Cultural and creative industries shine in Jining, a city rich in culture and history By Shan Jie and Lin Mengyue in Jining

/EIN News/ — Jining, China, Jan. 20, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) —

Confucius’ birthplace, Jining, in East China’s Shandong Province, has rich traditional cultural resources and her contribution to Chinese history is shown in several ways.

It is the birthplace and origin of Chinese ethics and culture. It is the starting point of Confucianism and the breeding ground of great philosophers, from Confucius to Mencius, among others. Jining is the main transit hub between China’s northern and southern cultures as it sits in the middle of the important Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal.

With a cultural treasure passed down for thousands of years, today the city has promoted its cultural and creative industries as a way to perpetuate the life and spirit of the ancient culture and showcase the city’s unique charms.

In recent years, Jining has continuously improved the layout of cultural and creative industries, actively expanded the industrial supply chain, and created an innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem that integrates technology business incubators, accelerators and industrial parks.

Kong Kai, 35, is the 76th generation offspring of Confucius. Today, he has a special role as executive director and host of the annual Confucius memorial ceremony.

For the past ten years, at the ceremony held every September 28 on Confucius’s birthday in the Temple of Confucius, Kong has read the tribute in deliberate tone and cadence.

The annual ceremony is a grand festival for regions heavily influenced by Confucianism that is broadcast on TV to the world. But what people see today is the result of the cumulative efforts and sweat of Kong and his colleagues.

The Confucius ceremony, passed down through generations in history, was discontinued in 1955 and was not performed again until more than 40 years later. It was in 2010, when Kong took on the hosting of the ceremony, that the renewal of the millennial ceremony fully began.

Kong said he and his team read many documents at the time and sought advice from musicians who played ancient instruments and performers who had participated in ceremonies before the moratorium.

They also added some new creations to make the aesthetics and shape more acceptable for modern society. For example, after “translating” the old traditional music scores and introducing modern accents, the team modified some notes to make the melody “playable”.

“The memorial to Confucius has been performed since ancient times and the current ceremony mimics the rituals, props and costumes and combines modern etiquette,” Kong told the Global Times.

“It’s like preparing an annual report for our ancestors,” Kong said, “but it’s also necessary for people today to understand that we have to remember certain things and respect and be in awe.”

Today, the Confucius ceremony is the main event at the Confucius scenic spot in Jining. Meanwhile, many products have been created and promoted around the city’s greatest cultural icon.

Although it was hit by the pandemic, revenue from the sale of Confucius-related products reached 7 million yuan ($1.1 million) in 2020. Du Cheng, who is responsible for sales at the Sankong Cultural and Creative Company in Qufu, told the Global Times.

These cultural and creative industries could boost the local economy while bearing some social responsibility. This has been illustrated by some cultural companies in Jining.

More than 70 percent of the employees of Meiyuantao Art Porcelain Company in Jining are persons with disabilities. They are hired as artists in the company to draw and paint Confucius, pandas and flowers on porcelain and paper in the unique style and skill used only in Jining.

Kong Dongqing, 21, was one of the “most experienced” performers in the group. She is talented at coloring and often helps newcomers hone their skills.

“I never thought I could do a job that I really enjoy,” she said. “I made many friends here and shared my know-how with them.”

Today, the delicate porcelain painted with stories of the life of Confucius or other human-loved elements, such as pandas, flowers, and ancient beauties, is displayed and sold in China and other countries such as Italy.

In recent decades, the cultural and creative industries in Jining have also explored international fame and gradually become a business card for the city.

Recently, a grand acrobatic show, inspired by Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai, debuted in Jining with great success after two years of preparation.

The story of Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai is known to every Chinese and is known in the world as ‘The Butterfly Lovers’. People call it ‘the oriental Romeo and Juliet’. Liang and Zhu’s melody has become one of the most iconic pieces of Chinese music.

The touching love story also takes place in modern-day Jining. Therefore, the Jining Acrobatic Troupe decided to go ahead with the project.

Rehearsal of the acrobatic show Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai by the Jining Acrobatic Troupe Photo: Shan Jie/GT

The performance is designed in a more international style and incorporates modern aesthetics combined with traditional Chinese imagery,” said the director. It is a blend of beauty, romance, youth and moving emotion.

“After the pandemic, we would like to perform this show in other countries to spread this classic Chinese story in the world,” Zhao Jiangang, manager of the Jining Acrobatic Troupe, told the Global Times. “A life of a good and qualified show can last a very long time. We are patient enough and believe that one day our show will shine in the world,” Zhang noted.

Shandong Meiyuan Ceramics Culture Co., Ltd.


Hamza Jawed
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