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Reviving traditional Chinese archery

By Zhao Ruixue in Jinan | China Daily | Updated: 2017-04-10 07:11


Reviving traditional Chinese archery

Zheng Haiting and three of his students practice his Kuixu ceremonial archery at Daming Lake in Jinan, Shandong province. Zhu Feng / For China Daily

Modern version of ancient sport emphasizes cultivation of positive attributes

If you had been at Daming Lake, a major scenic spot in Jinan, capital of East China's Shandong province, on April 2, then you may have come across an unusual sight - several people dressed in Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220) costumes firing bows and arrows by the lakeside.

The group were practicing Kuixu ceremonial archery, a modern interpretation of the ancient sport developed by 54-year-old Zheng Haiting.

"Our archery recalls traditional ceremonies, which is why we are dressed in traditional costume. It is imbued with traditional culture," he said.

"The aim of ceremonial archery is to help participants cultivate virtues such as mutual respect, the spirit of teamwork and the ability to keep quiet when you have a break during competition."

As one of the traditional Six Arts that have their roots in Confucian philosophy and formed the basis of education in ancient Chinese culture, archery has a long history in China. It went into a period of decline during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), but is now undergoing a revival.

At the end of the 30-meter-long archery range at Daming Lake is a Confucian couplet emblazoned on the target wall: "The archer who misses his mark does not blame the target. He stops, corrects himself and shoots again."

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