In human history, many ancient and splendid civilizations were born and died. China is the only country with uninterrupted human civilization. Chinese civilization was born on the shores of the Yellow River in 2,800 BC. And the fertile land where Chinese civilization began is Henan Province.
The yellow river traverses central Henan. It is China’s main north-to-south and east-to-west artery. China’s most ancient tribal leaders the Yellow Emperor and the Yan Emperor were born here. Even today, Chinese people all over the world still call each other the descendants of these two emperors.
The magnificent river holds an unshakable position in the heart of every Chinese, worshiped by every generation and called “the mother river”. With wit, diligence and tenacity, Chinese descendants pursue co-existence and common prosperity on this land. The 5,000-km Yellow River breaks the last barrier and flows into the broad plain, forming the cradle of Chinese civilization.
With 2,000 years’ history, the Yellow River has nourished 13 dynasties’ capital Luoyang, 10 dynasties’ capital Kaifeng and the biggest economic center in its basin --- Zhengzhou.
In ancient Chinese cosmology, China was regarded as the center of the heaven and earth, and the center of China was Dengfeng. Therefore, Dengfeng became the popular location for the capitals and cultural center of early dynasties.
The three mainstream cultures, Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism set up base here to carry forward their culture. And the essence lies in the buildings of “the Center of Heaven and Earth”, which have the longest history, most building types and the richest cultural connotations.
Writing is one of the most important manifestations of civilization. The oracle bone inscriptions found in the Yin Dynasty Ruins in Anyang, top the ten greatest archaeological discoveries in 20th century. As some of the oldest characters in the world, their cultural significance is remarkable. Fortunately, we can still enjoy their everlasting charm in the Ruins of Yin Dynasty.
If characters are the manifestation of abstract civilization, stone inscription can be seen as the concrete representation of civilization. Longmen Grottoes, the magnificent stone carving complex in ancient China, with its over 100,000 statues stretching along one kilometer, was completed in pieces over 400 years from the Northern Wei Dynasty to the Tang Dynasty until the Northern Song Dynasty. It represents the highest achievement in the art of sculpture, which is a real the treasure in China in terms of religion, fine arts, architecture and calligraphy.
In the long history of Chinese civilization, we may feel that the unique Chinese characteristics are all around us and within us, which is to a large extent reflected in Kungfu. Kungfu or martial arts can only be mastered through hard work and practice, which contains rich yet profound Chinese philosophy, whether in curing diseases and improving health, or in subduing the enemy and preventing conflict, Kungfu can even have an effect on the daily lives of Kungfu fighters.
“All styles or schools of martial art originate from Shaolin Temple”. Today, Shaolin Kungfu has become a window of Chinese culture to the world, which also turns Shaolin Temple into the most influential ‘holy land’ of martial arts in the world.
Moreover, Tai Chi or Shadow Boxing, another school of Kungfu in Chinese martial art culture, was born here as well. It’s said that when a fighter surnamed Chen saw the symbol of Tai Chi in a place named Chenjiagou where two rivers flowed together, he then founded the world-famous school of martial art ---- Tai Chi. After realizing that the universe consisits of Yin and Yang, Tai Chi, because of its combination of Chinese Confucianism Taoism, Oriental Inclusive Concept, and unremitting effort to the unity of nature and man, can help attain the goals of self-cultivation and longevity.
Chinese civilization with it’s thousands of years of history is just like an old man, remaining stubborn, tenacious, intelligent and industrious. No matter what happens in the world, he is always standing there with a big smile and an inclusive attitude.
Henan, the cradle of Chinese civilization, is a treasure trove of cultural relics, defying the concepts of space and time and shining brightly over us.