About CHP

Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center (CHP) is a small grassroots, legally-registered NGO working to protect cultural heritage across China.

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Heritage Trail project

Yunnan Textile Shoot

CHP recently had the pleasure of working with Beijing freelance photographer Geraldine Cuason who generously volunteered her time to come and shoot some of our Menglian textiles which have been woven as part of the Menglian weaving revival project.
Geraldine said: “it was an interesting and different shoot because it involves textiles!”
“There are many different colors, patterns and sizes. They also make scarves that are lush and soft to the touch. The photos that I took will be used in brochures and marketing materials. 100% of the money earned from the sales will be given back to the Menglian Weavers,” she said.
Thanks for your effort Geraldine!

International Day of the World’s Indigenous People

“Together, let us celebrate and recognize the stories, cultures and unique identities of indigenous peoples around the world.  At the same time, let us work to strengthen their rights and support their aspirations.”
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Message for the 2011 International Day
of the World’s Indigenous People

 

The International Day of the World’s Indigenous People on Tuesday, August 9, was first proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1994, to be celebrated every year during the first International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People (1995 – 2004).

In 2004, the Assembly proclaimed a Second International Decade, from 2005 – 2015, with the theme of “A Decade for Action and Dignity.”

The focus of this year’s International Day was on Indigenous designs: celebrating stories and cultures, crafting our own future.

This theme highlights the need for preservation and revitalization of indigenous cultures, including their art and intellectual property.  It can also be used to showcase indigenous artists and cooperatives or businesses who are taking inspiration from indigenous peoples’ customs and the indigenous communities who may have participated or benefited from this.

It is also a reminder of the responsibility of individuals as consumers, to understand that there is a story and a personal experience behind every piece of cloth, textile or artwork from an indigenous individual or community.  

At UN Headquarters on 9 August, there was an event focusing on intellectual property in relation to indigenous designs, as well as best practices for protecting indigenous arts and crafts.

Local conservation group sets sights on ethnic Qiang village in Sichuan

Beijing Today, July 29, 2011

Ethnic Qiang culture is being preserved by the Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center

By Yao Weijie

The Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center (CHP) announced Saturday it will try to protect the cultural heritage of A’er village, focusing on recording its ethnic Qiang culture and villagers’ customs.

After the Wenchuan Earthquake in 2008, A’er, where a large group of Qiang people live, was badly destroyed.

The remote village is located deep in a valley on the Tibetan Plateau near the upper reaches of the Min River. Due to its isolated location, the village has become one of the last major repositories of traditional Qiang culture.

CHP, which is partially funded by the US and Swiss embassies, began a revitalization effort in 2009.

Six volunteers, experts in film and TV, science and law, were chosen online in Beijing.

“The trip to the A’er village was unforgettable,” said Wang Yunxiao, a professor of law at Renmin University and the leader of the group.

Wang led the group in helping A’er villagers one step at a time. They organized a team comprising shibi, who are authoritative intellectuals from Qiang culture, village officials and warm-hearted villagers.

They celebrated the new Qiang calendar year with villagers in heavy snow amid ruins, and eventually won their trust.

In the end, the volunteers helped villagers compile and publish a book about their culture.

Before the earthquake, there were many writers, sociologists and activists who visited A’er to investigate their unique culture. The villagers were getting used to their visits. Gradually, villagers realized they had something unique, said Guo Ping, a volunteer. “But they never told their own stories to the outside world.”

The most recent project tried to get villagers to tell their own stories.

“We tried not to be subjective, but listened to the villagers’ narration,” Guo said. “The villagers are the subjects of this project. Perhaps their words aren’t as polished, their photos not as vivid, their films not perfect, but they presented something that was real and came from the heart.”

“We still have many regrets,” Wang said.

Because villagers were not involved in the fullest possible extent, communication was not always direct and open, she said.

During the project, village volunteers tried to record every aspect of Qiang culture. The older villagers who could not read or write told their stories and were recorded; villagers who were getting married also invited volunteers to record their ceremony.

While the book is complete, volunteers are currently working on editing a documentary to be shown around the country.

Menglian Weaving Revival Project: Second Report

From July 23 to 29, 2011, project leader Lu Lei and Thai advisor, Turdsak Insang, went to Menglian County where the Dai, Lahu, and Wa minority are located. They conducted a six-day assessment of the Menglian Traditional Folk Craft Association.

Lu Lei meets with the Association

Lu Lei meets with the Association

Investigation Purpose 

After ten months of intensive training, members of the Menglian Traditional Folk Craft Association can already design their own patterns, dye fabric, and weave complicated, intricate patterns. To date, they have produced 18 different woven fabrics. In addition to the fabric, there are also stylish scarves. The purpose of this assessment was to:

  • Discuss the price of the fabric
  • Record photographic and film documentation of the weaving process
  • Determine the suppliers of the packaging materials and raw materials
  • Pursue the sustainable development of Menglian hand-woven crafts
The color and craftsmanship have improved

The color and craftsmanship have improved

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Introducing the Menglian weavers

The Association's weavers

About the Menglian Traditional Crafts Association

The Menglian Traditional Crafts Association was officially established in July 2010 under the guidance of the Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center (CHP). The Association’s main office is located at the headquarters of the previous  government authority (now the beautiful Menglian County National History Museum). The original members consisted of seven Na Yun villagers who loved the craft of weaving. In September 2010, the members agreed to take their first training lessons and have since then produced 18 pieces of woven fabric.

Yu Nen

Yu Nen, female, Dai minority, born June 1964. Primary school education, worked on the family farm, has been influenced by her mother since childhood. At the age of 20, she could machine-knit on pattern-free white cloth. Afterwards, she could look at a pattern and weave a beautiful fabric according to it. She is highly skilled and used to design patterns to weave with companions, which displayed her organizational and leadership skills. She now serves as vice-chairman of the Association.

Mi Ye Mao

Mi Ye Mao, female, Dai minority, born June 1964, middle school education, worked on the family farm. At the age of 20, she studied the art of weaving with local weavers. She is very talented and makes beautiful, intricate designs. Her skills have had a sizeable impact on the private weaving sector. As a member of the Dai minority’s Peacock Dance Family, she specializes in the Peacock Dance. She now serves as the secretary-general of the Association.
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