Folk artists become key to cultural heritage
The Chinese Academy of Arts yesterday invited 30 folk artists to become its researchers, seen as a big step by the government in the preservation of intangible cultural heritage.
The 30 are experts in Chinese folk arts such as paper-cutting, clay moulding, kite making and Tibetan Tongka (silk or satin scroll painting).
And all the folk arts belong to intangible Chinese cultural heritage, according to Minister of Culture Sun Jiazheng.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) defines intangible cultural heritage as "the practices, representations, expressions, as well as the knowledge and skills, that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage."
Sun said that folk artists are important components of intangible cultural heritage because they play an important role in passing on such heritage.
Wang Wenzhang, president of the academy, promised yesterday to take further measures to promote the works of these artists, such as holding exhibitions and setting up workshops for them.
He said the academy plans to invite 70 additional folk artists within five years to become researchers.
Yu Xianglian, one of the 30 folk artists, said she wanted more people to pay attention to such heritage.
"If no practical effort is made, the skills will be lost with the passing away of folk artists," said Yu, an expert on clay moulding.
(China Daily 05/25/2005 page2)