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The coming decades explosion of Chinese culture

Song Dynasty (AD 960-1127) Calligraphy by Ming Dizhu

Song Dynasty (AD 960-1127) Calligraphy by Ming Dizhu

China Daily has just reported a “Chinese calligraphy work sold for record $57.1M” at the Poly 2010 Spring Auction on June 4, 2010. This record price puts Ming Dizhu’s work within the same league as van Gogh and Picasso in terms of how much was fetched from an auction (“Portrait of Dr. Gachet,” $139million, inflation adjusted, van Gogh; “Nude, Green Leaves and Bust”, $106million, inflation adjusted, Picasso).

According to a Boston Consulting Group report in late 2009, the number of millionaires in China has reached around 450,000 by the end of 2009. Given the fact that China’s GDP has grown 8% to 10% annually for the last three decades, two phenomenons have occurred:

a. Demand for Chinese art has increased because Chinese citizens have become wealthier.

b. Supply for Chinese art (contemporary) has increased because more Chinese are freed from subsistence to pursue art.

In turn, the international art market expects Chinese art to become even more valuable for the above two reasons.  Foreign collectors – private individuals and  museums alike collect Chinese art.  Collectors also exhibit because further popularizing the pieces enhances the art’s value. (Here is a collection of works by some popular contemporary Chinese artist in Beijing – Art Scene Beijing.)

Chinese artists views and interpretations of our world then gets seen by the world.  Ever wonder how culture spreads? I have told many of my friends who are interested in Chinese culture that the coming decades will see an explosion of it. All of this boils down to the simple fact that China is growing 8% to 10% in GDP every year! I expect China will some day have her versions of household name pieces like “Mona Lisa.”

These two phenomenons apply to other aspects of Chinese culture too.

John Woo

John Woo directed and released an epic two-part film, “Red Cliff” in 2008 and 2009 that set a number of records also. It was the highest budgeted Asian film to date, at $80million. The part one film broke the box office record in Mainland China previously set by Titanic. China Daily reported a Beijing University event in March 27, 2010, where John Woo was present, and it had this to say about him and “Red Cliff:”

Red Cliff, a two-part series, is the highest-grossing Chinese movie in Asia. The film expanded the normal concept of what makes a hero, before traditionally considered mainly to be a stylized individual fighting bad guys to save the world.

“A genuine hero is not someone who wins a battle or kills evil,” Woo said. “A hero should love everyone like his own son.”

The important point here is that values portrayed in movies made by Chinese, if successful, can challenge the values presented by Americans via Hollywood on the world stage. The Battle of “Red Cliff” took place 208-209 AD at the end of the Han Dynasty. This started the period of Chinese history commonly known in Asia as the “Three Kingdoms” period. “The Romance of the Three Kingdoms” is a Chinese classic based on this history, and arguably, it is a classic too in Korea and Japan. Many books, television series, and video games we see today from these countries are inspired by it. American teenagers playing “Dynasty Warriors” on their PlayStation or XBox will instantly find “Red Cliff” characters familiar.

See the connection on how culture spreads?

John Woo will set yet another record. He is reportedly making a $170million movie in collaboration with Hollywood about the Flying Tigers, telling of the partnership between China and America fighting to drive back the WWII invading Japanese army from China. China Daily continues:

“It’s a hot subject which always fascinates Hollywood. I have flown to Kunming to look for their previous headquarters and the draft script has already been finished,” said Woo.

He added that the new film would shoot air battle scenes in Yunnan province.

He revealed that actor Tom Cruise might be invited to play the role of the Flying Tigers’ founder, Claire Lee Chennault.

Why are all these records being set? You have guessed it! China is growing 8% to 10% in GDP annually means more people can afford to go see movies. With higher demand, people like Johh Woo can argue for bigger budgets. The chance for more world-class directors to emerge out of China also increases, again, because more people are freed from subsistence farming to pursue other activities, including film-making.

  1. December 2nd, 2010 at 17:05 | #1

    The Possible Modal for Our Earth Paradise – EP

    Palavering, Social Issue

    Temporarily, we postpone the Natural Disaster Factor, which can be understood as a Negative Equation. Following the Western Philosophy, particularly the Syllogism (Three Part Debate) of the Thesis, Anti Thesis and Synthesis, the beginning Thesis leads to the Anti Thesis or Conflicts that should be happened before the final phase, the Synthesis. The first two Parts are absolutely contradictory, however, the Third Part, (the Synthesis) leads us to Compromise, harmonizing all Human Differences and leading us to a Higher Culture.

    This Evolutionary Form originally comes from Natural Laws, if our Human Mind can attain its Quintessence Level. This is the Phase when Human Conscience honestly reflects, when our Materialistic Civilization is maximally recognized sincerely. The Compromised Form of both Western & Oriental Philosophies could produce the Best Balanced Concert for Mankind.

    This Evolution Form is naturally regulated if Mankind attains sufficient quintessence. This period is sincerely reflected by Human Conscience and deeply analyzed the Materialist Civilization. A most Balanced Piece of Concert will be produced by the Combination of both Western and Oriental Philosophies. We may temporarily get an Example of the Chinese Society when It attains the summit of the Western Civilization or Democracy & Science Level, Human Beings will recover appropriately their Human Rights.

    If its Direction towards the Materialist Civilization is appropriately harmonized, China Society could become the Independence & Democracy Community. The previous Bloody Society could become the Earth Paradise One! If our Global Communities recognize the Economy will become a Welfare Factor, which will distribute to Human Beings a Justice at Equal Level. If Religions and Philosophies try their best in mentality, naturally, the Evil Part in Human Brain will be giving up to the Saint Part. Therefore, Mankind will attain a Real & Matured Culture on Earth. Mankind can travel to all corners of their planet and the Gap of Welfare, between the Rich and the Poor will be well balanced.

    Mankind could possibly realize the Peaceful & Independent Ancient Period of King Nghieu & King Thuan, Chinese 3 Emperors & 5 Kingdoms Societies, which were previously compared as the Paradise of the Earth.

    The first priority for our Present, all National Leaders today must sit down together, sharing into this Important Cultural Development Project to accomplish the Earth Paradise Dream. Our Human Conscience should turn back to Honesty, Greediness less, and Justice to build up and support the Humanity Welfare and Conveniences for All.

    That Project is our Global Mission to build up the Earth Paradise Society and Each Nation will share its own Stock. The Mutating Factor is each Individual, , together sharing their energy, selecting necessary quintessence of our Century, then investing seriously in It.

    Personally, I expect this is our Future Evolution Project whose successful Factor is very high and realizable. However, Mankind today must reflect them, harmonizing their Interests and Differences. Each Class of People must absolutely respect Human Justice; open their Generous Arms and elevating Humanity Love. Our Earth Education will elevate Human Characters, which will influence and produce Noble Perfume all over our Living Environment. Around the Earth and in our Universe, a Light of our New Earth Paradise will be seen.

    Vanson Tran

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