Cultural of Chengdu
Owing to their wisdom, diligence and creativity, from ancient time to present, Chengdu people have been creating uncountable ?°„Firsts?°ņ in the fields of economy, science and technology, and on human culture, which include First in Sichuan, First in China and First in the world. These ?°„Firsts?°ņ bring up this historical and cultural city and endow Chengdu permanent enchantment and charming demeanor. Lets start with one of the ?°„Firsts?°ņ in the world created by Chengdu people. Dujiangyuan Irrigation System was built around 250 B.C and it has been benefiting Chengdu people for so long a time as 2000 years. It is the first in the world. In the year of 61 B.C, people drilled a deep well to tap natural gas in Linqiong (a city under Chengdu's jurisdiction) and the gas was used in salt making, cooking and lighting. Chengdu Shu Brocade, also named ?°„Brocade Satin?°ņ, is the earliest brocade silk in the world. The foot-driven loom invented in Chengdu in the Eastern Han Dynasty ( 202 B.C - 220 B.C) was the most advanced in the world at that time. Up to Han Dynasty (202 B.C?a220 B.C), Chengdu became the world?°•s lacquer°ßCmaking center and the birthplace of tea culture. In Tang Dynasty, for the first time, engraving printing was invented and widely used in Chengdu. The ?°„Tuoluoni?°ņ Scripture and Incantation of Bian Family, the remnant pages of Diamond Sutra of Guo Family in west Sichuan, the remnant pages of the Fan Family history in Chengdu are the earliest existing presswork in the world. In Northern Song Dynasty ( 960 B.C?a1126, B.C), merchants in Chengdu jointly issued the earliest paper money in the world, which was called Jiaozi at that time. The local government set up Office of Jiaozi, which was the earliest administrative and savings bank. Now lets talk about the Firsts in Chinese created by Chengdu people. In 250 B.C, Libing used stone dolls to measure the water level of Dujianyuan, which is the earliest water gauge in the world. In 141 B.C, Wenweng, satrap of Shu Prefecture, for the first time in China, established a school run by the local official named ?°„Wenwong Stone House?°ņin Chengdu. In Western Han Dynasty (202 B.C?a8 A.D.), Sima Xiangru, Mei Cheng, Jia Yi, Yang Xiong and Wang Bao laid the foundations of Hanfu (ode in Han Dynasty ). Meng Chang, emperor of Latter Shu Kingdom ( 943 A.D. ?a965 A.D.), wrote the first spring festival scrolls in China, the content of which it that at the end of an abundant year, we welcome with great passion the remaining days of this year, and at the joyous festival, we shout and jump for the upcoming spring. Before 355 A.D, Chang Qu compiled ?°„Chronicles of Huayuang?°ņ, the earliest existing chorography in China. ?°„ Midst Flowers?°ņ,the first collection of poems in the history of Chinese literature was compiled by Zhao Chongzuo during the reign of the Latter Shu Kingdom. In 1082 A.D, the earliest pharmacopoeia of China was composed by a famous doctor Tang Shenwei in Chengdu.

Lacquer, also known as halogen lacquer, is an ornate flower of craft arts of Sichuan through the long history.

Today, Sichuan lacquer includes mainly craft lacquer and lacquer painting. The main techniques applied by the lacquer are carving and filling with colors and various material such as bamboo, wood, metal, figures mounted with shells, bones, stones and eggshells, which endow Sichuan lacquer with unique style, strong local flavor and aesthetic value.

Sichuan is famous for raw lacquer, and Sichuan lacquers are famous art wares. As early as 2000 years ago, Sichuan lacquer had the virtues of shining and bright, and they were free of cleft, deformation and rot, which have been fully approved by the unearthed cultural relics.

Up to Han Dynasty, Sichuan lacquer had been very popular in central China. The categories of Sichuan lacquer vary from boxes to dressing cases, to plates, to cups with handle, to flat pot, to desk, to coiling blocks and so on. Figures of bird, animals and supernatural beings were subtly painted on the lacquers. Modern lacquer inherits the tradition, and at the same time, it is making great innovation and the innovations are especially unique on the carving and filling with colors, the colored drawing, the embossed lacquer. These lacquers are not only used as daily appliances such as plates, jars, boxes, pots, bowls, tea sets, drinking vessels and sets, but also used as furnishings such as vase, folding screen, desk screen and wall screen.

There are great varieties of Sichuan lacquers such as wood base, flax base, paper base, plastic base and so on. These lacquers have attractive and quaint appearance. Surface of them are as transparent as water and as bright as mirror. The most outstanding feature of Sichuan lacquer is carving & filling in colors.

Embroidery, brocade, lacquer and bullion appliances, especially Chengdu lacquer, are known as the ?°„Four Treasures" of traditional Sichuan craft art articles. With 2300-year history and the unique style of exquisite handcraft and perfect craftsmanship of the carving & filling with colors, Chengdu lacquer is national present to foreign leaders, and is also considered as treasures by collectors. Because of high costs, too long processing time, debts and management problems, the production of Chengdu Lacquer Factory had to quit.

Sichuan lacquer has a refined, pretty and implicit surface, profound and plain pigmentation, and the rich and colorful ornamental techniques.

As a representative genre of drama in Sichuan Province, Sichuan Opera enjoys good popularity among some areas in Sichuan and Yunnan Province. Sichuan Opera has a rich list of plays, just as the saying says: ?°„3000 plays in Tang Dynasty, 800 in Song Dynasty and uncountable in the Three-Kingdoms period?°ņ. The performance of Sichuan Opera is not only lifelike and exquisite, but also humorous. It has strong life flavor, and on the other hand, has systemic and perfect pattern such as ?°„Changing Face?°ņ, ?°„Spitting Fire?°ņ, ?°„Hiding Knives?°ņ and so on, which are perfectly integrated with the plot of the play, the character and mood the roles. Sichuan Lantern Drama, called ?°„Chuandiao( to the effect of Sichuan Melody)?°ņ by Sichuan people, also named ?°„Lantern Alt ?°ņ,?°„Old Lantern Melody?°ņ, ?°„Lantern Sentence?°ņ, is a kind of local playlet developed from Sichuan folk songs, folk music, folk dance and especially the lantern songs and dance. Sichuan Surd also named ?°„ Singing Yu-Kin?°ņ or ?°„Singing Lute?°ņ, was developed on the basis of the combination of the folk canzonet, various Talking & Singing music and opera music in the Ming and Qing Dynasty. Sichuan Folk Art Opera is also called Sichuan Guang Opera, for it was developed from the Sichuan Folk Art, by applying Sichuan dulcimer, Sichuan Surd and other folk art aria forms. Sichuan Story-telling is a kind of folk art. The orator tells stories in Sichuan dialect and inserts his comments from time to time. The stories are adapted from historical stories. Sichuan ?°„Chedeng?°ņ(a form of folk song and dance) also named ?°„Chedeng?°ņor ?°„Cheyaomei?°ņ, is a kind of Sichuan folk art. In the opera, one or more persons singing and dancing festively and the stage lines are all verses. Sichuan ?°„Jinqian?°ņ belongs to Sichuan folk art category. The performer talks and sings, to the accompaniment of the sound made by the two ferulas in his left hand and the one in the right hand. So it is also called ?°„Daliansan?°ņ or ?°„Sancaiban?°ņ. Sichuan ?°„Zhuqin?°ņ belongs to Sichuan Folk Art category. It has an old name ?°„Daoqing?°ņ. Now people call it ?°„Yugu (a kind of percussion instrument made of bamboo) Daoqin?°ņ , for the musical instruments Yugu used to accompany the performance are made of bamboo. The performer talks and sings, playing an accompaniment to his performance with the Yugu in one hand and a piece of bamboo in the other hand.