News Round-up: The past week in Chinese culture

Every week we share a round-up of recent news stories we’ve seen about traditional Chinese culture! Just click the section titles to view the articles.

Protecting ancient sites

“Ahead of the upcoming rainy season, waterproof sheds and enhanced monitoring systems have been set up to protect the North Grotto Temple, dating back over 1,500 years, located on the loess hills in Northwest China’s Gansu Province.”

Discussion

Protecting ancient buildings and temples is an arduous, ongoing task, one that often doesn’t get the attention or funding it needs. Many places, such as the Shaolin Temple in Henan Provience, turn to other methods to raise money and ensure the legacy of the location, both physically and spiritually, can live on for generations to come.

But often, attempts by religious sites to raise money, either through investment, retail or other commercial means, are met with scorn or accusations of “selling out”, no matter what the money is needed for.

How do you think places like temples should raise money for up-keep? Should it come directly from the government? Should they only rely on donations, or is it OK for places to raise money in other ways to pay for the work they so desperately need done?

A new take on traditional tools

“Catering to the growing popularity of ink brushes and paper, manufacturers have begun to put a modern and innovative spin on the designs of the traditional tools in order to attract young buyers.

Yang Mei, who majored in traditional Chinese painting in college, is an avid fan of “the Four Treasures of the Study” – ink brush, ink, paper and inkstone – that are used in traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy.”

Discussion

What’s your opinion on this new “modern and innovative spin” on traditional art tools? Are these something you’d likely buy? Do you think they are a good way to get more people interested in traditional art, or do you think the original look of these tools should stay the way it is?

Traditional Kids’ Toys

“During ancient times, children didn’t have smart phone, iPad or computer to entertain them. Instead, they came up with interesting games to play in their childhood.” 

This article from China Daily looks at some of the activities traditionally enjoyed by children in China, including kicking stone balls and flying kites.

Discussion 

Several of these activities are commonly seen around the world, even today. Are any of these activities something you think you’d recommend children enjoy these days? Have you tried any of them personally? Are there any traditional Chinese cultural activities not listed here that you think would be great for more children to enjoy these days?

Shadow Puppetry Art Week

“In order to modernize China’s Intangible Cultural Heritage, Beijing is to hold a shadow puppetry art event at which culture lovers and enthusiasts will be able to upload their own shadow puppetry works through social media to compete.

Shadow puppetry, also known as shadow play, is an ancient Chinese form of storytelling stage show featuring flat articulated cut-out figures behind a screen, where the audience  watches in front of the screen.”

Discussion 

Have you ever seen a shadow puppet performance? Can you imagine taking part in a competition like this? What other traditional Chinese folk arts do you think would work well for this kind of online event?

Have you heard any other news about traditional Chinese culture recently? Let us know in the comments below. We always love hearing your thoughts and insights! 

Photo Credits
– From the articles


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