Making a present of the past

By Yang Feiyue| (China Daily)| Updated : 2020-11-17

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Tourists visit Taishan Mountain in Tai'an city. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Likewise, Taishan Mountain is tapping into its mountain-porter culture.

Porter numbers peaked as tourism boomed after China's reform and opening-up, and they made great contributions to the development of Taishan Mountain's infrastructure.

By following in the tracks of porters, visitors can better appreciate their perseverance and hardships.

Although manual labor has given way to mechanical equipment today, the porter practice has been retained to keep the old culture alive.

Tourists can also get a taste of the local intangible heritage at Tai'an Old Street, a 25-minute drive from the Taishan Mountain resort, where the local government has supported artisans to set up shop and interact with travelers.


Artist Fan Zheng'an, a sixth-generation inheritor of Taishan Mountain shadow-puppet shows, gives a performance at Tai'an Old Street. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Fan Zheng'an, a sixth-generation inheritor of Taishan Mountain shadow-puppet shows, has opened a facility on the street, where travelers can immerse themselves in the art's history and make shadow puppets of their own. They are also encouraged to deliver a show at the small theater in the facility.

With the support of the government, the shadow-puppet show has received a second lease on life after being integrated with tourism.

Now, Fan has more than 30 students.

"It gives great hope the tradition can be carried forward," Fan says.

At Daimiao Temple, a 30-minute drive away, stages have been established for intangible cultural heritage inheritors to present performances and sell cultural products.

In central Shandong's Qingzhou city, visitors can enjoy performances of intangible cultural heritage such as shuttlecock kicking, rattle-stick dances and the octagonal drum.

Cultural tourism has helped Shandong receive 940 million tourist visits last year, up 8.6 percent over the previous year. Tourism income in 2019 grew 12.1 percent year-on-year to reach 1.1 trillion yuan ($167.3 billion).

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