The third annual International Intangible Cultural Heritage Festival opens next week at China's first International Intangible Cultural Heritage Exposition Park in Chengdu with an advertised 286 items on the program.
After successfully hosting International Intangible Cultural Heritage Festivals in 2007 and 2009, the city of Chengdu has been chosen to host such festivals biannually. To that end, the International Intangible Cultural Heritage Exhibition Park has just opened. The 1.6-sqkm park is located in the northwestern Jinniu District, outside the Third Ring Road, and aims to protect and preserve China's intangible cultural heritage.
Construction on the RMB2.2 billion project began in March of last year. The park opened this week and is billed as the first of its kind in China. Comprising several structures and plazas, it is equipped to host exhibitions of both artifacts and multimedia performances. The park has five thematic areas, including (roughly translated) "The Five Continents," "Century Dance," "Many Flavors of the Show," "The West City," and "A Journey Through Time and Space." The park will showcase various cultural vestiges from locations near and far as well as peoples past and present, such as the medieval Spanish drama The Mystery Play of Elche, the Blacks and Whites' Carnival of Colombia, and the Tale of the White Snake recited in dialect. Featured on the second floor is the Electronic Encyclopedia of China's Intangible Cultural Heritage, which visitors can activate with footsteps (see below).
The park opening and the festival both coincide with the June 1 implementation of the Regulation on The People's Republic of China National Intangible Cultural Heritage.
The Third International Intangible Cultural Heritage Festival Schedule of Events
May 29, 10 a.m. to 12 noon at the International Intangible Cultural Heritage Exhibition Park
The opening ceremony will feature 41 performance troupes, and 2,000 performers from five continents and all over the country. International performing groups include a Canadian First Nations dance troupe; a children's folk dance troupe from Volgograd, Russia; the Oldsava arts troupe from the Czech Republic; a French breakdance group; Irish tap dancers; Belgian contra dancers; the Bitnae folk dancers from Gimcheon, South Korea; Vietnamese folk singers, and folk and traditional song and dance troupes from Mexico, the Scottish Highlands, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and North Korea.
Domestic performers include groups from the Qinghai Huzhu Tuzu Automonous County (wheel performance); Lanzhou (drums); Hainan (dragon dance); Congjiang, Guizhou (Basha bullfight dance); Xiamen, Fujian (the so-called "Minnan disco"); Xinjiang (Uygher folk dance); E'erduosi, Inner Mongolia ("chopsticks" dance); Puning, Guangdong (300-year-old Han traditional Ying dance); Dengfeng, Henan ("bench dragon" and Shaolin performances); Shannan, Tibet (drum performance); and Mi'le, Yunnan (line dances).
There will also be a number of performances showcasing local Sichuanese culture as well, including groups from Langzhong (Ba culture drum dance), Chengdu (Shu brocade and embroidery arts), Aba (Tibetan lanterns), Panzhihua (Miao ethnic costumes and dance performance), Meishan (Dengleng suona musical instrument performance), Beichuan (Qiang folk song and dance), Mao County, Aba (Kesidan dance and Qiang ethnic costumes), Ganzi (Danba traditional performance), and Liangshan (Yi ethnic costumes and performance).
The Spiritual Homeland Exhibit
May 29 to June 11 at the International Intangible Cultural Heritage Exhibition Park
This ongoing exhibit will accompany the International Intangible Cultural Heritage Festival. On display will be over 1,000 items, including scripts, pictures, multimedia exhibits, and artifacts that preserve and protect cultural heritage from both China and the rest of the world, grouped according to origin.
Performances and displays will be held at the Shikongyou Plaza from 10 to 11:30 a.m. May 30 to June 8. At the same time, folk song and dance performances will be held at the Xichengshi Plaza.
May 30 - Ganzi
May 31 - Aba
June 1 - Liangshan
June 2 - Mianyang
June 3 - Yibin
June 4 - Zigong
June 5 - Le Shan
June 6 - Nanchong
June 7 - Dazhou
June 8 - Guangyuan
June 9 - Luzhou
Additional performances will be held daily from 2:30 to 3 p.m. and from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Conference on International Intangible Cultural Heritage
May 29 to 31 at the Sheraton Lido
The conference will feature an international panel of speakers representing 33 countries and regions, including UNESCo secretary-general Cecile Duvelle.
The 25th China Drama Plum Blossom Competition will be held as part of the festival, featuing 11 types of Chinese opera and 19 performing troupes strutting their stuff on the city's stages.
Chengdu Sichuan Opera House Huamei Zixin Theatre
Sichuan Opera (May 28, 8 p.m.)
Cantonese Opera - Shanxiang Fengyun (May 31, 2 p.m.)
Cantonese Opera - Huayueying (June 3, 2 p.m.)
Gaojia Opera (June 6, 8 p.m.)
Sichuan Experimental Arts Opera House (5 Xinsheng Lu)
Beijing Opera highlights (May 29, 2 p.m.)
Shaoxing Opera - Shanghai Shaoxing Opera Troupe (May 31, 8 p.m.)
Shaoxing Opera - Hangzhou Shaoxing Opera Troupe (June 3, 8 p.m.)
Qi Opera - Hunan Qi Opera Troupe (June 6, 2 p.m.)
Chu Opera - Wuhan Chu Opera Troupe (June 8, 8 p.m.)
Southwest Opera House (98 Zheng Tongshun Jie)
Ping Opera - Shenyang Ping Opera Troupe (May 29, 8 p.m.)
Sichuan Opera - Chongqing Three Gorges Sichuan Opera Group (June 1, 2 p.m.)
Sichuan Opera - Chongqing Sichuan Opera Troupe (June 4, 8 p.m.)
Min Opera - Fujian Experimental Min Opera Troupe (June 7, 2 p.m.)
Sichuan Provincial Song and Dance Opera House (97 Xi Da Jie)
Beijing Opera - Shanghai Beijing Opera Troupe (May 30, 2 p.m.)
Beijing Opera - Shanghai Beijing Opera Troupe (June 1, 8 p.m.)
Hui Opera - Anhui Provincial Hui Opera Troupe (June 4, 2 p.m.)
Shaoxing Opera - Zhejiang Shaoxing Opera Troupe (June 7, 8 p.m.)
Jincheng Arts Palace
Comedy Show - Suzhou Comedy Operatic Troupe (June 5, 8 p.m.)
Shao Opera - Zhejiang Shao Opera Group (June 8, 2 p.m.)
Chongzhou Arts Center (276 Chongqing Lu, Chongyang Town, Chongzhou)
Sichuan Opera highlights - Nanchong Sichuan Opera Group (June 5, 2 p.m.)
June 2, 10 a.m. at Jiezi Old Town, Chongzhou
June 2, 10 a.m. at Dufu's Thatched Cottage
June 3, 7:30 pm. Sichuan Culinary Arts School
June 3, 2:30 p.m. at Sanshengxiang
Further performances around the city in early June TBA
Guqin exhibition runs from May 29 to June 11 at the International Intangible Cultural Heritage Exhibition Park.
Towns under the administration of Chengdu will also hold its own festivities during the festival.
Jiezi Old Town, Chongzhou May 30 to June 6
Anren Old Town, Daba May 30
Dujiangyan May 31 to June 2
Anjing Town, Pixian May 30 to June 5
Qingbaijiang Phoenix Lake, Chengdu June 1 to 10
Huanglongxi, Shuangliu June 1
Wenshu Monastery, Chengdu May 30 to June 6
Various public performances will also be ongoing through the month of June in the different districts of Chengdu as well as surrounding towns and counties; see here for complete listings (in Chinese).