Art, Craft and Culture Workshop

Welcome to the Confucius Institute at the University of Newcastle’s Art, Craft and Culture Workshop series.

The creative team at the Confucius Institute want to share some fun and traditional Chinese arts and crafts with you! Fun for the whole family, paper folding, knot tying and many more videos to come!

A Chinese idiom says it is always good to have more skills. (艺多不压身 yì duō bù yā shēn).

Good things come to those who MAKE!

Chinese painting

Hua (画, Chinese painting) is one of the four arts (四艺, siyi) pursued by ancient Chinese scholars and aristocrats as academic and artistic accomplishments. The four arts also include Qin (琴, seven-string musical instrument), Qi (棋, board game), and Shu (书, Chinese calligraphy).

In the past, Chinese painting was inseparable from Chinese calligraphy as they shared similar tools and techniques. Chinese painting is created through the variations of lines and shades of ink. Bold strokes and black lines are used to depict mountains, rivers and rocks whilst birds, flowers and insects are painted with softer brushwork.

Although artworks might be inspired by the nature, the beauty of nature cannot be transformed to the beauty of art without the artists' spiritual resonances and creativities. Chinese painting emphasizes on capturing of the subjects’ inner essence and significance such as energy, emotion, atmosphere, and spirituality, rather than merely reproducing the outward appearance. Good artworks could reveal the artists’ personalities and characters.

Video: Chinese painting

Perform a tea ceremony

Originating in China prior to the Tang Dynasty (618 to 906 CE), tea ceremony is a cultural activity involving ceremonial preparation and presentation of tea. It was later introduced to Japan, Korea and southeast Asia by diplomats, merchants and international students and eventually became integrated into local culture and religion.

Tea ceremony combines visual enjoyments and spiritual refinements. It promotes tranquillity, respect and harmony. Ancient Chinese intellectuals not only built friendships, exchanged ideas, and celebrated harmony at these ceremonies, they also practised these ceremonies as a way of self-cultivation.

This video presents the style of a “Kung Fu” tea ceremony (literally meaning “Tea Making with Skills”) which is popular among communities in places such as south China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and Malaysia.

This video is accompanied by English and Chinese subtitles including Pinyin which are available to download (PDF, 242KB).

Video: Perform a tea ceremony

How to make a Paper Panda

In Chinese history, paper folding is a traditional art used by children as a pastime. Complex and elaborate designs can be created by folding. You can create flowers, birds, insects, love hearts, a paper Santa is even amongst the many wonderful creations that can be made.

Video: How to make a Paper Panda

Tie a Lucky Knot

Knotting was a method used by people before the invention of text, as a form of writing and communication. Both Chinese and Peruvian Indians in the ancient times used knotted notes to share information. The name lucky knot speaks for itself: the knot represents blessings, lucky knots are gifted all year round in China to pass-on well wishes.

Video: Tie a Lucky Knot

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.