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Cultural heritage on display at event

By Huang Zhiling | China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-12 09:27

Dekyi Yangzom patiently took the pulse of a middle-age man with indigestion and offered to help ease his discomfort with traditional Tibetan medicine.

The 69-year-old intern physician from Lhasa, capital of the Tibet autonomous region, wrote the man a prescription and directed him to a nearby Tibetan hospital.

This scene played out at the Chengdu International Intangible Cultural Heritage Park in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province, on Sunday morning.

Traditional Tibetan medicine-which has a recorded history of more than 3,800 years-was on display along with embroidery, Chinese New Year paintings, bamboo weavings, black pottery ware, traditional musical instruments, Peking Opera costumes and traditional handicrafts at the nine-day, sixth International Festival of Intangible Cultural Heritage, which ends on Sunday.

Since May 2007, the festival has been held in Chengdu every two years under the patronage of the Ministry of Culture, the Sichuan government, UNESCO and the China National Commission for UNESCO.

The Chinese government actively implements the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, and the festival is a platform promoting the convention, said Luo Shugang, minister of culture.

The convention was adopted on Oct 17, 2003, after the general conference of UNESCO in Paris.

China's safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage is proceeding at a time when rapid industrialization and urbanization can lead to the quick destruction of items of intangible cultural heritage, Xiang Zhaolun, vice-minister of culture, said at the festival's International Forum on Intangible Cultural Heritage on Saturday.

With changes in the mode of production and lifestyle, some inheritors of intangible cultural heritage items have fewer buyers for their products and their income cannot make ends meet.

As a result, young people do not want to learn or inherit intangible cultural heritage, Xiang said.

Since last year, the Chinese government has doubled the annual subsidies for State-level inheritors of intangible cultural heritage items from 10,000 yuan to 20,000 yuan ($1,470 to $2,940) to encourage them to pass on their skills, he said.

The vice-minister called for such intangible cultural heritage items to be brought to communities to let more people know about them.

A puppet show, yangko (a rural folk dance), Peking Opera performance and Tibetan dance were staged in the Hongmenjie community in Chengdu's Wuhou district on Saturday.

To mark the festival, the Du Fu Thatched Cottage Museum started a 16-day exhibition of Du Fu's poems in calligraphy works and carved seals on Saturday.

Du (712-770), one of the greatest Chinese poets, is known for its sympathy for common people's sufferings.

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