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Wuxi enterprise to breathe new life into traditional art

Updated : 2020-09-16

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Signing ceremony between Jiangsu Yunlin Elderly Care Development Group and Wuxi Huishan Clay Figurines Factory is held recently. [Photo/wxrb.com]

The Wuxi-based Jiangsu Yunlin Elderly Care Development Group will take over the Wuxi Huishan Clay Figurines Factory in order to better preserve local art, according to a deal inked recently.

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

With their intricate designs and bright colors, the clay figurines are among Wuxi's most iconic local products and have gained immense popularity among visitors to Wuxi.

Since the foundation of the People's Republic of China, the government has offered help to in protecting and promoting Huishan clay figurines. The annual output value of the factory achieved a record high in 1994, exceeding 6 million yuan ($888,325).

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A worker of Wuxi Huishan Clay Figurines Factory colors clay figurines. [Photo/wxrb.com]

However, as with many other Chinese intangible cultural heritages, Huishan clay figurines are an art form on the verge of disappearing. They are declining in popularity due to their purely ornamental nature, according to Pan Jifeng, chairman of the Wuxi Civil Artists Association.

Pan said that the deal is expected to bring about a resurgence in popularity for the traditional art. "Yunlin Group has some great ideas to help build cultural brands," said Pan, "I hope the cooperation will bring some new ideas as to how best to preserve Wuxi's intangible cultural heritages."

Shen Dashou, director of the Wuxi Huishan Clay Figurines Factory, made the decision after careful consideration. He decided that Yunlin Group, which has a young, educated team of professionals with a strong sense of art, was well-suited to carrying forward his business.

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A pair of mascots of the Second Grand Canal Cultural and Tourism Expo. [Photo/wxrb.com]

Shen also spoke highly of the mascots of the Second Grand Canal Cultural and Tourism Expo, which were made by Yunlin Group based on traditional images of Huishan clay figurines. "They are more fashionable and attractive to young people," said Shen.

Gong Yucai, chairman of Yunlin Group, said they will host a series of exhibitions and cultural events, train talent and integrate fashion elements to promote Huishan clay figurines to worldwide art lovers.

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