THE LEGENDARY WU PEOPLE

As crucial builders of Chinese civilization, the People of Wu are known for their scholarship, creativity, entrepreneurial talent and a bold approach to large scale endeavors. Residing in the Yangtze River Delta of Eastern China, the Wu developed an inland maritime tradition and a network of trade that has served as the center of Chinese commerce and innovation for 3,000 years. Over the centuries, many aspects of Chinese life have benefited from the inginuity of innovation and the practical application of knowledge that are integral to the Wu culture and key to the Chinese tradition of pragmatic scholarship. The versatile and thoughtful Wu people have traditionally dominated the rigorous Imperial Examinations and the Jinsi Degree while also taking a more esoteric role in shaping the Tianti School of Mahayana Buddhism and the Yangming School of Confucianism. Wu contributions to Chinese literature, music and opera have also left a significant legacy. With remarkable insight and imagination, Wu writers and composers have had a primary role in the development of China's cultural traditions since the time of the earliest dynasties. The Wu city of Wuxi has long been a leading center of literary China and it has served as a wellspring for the development of several genres of Chinese music. In addition to the Wu influence on Chinese culture, Wu innovations in science, technology and economics cannot be overstated. The Wu people are credited with originating the tea and silk industries in China. The Wu cities of Suzhou and Huzhou were at the center of silk production for hundreds of years and were pivotal to the success of the Silk Road. The Wu city of Hangzhou has always been noted for the production of Longjing tea and the surrounding region of Jiangnan is known for a wide variety of teas. For nearly three millennium, the Wu People have emphasized a way of life that revolves around an internal maritime tradition based on an elaborate system of interconnected rivers, lakes and waterways. They constructed large two story warships with oars and crews of 700 to patrol the winding laborinth of an inland empire near what is now Shanghai. The Wu also built massive sailships with seven masts to navigate the trade routes which they had developed. In the Fifteenth Century, the Wu created China's fleet of oceangoing ships, the largest flotilla in the world at the time, with maritime excursions to Southeast Asia, India and Africa. The Wu "water town" of Suzhou served as China's center of international trade for a thousand years until Shanghai emerged as China's commercial hub in the early 20th Century. With all of their accomplishments, the Wu people have proceeded with a sense of humility and a well grounded perspective that has generated goodwill from people in other regions of China. To this day, the Wu are known for adhering to a concientious philosophy that balances interest with obligation and they are among the world's most generous philanthropists.