Jining empowers handicraft industry
Jining, a culturally-rich city in East China's Shandong province, is uniquely suited to developing a strong handicraft industry. It has been ramping up efforts to preserve and promote its traditional culture, exquisite craftsmanship and intangible cultural heritage items as it seeks to make the city and the province of Shandong as a whole into cultural powerhouses.
Relying on its rich culture, the city has set a three-year goal to explore its traditional crafts, cultivate its handicraft industry, and promote its traditional culture so as to spread the Chinese stories and strengthen China's voice in the international arena.
The report delivered at the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China pointed out that handicrafts are not just for aesthetic purposes but also have cultural and commercial value.
Facing with its new mission, Shandong initiated the handicraft project to make the best use of its rich culture, explore new and creative ways to preserve traditional culture, create a regional public brand of traditional craftsmanship under the "Creative Shandong" banner, cultivate the handicraft industry and promote the high-quality development of cultural and creative industries.
Jining answered Shandong's call to promote handicraft project, seeking to create new styles of traditional craftsmanship.
Jining is encouraging local enterprises to focus on the research and development of traditional craftsmanship, building clusters of handicrafts industries, and creating leading handicraft brands involving time-honored handicrafts and intangible cultural heritages, such as willow-knitting, wood-carving, seal-cutting, brocade-weaving, and pottery ink-stone baking.
A folk artist makes brocade. [Photo/Wechat account: sdxcweixin]
Jining aims to build itself one of the top cultural cities in the nation. The city's bureau of finance has allocated about 100 million yuan ($13.95 million) in special funds for the development of its cultural and tourism industries, supporting a total of over 10 industries including creative handicrafts.
Jining is striving to build a database for handicraft resources, promote the upgrading of handicraft products, expand the handicraft industry, and improve the influence of its handicraft brand.
A Chinese and an expat show their sachets. [Photo/Wechat account: sdxcweixin]
A total of 82 workshops have been assessed as county-level and 53 as municipal-level intangible cultural heritages units in the city.
Jining is focusing on the building of a display center for its handicraft industry. It has set up two municipal-level exhibition and promotion centers and over 30 county-level showrooms, increasing exposure for its handicraft industry. The total added value of its cultural and relevant industries reached 9.88 billion yuan in the first half of 2022.
Foreigners experience handicrafts in Nishan, Qufu, Jining. [Photo/Wechat account: sdxcweixin]
To promote handicraft protection and innovation, Jining also held its first handicraft and cultural products design contest entitled "Creative Handicraft and Better Life". The contest received over 1,400 products and selected 50 excellent artworks. A total of 14 Jining enterprises were included on the list of the "Top 100 Creative Shandong Enterprises", more than any other city in the province.
Jining is actively promoting its handicrafts to the world. An exhibition on Chinese handicrafts and Shandong handicrafts was held during the eighth Nishan Forum on World Civilizations, providing a platform for Jining and Shandong to publicize their "Good Products" brand, and presenting the public with the richness and dynamism of Shandong arts and crafts, while creating a potential international market for its products.
The "Creative Shandong" brand is not simply intended to preserve traditional craftsmanship or intangible cultural heritage items, but to combine art and crafts with application.
Jining is making its handicrafts more modern and pragmatic to meet the diverse needs of the public, while promoting local economic development and raising peoples' incomes through its handicraft industry.
The original Chinese version was provided by Dong Bo, member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Jining Municipal Committee, director and secretary-general of the Publicity Department of the CPC Jining Municipal Committee.