The circular culture

Tomorrow will be the Mid-Autumn Day, also known as the Mooncake Festival, so happy Mooncake Festival everybody! This is the time of family union, and in this post let us follow the tradition and gather around to admire the moon above us, have a cup of tea while eating some nice food as we talk, shall we?

A long long time ago in the East far far away, there were a group of people who loved round things. The ancient oriental belief systems held a deeply-rooted belief that stated “the sky is dome and the earth is square”. As the very first root of a giant cultural tree, this belief has its extensions and applications consciously or subconsciously in almost every single branch that developed from this tree. So the notion of “round” equals “fulfilment” and “complete” took root in all the children and children’s children’s hearts of this cultural sphere until this very day.

Weekend Sale

This weekend as a celebration, our Bunny in the red leaves Round Wall Art (canvas print) will be on sale, you will receive 10% off over ONLY this weekend, and there are ONLY 3 prints available. Come quick!

Remember the bunnies and the moon? If not, come to our live streams to find out!

The circle not only represents the heavens, it also since the start of the oriental culture represented change and reincarnation. Just like in the theory of Yin Yang, where the world moves following certain regulations, and the wax and wane of all matters are normal. Events also evolve in a similar manner, where history eventually repeats itself, starting from the beginning. Perhaps gazing up into the night sky at the moon inspired a few great minds? We can only guess, but the oriental wisdom has a way to regulate the extremes and normalise our lives for us.

The application of round and circular shape is definitely seen everywhere, starting from architecture. You must have seen at least some images of the round shapes used in the traditional architecture, such as windows, doors, bridges, and sometimes even entire buildings. The shape feel safe, harmonious, comforting and pleasing, our sentiments towards it may have been carried in our genes.

Round window, photo from the internet
Round door, photo from the internet
Bridge, photo from the internet
Round building 土楼, photo from the internet

In the smaller cultural aspects of our lives there are ubiquitous round shapes too. The Chinese chess, ancient and modern coins, traditional plates, bowls, and jewelries, in all these objects the most common shape is round. In the oriental art, the best lines are never either round or sharp, we say there has to be edges in the roundness and in the roundness there has to be holding structures. Below is a fragment of a calligraphy piece written by one of the most important artists of the Cursive Script, where such lines are clearly visible. Even though you do not understand what has been written, nor do many Chinese people who has not been trained in such arts, you must be able to appreciate the flow, the harmony, and the emotion – we see round shapes everywhere yet nowhere, a true masterpiece.

Cursive Script, Zhang Xu, Tang Dynasty

Finally I would like to introduce you a rather important round object, the mooncake. We started the discussion from the Mid-Autumn Day, and on this day if you can find a Chinese store normally you can get a piece of mooncake. They are round and golden, just like the full moon on this very night. They are rather tasty, but do not have too much of it in one go, they contain quite a lot of sugar and oil. Although there are many healthier versions, and you can find many types of stuffings, some sweet, some savoury. Enjoy!

Egg Mooncake, photo from the internet

Enjoy such cultural discussions? Have comments? I look forward to hearing from you!


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