Culture and Customs of China

Culture and Customs of China

Culture and Customs of China

Culture and Customs of China

Synopsis

With great care and judicious inclusion of noteworthy material, Gunde has provided a one-stop reference on the contributions of the Chinese and their way of life. In one volume, the essence of China- past and present- is brilliantly captured. The extensive coverage includes chapters on the land, history, and people; thought and religion; literature and art; music and dance; food and clothing; architecture and housing; family and gender; and holidays and leisure activities. The volume is further enhanced by a chronology, guide to pronunciation, glossary, suggested readings, numerous photos, and volume map.

China is ever-important on the global stage as the world's second-largest and most populous country. Up-to-date and written with warmth, eloquence, and authority, Culture and Customs of China will be a popular source for students and the interested reader seeking to understand the modern people and culture in the context of an ancient history.

Excerpt

Geographically, Asia encompasses the vast area from Suez, the Bosporus, and the Ural Mountains eastward to the Bering Sea and from this line southward to the Indonesian archipelago, an expanse that covers about 30 percent of our earth. Conventionally, and especially insofar as culture and customs are concerned, Asia refers primarily to the region east of Iran and south of Russia. This area can be divided in turn into subregions commonly known as South, Southeast, and East Asia, which are the main focus of this series.

The United States has vast interests in this region. In the twentieth century the United States fought three major wars in Asia (namely, the Pacific War of 1941–45, the Korean War of 1950–53, and the Vietnam War of 1965– 75), and each had profound impact on life and politics in America. Today, America’s major trading partners are in Asia, and in the foreseeable future the weight of Asia in American life will inevitably increase, for in Asia lie our great allies as well as our toughest competitors in virtually all arenas of global interest. Domestically, the role of Asian immigrants is more visible than at any other time in our history. In spite of these connections with Asia, however, our knowledge about this crucial region is far from adequate. For various reasons, Asia remains for most of us a relatively unfamiliar, if not stereotypical or even mysterious, “Oriental” land.

There are compelling reasons for Americans to obtain some level of concrete knowledge about Asia. It is one of the world’s richest reservoirs of culture and an ever-evolving museum of human heritage. Rhoads Murphey, a prominent Asianist, once pointed out that in the part of Asia east of Afghanistan and south of Russia alone lies half the world, “half of its people and far more than half of its historical experience, for these are the oldest . . .

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