Foreign journalists get taste of Jinan culture
(chinadaily.com.cn)| Updated : 2019-09-10Print Print
Foreign reporters try their hands at shadow play backstage in Baihuazhou Historical and Cultural Block, Jinan, Shandong province, Sept 9. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
A group of foreign reporters representing 12 media agencies from countries including the United States, Russia and Japan got the chance to experience a number of intangible cultural heritage items in Jinan, Shandong province, on Sept 9.
They learned about traditional Jinan shadow play and clay sculpting at a traditional handicraft workshop in the city's Baihuazhou Historical and Cultural Block which features many of the city's 126 intangible cultural heritages and traditional handicrafts.
Several journalists tried their hands at Chinese shadow play for the first time under the guidance of Li Juan, a fifth-generation practitioner of the art form who has been learning since childhood.
"You could clearly see that Li took great pride, and joy, in her work, which left quite an impression. It was great to see this unique combination of traditional and modern, which is apparent throughout the city," said Yun Se-mi, reporter from AJU News in South Korea, after attempting a shadow play performance on the stage with the help of Li.
A journalist from Russia tries her hand at shadow play under the guidance Li Juan in Baihuazhou Historical and Cultural Block, Jinan, Shandong province, Sept 9. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
Kristina Zorkina, editor from ITAR-TASS news agency in Russia, noticed cultural similarities to her own country when watching the show.
"In my country, we also have something similar to the shadow puppet show…the plots are relatable when you see the characters and how they interact with each other."
Muhammad Imran, a reporter from Dawn News in Pakistan, said the show reminded him of something similar that his mother used to watch, but which has long since disappeared because there's no place equipped to hold such performances.
"I'll definitely tell my mom and wife about my experience here and encourage them to come if they ever get the chance," he added.
The journalists also witnessed rabbit figurines being crafted out of clay by local craftsman Yang Feng.
By integrating aesthetics and functionality, Yang has managed to popularize clay art in the form of tourist souvenirs and holiday decorations.
Jinan has been striving to protect and promote local intangible cultural heritage items for years.
The local government has been working tirelessly to restore Baihuazhou Historical and Cultural Block into its original form, and develop it into a demonstration zone for the preservation of traditional arts and architecture.
The block has so far introduced over 2,000 handicraft works, including shadow puppets, paper-cuttings and wood carvings, along with nearly 100 artists. The block's handicraft workshop is free of charge during the day in order to encourage more people to come and experience traditional culture for themselves.
Yang Feng, a practitioner of Rabbit King crafting, paints a clay rabbit figurine in Baihuazhou Historical and Cultural Block, Jinan, Shandong province, Sept 9. [Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]
A journalist tries writing Chinese characters in Baihuazhou Historical and Cultural Block, Jinan, Shandong province, Sept 9. [Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]