Center provides hands-on experience
When Wang Jing, a 41-year-old mother of two girls, described their July study tour in Qufu, the birthplace of Confucius in Shandong province, she said they reaped far more than expected.
"My little daughter said she didn't know there were so many types of brushes for calligraphy," Wang said, noting that she saw around 100 brushes of different sizes and materials hanging on the wall of an area where visitors can experience the art.
The experience center was developed by the Confucius Institute headquarters and began trial operations in April. Located at the Confucius Research Institute, the center covers 18,000 square meters and has two experience areas, as well as a collection of Confucian classic texts.
The experience area comprises four exhibition areas showcasing the life and thoughts of the ancient sage, his influence on the world and the development and spread of his ideas.
The Traditional Culture in Life area of the center features more than 20 arts and crafts projects that visitors can do, including paper cutting, calligraphy, porcelain making, inscribing and playing musical instruments.
"My daughters were interested in a lot of things. I had to extend our schedule in the center from one hour to half a day," Wang said.
She said her daughters printed a poem using movable type blocks. "They learned about movable type in their textbooks, but this is the first time they've seen the real thing," Wang said.
Yang Chaoming, head of the institute, said, "How to better present Confucianism and how to help young people cultivate their interest in traditional culture are our top tasks. The center is part of the effort to spread the understanding of Confucian wisdom and pass it down.
To date, people from around 110 countries and regions have visited the center. "I have been to one of the Confucius institutes in my home country, and it has been very helpful for me," said MD Rasheduzzaman from Bangladesh, who visited the center in June. "This one has more resources than others and offers the best option for foreigners to learn about China and Chinese culture by seeing it through their eyes and interacting with Chinese people."
(China Daily 10/30/2019 page6)