Name of element
Traditional Li textile techniques: spinning, dyeing, weaving and embroidering
Hezhen Yimakan storytelling (2011)
Qiang New Year festival (2009)
Traditional design and practices for building Chinese wooden arch bridges (2009)
Watertight-bulkhead technology of Chinese junks (2010)
Wooden movable-type printing of China (2010)
The traditional Li textile techniques of spinning, dyeing, weaving and embroidering are employed by women of the Li ethnic group of Hainan Province, China, to make cotton, hemp and other fibers into clothing and other daily necessities. The techniques involved, including warp ikat, double-face embroidery, and single-face jacquard weaving, are passed down by mothers to daughters from early childhood through verbal instruction and personal demonstration. Li women design the textile patterns using only their imagination and knowledge of traditional styles. In the absence of a written language, these patterns record the history and legends of Li culture as well as worship rituals, taboos, beliefs, traditions and folkways. The patterns can be identified and distinguished according to the five major Li spoken dialects in Hainan. The textiles form an indispensable part of important social and cultural occasions such as religious rituals and festivals, and in particular weddings, for which Li women design their own dresses. As carriers of Li culture, traditional Li textile techniques are an indispensable part of the cultural heritage of the Li ethnic group. However, in recent decades the number of women with the weaving and embroidery skills at their command has severely declined to the extent that traditional Li textile techniques are exposed to the risk of extinction.
In October 2009, the element was inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List. The inscription of the element on one hand makes the Li people realize the significance of such a technique of women in their daily life to the entire ethnic group; on the other hand, it shows the general public in China the precious intangible cultural heritage of the Li ethnic group. With the joint efforts of the communities and governments at different levels, the relevant stakeholders have fulfilled their promise of taking safeguarding measures in the nomination files one by one in the past six years, including: the establishment of the platforms for a diversity of activities focusing on the safeguarding and transmission of techniques; the creation of a financial aid plan for representative bearers; the establishment of production base for the raw materials needed; the founding of related non-governmental research institutions and several museums; the creation of an exclusive cultural data digital management system for the element; and the publication of different normative documents to provide sufficient institutional support for the safeguarding of the element.
As for the effect of these measures, the Li people have been aware of the necessity for maintaining the viability and safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage. They have realized that the traditional technique of women not only satisfies their need in daily life but also shows significant value for the cultural cognition and development of their ethnic group. Under the influence of such cultural consciousness, the representatives of traditional bearers and practitioners in the areas of five major spoken dialects, namely Ha, Qi, Meifu, Run, and Sai, have been actively participating in different events focusing on the safeguarding and transmission of the element, which provides an effective guarantee for improving its viability. Currently, the number of those participating in the transmission of the element has increased from less than 1,000 at the time of nomination to over 11,400. Among them, the number of women of the Li ethnic group who master warp ikat technique integrating knitting, dyeing, and weaving has increased from less than 200 to more than 2,000, and the number of Li women who master double-face embroidery technique has increased from 5 to over 50. With the increasing number of bearers and practitioners and continuous transmission activities, the endangered situation of the element is improved to a certain extent.
Center for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Hainan Province, China / Director
68 Guoxingdadao, Meilan District, Haikou City, Hainan Province, China, 570203
Other relevant information
www.hiich.org (the website for Hainan Intangible Cultural Heritage)
Women of the Li ethnic group are the major bearers and practitioners of the element. They learn the techniques of spinning, dyeing, weaving and embroidering from their mothers and acquire the related knowledge and skills through verbal instruction and physical demonstration of elder women during the gatherings of those practicing the techniques from their early childhood. The teaching and practicing of the technique last into old age. For the Li women, the techniques of the element are essential skills for their traditional society, because they should design and make their own dresses for weddings, the clothing for their families after marriage, and the funerary objects for their death. With the change of styles of production and life in recent years, the Li people no longer consider the textile techniques of spinning, dyeing, weaving and embroidering as the basic requirement for women in terms of skills for daily life, resulting in the decline of women persisting in learning and practicing the traditional technique. Nevertheless, the situation of the endangered techniques does not change the identity of Li women as the major bearers and practitioners of the element.
People of the five major spoken dialects of the Li ethnic group are distinguished from each other in the mastery and presentation of the specific techniques of the element, so they maintain a diversity of characteristics, especially in the methods for spinning and dyeing, the combination modes of color and pattern for embroidering, and the rules for using the textile. However, such difference in the long-term practice of the Li people does not affect the overall culture feature shared by the whole ethnic group. Meanwhile, it has become an important symbol for distinguishing different branches inside the Li people. There are more than ten kinds of Li textiles named after the compact areas of the subgroups inside the Li people, including Baohuai textile, Meifu textile, Zhigong textile, Qi textile, and so on, which clearly reflected the interaction and connection of different branches inside the Li ethnic group in the process of the transmission of the element.
Generally speaking, the folk experience of the specific procedures, production methods, and choice of material for the element embodies rich internal knowledge. Such internal knowledge of the ethnic group presents the recognition of its people to the nature and the historical memory of them to social changes in an aesthetic way, which makes the element an important symbol for maintaining the identity of the Li ethnic group.
The population of the Li ethnic group in Hainan Province is 1,277,359 (according to the Sixth National Population Census of China in 2010), accounting for 93.9% of the total population of the Li ethnic group in China. With the deepening of the efforts to safeguard intangible cultural heritage, especially the collaboration and efforts of relevant stakeholders after the inscription, the viability of the element has been greatly improved compared to that of six years ago. The current range of the distribution has expanded from nine counties previously to all compact areas of the Li ethnic group in Hainan Province. During the period, the traditional way for passing down the techniques among women within the communities has gradually recovered its vitality. Apart from the transmission within the family from generation to generation, training and practicing centers have been set up in communities of the Li ethnic group to rebuild the platform for exchanging, teaching, and practicing of the techniques. In the past six years, a total of 296 activities for teaching and practicing the techniques have been organized with 31,582 participants, which greatly increased opportunities for the Li women to participate in the practice and transmission. Meanwhile, the younger generation has more access to the traditional technique through formal and informal curricular. In addition, the achievements of bearers from related communities are demonstrated in the form of textile techniques competitions during the traditional festivals of the Li ethnic group and the statutory Cultural Heritage Day, which not only arouses the cultural consciousness of the Li people but also attracts the attention of people from all over the country to the element. People in Hainan Province are very active in the annual Li Textile Techniques Competition and related folk activities.
At present, the element is still facing the following three threats:
(1) Dramatic change has taken place in the life style of the Li people. As a result, traditional costumes are wore and used only during such important ceremonial occasions as weddings, funerals, and festivals. Although the change doesn’t influence the social function of the element as the cultural symbol of the Li ethnic group, it seriously affects the practical position of the techniques in the daily life of the Li people. The number of the Li women who can persist in learning and practicing traditional textile techniques of spinning, dyeing, weaving and embroidering is decreasing in contemporary times. Even though relevant stakeholders have made great efforts to safeguard the element in the past six years, the number of female bearers still accounts for less than 20% of the total female of the Li ethnic group.
(2) The imbalance of spinning, dyeing, weaving and embroidering techniques in the process of transmission and practice is noticeable. At present, only 1% of the total bearers master the whole set of techniques covering spinning, dyeing, weaving and embroidering. In traditional society, such raw materials as the dyes and threads needed by the element come from the natural environment where the Li people have lived for generations. The production process is comparatively complicated. With the changes to the ecological environment in modern times, it becomes very difficult to obtain these materials directly from the living environment of the Li people. Besides, it takes a long time and great effort to make them. Therefore, the number of people voluntarily extracting dyes, spinning threads, and practicing warp ikat techniques is decreasing and the techniques of spinning and warp ikat are landed in a predicament. After the inscription, the passing down of the two techniques has mainly relied on the support of governments at different levels to provide raw materials and funds. Different from the situation for warp ikat, more people are engaged in the passing down of weaving techniques in the transmission and practice because the hand spinning thread is gradually replaced by industrial yarn of lower cost with the development of science and technology as well as machine manufacture. Generally, for the representative bearers actively participating in the teaching and practicing of the element, about 65% of them master the weaving technique with original back-strap loom used, 20% master the dyeing technique, 15% master the embroidering technique, and only 10% master the spinning technique. Therefore, the element is still endangered for the imbalance of the passing down of different techniques.
(3) Traditionally, the Li women earn for their family with their spinning, dyeing, weaving and embroidering techniques. Hence the major representative bearers created the mode of production and transmission characterized by the trinity of company-workshops-household to promote the passing down and training of the techniques with the sales of Li textile products. Indeed, the mode aroused the enthusiasm of a large number of women to participate in the practice and transmission. However, the sales-oriented production influenced by commercialization and homogenization of consumption can hardly support the passing down of the traditional patterns, designs and the national knowledge system they represent and is likely to cause the separation of the practicing from tradition. Besides, the promotion of the mode exacerbates the imbalance of the development of specific techniques of the element to a certain extent.
In order to fulfill the commitment in the nomination files to effectively passing down the specific techniques and traditional knowledge covered by the element and alleviate the predicament of the transmission, the following results were attained from 2010 to 2015:
(1) Support the tradition bearers: the financial support program for representative bearers was created to improve their living situation on one hand and to arouse the enthusiasm of the Li people to participate in practice and transmission on the other hand. Meanwhile, the assessment system for representative bearers was established to supervise them in performing their duty on passing down the culture.
(2) Revitalize traditional modes of transmission: while encouraging the intergenerational transmission among women within the family, training and practicing centers have been set up in the Li compact areas on the basis of the existing transmission mechanisms to build the platform for more convenient teaching and practicing of the techniques in communities. Meanwhile, courses on traditional spinning, dyeing, weaving and embroidering techniques are provided by representative bearers on a regular basis to provide training for women who are interested.
(3) Ease the difficulty in intergenerational transmission: under the collaboration between the representative bearers and the communities, educational departments compiled textbooks on the history of transmission, skills, and knowledge, etc. of the element to complement related currifula in elementary schools and middle schools in different counties and cities of Hainan Province. This move creates opportunities for younger generation of the Li people to acquire and practice the element. Currently, the number of those participating in practice and transmission is over ten thousand. Some young males of the Li group also participated in the learning and teaching activities in the past years and they have gained the warm welcome of the female practitioners.
(4) Expand the scope of practice and recognition: activities to popularize the related knowledge and techniques are organized in related counties and municipalities every year, which greatly improved the recognition of the importance of the element by Li people.
(5) Ease the problem in raw material supply: bases for planting the specific raw material were established which effectively eased the problem in raw material supply for the traditional spinning, dyeing, weaving and embroidering techniques and to a certain extent alleviated the imbalanced development of different techniques.
(6) Provide legal guarantee: normative documents related to the element have been stipulated gradually to provide legal guarantee for its safeguarding and transmission.
(7) Establish diversified archive storage modes: a diversity of modes, including text, object, audio, and video, etc. have been applied to the data collection and storage of materials related to the element. Besides, exclusive multimedia databases and related websites for the archive of the element have been established.
During the reporting period (2010-2015), the following key activities were carried out:
—Support representative bearers and name the villages for transmission.
(1) The number of representative bearers identified, who master the techniques of the element and fulfil actively the responsibility for transmission, was increased to 233 through the implementation of financial support programs and assessment systems for them.
(2) City and county level training and practicing centers of the Li textile techniques were established in Baisha, Dongfang, Wuzhishan, etc. for the frequent practice of the element. Meanwhile, 16 villages, including Xifang Village in Donghe Town of Dongfang City, Fandao Village in Shiyun Town of Qiongzhong City, etc were appointed as the Village for the Transmission of Li Textile Techniques. Village level training centers were established accordingly to provide the venue for teaching and practicing the techniques of the element.
(3) Courses on the techniques were provided in these training centers by representative bearers on a regular basis for Li women interested in the element. To a certain extent, the regular organization of these activities recovered the traditional modes of transmission focusing on the gathering of women inside the communities for exchange and teaching of the techniques and aroused the interest of Li women in practicing. Nevertheless, the practice and transmission by Li women inside the communities was mainly for economic benefits, so the need of customers was considered first in the production and it became very difficult to restore the traditional free creation, which is not conductive to the transmission of traditional patterns and designs.
—Include the transmission of the cultural aspects of the element into the education system.
(1) Under the collaboration between representative bearers and the communities, educational departments compiled the textbook Traditional Li Textile Techniques of Spinning, Dyeing, Weaving and Embroidering （2013）on the history of transmission, skills and knowledge, etc. for training teachers of the Li textile techniques in related cities and counties to fully support relevant courses set up gradually in 39 schools including Guoxing Middle School of Haikou City and Minzu Middle School of Sanya City, etc.
(2) Teaching bases of Li textile were established in four schools including Hainan Minzu Technical School and Guoxing Middle School. Departments of Li textile techniques were set up in three vocational technical schools including Hainan Minzu Technical School and Sanya Advanced Technical School and hundreds of students capable of practicing the techniques were cultivated through vocational education. In addition, Li Textile Scholarship (2014) was launched to encourage excellent students in both morality and learning who are willing to learn Li textile culture and spread it actively and the teachers directly engaged in the teaching of Li textile techniques.
(3) In the six years from 2010 to 2015, the transmission activities of the element cooperated with a diversity of educational practices, effectively providing opportunities for the young generation of the Li ethnic group to learn this intangible cultural heritage. Currently, over ten thousand people are actively participating in the practice and transmission.
—Build the plantation base of raw materials needed for the practice and transmission of the element.
Raw materials production bases of 35 hectares were built in related cities and counties for planting ramie, turmeric, and Sea Island Cotton, etc. The raw materials harvested have been used in the teaching of the techniques. However, the scale of the plantation of raw materials still cannot offset the change of the ecological environment in modern times. There are also restrictions of the production cost, raw material extraction and pattern of use. Therefore, the efforts couldn't effectively prevent the choice of industrial materials by Li women in practicing the techniques, and sometimes might result in the waste of plant materials.
—Expand the practice and transmission in various ways, especially in improving the visibility of the element and the recognition of its importance by the public, and good results have been achieved.
(1) Annual popularization activities have been organized in succession in such cities and counties with large population of the Li ethnic group as Baisha, Dongfang, and Wuzhishan. The actually transmission range of the element has already expanded to all gathering areas of the Li ethnic group in Hainan Province. To be specific, a diversity of annual activities are organized on the third day of the third lunar month, an important festival of the Li ethnic group and the Cultural Heritage Day of the Chinese government, including the demonstration and performance of the techniques by representative bearers, the Li textile competition for one thousand people which has been held for six sessions, etc.
(2) Thematic exhibitions have been launched in relevant organizations like Hainan Museum of Ethnic Groups to show the raw materials, tools, textile products, and related knowledge. Meanwhile, through participation in exhibition activities at home and abroad like the First National Exhibition on the Safeguarding of Intangible Culture Heritage in China, Malaysia Weaving Competition, etc., the transmission and promotion of the knowledge and techniques of the element in the world have been enhanced.
(3) Such non-governmental research institutions as Hainan Chuanshi Li Textile Techniques Research Institute, Xindada Li Textile Research Studio, etc. have been founded. They carried out close cooperation with academic institutions like Hainan Institute of Nationality Studies, non-governmental organizations like Hainan Mass Culture Association and Hainan Association of Ethnology, and scholars from related institute of higher education like Hainan Normal University, for comprehensive and in-depth research into different aspects of the element. The achievements of these researches have already been published one after the other.
──Provide institutional guarantee for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage by laws and regulations.
Governments at all levels in Hainan Province have enacted series of laws and regulations to provide institutional guarantee for safeguarding the element, including Regulation on the Identification and Management of Representative Bearers of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Hainan Province, Regulation on the Evaluation of Provincial Level Representative Intangible Cultural Heritage Elements in Hainan Province, Interim Measures on the Identification and Management of Village for Transmission of Intangible Cultural Heritage Element in Hainan Province, Interim Measures on Supporting Bearers of Traditional Li Textile Techniques of Spinning, Dyeing, Weaving and Embroidering, Regulation on the Management of Special Funds for Intangible Cultural Heritage of Hainan Province, and Rules on the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage released by such counties as Baoting and Baisha. Coordination of relevant stakeholders is still needed for the effective implementation of those laws and regulations in the specific work.
──Establish the digital archive of the element and promote the database construction.
Comprehensive collection and processing of the related information of the element and its representative bearers, including the physical assets of the traditional patterns and designs, were completed through the close collaboration with scholars, academic institutions, and non-governmental organizations. In the process, a diversity of methods like text, recording, photography and filming, was adopted. The completed video material lasts for 453 hours. On this basis, the multi-media database and website (www.hiich.org) of the element have been established. Since the Li women tend to use the textile works they made as their funerary objects according to their custom, it is very difficult to collect such physical objects, especially those with a comparatively long history.
As a vital method to express the cultural cognition of the Li ethnic group in an aesthetic way, the element plays a significant role in the continuation of Li ethnic culture. This is not only reflected on the traditional knowledge embodied in the specific technique but also shown in the folk experience and social norms followed in practicing the element. Both should be completed in the cultural space for transmitting the element. Therefore, it also provides the basis for the participation of communities, groups, individuals, and related non-governmental organizations in implementing the safeguarding measures of the element.
—The practice of bearers, the appointment of villages for transmission and the building of training centers are complementary to each other.
The frequency of the practice of the element was greatly improved with the help of the centers for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage at county, city and provincial levels in Hainan and related village committees. Taking the training centers for example, 223 representative bearers, including national representative bearers Rong Yamei, Liu Xianglan, and Fu Linzao, have actively participated in the training activities which have attracted over 31,582 participants in communities in the past six years. The high frequency of training activities also helped to expand the scope of transmission of the element from five cities and counties previously to all gathering places of the Li ethnic group.
—Platforms for the transmission of the element from generation to generation were constructed jointly by educational institutions and academic organizations.
(1) Departments of Li textile techniques were set up in three vocational technical schools including Hainan Minzu Technical School and Sanya Advanced Technical School and hundreds of students capable of the techniques were cultivated through vocational education; the textbook Traditional Li Textile Techniques of Spinning, Dyeing, Weaving and Embroidering (2013) was compiled and published, and relevant practical courses have been set up in 39 middle and primary schools.
(2) Training courses for teachers were implemented jointly by such institutes of higher education as Hainan University, research institutions as Hainan Institute of Ethnology, and academic organizations as Hainan Ethnology Society. Meanwhile, a series of research practice were carried out, like regular field research, international seminar participated by 45 scholars from home and abroad, and collection and processing of all related information of the element. All these institutions and organizations provide academic support for the transmission and development of the element as well as the implementation of the safeguarding measures. Among them, Hainan Ethnology Society founded in 1990 was most active. It has not only carried out comparatively in-depth investigation into the element but also collaborated with Hainan Institute of Ethnology and Hainan Minzu Museum in the nomination and safeguarding of the element at different levels.
—Commercial organizations actively explore the possibilities of productivity-oriented safeguarding efforts.
A number of commercial organizations in Hainan Province have participated in the safeguarding of the element. Jinxiuzhibei Co. Ltd. (www.chinalijin.com）is a typical example. As a company focusing on the transmission, exploration, development, and production of traditional Li textile handicrafts, it not only trained over 400 female workers to become professionals mastering the techniques of weaving and embroidering, but also invested to establish bases for Li textile techniques training, production, and R&D in Wuzhishan, Qiongzhong, and Dongfang, which made great contribution to the sustainable development of the element. Together with Wuzhishan Li Textile Training Center and Xindada Li Textile Research Center, the company was named by Hainan provincial government as Provincial Level Demonstration Base of Li Textile Techniques for Productivity-oriented Preservation.
There are two patterns for safeguarding the element. One is the organization of activities on a regular basis, while the other is the organization of non-scheduled activities according to the actual situation and the need for safeguarding each year. The detailed timetable and budgets are shown as follows:
—For regularly organized activities
(1) According to the financial support program and assessment system for representative bearers of the element at different levels, funds between 5,000 to 10,000 RMB were provided for each representative bear to support his or her work and life when fulfilling the responsibility for the transmission of the element every year. The source of funding comes from the government and the amount is 244, 400 RMB in total.
(2) Training courses on spinning, dyeing, weaving, embroidering were organized annually. In the past six years, a total of 45 sessions of training class were organized. The central government invested 1,350,000 RMB and the provincial government invested 1,440,000 RMB.
(3) Training centers at city, county, and village levels were established respectively and villages for transmission were appointed. Corresponding communities provided existing houses as the venues needed for such safeguarding activities, while the government provided the funds for relevant construction and operation. In the past six years, the central government invested 3,400,000 RMB, the provincial government invested 5,720,000 RMB, and the non-government organizations raised 5,380,000 RMB.
(4) Since 2013, training for teachers, vocational teaching for young people, and practical courses for teenagers relevant to the passing down of the element have been set up in educational system at all levels. Trainers for these trainings and courses were mainly from related schools and the government is the major source of funding. In the past three years, the central government invested 1,200,000 RMB and the provincial government invested 4,200,000 RMB.
(5) Plantation bases of raw materials for the element were built in relevant cities and counties. According to prior commitment, raw materials production bases of about 35 hectares for planting ramie, turmeric, and Sea Island Cotton have been built in Wuzhishan City, Baisha County, Baoting County, and Dongfang City since 2011. For this effort, the central government invested 1,500,000 RMB, the provincial government invested 4,200,000 RMB, and non-government organizations and communities raised 230,000 RMB.
(6) Li Textile Competition has been organized in the whole province every June and exhibitions of physical assets and techniques of the element have been held in museums at all levels. The government invested in total 11,110,000 RMB for the organization and implementation of these activities by professionals from the Leadership Group for Safeguarding Traditional Li Textile Techniques of Spinning, Dyeing, Weaving and Embroidering in Hainan Province (the Vice Governor in charge of related work served as the head of the group), centers for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage, and local museums.
(7) Joint research and academic study were carried out in cooperation with academic institutions and non-governmental organizations. To support these activities, the government invested 1,740,000 RMB and the society raised 570,000 RMB. As the competent body for the element, the Center for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Hainan Province implemented the coordination work. Relevant achievements of these research and study will be published gradually.
(8) Since 2013, archive and database for the traditional Li textile techniques of spinning, dyeing, weaving and embroidering have been established. For collecting the physical assets of the element, the central government invested 1,250,000 RMB, the provincial government invested 3,480,000 RMB, and non-governmental organizations raised 1,380,000 RMB. For the specialized network platform and digital management project, the central government invested 400,000 RMB and the provincial government invested 870,000 RMB.
—For non-scheduled safeguarding activities
In 2010, the documentary Li Textile was shot in 8 cities and counties (February, 2010); exhibition during Hainan Week of Shanghai World Expo (August, 2010); the Leadership Group for Safeguarding Traditional Li Textile Techniques of Spinning, Dyeing, Weaving and Embroidering in Hainan Province was founded (August, 2010).
In 2011, preparations for the compilation of the book Li Textile Techniques (May, 2011); draft plan for collection of physical assets of Li textile and the Notice on Investigating into the Plantation of Raw Materials and Dyeing Materials for Li Textile Techniques (September, 2011).
In 2012, joint investigation together with Prof. Xu Yiyi from Nanjing University, a research partner of the element (August to November, 2012). For this, the central government invested 400,000 RMB and the provincial government invested 350,000 RMB.
In 2013, the cooperation project Research Report on Li Textile Techniques in China between the Provincial Department of Culture and Nanjing University was launched (February, 2013); representative bearers participated in the activity on Li Ethnic Group Custom Textile Technique held in Sanya Betelnut River (May, 2013); the international seminar on Li Textile techniques (October, 2013); publication of Traditional Li Textile Techniques of Spinning, Dyeing, Weaving and Embroidering (school-based textbook), practical courses to bring Li Textile techniques into schools, and pilot project on the digitalization of the element (November, 2013). The central government invested 1,600,000 RMB and the provincial government invested 3,610,000 RMB.
In 2014, the Li Textile Scholarship with 7,400 Yuan provided by Shangri-La Hotel, Haikou was set up (April, 2014); online Q&A activity on intangible cultural heritage knowledge (June, 2014); experience sharing conference on plantation of raw materials for Li Textile techniques in Hainan (September, 2014); participation in the 3rd Intangible Cultural Heritage Exposition (October, 2014); the collection of Li textile handicrafts, with the result of over 1,200 physical assets of Li textile by December 2015 (November, 2014 to December, 2015); skills demonstration by representative bearers as Fu Xiuying and Hu Chunfang at Hainan Intangible Cultural Heritage Exposition (November, 2014). The central government invested 1,250,000 RMB and the provincial government invested 3,480,000 RMB.
In 2015, compilation of the Book on Li Textile Techniques continued and pictures for this monograph completed (March, 2015). For this work, the central government invested 900,000 RMB and the provincial government invested 318,000 RMB. A thematic exhibition of the element Clothing and Bedding was organized in Hainan Minzu Museum (June, 2015); suggestions on six local standard on costumes of the Li ethnic group were collected for the participation in making national standards for classification of costumes of different ethnic groups (November, 2015); training for bearers of Li textile techniques was carried out (December, 2015). The central government invested 900,000 RMB and the provincial government invested 1,068,000 RMB.
Through the regular and non-scheduled safeguarding activities, the commitments to taking a series of safeguarding measures in the 2009 nomination file have been effectively fulfilled during the period from 2010 to 2015. The fulfillment of the commitments comes from the close cooperation among governments at all levels, related communities and non-government organizations. Although the contribution of these parties varies in terms of the implementation of specific safeguarding measures, the effort of any one of them is indispensable for the overall safeguarding of the element.
First of all, the control of governments at all levels on making plans and providing finance and policy guarantee ensures the safeguarding and sustainable development of the element.
Secondly, the active participation of all related communities is of vital importance. It can be found in the practice for safeguarding the element that many activities in close relation to communities have achieved good results under the support of the government in policy, regulations, and finance. For example, the appointment of village for transmission and the establishment of training centers at different levels highlighted the leading role of bearers in the practice of the element in villages. The number of representative bearers of the element at all levels has increased to 218. Leading by these representative bearers, over 11,000 people have mastered over two techniques of the element via either the traditional methods for passing down or the method to promote production with sales. For another example, the base for practice and transmission constructed the platform to combine school education and intangible cultural heritage and made the element more attractive to the younger generation. At present, over 2,200 young professionals have been trained. Their participation in the transmission activities not only complements to the passing down of the techniques from generation to generation but also breaks the limitation on gender in traditional society to enable both male and female get involved in the transmission and development of the element.
Furthermore, the role of non-governmental organizations composed mainly of academic institutions should not be underestimated. Their in-depth study provides academic support for the passing down of the element and reduces the cost for some specific safeguarding activities. For example, during the investigation and research activity organized in collaboration with the School of Agriculture in Hainan University, the problem of supply cost for raw material plantation bases in different places was found and corrected in time. The area for plantation bases has been reduced from 35 hectares to 18.5 hectares (10 hectares in Dongfang City and 8.5 hectares in Baoting County) since 2013. The move avoids further waste of money while ensuring the raw material supply for the surrounding cities and counties.
Admittedly, the investment of funds and human resources by different parties was not balanced in the process of the safeguarding. Governments at different levels houldered the burden of investment. The investment of the central government and local government account for 40% and 49% of the total investment respectively. By contrast, the funds raised by communities and non-governmental organizations account for a relatively small part. However, communities, some non-governmental organizations, and local cultural authorities provide more support on human resources. In general, the common efforts in the past six years enhanced the viability of the element to a certain extent, yet its endangered situation has not been fundamentally changed for the reasons elaborated in section B2.
The safeguarding of the element is based on the joint efforts of communities, groups and individuals as well as relevant non-governmental organizations. Their participation in safeguarding the element is reflected at three aspects: the first is to improve the transmission mechanism of the element; the second is to fully collect, record relevant information of the element through different channels for documentation; the third is to enhance the visibility of the element. It is worth mentioning that the communities, bearers, and relevant non-governmental organizations have their specific emphasis on participating activities from these three aspects.
Representative bearers at different levels undertake more important responsibilities in the improvement of transmission mechanism. (1) After inscription of the element on the Urgent Safeguarding List in 2009, representative bearers, including national representative bearers Rong Yamei, Liu Xianglan, and Fu Lingzao, have actively participated in activities focusing on passing down related knowledge and practical skills. Different methods have been adopted, such as starting apprenticeship, instructing at traditional courses, and communicating during gathering of females, which effectively aroused the interests of women of the Li ethnic group to participate in the practice of the techniques. By the end of 2015, a total of 296 activities on teaching the techniques have been organized by 223 representative bearers at different levels. Besides, they have made a useful attempt for the productivity-oriented preservation of the element and adopted the mode to promote production with sales. Under this mode, women of the Li ethnic group were organized to produce and sell Li textile handicrafts to gain a certain economic benefits. (2) As for the related communities, the 9 centers for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage (the previous cultural centers) of cities or counties, including Wuzhishan, Dongfang, Ledong, Baoting, and Baisha, and village committees of villages and towns in the gathering area of the Li ethnic group have organized the local people to establish 9 city or county level training centers and 16 village level training centers to provide the venue for recovery of traditional mode of transmission within the communities and organization of training activities in villages. (3) 39 primary and middle schools and vocational schools in Hainan Province have actively participated in the activities to bring intangible cultural heritage into schools. It not only provided help in training of teachers but also created diversified practical courses for the acquisition of the techniques of the element by teenagers. To a certain extent, the move bridged the generation gap in the process of transmission.
Such non-governmental organizations as institutes of higher education and academic institutions are more active in confirmation, filing, and researching of the element with the communities and groups as providers of information. Under the coordination of the Center for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Hainan Province and ICH centers at city and county levels, institutes of higher education like Hainan Normal University, research institutions like Xindada Li Textile Research Center, and non-governmental organizations like Hainan Association of Ethnology have implemented comprehensive and in-depth investigation, confirmation, and filing research on the element via such methods as joint research, academic seminar, etc. The text, physical assets, video, and audio materials collected have been used in the construction of specialized database and network platform.
Bearers and non-governmental organizations have played an equally important role in the efforts to enhance the visibility of the element. The visibility of the element at home and abroad has been enhanced through the launching of thematic exhibitions in Hainan Minzu Museum, Hainan Museum, and related non-governmental organizations, the demonstration of the techniques and recounting of related knowledge by representative bearers during these exhibitions, and extensive media coverage on them.
In general, close coordination has been established among communities, groups and individuals as well as relevant non-governmental organizations in safeguarding the element. The three parties have reached consensus that they will further improve and deepen the safeguarding work under the support of governments at all levels to let more people recognize the great significance of the element.
a. the competent body(ies) involved in its management and/or safeguarding:
Division of Intangible Cultural Heritage, Department of Culture, Radio, Television, Publication and Sports of Hainan Province
Center for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Hainan Province
b. the organization(s) of the community or group concerned with the element and its safeguarding:
9 centers for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage (the previous Cultural Center) at city and county levels, including Baisha, Wuzhishan, Dongfang, Ledong, Baoting, and so on.
Jinxiuzhibei Co. Ltd.
Hainan Ethnology Society
Hainan Institute of Ethnology
Hainan Minzu Museum
Hainan Mass Art Center
Hainan Association for Intangible Cultural Heritage Studies
In order to complete the report on the status of the element, a bottom-up information collection system, a timely feedback mechanism, and a multi-actor cooperation writing mode have been established among relevant parties.
Firstly, representative bearers like Rong Yamei, Liu Xianglan, and Fu Linzao were included in the team for drafting the report. They discussed the procedure for drafting and methods of presentation together with relevant experts from Hainan Ethnology Society, Center for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Hainan Province, and other non-governmental organizations and academic institutions. Meanwhile, the Form to Investigate the Implementation of Safeguarding Measures for Li Textile Techniques was worked out and the training on the instructions for completing ICH-11 Form was implemented under the support of the Division of Intangible Cultural Heritage, Department of Culture, Radio, Television, Publication and Sports of Hainan Province.
Next, the 9 centers for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage cities and counties like Wuzhishan and Baisha, together with the village committees of the villages for transmission, carried out detailed investigation and statistics work on the implementation of safeguarding measures and the current situation of the transmission of the element. They also collected the suggestions of related communities, groups, and individuals to the safeguarding work through field survey, interview on representative bearers, and group discussion of community practitioners. All these provided detailed information of the safeguarding practice in different villages since 2010 for the drafting of the report. During the investigation activities, special attention was paid to the participation of representative bearers at different levels and the active practitioners of the element to learn about their personal experience and feeling during the transmission and safeguarding work to get the voice from inside the communities.
Finally, the cultural authorities in the gathering areas of the Li ethnic group assigned a specialized team to compile Chronology of Major Events in Safeguarding Traditional Li Textile Techniques of Spinning, Dyeing, Weaving and Embroidering from 2009 to 2015 on the basis of the detailed information provided by communities, groups, and individuals. A timely feedback mechanism between scholars and practitioners was adopted in the process of compilation so as to effectively correct and improve related information.
Director General, Bureau for External Cultural Relations, Ministry of Culture, People's Republic of China