Rich cultural canvas to create rewards in Shandong

By Zhang Dandan | ( China Daily )| Updated : 2018-09-19

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East China's Shandong province is seeking to capitalize on its rich culture by stimulating innovation and development in related industries, in order to provide an economic boost more equal to that of its historical importance.

Many know Shandong as one of the earliest cradles of humanity with human fossils found in the area dating back 5,000 years.

Through study of fossils, ancient relics and artifacts, it has been revealed that the people who lived in the area once formed a matriarchal society and that over time developed skills such as animal husbandry and craftwork.

Pottery unearthed in Dawenkou in the city of Tai'an has helped archaeologists piece together vast details of how Neolithic communities lived. To add to the province's rich historic credentials it is also home to the world's oldest city state - Chengziya Longshan Ancient City and the oldest military fortification - the Great Wall of Qi.

With such a long history, vibrant cultures have evolved over time, some of them iconic the world over. The philosopher and educator Confucius, who brought the world Confucianism, was born in Qufu, Shandong province.

Other famous names from Shandong read like a who's who of China's culture and include military strategists Zhuge Liang and Sun Wu, ideologists Mencius and Mo-Tse, calligrapher Wang Xizhi, inventor Lu Ban, doctor Bian Que and poets Xin Qiji and Li Qingzhao.

As history expands and culture diversifies an inevitable result is a rich expression in art and crafts. Liangshan martial arts, mantis boxing and Cuju, often thought of as the original soccer, are all characteristic of Shandong.

There are more than 30 local operas, including Liuzi Opera, Luozi Opera and Liuqin Opera. Shandong also has three main kinds of yangko, a popular rural folk dance, which are Guzi Yangko, Jiaozhou Yangkou and Haiyang Yangkou.

To boost its cultural industries, the Shandong province government has implemented a series of initiatives and enacted policies in recent years.

The first Shandong Cultural Consumption Season, an event held to promote local cultural industries, was held in 2017 in 17 cities, lasting for 100 days. Some 133 million people took part and more than 400 million yuan ($58.48 million) was spent.

The second cultural consumption season is currently under way, opening on July 20, and this year is focusing on creating a long-term strategy for increasing revenue in cultural industries.

"With such a huge cultural consumption potential, Shandong is taking full advantage of the cultural consumption season to improve its cultural supply, integrate cultural resources and innovate cultural consumption channels, forging cultural consumption into a new economic driver," said Wang Lei, head of the Shandong Provincial Department of Culture. During the cultural consumption season, each city of the province carries out diverse cultural activities including dramatic performances, cartoon and comics shows, film festivals, photographic exhibitions and traditional operas, aimed at stimulating cultural consumption. According to the Shandong government, the added value of the cultural creativity industry is poised to hit 560 billion yuan by 2022, accounting for 5.6 percent of GDP in the province.