The history of Chinese urban light culture

In a certain sense, light culture should be included in the category of pan culture and should belong to the marginal cultural system in cultural studies. However, what this article is going to review is the history of light culture. To be exact, it is the birth and early development of Chinese urban light culture, that is, a brief introduction to the history of Chinese urban light culture. Because of the hurriedness of time, it is also contrary to the author's knowledge. It is unavoidable to hang on one thing, and Shangxi is not correct.

Ancient Chinese city architecture has a long history. Before the 19th century, the scale, quantity, and duration of Chinese cities were unprecedented in the world. Therefore, urban architectural optics was born and developed very early in China. China is a country with a long history of urban light culture.

Of course, it can also be said that the Chinese are one of the first countries in the world to know how to use natural light in buildings. Archaeological excavation data show that since China started in the Neolithic Age, the ancestors living in the Central Plains region have already learned that by taking advantage of their latitude, they are considering the orientation problem in housing construction. The pillar bearing structure is designed to facilitate the lighting of windows to take full advantage of the abundant light energy resources formed by sunlight. Therefore, Chinese architecture has formed a pattern of “South Window and North Wall” very early. In the Eastern Han Dynasty, papermaking was popularized. Paper was used to paste windows. It was both transparent and heat-retaining. Therefore, it took two generations of the Sui and Tang dynasties after the sixth century. Paper windows were widely used. At that time, even waterproof paper windows were invented. As paper windows have their own advantages, up to now, some places in China still maintain the practice of using paper windows.

Since the spectrum of natural light is continuous, it is possible to obtain a good light environment and visual effects both indoors and outdoors. Therefore, the architectural pattern of “South Window and North Wall” is still widely used in Chinese cities and rural areas. This is much more advanced than the use of natural light sources in the wall-bearing buildings of medieval cities in Western countries.

Natural light is a rich source of light energy, which is both economical and sanitary. Therefore, how to use natural light in the light and cultural construction of modern cities is still an urgent issue to be studied and solved. Nowadays, there has emerged a kind of solar lighting fixtures for gardens and lawns that are used for decorative lighting, and it is believed that they should be strongly promoted and used.

In China, the use of fire lighting also appeared very early.

According to research, the history of human use of fire has long been about 790,000 years ago. The Beijing monks 500,000 years ago not only knew how to use the fire, but also managed the fire and saved the fire. The fire brought light and warmth to mankind. In the night like paint, with the fire, there was a continuation of light.

The application of fire is yet another starting point for human light culture. “Shuo Wen” explains the word “guang” and says: “Light and light also. From the fire, on the people.” That is to say, if a person raises a torch, he can light up everything around him. It can thus be seen that the use of fire is a great contribution to the development of light culture.

The torch, also known as the torch, has its scientific name "candlestick." In fact, the first "candlesticks" were of different kinds. "Wen Wen," "Fire Department," explained: "Candles, courts, and big candles." Later, someone explained: "The fire is in the ground, and the candlestick is executed." It can be seen that in the Zhou and Qin era, the torch had already existed. The division of different uses and specifications - for torch lighting is a large torch, for mobile lighting is a small torch.

However, there is a clear lack of torch lighting, the first is an open flame, easily lead to fire, especially for indoor lighting; followed by burning time is short. Therefore, in the last years of the Eastern Han Dynasty in the 2nd century AD, there was the appearance of candles in the modern sense of the candle, which was of epoch-making significance to the development of the light culture of Chinese cities.

Since the advent of the Eastern Han Dynasty, candles have been widely used in urban society because of their ease of use, wide lighting range, and ease of storage and portability. For more than a thousand years, candles have been an important source of light for city life. They were generally replaced after the invention of electric lights. However, they have been used as decorative light sources. In addition, the basic calculation unit of Chinese electric light is represented by “candle light” for a long period of time, which can also prove that candles have a far-reaching impact on Chinese urban society.

During the period of the Wei and Jin Dynasties, candles were widely used; at that time, the wealthy noblemen lived not only in luxury, but also competed for wealth. Shi Chong in the history books “had a privileged relationship with noble kings and princes, and was also extravagant. The record of "pay with wax" ("Book of Jin" Volume 33 Shi Chongchuan).

The appearance of candles also said that the traditional festivals in Chinese cities are conditionally linked to light culture.

In the Eastern Han Dynasty, when Buddhism was introduced into China, the imperial court called on the people to release lights on the night of the last night to show respect for the Buddha. After a long period of social unrest since the late Han dynasty, during the Sui and Tang dynasties after the beginning of the 7th century, Chinese society was reunited. The Tang Dynasty was an important stage in the development of Chinese cities' history. Chang'an, the capital of the West, and Luoyang, the capital of the East, were once the largest and most prosperous cities in the world at that time. At that time, the rapid development of productivity led to a rapid increase in the level of social consumption, especially in the upper classes of urban society. Candles are generally used as light sources for life and entertainment. The last night that best represented the cultural traditions of Chinese cities (on the 15th of the first month is the Shangyuan Festival, and the night is Shangyuan Night, also known as the "Yuan Zhen"). It was formally formed in the Tang Dynasty. Not only did the people celebrate the lights, but even the emperors used to see the lights of the micro-houses from the palace and even from the palace, and even “thousands of people watched the lights” (“Old Tang” and “Zhong Zong”). Tang Xuanzong is a famous emperor in Chinese history. He has a good reputation. He has a love affair, which is known as Yang Guiyu. Yang Guiluo has three sisters who were respectively named by the Emperor Xuanzong as the South Korean wife, the wife of Shu and the wife of Qin Guo. Whenever they greet each other, they must be the same as ministers. They should wait for them and wait for them. Ying Lane, Candles such as 昼 ( 参看 参看 ( ( ( ( ( ( ( ( ( ( ( ( (. The Korean lady further created the "Hundred Branches of the Tree of Lights." According to legend, "One hundred trees, eighty hundred feet high, the highest mountain, the last night, and the hundred miles are all visible, the light won the night" (Wang Renyu "Kaiyuan Tianbao Anecdote").

In the Song Dynasty, along with the further development of the commodity economy, the social control under the tyrannical rule had apparently become loose. The city's last night became almost a resident's carnival. Therefore, the traditional city's light culture has also developed to the point where it has reached its peak. For example, in Tokyo’s Shuliang, from the front of the new capital, Kaifeng’s government took a ride at Xuande Gate of the Imperial Palace in front of the Xuande Gate, and at the end of the previous year, visitors to Qi’erji Street under the two corridors performed various acrobatic and artistic performances. The ability of surgery, singing and dancing 100 plays, scales tangent, music noisy more than ten years." There are three gates in front of Dengshan Mountain, and a large plaque with the gold medal “Xuanhe and the People” is hanging on the door. Lights left and right, “putting knots between Manjusri, Samurai across the lions and white elephants, five fingers out of the water, shaking their hands. With the high point of the sturdy water lamp at the tip of the mountain, they were stored in wooden cabinets and put down on time, such as waterfalls. On the left and right doors, each of the grass was tied into a double dragon, and the cage was covered with a curtain, and there were tens of thousands of lamps and candles on the grass. At night, Deng Shan, who has painted fairy tales and well-known market conditions, suddenly shines. “Jin Bi Xiang Xiang, Jin Xiu Jiao Hui” for people to enjoy. "Xuande House ... ... two towers each hanging a ball of light, about a radius of Zhang Yu, burning a candle inside."

On the evening of the next day, the emperor visited Xuande House. “The light of the torch, the moonlight is shining, the mist is melting, and the candle is near and far”. At midnight, Xuande upstairs "to the slightest red ball of light yarn to the air," this is the sign of the emperor's return to the palace, Dengshan and Xuande House light candles hundreds of thousands of miles, all off. At this time, visitors began to flock to the colorful and beautiful Daxiangguo Temple that was decorated with lights, and there was a shed in front of the main hall of the Xiangguo Temple. The two porches were made of wood, carved and shaped, and they were lined with veils, and the “poetry card lights”. There are such poems as "the sky and the galaxy are going down, the moonlight is shining like a water tower," and the "fire tree and silver flowers are combined, and the star bridge is iron and locked." "After the capital, the Buddha was set up and the water lamp... The mother of nine sons and the east and west towers Huilin, Zhihai, Baofan, Chen Dengdeng, and the brilliance took the opportunity to fight in China." Other monasteries also set up music sheds to make fun Lights, all night long. Internal light-transmitting decorative effects have also emerged at this time. For example, there is a "Yuzhu, jade curtain window and window light" as the Zhenzhen Palace. As for the market wells, there are novelties in the lamplight, and visitors stop to watch. The garrison camps in the city are not allowed to swim at night according to the regulations, but they “each use bamboo poles to light the ball in midair, and the distance is high and low. In the alleys of the whole city, there are shadow sheds on the entrances of every square; on the main street, there are bamboo frames and red lanterns adorned with plum blossoms and gold lanterns. The people watching the lanterns “should beat the drums and turn around” (See the above for reference.) "Tokyo Dream Hualu" volume 6). Such a large-scale and advanced city lighting night scene was first class in the world at that time.

Jin invasion, Song Dynasty moved to Lin'an (now Hangzhou), but the prosperity of Lin'an was better than that of Yu Liang. In addition to the lights on the night of the Yuanyuan night, “everyone lights up everywhere, everywhere is an orchestral chord” (see Wu Zimu's “Meng Lianglu”). In addition, the Juvenile Chrysanthemum Juvenile’s light was raised in September. "Years vary from year to year" (see "Wulin Old Things"). As the city "sales day and night", coupled with the then very high oil prices, public lighting in the city also appeared. “The street is full of claws, Huan Men hang lights, south to Longshan, north to North Xinqiao, and there are endless lights in forty miles. There are millions of people inside and outside the city, back streets and alleys, and alleys are not the same. Hang lights or use jade fences. , Or use Luo Ye, or paper lanterns, or pretend to be a match between you and me. (See "Anonymous People of West Lake"). It should be said that this is the earliest "light street" in the world's cities.

At that time, various colored lamps and lanterns were also contending for beauty and beauty, and they were also rated as world-class. There are many kinds of lanterns created by the people. “All kinds of thousands of species are extremely new, weird, strange, and nothing.” The low-grade jade ball lights, the Qiqiao jade screen lights, the ball lights, the fast-moving Hu daughter shasha lights, the moving lights, etc.; the high-grade ones are mostly made in Suzhou, Fuzhou, etc. Most of the laps are three or four feet in diameter, and they are all made of colored glass, landscapes, and mangoes, all of which are wonderful... Fuzhou's progress is purely white, and it is eye-catching, such as the Qing Bing Yuhu. The age of Xin'an has advanced into Yi Qi, although the circle of bones is known as the glass, the number 'boneless lamp'." “Besides, there is a lamp, and then you engrave it with Jinpo and Zhai. The bead lamp has five colored beads for the net, sags for the tassels, or for the story of a dragon boat, a phoenix and a pavilion. Such as the shadow play method, the Luoxuan lamp is particularly plentiful, or is a hundred flowers, or intimate, with red and white, the number of 'Mileo eyes', this most curious. Outside there are five colored wax paper, Bodhi leaf, Ruosha Play lights and horses ride characters and rotate like a fly. There are also deep and intricate baby dolls, made of paper, especially exquisite. There are also poems written in the light, the giggles and paintings, hidden characters, and the old Beijing language. Teasing pedestrians. There are nobles to try out new ideas, use fine bamboo as their accessories, and decorate them. However, the emperor of Southern Song Dynasty, who lived in peace and security, did not satisfy him. He still served as a glass lantern and high five feet. “The characters are all used for organ activities, and they are stored in large color buildings. They are walled in between the halls, Liang Dong, and the windows. , make a variety of stories, dragons and phoenixes live in water and become the crown of the lights." When the emperor watched the lights, "the golden furnace brain is like a cloud, the five-colored fluorescene is shining and shines in the world"; among the group lights, the four characters of "Long live the emperor" are clustered with colored jade. In the end, more than a hundred fireworks were cast, and music was heard all around. The emperor returned to the palace. (See above for references to the “Wulin old things”, “Yuan Xi”, and “Lampery”).

After the Tang and Song dynasties, the focus of China's politics shifted to a north and the economic center moved south. Today's Beijing has become the capital of the Kim, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. After the Emperor Yongle of the Ming dynasty entered the throne, he had given the princes the opportunity to watch the lights off ten days a year. When planning the city of Beijing, he specially designed the lamp market, combining the lights with the sale of department stores, antiques, and various folklore performances. After the early Qing Dynasty, taking into consideration that the lamp market was too close to the Imperial Palace, the lamp market was scattered throughout the city's prosperous areas and the department. In the meantime, although the variety of lamps has evolved over time and regions, such as the croissants made from ramie roasted and soft-knitted, straws woven into various shapes using straws, made from grass. Translucent grass light, with wire as skeleton, seedling wheat seedlings above the light, ice lamp (water injection into various molds, to be frozen after the mold is removed and made of ice lights ... lights Festival is also a nation when the mad, but Its scale and luxury are far less than those of the Tang and Song dynasties.

After the mid-nineteenth century, China was forced to go to the world under the influence of the mighty ships of the great powers. After the Western industrial revolution, achievements in material civilization, including various achievements in the light culture, took the lead in the coastal cities and promoted China. Urban light culture gradually changes to modern. In general, opening a business is divided into three phases.

The first stage is the input of mineral oil as a new light source, which has begun to change the traditional Chinese light source structure. The Chinese people's understanding and use of mineral oil, petroleum, has been started since the Song Dynasty in the 10th century; however, the separation technology of mineral oil has been relatively lagging behind. Western countries took the lead in extracting kerosene from oil and invented the kerosene lamp. Its brightness was 4 to 5 times that of traditional Chinese oil lamps. Therefore, the input of kerosene lamps (at that time called the oil lamp) became inevitable. By the 1970s, Shanghai had already had five or six merchants that specialized in the manufacture and sale of glass oil lamps. The input of kerosene was also increasing day by day; the popularity and popularity of oil lamps in big cities such as Tianjin and Beijing were also very high.* .

The second stage is to apply the gas to the public lighting of the city, and promote the rapid entry of some cities into the ranks of modern cities. Oil lamps are convenient for home or indoor applications. They are used in public lighting facilities such as streets. Therefore, from the 1960s onwards, gas lights were installed in the concessions of cities such as Shanghai and Tianjin. In 1864, Shanghai's first gas company, the Great Britain Firehouse, was built. At the end of last year, gas lights on both sides of the street were officially opened. After that, the main streets, foreign banks, tea houses, theaters and some apartments in the concession began to use convenient and bright. Gas lamp. At that time, people had the excuse that "The West has never come to the city, and the fire has been brighter than the moonlight." Shanghai has the name of "Nightless City," starting with the application of gas lamps. In 1888, the Tianjin Labor Bureau of the British Concession signed a contract with the Tianjin Gas Company opened by the British company. The gas produced by the company was used by residents of the concession at a price of no more than 10 yuan per 1,000 cubic feet; For every ten candle light months, it costs 1.5 yuan, and seven candle light months cost 1.12 yuan. The appearance of kerosene and gas lights was the beginning of public lighting in modern Chinese cities at night.

The invention of electric light is a great revolution in the development of human light culture. Since the 1980s, major cities such as Shanghai and Tianjin have taken the lead in entering the era of electric lights. This is the third phase of the development of urban light culture in modern China.

In 1882, Shanghai Dianguang Company was established. Soon after, 15 lamps were installed in the concession. From then on, streets, stores, warehouses, hotels, and houses in the Shanghai Concession were installed with electric lights. At the beginning of the 20th century, neon was invented. By 1926, Evans Bookstore in Nanjing Road in Shanghai used neon lights for the first time to advertise for the “Royal” typewriter. Since then, neon lights have been widely used in commercial propaganda in the prosperous areas of big cities, adding to the endless charm of the city's night scene.

The first electric light in Tianjin first appeared in 1886. It was the Prince of Alcohol who came to Tianjin to inspect the Beiyang Navy. The Governor of Zhili Li Hongzhang, the special life Tianjin Customs Road, Sheng Xuanhuai used silver to purchase the generators from foreign countries, inside and outside the Haiguang Temple Bureau of the Tianjin Machinery Bureau. 10 lights are installed, "Light is pale, bright as light, light of one light can be taken as far as one mile away", for those who have never seen the lights. Two years later, the German business owner Changyoung installed a 1,000-candle lamp for the Dutch Consulate in the British Concession in Tianjin using its own generator. In 1902, the French Concession Electric Lamp House was established. In 1906, it was established at the same time as the Guodian Car Lamp Company, the British Concession Electric Lamp House, and the Japanese Concession Electric Lamp House. In 1908, the German concession electric lamp house was established. Since then, electric lamps have gradually gained popularity in Tianjin (see above for the “Modern Shanghai City” "Research," "A Brief History of Tianjin," and "History of Modern Tianjin Sales." Soon, the Tianjin Concession Bureau of Industry and Commerce for the first time installed the outline lamp for the Gordon Hall, the largest city hall of China's trade port, and installed a lantern for the English garden in front of Gordon Hall. The photo remains so far, which is probably the beginning of Tianjin's use of outline lights to decorate the building. Since the 1920s, the electricity consumption in the British concession has grown exponentially. “In terms of street lights, Tianjin, and especially the British concession, have progressed even faster, even surpassing Shanghai and other Far East cities. Street lighting in the Far East There is no place to compare with the British Concession.” The Department of Electricity of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce of the British Concession also specially hired electric lighting engineers to consult with users at any time (see Remussen's "Tianjin's Growth - Concession").

Unlike Shanghai and Tianjin, Beijing is a political city. The appearance of electric lights is primarily in the royal family, rather than in the private sector. Around 1890, Zhili Governor Li Hongzhang paid tribute to a 15-kilowatt generator of the Empress Dowager Cixi and was installed in Fengyuan Garden in Xiyuan (now Zhongnanhai) with red, blue, and white light bulbs, which were turned on from time to time. For Cixi viewing. In 1891, another generator was installed outside the Summer Palace to provide lighting for the Summer Palace. It was not until 1905 that the establishment of the Kyung Hwa Huadian Electric Light Company was started, and the following year began to generate electricity, which was used by shops, street lamps and 8,000 electric lamps in the office. In 1907, a generator was also installed in the Forbidden City. First, an electric light was installed for the Ningshou Palace. By 1912, Beijing already had 30,000 electric lamps, but the lighting facilities in the city could not be compared with other coastal cities such as Shanghai and Tianjin (see "Beijing Economic History").

Although China's light culture has a long history and has strong national and regional characteristics, it has fallen behind in modern times. After the founding of the People's Republic of China, and especially after the reform and opening up, how to continuously improve the city's light culture level has been mentioned on the agenda of urban construction and environmental management. With the increasing development of science and technology, people's aesthetic interest continues to increase, coupled with the variety of lighting accessories, the city's light culture level has become an important symbol of urban economic development level, modernization level and cultural quality. Therefore, how to draw lessons from the tradition of light culture in China's history and reconstruct the urban light culture with Chinese characteristics and Tianjin characteristics is an urgent issue to be studied and solved.

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