Culture is a perfect crystallization of the nature’s power and human wisdom, while intangible cultural heritage is a manifestation of various traditional cultures that are inherited from generation to generation and closely related to production and life.


    Shandong Province of China is home to a large number and rich variety of intangible cultural heritage. As of April 2020, Shandong had eight items inscribed on the UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, over 170 on the national list, some 750 on the provincial-level list, and 3700-plus on the municipal-level list. Moreover, the province boasts 90-plus representative inheritors of intangible cultural heritage at the national level, over 440 at the provincial level and more than 2,200 at the municipal level. In addition, there is one national-level eco-cultural preservation area and ten provincial-level experimental zones for eco-cultural preservation in the province.


Confucius Memorial Ceremony


    The Confucius Memorial Ceremony is a large-scale performance involving music and dance at a temple to worship Confucius in Qufu of Shandong Province, the hometown of Confucius. It’s a comprehensive art performance that integrates music, singing, dancing, and rites. It vividly interprets the meaning of the concepts of “Ren” (benevolence) and “Li” (propriety) in Confucianism, represents the high degree of unity of artistic form and ideological content, and epitomizes the Confucian culture. It is held every year on August 27th of the lunar calendar, the birth date of Confucius. In 2006, it was inscribed on the First Representative List of State-Level Intangible Cultural Heritage in China.


Lv Opera


    Lv Opera originated in Dongying City in the Yellow River Delta in northern Shandong Province and became popular in the entire province of Shandong and in parts of Jiangsu and Anhui provinces. As the most representative local opera in Shandong, Lv Opera had evolved from the Shandong Qinshu, a traditional narrative music which emphasizes a conversational style of singing. The main instruments used in Lv Opera are the zhuiqin (a stringed instrument), dulcimer, sanxian (a three-stringed plucked instrument), and pipa (a 4-stringed Chinese lute), dubbed “the four major pieces for “Lv Opera”. The creation of Lv Opera is based on real life with a rich local flavor. It was included in the Second Representative List of State-Level Intangible Cultural Heritage in China in 2008. The representative plays of Shandong Lv Opera Art Preservation and Inheritance Center (Shandong Lv Opera Theater), such as Sisters Switch Places, Ku Cai Hua (literally bitter vegetable flower), and River Kailing, have been widely acclaimed and popular throughout the country.


Lv Opera “Twin Flower”


Liuzi Opera


    Liuzi Opera, also known as “Xianzi Opera”, is an ancient genre of Chinese opera popular at the junction areas of five provinces, namely Shandong, Jiangsu, Henan, Anhui, and Hebei. It’s named after the representative tune of “Liuzi”. Sharing the same origin with Daxianzi Opera and Luozi Opera, Liuzi Opera is usually performed with the three-stringed instruments that are accompanied by a flute and a sheng (a woodwind instrument). The Liuzi Opera in Wenshang County in Jining City of Shandong Province absorbed the elements of music and tune of “Wenshang Bangzi” (Wooden Clapper Opera) that enriched the tunes of Liuzi Opera. In 2006, it was included in the First Representative List of State-Level Intangible Cultural Heritage in China. The representative plays of Shandong Liuzi Opera Art Preservation and Inheritance Center (Shandong Liuzi Opera Troupe) is the only performing art group of Liuzi Opera plays in China.


Liuzi Opera “Zhang Fei Breaking into the Military Gate”


The Yangjiabu Woodcut New Year Paintings


    The Yangjiabu Woodcut New Year Paintings in Weifang is a type of folk woodblock prints popular in Yangjiabu of Weifang City in Shandong Province. It emerged in the early Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and flourished during the reign of Emperor Jiaqing (1796–1820) in the Qing Dynasty. Along with the New Year Paintings produced in Yangliuqing of Tianjian and in Taohuawu of Suzhou, they constituted the “three major woodcut New Year paintings of China”. By virtue of its rich rustic flavor and distinctive artistic style, it has been a treasure of Chinese folk art. In May 2006, it was inscribed on the list of the First Representative List of State-Level Intangible Cultural Heritage in China released by the State Council.


Dezhou Black Pottery Craft


    Dezhou Black Pottery, as a category of Chinese black pottery, could trace its history back to the Longshan Culture during the Neolithic Age over 4,000 years ago. Back then, Chinese ancestors worshiped the black color and the black egg-shell pottery was used as the supreme sacrificial vessel. Dezhou Black Pottery is a non-glazed pottery that is made from the red clay of Beijing-Hangzhou Canal and shaped by traditional handcraft, carrying the traditional remains of the pottery in the Dawenkou Culture. In 2014, Dezhou black pottery craft was included in the Fourth Extended Representative List of State-level Intangible Cultural Heritage.


Haiyang Yangge (folk dance)


    Haiyang Yangge (folk dance), one of the three Yangge forms in Shandong Province, is a folk art form that integrates music, dance and opera. Haiyang Yangge has been well-known as straightforward, unrestrained, emotional and humorous. It is performed in constantly changing forms and contents. The performance group is mainly composed of a leader, a music band and a character in the play or an opera player. It’s an integral part of the local culture in Haiyang.


Qi Writing Brush in Guangrao


    Qi writing brush is mainly made in Guangrao County of Shandong Province and the craft of making the Qi writing brush originated in the Spring and Autumn Period (770–476 BC) and the Warring States Period (475–221 BC). The process of making the brush, ranging from the selection of material to the finished product, involves 150-plus steps, such as dipping, pulling, combing, and picking. Qi writing brush distinguished itself with four virtues of being “pointy, even, round, and resilient”. The brush tip should be as pointed as an awl and the brush waist or spine should be solid and resilient. While writing, it can be both solid and soft, with the hair on the brush always forming a defined and symmetrical tip. Qi writing brush has a reputation among Chinese painters and calligraphers for being “pointy, round, plump, neatly trimmed, resilient and solid”.


Dongchang Gourd Carving


    Dongchang gourd carving art features a simple and elegant style, a wide range of themes, unique techniques, as well as rich varieties. The content of the Dongchang gourd carving art mainly involves myths and folk customs, carrying implications that are closely related to immortals, wealth, longevity, and prosperity of descendants. Having been invested with cultural significance, it is an integral part of Chinese gourd culture. In June 2008, it was inscribed on the Second Representative List of State-Level Intangible Cultural Heritage in China.



Gaomi Paper-cut


    Gaomi paper-cuts could be seen to adorn windows, doors, walls and ceilings. The boom of the art has been closely associated with the festive customs in rural areas of Gaomi in Shandong Province. The paper could be cut into endless patterns, ranging from flowers, grass, insects, fish, birds, beasts to images of people. In terms of its uses, the paper cutting falls into seven categories for presenting betrothal gifts, giving blessings, dispelling bad omens, eliminating evils, encouragement, and caution. The patterns could be divided into a dozen of categories, such as images of people, birds and beasts, characters, and so on. The contents are largely based on folk legends, myths and opera plays. Gaomi paper-cut is symbolic of Chinese paper cutting, with simple and exaggerated design that is straightforward yet elegant, concise yet elaborate.


Dongming Grain Painting


    Dongming grain painting, also known as “Fu-zi painting”, is a traditional folk craft. It mainly uses the natural colors and shapes of cereal grains after anti-corrosion and insect-proof treatment to artfully paste various auspicious patterns on wooden boards or porcelain plates to pray for a good grain harvest, prosperity for the nation and peace for the people. Such paintings are characterized by bright colors, elaborate skills and indigenous designs, which has won it the reputation of “spiritual food” hanging on the wall.


Shehuo Facial Makeup of Hou Family


    Shehuo, also known as “she-hu (tiger shooting)”, is a kind of folk performance originated from the sacrificial ceremonies in ancient times or the folk festival that involves shrine or image of God. Shehuo facial makeup refers to the face paintings or make-ups for the performers to make them look more like the roles they played. Shehuo facial makeup can exist independently from Shehuo performance. The Hou Family is renowned for making the facial makeup of Emperor Shun, Jiang Taigong and other images that are popular among the people, in line with the development of Shehuo culture and the actual social and historical context.


Gaomi Ash-patting New Year Painting


    Gaomi ash-patting New Year Painting is also known as “folk freehand brush work”. To make such a painting, a rubbing is made from a first draft drawn in charred sallow and delineated by a brush. Next the draft is rubbed on drawing paper, if needed, a rubbing can produce several copies of the drawings. Afterwards the drawing is hand painted and subjected to several other procedures. Over the years, Gaomi ash-patting New Year painting has absorbed various elements and styles from other types of paintings, while preserving the traditional techniques of Chinese folk paintings.


Chinese Knotting Art in Ji’nan


    Chinese knot is a folk hand-knotting art in China. The Chinese knots in Ji’nan can be roughly divided into three categories—the knot in basic patterns, varied patterns and combined patterns. Apart from the elementary knotting skills for basic patterns, there are some commonly-used techniques that can be summarized as basic techniques and combined techniques. To design beautiful and elegant knots for decoration, you also need to inject your own artistic ideas and strong feelings into it, so as to fully display the beauty of traditional Chinese art.


Laomao Festive Lantern


    The craft of Laomao (literally meaning “old cat”) dated back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The traditional Laomao festive lanterns cover varied themes, mostly flowers, birds and auspicious animals, which conveys good wishes. To make such a lantern, you need to make a frame with bamboo or iron wire first, before proceeding to cover the frame with colored paper, thin silk, paper-cuts, or paintings. In short, the lanterns are beautifully shaped, featuring bright colors, vivid designs and exquisite appearance.


Liu Family’s Puppets for Shadow Play


    Liu Family’s puppets for shadow play, a form of Chinese folk art, features the bright colors that produce a strike contrast, such as red, green, yellow, blue, purple, black, white, gold, and silver colors from pollution-free vegetable dyes. The making of puppets involves multiple elaborate skills, such as sewing, embroidery, pasting, and hand painting. They are usually decorated with the Chinese characters of “fu” (blessings) and “shou” (longevity), or images of butterfly, gold ingot, ruyi (an S-shaped ornamental object), or other auspicious symbols, integrating carving, paper-cutting and painting.




    Silhouette is a form of paper-cutting art that uses scissors and black paper (or dark-colored paper) to portrait the profile of people, animals or other objects. It requires keen observation, fertile imagination, exceptional ability to imitate, and accurate judgment. To make a silhouette, there is no need for a copy or a painting brush. The artist only needs to have a look at the figure and will have all the features inscribed in his mind. Then, with a pair of scissors and non-stop cut, a silhouette with clearly outlined brows, eyes, nose and mouth will show vividly in front of you. Such a beautifully figured work full of life only takes some 20 seconds to produce.


Sugar Painting


    Sugar painting is an art to paint with the liquid sugar that is made with traditional techniques from quality crystal sugar and honey. There are two types of sugar paintings: two-dimensional and three-dimensional. The subjects of sugar paintings involve characters from novels or opera plays, auspicious flowers, fruits, birds and animals, or Chinese characters, among which the ones in the images of people and animals are the most amusing. It could be appreciated as an art work or taken as a snack. Most kids and teenagers have been a fan of the sugar painting which is also a traditional craft for festivals like temple fairs and Spring Festival.


Niejiazhuang clay sculpture

    聂家庄泥塑起源于明万历年间,至今已有400余年的历史,本是焰火的附属品,称为“锅子花”。聂家庄泥塑题材宽泛,以泥娃娃、叫虎、叫鸡、摇猴等为主,与扑灰年画、高密剪纸同称为“高密三绝”。 2008年6月,被国务院公布为第二批国家级非物质文化遗产代表性项目。

    The craft of Niejiazhuang clay sculpture emerged during the reign of Emperor Wanli in the Ming Dynasty, with a history of 400-plus years. Originally as an accessory of fireworks, it is dubbed “pot flower”. There is an extensive range of subjects for the figurines, mostly dolls, tiger, chicken, and monkey. Along with ash-patting New Year painting and paper-cut, they were branded the “three most distinguished folk arts in Gaomi”. In June 2008, it was inscribed on the Second Representative List of State-Level Intangible Cultural Heritage in China released by the State Council.


Penglai noodles


    Penglai noodle is a traditional local delicacy dating back to almost 200 years. It is made from a variety of ingredients, exquisite materials, and complex procedures. It is characterized by limited ration, slim noodles and delicious soup. The making of noodles goes through three core procedures, namely kneading dough, making dough to strips, and turning strips to noodles. The thick gravy was made after making the soup base, cooking fish (wild snapper) and others procedures. Put the cooled cooked noodles into the bowl and then pour the thick gravy. Then, you can enjoy the Penglai noodle.


Jiaodong Hua-Bobo


    Jiaodong Hua-bobo, literally flour flower, refers to flower-shaped steamed buns. It is made from the flour with tools like knife, scissors and pen. It is a folk art of life to convey feelings, celebrate harvest and festivals, pray for longevity, and serve one’s own purpose. In terms of function, Jiaodong Hua-bobo could be divided into two categories. One is for exhibit and collection, usually made from refined flour, salt, preservatives and honey. The other is edible food.


Lion Dance


    Lion dance is a unique art of the Chinese nation. The key of lion dance is to show both the body and the spirit of the lion and stimulate the imagination of the audience. The art could be traced back to the Eastern Han Dynasty. The Oriental Lion Dance in Dongming County falls under the category of “North Lion Dance”. It is usually performed by two or more “lions”, presenting a strong, powerful, free, and distinct style.


Traditional Printing and Dyeing Techniques for Printed Fabric


    The printed fabric in Linyi of Shandong Province is of primitive simplicity and bright-colored, mainly in red, emerald green, pink, purple, yellow, among others. There are seven types of red color, eight types of green color and twelve types of blue color. The local people usually describe the brilliant colors as goose yellow (light yellow), duck green, cockscomb purple, egret white, crow cyan, and crane-heading red. The printed fabric largely features peony, phoenix, lotus, and others that carry the implications of prosperity and longevity. The printed fabric is unique, lively, bright-colored, and primitively simple.


Weifang Kite Craft


    Weifang kite was born in Yangjiabu Village in the early Ming Dynasty. At that time, the villagers made kites by applying the engraving technique for woodcut New Year paintings and drawing various patterns with the paper and dyestuff for the New Year paintings. It is easy to make the frame of the kite, requiring three to seven bamboo strips. The key is that the strips must be evenly shaped, so that the frame could be upright and symmetrical. Then, tie a string to the center of the frame. The kite looks simple and rich-colored, producing a striking contrast. Weifang kites are known for smooth takeoff and flying high.


Yantai Paper-cut


    Yantai paper-cut features the use of single-color paper, painted and dyed paper, paper of mixed colors, and the colored paper beneath single-color paper. Yantai paper-cut is characterized by clear outline, vivid images, striking contrast, and the outstanding use of exquisite lines to enrich the layers of the colors. Judging from the famous paper-cuts about music in Taoism in the Ming Dynasty, the “Shield Dance” and “Sword Dance” in the drill ground of General Qi Jiguang, and the Nanyin Music (southern music) in the mid-Ming Dynasty, Yantai paper-cut has a long history. As a unique genre of Chinese paper-cutting art, this prestigious art has been of profound significance in history and practice.


Binzhou Paper-cut


    Binzhou paper-cut is widely distributed in the vast rural market towns along the Yellow River and Tuhai River basins. It features rich local characteristics and rustic flavors, covering a wide range of themes, such as opera characters, mythological stories, birds, beasts, insects, and fish. Sometimes, it also gives a glimpse into the lives of working people and local folklore activities. Binzhou paper-cut is known for its rough outlines, simple and clear interiors, giving a sense of wholeness.


Ji’nan Shadow Play


    Ji’nan shadow play is a branch of Chinese shadow play. It involves two performers, one rapper who also controls the puppet characters, and the other is for accompaniment. In the past, the leather puppet was merely 20cm in height. Over time, it is increased to 50cm or even one meter, and it began to have colors. The small screen has also been expanded to the size of 2 meters high and 4 meters wide. The shadow show gradually absorbed the tunes of operas like Wuyin Opera, Xihe Dagu (a folk art form in Hebei), Shandong Qinshu and others, producing a pleasant sound. The shadow players possess remarkable skills to control multiple puppets simultaneously, give impromptu performance, switch between voice and falsetto, and play different instruments.