Across China: From masterpiece to marketplace, creative museum souvenirs go viral among Chinese youth-华龙网

Across China: From masterpiece to marketplace, creative museum souvenirs go viral among Chinese youth

2024-03-26 15:49:03 听新闻

SHENYANG, March 24 (Xinhua) -- Holding a butterfly in her right hand and lifting the robe with her left, the elegant court lady with a floral hairpin depicted by renowned painter Zhou Fang from the Tang Dynasty (618-907) remains impressive and resplendent even after a millennium.

From fanciful coiffures and flawless complexions to luxurious silk dresses, the outfits from a thousand years ago continue to captivate China's contemporary fashion scene with their lavish incorporation of floral motifs.

For the young generation of museum-goers and fashion lovers, museum souvenir stores across China offer them a chance to immerse themselves in the dreamscape depicted in the masterpieces of ancient artists.

The adornments featured in many ancient masterpieces, including Zhou's "Court Ladies Wearing Flowered Headdresses," have transcended the canvas and materialized into reality through distinctive cultural products, captivating visitors with exquisite designs and rich symbolism.

At the Liaoning Provincial Museum in northeast China, where the masterpiece is on display, a perpetual queue is often seen in front of the souvenir store. The limited "Flowered Headdresses" series, featuring butterfly-shaped rings, bracelets and earrings embellished with preserved flowers and various natural stones, always sells out within an hour.

"This ring, shaped like a butterfly on the outside, encases real flowers inside. When worn, it evokes the feeling of being the court lady holding the butterfly depicted in the painting. It's so beautiful," said Wang Rui with visible excitement. Wang hails from south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, thousands of km away from Liaoning. She managed to purchase the coveted handcrafted accessories after patiently waiting in line.

Dong Baohou, deputy curator of the Liaoning Provincial Museum, said that in recent years, the authorization of cultural products and multi-format cooperation have flourished, ushering the cultural industry into a new era. The trend for cultural products meets both fashion interests and cultural connotations, aligning perfectly with the consumption preferences of today's youth.

Since 2023, the museum has established a specialized cultural product development team, dedicating six months to crafting nearly 300 new cultural items. Starting from basics like tapes and bookmarks to expanding into home decor, clothing, cosmetics and skincare products, the museum's cultural product sales soared to 14 million yuan (about 1.97 million U.S. dollars) in 2023.

Gansu Provincial Museum in northwest China serves as another fine example of this fashion trend.

Inspired by the museum's iconic bronze sculpture, "Galloping Horse Treading on a Flying Swallow," a cartoon plush toy gained online popularity. The toy depicts a green, fluffy horse playfully trampling on a slightly helpless swallow, resembling a humorous emoji.

Yu Mingxia, a researcher at the Shenyang Palace Museum, said the significance of cultural products lies in helping people understand the stories behind cultural relics. By recreating some cultural elements, the creative cultural products can reach a wider audience, conveying the stories behind the cultural relics.

"Only those products deeply grounded in Chinese history and culture can endure the test of time, imbuing them with a distinctive vitality that bridges the ancient and modern eras, thereby, safeguarding our cultural heritage," Yu added.

Looking ahead, the market for the museum's creative cultural products is expected to continue expanding in the foreseeable future.

In January, China's National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic planner, identified several emerging areas of consumption growth, notably highlighting "China-chic" products.