A visitor looks at Thang-ga paintings at an exhibition in Shanghai that showcasesintangible cultural heritage items from Tibet. Provided to China Daily
At the recently closed meetings of the nation's top legislators and political advisers, somedelegates said many intangible cultural heritage items in China may soon face their finalcurtain due to the aging of their inheritors.
The government and experts called upon the young to learn the cultural traditions. One of themeasures to better protect cultural assets is a nationwide pilot training program launched in2015 by the Ministry of Culture.
Last year, the ministry organized 35 research and training sessions at 23 colleges in 12regions across China, attracting about 1,800 artisans. Shanghai University, for example,welcomed nearly 60 artisans from Qinghai's Golog prefecture, aged from 16 to 70, in anexchange program.
Ma Shengde, deputy director of the ministry's intangible cultural heritage department, said allthe colleges they chose have years of experience in teaching, researching and protectingintangible cultural heritage. Some have related museums and the others have establishedlong-term partnerships with inheritors.
This year, the ministry expanded the program to 57 institutions, including Tsinghua University,the Central Academy of Fine Arts and Tongji University, which will involve nearly 20,000participants.
Some programs involve not only traditional skills but also Western theories and techniques.
Wang Lingshan, a professor at Shanghai University's College of Fine Arts, said there is noreason to make the inheritance of centuries-old national craft in conflict with learning moreabout the outside world in modern society.
Innovative courses such as painting and embroidering traditional pictures on reusable clothbags can help inheritors better integrate time-honored craftsmanship with modern life andpromote the country's intangible cultural heritage to go global, experts said.
"The program does not aim to replace the traditional master-apprentice pedagogy, for peoplecannot finish comprehensive learning of a subject in a monthlong session," Ma told XinhuaNews Agency. "We want to improve people's ability to understand old art forms and crafts andexplore better ways to transmit that knowledge to today's youth."
"Intangible cultural heritage items should not be destined for the museums and archives. Theyneed to live among the people," he said.
Cultural authorities in many provinces and regions have made efforts to keep intangiblecultural heritage items alive across the generations.
In Shandong province, a training course on the classic Lyuju opera Zi Mei Yi Jia opened onMarch 14. The project will enroll 28 trainees after nationwide selection and last nearly sixmonths.
Zhang Guilin, deputy head of the Shandong Provincial Department of Culture, told ChinaDaily he hopes the project can strengthen the team of young Lyuju opera performers andpromote development of the intangible cultural heritage.
Zhao Jing, a trainee and national-level performer of Lyuju opera, said she couldsystematically learn the artistic creation of the opera during the course and carry forward thatknowledge to her troupe.