CANGZHOU, China, Jan. 26, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — An exhibition hall featuring China’s Grand Canal has been in full swing and is expected to open this year, announced the Cangzhou city government. The Grand Canal carries not only produce and raw materials in Cangzhou but also acrobatics and martial arts in this city of the country’s north Hebei Province.Cangzhou City is historically renowned for both its martial arts practitioners and acrobats. The tradition of practicing martial arts in Cangzhou dates back to the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC – 476 BC). It rose in popularity during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and was renowned at home and abroad by the end of the Qing Dynasty (1645-1911).
A Grand Canal carries half of Chinese history. The Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, a prestigious cultural heritage, was excavated over 2,500 years ago and ran through the ancient Chinese civilization.
Cangzhou, a coastal town endowed with both the Grand Canal and the Bohai sea, is a stronghold of South-North China, and the vicinity of the national capital. Its particular geographical location, the multi-ethnic settlement, the promotion of imperial civil examination, and many other historical factors have made Cangzhou a hot land of martial arts.
The Annals of Cangzhou show that about 1,937 Martial Scholars and Martial Jurors in the Ming and Qing Dynasties came from Cangzhou, with 53 martial arts or independent boxing types originating or spreading here, accounting for 40 percent of China’s 129 martial arts and boxing types. Cangzhou was officially named among the country’s first batch of the “hometown of martial arts” in 1992. The State Council listed Cangzhou Martial Arts in the first national intangible cultural heritage batch in 2006.
Nearly two million people, or nearly 26 percent of Cangzhou’s population, practice martial arts, which go beyond simple fitness and competition and have become essential in exploring the history and preserving Chinese traditional culture.
In addition to Martial Arts, Wuqiao Acrobatics has given new life and vitality to Cangzhou’s cultural inheritance. The Ministry of Culture officially awarded Wuqiao as “the hometown of acrobatics in China” in 2004. The State Council listed Wuqiao Acrobatics in the first national intangible cultural heritage batch in 2006.
China Wuqiao International Acrobatic Festival, an iconic event with more than 30 years of history, is also known as one of the “three major acrobatic venues in the world,” together with the acrobatic festivals of Monte-Carlo and Paris. Wuqiao Acrobatic World is the world’s leading acrobatic theme park, a national AAAA-level and unique acrobatic tourist attraction.
Since the reopening of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal in Cangzhou in September 2022, the Grand Canal culture has been revived. Cangzhou will continue to construct the Grand Canal Cultural Belt as the guide, focusing on acrobatics, martial arts, and other special intangible cultural heritage projects, promoting the systematic protection and inheritance of intangible cultural heritage and striving to create a new business card of “China’s Grand Canal Intangible Cultural Heritage City”.
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