Beijing: Culture and Arts
The Forbidden City
People native to Beijing speak the ‘Beijing dialect’, which belongs to the Mandarin sub-division of spoken Chinese. Beijing dialect is the basis for standard Mandarin, which is spoken in Mainland China. Rural areas of China have their own dialects.
The Beijing Opera is famous throughout the world and is a must see. It is performed in an ancient dialect with song, spoken dialogue and action sequences including fighting and acrobatics.
The Cloisonné or Jingtailan metalworking technique is a specialty of Beijing’s cultural art, and is one of the most respected traditional crafts in China. Cloisonné making requires elaborate and complicated processes, which includes: base hammering, copper-strip inlay, soldering, enamel filling, enamel firing, surface polishing and gilding. Beijing's lacquer ware is also well known for its sophisticated and intrinsic patterns and images carved into its surface, and the various decoration techniques of lacquer includes ‘carved lacquer’ and ‘engraved gold’.
Younger residents of Beijing have become more attracted to the nightlife, which has flourished in recent decade, breaking prior cultural traditions that practically restricted it to the upper class.
The city remains an epicenter of tradition with the treasures of nearly 2,000 years as the imperial capital still on view—in the famed Forbidden City and in the city's lush pavilions and gardens.