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Wu culture came into being in lower reaches of the Golden Triangle area of the Yangtze River. Since ancient times, with rich economic conditions and good human and cultural environment of Lake Taihu, Wu culture has developed into widespread and far-reaching culture in the region.
There are basically two kind of different views on definition of Wu Culture in the academia: one refers to the Pre-Qin Period (about 21 Century B.C. - 221 B.C.), which is a narrow sense of Wu Culture, whose advocators are mostly from the archaeological and the museum field; the other view is so called generalized Wu Culture, including the origin from the State of Wu and its later development in the geographic location of Wu area. The latter's proponents are most from other aspects of the whole society. The time span of Wu Culture is also divided into narrow and generalized senses.
The Wu Culture in narrow sense refers only to the ancient Wu in archaeological meaning. The generalized Wu Culture should refer from the beginning of mankind to the present day, including all variety of material, spiritual and cultural creation and activities in Wu area. Over the 2000 years, Wu Culture experienced occurrence, development, and the evolution of a long process.
In terms of the development process, Wu Culture has at least four basic features: "Equal emphasis on rice-planting and fishing, boat bridge across the rivers: a unique Landscape of Waterside Village's culture”; "Wu Songs, Kunqu Opera, Wu Fictions: Wu Culture in dialect"; "Warlike and value humanities: from rigid and gentle habits and morals"; "Integrated and updated: open with timely change."
As an important part of traditional Chinese culture, Wu Culture has a long history and can be dated back to the San Shan Mountains Culture of the late Paleolithic Period more than ten thousand years ago. In a very long period, Wu Culture mainly absorbed the Central Plain’s culture, and disseminated Wu Culture itself overseas. From the mid-Ming Dynasty, Wu Culture gradually absorbed foreign culture more and communicated with the Central Plain’s culture, which led to a unique style of the Wu Culture.
As basic academic study in all cultural and academic researches in Suzhou, researches on Wu Culture have the oldest and most extensive coverage, which include: geography, history, characteristics, connotation, resources development of Wu Culture and so on. In recent 50-60 years, it has formed a diversified layout in Wu Culture researches, which combined with protection, exploitation, utilization and development in research ideas and achieved a lot of fruitful results.