NANCHANG, China, Dec. 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Winter has come and a dip of the hand into the waters of the Gan River in Jiangxi province quickly reminds the owner of the hand that the water is getting distinctly colder. A large delegation who had received special invitations, including over 40 journalists, among them a contingent that had traveled here from abroad, gathered in Jiangxi province to get a close-up and personal look at some of the local folk customs and other distinctive aspects of China's cultural history. Some were quite enthusiastic in their response when asked about the experience.
"I experienced the seamless interaction between modern technologies and traditional culture as well as the fusion of old and new cultures in an evolving world," said one guest from Japan who gave her name as Genba. She was impressed and inspired by the cultural experience during the tour. Telling a story about China can serve as a vehicle for learning about the country's distinctive culture and is becoming a new way for the Middle Kingdom to show the world the richness of its heritage.
Experiencing a local folk custom
Commenting on his visit to an ancestor-worshipping celebration held in Zhuqiao Ancient Village, Turkish journalist Emre Demir said, "Chinese cities are becoming increasingly similar, so I'm more interested in China's countryside, a part of the country that has maintained its original and unique characteristics. You should go to the countryside if you want to truly understand Chinese culture."
There are many ancient villages with a history dating back more than 1,000 years, including Zhuqiao Ancient Village in Jinxi County. The local residents who live in these villages together do so as one large extended family in an effort to keep their folk customs intact as they are passed down through the generations. The long-standing folk customs are attracting visitors from across the world. This group of specially invited guests from abroad are enthusiastic supporters of policies that assure and assist in the conservation of cultures by maintaining the tradition of one generation teaching the one that follows. The visitors were passionate in recounting their hands-on experience when encountering the ancient traditions, including hammering glutinous rice cakes with wooden mallets, making hand-made noodles and learning engraving printing.
The beauty and splendor of Jiangxi's Wuyuan County, regarded by many as the most beautiful stretch of countryside in China, is mirrored in Huangling Ancient Village, a collection of traditional buildings clinging to the side of a cliff. Wuyuan County Rural Cultural Development chairman Wu Xiangyang said, "Huangling Ancient Village is nestled between several mountains. Our conservation measures serve to preserve the local historic architectural style as well as the traditional culture and customs and will help the village become a world-class example of heritage that deserves to be protected."
A visitor from Tunisia, who identified himself as Waleed, was especially interested in the historical traditions and cultural values that have been kept intact and alive the village. During his visit, he kept on asking the guide about the village's local folk culture and historical background. He also encouraged the local authorities to continue promoting the local cultural traditions, "It is something foreign visitors want to know about."
Memorable tour in a famous city
After visiting Tang Xianzu Memorial Hall, Waleed said, "Tang Xianzu is very famous and I have heard of him before. Today I visited his memorial hall and learned more about his life and artistic achievements." He added that this journey was well worth it, as Fuzhou has a long cultural history.
Zhang Hongxing, mayor of Tang Xianzu's hometown of Fuzhou, the small city in Jiangxi province (not to be confused with Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian province), concluded, "The ecological and cultural heritage is the biggest advantage of Fuzhou." Many foreign journalists who visit here always bring up the topic of how to let Tang culture become known around the world, and it is also a subject that the municipal government of Fuzhou has been exploring.
The mayor added by way of explanation that Fuzhou hosted 44 memorial events this year, the 400th anniversary of Tang Xianzu's death. One aspect of the city's culture that received particular attention was Tang opera, and on how to use various media to spread awareness of this unique art form. In April of this year, a group from England, the country that gave us Shakespeare, initiated a series of intensive research projects focusing on this small city in Jiangxi province and plans to delve deeper into the study of Tang Xianzu, both the person and the work, promoting the addition of Tang opera to teaching materials and international translation projects and the opening of a Tang Xianzu art foundation with the goal of developing Fuzhou into China's Opera Capital.
In addition to Tang Xianzu, Fuzhou is also home to a large number of famous Confucians including the statesman, poet, calligrapher and literary figure Yan Shu, the scholar and historian Zeng Gong and the economist, statesman, chancellor and poet Wang Anshi, whose combined works proved highly influential on Chinese history and culture. The city is teaming up with professional research firms that will conduct in-depth research into the culture that created such noteworthy individuals.
Waleed said, "Although Fuzhou is a small city, it has a long history and a strong cultural background." He expressed the opinion that the unique traditional cultural advantages can definitely help the city raise its international visibility.
Ceramic culture -- A Chinese calling card
Over 2,000 years ago, the Maritime Silk Road was an important channel for economic and cultural communication between China and the world. Jingdezhen was the point of origin for many of the goods that made the trek along the Maritime Silk Road: half of the "treasure" found in shipwrecks at the bottom of the South China Sea have been ceramic ware. After thousands of years, Jingdezhen, which is well-known across China as the Porcelain Capital, has become a necessary stop for many international travelers when they visit China. Wang Jianping, director of the town's agency for promotional development, explained that over 30,000 foreign artists create works and communicate ideas here each year.
At the base of Phoenix Mountain (in Chinese: Fenghuang Mountain) along the eastern edge of the town lies the recently developed Taoxichuan Ceramic Art Avenue, a street lined with ceramic-themed shops and museums. The avenue, a creation that was born out of the renovation of the old factory site of Yuzhou Ceramic Plant three years ago, has become Jingdezhen's new calling card. Twenty-two industrial factory buildings and a large number of kiln facilities that had been active at different times through the town's long history were renovated into a diversified set of museums, galleries, and cultural centers, while fully conserving the look and feel of the original structures.
The avenue, where many young people from across China have started a business and put their innovative instincts to work, has attracted the attention of many ceramic makers from South Korea, Japan, Mexico and the United States. A Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts student who makes his own wood carvings and sells them in Taoxichuan's night market told reporters that college students are free to open booths at the market. As a result, many students come to do business there and have started to become locally known as "Jing drifters".
Along the shop-lined avenue, you are likely to chance upon an old red-brick factory that doubles as a workshop making porcelain, refitted with renovated French doors and windows displaying the workshop's porcelain creations. A reporter from Latin America said: "In many countries outside of China, Jingdezhen is a Chinese 'brand'. Porcelain is the first thing that comes to mind for many when someone mentions China. And, when the topic of porcelain comes up, we'll certainly think of Jingdezhen. As Liu Zili, the Jingdezhen Ceramic Culture Tourism Group chairman, said to the delegation, porcelain is the universal language of mankind and has gained increasing popularity and acclaim around the world, both for the ancient artifacts and well as for the pieces of work being produced today.
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/jiangxi-bureau-of-the-peoples-daily-organizes-special-tour-of-jiangxi-province-for-foreign-journalists-300375868.html
SOURCE Jiangxi Bureau of the People’s Daily