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China Daily / 2021-04 / 08 / Page012

Chengdu shares culture, open mindset with rest of the world

By YUAN SHENGGAO | China Daily | Updated: 2021-04-08 00:00

Capital of Sichuan province has been ranked China's happiest city for many consecutive years

Known as Tianfu, or the "land of abundance," Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province, is nurturing a splendid and everlasting Tianfu culture, local officials said. The city's efforts add a unique humanistic charm to its development.

On March 20, the Sanxingdui Ruins site, located in the Chengdu Plain and famed as "one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of mankind in the 20th century," unveiled more than 500 archaeological discoveries and cultural relics including fragments of golden masks, bird-shaped gold ornaments, giant bronze masks, sacred trees, ivory and jade.

Tan Jihe, a historian and president of the Sichuan Provincial Association of History, said the delicate bronze relics of Sanxingdui embody the imagination of the ancient people on this land that was also called Shu in old times and their unique creativity. They write a strong and colorful story for the ancient Shu civilization.

He said the ancient Shu people have gone through multiple stages including Baodun culture, Sanxingdui culture, and Jinsha culture. "Sanxingdui culture is the root of Tianfu culture."

There are many images of birds and sacred trees in the cultural relics of Sanxingdui and the later Chengdu Jinsha site, such as bronze statues of bird heads, human bodies and feet, and various eagle-headed cuckoos.

Tan said the worship of these flying birds by the ancient Shu people showcases their fantasy for flying immortals and the cultural imagination of immortals.

He said the imagination and romantic thinking of the Shu people 3,000 years ago has been passed down to present generations, forming a romantic idealism of tradition from the poet and musician Sima Xiangru (179-118 BC) to writers Guo Moruo (1892-1978) and Ba Jin (1904-2005).

"The romantic factors and innovative traditions rooted in the genes of Chengdu people have become the endogenous driving force for the development of Tianfu culture," Tan said.

"They've brought a steady stream of strength to the sustainable development of the city."

From Sanxingdui to Jinsha, from the ancient water diversion project of Dujiangyan to the world's earliest paper currency jiaozi, the innovative spirit of Tianfu culture has amazed the world.

Today, Chengdu still has the spirit of innovation, entrepreneurship and being first in the world.

The city is home to 56 universities, more than 30 national-level scientific research institutions, 333 innovation and entrepreneurship carriers, and 5 million professionals.

Openness and tolerance

Located in the hinterland of China, the city has always worked to open itself up to the outside world.

The artifacts unearthed from the Sanxingdui and Jinsha sites left clear traces of elements, such as the Central Plains culture.

In the 1st century BC, silk from China became a product sought after by the upper-class families of the Roman Empire.

A considerable part of these silk products was shipped from Chengdu-called Jincheng in ancient times as a production base for jin, a Chinese brocade, via the Silk Road.

In the pre-Qin (c.2100-221 BC) period, after the opening of the southern Silk Road with Chengdu as a starting point, the city established connections with South and Central Asia, and silk fabrics became an important commodity.

After the launch of the northern Silk Road under the rule of Emperor Wu during the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 24), silk fabrics in Shu became the most important and indispensable commodity.

The city's open and tolerant urban approach has allowed Chengdu's international business environment to prosper.

During the Qin and Han dynasties, Chengdu became one of the five central cities, second only to Chang'an, in the country, and was historically known as one of the "Five Capitals".

During the Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1279) dynasties, Chengdu's economy and culture became increasingly prosperous.

The Chengdu Tianfu International Airport, a key project supporting local inland opening-up policies, is set to open in 2021. Its completion will make Chengdu the third city in the Chinese mainland, after Beijing and Shanghai, to have two international airports.

The China-Europe Express Train, which starts in Chengdu, connects more than 50 cities in China and abroad. It has also established a new land-sea channel between Europe and Asia.

Chengdu has economic and trade relations with more than 200 countries and regions around the world. The city also boasts a "sister city" ties and friendly cooperative relations with 104 cities across the globe.

Chengdu ranked 59 worldwide in the list of the Globalization and World Cities Research Network's latest world cities rankings. Chengdu was ranked among China's best cities for international business environment by the Global Times.

Full of life

The romantic feelings of the ancient Shu people and thousands of years of open tradition have made Chengdu a city full of diverse cultures, poetic atmosphere and life.

Since the mid-1950s, many figurines of the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220) have been unearthed in Chengdu. These crude and naive figurines have enthusiastic, vigorous and humorous expressions, even after 2,000 years.

Times have changed dramatically, yet Chengdu's pursuit of a happy life has remained steadfast.

Chengdu has topped the list of China's happiest cities for 12 consecutive years and is a unique city that people don't want to leave after visiting.

Liu Shanshan, partner of Wuxi Studios' special effects company More VFX and production director of The Wandering Earth, has been in Chengdu for more than three years.

She said, "After I came to Chengdu, I lived like a Chengdu native. In this park city, we create while living. This is our ideal value."

Liu said that natural landscapes such as Mount Qingcheng and Linpan, a special settlement consisting of farm house with woods, an irrigation system, farmland, in western Sichuan provided the team with solid reference materials for their scenes.

The elegant and fashionable urban atmosphere also provided the team with a source of inspiration.

Statistics show that during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), Chengdu's population increased by more than 1.92 million, ranking second in the country.

According to the 2020 China Overseas Returnees Employment and Entrepreneurship Survey Report, Chengdu ranks third among the most popular cities for overseas returnees, next only to Beijing and Shanghai.

In the new era, Chengdu is accelerating the construction of a world-renowned cultural city with its unique humanistic charm as it promotes the creative transformation of Tianfu culture and spreads its history and culture to the world.

 

Bicycle fans participate in a fitness festival in the Wenjiang Greenway in Chengdu. CHINA DAILY

 

 

The picturesque view of the lotus trail in Xinjin district in Chengdu. CHINA DAILY

 

 

Children perform a shadow puppet play during an international intangible cultural heritage festival in Chengdu. LI YULONG/FOR CHINA DAILY

 

 

A traditional dragon dance is staged in Luodai, an ancient town in eastern Chengdu. XIANG ANSHUN/FOR CHINA DAILY

 

 

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