Ancient Chinese Gifts for holidays or special occasions
Posted 26 August 2010 - 04:01 PM
I have the fortune of living in the part of the world which has use for toilet paper, but not douches.
Posted 27 August 2010 - 07:02 AM
Ancient Chinese starting from the Zhou must have dealt with a lot of Confucianism and actions of gift giving reciprocity to show loyalty and support or as a sign of friendship. For the rich these would probably be high quality pottery, lacquer ware, jade and bronze items or basically prestigious or luxury items. What holidays if any saw the use of exchanging gifts similar to Christmas? Would the ordinary folk have been rich enough to buy more special items for these occasions like the rich or was their spare budget too meager to buy anything other than ordinary utilitarian items as gifts for their friends and neighbors? I think these kinds of everyday items usually mean more consideration to the person receiving them especially if the gift giver was kind and aware of the circumstances. Like if a neighbor was with child then perhaps the kindly neighbor may offer some kid clothes to show support for the neighbor or some wine to celebrate the occasion. Other times when there was an elderly in the family then perhaps the gift would be a walking cane but I'm just guessing here. I am really interested in finding out the actual terms used to describe the kinds of gifts like for the meal that is to be eaten before the New Years called 年夜飯 would there be items such as 年夜酒 that are given in exchange. Also what would be the heaviest kinds of gifts in terms of weight and monetary value and the lightest kinds of gifts similarly in terms of weight and value?
In my study, 'gift exchange' was not a Chinese tradition on holidays. Gifts had more of a hierarchial , ceremonial and specific cultural purpose and nature. Gifts were given and possibly exchanged for romantic reasons. The types of gifts depended on one's rank and position in society. For the king or emperor off-white mutton fat jade was given most often. For the women at the highest positions Carnelian or red chalcedony was the best choice. Other colors and grades of jade were given to the other government officials and lesser royal family. Other jade-like stones, ivory, bone and so one were gifts of lesser ranks. Commonly gifts were given for rites of passage, and achievement such as the prong (a tooth like ornament), and the archer's thumb ring for young men.
The expression below is for gifts given for diplomatic and ceremonial purposes at the highest level. Jade was wrapped or tied in silk when given.
Edited by shunyadragon, 27 August 2010 - 10:33 AM.
Go with the flow the river knows.
化干戈为玉帛 Turn weapons into peace and friendship with gifts of jade-silk.
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