Cultural heritages sparkle in Dongying

By Liu Chuan| (| Updated : 2022-06-17

Print Print

Dongying, East China's Shandong province is promoting the preservation of its traditional handicrafts by integrating local tourism, cultural creative product development, intangible heritage cultural workshops, and rural vitalization.

As a city where the Yellow River flows into the Bohai Sea, Dongying is rich in cultural resources, especially traditional handicrafts and intangible cultural heritages such as the wheat straw painting making technique, clay pottery handcraft technique, dough sculpturing, and cheongsam making technique.

The clay pottery handicraft technique in Dongying's Dongwang village dates back to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Influenced by the Yellow River, the yellow mud is deposited here all the year round, providing materials for sculpting clay pottery. The clay pottery made with yellow mud has a smooth and fine appearance, as well as exceptional toughness, ductility, and gloss.

During the Qing Dynasty, the village had more than 20 pottery kilns, which could produce pots, surface urns, flowerpots, stationery, ancient tripods, tableware and clay figures.

"There are dozens of steps involved in making a clay pottery product, including selecting materials, billeting, glazing, and firing, all of which are done by hand," said Wang Xuefang, a clay pottery practitioner who began learning the skill when she was 10 years old.

To help promote the craft, she and her husband organized a workshop. "Now, from single household real objects, clay pottery products have developed into delicate handicrafts, architectural supplies, and archaize furnishings," Wang said. Individual workshops have helped to professionalize and collectivize the village's clay pottery crafts, which have also increased inhabitants' incomes.

In Kenli district, Dong Jie, a fourth-generation inheritor of the Liunian cheongsam making technique, integrated the traditional technique with modern elements and local designs such as Yellow River culture and wetland protection patterns, which helped the traditional craft become popular at home and abroad.

A cheongsam (qipao in Mandarin) is a traditional Chinese women's dress that is made using a dozen processes including inlaying, rolling, embroidering, drawing, and carving. With years of inheritance and innovation, cheongsam products in Kenli district not only have a practical value but also have high artistic and aesthetic value.

To further promote cultural heritages, a series of courses have been launched among communities in Dongying's Hekou district. These courses cover paper-cutting, steamed buns, dough figures, New Year pictures, pyrographs, and tai chi, benefiting more than 2,000 residents.