On­line show about the an­tiques a sur­prise hit

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINESE TRAIN PROJECTS AROUND THE WORLD - By HAN­BING­BIN han­bing­bin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

An on­line talk­show hosted by China’s most renowned an­tique col­lec­tor, MaWeidu, has be­come a sur­prise hit, with young au­di­ences show­ing a keen in­ter­est in Ma’s dis­cus­sions about cul­ture, his­tory and so­cial events.

Talk About, streamed via Youku.com, was launched in late 2014. Streamed twice a week, it has at­tracted more than 80 mil­lion views and has 200,000 sub­scribed view­ers. It’s the 60-year-old’s first ap­pear­ance in an on­line pro­gram, which inMa’s own words is “a bit un­com­fort­able” be­cause he is more used to talk­ing to au­di­ences face to face.

In the 20-minute show, filmed atMa’s pri­vate Guan­fuMu­seum, he opens by shar­ing his opin­ion on a wide range of top­ics, such as cul­ture, his­tory and so­cial events. In the sec­ond part, he picks a cer­tain piece from his col­lec­tion and ex­plains what it is from the pro­fes­sional per­spec­tive of an an­tiques con­nois­seur.

De­vel­op­ing an in­ter­est in an­tiques col­lect­ing as early as the 1980s, Ma rose to na­tion­wide fame in 2008 af­ter his ap­pear­ance in China Cen­tral Tele­vi­sion’s popular cul­ture show Lec­ture Room, where his easy-tounder­stand in­tro­duc­tion of an­tiques ap­pre­ci­a­tion sparked a na­tional craze.

Ma’s suc­cess as an an­tiques col­lec­tor and con­nois­seur is demon­strated by the open­ing of his pri­vate Guan­fuMu­seum, the coun­try’s first of its kind, in 1996 in Bei­jing. Now, with a branch in Hangzhou, Zhe­jiang prov­ince, Guanfu has hosted a se­ries of ac­claimed ex­hi­bi­tions on a wide va­ri­ety of themes, such as the ce­ram­ics of theM­ing (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dy­nas­ties, an­cient sta­tionery ac­ces­sories and an­cient fur­ni­ture.

At a spe­cial film­ing in­May, Ma met with the show’s fans from across the coun­try. He also shared his per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences as a lit­er­a­ture fan and an am­a­teur fic­tion writer. Ma pub­lished his first short story in 1981. And af­ter that he wrote­and­pro­duced some of China’s most in­flu­en­tial TV se­ries in his stu­dio that he jointly launched with renowned au­thors Wang Shuo and Liu Zhenyun.

He has man­aged to sus­tain his pas­sion for writ­ing since 1992 by pub­lish­ing a se­ries of best-sell­ing books about an­tiques. In 2008, he was ranked fifth on that year’s “Writ­ers’ Rich List” launched by Chengdu Daily.

His big­gest achieve­ment, how­ever, is hav­ing aroused the in­ter­est of young peo­ple in tra­di­tional cul­ture.

At the spe­cial film­ing, his fans — mainly peo­ple in their 20s — ex­pressed an un­ex­pected in­ter­est in, and un­der­stand­ing of, an­tiques col­lect­ing. They asked ques­tions con­cern­ing both prac­ti­cal skills and how young peo­ple should be ed­u­cated to de­velop a greater in­ter­est in tra­di­tional cul­ture.

Thanks to its grow­ing in­flu­ence among young au­di­ences, Talk About has been li­censed and will soon be aired on Guangxi Satel­lite Chan­nel, mark­ing a rare suc­cess of an on­line pro­gram find­ing its way back to tra­di­tional TV screens.

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