BEIJING, Nov. 9, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — This is a report from haiwainet.cn:
On November 3, the “Culture Tour of Beijing Opera · The Grandeur of Beijing Opera” & Special Exhibition on the Inheritance and Development of Chinese Culture was held in Beijing. The event was co-hosted by the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism and the Institute of European Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and organized by Beijing Overseas Cultural Exchange Center (BOCEC). Nearly 50 former government officials, think tank representatives, and experts and scholars from 14 different nations, including Slovenia, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Romania, and Hungary, participated in the event at the Cultural Space of the Beijing Overseas Cultural Exchange Center.
During the event, foreign guests participated in “When Beijing Opera Meets Intangible Cultural Heritage · Handicraft Experience Workshop”, visited “Year In Year Out—2023 Global Zodiac Design Competition Exhibition (Guimao Year of the Rabbit)”, and the “Hello, Beijing” Photography Exhibition. They also had the opportunity to enjoy performances of classic Beijing Opera excerpts, A Bird in the Cage and Yang Yuhuan: The Drunken Beauty, presented by the outstanding artists from the Jingju Theater Company of Beijing.
Embracing Intangible Heritage: An In-depth Experience of Chinese Folk Arts
The event offers an exceptional interactive experience of Beijing Opera-themed intangible cultural heritage, including Colored Clay Beijing Opera Masks, Dough Sculpture, Paper Cutting, and Circular Fan, captivating both domestic and international guests for a close-up appreciation and hands-on experience.
In the Colored Clay Beijing Opera Masks experience zone, the guests listened to the vivid explanation of Lin Hongkui, a representative inheritor of Colored Clay Beijing Opera Masks, and began creating the facial masks of Monkey King Sun Wukong. Before long, a collection of intriguing facial masks emerged, freshly crafted. While engaged in this creative process, the guests also had the opportunity to scan the QR code or use NFC technology to listen to classic vocal performances corresponding to the “Multi-colored Masks”. This immersive and multi-sensory encounter opened up a novel dimension of interactive experiences revolving around Beijing Opera-themed intangible cultural heritage.
In the Dough Sculpture Experience Zone, the guests marveled at how “a handful of dough molds a myriad of things”. The golden wheat bundles on the tables symbolized that the raw material for dough sculpture was derived from nature. The guests learned techniques such as pinching, pushing, chopping, cutting and rolling, blending Occidental aesthetics with Oriental craftsmanship. Meanwhile, lifelike dough sculptures of characters like the Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea, the figures from the White Snake Legend, and Zhong Kui (a demon queller in Chinese mythology) were on display. This allowed the guests to appreciate the artistry of crafting exquisite works using ingredients like oil, flour, sugar, and honey, vividly showcasing the exceptional skills of Chinese intangible cultural heritage inheritors.
Circular Fans, symbolizing unity, friendliness and good fortune, are often used as props in Beijing Opera performances. In the Circular Fan section, the guests painted auspicious osmanthus flower patterns, conveying warm greetings, harmony and friendship.
In the Paper Cutting experience zone, the guests followed the given patterns and crafted their own Beijing Opera paper-cut artworks, a meaningful keepsake. It’s noteworthy that the table flags in the Paper Cutting zone were themselves exquisite paper-cut pieces, featuring landscapes along the “Belt and Road” in the background in a two-dimensional style, while camel caravans and ships were depicted in three-dimensional silhouettes, creating a visually impressive and culturally significant display.
Love for Beijing Opera: Chinese Traditional Opera Captivates Foreign Guests
At the event, the remarkable Beijing Opera performances left a profound impression on the guests, eliciting their admiration. The guests had the privilege to appreciate a variety of elaborate stage costumes up close, such as the “Dragon-embroidered Imperial Robe”, “Eight-diagram Gown”, “Black Embroidered Robe”, and “White Dragon-embroidered Gown”, along with intricately designed headpieces. After listening to the performance introduction, they took delight in watching the performances of A Bird in the Cage and Yang Yuhuan: The Drunken Beauty, presented by the artists from the Jingju Theater Company of Beijing.
A Bird in the Cage is an excerpt from the Beijing Opera Yang Yanhu’s Reunion with His Mother. The artists’ outstanding portrayal of characters, especially during the duet section with rapid clapper accompaniment, heightened the atmosphere. The audience was deeply touched by Yang Yanhui’s profound emotions for his mother.
In Yang Yuhuan: The Drunken Beauty, the performers used Beijing Opera techniques to depict drinking, smelling flowers, among other body movements. They skillfully conveyed the intricate emotions of Yang Yuhuan, Tang emperor Xuanzong’s favorite consort, changing from hope to disappointment and then to resentment. As Yang Yuhuan returned in a state of intoxication, the guests at the event were also intoxicated by the enchanting world of Beijing Opera. They exclaimed, “It’s our first experience of witnessing Beijing Opera up close. Whether it’s the singing or the physical performances, there are so many intricate details; it’s genuinely breathtaking!”
Exploring Beauty at the Exhibition: When the Zodiac Rabbit-themed Exhibition Meets The Vibrant City of Beijing
In addition to enjoying Beijing Opera performances and immersing themselves in intangible cultural heritage projects, the guests also had the chance to visit the on-site “Year In Year Out—2023 Global Zodiac Design Competition Exhibition (Guimao Year of the Rabbit)” and the “Hello, Beijing” Photography Exhibition.
The “Year In Year Out—2023 Global Zodiac Design Competition Exhibition (Guimao Year of the Rabbit)” displayed a total of 127 pieces, which included award-winning works and exceptional pieces from previous years, all revolving around the zodiac rabbit theme. Furthermore, the exhibition showcased 13 artworks with zodiac-related themes created by 13 artists, including Sun Shiqian’s design “Wang Yue Jia“. These exhibited works represent artistic interpretations of the twelve Chinese Zodiac animals. As they listened to the explanation by the staff at the Beijing Overseas Cultural Exchange Center, visitors had the opportunity to explore the different materials and artistic expressions employed by the artworks, and appreciate the infusion of new vitality into traditional Chinese Zodiac symbols through contemporary designs.
The “Hello, Beijing” Photography Exhibition blends the documentary and artistic dimensions of photography, to showcase the rich tapestry of Beijing’s cultural and tourism treasures. Themed around world heritage, imperial city culture, and modern cityscape, the exhibition provides a window into the natural allure, historical significance, and cultural depth of Beijing. Through the camera lens, visitors can admire Beijing’s cityscape, delve into its historical and cultural significance, and witness the city’s latest achievements in its effort to establish itself as a globally renowned tourist destination with profound historical legacy. This provides them with an opportunity to appreciate the image of China’s capital in the new era.
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