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Confucius Museum keeps tradition alive

Updated: 2021-02-26 08:07 ( China Daily )
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Patissier Zhou Chuanmei (right) makes tangyuan, a type of stuffed dumpling ball made of glutinous rice flour for Lantern Festival, with one of her apprentices at an exhibition for intangible cultural projects held at the Confucius Museum in Qufu, Shandong province, on Wednesday. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Modern approach to cultural heritage proves popular, Zhao Ruixue reports. 

The art and significance of Chinese intangible culture are taking on new forms to enhance modern life and are consequently gaining new fans.

Huang Sihan is 15 years old but her nimble fingers can create an artwork that is both intricate and entertaining. In just half an hour, she cut out a butterfly-shaped ring from a piece of red paper at an exhibition of intangible cultural heritage. The exhibition was part of activities held by the Confucius Museum from Wednesday to Sunday to celebrate Lantern Festival, which falls on Friday. It provides a platform where people can try several ancient arts, such as paper cutting.

The girl put the ring on her finger and the wings of the butterfly she cut flapped gracefully as she moved her finger.

"Girls like rings, so I got the idea of making a butterfly ring," she says.

Huang has been learning paper cutting for three years. The grade two student at a junior middle school in Qufu, Shandong province, now practices paper-cutting every Wednesday afternoon at school.

"Students like paper-cutting," says Chang Fengying, who teaches paper-cutting at the school. "They imagine shapes and cut them out from paper. Some make very good works that can be used during Spring Festival instead of buying items from shops."

The museum in Qufu, the hometown of Confucius, holds exhibitions to bring ancient culture closer to young people, says Lin Lin, a staff member there.

Making radish lamps by putting a candle into the plant is a sure way to attract lots of children. However, some doubted whether the radish that contains the candle is real and some asked why not use lanterns instead of the radish lamps.

Their questions were answered by patient explanations of the lamp makers.

"These were popular and were made with flour dough and radishes, a popular agricultural product in Qufu," says radish lamp specialist Qiu Qingfeng.

To prove his point he quickly carved two radishes with holes for the light and lids and carved Chinese characters on them.

Huang Sihan (right) and her teacher show their paper-cutting skills at the exhibition. [Photo by Qiu Jier/For China Daily]
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