A powerful drumbeat breaks through the clouds and awakens Zhushan Village in Machong Township of Fenghuang County after a hundred years.
In recent years, Zhushan Village has developed characteristic intangible cultural heritage (ICH) tourism, actively promoting the protection and inheritance of ICH, driving employment, and providing strong support for rural revitalization through traditional culture.
Inheriting ICH to protect traditional culture
Whenever tourists enter Zhushan Village, the locals will play Miao drums to welcome the guests from afar. The Miao people use drum music as a special way to express their emotions during major events such as the Spring Festival, the Ganqiu Festival, weddings, and funerals.
In order to promote the integration of traditional culture and rural tourism, and effectively protect and inherit culture, Zhushan Village has integrated traditional agricultural culture, Miao wedding customs, Miao ICH, etc. into performances and immersive agricultural culture experience areas, allowing guests from all over the world to enjoy the mysterious Miao culture and hospitality of the Miao people.
“Miao drums are part of Miao traditions. I have started learning Miao drums since I was a child, and playing Miao drums has become my personal hobby when I grew up. It can exercise the body, cultivate sentiment, spread ICH and expand the influence of traditional culture,” said Wu Qibang, an inheritor of Miao flower drum.
Cultivating inheritors of ICH to pass on traditional culture
The 33-year-old silversmith Wu Qingwei is a county-level inheritor of ICH. In the past, forging Miao silverware was his family’s ancestral craft. “As tourism develops fast, the lives of craftsmen like us have also improved. Being an inheritor of ICH, I will introduce the silver culture and ICH culture to more people,” Wu Qingwei said proudly.
In the past, Wu Qingwei’s family had an annual income of only 20,000 to 30,000 yuan, but now his personal income alone reaches 80,000 to 90,000 yuan. The living standards have significantly improved.
Liu Zhiming, deputy manager of Fenghuang Tourism Investment Development and Construction Group Co., Ltd., said: “We support the inheritance and development of ICH, provide employment opportunities for inheritors, and enable them to obtain economic income through ICH performances or the production of Miao silver and Miao ornaments.”
ICH empowers economic development
Due to its remote location, most young people in Zhushan Village chose to work outside, leaving elderly people behind.
In order to revitalize the village and provide financial support for the elderly, Zhushan Village has established the “enterprises plus village collective plus farmers” model, guiding scenic spots and surrounding poor people to invest in tourism development companies based on a standard of 2,000 yuan per person.
In 2022, the model covered 2,402 households in 82 villages in eight townships of Fenghuang County, benefiting 14,980impoverished people, with a total payment of 4.102 million yuan for entrusted assistance, education funds, and village collective economy.
93-year-old Long Meiba is one of them. She is making laces in the brocade performance hall. Laces are the decorative edges on Miao clothing, with various styles and complicated making processes.Long Meiba has been making laces since she was a child and is skilled at it. She can make three meters a day, and each meter can be sold for 20 yuan. With local living subsidies, Long Meiba can earn more than 30,000 yuan a year, which is enough to support her life.
“The company develops cultural tourism and protect inheritors of ICH to build a more beautiful Zhushan Village,” said Liu Zhiming.
Nowadays, Zhushan Village has taken on a new look through the inheritance and protection of ICH. The quaint characteristic houses and the beautiful Changtan’gang River complement each other. Villagers stroll leisurely and tourists come in an endless stream to feel the charm of ICH.