Experience centers breathe new life into declining cultural heritage

NANNING (XINHUA) – Jiang Peilan teaches visitors how to make traditional Chinese calligraphy brushes at a popular tourist attraction in southern China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Jiang, in her 50s, is an expert in handcrafting Guilin-style paintbrushes, a technique classified as regionally intangible cultural heritage. Its classes are held at a cultural heritage experience center during a major tourist raffle in the city of Guilin, which features several scenic rivers and lakes.

Jiang sees his classes, where visitors learn how to make their own writing brushes under his guidance, as a good way to preserve and promote a declining art that is becoming less appealing to young people in the digital age.

“Thanks to the large number of visitors to the tourist site, we are presenting the art to a wider audience,” she said. Jiang started teaching brush making at the experience center last year at the invitation of a local cultural company that runs the facility. She sometimes gives more than five conferences on weekends or holidays to meet the growing demand from tourists.

“The center offers the general public access to cultural heritage which is considered by many to be high level or beyond reach,” said Pan Yannan, general manager of the company.

A child learns how to make a traditional Chinese writing brush under the guidance of an expert at a Cultural Heritage Experience Center in Guilin City. PHOTO: XINUHA

Experience centers focusing on intangible cultural heritage have mushroomed across China to tap into the Chinese people’s growing interest in traditional culture.

In Guangxi alone, a total of 368 such centers have been established since 2009, according to Xu Xiaoming, director of the regional center for the protection of intangible cultural heritage.

Experts believe that the growing popularity of these experience centers is part of a larger trend that has seen increasing attention to tradition, as increasingly affluent and modernized Chinese society seeks to reconnect with its cultural roots. .

“The centers offer people the opportunity to experience the charm of cultural heritage in person, responding to China’s retro fashion trend,” Xu said.

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