What is "Jiangnan"

What is "Jiangnan"

Author: Hu Yifeng

At the opening ceremony of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, the "osmanthus drum", qiantang bore, green water and green mountains, elegant national style, poetry and painting of Jiangnan and the humanistic Asian Games complement each other, which vividly shows the freshness, agility, massiness and elegance contained in the cultural image of "Jiangnan". Looking back at the literary and artistic works that have been popular in recent years, such as the dance drama "Never Gone Radio Wave" and "Only Green", and the Spring Festival Evening program "Memorizing Jiangnan" and "Jibu Bridge", many of them have their own "Jiangnan style". So, what is "Jiangnan"? How is the "Jiangnan Faner" tempered?

In the Song Dynasty, Liu Yong’s "Looking at the Tide of the Sea" begins with the saying that "the southeast is victorious, the three Wu cities are prosperous since ancient times", and the "three Wu" and "Qiantang" here are important geographical symbols and pronouns of Jiangnan. The description in the poem, "Sanqiu Guizi, Shili Lotus", "Qiang Guan Qing, Ling Ge Pan Night" has been passed down through the ages, which can be described as exquisite. But it is somewhat exaggerated to say that this place has been prosperous since ancient times. Even if we put aside the corner of Hangzhou, from the perspective of the broad "Jiangnan", this "land of beauty" repeatedly chanted by poets has gone through a long evolution process before it has completed its own cultural shaping.

Photo of Wu Guanzhong in Suzhou Water Street

"Jiangnan" literally means south of the Yangtze River, but its meaning has changed in different contexts. Jiangnan, which is commonly known today, is also known as Jiangdong or Jiangzuo in history. "Jiangdong", which is "thinking about Xiang Yu so far and refusing to cross Jiangdong", generally includes "Jiangnan" in people’s minds today. The TV series "nirvana in fire" is set in the Southern Liang Dynasty in the south of the Yangtze River, and Mei Changsu’s nickname is "Jiang Zuo Mei Lang". There was a "Jiangnan Road" in the Tang Dynasty, covering a vast area, including most areas south of the Yangtze River. Since then, "Jiangnan", as the concept of administrative division, has changed with the changes of dynasties, and gradually withdrew from the historical stage until the Qing Dynasty. As a geographical concept, "Jiangnan" is gradually fixed as Suzhou, Songjiang, Changzhou, Hangzhou, Jiaxing and Huzhou in Taihu Lake Basin. It is also in the historical evolution of cultural exchanges and accumulation that culture has outperformed the frequent changes of administrative divisions with its unique charm, and fixed the poetic Jiangnan in the history of Chinese civilization.

In fact, in the eyes of people in the Central Plains in the pre-Qin period, Jiangnan was a barbarian land with tattooed hair, and its man Shang Yong was aggressive, which was quite different from the "Jiangnan Fan" that people are familiar with today. From the Qin Dynasty to the early Han Dynasty, most areas in the south of the Yangtze River were still in the primitive agricultural era of "plowing with fire and water". Although "there are no people who are frozen and hungry, and there is no family with a daughter", and because "the south of the Yangtze River is wet and her husband dies young", the image of this land in people’s minds at that time is not lovely. When Jia Yi was demoted as a teacher of Changsha King in the Western Han Dynasty, he was worried about life in the south, fearing that he would not live long. However, it didn’t take long for the situation to change quietly. After the Han dynasty, the global temperature dropped, and the climate in the south of the Yangtze River became suitable for farming and living, which ushered in a godsend opportunity to change one’s life and rebuild oneself. If land reclamation and economic development have laid a material foundation for the prosperity of Jiangnan, then profound and extensive cultural exchanges have continuously injected vitality into the formation of "Jiangnan Faner".

Historically, during the Qin and Han Dynasties, the Han Dynasty, and the period from the end of the Eastern Han Dynasty to the Three Kingdoms, especially after the Yongjia Rebellion in the Western Jin Dynasty, the Anshi Rebellion in the Tang Dynasty, and the Jingkang Rebellion in the Northern Song Dynasty, the cultural spread and integration with the large-scale migration of population as the carrier conformed to the general trend of natural environment changes, refreshing the face of Jiangnan again and again, and prompting "Jiangnan" to enter its own cultural time.

Historian Qian Mu thinks: "When the Eastern Jin Dynasty crossed to the south, the Yangtze River basin formally represented the traditional China". After Yongjia, a large number of aristocratic families from the Central Plains took refuge in the south. Most of them had high cultural attainments. The elegant aristocratic culture injected poetic connotation into Jiangnan at that time, which effectively promoted the transformation from "wuyue Wind" to "Jiangnan Culture". "Sui Shu" wrote about the cultural situation in the Southern and Northern Dynasties, saying: "Clothes and objects, pictures and notes, and broadcasting and moving, all belong to Jiangzuo. On the occasion of the Jin and Song Dynasties, there were many studies, and between Qi and Liang, the history was rich. " During this period, many important cultural achievements came from northern immigrants or their descendants. Fan Zhen’s Theory of Deity Extinction, Zhong Rong’s Poems, Zhou Xingsi’s Thousand-Character Works and Liu Xie’s Wen Xin Diao Long are all examples. In the Tang Dynasty, the wealth and prosperity of Taihu Lake basin became more and more obvious. "It was endowed with the world and Jiangnan lived in the 19th … Zhejiang and Zhejiang lived in the 19th, while Susong Changjiahu was based on the 19th of Zhejiang." After the Anshi Rebellion, "most of the gentry crossed the river east with their families", in the words of the poet Li Bai, "all the well-dressed men in the world avoided Soochow, and Yongjia moved south, but they were not satisfied here". According to some scholars’ statistics, from the perspective of the number of poets in the whole Tang Dynasty, the north far surpassed the south, but after the Anshi Rebellion, the number of poets in the south increased substantially, which was comparable to that in the north.

People’s West Lake Feng Zikai information picture

With the change of Jingkang, the Song Dynasty moved southward, and Jiangnan made further efforts on the road of cultural development. As Jin Fu said in Qing Dynasty, Jiangnan was just a country before Han and Tang Dynasties. Since Qian Liu stole it, the Southern Song Dynasty was peaceful, and the people gathered together to make a land monarch, so it became a fortune. According to research, this great population migration began in 1126 (the first year of Jingkang) and lasted until 1279, with a total population of 5 million, which greatly exceeded the population in the south. Long-lasting immigrants spread throughout the Yangtze River basin and even today’s Hainan Island, and the largest distribution of immigrants is in Jiangnan, where the political center of the Southern Song Dynasty is located. On the one hand, "most of the scholars in the northwest are in Qiantang", where many scholars and great scholars gather, and scholars such as Li Qingzhao and Xin Qiji stay, which greatly promotes the development of culture and scholarship; On the other hand, the gathering of a large number of professional artists has promoted the prosperity of citizens’ culture. According to The Old Story of Wulin, there were more than 20 places of entertainment "Wazi" inside and outside Hang Cheng in the Southern Song Dynasty, and the audience reached more than a thousand people for a long time. There are more than 50 cultural performances and more than 500 artists. They either tell historical stories and folk legends, or perform acrobatic circus or acrobatic shadow play.

When the stars move, the text will follow. When history marched into the Ming and Qing Dynasties, Jiangnan culture was presented to the world in a mature and gorgeous manner. In the Ming and Qing dynasties, on average, more than one out of every seven scholars came from Jiangnan. A quarter of the top scholars in the Ming Dynasty came from Jiangnan. Jiangnan accounted for more than half of the top scholars in Qing Dynasty, so that Wang Wan, a scholar in Suzhou, called the top scholar a local "native product". The pride in the imperial examination field reflects the overall improvement of Jiangnan cultural strength. As the cultural symbols of this period, most of the famous works such as Dream of Red Mansions, Sanyan Erpai and Peony Pavilion are imprinted with Jiangnan, and it is these cultural classics that directly shape the image of Jiangnan that has been passed down to this day.

It can be seen that "Jiangnan Faner" is a product of history. As the saying goes, "the southeast is endowed with wealth, and the literati in the left of the river are lost". The description of the scenery in the south of the Yangtze River and the interpretation of the cultural spirit in the south of the Yangtze River are the key points to promote this historical process. As mentioned above, "Jiangnan" generally corresponds to Taihu Lake Basin geographically, and its most moving, popular and refined expression is "there is heaven above and Suzhou and Hangzhou below". If you compare "Jiangnan Faner" to a gorgeous costume, Suzhou and Hangzhou are undoubtedly the most competent models. The fame of Suzhou and Hangzhou has spread hand in hand, and it is inseparable from the literati’s wonderful pen. According to Chai Degeng’s research, Suzhou and Hangzhou even started from Bai Juyi, and Suzhou and Hangzhou were mentioned five times in his poems, such as "Suzhou and Hangzhou were once famous counties", "Suzhou and Hangzhou are famous counties in the south of the Yangtze River" and "I am 57 years old, and I am honored" in Three Songs of My Year. Party A and Party B have three subjects, and Suzhou and Hangzhou are the owners. I am even more proud that I have worked in Suzhou and Hangzhou.

Among Bai Juyi’s many poems about Jiangnan, Recalling Jiangnan is the most popular, which vividly expresses his attachment to Jiangnan. When we read this famous article, we will find that "water" is one of the most important contents in Jiangnan images. Geographically, "the terrain leans to the southeast, and Wu Zhi is in the lowest position in the southeast, so it is advisable to have more water". In this water town, Zeguo, the ancestors explored a complete water conservancy system, "to drain it in case of prostitution, and to irrigate it in dry years." From Xie Lingyun’s Poems on Mountain Living and Zhang Yuan’s Poems on Southern Expedition in the Southern Dynasties to Su Shi’s Poems and Songs on the South of the Yangtze River, to Zhu Ziqing’s Poems and Songs on Qinhuai River and Feng Zikai’s Poems and Songs on the South of the Yangtze River in modern times, the appearance rate of "water" is probably the highest.

There are many boats when there is more water. Water and boats constitute the unique geographical environment and lifestyle of Jiangnan, and also shape the aesthetic background of Jiangnan style. The Night Sailing Boat by Zhang Dai in Ming Dynasty is a online celebrity book with a score of 9 on a reading website, and its creativity comes from the unique landscape of "Night Sailing Boat" prevailing in the south of the Yangtze River. In water towns, boats are used in all aspects of life. There are "book boats" for buying books, "account boats" for collecting rent, "doctor boats" for visiting doctors, "wedding boats" for marrying brides, and "incense boats" for serving pilgrims. Jiangnan people, "not only husbands can operate boats, but also women can." There are also groups who make a living on the boat, just as the fishing song in Yangcheng Lake sings, "A net boat is the world, and the reed is used as a tile cabin as a bed." The bow of the boat cooks food, and the clothes are hung in the boat. " The ship in the south of the Yangtze River has a meaning beyond daily necessities and directly involved in cultural production and consumption. Chongzhen’s "Songjiang Prefecture Records" records that "at the beginning, there were sailing boats, mountain boats, seat boats and long-distance boats, but now they are wave boats, floor boats, Zhu Lan, Cuimu, Jingru and Jinglu", which shows that the boats are diverse and rich. Li E, a Qing Dynasty writer, wrote the Book of Lake Boats specially for the cruise ships in Hangzhou West Lake, which recorded nearly 100 kinds of cruise ships. In the Qing Dynasty, Suzhou, Jinling and other places also provided catering services for cruise ships, which were called "traveling boats" and "fire eating boats". Ships are not only used to swim the lake, but also used as a "stage". In this regard, there is a vivid record in the notes of the Qing Dynasty, "Su Jun feasted on the gods of the New Year, and every time he played on the bow of the Huqiu Mountain Pond. There is a theater in the boat, and dishes are prepared at the stern. The audience also called Sha Fei, Niu Tongue and other ships to be alongside them. ""Every year, we race the city and drive the railing barge in partnership.Traveling between Shanbang and Yefangbang, hoping to sell their skills. Every time you arrive at a boat, you must put on your robe and hat, hand in your eyes, and bow in the front cabin. Moving out, the value of the cable ranges from one to two hundred. " Even Martino Martini, a missionary who came to Hangzhou in the late Ming and early Qing Dynasties, said, "It’s true that rowing on the lake is more comfortable and pleasant than anything else in the world.". In modern times, all kinds of ships active in water towns are still an indispensable part of Jiangnan style. In Lu Xun’s "Social Drama", he watched the play on the bow and cooked the arhat beans on the boat, which is the case. When Feng Zikai lived in Tongxiang’s hometown, he often put books, clothes and other things into the "painting boat". Wherever he shook it "by night", he went ashore to sketch and paint, and the interesting works such as "The Barber Shop in the Wild" and "Three Empresses" were born in this way.

Culture in the south of the Yangtze River is picturesque, full of melodies, intoxicating and profound, which is dizzying and unforgettable. For thousands of years, Jiangnan Faner, which has been refined in the frequent interaction between nature and humanity, history and humanity, fortune and human feelings, has been active in the literary world with its unique charm, condensed in local customs and folk customs, and engraved into people’s lives and memories.

Guangming Daily (16th edition, October 20th, 2023)

Source: Guangming Net-Guangming Daily


admin administrator