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"Heirlooms of Hunan" Wraps up

Hunan Intangible Cultural Heritage Boutique Exhibition and Trading was successfully held from June 17 to 22 in Shanghai. During the six days, the sales volume hit 13.9287 million yuan, of which 10.71 million yuan was contributed by Happigo of Hunan Satellite TV, 3.05 million came from the online exhibits and trading platform built by, and 168,700 yuan...

“Heirlooms of Hunan” Sales Off to a Flying Start

The total sales of the products of “Heirlooms of Hunan” reached nearly 3 million yuan at the first day of the exhibition, getting off to a flying start, according to the organizing committee of the “Heirlooms of Hunan” – Hunan Intangible Cultural Heritage Boutique Exhibition and Trading at 2014 Hunan (Shanghai) Investment and Trade Promotion Week.

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Hunan Embroidery

Year of Application: 2006

Category: Craftsmanship

Area: Hunan

No. : Ⅶ--19

Applicant: Changsha, Hunan Province


Hunan embroidery, one of the four great embroideries in China (together with embroidery of Sichuan, Suzhou and Guangdong), is world famous for its exquisite techniques, unique features and long history. Archeologists have discovered finely embroidered silk items in Changsha Mawangdui Han Tombs (206BC-220AD), indicating that more than 2,000 years ago Hunan embroidery craftwork had emerged. 


During the long process of development, Hunan embroidery adopted the techniques used in traditional Chinese painting and formed its own unique style. By the end of the Qing Dynasty (the early 20th century), the techniques of Hunan embroidery reached its peak and even took the leading position, surpassing Su embroidery.


Hunan embroidery is famous for its tiger patterns. The unique techniques of the Hunan embroidery are generally based on Chinese painting, although it also includes the techniques of engraving, calligraphy, and embroidery. The combination of these techniques produced a new and unique embroidery product, double-faced and with different images and colors on each side of a transparent chiffon, greatly uplifting the artistic value of Hunan embroidery. The main threads used include pure silk, satin, transparent gauze and nylon, etc.


Hunan embroidery is not only highly value dartistic crafts, but also slinky and practical commodities. It has won many awards at several international expositions held in Japan, Panama and the US, enjoying high reputation in the international market.


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Liling Underglazed Famille Verte Porcelain

Area: Liling City, Zhuzhou, Hunan Province 

Name: Liling Underglazed Famille Verte Porcelain

No.: Ⅵ-5

Category: Craftsmanship

Application Date:2006

Applicant: Liling City, Zhuzhou

Level: State


Liling, an eastern Hunan’s county-level city, is bestowed with abundant porcelain clay, which makes it an ideal place for porcelain making. Liling underglazed famille verte porcelain has enjoyed a long reputation at home and abroad for its colorful hue, graceful artistic style, exquisite handcraft, diversified varieties and designs.


Started from the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220), the history of Liling porcelain making has been more than 1,700 years till now. It can be easily distinguished from other kinds of decorative porcelain for its distinct features.


First, it is lead-free and acid-proof. It also can stand wear and tear and will never fade.


Second, colorful yet not vulgar, this is the unique color effect of under-glaze porcelain.


Third, it is seemingly smooth and crystal-clear, bright and clear.


Forth, it is succinct in shape, decoration and pattern and well-structured.


The decoration for Liling underglazed famille verte porcelain is not limited to one type and often painted with birds and flowers, landscape, patterns and even calligraphy, with various tactics. The beautiful decoration of such porcelain accounts on splendid use of lines.

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Tongguan Kiln of Changsha

The Tongguan Kiln of Changsha (Changsha Kiln or Tongguan Kiln) was one of the most famous ancient kilns during the period between the Tang Dynasty and Five Dynasties.


It is well known for the creation of the first red glaze and colorful underglaze in its porcelain. Changsha was also the first kiln to decorate its porcelain with more than just artwork.


Its decorations came to include elements such as poems, prose, advertisements, inscriptions, characters, flowers and birds. During the Tang Dynasty, its products found their way to over 29 different countries and regions. As such, it was one of the greatest contributors to the spread of Chinese ceramic culture. 


In March 2010, China’s first National Archaelogical Relic Park was officially launched Tongguan Kiln of Changsha National Archaelogical Park. It recognizes the brilliance of the famous kiln in its flourishing period during the Tang Dynasty. A poem in that period described it thus :” Fire blazing in the mouth of the Xiangjiang River, Smoke thickening in the cloud in Dongting Lake”. In May 2010, the “Firing Technique of porcelain of Tongguan Kiln of Changsha” was listed for National protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage. In this way the inheritance and development of Changsha Kiln has been recognized in the popular mind. 

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Chrysanthemum Stone Carving

Area: Liuyang City, Hunan Province 

Name: Chrysanthemum Stone Carving

No.: Ⅳ-6

Category: Craftsmanship

Level: Provincial


As a kind of natural appreciating stone and a valuable carving material, chrysanthemum stone is named after the chrysanthemum textures on the rocks, boasting of over two hundred years history of exploitation and utilization. Hunan's Liuyang City is the earliest known habitat of the stone.


Liuyang chrysanthemum stone, paralleled with Fujian's Shoushan stone carving, Zhejiang's Qingtian stone carving, Sichuan's Guangyuan stone carving, are listed as the Four Stone Carvings in China.


The artistic styles of chrysanthemum stone are as follows: individualized based on the shape of the rocks; symbolic as to see big in small things; the carvings are schemed on the chrysanthemum and combined with the natural scenery. The entire sculpture is concise and clear, and stands out the chrysanthemum.


To evaluate a piece of chrysanthemum stone, one should take chrysanthemum, shapes and handcraft into consideration. The chrysanthemum is to be assessed first, then it should be judged whether the style is designed according to the reading materials. Handicraft, which varies with the subject and the design, is note worthy. Generally, different engraving methods such as engraving lines, reliefs, circular sculptures and hollow carvings can be mixed and matched.

Miao Silver
Area: Fenghuang County, Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Region, Hunan Province        
Name: Miao Silver   
No.: Ⅷ-40     
Category: Craftsmanship
Year of Application: 2006       
Applicant: Fenghuang County, Hunan Province       
Level: State
Miao women usually use the fanciest silver ornaments, decorating themselves, head to toe with headwear and a large variety of silver ornaments for the face, neck, shoulder, waist, arm, feet and hand. The silver crown and bonnet are the highlights of the whole set.
The forging technology of these silver ornaments of Miao ethnic group has been handed down in the long history, and has undergone evolution from primordial ornament to stone and shell, from plants and flowers to gold and silver. Although incorporating innovation continuously, the basic concept has remained intact.
Patterns of silver ornaments today are a result of years of passing down and inheritance. The ornament chain formed on such basis has already become one of the symbols of Miao‘s social progress.
The silver ornaments symbolize wealth. On various occasions such as festivals and marriages, Miao people are immersed in a sea of silver ornaments.  
While usually worn by women, the Miao ethnic minority’s silverware is hand-made by men in family workshops. Exquisite craftsmanship is required to complete the thirty steps in making the silver jewelry, ranging from sketching and carving to production. The most widely used technologies consist of steps such as casting, beating, welding, knitting, and washing.
The design of these silver decorations is largely inspired by other art forms such as embroidery and wax printing. Based on the traditional customs and aesthetic interests of Miao people, the silversmiths consistently improve and enrich the patterns in detail while maintaining the traditional designs.
The rich varieties, elegant patterns, and delicate craftsmanship are concrete demonstration of Miao people’s high taste in art and their colorful culture. Miao people’s silver ornaments are always presented as gifts to friends, and are considered as precious as the kha-btags of Zang people and the jewelry of Han people.
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Tujia Brocade

Name: Tujia Brocade

Area: Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, Hunan Province

Type: Folk Arts

Applicant: Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, Hunan Province

Year of Application: 2006

Level: National

No.: Ⅷ-18


Brocade of Tujia Minority is a class of richly decorative hand-woven fabrics, often made on a wooden draw loom in colored silk or cotton weft (woolen yarn is also available nowadays) that holdsthe cotton warp together.


In the You River Valley of Xiangxi Tujiaand Miao Autonomous Prefecture, the art of brocading is practiced mainly in theTujia minority communities in counties including Yongshun, Longshan, Baojingand Guzhang.


The Brocade of Tujia Minority, commonly referred to as “Hua” (flower), usually includes brocade blankets and brocadelaces. The most representative brocade of Tujia minority Xilan Kapu (sideflower) is acknowledged as the gem, while the brocade laces are even more popular as they require no special appliance.


The 409 traditional brocade patterns are featured by innovation, bright colors and symmetrical lines, while the product is famous for durability.


As one of the most important indicator ofvirtue, each and every Tujia girl will knit brocade by herself as a marriage portion.


As a physical means of communication between Tujia and Han ethnic groups, brocades were used as tributes from Tujia ancestors to the Imperial Courts in the Central Plains.

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Tantou New Year Wood-Block Prints

Area: Longhui County, Shaoyang City, Hunan Province 

Name: Tantou New Year Wood-Block Prints

Number: —8 

Type: Fine Arts 

Year of Application: 2006 

Applicant: Longhui County 

Level: State 


As the only piece of painting handwork watermarked, Tantou New Year Wood-Block Prints have become an independent school for its full-bodied characteristics of ancient southern Chu State (now in Hubei, Hunan, and other places). Located in the southeast of Longhui County, Hunan Province, Tantou Town has simple, pure and unique folk customs. The handicraft industry of the town is advanced with clear-cut division, where paper-making villages, engraving villages, lanes for colored paper, stained paper, and sunscreen cream business, and New Year painting street once existed. 


According to Annals of Longhui County, Tantou New Year Wood-Block Prints boast a history of over three hundred years, with its production in the early 20th century at its best. The town was titled “Home of China’s modern folk paintings” by the Ministry of Culture of the PRC in 1984, and the painting was awarded with “Silver Prize of China’s Fine Arts” by the Ministry of Culture in 1994. 


A completed production process has come into being in the town ranging from paper making to finished products, which is rare in the field of New Year painting making in China. Traditional Tantou New Year Wood-Block Prints consist of three major types concerning door-god portraits, auspicious subjects, and stories in drama, with more than 40 varieties. Some processes of the painting production such as powder brushing are unique to Tantou Town. Kailian (a girl at the time of getting married changing the hair style, and clearing off the fine hair on the face and neck and trim the hair on the temples) also differs from other kinds of New Year paintings. The most difficulty of the plate making lies in the patch board engraving. 


Now, Tantou New Year Wood-Block Prints have been treasured by large museums in the UK, America, and Japan, etc. 

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Jiangyong Nvshu (Women's Writing)

Area: Jiangyong County, Yongzhou City, Hunan Province 

Name: Nvshu Custom 

No. : Ⅹ-69 

Category: Custom 

Year of Application: 2006 

Applicant: Jiangyong County, Hunan Province 

Level: State


Brief Introduction Jiangyong Nvshu (women's script), the only gender character in the world, is specially used by women. Its development, inheritance and cultural messages carried by its characters constitute Nvshu custom. Jiangyong Nvshu is an ancient character of long-diamond-shape with fine and uniform strokes, looking like mosquitoes or ants. However, it became extinct 60 years ago due to various reasons. 


Formation and Inheritance Nvshu is likely to be created by women when they were embroidering and weaving, which is used for emotion exchange between women via recording their local dialect. The inheritance ways of Nvshu are as follows: family teaching, private tutoring, mutual learning, and self-study. Nvshu is mainly written on manuscript paper with cloth cover, scraps of paper, surface of fans, handkerchiefs, ribbons, etc.  


Nvshu works 

[original type] Widow's complaints, sworn sisters, etc. This kind of work only represents Nvshu culture itself, 

[secondary type] Crying marriage, narrative, harvest celebration, folk songs, sacrifice, etc for sharing culture among regions with relative openness.


[regeneration type] Translated work or rewritten work. It is a transplantation of traditional social culture, with the characteristic of liquidity. 


As a special female literature, Nvshu has distinct female characteristics in presentation techniques. Rhetorical devices including metaphor and thimble are used in Nvshu works. The writer of Nvshu mainly compares herself and related things to "flower". The following thimble techniques are often adopted: scenery serves to mirror the mood, the last word of a sentence is the same as the first word of the next sentence.

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Chisel Paper-cut at Tahu

Chisel Paper-cut is a folk handcraft inherited from Tahu Village of Luxi County, Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture. It originally aimed to provide model for Miao embroidery. 


Chiseling involves cutting and hollow carving. It is called embroidering locally and means "engraving flowers" in Miao dialect. The artisan of this craft is addressed respectfully as "flower artist". Chisel Paper-cut was given its name by Tahu Village. Chisel Paper-cut at Tahu is not cut with scissors, but chipped by graver. Employing knives in their hand, the artist can carve any complicated patterns, large or small, people or articles. Because Miao nationality dose not have its characters, this kind of art functions as the most vivid history collection.


Chisel Paper-cut at Tahu was listed as the first batch of the intangible cultural heritage of the HunanProvince in 2006 and the second batch of national intangible cultural heritage in 2008. Luxi County Intangible  Cultural Heritage Protection Center is responsible for the task.

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Changde Silk String Art

Year of Application: 2006 

Type: Opera

Area: Hunan

No.: V-27

Applicant: Changde, Hunan Province


Changde silk string art is a branch of Hunan silk string art. Since it is the most developed and popular silk string art in Hunan, Changde silk string art has become an independent art form.


Changde silk string art is popular all around Hunan Province. It got its name from the instruments played in art shows. Normally, silk string instruments like the yangqin (Chinese hammered dulcimer originally from the Middle East), the Chinese lute, the yu-kin, the three-stringed instrument and the erhu (two-stringed fiddle) are used in the performance.



Changde silk string art was formed around the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It is a singing art form. But there are also spoken parts during the course of the performance. People sit around, singingand playing at the same time with yangqin, the Chinese lute and erhu. Later, the performance became a one-to-two person act of singing on stage accompanied by the musical instruments. 


There are more than one hundred traditional repertories of Changde silk string art. Most of the repertories are from historical stories and folklore. Changde silk string art presents the local features of the Changde area through high artistic value.


But since the late 1980's, there have been fewer professional troupes of Changde silk string artists. Many performers are getting old, and the art is on the verge of disappearing.


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Fenghuang Indigo Print

Area: Longhui County, Shaoyang City, Hunan Province

Number: -3 

Name: Fenghuang (Phoenix)Indigo Print

Category: Craftsmanship

Year of Application: 2006

Applicant: Xiangxi Fenghuang (Phoenix) Tujia & Miao Autonomous County

Level: Provincial 


Fenghuang (Phoenix) Miao Autonomous County, located in the remote mountain area of Xiangxi (northwestern part of Hunan province), is noted for rustic folkway and rich products. A great number of visitors who have been attracted to this area here always buy some blue print cloth when they leaveon departure. 


Boasting a long history,  Fenghuang (Phoenix) Blue Print Cloth has a wide range and can be broadly classified into the following five types: traditional Stone dyeing, a kind of pattern printing frequently used to dye quilt covers and door curtains; orthodox discharge printing, a kind of traditional printing art forms, often used to for dyeing traditional Chinese paintings; colored drawing batiks, skilled in alternation of colors; pad & dip dye, an kind of integrated pad dyeing art forms, mainly used to showcase traditional Miao culture;  and modern pad dye, a kind of dip dyeing arts. 

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Nuo Facial Mask

Nuo opera or Nuo drama is one of the most popular folk operas in southern China. Characterized by its special features such as ferocious masks, unique dresses and adornments, the strange language used in performance, and mysterious scenes, Nuo opera has been selected as one of the non-material cultural legacies of China.


The opera is a religious performance intrinsic to the culture of Nuoism, a type of Chinese folk religion. The purpose of Nuo opera is to drive away devils, disease and evil influences, and also to petition for blessings from the gods. Singing and dancing are included in Nuo opera and performers wear costumes and masks. 


The most distinctive feature of Nuo opera is that the performers wear masks. Different roles require different masks to reveal the characters, through their changing facial features and decorations.


The masks are highly aesthetic. The art, selected materials, colors and applications of Nuo opera masks vary among the regions, ethnic groups, culture and aesthetic interests. That distinctiveness adds the masks' beauty. The masks are mainly made of poplar and willow since poplar is light and less prone to cracks, while willow is widely regarded as having the power to ward off evil. Nuo opera involves many acrobatic performances, such as getting into a hot pot, holding burned stones, crossing a fiery pit, swallowing and blowing fire, and stepping on a mountain of swords. As most of the performers are specially trained, they are good at giving exciting performances. 


The number of masks used in one drama ranges from several dozen to two hundred. There are five kinds of masks used in Nuo Drama, namely: civilian general, military general, old general, young general and woman general with other minor roles such as soldiers and Taoist monks. Each nuo mask has a fixed name, represents a certain role and has legendary stories to tell of its origins. 


The masks are endowed with mysterious religious and cultural meanings, both in Nuoji and Nuo opera performances. People in Nuo culture circles, who regard the masks as symbols and carriers of gods, observe various rules and conventions. For instance, the ceremony of enshrining a Buddha statue is held before making the masks; before using them, the ceremony of opening the case; and storing them, the ceremony of sealing the case. According to the rules, women are not allowed to touch or wear the masks, and only men can produce, use and store masks. Once a man wears a mask, he is supposed to be possessed by a god or spirit. And therefore, he must not speak. 

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