Our Programme Foci
Traditional Knowledge and Innovation
Where We Work: Guangxi

The Cultural Guardian—Rediscovering the charm of spinning tops and the culture of making cow horn musical instruments (video)

By He Chun (Staff member of the Ecology Museum at Li Lake in Nandan County, Guangxi)

Over the last few years PCD has been encouraging the Yao township of Nandanlihu in Guangxi to practice sustainable living. An important part of our programme is to support teachers of local schools in carrying out cultural heritage activities. Young people have also been encouraged to form volunteer groups and use video cameras to record all forms of productive activities taking place around them. Collaboration between the cultural heritage class and the volunteer group resulted in this documentary being made on the culture of spinning tops and the production of the cow horn musical instrument.

The award-winning documentary was made in three parts from footage shot by the volunteers. Two parts of the film show how the culture of spinning tops was introduced into the local school and how the volunteers conducted a survey and interviewed local people to learn about making musical instruments from cow horns. The central character of both videos was He Guangbin, a teacher at Huai Li Primary School in the Yao Township of Nandanlihu in Guangxi. Since 2008, he has been doing all he can to educate people on the cultural heritage of the Baiku Yao people. The video records the many forms that his cultural heritage class takes and his thoughts and reflections. It won the award for 'Best Subject Matter' in the Seeing Guangxi Documentary Film Festival in 2013. The film-maker, He Chun, uses documentary as a form to record traditional culture and a means for the young people of Baiku Yao to learn about and to understand their own home villages and the culture of their own people.

Cultural Guardian (The Culture of Spinning Top)

 

Cultural Guardian (The Culture of Making a Musical Instrument from Cow Horn)

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