A Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) blue-and-white stem cup that once belonged to a British pharmacist will go under the hammer in Hong Kong on May 31. The cup exemplifies the classical style and buttery luminosity of the porcelain made during the reign of Emperor Xuande, who introduced the mass production of blue-and-white porcelain not only for daily use in his royal court but also for trade and exchange with the rest of the world. Rosy Crehan, deputy vice-chancellor of Staffordshire University, with the stem cup that will be auctioned to finance a new museum. The cup features two five-clawed dragons chasing a flaming ball among the clouds and above turbulent waves. The cup is to be sold at a joint auction by Lyon & Turnbull, a 190-year-old auction house based in Scotland, and Freeman's, an auction house established in 1805 in Philadelphia, in the United States. The cup used to be part of the collection of Ernest Thornhill, a London-based pharmacist and collector of Asian ceramics, according to a news release of the sale.
The release says that during the Blitz (1940-41) in World War II, Thornhill entrusted his collection - some 276 Asian antiques - to the then North Staffordshire Technical College which later became Staffordshire University.
He donated the collection, the stem cup included, to the school in 1944 out of gratitude and also for academic studies.
Rosy Crehan, deputy vice-chancellor of Staffordshire University, says in the release that if the cup is sold, the proceeds will go toward the construction of a new museum in the campus where the rest of Thornhill's collection will be housed. The upcoming auction will also include dozens of Chinese antiques, such as porcelain vases and bowls, jade articles, Ming-style furniture and other works of art. The sale marks the maiden entry of the two auction houses into the Asian market with an attempt to reach more collectors.
It will further diversify the art market in Hong Kong, a hub of both international auctioneers, such as Sotheby's and Christie's, and annual events like Art Basel and International Antiques Fair.
Although the sales of Lyon & Turnbull and Freeman's have been attracting Chinese buyers for years, it was in 2015 when they sponsored Asia Week Hong Kong activities that they felt the need to extend their presence in the growing Asian market, according to Richard Cervantes, department head for Asian arts at Freeman's and its vice-president.
The two auctioneers, who have allied to explore the European market, decided to launch a joint venture in Hong Kong, which is a "logical step to better serve collectors" and expand the network in the area, Lee Young, Lyon & Turnbull's international director and head of its Asian art department, tells China Daily via email. The works of art to be sold have been in the hands of collectors from the US and Britain for generations. Cervantes says they believe these items will appeal to buyers in Asia, especially the Chinese who are repatriating cultural goods back home. Cervantes also recommends a private collection of Chinese huanghuali (a type of tropical hardwood known for its golden color) furniture at the inaugural Hong Kong sale. With many Western collections of quality Chinese works of art appearing in salerooms over the past three decades, market sources say that auctions in Hong Kong, London and New York are facing a dwindling supply of fresh Chinese antiques. Cervantes says that in the long-term, Chinese works of art will become harder to "discover" among private American and European sources. Besides, they are offering more Western art and antique objects for decorative purposes to mainland buyers.
The 68-year-old has more than 100 works of his calligraphy, ink paintings and seals of stone and clay on display at Taiyuan Art Museum through May 30.
The show attracted hundreds of visitors and some well-known Chinese artists on Sunday when it was opened to the public. Typically, a Chinese painting also has a poem or a sentence on it to give viewers a sense of the painter's feelings when he was working on it.
So, it was common for a painter to invite a calligrapher to write sentences or poems on his painting, and to put his name on the work using a seal made by another artist or craftsman. Hu Kangmei, an artist known for his calligraphy, says Wang blends his calligraphy technique into ink paintings and seal-cutting. Wang set up the department of calligraphy in 2010 at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, a college that has produced many well-known artists. But before the department was set up, many artists believed that calligraphy was not an art form that matched Chinese painting to merit a separate department in art colleges. Wang gained fame early in the 1980s for his seals, an art form in China dating back 3,700 years. His current show has stone seals as well as clay seals - a new material in which he grew interested a few years ago. When he was 12, he went to see a show of Qi Baishi (1864-1957) and Xu Beihong (1895-1953), which inspired him to learn seal-cutting, an art form that master Qi was good at. Later, he joined the Central Academy of Fine Arts and studied under Li Keran (1907-89), a modern art master who was good at ink paintings of figures and landscapes. But he says a calligrapher and an ink painter must learn to enjoy loneliness to perfect his art. The artist has donated some of his works to the Taiyuan Art Museum as his father was born in Taiyuan. The sales took in $141.4 million against a pre-sale estimate of $134 million to $197 million for the 51 lots on offer. Christie's officials declared themselves pleased with the result, saying they had tailored the sale to the tastes of the current market and that bidding from across the globe, particularly Asia, helped drive bidding.
After years of soaring prices, both Christie's and rival Sotheby's assembled markedly smaller sales this season, with no works carrying estimates much beyond $40 million.
Emblematic of the results' mixed signals vis-a-vis a seemingly flagging market was Frida Kahlo's Dos Desnudos en el Bosque, which set a record for both Kahlo and any Latin American artist when it fetched $8 million. Similarly, the top-priced lots, Monet's Le bassin aux nymphaes and Modigliani's La Jeune femme a la rose each barely made their low estimate. Strong prices were achieved by George Braque's Mandoline a la partition and Barbara Hepworth's Sculpture with Color, which soared to nearly four times its estimate, fetching $5.4 million. Officials at both Christie's and Sotheby's say the New York results, which were far stronger for both houses for contemporary and post-war art, will be looked at closely as they assemble their upcoming London sales next month. Frida Kahlo's Dos Desnudos en el Bosque fetches $8 million during Christie's impressionist and modern art spring sale in New York. China's largest hotpot restaurant chain recently announced it would update its main menu every three months starting from June, reflecting the fact that diners now have a much shorter attention span about new dishes, even though they are devoted to classics. Haidilaou Hotpot - whose restaurants are hits for their service and delicious Sichuan-style hotpots - organized a grand tasting event for hundreds of loyal customers earlier this month. Among the offerings at the tasting event are cow marrow, boar belly, boar leg, peanut sprout, asparagus and venison that are unusual in a hotpot restaurant. Vegetarian options include some of my favorites on the new menu - surprises such as black corn, arrowhead tubers, and so-called "purple cabbage" (a hybrid of Chinese cabbage and red kraut), and vegetarian "baodu", or beef triple, a classic meat dish in Sichuan-style hotpot, this version made from beans.
There are also innovative desserts, including mushroom-shaped steamed buns, walnut-shaped steamed buns, and taro porridge. All the dishes were created to achieve a balance between taste and nutrition, the company says, because customers have become increasingly aware of food safety and nutrition. Haidilao has established its own supply chain with strict quality controls, from supplier selection, ingredient-quality checking, cold-chain transportation and storage, and storage management. All ingredients for the new dishes are organic, so the vegetables are free of pesticides and fertilizers, an executive with the company's research and development department told me. It was difficult to decide which one was my favorite, except that it wasn't the walnut-shaped steamed buns stuffed with walnut, which were too sweet for me.
The vegetables, including peanut sprouts, pea seedlings, asparagus and black corn, all had distinctive aromas and flavors. Except the pea seedlings, other vegetables are not only rare in a hotpot kitchen but boast great nutritional value - rich in vitamins, dietary fibers, and vegetable protein. Among the meat dishes, I just could not stop having more of the cow marrow, yu yang xian (mutton and fish meat pressed together), boar belly, boar leg and goose intestine. The cow marrow had a very tender and meaty texture when briefly boiled in the spicy hotpot soup, and tasted extraordinarily flavorful when eaten with dried chili powder.
The yu yang xian, literally "fish, mutton, umami", is a mixture of raw catfish meat and cooked mutton, and tasted very "umani" and chewy. Goose intestines are a classic hotpot dish in Sichuan province, but are less common in Beijing than duck intestines. Among the desserts, my favorite was fried shredded taro, which was beautifully presented and very delicious. The restaurant chain has also launched a program to allow customers with membership of its branches to order personalized hotpot soups with their favorite flavors.
To chef Jamie Oliver, an omelet can be a perfectly balanced nutritious meal that can even appeal to kids. While his healthy-eating crusade has been focused on home cooking, it promotes a way of thinking that makes consumers smarter about what they eat in restaurants, too. Oliver, whose restaurant network has grown to more than three dozen eateries worldwide, including two Jamie's Italian outlets in Hong Kong, is staging an array of events this weekend, including "schools cooking our recipes, ambassadors hosting cooking classes and pop-ups featuring our recipes". At 5 pm China time on Friday (10 am in the UK), Oliver will kick-start a relay of live videos on his own Facebook page with cooking, advice, debate and fun. Oliver famously began a formal campaign to ban unhealthy food in British schools and to get children eating nutritious food instead. His efforts made the subject of school dinners a political issue in Britain and changed the types of food served in schools. An American fan of Oliver's, Lindsey Shifley, became concerned when her daughter Abbie lost interest in school. Lindsey Shifley credits Oliver for her change in approach, and now acts as an ambassador for his eat-smart campaign. Problems like Abbie had are preventable, says Oliver, who hopes on Friday's events will excite viewers around the world to make healthy choices about the food they eat. Delafon hosted master classes for bartenders on the spirit's use, including an event at Caravan, where owner Badr Benjelloun crafted the Chartreuse-goji drink, and also combined the French spirit with oolong tea from Taiwan. The recipe for Chartreuse itself, a herby green alcohol, is such a closely guarded secret that only two of the monks know precisely how to make it. It's hard to know how the monks would feel about the addition of goji berries to their herbal brew. Wines from the nation of Georgia will take center stage on May 28 in Nanchang, Jiangxi province, when the Georgian Wine Abbey is dedicated there.
As a longtime Shiraz fan, I'm excited that Vinexpo Hong Kong will host "Shiraz Day" events on May 26, including numerous tastings, food and wine pairings, a conference, a master class and a "best in show" contest.
Shiraz is named after the ancient Persian city of Shiraz, once renowned for producing the finest wine in the Middle East, organizers say. Meanwhile, Italy is in the spotlight as this year's "country of honor" at the May 24-26 expo, showcasing its great diversity of wines and spirits. Prestigious Italian wineries exhibiting at the show will include Biondi Santi, Chianti Classico, Antinori and Masi Agricola. The Atmosphere bar atop the China World Summit hotel in Beijing will welcome its first guest bartender in 2016 with award-winning "Tiki Master" Daniele Dalla Pola from May 24 to 28. In 2007, the Japanese ceramic artist Kyosuke Hayashi brought his reproduction of rare chinaware to Beijing for an exhibition. The rare piece Hayashi reproduced is jian zhan, which literally means tea bowls fired in kilns. Japanese artist Kyosuke Hayashi's passion for jian zhan pottery has set him on a journey of exploration to create a new type of chinaware.
China's ceramic experts commended Hayashi's reproduction for achieving a similar scale of beauty to the jian zhan ware the Song masters achieved.
Born in 1962 in Toki, central Japan's Gifu prefecture - one of the country's major ceramic producers - Hayashi has won many awards for his pottery and ceramic works in Japan. When observers gaze long enough at the surface, it appears to resemble an expanse of stars drifting across the heavens on a summer's night.
Oil spots occur when there is an excess of iron oxide, which is allowed to cool slowly and form radiant spots on the surface.
In the 13th century, jian zhan ware was introduced to Japan by its Buddhist monks returning from their studies in China. Japan's Ashikaga shoguns (1336-1573), both warriors and avid tea practitioners, promoted the use of the Chinese-made tea bowls in chado, or the Japanese tea ceremony. The Song Dynasty came to an abrupt end in the wake of the Mongol nomads, and with it, powdered tea gave way to tea leaves. Three of them are designated as National Treasures of Japan, kept in the Seikado Bunko Art Museum in Tokyo, the Fujita Art Museum in Osaka and the Ryuukouin Subtemple of the Daitokuji Temple in Kyoto. Up to the 1990s, it was widely believed that the techniques and quality of the Song Dynasty could not be replicated. To learn more about the tradition and techniques of Song ceramic artisans, Hayashi traveled to Fujian to look for relics of yohen tenmoku before their glaze was changed by kiln firing. Scientists have discovered that items of jian zhan or yohen tenmoku contain a unique and incredibly difficult-to-produce crystalline formation known as epsilon-phase iron oxide. Coincidentally, the jian zhan pieces with the highest count of this formation are also some of the most coveted for their beautiful silvery appearance.
It is believed that there was no way to control the finished product in the massive wood-burning kilns in the Song Dynasty. Now the biggest challenge for him is the weather, as different conditions can influence the flow of smoke coming out of the kiln and, as a result, the bowls. Jian zhan or yohen tenmoku bowls are still considered among the most perfectly realized objects devoted to the beauty and culture of tea.
His passion for the pottery set him on a journey of exploration that continues to this day. Zhang Yun, deputy director of the Hanyang Mausoleum Museum in Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi province, says that the tea, recently recognized as a Guinness World Record for being the world's oldest, will be exhibited at the museum starting on Wednesday. He says the tea was mixed with grains when it was first discovered in 2005 at the Hanyang Mausoleum. However, it was not until 2015 that archaeologists from the Shaanxi Provincial Archaeological Research Institute were able to ascertain the fossilized plant remains were tea. It was the first evidence of tea consumed by a Han Dynasty (202 BC-AD 220) emperor, he says, adding that the findings are of great importance to research on the history of Chinese tea culture. Rowan Simons, verification officer from the Guinness World Record company, conferred the certificate on May 6 to recognize the discovery as the world's oldest tea. He says it has long been known that China is the home of tea, and the world record gives us a deeper understanding of China.
Ancient Chinese liked to be buried with their favorite things so they could enjoy them in the next world. Other items found at Emperor Jing's burial site include pottery figurines, an army of ceramic animals and several chariots as well as animal remains, including cows, sheep, dogs, pigs, deer, rabbits and birds. Small amounts of tea, unearthed at the graveyard of Emperor Jing (188-141 BC), will be shown at the Hanyang Mausoleum Museum in Xi'an.
She will use the opportunity to introduce her dynamic range of songs, from lyrical ballads to high intensity, energetic pieces. Joined by some of Canada's award-winning jazz musicians, including Kevin Turcotte on trumpet, Kelly Jefferson on saxophone and clarinet, Michael Occhipinti on guitar, George Koller on bass, and Biali's husband, Ben Wittman, on drums, Biali will perform at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing on Saturday. Canadian musician Laila Biali will make her China debut on Saturday, as part of the ongoing Meet in Beijing arts festival. A household name in her hometown of North Vancouver, British Columbia, Biali is now based in New York with her husband and her son.

She also has recorded and performed with pop icon Sting - an experience she recalls as "wonderful and life-changing". Music has always been a great part of her life: Her mother often played church hymns on the piano when she was growing up. She wrote her first song at the age of 12, which was a "spooky Halloween piano composition" called The Spells.
She now draws inspiration from the music she has been listening to over the years - her favorite classical composers plus a host of artists from genres as diverse as pop, rock, gospel and world music. She's released six albums so far, including Tracing Light, which received a Juno (Canada's version of the Grammys) nomination in 2011 for best vocal jazz album of the year. Biali considers each new album as an exciting chance to see "how the music connects with people.
Biali and her jazz ensemble show will be part of the ongoing Meet in Beijing arts festival, the capital's oldest arts event, organized by China Arts and Entertainment Group, which was founded in 1957. During the past three weeks, famed Canadian artists have performed in Beijing, including the Ottawa Bach Choir, the Ensemble Caprice Baroque Orchestra and a troupe from Vancouver's renowned dance school, the Goh Ballet Academy. Those performances were recommended and coordinated by the Canadian Fund for International Understanding Through Culture.
Her shows are sold out and fans, especially young people, love her performances of the traditional art form, which is facing a decline today.
On May 24, Zhang will present a Peking Opera classic, The Legend of the White Snake, at Chang'an Grand Theater in Beijing, to mark the end of the monthlong Meet in Beijing arts festival for the year, one of the capital's biggest cultural events. The Legend of the White Snake is about a love affair between a female snake named Bai Suzhen, who turns into a beautiful woman, and a man called Xu Xian. The Cheng school, founded by famed Peking Opera master Cheng Yanqiu (1904-58), is known for its sorrowful and graceful singing, especially when portraying vulnerable and constrained female roles.
In 2000, Zhang performed the role of Bai for the first time when she was working with the China National Peking Opera Company.
Then, in 2007, she was the first Peking Opera performer to hold a solo concert at the Great Hall of the People. A highlight of her upcoming show is that Zhang will perform with four actors from different generations of Peking Opera performers, who play the role of Xu Xian.
According to Ye, The Legend of the White Snake marks a significant milestone in the development of Peking Opera.
In 1951, shortly after the founding of New China, famed playwright Tian Han (1898-1968), who used to write librettos for traditional Chinese operas, adapted the classic piece into a contemporary Peking Opera work. Since then, The Legend of the White Snake has brought joy to generations of Peking Opera fans. Ye also says his father, Peking Opera veteran Ye Shenglan (1914-78), performed the role of Xu in The Legend of the White Snake in Paris in 1955. In the audience then were prominent French actor Gerard Philipe and film icon Charlie Chaplin. Speaking of his upcoming role, Ye Shaolan says: "I rarely perform these days because I am over 70. Zhang caused a sensation then by performing The Legend of the White Snake and another famous Peking Opera piece, The Jewelry Pouch, at the Lincoln Center in New York. Her US debut was even compared by the media to a performance by Mei Lanfang (1894-1961), who appeared in New York in 1930. The group also organized the Meet in Beijing arts festival, besides Zhang's performance in the US.
Faced with this praise, Zhang Huoding, a woman of few words, replies with a shy smile, saying: "I guess the reason why my shows are popular is that I rarely perform in public now. She was transferred there in 2008 from the China National Peking Opera Company because she wanted to withdraw from stage and focus on teaching.
Given her influence and popularity, the National Academy of Chinese Theater Arts launched an art heritage center named after her in November.
As for her future plans, Zhang says: "I want to maintain a balance between teaching and performing as we have many talented young actors.
Sons of the award-winning sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan, Amaan, 38, and Ayaan, 36, are seventh-generation players of the instrument, the name of which is said to have been derived from a Persian word associated with music. In an interview with China Daily ahead of the brothers' China debut on Saturday, they talk about the lute-like stringed instrument that has a steel fingerboard and a belly usually covered with goatskin.
Indian sarod players Amaan Ali (left) and Ayaan Ali (right) with their father, Amjad Ali Khan. The brothers, who live in New Delhi, say Indian classical music has had a spiritual and scientific development through long years. An interesting aspect of Indian classical music is the coming together of different performers onstage like a "rehearsed orchestra" although in reality one musician may not know what the other is going to do ahead of a concert. The brothers take pride in the fact that their 70-year-old father inspires and encourages them to take the sound of the instrument to new levels. Many decades ago, classical music performances were limited to the aristocracy in many parts of the world but in more recent times they have become accessible to the masses.
Amjad Ali Khan, who was born in a family of well-known musicians, has been performing globally since the 1960s.
As young boys, the brothers learned to play the sarod from their father and often sat close to him during his shows to observe his style as well as understand the audience. Calling their father "abba", the brothers say one of the most important things they learned from him was that for classical musicians "music isn't just a profession but a way of life".
Growing up while listening to different genres of music, the brothers, like their father, have tried to take the sarod to new audiences. With their roles as performers, composers and conductors, they have had many collaborations with foreign musicians, such as performing with US folk songwriter Carrie Newcomer and Grammy nominated Oud player Rahim Alhaj to make the ancient instrument fit into the contemporary scene. The brothers' joint album, Moksha, was nominated at the Grammys for best traditional world music album in 2005. Amaan Ali Khan also says their mother, Subhalakshmi Khan, an artist herself, who learned bharatanatyam (an Indian classical dance) from the late exponent Rukmini Devi Arundale, sacrificed her career for the family.
Beijinger Hou Yanlin spent April's Tomb Sweeping holiday tromping the wilderness, hunting for wild animals to shoot - with infrared cameras, rather than guns. The ecotourists ventured into Hebei province's wilderness not only for sightseeing but also to learn about the importance and methodologies of environmental protection on the trip organized by the Beijing-based nonprofit, Black Leopard Wildlife Conservation Station.
Ecotourists from Beijing venture into Hebei province's wilderness not only for sightseeing but also to learn about the importance and methodologies of environmental protection. That said, she did enjoy the views of green mountains bursting with pink peach blossoms and white apricot blooms.
Organizers taught participants how to track wild animals and monitor bird movements, while explaining environmental protection's significance in-depth.
Hou learned to detect wild boars' traces left and how to install infrared cameras to capture different species on film. The nonprofit was founded in 2000 to undertake and raise public awareness about biodiversity protection. It runs operations in Beijing's Nanhe and Sibeiyu villages, and Hebei's Yeshanpo town and Caishu'an village. Black Leopard has taught local aquaculturalists to deepen their ponds so the storks won't snatch their fish.
But the multitude of wild boars, on the contrary, poses a problem for farmers, since they chomp through cornfields. Human changes to the environment have caused populations to explode, rather than dwindle, creating clashes in shared habitats. Visitors who join the organization's eco-excursions howl like wolves to frighten the swine from fields. Leopards are expected to expand their numbers in the area, which will alleviate the pressure boars exert on crops.
The big cats' proliferation would, indeed, increase public interest in Black Leopard's monthly trips, which typically reach their capacity of 100 participants.
They'll learn how to identify flowers and animals on high mountains untouched by human activity, cook together and fetch water from the woods. Enterprises' social responsibility departments also book Black Leopard trips for employees. A woman attempts a yoga pose on a glass sightseeing platform at Beijing's Shilinxia scenic spot.
This is what it's like aboard Beijing's "UFO", the world's largest glass sightseeing platform that opened in the capital's suburban Shilinxia scenic spot on April 30.
It takes its nickname from its saucer shape rather than anything actually related to little green men who come in peace.
The 415-square-meter platform soars 33 meters from the mountainside, offering a top view of the scenic site in every sense. The 12-square-kilometer scenic area is shaped not only by its thrusting rock quills but also by such other otherworldly marvels as the Jiutan Flying Waterfall, from which ribbons of water flutter 120 meters down four tiers.
Speaking of gravity and life - and of clinging to cliffs - it's worth recalling the world's longest glass walkway, spanning nearly 400 meters, that opened in Henan province's Yuntai Mountain Scenic Park this fall shattered soon after.
Hunan province's Shiniuzhai National Geopark opened the aptly named Brave Man's Bridge 130 meters above the ground last autumn, weeks after a 900-meter-long bridge opened in Yunnan province. Beijing's "UFO" is just the latest opportunity to walk above our world to land in China - where more places to go are using vertigo to give tourism destinations an adrenaline shot in the arm. A busy street connecting downtown Denver to the interstate, roaring with trucks and running alongside railroad tracks, might not sound like a trendy neighborhood in the making. But now it's the time to visit Brighton Boulevard before it begins to look too much like any hipster street in any other city. A mural depicting farm animals and dancing cowboys just off Brighton Boulevard is easy for drivers to miss.
Its delicate greens and oranges, on jewel-like tiles on a concrete wall, are almost invisible in the shadow of Interstate 70. From the mural, it's a short walk to the National Western Complex, which hosts rodeos, martial arts tournaments, alpaca exhibits, classic car auctions and concerts throughout the year.
For two weeks each January, the National Western Stock Show takes over the complex, a festival of cattle auctions, horse shows, Western art exhibits and more. Jobs at smelters, slaughterhouses and factories also meant opportunity for people like Joseph Fisher, a former slave who arrived with his family from the South by wagon train after the Civil War and is listed among early neighborhood homeowners as a smelter worker and "prize fighter".
Back toward downtown from the National Western Complex is the Forney Museum of Transportation, a nostalgic stop for its classic inventory. The cavernous hall sitting along railroad tracks also displays a nail-polish red 1936 Morgan racer and other vintage cars, motorcycles, bicycles, planes and boats, including a Martin AirCar designed for land, sea and air travel. The collection ranges from toy-sized models to Big Boy, a steam locomotive that traveled more than a million miles before it was retired in 1962. Other indicators of change include recreational marijuana shops and artists moving into warehouses along Brighton. Leading fashion designer Ma Yanli, also known as Mary Ma, says Chinese designers have no need to flaunt their Chinese origins in the clothes they produce. The 41-year-old former supermodel and actress says they should aim instead to be as individualistic as Western designers. Former supermodel Ma Yanli will launch her new clothing range that combines the simple look of a white blouse with blue jeans. Ma, once described as China's answer to American model Cindy Crawford, was speaking at the Kerry Hotel in Beijing, ahead of the launch of her new clothing line that combines the simple look of a white blouse with blue jeans. The blouses, which will be available online later this month, will range in price from 399 to 2,500 yuan ($61 to $384; 54 to 337 euros). Ma, who studied design at Shanghai-based Donghua University, launched Maryma Haute Couture in 2005. Earlier this year, her company was chosen to design outfits for Chinese Premier Li Keqiang as well as leaders of five Asian countries for the welcome dinner of the 1st Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Leaders' Meeting in Sanya in South China's Hainan province.
The design on the blue tunic that was made for the event had a representation of the Mekong River with a flower to mark each of the six countries that surround it. Ma says fashion in China is now beginning to reflect the "new normal" of slower growth and the general economic climate, and she expects black and gray to be a feature of what people wear this summer in Beijing, Shanghai and elsewhere.
She was on course to be a national rowing champion but injured her back badly in a boat accident. Then, by chance, while out shopping in Shanghai, she was spotted by a modeling agent looking for talent. After being entered in the Shanghai International Modeling Competition in 1995, she went on to become China's first supermodel and had a successful career, including becoming the face of many advertising campaigns in China. She then combined this with an acting career, appearing in the TV comedy drama Marriage Battle and the 2010 movie Love in Cosmo, where she played a fashion magazine editor based on Cosmopolitan editor Anna Wintour.
She was recently approached about reviving her acting career with a role in a movie based on the Chinese reality TV show Metamorphosis, where children from wealthy backgrounds swap homes with those in poorer areas, and vice versa. Ma, who is divorced, lives with her 12-year-old daughter, Lang Ma Qin Ge, who attends the primary school attached to the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. Ma, whose clients have included football star David Beckham and musician Quincy Jones, says the Chinese fashion industry has made huge strides in the past two decades.
Dong Jinxian teared up as she watched a musical in Yan'an set during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-45) and the Chinese Civil War (1946-49). Yan'an Nursery tells the true story of a school that took care of the children of soldiers. After the show, 55-year-old Dong says it was worth watching the musical, even though her tour guide had not recommended it. High-speed trains now connect Yan'an with several cities, bringing increasing number of tourists. The number of daily passenger arrivals in Yan'an by train has gone up from just 4,000 in 2010 to nearly 47,000 now. Railway authorities are also working to expand the network to other areas in China's western region.
The western region has six provinces, five autonomous regions and the municipality of Chongqing.
By the end of 2014, trains connecting Lanzhou and Urumqi, Guiyang and Guangzhou, and Nanning and Guangzhou were launched.
The launch of Lanzhou-Xinjiang services has sparked renewed interest in the ancient Silk Road, bringing unprecedented numbers of tourists to the provinces of Gansu and Qinghai, as well as to the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. The Shanghai-Kunming high-speed railway, which has just been completed, shortens the distance between Shanghai and Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, to about nine hours.
In the past, when tourists came to Yan'an, they usually went to caves where Chairman Mao Zedong and other Communist leaders lived during the fateful years of the revolution.
To attract more tourists to Yan'an and accelerate the area's economic development, the local government has been encouraging companies to create more interesting tourism-oriented projects. Guo Xiaoqiang, deputy general manager of the company, says the musical has been attracting a lot of tourists. Cui Jiajia, a 20-year-old tourist who loves literature, says she went to Danfeng to visit the writer's house and didn't expect to see a large, beautiful lake full of lotus flowers.

Zhang says the authority is working on the second phase of the site, which will be able to provide hotel services for tourists who want to stay in the area. You see, before you can get the sauce, you have to steam the beans, dust them with flour and then let them ferment long and slow. Fortunately, the moldy beans are soon poured into a dragon urn and placed under the sun to bake. After a while, the magic happens, and the moldy beans, now black and wet, start to dissolve into an aromatic liquid - soy sauce. Grandpa's soy sauce was delicious, and always carefully stowed in covered containers in the cool, dark pantry. Actually, it is precisely this fermentation process that turns the simple soybean into a huge range of seasonings, from soy sauces to semi-solid bean sauces to the cheese-like curds that are salty and pungent. Soy sauce itself is divided into different grades, ranging from light and liquid to the very dark and viscous. As the contents of the fermenting urn ages, the sauce darkens and thickens, and while it loses some fresh flavor, it compensates by acquiring a richness of color that is treasured by chefs for adding depth to their dishes. Some manufacturers add molasses to thicken and sweeten the soy sauce while certain producers try to enhance the fragrance by adding mushrooms to the process. As a flavoring, it does not simply make dishes saltier, but adds a distinctive taste that says "Chinese".
Dark soy sauce is commonly used both as a coloring agent and the base ingredient of many braised dishes such as hongshaorou -the ubiquitous red-braised dish, where belly pork is caramelized in rock sugar and then braised in dark soy sauce infused with cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise and cloves. This is one dish that is cooked all over China, from Guangzhou in the south to Beijing up north.
Salted black beans and the lighter, softer golden bean sauce are the two most common, although there are regional variations across the country. The Cantonese are expert at turning salty black beans into a flavorful seasoning, often mincing the dried beans with garlic, ginger and chili before adding it to bitter melon stir-fries or steaming it with bite-sized pork ribs or chicken pieces. Fried dace (a type of fish) with salted black beans is very popular canned, and generations of Chinese students abroad who had to forage for familiar food in Chinatown grocery stores must remember it fondly. In Singapore, the famous Geylang beef noodles is stir-fried with this delicious mix, and the beef and rice noodles dish is so popular it has become one of the nation's favorites.
Salted black beans are also used in traditional Chinese medicine, where they are added to prescriptions for stubborn coughs and colds.
In the Chaozhou region of Guangdong province, the lighter golden bean sauce is a staple seasoning on the table, where it is used as a dip for steamed seafood, especially fish. The salty golden beans are served with thinly shredded ginger and slices of chili, and then served with platters of steamed crabs, prawns and fish. Doujiang, as the bean sauce is called, is also used to flavor braised meats and the spring roll vegetable mix popular in that region. There are also the bean curd seasonings, which are pieces of soft bean curd that have been slowly salted, spiced and fermented. Red furu is known as nanru, or southern curds, and its maroon coloring comes from the addition of red wine yeast, which both helps it ferment and gives it a peculiar fragrance. The red curds are most often used to braise meats like pork belly with dried bamboo shoots. It is really a testimony to the ingenuity of our Chinese ancestors that we now enjoy such a varied range of flavors from a single bean.
When you can smell fragrance from garlic and spices, add soy sauces and just enough water to cover ingredients. Most online celebrities can't tell jokes, they can't sing, they can't act, and they're probably not exactly conscientious workers. Its interior bears a six-character mark which says "Produced during the Xuande period of Ming".
And his solo show in Taiyuan, in Shanxi province, offers a glimpse into the world of the versatile artist's understanding of traditional Chinese art. Wang is one such master with a unique style," says Fan Di'an, head of the Central Academy of Fine Arts.
The Monet water lilies sold for $27 million while the Modigliani portrait made $12.8 million. Haidilao will offer new dishes, and plans to update its offerings often, Liu Zhihua finds at a tasting. On the plate, they were all very fresh and crunchy, except for the arrowhead tubers, which were soft and had a hint of sweetness. The belly meat was more tender than the leg meat, while skin on the leg meat maintained its firm texture, even after being boiled in the soup for a few minutes. When boiled a few seconds (Haidilao suggests eight to 15 seconds), goose intestines will be crunchy; if boiled longer, they get chewy. The new choices are designed for people who want a change, since the soup is the most important ingredient in a hotpot restaurant - the foundation for the flavors of a hotpot. That basic egg dish, however, is at the heart of what celebrity chef Jamie Oliver calls Food Revolution Day, which he's hosting globally on Friday. His efforts to bring radical change to the school meals system, chronicled in the series Jamie's School Dinners, challenged the junk-food culture by showing schools they could serve healthy, cost-efficient meals that kids enjoyed eating.
A similar campaign in the US was much less successful, and he has expressed dismay at how newly affluent youth in China and India have embraced Western-style fast food, and the well-documented rise in obesity and diabetes in both countries. It contains their beloved spirit, but untraditionally it shares the space with a goji-berry infused white spirit from Ningxia Hui autonomous region, a big splash of a splendid calvados, and some bitters to counter the sweetness of the other additions. When I was a kid in America, I was enchanted by the idea that Colonel Sanders' recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken required 11 herbs and spices - and nobody knew how to duplicate it. In medieval times, when disease and pestilence lurked around every corner and folks were lucky to live into their 40s, long life was a potent promise indeed. Maybe these old fellows are freer spirits than I imagine: With 130 different plants in the pot already, could a few goji berries really hurt? The new Georgian wine promotion complex will feature a wine museum, wine-tasting room, wine shop, warehouse, wineries exposition, and a display vineyard of Georgian grapes. A morning conference explores the question, "Can Shiraz become the next trend in Asia?", and lectures will provide updates on the variety and the modern-day boom in popularity of the grape. But the modern-day red wine known as Shiraz is not related to the city's legendary Shiraz varietal, which was white. The Chinese mainland and Hong Kong are importing increasing volumes of Italian wine, with 2.63 million 9-liter cases exported to the region last year, making Italy the fifth biggest wine supplier to the mainland and sixth biggest to Hong Kong. The best labels of traditional Italian liquors also will be on hand, ranging from vermouth and gin and more. A sophisticated connoisseur of exotic drinks, Daniele achieved the title of "world champion" with his masterpiece cocktail called Elisir D'Amore during the 42nd Below Cocktail World Cup - New Zealand in 2011. His Chinese counterparts greatly admired the replica but were also a little bit embarrassed as no one in the country could re-create it. The craft originated in Southeast China's Fujian province during the Song Dynasty (960-1279). His creations are now in the collections of the Palace Museum in Beijing and the British Museum in London.
Within each star is a navy blue color of glistening mother-of-pearl - a shiny substance that forms the inside of certain mollusk shells. They would grind compressed tea into a fine powder with a stone mill, and then whisk it into froth in bowls. The bowls had deep blacks and reds with flecks of gold - the perfect contrast to the white and green of the tea, making the tea seem even more pure. Since then, yohen tenmoku tea bowls have held a revered position in the history and development of chado. The only four remaining complete examples of the chinaware fired in the Song Dynasty exist in Japan.
The fourth is in the Miho Museum outside of Kyoto, and the piece's existence was not widely known until fairly recently.
Because the adjustment of the fire in the kilns was left to chance when the bowls were made, their final appearance was impossible to predict. The site was the graveyard of Emperor Jing (188-141 BC), father of Emperor Wu, whose reign ushered in one of the most prosperous periods in Chinese history. Experts with the Chinese Academy of Sciences used new microfossil plant analysis techniques to examine the samples. They met for the first time at Sting's estate in Tuscany, Italy, in 2009 before Biali performed on a companion DVD to Sting's If on a Winter's Night album.
I ended up staying the length of the whole program and getting a degree in jazz performance," recalls Biali, who moved to Toronto to attend Humber College on scholarships at 19. The 45-year-old is one of a few Peking Opera performers who can get the attention usually reserved for a pop star. The woman is strong, crazy for love and brave," says Zhang, who was born in Baicheng city in Northeast China's Jilin province. Upon graduation three years later, she focused on the Cheng school - one of the four major Peking Opera styles that emerged in the early 20th century - under accomplished performer Zhao Rongchen (1916-96).
This performance brought her great acclaim and made her a representative figure of the school. But I am excited to perform with Zhang Huoding because she works hard and contributes to the development of Peking Opera.
Now, we have Zhang Huoding, who is doing the same thing, giving Western audiences a glimpse of our treasured art," he says, referring to Zhang's successful debut performances in the United States in September. The body is made of teakwood and the strings are pressed with the edges of nails while playing, not the fingertips.
With its evolution around the middle of the 19th century, the sarod became more expressive and is an important part of Hindustani music, a prominent school of Indian classical music. The most important element of Indian classical music is the raga, which comprises a set of ascending and descending notes within a certain discipline. Though our father is a strict traditionalist, he has always believed in adapting to change.
It claims to have saved more than 2,100 animals under first- and second-tier State protection. They also place wolf and leopard feces like landmines around fields to deter the boars, Li says. This swathe of the Huangsongyu Geopark bristles with stone spires that resemble thickets of tremendous trees. Hunan's Tianmen Mountain became an early mover of people over transparent floorboards at jittering elevations when it built a 1,430-meter-high, 61-meter-long glass walkway half a decade ago.
It offers a close connection to Denver's gritty roots, as well a glimpse of what's coming, along with eateries, entertainment and more. Like the rest of the neighborhood, the installation is best appreciated by visitors on foot, so get out of your car - but watch out for traffic. Of course, designers reflect their personal influences and some of these may involve Chinese characteristics, but this is not what it should be about," she says. She is the daughter of a middle school head teacher, although most of her wider family works in farming. She had been part of a group of tourists visiting the city in April from Xi'an, capital of Northwest China's Shaanxi province.
It was near the endpoint of the Long March (1934-35), and became the center of the Communist Revolution from 1936 to 1948. Until recently, Yan'an was not easily accessible because of a lack of good transportation links. Now they have become a beautiful pearl necklace," says Liu Shengrong, director of the Xi'an railway bureau.
Guiyang, capital of Guizhou province, and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region are also now connected, thanks to the opening of fast rail links. The show lost 10 million yuan last year, but officials are working on taking the play to other cities in the country, which would generate more revenue.
For one, it has invested millions of yuan in Danfeng's Dihua town, which has ancient-style buildings, says Zhang Wei, director of the administrative committee of the site. He believed the best-tasting dishes came from his own kitchen, and he was tireless in his search for the best ingredients. But when he tried brewing his own soy sauce once, the process brought me face to face with the hard facts of culinary truth. In Shanghai, a spicy soy sauce is preferred, which tastes very similar to Worcestershire sauce.
It is also popular as a pickling base, especially in the north, where almost anything from cucumbers to radishes to Chinese artichokes may be soaked in it.
Chaozhou food stalls in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong all use copious amounts of this delicious seasoning. Another famous restaurant dish is a deep-fried chicken wing marinated with mashed nanru and ginger. In the north of China, especially, they are called jiangdoufu and eaten like a pickle, or smeared on steamed breads like jam.
It was the first time that Haidilao has held such a customer tasting party since it opened its first branch in Mianyang, in Sichuan province, in 1994. Each country - Australia, India, the US, Kenya, Canada, Tanzania, Germany, Netherlands, Nigeria and Brazil - will host its own event with famous culinary faces and celebrities throughout the day. Dom Benoit and Brother Jean-Jacques, the two Carthusian monks who know the Chartreuse formula and are never allowed to travel together (except into the distillery), must macerate about 130 herbs, roots, leaves, vegetation extracts and flowers steeped in alcohol for the infusions that end up bottled as neon green liqueur. Today the spirit's fans include Britain's queen mother, Jon Bon Jovi and Quentin Tarentino, who brandishes a bottle of the green stuff in his film Death Proof, and says chartreuse is "a liqueur so good they named a color after it". The Caucasus nation has one of the world's oldest wine traditions, dating to ancient times.
But a monk, who considers Bai evil and jails her in a tower, gets in the way of the couple's happy life.
The regions' beautiful mountains, deserts and highlands have been luring tourists for years, but its challenging geographical location has resulted in slower economic development.
In the face of increasing globalization, food is also one of the last strong visages of community and culture. This is the most expensive and most treasured of all soy sauces, a little like extra virgin olive oil. This is furu, often used to season meats before steaming or frying, or made into a sauce for stir-frying vegetables.
In recent years, high-speed trains have helped narrow the gap between the east and the west.
In the south, one very common stir-fry is water morning glory (kangkong) with a white fermented beancurd sauce.

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