Shanxi expands influence through cultural heritage



A cultural heritage show attracts crowds of visitors in Daiyang ancient town, Zezhou county, Shanxi province. [Photo/Shanxi Economic Daily] 

North China's Shanxi province has expanded its cultural influence in recent years by passing down cultural skills and protecting ancient items.

Shanxi has emphasized the protection of intangible cultural heritage items, which has increased the cultural awareness and boosted tourism across the province. 

Diverse cultural heritage tourism programs have become more popular among tourists in the scenic areas across Shanxi, as visitors hope to see different scenery and experience different folk customs.

The city of Yuncheng, for example, showcased nine cultural heritage performances, including stilt walking, Jiangzhou drum music and shadow play, during this year's May Day holiday (April 30 to May 4), which allowed tourists to feel the profound cultural charm of the city.

"The integration of tourism and cultural heritage makes the protection of intangible cultural heritage more important and gives tourism more vitality," said Chen Shaoqing, deputy director of Shanxi Department of Culture and Tourism.

The intangible cultural heritage division of Shanxi's Department of Culture and Tourism stated that Shanxi will create more themed travel routes to promote the integration between cultural heritage and tourism.

To better promote the protection of traditional Chinese culture, cities within Shanxi province have carried out promotions in schools, introducing students to cultural heritage as well as teaching them to pass these traditions down to the next generations.

"Next, we will set up online courses so that learning traditional cultural skills is no longer limited by time or space," said Guo Ximei, a master and promoter of traditional lacquerware handicraft in Taiyuan city. 

In terms of spreading intangible cultural heritage, Shanxi Department of Culture and Tourism has planned and launched promotions and audio-visual work online. This has drawn public attention to local cultural customs and skills as well as stimulated enthusiasm.

Shanxi has one of the highest numbers of cultural heritage items in China. There are 2,103, 537, and 182 representative intangible cultural heritage items recognized at municipal, provincial and national levels.

In October 2022, 14 tourist attractions, towns and villages in Shanxi won national recognition for their integrated development of tourism and intangible cultural heritage.