1. The Humanities of Jincheng
Writer: Yang Ping
Brief introduction: The humanities of Jincheng introduces the cultural relics, and cultural landscapes of the area of Jincheng overall. With more than 30 million words and 500 pictures, it’s a book full of the writer’s deep emotion and love for his hometown. The writer spent two years for materials collection, confirmation in the field. Many cultural landscapes haven’t been described and recorded in systematic ways, explored, and introduced to the public before. The profound history and culture, grand ancient architectures, and natural sceneries with special culture and life features of Jincheng are all presented in it. The book is systematic, complete, and worth of reading. The professional pictures, clean design, detailed introduction, and exquisite wording and phrasing propagandize and promote the local preservation of cultural relics and the city’s tourist industry effectively.
2. The Bygone Grace and Glory – Shangdang Bangzi and Ancient Drama Stage
Writer: Yang Ping
Brief introduction: Shangdang Bangzi is a kind of drama popularized in the Southeast of Jin, deeply enjoyed by the local people. The book vividly elaborates the culture origin of the Shangdang Bangzi, its process of deriving, developing and flourishing, and its close and interesting relationship with the life of Shangdang people, with clear logic order, picturesque use of language, brilliant and refined concept, and its precise description of the ancient Shangdang social custom. At the same time, it introduces the theatrical troupe and plays in the peak of the development of Shangdang Bangzi, and famous characters reminisced by local people until today. The book introduces the special cultural relationship between a local drama and the place’s custom, including economic development, social custom, life style and features in China.
3. Looking Up To the Three Gateways
Writer: Yang Ping
Brief introduction: On the background of the magnificent history, with tortuous historical events as content, this book is until now, one of the unique works that writes about the Glorious and doleful culture of the ancient Chinese frontier fortress. The book tells thrilling historic stories happened in the three gateways (Yanmen Pass, Ningwu Pass, and Pian Pass) in Shanxi, elaborating the collision, integration, and evolution process between the culture of the nomadic people and the agricultural in Central Plains with witty and humorous words. It vividly presents the changing friend-or-enemy relationship between the different Chinese dynasties and the nations beyond the Great Wall. Every single event happened in the three gateways were closely connected to the either strong and stable or precarious political pattern of the regime in the Central Plain. The weird history background, the local culture of Chinese civilization progress, the destiny of relics and the details of specific incidents, are the fun in reading the book. It is like a grandeur epic of the encounter and interaction between the refined and self-sufficient agriculture nation and the rough and floating nomadic people.
1. Sorry, Shanxi from Notes Made while Living in the Hills
Writer: Yu Qiuyu
Brief introduction: In this article, we can know about Shanxi and Jin-Merchant. The writer felt sorry for his long misreading of Shanxi. For a long time, he didn’t know that Shanxi was once the richest place in China. Piaohao, an money exchange shop, was the “countryside grandfather” of Chinese banking. So with the guilty feelings, he explored the source of the richness, and the spirit track of the Jin Merchants
2. A Dynasty Carved On Rocks
Writer: Nie Huangui
Brief introduction: This book is the only historical prose discusses about the history of the Northern Wei Dynasty and the Yungang Grottoes. Historian saved words on the history of the Duoba Family in the Northern Wei Dynasty. And limited historical records on the Yungang Grottoes built by this dynasty can be found. The Duoba Xianbei has ruled North of China for as long as more than a hundred and forty years. Until the 21st Century, the records on its martial arts, politics, culture, and art are rare and fragmentary. The writer cited from various documents, and collected information with his utmost effort to accomplish the strong and fair foundation of this book. The Grottoes is preserved relatively completed. Between the lines and transitions, hides the secrets of the religion belief, political strategy, and artistic merit of the monarchs of the Northern Wei Dynasty.
3. The First Family of Jin Merchant
Writer: Hao Ruchun
Brief introduction: Jinzhong is the hometown of Jin Merchant. Its luxuriate products of this place since the ancient times is what breed the wealthy and successful merchants. One of the Jin Merchant, the grand Qiao family came from the Qi County of Shanxi. In Qing Dynasty, the commerce developed to its peak period, especially for the Jin Merchant. And among the Jin Merchant, the Qiao family will be the No.1. Its business region covered more than half of China as long as 200 years with tremendous scales. The novel revealed the legendary story of the entrepreneurial ancestor of the Qiao family, Qiao Guifa, who built up the business named “Guang Sheng Gong”, about how he often won by surprise with strategies and later became the leader of the Jin Merchant alliance. The novel is originated from real history. The characters and plots of stories are intricate and vivid, which contains the principles and truth of behavior and business for people’s reference.
4. Lei Lvtai, the originator of Money Exchange Shop
Writer: Pei Meiqin
Brief introduction: Lei Lvtai was born in a wealthy business family. His family declined when he was young. He might not be able to gain fame to glorify his ancestors by taking the Imperial Examinations. But he learned business principles from classics and books. Li Daquan, an entrepreneur discovered the business talents on Lei, and employed him as his manager. Lei turned to become a mega merchant then. At the precarious time, the silver payment between no matter businessmen or ordinary persons, were oftern attacked and robbed by the bandit gang. Robberies on escort agency happened frequently. Lei Lvtai worked hard on “money”. With his talents and ambitious, after several years, he created the transfer of money – draft. In 1823, the first Money Exchange Shop was opened in Rishengchang. It was a brand new page on Chinese financial history. With a piece of “paper”, people can exchange and transform money around the whole country. Lei Lvtai became the founder of the Money Exchange Shop.
5. The Port
Writer: Liu Weiyin
Brief introduction: The Port is a fiction about life of the Jin Merchant at their later stage, on the background of the ancient town, Qikou, in the west of Shanxi. Along with the prosperous of firms, Qikou Town, beside the Yellow River, became an important port city with the convergence of populations, crowds of merchants, and goods piled mountain high. However, its boom drew on greedy government officials like robbers and thieves. They concocted various pretext, rapped and rent from the businessmen, which reflects the heated national conflicts and class contradiction when the Qing Dynasty declined from the flourishing peak to its downfall. The writer combined narration with folk customs of most of the local culture features, expressing the the way they fight for success, their love stories in the interwoven between culture at the last years of the dynasty and the local customs. Thus, exploring and demonstrating the spirit of living and developing by the Jin Merchant.
6. Ancient Drama Stage in Shanxi – After Luxury Coming the Simplicity
Writer: Qiao Zhongyan
Brief introduction: The only 8 remaining drama stages from the Yuan Dynasty all located at the ancient Pingyang (Linfen). This glorious history is long and profound. The political civilization at the time of Yao, Shun, Yu also started here. The culture contained has been passed from generations to generations. Yuan Dynasty is the time when drama reached maturity, and so did the drama stage. After Ming and Qing Dynasty, drama became even more prosperous. And there came all kinds of drama stages with different colours. The most typical product of the development of drama stage in Ming and Qing Dynasty was the “Mountain Gate Drama Stage”. There’s a saying, “Building up the Mountain Gate with the upper one for performance.” This drama stage is usually a two-floor-architecture, with the upper on as the stage, the lower on as a passage. It appears like a towering mountain gate viewed from the outside, and becomes a spacious and grand stage inside. Compared with the drama stage of Jin and Yuan Dynasty, it can not only save cost, but also the ground. It’s more convenient for audience to watch, so it became popular widely. While appreciating the Shanxi ancient drama stage, we noticed a phenomenon: most of stages were built in temples. Even if it is outside the temple, it faces to the temple. It’s a common phenomenon of Chinese ancient drama stages. It was the earliest mode of Chinese theatre, and continued to be used until the modern times.
7. East of Puzhou in Tang Dynasty
Writer: Wang Xilan
Brief introduction: Tang Dynasty is most indisputable glory time among the countable ones in Chinese history. Especially the culture created by the governors and intellectuals at that time became the core of the Chinese culture. The culture of the Tang Dynasty was composed of several cultures. Puzhou culture formed around Yongji, is one of the indispensible contents of the culture of the Tang Dynasty. So, studying the Puzhou culture is also studying the Tang culture. And its significance to our culture development nowadays is invaluable. The book presents the history and customs of Yongji, namely the ancient Puzhou area during the flourishing Tang Dynasty, explores the culture meaning of those important historical relics, such as the ancient city of Puzhou, Pujiu Temple, Heque Tower, and so on, and elaborated the epic meaning of the historical events happened around Puzhou in Tang Dynasty.
8. Art in Yongle Palace
Writer: Zhang Yaxi
Brief introduction: Yongle Palace is a typical architecture of Yuan Dynasty, with boast brackets interlaced tier upon tier, and only a few carving decorations around the palace. Compare with the architectures of Ming and Qing Dynasty, Yuan’s architecture is more concise and bright. From the Mountain Gate to Chongyang Hall, buildings are ranged in order alongside the central axis from the South to the North. Especially on the interior walls of the Sanqing Hall, Chunyang Haoo, and Chongyang Hall, there are exquisite frescos on them with high artistic value. The large quantity is rare around the world. Never miss the chance to appreciate the fresco from Yuan Dynasty in the Yongle Palace if you come to visit in Shanxi. This book tells the history of the Yongle Palace located at Ruicheng from the time of Genghis Khan, and introduces the frescos in the palace, and the folk legend of Lv Dongbin and the rest of the Eight Immortals.
9. Silver Valley
Writer: Cheng Yi
Brief introduction: The commerce of Ming and Qing Dynasty is renowned by Jin Merchants in the north and Hui Merchants in the south. Moreover, the unique Money Exchange Shop created by Shanxi Merchants is a mysterious financial legend. The novel panoramically presents the business activities, social relationships, personal secrecy and all their daily life of a famous family of the Jin Merchants. It also portrays the deeply hidden gratitude and resentment, the government officials around the merchants, the scholars and the learned, the Kong Fu heroes and the escort agencies. The work integrated detailed and accurate historical basis with attractive legendary stories, precarious society and the destiny of characters cared by readers.
10. The Green and Red on the Road of Tea
Writer: Cheng Yi
Brief introduction: During the Kangxi and Qianlong period, Jin merchants competed with Russian merchants in the China and Russia border trade. Jin merchants controlled the production, transportation, and sell of the Chinese tea export, creating a splendorous glory. The novel is written in rigorous and powerful words, reflecting the Jin merchants’ life by writing tea and the road of tea. It was a foreign trade legend of the Shanxi merchant who managed the Chinese tea with courage and wisdom and opened up the tea road from Wuyi, Fujian, through Shanxi, to Kyakhta of the Outer Mongolia and Russia in a time full of chaos and hardship.
11. Ancient Villages from History
Writer: Wang Xiuzhu
Brief introduction: The Chinese nation, with thousand years of history, create the glorious and renowned Chinese culture on the vast and extensive land. Shanxi is the most important place of origin of the Huaxia Culture, which preserved abundant and rich cultural and folk custom relics in the historic progress of the inheritance of civilization. Traced back along the five millennium history of the Chinese civilization, upon the river side, beside the ancient roads, from the south to the north, from the east to the west, we can find the mysterious ancient capital city “King of Yu City”, the “Huiche Village” visited by Confucius, the tranquil and serene “Folk Residence of Liu”, the “Diji City” with many mysteries, the “Ancient Folk Residence of the Yuan Dynasty” which has been through thousands years of wind and rain alone and shocks its visitors, and etc. The book revealed the real life of the ancient people in these houses with picturesque descriptions, leaving imperishable marks in readers’ memory.