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2022 Year of East Asia City of Culture opens in Wenzhou
Date:2022-04-26 16:25:03 Source:Wenzhou·China Fonts:[ Large Medium Small ]

The art performance of “Song Flavored Wenzhou Culture & Classic Intangible Cultural Heritage” highlighted the opening ceremony.

The 2022 Year of East Asia City of Culture opened on April 19 in Wenzhou, a coastal city in Zhejiang province that was designated as a "2022 Culture City of East Asia". A series of events for the Year, themed on“Song Flavored Wenzhou Culture & Classic Cultural Heritage”(here “Song” refers to Song Dynasty <960-1279> ), featuring a millennial trade port,were inaugurated at Wenzhou Grand Theater.

Wenzhou is where Dong’ou Kingdom (333 BC—138 BC) thrived and a major node of the Maritime Silk Road. Deeply rooted in its over 2,200 years’ historic traditions are the footprints of Wenzhouese pursuing entrepreneurship, philanthropy and culture all over the world. The city’s cultural legacy passed down for over a thousand years has endowed itself with a sea of “intangible cultural heritage” resources. Wenzhou now boasts 4 items on the national representative list of intangible cultural heritage and 35 items on national intangible cultural heritage list, both ranking among the Top Three in cities with subsidiary districts. The intangible cultural heritage development index of Wenzhou has been the first for four consecutive years among the cities in Zhejiang province. From traditional opera, folk music, dance to sports and crafts, Wenzhou’s intangible cultural heritage, the carrier of its local culture, marks the odyssey of Wenzhouese and has been the source of Wenzhou’s cultural confidence.

The art performance staged more than ten items listed as provincial intangible cultural heritage and six items inscribed on the list of national or representative intangible cultural heritage, providing the audience with an immersive experience of the past and future of Wenzhou. A rich variety of artistic genres were presented. The classic Ou Opera The King of Dong’ou Kingdom by Fang Rujiang, the winner of “Plum Performance Award”, led the audience to the critical juncture of life or death of Dong’ou Kingdom thousands of years ago. Titled Celebrating the Prosperous Country, the puppet show, listed as national intangible cultural heritage, depicted Chinese people’s happy lives. Two Birds, listed as provincial intangible cultural heritage, presented the charm of folk songs in Yueqing, a county-level city in Wenzhou. Top Graduate Zhang Xie, winner of Wenhua Award of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in 2002, displayed the unique charm of Wenzhou Kunqu Opera, a representative intangible cultural heritage item.

It was an audio-visual feast that coordinated not only stage performance and modern technology, but also foreign students and intangible heritage inheritors. International students from five continents together sang Shailan (Blue dye printing), which themed “indigo printing”, a national intangible cultural heritage item. Chen Zhongda and Chen Chunlan, winners of the Chinese Quyi Peony Award, played Wenzhou Guci (Drumbeat lyrics), also a national intangible heritage item. Through the changes of settings, the performance with new technologies applied in stage design represented the charm of the essence of traditional Chinese culture that has been passed down from generation to generation.

Wenzhouese in every corner of the world are the biggest advantage for Wenzhou’s culture to go global. The opening ceremony embodied the strength and warmth of Wenzhouese around the world, as celebrities from Wenzhou represented by Teng Jinguang, academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lin Jianhai, vice-president of the International Finance Forum (IFF), and Zhou Ruijin, former Party secretary of Jiefang Daily, and some overseas Chinese organizations extended their wishes for and expectations on their hometown via videos or congratulatory letters.

Via video link, authorities from Wenzhou, Jinan of East China’s Shandong province, Oita prefecture in Japan, and Gyeongju city in ROK jointly spoke out their wishes to see the celebration of 2022 Year of “Culture City of East Asia” as an opportunity to strengthen win-win cooperation and the cultural exchange network between China, Japan and ROK as part of the efforts to mark a new chapter for the development of East Asian cultures in the new era. 2022 will also see the dragon boat and football matches of the Hangzhou Asian Games in Wenzhou. By seizing the opportunity from the Asian Games and Culture City of East Asia, Wenzhou is to take its culture as the pillar to enhance its urban function. Wenzhou will work together with other Culture Cities of East Asia to build platforms for the exchanges and integration of sports, science and technology, fashion, digital information and culture. Such brotherhood are sure to support and lead socio-economic development of Wenzhou, and, moreover, promote great development and prosperity of “Culture City of East Asia”.

The opening ceremony is only the prelude of the celebration of 2022 Year of “Culture City of East Asia”. From the perspectives of “Poetic Wenzhou”, “Dynamic Wenzhou”, “Open Wenzhou” and “Happy Wenzhou”, the city will host over 100 international exchange events on cultural heritage, literature and art, sports, tourism, local specialties, creative design, economic and trade cooperation. The events to be unveiled include 2022 World Young Scientist Summit, the Dragon Boat matches of the Hangzhou Asian Games, Wenzhou International Fashion Cultural Industries Expo, “Oujiang Landscape Poetry Road” events, returning of the recreation of calligraphy and painting works including the Transcript of Historical Records by the Ming Dynasty’s calligrapher Jiang Ligang (1444-1499), Youth Sketch Exhibition of member cities of “Culture City of East Asia”, the exhibition of Wenzhou’s archives and documents themed around China-Japan-ROK cultural exchange, “Tell China’s Stories” Contest, performance and exhibition of China-Japan-ROK artists, “Shake hands with the world –Wenzhou in the eyes of overseas Chinese media”-themed publicity events. These events are sure to portray the cultural atmosphere, soft power and cultural confidence of Wenzhou in a systematic and all-round way.

Guided by China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Zhejiang Provincial People’s Government, “2022 Year of East Asia City of Culture” is hosted by Wenzhou Municipal People’s Government and Zhejiang Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism, with the coordination and implementation of Wenzhou Municipal Bureau of Culture, Broadcasting and Tourism.

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