Hymns of Wu
The “elegant and orthodox” (yazheng) represents the finest of Wu Culture. Not slanted or excessive, the target is refinement and simplicity. The quality means being strong in the continuance of tradition, exquisite in the pursuit of detail. The pre-Qin “elegant and orthodox” was embodied in the adherence to and inheritance of Central Plains Culture. Along with the economic development of Wu and the southern shift of China’s economic heartland in the Han and Tang, Wuzhong itself, in the center of the Three Wu (Jiangnan) region, slowly emerged as the cultural orthodoxy. The region directed the mainstream cultural current to an even greater degree during the Ming and Qing, when Wuzhong, from its garden construction through daily appliances, featured the best pickings of the time. Cultural relics are the expression of a period’s culture, thought and means of living, and the “elegant and proper” texture inhering in Wu cultural relics grants them their own estimable qualities.