China is speeding up its protection of the country’s intangible cultural heritage. Recently an exhibition for intangible cultural heritage was held in Tianjin. Gathering more than 100 nationally-listed items from more than two dozen provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions, the event was a grand feast for traditional art and culture lovers.
Qi Wei said, "Here we are at Tianjin Art Museum where an exhibition for intangible cultural heritage is being held. In recent years, China strives to revive its own traditional cultural as the country’s economy continues to develop very rapidly. The country not only wants to impress the world with numbers and speed, but also to showcase different art styles and a different way of living."
China’s old-fashioned way of living is alive in this exhibition. Wandering along the display booths, one can easily feel immersed in the atmosphere of China’s traditional arts and culture.
At the Darentang booth, a time-honored brand of Chinese herbal medicine, every visitor gets a chance to experience filling a prescription.
However, at an actual practitioner’s office, the process is much more meticulous, and secretive.
Guo Yufeng, pharmacist of Darentang Pharmacy, said, "We have studied every herb in our secret recipe. Some of them have been used to slow down aging for two thousand years. And we follow the prescriptions that were used for Emperor Qianlong. Compared to Vitamin E, it’s much more effective."
But other aspects of intangible cultural heritage have not faired as well as Chinese medicine. What once was organically popular is now requiring government sponsorship in order to stop the trend of fading traditions.
In June of 2011, the "Law of Intangible Cultural Heritage" was implemented. Combined, more than 10-thousand provincial and national items have been collected.
Li Zhibang, director of Tianjin I.C.H. Protection Center, said, "Since being put into effect, the law has generated a very good social influence. More and more people started to pay attention to traditional arts and culture. It’s not just what we keep behind the window of the museum, but rather, everything in our daily lives, from dressing to eating, from living to transporting."
Just like Chinese traditional clothing, more and more people are fond of giving the country’s old traditions a modern twist.
Qi Wei said, "There’s always an argument about whether it is appropriate to label all these traditional arts and culture as ’heritage’. Because it is the way we Chinese people used to live, it is the art-style that many Chinese artists and craftsmen are currently practising, and it is surely on the path for revival, so long as it could add more fun and pleasure into our daily life, so long as more and more people started to recognise the beauty of Chinese traditional arts and culture."