Folk Culture

The folk customs of Wuyi are colorful. Kaiping, Taishan and Xinhui District won the title of the Land of Chinese Quyi. Shuikou Town was named the Land of Chinese Folk Culture and Art for the Pancun Lantern Show. There are some other places rated as the Lands of Folk Culture and Arts in Guangdong Province, including Kaiping (folk songs), Dousan Town (Piaose), Dajiang Town (Chinese traditional furniture). Taicheng Street (Guangdong music) and the overseas Chinese village in Haiyan Town (Southeast Asian styles of dance). In addition, Taicheng Street, Doushan Town and Hetang Town were respectively awarded the titles of the Land of Guangdong Music, the Land of Piaose and the Land of Gauze Dragon.The cultural promotion project of Baisha Chinese Studies School was selected as a demonstration project of the public cultural service system in Guangdong Province. Now Jiangmen has 7 national-level, 29 provincial-level and 69 municipal-level intangible cultural heritage projects.

Seven Projects of National Intangible Cultural Heritage

BaishaMaolong Writing Brushes

Originated in the Ming Dynasty, the Baisha Maolong Writing Brush has a history of

more than 500 years. The founder was Chen Baisha, a Confucian philosopher, poet, and

calligrapher. (Chen Baisha also known as Chen Xianzhang). The Maolong Writing Brush is

made with thatch collected from Guifeng Mountain as the main material. The process includes selecting, cutting, soaking, hammering, and scraping the thatch. This writing brush is a model of traditional handcrafting and is an outstanding, ingenious example of how plant fibers can be used. Calligraphy created through the Maolong Brush is unique and irreplaceable. After several hundred years, the Maolong Writing Brush is still exalted and used by the local calligraphy community.

Hetang Gauze Dragon Dance

The Hetang Gauze Dragon Dance started in the Southern Song Dynasty and was brought to Jiangmen during the Ming Dynasty via Sichuan, with a history of over 700 years. The dragon dance technique has been handed down by word of mouth. The original Hetang Dragon Dance performance was simple, and after continual innovation and improvement throughout the early Qing Dynasty, the dragon became bigger and longer. Now the dragon is over 50 meters in length, consisting of 24 sections and involving 26 performers.The dragon has eyes and is accompanied by carp. The dragon's body is covered with gauze, bamboo, and wood, and is pasted with coin-like scales. The whole body is covered by thin gauze and candles are lit within. While dancing, the candles must not go out and must not burn the gauze. The Hetang Gauze Dragon enjoys a strong reputation at home and abroad for its superb craftsmanship, its diversified performance skills, and the difficulty of its tricks.

Cai Li Fo Boxing Martial Art

During the Daoguang period of the Qing Dynasty, Chen Xiang (a native of Gongbei Lane, Jing Mei Village, Yamen Township, Xinhui) carefully studied various schools of boxing martial art throughout his long career as a martial artist. He synthesized those of ChenYuanhu, Li Youshan, and Cai Fu, and compiled a new set of boxing routines with uniquecharacteristics called Cai Li Fo Boxing. The name implied that he was indebted to his teachers. Cai Fu was the best in techniques and was the most senior in the local Kungfu community, so his surname was placed first. Chen Yuanhu was best at skills involving the palms, which he learnt from a Buddhist master on Dinghu Mountain, Zhaoqing; and thus the name Fo (which means Buddhism) was used.

Cai Li Fo Boxingmatial art is one of the most outstanding martial art among boxing schools in South China. Its routines are numerous and diverse, and it is rich in content. It combines offensive and defensive techniques, balances hard and soft tactics, and uses flexible and stable footwork. When exercising, the boxer has to utter sounds to accompany and aid actions. Its movements are free and uninhibited, and its style uses great momentum. For more than a hundred years, through the tireless efforts of Chen Xiang's clan and disciples, the Cai Li Fo boxing is still the world's most popular school of Guangdong martial arts, with millions of practitioners spread throughout the five continents.

Xinhui Palm Leaf Craft

Xinhui Palm Leaf Craft has a long history. Planting palm trees and processing palm leaves began in Xinhui during the Eastern Jin Dynasty. After over a thousand years' of exploration by folk artisans, the palm leaf craft—integrating weaving, embroidery, painting, and printing—has reached the pinnacle of perfection. In the last years of the Tongzhi reign period during the Qing Dynasty, Chen Wan created the branded fan, which was listed as a national special handcraft in 1952. In 2002, the Xinhui government built the Xinhui Palm Expo

 Garden and set the Nantan Island Palm Forest as an important natural ecological zone, with a palm leaf tree variety, research and development areas, and palm leaf craft gardens, so that the craft can be protected and further developed.

Lantern Show of Pancun Village, Shuikou Town, Kaiping

Originated in the Ming Dynasty, Pancun Lantern Show has a history of more than 500years. The show is organized every three years and held as a large celebration every sixty years. There are relatively fixed procedures and ceremonies, including making and sending lanterns, starting the lantern show, holding the lantern parade and removing the lanterns.When the lantern parade starts and travels around all 42 small villages of Pancun, Luo umbrella and colorful flags open the way, dragons and lions cheer for the show, and firecrackers are lighted. Each lantern show attracts people from Taishan, Xinhui District, Heshan and foreign and domestic photographers, which is very lively and kicking. The Show is a unique national folk custom and becomes an art brand. It is a precious intangible cultural heritage of China that integrates the meanings of“traditional handicrafts”,“folk customs”and“folkways”.

Taishan Music

“Eight Sounds”is a general term for the music produced by eight instruments called “metal, stone, earth, grass, silk, wood, gourd, and bamboo.”The Taishan Eight Sounds Box, also known as a drum rack, is actually a box of gongs and drums for performing with the eight instruments. It consists of a wooden cabinet, inside which the instruments areplaced. As the predecessor of Guangdong music and a carrier of creation and performance, Taishan Eight Sounds Bands have a history of more than 300 years. The original Eight Sounds Bands mostly played Buddhist music and folk minors, which people called "Guangdong music". By the middle of the Qing Dynasty, Eight Sounds Bands began combining music and opera, maturing over time.

Taishan Piaose

Taishan'sFushi Parade of Colorful Figures was first officially recorded in 1888 in a genealogy record. It is a formative folk art that keeps traditional characteristics and happens every year on the third day of the third lunar month. On the birthday of the Northern Emperor, villagers of Fushi Village parade through 10 lanes of the village carrying the figure of the Northern Emperor, accompanied by colorful flying banners, dancing dragons and lions,stilts, and eight- sound bands. It is a splendid procession with far- reaching influence, attracting visitors at home and from abroad, media attention, and photography enthusiasts.

The colorful historical or mythical figures are represented by 2 children aged 8 to 10.They stand on a cabinet carried by a number of people. The one standing on the box seems to be floating on air and is called the“upper color”or“flying color.”The one sitting on the box is called the“lower color.”The two performers are supported by a thin steel bar called a “color stem.”The two complement and contrast each other. What is truly fascinating is the upper color figure, whose left foot stands on a peach branch while the right foot swings in the air. The body seems to be floating without any support. It is truly amazing to witness.

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