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Cultural heritage attracts visitors

Time:2011-05-16   Source:Shenzhen Daily

The Intangible Cultural Heritage Hall at the main venue of the 7th China (Shenzhen) International Cultural Industries Fair (ICIF) was the most popular spot. There were more than 200 cultural products and examples of folk art from around the country.

It was the first time a hall was dedicated to intangible heritage at the annual fair, which is to close today, aiming at highlighting intangible cultural heritage on national and provincial levels, and help them explore domestic and international markets, the fair organizers said.

There were 208 displays from 17 provinces and cities at the hall of the Shenzhen Convention and Exhibition Center in Futian District. The displays include 67 examples of national cultural heritage, mainly traditional art, folk techniques, food and traditional Chinese medicine.

Among these exhibits, a skilled horsetail embroider of the Shui ethnic group signed a cooperation agreement with a Shenzhen company to industrialize the skill and promote it within the fashion industry Friday.

The horsetail embroidery is the country’s first batch of national-level intangible cultural heritage. It uses horsetail as material for embroidery, which is one of the oldest arts of Guizhou Province.

Folk artists were invited to display their skills at the fair, which had attracted a large number of visitors.

"Many of these skills and arts are seen for the first time and we are also very interested in how they are done. It is a very nice experience as they will also teach you how to make them and some artists even invited us to have a try ourselves. It’s a very nice venue because we learned more about our culture and have great fun in being part of it," said a resident named Wu Chuan.

Many exhibitors had very high hopes for the fair, hoping it could help them use their skills to enter the market.

"Most of the cultural artifacts are handicrafts, so the numbers produced are often very low and this is the biggest reason why the development of these arts is restricted," Tan Bao, an expert for protecting intangible cultural heritage in Hunan Province, said.

"Due to these limitations, many young people do not want to learn these skills because it is very difficult to make good money from it, so a lot of these traditions may not be carried on without support from the government," he said.

"Government should play an important role in protecting cultural heritage as most heritages, except handicrafts, have a very narrow market and their future depends heavily on government support.

"Higher subsidies to support their lives and a more effective system to pass on their techniques are urged to protect Chinese culture," said Pan Lusheng, president of the Institute of Design and Art of China.

The fair has attracted more than 30,000 visitors, including 12,000 professional buyers from other countries and regions, as of yesterday.

A total of 3,226 cultural projects won contracts during the fair. Thirty-five projects with total investment of about 21 billion yuan received contracts Friday, the opening day of the fair.