Rites

In Chinese culture, rites or li 礼 though closely associated with Confucianism, does not refer to any strict set of behaviors or rules but rather embodies an overall belief in ceremony, ritual, decorum, propriety and Natural Law that promotes orderly conduct and governs civil society.

 

Arising originally from the worship of the supernatural 巫, movements and chants eventually transformed into dance and music.  As worship and beliefs became codified, ritual gained significance and thus so did dance and music, eventually becoming associated with palace decorum as well as a core principle underpinning the educated literati way of life.  The qin 琴, seven-stringed zither, developed in harmony with these rites and the core ideas of li including order and correctness are incorporated into its design.

 

Clothing too plays an integral part in li. The design and construction of the hanfu 汉服, traditional clothing of the Han ethnicity, demonstrates a magnanimity of righteousness and decorum.  Particular colors and motifs could only to be worn by individuals of a certain status and only on specific occasions.