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Foreign students embrace Wuxi's cultural legacies

Updated : 2017-10-31
(chinadaily.com.cn)

A special cultural experience activity featuring Wuxi's intangible cultural heritages was held on Oct 29 in the ancient town of Dangkou in southwest Wuxi, Jiangsu province.

The event invited some 20 foreign students from Jiangnan University to learn and experience the city's most representative cultural legacies – Huishan clay figurine, Liuqing bamboo carving and Wuxi zhima (woodprint joss paper).

Jointly organized by the Wuxi publicity department, the information office of Wuxi government, the School of International Education at Jiangnan University and the Wuxi KFC Co, the event was part of the "Love in Wuxi" series that is held throughout the year to showcase the city as a livable and a charming place.

Foreign students embrace Wuxi's cultural legacies

Huishan clay figurines are on display during the event. With delicate design, vivid appearance and bright colors, the clay figurines have gained great popularity among visitors in Wuxi. [Photo by Ding Yuanyuan/ chinadaily.com.cn]

Held at a KFC restaurant in the Dangkou Ancient Town Scenic Area, the event was also part of the fried chicken empire KFC's efforts in promoting the protection, inheritance and development of local traditional culture.

The Huishan clay figurine is a famous Chinese traditional folk art, which has a recorded history of 400 years and was listed as a national intangible cultural heritage in 2006.

With delicate design, vivid appearance and bright colors, the clay figurines have gained great popularity among visitors in Wuxi.

"The craft requires skill and finesse," said Zhao Jiangao, a local craftsman and inheritor of Huishan clay figurine.

Foreign students embrace Wuxi's cultural legacies

Zhao Jiangao (right), a local craftsman and inheritor of Huishan clay figurine, details the skills of making Huishan clay figurines during the cultural experience activity held on Oct 29 in Wuxi, Jiangsu province. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Zhao demonstrated how to knead the black clay with the fingers and create curves.

Samples made by Zhao were placed at the rostrum for foreign students to try and imitate.

Foreign students also learned how to finish up their painting by drying the clay figurines, all with care and creativity.

Foreign students embrace Wuxi's cultural legacies

A foreign student from Jiangnan University demonstrates his work of Huishan clay figurine. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

After making the Huishan clay figurines, the foreign students also learned about the ancient art of bamboo carving and local woodprint joss paper.

Liuqing bamboo carving has been included in the list of national intangible cultural heritages. The bamboo works of Wuxi are refined, simple, elegant, beautiful and decorative and enjoy increasing popularity among local people and tourists in Wuxi.

"Liuqing" literally means green-retaining. The craft adopts a unique and traditional method of carving into the very thin surface of bamboo.

Wuxi zhima is a type of woodprint joss paper of a variety of Chinese gods and goddesses. In the past, people used to burn these joss papers at sacrifice ceremonies. It originated in the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) and reached its peak in the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. It is included in the Jiangsu provincial list of intangible cultural heritages.

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