Jiangnan is a geographic region and also the cultural region. Generally, it covers today’s Yangzhou, Nanjing, Zhenjiang, Suzhou, Changzhou, Wuxi, Hangzhou, Jiaxing, Huzhou, Shaoxing, Shanghai, Hefei, Xuancheng and Huizhou. Since Tang and Song Dynasties, Jiangnan has been an important center of China, and also the most important region of economy in China. Jiangnan is always the region of elite culture and one of the important political centers of China.
The history of Jiangnan could be traced back to a remote period that Tai Bo, the eldest son of Gugong Danfu, moved to this region and led people to develop it. Since then, Jiangnan region was the center of Wu State, Yue State and Chu State, all of which were all the powers in period of spring and autumn and warring states period. The annexation and wars among three countries sped up the integration of history and the exchange of culture. In Qin and Han Dynasties, Jiangnan was a region relatively featuring the sense of democracy, and the protestors of authoritarianism densely appeared here, during this period, the famous figures were the warriors with great wisdom such as Xiang Yu, Sun Quan, Zhou Yu, etc. Since Jin Dynasty, Jiangnan region, the center of south China, firstly surpassed the northern China in economy, and the culture in this region was also entirely booming, even more popular than that in north. In Tang and Song Dynasties, Nanjing and Hangzhou were both the capitals in sequence, and it also became the nationwide center of politics and culture. After Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties, the status and the enchantment of Jiangnan region throughout the country were further consolidated, and also improved in all aspects. After the end of feudal period, Jiangnan, headquartered in Shanghai, became the showcase of China, and the bridge of China and western world.
The culture of Jiangnan is highlighted with traditional elite culture, represented by the culture of scholars or culture of study. The traditional art like calligraphy, painting, chess and seal is absolutely flourishing in east China region. The bund area is the elite culture of Chinese scholars who were educated and influenced by western lifestyle and culture. The west lake scenic area is the center of traditional Chinese scholars. Qinhuai river scenic area and the scenic area of Tai Lake are also the sites featuring the elite culture. The romantic stories are mostly connected with the elite culture like the butterfly lovers, the love story of Tang Bohu and Qiu Xiang, the legend of lady white snake. And the embodiment of elite culture in Jiangnan also includes the tea culture, cuisine culture, calligraphy culture, opera culture, guqin culture and the garden design culture.