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Buza craftwork creates a new buzz

China Daily | Updated: 2020-08-06 09:28
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A visitor views traditional handicrafts of the Bai ethnic group on display in an exhibition at the Yunnan Provincial Museum in Kunming, Yunnan province, on June 13, 2020. [Photo by CHEN SHENG/FOR CHINA DAILY]

KUNMING-Buza, a traditional handicraft of China's Bai ethnic group that is often associated with mystic beliefs, has gained new prominence by changing with the times.

The craftwork, made with fabric and thread and stuffed with herbs and spices, usually represents images of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals, Bai folklore, historical figures or other auspicious symbols.

In 2009, buza was listed as an intangible cultural heritage of southwestern China's Yunnan province.

The unique cultural feature of buza is that "each one implies some meaning and every meaning bears an auspicious significance", said 34-year-old Zhang Sidai, who runs a buza store in Jianchuan county in Yunnan's Dali Bai autonomous prefecture.

Committed to passing on the traditional heritage, Zhang also offers classes on making buza in her store.

During the Dragon Boat Festival, children in Jianchuan wear a string of buza on their chests as talismans.

Traditionally, Zhang said, a string of buza consists of three to eight trinkets, including a monkey, an embroidery ball and the Eight Diagrams-symbols used in Taoist cosmology.

However, as the buza strings were expensive to make and only a few people were willing to buy them, they were only sent to market once a year, during the Dragon Boat Festival, said Yang Wantao, curator of a cultural center in Jianchuan.

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