The year 2016 is coming to an end, and this year has witnessed several major cultural events that impressed us. We have selected the top 10 major cultural events that occurred this year so you can take a look back at 2016.
1. China’s 24 Solar Terms added to UNESCO’s heritage list
China’s 24 Solar Terms were added to UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage on Nov 30 this year.
China’s 24 Solar Terms, considered as the country’s fifth greatest invention, is a knowledge system and social practice formed through observations of the sun’s annual motion, and cognition of the year’s changes in season, climate and phenology.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization announced the addition at the 11th Session of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
2. Highest price of Chinese artwork at auction this year: 663 million yuan
Five Drunken Kings Return on Horses by Ren Renfa, a prominent painter of horses and also a high-ranking official in charge of water controls during the Yuan Dynasty, was sold for 303 million yuan at a Beijing auction on Dec 4.
The 2-meter-long color hand scroll fetched 303 million yuan, claiming the record for the highest paid Chinese artwork at auction this year.
3. Scattering books on subway went viral in big cities
Inspired by British actress and "book fairy" Emma Watson, the Scattering Book project, which advocates leaving books in public spaces for more people to read, went viral nationwide.
Xinshixiang, an influential public account on WeChat launched a Scattering Book project in November in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, with 10,000 books left on subways, airplanes and taxis for sharing.
Each book is marked with the Scattering Book project name and anyone can read the book freely and then pass it on anywhere in the city. There is a QR code inside the book and by scanning the code one can trace the book and see messages left by former readers.
The project was also stirring heated debate. Some have their doubts, wondering if it is just a marketing campaign or whether it will really help people pick up a book.
4. First Chinese woman to win a Hugo Award
Science-fiction author Hao Jingfang became the first Chinese woman to win a Hugo Award, beating best-selling horror and fantasy writer Stephen King in the best novelette category.
The 32-year-old from Tianjin received the prize for Folding Beijing, in which she depicts the Chinese capital as a city divided by social class.
Her win comes a year after Liu Cixin won a Hugo for his novel The Three-Body Problem. He was the first Chinese author to win the prize.
5. Auction of stolen or smuggled relics banned
A new regulation that bans the auction of stolen, smuggled and looted cultural relics reinforces China’s firm stance on preventing the loss of relics and retrieving those that have been illegally transported abroad.
The State Administration of Cultural Relics issued the regulation on Oct 20 on its website, specifying the types of cultural objects that, if originally obtained illegally, cannot appear in sales.
They include all types of artworks dating before 1949, as well as documents and objects of historical importance and works of late modern artists that are restricted by law from exportation.
6. Celebrating the 400th death anniversary of great playwright Tang Xianzu
A series of cultural events were held this year to mark the 400th death anniversary of Tang Xianzu (1550-1616), a celebrated playwright, whom fans call "China’s William Shakespeare".
The Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) playwright from Fuzhou composed more than 2,000 poems and essays, most of which were written during his later years. He is particularly remembered for his four plays - The Peony Pavilion, The Purple Hairpin, Record of the Southern Bough and Record of Handan - collectively known as The Four Dreams of Linchuan.
Since the great English playwright William Shakespeare also died in 1616, a series of events, including seminars, forums and performances were held in the UK and China to honor the two masters this year.
7. Cao Wenxuan wins "Nobel Prize" for children’s books
Children’s literature writer Cao Wenxuan, 62, won the Hans Christian Andersen Award for his work, the International Board on Books for Young People announced at the Bologna International Children’s Book Fair in Italy on April 5.
With this award, Cao became the first Chinese to claim the world-renowned "Nobel Prize for children’s literature".
The award is the highest international recognition given to living authors and illustrators of children’s books for their whole body of work.
8. Latin American fare served all year round
This year marked the cultural exchange year between China and Latin American and Caribbean countries. Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the culture exchange year in July 2014 when he attended the China-Latin America and the Caribbean Summit in Brasilia.
A wide variety of cultural activities to promote Chinese and Latin America culture, advance mutual friendship and understanding, and push forward bilateral cooperation have been held throughout the whole year. These activities offered audiences a closer look at the more colorful aspects of Latin cultures and help forge a deeper understanding between the regions.
9. Identity of Haihun tomb occupant confirmed
The identity of the occupant of the Haihunhou tomb was confirmed in March this year.
Unearthed relics helped to identify that the tomb belonged to Liu He (92 BC-59 BC), who was dethroned after 27 days - the shortest reigning Western Han monarch.
The tomb in Nanchang, the capital of Jiangxi province, is the best-preserved cemetery from the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 24), with the most integrated structure and a distinct layout.
As the excavation of Emperor Liu He’s tomb in the Haihunhou mausoleum was completed, archaeological work on his wife’s tomb is scheduled to start the first half of next year. It is also said that the construction of a museum on the site of Haihunhou tomb will start in June 2017.
10. Great masters that passed away -Peking Opera master Mei Baojiu dies at 82
10. 京剧大师梅葆玖去世 享年82岁
Mei Baojiu, a Peking Opera master, died at the age of 82 on April 25 in Beijing. He had been hospitalized since March 31 after falling into a coma following a bronchial spasm.
Mei Baojiu was the ninth son of Mei Lanfang (1894-1961), who is considered the most outstanding Peking Opera artist of all time and is credited with bringing Peking Opera to the United States and Europe in the 1930s.