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Cradle for creativity

By Sun Ruisheng and Yin Jianzeng ( China Daily )

Updated: 2014-11-25

 Cradle for creativity

The catalpa tree in front of Fusu Temple in Yuanping is more than 2,000 years old.

The city of Yuanping in Shanxi province has been famed for poets, painters and calligraphers since ancient times, Sun Ruisheng and Yin Jianzeng report.

With a long tradition of poetry, calligraphy and painting, Yuanping city in Shanxi province is widely regarded a cradle of culture.

Poetry has been an important part of local life for 2,000 years. The city has been home to many famous Chinese poets down through history.

Various cultural activities are still held among local residents who are strongly passionate about creativity.

In recent years, a group of modern poets from Yuanping have become famed in China's literary circles.

Eight have participated in the Youth Poetry Meeting, held by the periodical Poetry and regarded as the most influential national event in the art. Thirteen of them have won the Zhao Shuli Literary Award, a national literary prize.

With such influence, Yuanping is experiencing another boom in poetry writing. Various kinds of related associations have started in the city, bringing together poetry lovers from different walks of life.

The Society of Farmer Poets and Sanqu Verses has more than 170 members who have written over 10,000 poems since it was started in 2008 by a few literary fans.

The society now has 13 branches in 18 towns or townships in Yuanping.

Such grassroots groups have set a new benchmark in rural culture.

In recent years, Yuanping revived its pear blossom gathering that dates back more than 1,500 years.

Now called the Pear Blossom Poetry Arts Festival, it has been held six times already with poets from both inside and outside the province who gather to appreciate the blossoms, write poems and join seminars.

In April 2013, the city was honored as "Home to Chinese Poetry" by the China Poetry Society.

Yuanping has also nurtured a group of renowned calligraphers and painters including Chen Jusuo, Zhang Qiming and Yue Fubao.

A huge number of societies for calligraphy, painting and seal art in Yuanping have members ranging from government officials to workers and farmers.

Many painters and calligraphers in Yuanping started with or benefited from kangwei painting, an important regional folk art form for murals and decorative architecture.

Even in the 1970s and 1980s, there were more than 1,000 kangwei artists across Yuanping. The art is now listed as a provincial level cultural heritage.

The painting art has gradually lost its position as modern decorative materials are widely applied.

To protect the heritage, lovers of kangwei painting have started centers to guide the art and transform it from prosaic purposes to artistic value.

The painting genre remains alive as new practitioners cater to diversified products ranging from scrolls to bedroom paintings and works for collectors.

Contact the writers at sunruisheng@chinadaily.com.cn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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