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Biggest intangible cultural heritage exhibit
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China will stage the largest exhibition of intangible cultural heritage items in its history in Beijing from Feb. 9 to 23, according to the Ministry of Culture.

Feb. 9 marks the Lantern Festival, part of the Lunar New Year occasions, which has its own set of traditions that will be part of the exhibit.

The event is intended to showcase the progress in protecting intangible cultural items.

The show will involve activities such as paper-cut paintings, printing, pottery, carving, tea brewing, embroidery and traditional medicine, an official of the ministry told Xinhua on Wednesday.

Another key category will be cooking, featuring 230 famous restaurants from across the country, including Quanjude roast duck.

The show will include 133 items of folk arts and crafts on the list of state- and province-level intangible heritage items. Fourteen state-level masters and 130 representative heirs to those arts and crafts will be invited to give live performances.

In addition, 1,176 folk artists will take part in the show, with 2,322 precious items.

Zhou Heping, vice minister of culture, said, "The show is intended to showcase the varied and profound traditional Chinese culture and raise public awareness of cultural heritage protection."

The activity will be jointly sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, the National Development and Reform Commission, the Beijing municipal government and 14 other organizations related to intangible cultural heritage protection.

In November, the central government said it would give a yearly stipend of 8,000 yuan (about 1,160 U.S. dollars) to hundreds of people designated as heirs to folk arts, crafts and rituals, many of which are in danger of dying out as the number of those who know them dwindles.

(Xinhua News Agency February 5, 2009)

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