Juesian and Chousheng Ma Shizeng had contributed much to reformation of Cantonese Opera. They two as well as Xiaosheng Bai Jurong and Xiaowu Gui Mingyang were called ¡°Four Masters¡± or ¡°Five Schools¡± (plus Liao Huaixia, who performed Chou role). After mixing group of male and female, the Shanghai Girl created the special singing method for female role in Cantonese Opera, which is represented by Hong Xian Nu. Meanwhile, Luo Pingchao, Wen Juefei and Chen Xiaofeng from Guangzhou and Xin Ma Shizeng, He Feifan and Lin Jiasheng from Hong Kong all have their own advantages, influential in the Cantonese Opera.
Foshan Municipal Museum
Foshan Municipal Museum, established in1958, is located in Foshan Zu Temple. The Zu Temple area, where the Museum is located, has an area of 18476 square meters, including building area of 4750 square meters, 7 exhibition places of 2230 square meters and cultural relics warehouse of an area of 192 square meters. The is a collection of 10183 cultural relics, including 6815 third grade cultural relics, 288 second grade cultural relics and 10 first grade cultural relics. In 1994, the Museum invested RMB500,000 in reinforcing cultural relics maintenance and environment reconstruction, repairing the Bell Tower, Wanfu Platform and Qingzhen Tower, with one casting and one weaving stone sculptures at the front of the Museum. In the Museum are displayed with ancient building units, the stone engraved brim and girders, as well as ¡°Lion Rolling Silk Ball¡±, ¡°Pine & Crane¡±, ¡°Wealth and Rank¡± and ceramic figure tiles, which protect the cultural relics and offer views for tourists.
Foshan Folk Art Research Institute
Foshan was one of the four famous ancient towns in China for its flourishing handicraft industry both at home and on abroad. According to the legend, its highly skilled folk art started in Ming Dynasty. It is rich in local characters and enjoys good reputation.
The folk art has a great variety including paper-cut, tying, coloured lantern, New Year`s paintings on wood block, paintings and calligraphy and autumn colour consisting of paper laminating, sculpture, carving, adhering and casting etc. They are deeply loved by people for its strong local characters.
Foshan Folk Art Research Institute was set up by the government in 1956. It is a special institution for researching, inheriting and developing Foshan traditional folk art. The institute has received many Chinese and foreign high officials, government delegations, and exchanges cultural experience with famous scholars, celebrated and artists. All of them set a high appraise to artistic achievement of the institute.
In past years, the institute has held many different artistic exhibitions and festive celebration in Australia, America, Europe, Africa, South-east Asia, Hongkong, Macao, Taiwan and other place. The masters of the institute have been invited to give artistic lectures or skilled performance.
In the celebration of 97 Hongkong Return, the institute designed and made the biggest coloured lanterns boat in its history (The big boat is 48m long, 3m wide and 18m high; the small one is 16m long, 5m wide and 10 high ). The celebration became the interested points of the world because of its having strong national characteristics. The coloured dragon lantern made by the institute was collected in Guinness World Records.
Foshan Attractive points:
Foshan Zumiao Temple
The Zumiao Temple is located in Chancheng District proper of Guangdong, which was built in 1078-1085 for offering sacrifice to Northern Xuantian Heavenly Emperor, so it was called ¡°Beidi Temple¡±. The original building was destroyed in the end of Yuan Dynasty and was rebuilt in 1372. As it ¡°experienced long history and is the first of temples in Foshan¡±, so it was called ¡°Zumiao Temple¡±. In 1962 it was determined as the Guangdong Provincial Key Cultural Relic Protection Unit, under administration of Foshan Municipal Museum.
Zumiao Temple has a floorage of 3500 square meters, consisted of Wanfu Platform, Lingying Memorial Archway, Jinxiang Pool, Bell-Drum Tower, Sanmen, Antetemple, Main Temple, and Qingzhen Tower. Before establishment of local administrative organization in Qing Dynasty, Zumiao Temple was the place for discussing official businesses, which was different from general temples. Its buildings and even the decorations and furnishings were contributied by various industries, which were mainly locally produced. Foshan is a historically famous for casting and ceramic making, with the products presented in Zumiao Temple. The workmansip of the buildings reflect the prosperity of ancient Foshan. It is a precious historic legacy of Foshan. Therefore, the foreign visitors praise Zumiao Temple was the Place of Eastern Folk Art.
Located at the eastern subborb (now the city proper) of Foshan, it is also called ¡°Donglin Yongcui¡±, one of the Eight Views in Foshan. The original owner of the garden was a giant metallergic businessman with the family name of Xie, who owned mines in Gaozhou, financiall powerful. His family repaired the garden for several generations. Till the Ming Dynasty, it became the number one of the eight views in Foshan. The whole garden was about one square kilometer, with a lake in the garden, a pavilion in the center of the lake, connected to the bank by a rainbow bridge. The water in lake was clear, with fishes visible. The lake bank was connected to lotus pools. The lake banks were also planted with fruit trees. In the garden, there were many fairy stones in the bamboos. The big and small yards were connected with meandering paths. At the north lawn there was a small garden fenced with rails, where deers and water birds were playing and swimming. There was a small creek leading the lake to the Dongping River. Outside the bamboos was the riverbank with pillow trees. Beside the riverbank was garden for shooting. The offersprings of Xie had lived around the bamboos from Song Dynasty to Qing Dynasty for six to seven centuries. This is a famous view in Lingnan. The Donglin Garden doesn't exist nowadays, and there is only a stone plaque inscribed ¡°Donglin Ancient Site¡±.
Donghua Street, located in Chancheng District, is a typical Qing Dynasty residential building group in Foshan, which is 112m long, with a decorated archway at the ground. The residential buildings at the two sides of the street are aligned orderly, with uniform structure.
Jingtang Metal Smelting Site
The Jingtang Metal Smelting Site is the clinker combination, in cone shape, about 30cm high. It is located at the northeast site about 50-60m away from the Foshan Jingtang Temple Futu Palace. Under the ground at this place as well as the original Tapochan Temple, there are a lot of waste residues of cast molds and mass pig iron scraps, with thickness of 60cm to 1m etc. Tapochan Temple was built in Ming Dynasty Chongzhen period. Before establishment of this temple, this land was no longer used for metal smelting. The metal smelting industry flourished in the early time of Ming Dynasty or even earlier.
Nimogang Metal Smelting Site
The Nimogang Metal Smelting Site is in Foshan Municipal Museum, which is resulted from pileup of waste molds. In Qing Dynasty, the hillock was planted with mulberry trees, so this place was also called Sanggang. It is a metal smelling site in Foshan dated back to the years before Ming Dynasty, where the cast mold is as thick as more than 160cm. In 1980, some pieces of writing were unearthedhere, one of which is about the Jiajing annual money.
The Confucian Temple is located in the Zumiao Temple, which was formerly called Honoring Confucius Union. It was built in 1901 by a group of local gentries who honored Confucius, which was meant to be memorial building for honroing Confucius, without following the system of general temple. The original building was consisted of Confucius Palace, Entertainment Room, Conference Room, pavilion and lotus pool garden, with an area of 2000 square meters. Nowadays only the Confucius Places exists. This building has an area of approximate 300 square meters. In the shrine in this palance is set with ¡°Confucius Stone Sculpture¡±, which was following the Confucius Stone Sculpture in Qubu Confucius Temple in Shandong. On the left and right walls aer embedded with the stone inscriptions of ¡°Confucius Temple Tablet¡±, which was copied from the handwriting of Yu Shinan, a famous calligraphist of Tang Dyansty. On the wall there is also the preface and postscript by Weng Fenggang. The inscriptions were originally treasured in Li Keqiong ¡°Seventy-Two Window Tower¡±. In the Palce there is also a big engraved hard wood partition board screen, elegant and refined. The granite pillars at the front of the Palace are also atrractive. In 1981, in cooperation with the opening of Zu Temple, the Municipal Government appropriated money to repair and restore the Palace. Then the left and right walls in the Palace were decorated with six sets of brick engravement ornaments collected from Foshan ¡°Li's Ancestral Temple¡±. The shrine and the appearance surrounding were restored and the garden was enlarged, added with ¡°Foshan Stone Tablets Corridor¡±, ¡°Foshan Bell Corridor, ¡°Guluo Orchid¡± memorial archway and stone engravement of Qiling of Ming Dynasty. With the bridges and pavilions as well as meandering paths and corridor, plus trees and flowers, it has become a charming place. In consideration of its historic, architectural and artistic values, in 1984 it was assessed as the Municipla Grade Cultural Relic Protection Unit. In 1990, the Municipal Government appropriated RMB260,000 to replace the corridor pillar of Confucius Temple that were damaged by white ants, and restored the pillars according to the original appearance.
Renshou Temple, built in 1935, is located at Zumiao Temple Road, Chancheng District. It was a place for the buddists of Foshan and the area nearby for abstention. In 1938, Xuyun Great Monk took charge of opening the Ruyi Pagoda, a unique seven-layer eight-corner Chinese style pagoda, inlaid with Tibetan words. The ceramic red and green Dumu budda figure was the work of Shiwan Guanhua kiln, molded by famous expert of Pan Yushu.
In December 1993, Foshan People's Government officially dispatched document to approve restoration of Renshou Temple as an open Buddhism place.
According to the requirements of the Municipal Government and the relevant policies and laws of the state, the Municipal Buddism Association jointly with the Religion Bureau formed ¡°Restoration Renshou Temple Organizing Committee¡± to take charge of the whole restoration and invited Zhao Puchu, the Chairman of National Buddhism Association as the Honorary Director and Advisor of Organizing Committee. The Renshou Temple after restoration remains original characteristics. It is under charge of Great Monk appointed by Guangdong Buddhism Association.
Nanfeng Ancient Furnace
The Nanfeng Furnace was built in 1506-1521, a rare furnace with a history of more than 400 years that is still in use for making ceramics. Nowadays it is the Guangdong Key Cultural Relic Unit. According to the historical record, Foshan ceramic base formed in Tang and Song dynasties, which reached its peak in Ming and Qing dynasties. ¡°The ceramic products of Shiwan are popular in Guangdong and Guangxi as well as in other areas¡±, which had won the reputation of ¡°Shiwan tile is the best in the world¡±. The mouth of Nanfeng Furnace is toward the south. At the back of the furnace, there were many banyan trees, which brought cool wind in summer, so the furnace was called ¡°Nanfeng Furance¡±. The Nanfeng Furnace fire burns for continuous five hundred years, blending the spirit of the modern times into the ancient ceramic culture.
Nanhai Kang Youwei Former Residence
Located in Danzo Town, Nanai, the former residence of Kang Youwei, the leader of Reformation movement at the end of Qing Dynasty, which is consisted of one hall, two corridors and two bedrooms, with an area of 81 square meters, dignified and unsophisticated.
Lianfeng Academy is located at the sice of Fengning Temple of Shiwan, built in Kangxi period. It was originally a place for learning, later the place for meeting by the country gentlemen. One of the ancient six views in Shiwan, ¡°Lianfeng Day Fair¡±, was the fair in front of the gate of this Academy, which was once prosperous.
¡°Qiu Se¡± (Autumn Scene), means the scene of harvest. ¡°Foshan Qiu Se¡± is the name for the ancient artistic activities in Foshan, a collective of Foshan traditional arts.
As early as in the Ming Dyasnty, in order to celebrate harvest, at the end of harvest in Autumn, the Foshan residents would use the leftover materials of handcraft industry such as paper, remnant cloth, silk, glue, wax, ceramic mud, bamboo and agricultural by products such as pods, soybeans, fish scale, fruits, and radish etc to make imitation cooper and iron awares, imitation ceramic curios, imitation flowers, birds, and fishes and fruits etc with the techniques of binding, pasting, paper folding, carving, paper-cut, sculpting and pouring, which have contributed to the unique styles of ¡°Foshan Qiu Se¡± that mix the false with the genuine. The Qiu Se also includes color lantern binding, flower vehicle, makeup shapes and various performances and folk music etc.
In the autumn evenings each year, the residents would take the handcrafts and various programs to particitpate in the shows, which gradually formed the Foshan Qiu Se Contest full of local sytels. The Foshan residents call it ¡°Chu Qiu Se¡±. At the date of contest, the whole town of Foshan would turn out for the activity, which was an unprecedented event.
The Qiu Se is also called ¡°Qiu Xiao¡± and ¡°Qiu Jing¡±, which is the particular large folk cultural entertainment activity in Foshan. In the past the Qiu Se was always held in the night of Autumn of harvest, which was divided into seven categorie, including Lantern Scene, Vehicel Scene, Horse Scene, Ground Scene, Water Scene, Floating Scene and View Scene. In Yong Le period of Ming Dynasty, various fine handcraft articles were developed, which were shown in the form of parade. Meanwhile, the performances of Dragon Dance, Lion Dance, Shifan and Gong-Drum cabinet were used for adding to the fun. Year after year, the techniques became more and more superb, and the size became bigger and bigger.
Spring Festival Night Flower Market
¡°Walking On the Flower Street¡± is the folk custom of the people of Pearl River Dela that has a long history. The flower market will start three days before the Spring Festival. The New Year's Eve is the climax of flower market, when huge crowds of people will surge to the street. The fresh flowers contain the implication of unusual luck and realization of great ideals.