The first international non-material cultural heritage festival
opening today in Chengdu, capital city of southwest China's Sichuan Province, is of significance for both
the past and the future.
As the first event of its kind worldwide, this occasion
showcases more than 1,000 cultural heritage treasures from
different parts of the country and the world, along with some 200
folk artists and craftspeople who will demonstrate their unique
In addition, more than 50 free performances will be staged
during the festival.
These activities will be an eye opener not only to the Chinese
audience but also to the rest of world on how our cultural heritage
reflects the wisdom of those who came before us.
As cultural heritage is closely related to the daily life of a
people, the concentrated showcasing of these many non-material
cultural heritage offerings will bring home the necessity of
protecting them from extinction.
The artistic performances and craftsmanship embody the
fragmentary history of people of different ethnic groups.
To protect this heritage is to keep the fragmentary records of
our history, tracing the roots of different cultures.
Passing on the skills of older artists and craftspeople to young
apprentices is key to protecting this fragile heritage.
Performing arts such as kunqu opera, the creation and playing of
ancient stringed instruments such as the guqin, and the folk songs
of ethnic minorities are badly in need of young people who can love
them and learn the unique skills to pass them down to future
The Chinese government has done a great deal to rescue this
heritage from extinction. But few young people are familiar with
these cultural treasures, to say nothing of learning the skills to
keep them alive.
An annual event, this festival will help create interest in this
heritage and its future.
In this global village, protection of the world's non-material
cultural heritage is of special significance to the cultural
identity of different peoples and to the understanding that a
harmonious culture must be built on the basis of diversified
(China Daily May 23, 2007)