A landmark arts festival launched by the Ministry of Culture has opened at the starting point of the ancient Maritime Silk Road.
The 14th Asia Arts Festival began in Quanzhou, Fujian province, on Nov 8, and will continue through Nov 15. The city, known as Zayton in ancient times, was the world’s biggest seaport during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368).
Delegates and art troupes from 40 countries and regions around the world were represented at the event, which focuses on the traditional art of Asian countries as well as their modern development and legacy.
Quanzhou, China’s hub for traditional marionette performance, will witness 60 performances brought by 25 troupes from China and overseas during the festival. Another planned highlight is a fine art exhibition displaying 250 works of art from 30 countries along the Maritime Silk Road that reflect the local people’s traditional lifestyle.
“The arts festival this year will echo China’s Belt and Road Initiative,” said Huang Weizhou, deputy director of the Fujian Cultural Department, a co-organizer of the event.
“Models of cultural exchanges along the ancient route of the Maritime Silk Road will be explored during the festival, also to stimulate Fujian’s cultural trade in the future.”
An international forum on cross-cultural dialogues among countries along the route will be held during the festival. One hundred scholars, community leaders and officials from 20 Asian countries and regions will exchange ideas at the forum on how to establish a common cultural development in Asia.
“The aspirations of the peoples are vital to the construction of the 21st Century Silk Road. ... We should promote people-to-people cultural exchanges,” said Yang Xiuping, secretary-general of the ASEAN-China Center, an intergovernmental organization promoting cooperation.
Also on Nov 8, a 67-hectare theme park displaying the civilizations of Asian countries along the Maritime Silk Road was opened in Quanzhou to serve as a venue for some events. It will remain open after the festival.
The Asia Arts Festival, which began in 1998 in Beijing, is the first State-level international arts festival approved by the State Council.