Home>In Focus

Tongzhou intangible cultures unleash charm through innovation

en.nantong.gov.cn | Updated: January 18, 2024 L M S

Tongzhou district is actively showcasing its cultural charm through the continuous innovation of its intangible cultural heritages.

As a cultural hub in Nantong, Jiangsu province, Tongzhou is currently home to 28 intangible cultural heritage items at the national, provincial, municipal and district levels.

Among them is Tong Opera, a traditional local drama evolved from Tongzi opera, a form of folk performance in Jiangsu's prayer activities. In 2008, Nantong Tongzi opera earned its place on the second batch of China's national intangible cultural heritage list.

In May last year, the debut of the newly adapted traditional Tong Opera, Chen Ying Sells Water, at Nantong Gengsuyi Theater received widespread acclaim from audiences and expert leaders alike. This success is a testament to Tongzhou's commitment to innovating traditional opera.

Traditional Tong Opera often featured simple vocal melodies accompanied by percussion instruments, making it less engaging for modern audiences. However, Chen Ying Sells Water incorporated a live orchestra and elevated aspects such as stage design, lighting, and costumes. The performance became more diverse and enriched, captivating a broader audience.

Tongzhou is also recognized as one of the birthplaces of Nantong blue calico, which was listed in China's first batch of national-level intangible cultural heritage in 2006.

Wang Zhenxing, with 60 years of expertise in blue calico dyeing and printing in Tongzhou, has not only preserved traditional techniques but also introduced innovations.

He broke away from the monotony of blue patterns and introduced deep blue, medium blue, and light blue hues. In terms of patterns, Wang integrated artistic forms such as traditional Chinese painting, woodcut prints, and folk paper cutting, constantly creating new designs.

To promote these innovative intangible cultural heritages and better facilitate the inheritance of these cultures, Tongzhou actively utilizes technology such as the internet, virtual reality, and 5G, and has established online platforms for promotion, research, and sales.

Looking forward, the district aims to integrate intangible cultural heritage with tourism, fostering a harmonious blend of tradition and modernity that promises to enrich the cultural experience for visitors in Tongzhou.


Wang Zhenxing paints patterns for a blue calico. [Photo/WeChat account wxtzfb]


A performance of Tong Opera. [Photo/WeChat account: wxtzfb]