Across China: Young artist paints new cultural heritage

Source: Xinhua| 2020-01-26 14:38:27|Editor: ZD
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CHANGSHA, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- Zhong Xinglin, 30, is making a variety of nianhua, or New Year's pictures, a kind of centuries-old woodcut painting in China, to attract the younger generations.

As an inheritor of Tantou New Year pictures, a national intangible cultural heritage originated in Tantou Township, central China's Hunan Province, Zhong is trying to innovate the traditional art.

She designed an electric cigarette lighter with the pattern of the god of fortune in the style of the Tantou New Year pictures, which sold like hot cake at the market.

According to Chinese tradition, families replace their New Year pictures with new ones as Chinese New Year arrives.

It takes dozens of steps including painting, woodblock cutting and printing to complete a Tantou New Year picture, which date back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907).

It is not easy to inherit this cultural heritage. "I needed to practice every step thousands of times to master it," Zhong said. "I decided to follow in the footsteps of my grandparents who spent 80 years conserving the only woodcut painting in Hunan."

As a part of the younger generation, Zhong believes innovation of the Tantou New Year picture is a good way to attract young people and inherit the ancient cultural heritage. "I think the combination between traditional culture and popular commodities will arouse the interest of young people," she said.

Cooperating with a company involved in the culture industry, Zhong designed a series of products including notebook and electric cigarette lighter featuring Tantou New Year pictures. "The products sold out quickly, and we are receiving more and more orders," she laughed. "I need to double the output next year."

The innovation of Tantou New Year pictures, in Zhong's view, must be based on the traditional culture. "My Tantou pictures always have the traditional elements of the ancient cultural heritage such as lotus," she said.

"My grandfather was still making Tantou New Year pictures two days before he passed away, making me feel that the culture has been integrated into the lives of my family," she added.