New roadmap for better protection of heritage items

Updated: 2016-02-23 08:07

By Wang Kaihao(China Daily)

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Many of China's traditional lifestyles have disappeared owing to the country's urbanization and modernization.

But before more vanish, cultural authorities have vowed to keep them alive through a raft of initiatives.

Last week, on the 10th anniversary of the country releasing its first registered list of intangible cultural heritage items, the Culture Ministry announced a new blueprint for better preservation.

China has inscribed 1,372 national-level and 11,042 provincial-level ICH items so far.

But Li Xiong, director of the ministry's ICH department, says previous plans focused on individual inheritors rather than expanding traditional techniques or helping craftsmanship in groups. Each registered item is represented by one or a few top-level artisans, who get government aid, but the larger pool of artisans that are involved to crafts don't get equal attention.

"The living spaces of many ICH items, like traditional villages, have been severely compressed," Li says, citing another concern.

"Some fine handicrafts have also been replaced by machine production."

China promulgated its national law on ICH protection in 2011, but relevant regional rules and funds are still not enough. Registry is often more emphasized than follow-up protection activities, according to a report released by the ministry in January.

"Monotonous design (of crafts) is a common problem," the report says.

Many traditional products derived from daily life only serve as decorations today, it says.

"When their consumers become a small crowd, the original goal of ICH items is lost."

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