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Bamboo in Chinese Culture

Bamboo

China is not only famous for its national treasure, the giant pandas, but also the giant panda’s staple food -- bamboo. The Chinese love bamboo, and bamboo culture has been rooted in their minds for a long time. To the Chinese people, bamboo is a symbol of virtue. It reflects people’s souls and emotions.

The history of Chinese people planting and using bamboo can be traced back 7,000 years. As early as the Shang Dynasty (16th-11th century B.C), bamboo was already used in various aspects of ancient Chinese people’s daily lives. It was used for food, clothing, housing, transportation, music instruments and even weapons. Before the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220) when paper was invented, strips of bamboo had been used as the most important writing medium more widely used other materials, such as silk, animal furs and rocks. China’s first books were crafted from bamboo strips on string. Thus bamboo played an important part in the daily life of ancient Chinese people, and its role as a writing medium helped keep history records and traditional Chinese culture for us to study today.

In traditional Chinese culture, bamboo is a symbol of Oriental beauty. It represents the character of moral integrity, resistance, modesty and loyalty. It also stands as an example of loneliness and elegance, among others. This value becomes one of the major themes in Chinese painting, calligraphy and poetry. For thousands of years, generations of artists praised bamboo in the name of this spirit.

One of the "Four Gentlemen", Bamboo earns its name since ancient times.To the Chinese people, bamboo is a symbol of virtue. It reflects peoples souls and emotions.


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