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Jingzhou has a profound historical culture, which nurtured Chu culture, Three Kingdoms culture, Guan Yu culture, etc., inheriting the extremely rich heritage of folk cultural relics.
Cultural relics before Chu culture's formation
[The origin of Jingzhou] the scope of area covered by Jingzhou in the prehistoric age has been recorded in the geography of the earliest writings -- built in about Warring States Period – named Yu Gong. According to this book, we know that Jingzhou was one of the nine states in Da Yu Period: “Jing and Hengyang belong to Jingzhou”, and this means north from Jing Mountain of Nanzhang region in Hubei Province, south to the vast areas south of Hengshan Mountain in Hunan Province are in the scope of ancient Jingzhou. In another word, it mainly includes hodiernal Hubei and Hunan provinces. In the view of history, seen by the ancients, “Jing” and “Chu” could not be separated. Since the Chu Zi (the king of Chu State is viscount) had been swarmed within the area of ancient Jingzhou, as a result, people of Chu were called “Jing Ren” or “Jing Man (as a derogatory name)” in the books of the pre-Qin period; the Chu State also was called “Jing State”. In the inscriptions on ancient bronze objects of the Western Zhou Dynasty, Chu people who had been repeatedly against the central dynasty time were called “Chu Jing” or “Fan Jing (as traitors)”. In recent years, in archaeological excavation of the prehistoric era in Jingzhou and the surrounding areas, there are two inscriptions on potteries. The word writing style is very similar with that in the inscriptions on bronze of the Western Zhou Dynasty, so we regard them as the earliest origin of word “Jing”.
[Jingzhou in prehistoric age] the Old Stone Age (Three million years ago to ten thousand years ago) is a time that human made and used chipped stone tool. Few Paleolithic sites are found in Jingzhou urban, and the most famous one is Jigongshan Paleolithic site, located in about five kilometers north of the ancient Jingzhou city. It has an area of about 1000 square meters, on a small earth hummock of the south bank of Miao Lake (part of Chang Lake). Here we found ancient human remains and stone-working farm residence which have a 40~50 thousand years of history. Jigongshan Paleolithic site has clear-cut stratigraphic relationships, rich cultural relics, clear relic relationship; especially the disclosing of hominids living monuments and stone-working farm are the earliest Paleolithic relics of ancient human activities in the plains region discovered in China up to now. Since this, the discovery of Jigongshan Paleolithic site was named one of the top ten archaeological discoveries in 1992. The site was approved by the State Council as the fourth installment of the Nationwide Key Cultural Relics Protection Unit in 1992. The Neolithic Age (ten thousand years ago to four thousand years ago) was the time human made and used polished stone implements. The Neolithic Age in Jingzhou can be departed into three stages with inheritance and development of mutual relations as Daxi culture, Qujialing culture and Shijiahe culture. There are over 50 places of the Neolithic Age within Jingzhou city, which are mainly located on the downland near rivers or lakes. Some famous ones among them are the ancient city Yinxiangcheng, the ancient city Zoumaling, the ancient city Jimingcheng, etc.
[The Culture of Shang Dynasty] The culture relics of Shang Dynasty in Jingzhou includes Zhouliang Jade Bridge relic, Guandi relic, Meihuai Bridge relic, Jingnan relic and Cenghe Miaoxing Bagutai relic. Among them, mass of sacrificial pits have been discovered as “human pit”, “bronze brass pit” and “fire pit” the tree kinds. When discovering, one complete human skeleton was found in a pit. According to the custom of Shang, the sacrificial victim may be a slave. In the Meihuai Bridge pit, lots of cattle, sheep, pigs and other animal bones have been found, which means the people in Shang Dynasty had developed animal husbandry. In Miaoxing Bagutai relic and Zhouliang Jade Bridge relic, copper slag has been found and followed by a number of large bronze sacrificial vessels. The discovery and excavation indicates that the Jingzhou businessman lived a sedentary life with a large population; Witchcraft was prevailing by people; slavery was pursued; they had rather developed animal husbandry and bronze industry which could basically meet the needs of people's lives.
Cultural Relics in Chu cultural Development Period
[Jinan City the capital of Chu State] Jinan City is also called “Jiying” as the mountains in the south. Old Haunt locates in 5 kilometers north of the city Jingzhou today. It used to be the largest urban construction in Chu Dynasty, also the center of southern China in aspects of political, economic and culture of the Warring States period; it is the witness of Jianghan's dominating on southern in the history. Jinan City has experienced the vicissitudes of life, but is still well preserved, enjoying the fame as "Southland's superlative area". In 1961, it was released by the State Council as a national key cultural relic protection unit. Mr. Guo Moruo wrote the words "Chu Jinan Gucheng ” for mark protection. Jianghan City relic is the capital of Chu State in its strong period as well as the center of politics, economy, military and culture, with important value on history, art and scientific research.
[The Culture and Art in Chu State]
The Song of Chu
The Songs of Chu is also called as “the Qu poem”, including 25 chapters as “Lisao”, “Jiuge”, “Tianwen”, “Jiuzhang”, “Yuanyou”, “Buju” and “Yufu” (all the names of the poems in The Song of Chu). In the poems, the poet's emotion for the missing and loyalty table white words can be seen everywhere. The Song of Chu is a milestone in the history of Chinese poetry, revered by literati; it is an autobiographical lengthy political lyrics by Qu Yuan himself, as well as the unique unparalleled opus among Chinese ancient lyrics, a remarkable piece of writing in line with the saying “no before or since”. Besides Qu Yuan's outstanding talent and a strong passion and painful experience, north-south cultural and academic ideas exchanges and integration of the Warring States Period shall also be the reasons for the great work.
The Folk Song of Chu State
Jingchu area in Shang and Zhou Dynasties was just developed from the primitive society soon, as everywhere exuded a mysterious flavor; the people there had a faith of ghosts and gods; what's more, they were seriously affected by the witchery culture of Shang Dynasty. As a result the mysterious atmosphere with might redoubled to make “witchcraft respected” a significant cultural characteristics of Chu State. The “witchcraft respected” had cultivated a generation after generation of folk singers, spreading a song of folk songs; the all sorts of strange things of myth, also provided inexhaustible singing content for Chu folk songs. The folk custom that every thing should be done following a sacrifice finally built the national personality “Chu's beauty of singing”. Chu State's folk songs can be divided into labor songs, ritual songs, love songs and political songs. Literary and artistic characteristics of Chu folk songs are mainly the use of a large number of dialects, usually seven - character poems; anatomically use repeated words and sentences; metaphors and analogies also are widely used. From the song of “two Nan” in the West Zhou Dynasties to The Song of Chu of the Spring and Autumn period, from the xianghe song of Han Dynasty folks, through the Nan Dynasty Yueh-fu's Xiqu Song to Zhuzhi Song in Tang and Song Dynasties, all them above build the rounded system in the history of the Folk song development – system of the song of Chu. It occupies an important part in China's folk song history, coexisting with the system of the song of Wu and competing with each other. The system of the song of Chu not only complies with the trend of China's folk song as Four-word Poem -- Miscellaneous Poems – Five-word Poem -- seven-word Poem, but also adds fuel to the fire; its historical achievements will shine forever in the history of Chinese literature.
Architecture and Sculpture Art of Chu State
The Chu construction, especially the palace construction, whether in the form, or in the construction technology, are extremely advanced, and its advancement is synchronous with the development of Chu State. The excellence of their architecture expresses in: ability and insight contained in the site selection; create in a distinctive way; exquisite shape with excellent decoration. Chu carving art is specific reflection of material and cultural progress's development, also the symbol of the rich spiritual culture. Yet carving art is an embodiment of Chu people's hand craft, but it relates to every part of them to be an extremely complex and varied topic. It contains Chu State's pottery, bronze, lacquered wood, jade and other aspects of sculpture, even the engraving art on the buildings shall be included into this scope. Seen from the mass of lacquer wares discovered in Chu tombs, the carpentries occupy a range from the middle of the Spring and Autumn Period to the Warring States Period with complete types and excellent sculpture to be a great characteristic of Chu culture or Chu art. Along with the development of productive forces and the change of people's consumption concept, aesthetic sense and ethical pursuit, a lot of paint carpentries gradually went into the nobility and even the civilian life, building a new formation of the lacquer culture. This is also another important point mark of Chu culture to be different from other ones.
The Relics in Chu culture's Circulation Period
[Qin tombs and Qin bamboo slips] In B.C.278, the Qin general Bai Qi destroyed Ying City and Jinan City became ruins. These places have been the ideal graveyard for Qing and Han people who lived in Lantau Peak in the southeast of Jinan. At present, near 500 medium and small tombs of Qin have been discovered in Jingzhou; the age of them includes the late Warring States and Qin, just the period BC278 Bai Qi destroyed Ying City and set Nan Country. Most of the tombs are vertical soil pits, only a few of grotto ones, with uncased mounds and tomb passages. The tombs are filled of tesselated soil and streaky green stucco, burial appliances as wooden coffin, followed by Chu. Some tombs have two-layer tables and quadrangle feet-added pits, showing the feature of Qin Dynasty. From the analysis of the overall cultural features of these tombs, they were influenced by the Qin culture deeply; the main characteristics of the tombs are basically the same with that of Qin Guanzhong area, but still have some influence of Chu culture, formed the cultural characteristics of Qin grave in Hubei area, while have some differences with that of Guanzhong and other areas of Qin. Qin bamboo slips is a broad concept, including the Qin bamboo slips of the Warring States period, also the Qin bamboo slips. In 1975, Yunmeng Shuihudi, Hubei province had first found the Qin bamboo slips, and since that, there have been eight batches of Qin bamboo slips unearthed in succession till now. Among them, Jingzhou occupies 4 of the total. Because of the historical reason, there are some limitations in content, but the information provided to us is obviously extensive, as well as the data are also very rare. To sum up, the contents of Qin bamboo slips include legal documents, language books and letters, the way to be an official and government affairs, chronicles and calendar, date book, prescriptions, reversion, etc.
[Han graves and Han bamboo slips] The Gaotai tomb is located in the southeast corner of the ancient Chu Jinan, originally being a construction platform in the Warring States period. After BC278 the Qin general Bai Qi destroyed Ying City, Jinan became ruins to be graveyard for Qing and West Han people. Excavation work started in March 28, 1993, lasting more than five months, and the results are total 45 graves including 44 of Qin and Han dynasties, 1 of the Northern and Southern Dynasties. Among the discovered graves, 38 of them have burial objects containing 255potteries, 94 bronzes, 793 lacquered devices, jade, 25 pieces of other miscellaneous ones, and wooden slips, bamboo and other written materials. Especially the 4 pieces of square wooden slips and 53 slips have important meaning on the study of early Han relevant political and economic systems. The Lantau Peak locates in the southeast of Chu Jinan City in the Eastern Zhou period, about 5 km in the south to ancient Jingzhou, and under the jurisdiction of Jinan Town in Jingzhou City. In the Mid-1970s, archaeological workers of Hubei Province with the relevant units of the National Archaeological conducted discovery in Jinan, and found over 20 graves of Qin and Han dynasties. Lantau Peak No. 168 grave is one of the results. The work started on March 30, 1975, lasting 82 days, and over 500 pieces of burial objects and a well-preserved body of a man were found, as a remarkable thing in New China Field Archaeology. Especially the discovery of male body, it is regarded as an important find after the cadaver in Changsha Mawangdui of West Han Dynasty, providing valuable information for pathological study of Chinese history. Zhang Jiashan is a hill located in the outside place 1.5 km to the west of Jingzhou, with many distributions of Eastern Zhou and Han Dynasty tombs. From 1983 December to 1984 January, Jingzhou Museum excavated five tombs. Bamboo slips discovered over 2000 pieces include: Calendar, Two Years Laws and Decrees, Admonishing Book, Gailu, Mai Book. Yin book, Count Book, etc. these make us know things from the different aspects of social and ideological situation in the early Han Dynasty, and further more, the origin of some papers or books can dated back to the Qin Dynasty and Early Qin Dynasty as preciousness.
Culture of Three Kingdoms
[The Fighting of Three Kingdoms] when talking about the three kingdoms, people think about Jingzhou; when on Jingzhou, we think about the counter. In the three kingdoms period, Jingzhou was the focus they contended and the Jingzhou fighting was the key determining the fate of state as being departed or united. From the establishing of tree kingdoms to the reunification of the whole state, there had been no stop in the fighting on Jingzhou's affiliation. Many popular stories like“Liu Bei take advantage of Jingzhou”“Guan Yu defend the Jingzhou”“Lv Meng attack the Jingzhou”are all happened in Jingzhou. The condition of Jingzhou fighting could concern the ebb and flow of the three tripartite forces and the course of the history of three kingdoms. Some widely-spread stories like Battle of the Red Cliff, Battle of Yiling and Guanyu attacked Xiangfan in north and lost Jingzhou, etc. all happened around Jingzhou. The historical literary classics Romance of Three Kingdoms used a lot of words to vividly depict the fighting in Jingzhou; the 120 sections of book have 2/3 part for description of Jingzhou directly or indirectly. The three kingdoms and Jingzhou have deep relationship. And the special relationship is built by the specific social and historical conditions as well as the important condition of Jingzhou itself. Wei, Shu, Wu made fierce battle around Jingzhou's affiliation , which was the basic element of the building of special relationship. Jingzhou in the Han Dynasty included the current Hubei, Hunan the two whole provinces, Nanyang basin in Henan, marginal areas of Guandong, Guangxi and Guizhou, which is equal with the ancient Jingzhou. It owned 7 prefectures: south prefecture, Jiangxia, Nanyang, Wuling, Changsha, Lingling and Guiyang. In Hanxiandi Period, the Zhangling prefecture had been separated from the Nanyang prefecture and the total number increased to 8. Then people called it as “hundreds of cities and the eight prefectures”. Jingzhou in Han had a great area with Yangtze River as natural line of defense in front, Jingxiang Gate and Han River as hinder in back, Three Gorges as danger in west, connection to Wu State and Yue State in east; the terrain was strategically located and difficult of access; could attack and defend; enjoyed a higher level of economic and social development and ample quartermaster for reliable conduct operation provisions. It was a pivotal strategic, being valued by Three Kingdoms' statesman and strategist.
[Zhuge Liang's love of Jingzhou]
The Root of Life
Zhuge Liang was born in Yangdu, Langxie Country, Xuzhou. His parents died in his childhood, and when he was 14-year-old, his uncle Zhuge Xuan went for the official post in Yuzhang while soon was demoted; his uncle went to Jingzhou, seeking for Liu Biao's help, followed by Zhuge Liang, brother Zhuge Jun and two sisters together. In AD 197, Zhuge Xuan passed away; the 17-year-old Zhuge Liang moved to Longzhong, Deng Country, Nanyang, and lived a life companied by farming and reading. This life ended till 27-year-old being invited by Liu Bei. During the ten years, he had exchanged views and also extended the influence by widely making friends, which built foundation for the recommending by Sima Hui and Xu Shu to Liu Bei; Through marital relations, he consolidated his position in Jingzhou intellectual circle. It is Jingzhou the place with long local-culture and fertile ground for talent that makes the excellent bright star in the river of history, as well as an outstanding statesman and military strategist in the Three Kingdoms period. Jingzhou shall be regarded as the second hometown of Zhuge Liang, also the root of his growth. Except the politicians vision, the reason he praised and attached importance to this place may be the love of home. And this is the difference between Zhuge Liang and other celebrities in the Three Kingdoms period.
The Shining Field
Zhuge Liang farmed in the field while held a high aim; compared himself with Guan Zhong and Yue Yi (both talents), boasting an ability of governing the country; he looked forward to the day realizing his aspirations. In the winter AD 207,Liu Bei repeatedly request Zhuge Liang and finally met him by perseverance. Zhuge Liang made analysis of the world situation, and took famous Longzhong strategy for him at the first contact. He had the condition at his fingertips, talking a strategically advantageous position which was penetrating and deeply. After Zhuge Liang's taking position with Liu Bei, he showed an outstanding talent in the fight of Jingzhou. In the autumn AD208, Cao Cao attacked Jingzhou, and Liu Bei removed to the south and finally turned to Xiakou, being in a serious condition. At that time, Zhuge Liang pleaded on his behalf to Liu Bei for going to kingdom of Wu to convince Sun Quan for the resistance against Cao Cao. The famous Battle of Red Cliff would not neither happen without the successful persuading, nor the birth of the Three Kingdoms. After the battle of Red Cliff, Zhuge Liang used his full ability to help Liu Bei, building the base in Jingzhou by first gaining the four countries in Jiangnan, and then making strategy of fighting with Zhou Yu thought Jingzhou. All these show his outstanding sagacity. We can say that Zhuge Liang is Liu Bei's benefactor for turning the corner and standing firmly in Jingzhou.
The Reason of Success or Failure
In Zhuge Liang's overall strategy, Jingzhou has a very important position. AD211, Liu Bei and Pang Tong went to the west in Yizhou, while Zhuge Liang, Guan Yu, Zhang Fei and Zhao Yun were left in Jingzhou for protection. The Liu Bei power's value-attention on Jingzhou can tell the vital importance of this place, as well as the intentions cherished of Zhuge Liang. AD214, it came to the key to success when Liu Bei taking Yizhou. He ordered Zhuge Liang and others entering in Sichuan as soon as possible with Guan Yu left in Jingzhou. It was a difficult action to leave Jingzhou for Zhuge Liang. The determination that Guan Yu protected Jingzhou and other reasons mixed made by Liu Bei had led the final failure: Jingzhou was lost and the plan that Zhuge Liang would send troops in two directions Jingzhou and Yizhou was broken. Even Zhuge Liang racked his brains for the country, attacked Wei State for five times, but he had not done the successful attack into central area from the north as well as rebuilding Han Dynasty. Losing Jingzhou and the expected result, Zhuge Liang had a bad end in his love of Jingzhou, which is his biggest regret. Fortunately, this can not cover his unparalleled glory through the whole life time.
The Culture of Guan Yu
The emotion between Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei has been judged as the Chinese traditional friendly sentiments in the view of ethical ideas. And it is mainly reflected on Guan Yu, which has been the key point of Guan Yu Culture. Guan Yu cultural phenomenon derived by the Three Kingdoms culture is a great cultural characteristics mixed by the Three Kingdoms culture and Chinese traditional culture, as well as one single feature of the Three Kingdoms culture built in Jingzhou. Guan Yu had protected Jingzhou for 10 years, which is his memorable event through life, while it is the mournful reason for his death.
[The Historic Feat of Jingzhou Protection, Showing the Heroic Spirit of Guan Yu]
During the period Guan Yu protecting Jingzhou, the three political groups Cao, Liu and Sun were battling frequently, and the three kingdoms condition formally was formed. The fights were intense and complex. AD208 Battle of the Red Cliff had made the foundation of the three feet condition, and the true establishment was done after Liu Bei's gaining of Jingzhou. This was the flag of basic establishment of the three feet; the loss of Jingzhou was the mark of stabilization of the condition. As a result, Guan Yu's protection of Jingzhou happened in the key period of the Three Kingdoms' first establishment. At that time, Jingzhou was occupied by Cao, Liu and Sun, and they had bordering territory with mass of battles; the defensive situation was very grim. The struggle was in serious situation, Guan Yu had protected Jingzhou for a certain time to stabilize Liu Bei group's important base area. Since that, Liu Bei group had made the attacking to Yizhou in the west and Hanzhong in the center, rising rapidly in the three powers to be a strong one. If there was no Guan Yu's protection, there would not be a successful promotion to the west by Liu Bei group, nor the establishment of afterwards Shu-Han regime. Guan Yu had taken powerful self-improvement during protection, making strong situation against Wei and Wu groups, which shows a heroic spirit as a famous general in the Three Kingdoms period. We must approbate his contribution. Guan Yu is a hero in the history and we have seen in his Jingzhou protection, and that is the reason why he is admired by the people.
[The Catastrophe of Jingzhou Lost, Makes Reputation after Guan Yu's Death]
Guan Yu was decapitated after Jingzhou's failure; however, this is the very reason for his being respected and deific. If he didn't lose Jingzhou, he could not neither have such a fame, nor the Guan Yu culture. As an embodiment of China's traditional culture, "loyalty", Guan Yu not only enjoys the same position with the saint of culture Confucius, but also has a certain influence today. In the overseas Chinese community, Guan Yu is deemed to promote cultural symbol of Chinese culture, to be a bridge and belt between Yanhuang descendants' China complex. Under the social conditions of commodity economy growing, Guan Yu's idol meets some people's hope for peace and wealth, to be the God of Wealth as well as patron saint . Guan Yu culture has a real social value after removing the feudal negative factors on the view of the loyalty contents contained. Jingzhou is the root of Guan Yu culture and the true home of himself which can not be taken place, without any possibility.
[The Artistic interpretation of Jingzhou Battle, Enriches Guan Yu's Loyalty Spirit] The battle between Wei, Shu and Wu in the Three Kingdons period is a magnificent historical picture. The literary masterpiece The Romance of the Three Kingdoms has processed this as an artistic creation, which becomes the best text in the book as a whole. Many of the words focus on shaping the image of Guan Yu, making the spirit of loyalty fuller and more perfect. Guan Yu became Guan di and the battle saint since profound social and cultural reasons, at the same time, the firmly fixed special relationship with Jingzhou. When we judge Guan Yu cultural phenomenon and his reputation, we can't avoid the influence of Jingzhou's special situation, or we will lose the basic precondition. Seen from the establishment of GuanYu culture, we regard Jingzhou as the start point of the faith of him; the earliest Guan Yu temple was built in Jingzhou as the same.