Year 2004, the China Year in France
- Year 2004 is the China year in France.
The Eiffel Tower was lightened all red for the Chinese New Year
In January, president Hujintao made France the first country of his
overseas trip this year and according to a French lady friend who
visited me a few days ago the French people did think it's an honour
that the Chinese president made France his first sation with the
trip. It's also reported that France now has the largest number of
people in Europe who are studying the Chinese language.
Paris is now bringing Confucius to life by its artists. Below is an
intersting read from The New York Times.
Bringing the Historical Confucius to Life
By ALAN RIDING
Published: January 1, 2004
ARIS ¡ª Confucius' teachings remain enormously influential in China
and beyond, yet little is known in the West about the man himself
beyond his famous sayings, or analects.
Now the Mus¨¦e Guimet in Paris, renowned for its fine collection of
Asian art, has set out to bridge this gap between East and West by
devoting an exhibition to this central pillar of Asian thought.
Even so, it is no easy task to translate the teacher's life into an
art show when only his words from the 6th century B.C. survive. But
here the Guimet's curators had a brain wave: to give a sense of
narrative, they invited the Paris-based Chinese calligrapher and
painter Ye Xin to interpret key moments in Confucius' life in 30
lively color sketches.
What Confucius actually looked like of course remains a mystery. The
traditional representation of him as a bearded man wearing a gown and
a ceremonial hat is based on the imagination of artists working 1,500
to 2,000 years after his death. This show includes a 1691 red ink
print of a stone engraving dated 1118 and three silk screen
paintings, two portraying him with disciples, made during the Ming
Of his life, more is known. Kung-tzu or Kung-fu-tzu ¡ª Westernized as
Confucius ¡ª was born in 551 B.C. in Chufu, in what is today eastern
By all accounts, he was a man devoted to learning ¡ª in his
words, "for the sake of the self" ¡ª as well as to teaching, with
emphasis on self-improvement and moral rectitude. Eager to preserve
and perpetuate ancient learning, he set out to master the six arts:
ritual, music, archery, charioteering, calligraphy and arithmetic.
But he also felt a calling for public service, initially establishing
a system of examinations to prepare young nobles for responsible
leadership and later serving as a magistrate, a public works official
and finally as justice minister in the Lu kingdom.
In the eyes of scholars, the most reliable sources of information are
the records of Confucius' own conversations, transcribed in
20 "books" by his closest followers after his death at 73.
In Book 2, Verse 4, of the Analects, he is quoted as summarizing his
life in typically philosophical terms: "The Master said, `At 15, I
had my mind bent on learning. At 30, I stood firm. At 40, I had no
doubts. At 50, I knew the decrees of Heaven. At 60, my ear was an
obedient organ for the reception of truth. At 70, I could follow what
my heart desired, without transgressing what was right."
The Guimet show, "Confucius: At the Dawn of Chinese Humanism," which
runs through Feb. 29 before traveling to the Caixa Forum in
Barcelona, seeks to place Confucius in his time, and starts with a
display of beautifully designed bronze cups, vases and containers,
variously dated between the 12th and 7th centuries B.C., all of which
underline the sophistication of the society into which Confucius was
born. And so no less than those who worship ancestors in China today,
Confucius had good reason to be in awe of his own ancestors and to
show determination to preserve their rituals and knowledge.
To illustrate the arts, or disciplines, that sustained Confucius'
philosophy, the exhibition offers two carillons, one comprising eight
slices of stone, the other nine bronze bells, to represent music; a
bronze bow and an archer's protective ring to represent archery; a
stunning ancient bronze horse and cart, the horse's head standing six
feet from the ground, to represent charioteering; and a terra-cotta
ink container in the form of a turtle to represent calligraphy.
One of Confucius' principal legacies was the notion of the
enlightened civil servant, a concept that centuries later would spawn
the system of all-powerful mandarins. On display are two sandstone
statues of sixth-century dignitaries; ceramic figures of civil
servants; a large silk-screen portrait of "the Venerable Qi Jiguang,"
a celebrated 16th-century military strategist; and ceremonial robes
of descendants of Confucius (all on loan from the Provincial Museum
of Shandong in Jinan).
Connecting this past to a more modern era, the Guimet presents
photographs taken by French expeditions in 1907 and 1914 at the
temple and tomb of Confucius at Chufu.
But while Confucianism has a strong following in South Korea, Japan,
Singapore and Vietnam as well as in China and Taiwan, it has had its
ups and downs in its homeland, not least early in the 20th century
when it was blamed for China's backwardness, and during the Cultural
Revolution of the late 1960's and early 1970's when it again came
under attack. Since 1989, however, it has been embraced afresh by
Beijing as an authentically Chinese answer to Western political
Writing in this show's catalog, Danielle Elisseeff, a China scholar
at France's School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, said
that part of Confucius' appeal lies in the multiple interpretations
of his thoughts and life. Just as some say he personified the
goodness of human nature and the value of teaching, she noted, others
believe he served to justify strong rules and law. Yet if he
remains "an incomparable figure of reference," she said, it is
because "for so long he has nourished the hopes of so many people."
- Ah, yes, France is a beautiful country. I have been there twice. The Eiffel Tower is beautiful in the day and at night. Do you have a photo of the Eiffel Tower in red during the Chinese New Year? Perhaps you could put that on your home page.China is also a beautiful country. I bought a book called "1000 Places To See" and China has a number of places that are recommended to see in this book. Besides the Great Wall, there is the Forbidden City, the Li River in Guilin, the Garden of the Humble Administrator in Suzhou, the Terra-Cotta Warriors of Xian, the Three Gorges in Chongqing and West Lake in Hangzhou. I want to see them all if I have a chance to visit your beautiful country.Alex.
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No, I haven't found a photo of the Eiffel Tower in red. Yes, it would
be good to have it and put it on the homepage.
Ah, you have a long list! :) To finish all the sites in your list,
you probably need a month or so.
--- In ChineseCultureOnline@yahoogroups.com, Alessandro Ranieri
> Ah, yes, France is a beautiful country. I have been there twice.The Eiffel Tower is beautiful in the day and at night. Do you have a
photo of the Eiffel Tower in red during the Chinese New Year? Perhaps
you could put that on your home page.
>Places To See" and China has a number of places that are recommended
> China is also a beautiful country. I bought a book called "1000
to see in this book. Besides the Great Wall, there is the Forbidden
City, the Li River in Guilin, the Garden of the Humble Administrator
in Suzhou, the Terra-Cotta Warriors of Xian, the Three Gorges in
Chongqing and West Lake in Hangzhou. I want to see them all if I have
a chance to visit your beautiful country.
> Do You Yahoo!?
> Get your free @... address at Yahoo! Mail.