Love for poetry fuels expansion of culture industry

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, July 31, 2023
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A poster for "Chang'an." [Image courtesy of Light Chaser Animation]

In the 168-minute-long Chang An, an animation movie that tells the story of Li Bai and Gao Shi, two famous poets of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), some 48 poems composed during the dynasty are displayed and/or read aloud, impressing audiences.

In China's history, the Tang Dynasty is rightfully associated with poems. Poems composed during the dynasty adorn Chinese language textbooks and are also reading materials for students. Poems such as A tranquil night by Li Bai are so famous that if any Chinese utters one line, such as "Looking up, I find the moon bright", another Chinese is sure to complete it by saying, "Bowing, in homesickness I'm drowned."

It is this affinity for poetry among the Chinese that has helped the animation movie do well. No matter how many centuries pass, Chinese people's love for poetry will never fade.

With clips and trailers of the movie having gone viral on social networking sites, numerous scenic spots in Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi province, which was the capital of the Tang Dynasty, is seeing renewed interest with huge tourist inflow. Besides, sales of traditional Chinese clothing, or hanfu, with Tang characteristics and related cultural products have also gone up.

All these are good developments for the spread of culture today, namely to make it commercially sustainable. It costs money, energy and time for people to market culture and only if there are appropriate returns can society continue to make contributions. Creating Tang dynasty themed parks, clothes and other cultural products helps quench the public's thirst for Tang poems, and the returns ensure a professional approach and better quality of products.

By Monday, the movie had garnered 1.1 billion yuan ($152.69 million) at the box office, which is a good payback for its producers. So long as the poem culture thrives, it can sustain an entire industry.

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