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Bronze drum zone in Hechi protects inheritance, tradition

By YUAN SHENGGAO (China Daily)

Updated: 2021-12-05

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Local residents celebrate a festival by performing the bronze drum in Hechi city, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. CHINA DAILY

Relying on the construction of the Bronze Drum Cultural Protection Experimental Zone, Hechi city in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region has enabled the traditional culture of various ethnic groups to be well inherited and protected.

The zone is centered on the Hongshui River Basin in Hechi, and implements regional cultural ecology for the centralized distribution, distinctive features, complete form and connotation of Tonggu customs and other representative projects of intangible cultural heritage.

Located in the northwest of Guangxi and the southern edge of the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, Hechi covers a total area of 33,500 square kilometers and a population of 4.34 million. The local ethnic groups' population accounts for over 85 percent of the city's total population.

The city's folk bronze drums are rich in cultural resources, with relatively complete living inheritance. The bronze drum culture has iconic characteristics in the Hechi culture.

There are 8,736 intangible cultural heritage resources in the protection experimental zone covering more than 100 categories in 17 categories, and 797 intangible cultural heritage projects have been assessed at the national, autonomous region and county levels.

Among them, the Zhuang people's bronze drum custom and bronze drum dance, the Yao people's monkey drum dance, celebration festival, and dragon division festival are closely related to the bronze drum culture.

Hechi has implemented an overall plan for the protection of the experimental zone. The implementation of the Regulations on the Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Hechi City and the Regulations on the Protection of Bronze Drums among Citizens of Hechi has provided legal guarantees for the protection of bronze drum culture and ecology.

The Hechi Bronze Drum Folk Song Art Festival has been held for 20 consecutive sessions. Since 1999, it has been held in rotation across 11 counties and districts in the city. The festival has become a characteristic cultural brand of Hechi and is one of the three major art festivals in Guangxi.

Also, the Administrative Measures for Representative Successors of Representative Projects of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Hechi was promulgated to establish a four-level successor list at the national, autonomous region, city and county levels. The city carries out regular inheritor training and combines cultural tourism festivals, publicity and promotion activities

As of Dec 29, 2020, there are eight national-level inheritors in the city, which is four times the number before the implementation of the plan. There are also 66 autonomous region-level inheritors, which nearly doubles the plan pre-implementation level, and 146 city-level inheritors-over twice as many as before the plan's implementation.

Through the integrated development of "intangible cultural heritage plus tourism", a number of key projects have been launched to focus on cultivating new forms of cultural tourism.

One plan aims to create non-genetic heritage tourism products. It has built five intangible cultural attractions above the 3A level, including the Yizhou Liu Sanjie's Hometown Tourist Area, Nandan Geyasi Valley Scenic Area, Bama Changshou Island Scenic Area, Nandan Baikuyao Ecological Museum, and Bama Renshouyuan Park. There are many rural tourist areas and farmhouses such as Zhai Leisure Farm.

Another plan involves cultivating cultural tourism boutique performing arts projects and intangible cultural heritage festivals such as the Liu Sanjie Cultural Tourism Festival and Mulao Ethnic Yifan Festival.

The region has cultivated intangible cultural heritage tourist routes by combining the intangible cultural heritage project in the experimental zone with tourist attractions.

It also launched a tour of ethnic groups in the Guixi Ecological Reserve, the ethnic customs tour of Liu Sanjie and the Dongba Fenglong Golden Triangle Tour covering the entire experimental area. It has promoted the revitalization of intangible heritage traditional crafts by excavating traditional craft projects and applying for the protection list of intangible cultural heritage at all levels.