From Ancient China
to Modern California
By Mystic Trish
Orange County you can learn all about a culture that is both very ancient and
quite modern. The Bowers Cultural Museum in Santa Ana has a wonderful permanent
gallery, The Ancient Arts of China; its item range from neolithic times to the
present day. Wonderful paintings of Los Angeles’ and San Francisco’s China
Towns are also on display through August.
is now modern China has been populated since Neolithic times. The Chinese
culture is an ancient one that has brought many gifts and advancements to humankind. Their
spiritual practices are just
as varied with three predominant religions — Confucianism,
Daoism, and Buddhism.
Confucianism values knowledge and discipline above all things and is seen clearly in the
scribe’s desk and writing instruments.
is the oldest spiritual practice and included a lot of animism and nature worship. It is the
closest to modern neo-paganism. You can see this in symbolism on Bronze Age
pots and royal robes.
The Chinese words for “happiness” and “bat” are both pronounced
fu, so bats are used in art to represent happiness.
and deer represent immortality because they are believed to be found in the
garden of the Immortals. Yellow is the color associated with the Emperor, as it
is the central color in the Daoist universe — the emperor was considered
to reign at the center of the universe. North is black, South is red, East is green and West is white.
originated in India and you can follow its changes as it found its way into China. Did you know that Guanyin was
a male deity originally? And the two dragons she is seen with are from an ancient
Chinese story. A lion,
also Foo lion/dog, represents the Buddha, because of the power and majesty of
his teachings; the lion is also a protector of the Buddha’s teachings. At the entrance of
the gallery there are
two large impressive Foo Dogs.
The belief in the healing properties of jade goes back thousands of years
to the Neolithic times. The early Chinese were making Jade adornments and
jewelry before there were drills to work the stone. They would carve shapes and
images into the hard jade using a technique known as abrasement, using garnet
and quartz and water to drill the jade and make shapes and patterns into the
stone. Jade is a hard stone, so it represents longevity and immortality.
the China gallery at the Bowers there are several jade pieces. One
called the Pig Dragon was made between 7000-1500 B.C.E. and is a precursor to the Dragon that is
prevalent throughout Chinese art and culture. It is a charming piece and really
resembles a pig though you can see the shape of the dragon in the carving.
The Jade Bi is one of the oldest symbols still in use and seen
regularly. Bi, which is pronounced,
”be” in English is a symbol for heaven because it is round and resembles the
Chinese character for the sun or heaven. Jade Cong is pronounced tsong. It is
also made out of jade and round in shape. But the Cong has a different meaning.
You see it is a round cuff but the cuff is squared on the outside: round on the
inside and square
on the outside. The round shape represents heaven and the square shape represents earth.
in one piece you have heaven and earth working in harmony and this would bring you balance
and harmony. Throughout
the exhibit you will see items that are round; keep in mind the meaning of
heaven when you see them.
history of feng shui covers 3,500+ years before the invention
of the magnetic compass. Some current techniques can be traced to Neolithic
China. Did you know it was
the Neolithic Chinese who discovered the magnetic compass? When the ancient
Chinese discovered bronze and metallurgy they began making mirrors. You can see
the beginning of Feng Shui in these items. Many were made for tombs used to
reflect away the evil spirits that might bother the dead.
wonderfully colorful paintings give you a feeling of what life was like for the
Chinese people when they got to America. Most are romanticized to appeal to the Western
eye. There are beautiful temples with incense smoke rising and colorful dragons
parading down the street with firecrackers exploding all around.
Two things that brought so many Chinese to America were the California
gold rush in 1848 and the building of the Trancontinental Rail Road in 1869.
Most of the men came from areas of China that were overcrowded
They weren’t welcomed in America, but they persevered and found a way. In 1882 the United States passed
the Chinese Exclusion Act as a federal Law which remained in place until the
Magnuson Act repealed it on December 17, 1943.
October China’s Lost Civilization of the mysterious Sanxingdui will be on exhibit.
Sanxingdui translates as Three Stars Mounds. Radiocarbon dating says
the Sanxingdui are from the 12-11 century BCE and were from the far western area of China. They
made monumental bronze sculptures of beings with strange protruding eyes.
Tricia Howe is a born intuitive
who started psychic training at age 15. She has over 30 years’ experience in
Intuitive Counseling, Tarot, Mediumship, and Clairvoyance and Crystal Healing.
Contact her at Mystictrish@cox.net