China takes a lot of pride in its intangible cultural heritage and folk arts. And Wuhan city, in central China, is in the forefront of efforts to protect them. This week, master craftsmen visited a local primary school as guest instructors.
Clay sculpting, egg carving, paper cutting, Chinese knot-tying and Chinese kite making...These are some of the intangible cultural arts of China being passed on to the new generation. Wuhan City boasts of its famous folk artists and inheritors, just like Hu Zuolin, an exemplar of clay sculpture.
Hu is telling his fifth-grade class to enjoy playing with mud! With modern cartoon shapes, clay sculptures become livelier and easier to appreciate.
"Many traditional arts are facing oblivion in the fast-changing world. I think this class would be a good approach to preserve our cultural heritage. As a successor, I think I have the responsibility to maintain and pass on our traditional arts and skills to the younger generation," he said.
Hu also teaches his students how to make a kite in four easy steps -- framing, sticking, painting and finally, the most fun part -- flying!
"This is the first time I've made a kite by myself. Our master told us that Chinese kites have more than 2-thousand years of history, and it's cool," said Xiong Rui, student, Wuhan Yeliexiang Primary School.
This school is more than a century old. Its principal says inheriting and preserving traditional culture has always been the school's primary concern.
"This is not a school just for presentation. It's about teaching, learning, and inheriting. It's difficult for students to fully master all the skills in just one class, but we hope that one of them might be an inheritor of the culture," said Zeng Guili, principal, Wuhan Yiliexiang Primary School.
The school has regular lessons on intangible culture heritage. Every Friday afternoon, more than 400 sixth-grade students choose the skill they most want to study with the masters.