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Ethnic Oroqen keeps traditional crafts alive

06-22-2013 18:55 BJT

By CCTV reporter Ning Hong

There is an endangered handicraft in northern China’s Greater Khingan Mountains. The ethnic Oroqen people have been using birch bark to make everything from boxes to boats throughout their nomadic history.

It is a tradition in danger of being lost. The birch bark craft used to play an important role in the Oroqen people’s daily lives. Now Bai Sulanis just one of the few clinging to the practice.

The ethnic Oroqen people have been using birch bark to make everything from
boxes to boats throughout their nomadic history.

Bai Sulan, Birch Bark Craft Maker, said, "We Oroqen loved to use home-made birch bark containers. They are light and durable. We made all kinds of containers to store food and water using birch barks. "

Ning Hong, Tuohe, Oroqen Autonomous Banner, said, "To protect the environment, the local forestry bureau began limiting the use of birch bark. And so with supplies dwindling, people have begun looking at other ways of maintaining this traditional craft. "

He Lei runs a souvenir shop in Alihe County. He collects Oroqen crafts from one of the five villages they inhabit in Oroqen Autonomous Banner, located in Inner Mongolia. He expects the area’s developing tourism will bring him more customers and more interest in the craft.

He Lei, Souvenir Shop Owner, said, "Not a lot Oroqen people know how to make these handicrafts now, many are unwilling to learn as well. But as the economy develops here, people from other ethnic groups may find it profitable and join the business. The government is investing in tourism, and if the tourism here gets better, I think the market demand will grow and so will the number of producers."

For Oroqen people, making birch bark products for daily use is fading into history. However, the craft’s value as a reminder of their ethnic tradition and nomadic roots could still grow beyond these mountains.

The ethnic Oroqen people have been using birch bark to make
everything from boxes to boats throughout their nomadic history.

The ethnic Oroqen people have been using birch bark to make
everything from boxes to boats throughout their nomadic history.

The ethnic Oroqen people have been using birch bark to make everything from
boxes to boats throughout their nomadic history.

The ethnic Oroqen people have been using birch bark to make
everything from boxes to boats throughout their nomadic history.

 

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Editor:James |Source: CCTV.com

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