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Longtime customs and traditions still live on in metropolis

The ancient customs and traditions of China have been well preserved in Beijing, as exemplified by the imperial robes and other national treasures that are now on display in the Forbidden City and other revered places - as well as the ancient handcrafts passed down from bygone times, such as wood printing and jade carving.

At the Rongbaozhai art studio in the capital, also known as Studio of Glorious Treasures and founded in 1672, Chad Case from the United States tenderly places a strip of thin paper onto a woodblock while pressing it with another piece of wood. Several seconds later, the image of a goldfish appears.

Watercolor woodblock printing is one of China's national intangible cultural heritage techniques, and also one of the major businesses of Rongbaozhai, a long-standing cultural brand in Beijing.

The technique has been used to print poems, letters, calligraphy works and large-sized paintings, as part of the effort to preserve original artistic works with authentic re-editions. "It was quite fun learning how to do it," Case said, popping his own goldfish print into his bag.

Case is a photographer for many publications, including The New York Times and National Geographic Adventure. He joined the 2018 Silk Road Rediscovery Tour of Beijing held last week.

"It's my first time in Beijing. I'm looking forward to seeing more," he said.

At the Capital Museum, a guide briefed the visitors about how Chinese people used to celebrate their wedding and other key life events.

For example, lingzhi mushrooms, cranes and sika deer were often painted on curtains as a wish for peace, luck and long life expectancy, according to the guide.

"We have a feeling of Chinese history and culture, and we learn about the marriage ceremony, which is very interesting," said Bhusan Kayastha, a Nepalese researcher with the National Astronomical Observatories at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Kayastha lives in a siheyuan, a traditional Chinese courtyard residence in Beijing, where he feels like "living in ancient China". He is now working on an exhibition of thangka - a traditional style of Tibetan painting on silk or cotton in Beijing.

"Even after five years in Beijing, there is so much to discover," he said. "The ancient culture is not just depicted in TV and museums. It's very necessary to preserve it in our daily lives, like the way we celebrate Spring Festival."

The Beijing Yuetan Intangible Cultural Heritage Club has collected many artworks, such as lacquer engravings, cloisonn�� enamelwork and Beijing-style embroidery. One collection contains a carpet made of gold wire and wool, replicating a carpet used at the imperial court.

"Two things are very important: one is preserving the culture and the other is presentation," said Ivan Tasovac, a former Serbian culture minister and renowned pianist, who was on the tour.

"The way Beijing presents cultural heritage is really exceptional."

He added culture opens the doors to better communications and understanding.

"If I start to speak Serbian, probably nobody in Beijing will understand me. If I play the piano, you can understand perfectly."

Chekanovsky Andrey Anatolevich, a member of the presidium of the Ukraine's National Association of Photographers, said he used to learn about China from books or the internet, but during his first visit to Beijing, he found things went beyond his imagination.

"Modern elements and ancient culture merge together in Beijing," he said.

Longtime customs and traditions still live on in metropolis

Source:China Daily  Editor:Lucky

(Source_title:Longtime customs and traditions still live on in metropolis)

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