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Revitalisation of the folk epics of the Lower Yangzi Delta: an example of China’s intangible cultural Heritage

Author(s): Anne E. McLaren

Journal: International Journal of Intangible Heritage
ISSN 1975-3586

Volume: 5;
Start page: 29;
Date: 2010;
Original page

The folk epics of the Han people of the lower Yangzi delta in China have been entered into the national register of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH). These lengthy verse narratives were sung by labouring people toiling in paddy fields or working the waterways of the delta before the establishment of socialist China in 1949. Repressed during the Maoist period, the process of their re-discovery, identification and revitalisation as valued examples of China’s heritage has been a difficult one, and their transmission to future generations as a living and valued folk art is by no means assured. As argued here, the case of the folk epics illustrates the cultural and political complexities of the preservation of intangible cultural heritage in economically advanced areas of China.

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