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Welcome to Cultural Profiles of Historic and Modern China. As you visit the seven cities/regions featured on the site, Shanghai, Qingdao, Qufu, Beijing, Xi'an, Chengdu and Tibet, you will examine various elements that shape a culture: food, shelter, work, recreation, art, religion and so on. You will observe how culture spreads and evolves over the course of time and how past cultures impact the current one. You will also notice how people adapt to the environment around them; find various ways to meet their basic needs; take, or leave behind, knowledge, traditions and beliefs learned from earlier generations or interaction with other peoples; and use their imaginations, spiritual yearnings and ingenuity to create a unique way of living.
As you travel through the site, keep in mind that China is a vast and complex country. It is home to a staggering 1.3 billion people; is both geographically and ethnically diverse; has both rural and urban ways of life; and has a long and complicated history -- all making its culture more varied and fascinating. While the profiles of this site will introduce you to Chinese culture, they can only begin to scratch the surface. As with any culture, there is always much more to discover!
As you explore Chinese culture, consider these key questions:
How do nature (geography, climate, flora and fauna, etc.) and people interact to create unique cultural landscapes?
What human characteristics does a culture add to the landscape of a region?
How is a culture reflected in its land use and use of natural resources?
Which cultural traits are evidence of cultural diffusion or cultural assimilation and acculturation?
To what degree are local cultures distinct from the broader culture?
To what degree does the local culture impact the broader culture?
To what degree does the broader culture impact the local culture?
Where does culture come from and how do we pass it on?
What are the elements of a culture that make it unique?
How is culture expressed through the arts?
How do majority and minority cultures interact with each other?
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Cultural Profiles of Historic and Modern China is made possible with support from the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation and the Freeman Foundation.