Jinan's 'living cultural heritages' have modern appeal
Li Juan, the fifth-generation inheritor of Jinan shadow play, introduces the craft. [Photo by Wang Qian/chinadaily.com.cn]
Jinan inheritors of folk arts and crafts inscribed on intangible cultural heritage protection lists are carrying on promoting the cultural treasures by blending them with modern elements.
Baihuazhou scenic area in Jinan, East China's Shandong province, has brought together many Shandong art masters who are using innovative ideas to make traditional crafts glow with new vitality.
Li Juan, the fifth-generation inheritor of Jinan shadow play, is an example. Born in the 1980s, Li learned puppet performance styles and skills from her grandfather.
Through creation of new plays that perfectly integrate modern talk shows, fancy dance and popular music, Li successfully brings the art form closer to life. Even the latest hot topics are mentioned in the show.
Li also brings the art to schools to cultivate students' interest in traditional culture.
Yang Feng, inheritor of Rabbit King crafting skills, adds aesthetic feelings and practical functions to give the art mass-market appeal.
It highlights elements such as the famous Jinan springs.
The Rabbit King is a traditional toy made from mud for the Mid-Autumn Festival in Jinan. In ancient times, every family in the city worshiped the Rabbit King and admired the full moon during the festival, while nowadays the rabbit god has become an art form that carries on the culture and tradition.
"With the improvement of life quality and the aesthetic sense of the common people, traditional craft products should adapt to contemporary needs," said Jiang Shiqiu, a researcher at the Department of Culture and Tourism of Shandong Province.
Jiang urged the inheritance and development of intangible cultural heritages, innovation to meet needs of modern life and continuous improvements in product design.
According to a local official, Shandong has 172 intangible cultural legacies at the national level, 751 at the provincial level, 3,490 at the city level and 10,544 at the district level.
Li Juan stages a shadow play. [Photo by Wang Qian/chinadaily.com.cn]
Yang Feng, inheritor of Rabbit King crafting skills, adds aesthetic feelings and practical functions to the old handicrafts. [Photo by Wang Qian/chinadaily.com.cn]
Yang Feng and his Rabbit King figurine [Photo by Wang Qian/chinadaily.com.cn]