In­tan­gi­ble cul­tural her­itage find­ing its mar­ket on­line

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - IP - By LIANG KAIYAN liangkaiya­n@chi­

In the wake of the COVID-19 out­break, the in­ter­net has be­come a pop­u­lar arena not only for shop­ping in China but also for pro­mo­tion of the coun­try’s in­tan­gi­ble cul­tural her­itage.

“Pro­mot­ing ICH on­line is an in­evitable re­sult with the developmen­t of the times,” He Yun’ao, head of the In­sti­tute of Cul­tural and Nat­u­ral Her­itage of Nan­jing Uni­ver­sity, told China In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty News.

The trend is emerg­ing amid in­creased use of the in­ter­net, the coun­try’s ad­vo­cacy of an “in­ter­net plus cul­ture” and in­creas­ing so­cial re­quire­ments for cul­tural di­ver­sity, He added.

The in­ter­net helps to ex­pand the spread of ICH and its pro­mo­tion to the world, he said.

For ex­am­ple, dur­ing the annual Cul­tural and Nat­u­ral Her­itage Day of China on June 13, a unique cul­tural tour of many locations and crafts was broad­cast via livestream­s.

Jin Tiel­ing is a na­tional-level in­her­i­tor of Bei­jing silk flow­ers. “The Bei­jing silk flower has a long his­tory and reached its peak pop­u­lar­ity dur­ing the Qing Dy­nasty (1644-1911),” Jin said in a livestream­ed class dur­ing the event.

The flower is made of silk fab­ric and is com­pleted in steps in­volv­ing chis­el­ing, dyeing and rub­bing, Jin ex­plained while demon­strat­ing the craft.

“Mak­ing the silk flower helps nur­ture spir­i­tu­al­ity and you will feel de­lighted putting your heart in it,” Jin said.

The on­line class of Bei­jing silk flow­ers and an­other ICH-themed livestream fol­low­ing it at­tracted more than 1.4 mil­lion views on the day.

Data from video-shar­ing plat­form Douyin, known as TikTok over­seas, showed that as of May 31, there had been 1,318 na­tional ICH items in videos shared on the plat­form.

As of the end of May, 48 mil­lion videos in­volv­ing the na­tional-level ICH items have been viewed 200 bil­lion times and re­ceived about 6.5 bil­lion likes on the plat­form.

As ICH gains in pop­u­lar­ity on­line, there is huge mar­ket po­ten­tial.

Wu Cheng, in her 30s, is a fourth­gen­er­a­tion in­her­i­tor of crewel em­broi­dery in Changzhou, Jiangsu prov­ince.

Learn­ing the craft from her mother, Wu said she is up­grad­ing her crewel­work to at­tract new cus­tomers.

“The pat­tern of crewel­work is dis­tin­guished by its three-di­men­sional stitches, but is hard to ex­pand in the mar­ket­place due to its tra­di­tional style,” Wu said.

“We recre­ate em­broi­dery pat­terns and pro­mote the hand­i­craft in a way to ap­peal to young peo­ple,” she said.

Wu founded a crewel­work com­pany and has sold de­riv­a­tive prod­ucts on on­line plat­forms, such as Taobao and Douyin.

On­line mar­ket­ing has helped to draw more at­ten­tion and has at­tracted clients who are in­ter­ested in crewel­work, Wu said.

Dur­ing the Cul­tural and Nat­u­ral Her­itage Day, ICH-themed livestream­s were staged around the coun­try.

Through livestream­ing plat­forms, the Guangxi Zhuang au­tonomous re­gion or­ga­nized in­her­i­tors to demon­strate a va­ri­ety of tra­di­tional tech­niques. To­gether they rec­om­mended a to­tal of 212 lo­cal ICH com­modi­ties and en­cour­aged view­ers to place or­ders.

The Yun­nan pro­vin­cial ICH pro­tec­tion center co­op­er­ated with six in­her­i­tors to show­case and pro­mote lo­cal ICH items via livestream­s on the Kuaishou app. The on­line pro­mo­tions in­cluded tech­niques in mak­ing Pu’er tea and cos­tumes of the Yi eth­nic group.

“Many ICH prod­ucts have found a huge on­line mar­ket, which im­plies grow­ing needs for them and their enor­mous developmen­t space,” He said.

“The pro­mo­tion and in­her­i­tance of ICH are closely as­so­ci­ated with the mar­ket,” he said. “For those ICH items that have small mar­ket shares, the govern­ment needs to co­op­er­ate with in­di­vid­u­als and non­govern­men­tal groups to in­crease pro­tec­tion of them.”


A craftswoma­n show­cases her skills in crewel em­broi­dery at a ru­ral tourism pro­mo­tional event in Changzhou, Jiangsu prov­ince in April.

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