Aesthetics Wiki

The appreciation of rural living in China has been a common motif throughout history and culture, with the agriculture, material culture, and landscape being admired in literature, poetry, and art.

Romanticized depictions of rural Chinese villages have become incredibly popular, specifically on Douyin, the Chinese equivalent to TikTok. This aesthetic describes the new emphasis on traditional handmade cooking and crafting with farmed or foraged ingredients made with non-industrial tools, filmed along with cinematic shots of the landscape and traditional architecture of China.

This page describes the contemporary trend online, rather than the development and true image of Chinese village life throughout history.


The romanticized image of rural living has been a subject of Chinese art and poetry for centuries, including works by the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove (3rd century AD), Tao Yuanming (365-427 AD), etc. These poets wrote about leaving behind diplomatic life and instead leaving to live in the wilderness and like peasants farming for sustenance while admiring nature. Likewise, village scenes, forests, mountains, etc. have been painted by countless Chinese artists.

With social media began the introduction of this theme into an online medium. The popularity of these videos began with Liziqi, a video maker from Sichuan province, who posted her first video in 2015.[1] After her stopping videos in 2021, many other influencers began to fill in the gaps and fit into their own niches, such as depicting specific handicrafts, regions, or recipes.


This aesthetic focuses on rural Chinese villages, which have a particular architectural style. Sloped, tiled roofs, courtyards, intricate wood panels, etc. are in the backgrounds of videos.

Village life also includes the depiction of people in it. In videos, the creator often greets their neighbors or brings food to them. Elderly people often appear in these videos, as Chinese culture emphasizes taking care of the elders and their knowledge of traditions being something to pass down.

These videos often show food being harvested and cooked, with the beginnings as a plant and the end product being a meal eaten by the family. The food is often a regional specialty, for example, with mapo tofu in Sichuan province. Other foods include simple and straightforward foods (i.e. dried sausages) or have associations with Chinese holidays (i.e. large feasts during Chinese New Year).

The creator of the video can also make traditional Chinese furniture, clothing, linens, etc. As with food, the involvement begins with the natural resource, such as a depiction of chopping down wood, harvesting flowers for dye, etc.

However, the aesthetic stays away from the difficult aspects of rural living, with no images of strain in the people depicted, a lack of food, poor infrastructure, etc.