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Festival links the world by traditions

By Ren Xiaojin | China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-28 07:58

Festival links the world by traditions

Clockwise from top: The Tibetan dance is shown at the sixth International Festival of the Intangible Cultural Heritage held in Chengdu; Handicraft of countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative is a highlight of the show. An artist perform Quanzhou Puppet Show from Fujian province during the event; Wooden carving requires both techniques and aspirations. A worker introduces an embroidery painting of giant pandas to visitors; The hand-knitted bamboowares of Chengdu are presented during the event. Photos Provided to China Daily

More than 5,000 guests across the world gather in Chengdu to discuss and protect classic artforms, Ren Xiaojin reports.

The sixth International Festival of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Chengdu started on June 10 has brought the beauty of cultural diversity and glamour under the spotlight.

The nine-day event, themed "cultural heritage preservation and development through practice", showcased such folk arts as performing arts and handicrafts from the countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.

Promoting Chinese festivals, operas and arts, the festival attracting more than 3 million visitors was made of a series of exhibitions, international conferences and forums, competitions on intangible cultural heritage and live stage performances.

The festival invited more than 300 foreign guests from over 100 countries, more than 5,800 representatives from around the country including 2,800 experts, performers and delegates from all over China to present their pride in Chengdu.

Irina Bokova, director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) praised Chengdu as an excellent host city for such an event.

Known as the world's capital of food, Chengdu has abundant intangible cultural resources and has showcased how such resources can drive the economy and promote sustainability.

This year's festival also echoed the Belt and Road Initiative and set up a handicraft exhibition in particular for the countries related to the initiative.

The exhibition was divided into two parts: how to preserve and develop traditional crafts and how to integrate ancient crafts into modern industrial design.

Nineteen countries and regions from Asia, Europe and Africa have sent delegates to the exhibition, including traditional clothing, painting, china and embroidery.

Arzu Tutuncu, a Turkish artist specializing in handmade carpet, has shown up in the exhibition with precious products, including a six-square-meter carpet.

"Turkish carpets were seen as a way to express emotions," said Arzu.

"Turkish women express their happiness and sorrow through the patterns, shapes and colors of carpets. The process is very complicated and one square meter can take up to four months to make."

The event also brought bark-clothing painting, a unique art form from Uganda to Chengdu.

Such painting can be hardly seen anywhere else in the world due to the rarity of the bark material it requires.

It requires more than 10 separate processes and two years to complete from the collection of the bark to the completion of the painting.

"Many arts from the world were showcased in the show, and it has highlighted the importance of maintaining a diversity of culture," Francesco Bandarin, assistant director-general of UNESCO, said after attending the opening ceremony.

"I would like to thank Chengdu for the effort it has poured into intangible culture preservation and inheritance."

The event has also highlighted the world's shortage of apprentices, which is a major hurdle standing in the way of culture heritage preservation.

To address the issue, the event committee set up four competitions in handicrafts, martial arts, folk music and dragon boats to encourage participation and engagement in traditional culture.

Luo Shugang, minister of culture, showed a warm welcome to guests from the world at the ceremony.

"The splendid intangible cultural heritage carries on the rich sentiment and values of human beings. It is the carrier of the excellent traditional cultures of all countries and ethnic groups, as well as the embodiment of cultural diversity and creativity," he said.

Luo said as the first national-level and global festival to boost the protection of intangible cultural heritage, the event has evolved into a vital platform for promoting traditions, showcasing distinctive cultures and deepening global collaboration from a cultural perspective.

Yin Li, governor of Sichuan province, further underpinned the role Chengdu plays in intangible cultural heritage protection.

"Sichuan will keep learning from successful cases of protection and inheritance of cultural heritage from around the world," he said.

"I hope that all the guests and people from all walks of life will fully support the festival and the protection of intangible cultural heritage in Sichuan."

To further protect and inherit intangible cultural heritages, the country has launched more than 2,000 cultural activities on the first China Cultural and Natural Heritage Day earlier this month.

Those activities include exhibitions, presentations, shows, competitive events, seminars and folk customs.

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Cultural heritage institute to industrialize, modernize ancient arts

A research and development platform for scientific innovation, the Institute of Industrial Development of Intangible Cultural Heritage, was established at the International Intangible Cultural Heritage Park in Chengdu on June 11.

Supported by the Sichuan Federation of Social Sciences Circle and the Research Center of the Development of Cultural Industries under the Sichuan Provincial Department of Education, the institute focuses on the advancement and inheritance of intangible cultural heritage in Sichuan in such fields as education and research, protection of intellectual property rights and international communication.

It combines the advantageous resources of government, inheritors, universities and enterprises to transform traditional cultures into intangible cultural heritages in the province.

Gong Qiang, vice-president of the institute, said the core team of the institute consists of renowned domestic scholars, successors of intangible cultural heritage and experts on creative cultural industries.

In the future, they will explore modern education focusing on the inheritance of intangible cultural heritage, such as writing systematic teaching materials and making video courses.

Chen Siqi, president of the institute, said that as a pioneer in launching the creative culture program in Sichuan, the institute aims to offer more development models for R&D on cultural heritage.

He said that the institute will play a key role in boosting intangible cultural heritage in China and in overseas markets.

To upgrade designs of traditional crafts and make them part of modern life, the institute will deepen cooperation with inheritors in the future by establishing training programs to improve creativity and foster artistic accomplishments.

(China Daily 06/28/2017 page24)

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