Hebei shows off its unique arts and crafts
Some national treasures can’t be weighed or valued. The United Nations calls it “intangible cultural heritage”.
An exhibition of folk arts and crafts from China’s Hebei province was held at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at the University of British Columbia on Monday, marking the launch of 2015 Hebei Cultural Week in Canada.
Dozens of Chinese artists brought their skills and talents — all designated by UNESCO as examples of intangible cultural heritage — to Canada as part of the 2015-2016 China-Canada Year of People-toPeople and Cultural Exchanges.
Arts and crafts items shown at the “Charming Hebei” exhibition included examples of Yuxian papercutting, Hengshui Inner Painting, Ding Porcelain Engraving, clay sculpture, marble photo-engraving and opera masks. Some of the artists demonstrated their skills live.
The exhibition also displayed more than 60 photographs illustrating the history, culture, urban and natural landscapes and recent development of Hebei Province.
“People attending the launch event responded very well to the exhibition, especially to the artists’ demonstrations,” Han Ning, cultural consul of the Consulate General of China in Vancouver, told China Daily.
“Chinese culture is very profound and it contains a lot of unique cultures,” Han said. “Hebei’s culture, also known as the Yanzhao, reflects people’s lives in the region. It’s rare to see so many well-represented traditional art forms from Hebei in Canada. This is a great opportunity.”
The event was organized by China’s Ministry of Culture, China’s embassy and consulate general in Vancouver, along with Hebei Provincial Department of Culture and Hebei Foreign Cultural Exchange Association.
Hebei province in northern China is a region with a rich cultural legacy. Its 33,000 immovable relic sites, four UNESCO-designated World Heritage Sites, and countless examples of intangible cultural heritage make Hebei a unique and important part of Chinese culture.
Hebei’s artists and craftsmen open a window for Canadians to better understand China and cooperate further in the fields of art, trade and culture.
“I didn’t know there were so many unique art forms from Hebei,” Yaxin Liu, a photographer attending the event said, “especially the marble photo-engraving — I’ve never seen anything like that before.”
The international award-winning Hebei Acrobatic Troupe also started a month-long tour on April 5, taking their performances to 16 cities across Canada, including Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal.
The Hebei Cultural Week project started in 2003 and has visited more than 10 countries, including the United States, Germany, Italy, South Korea and Australia. The last Hebei Cultural Week in Canada was held in September 2010, coinciding with the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and Canada.
“Through this kind of cultural exchange event, we hope to see more communication and enhance people’s understanding of China’s diversity of cultures,” said Han.
The Hebei show will move on to the Scarborough Town Centre in Toronto on April 15.
Zhou Shuying, a Chinese artist from Hebei province, China, demonstrates the making of Yuxian paper-cut at the launch of Hebei Cultural Week in Canada at UBC Chen Centre on April 13.