The first encyclopedia of Chinese intangible cultural heritage was unveiled on June 12, a day before the national Cultural Heritage Day, which was established a decade ago to raise awareness on efforts to safeguard the country's traditions.
Compiled and edited by top government think tank Chinese Academy of Social Science and the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles, the encyclopedia has three volumes on the various cultural heritages, their bearers and three oral epics, with each volume made of one million words.
Tibetan epic Gesar, Mongolian epic Jangar and Kyrgyz epic Manas are the three included in the encyclopedia.
The volume of representative projects consist of 1,219 intangible heritage entries ranging from folklore, traditional music, dance, opera to Chinese medicine. And the last volume is a comprehensive archive of the bearers of the heritages, comprising brief introduction to some 1,986 practitioners with their biographies.
"Since the beginning of this century, ... China has taken the initiative to survey, protect and promote the cultural heritages of the country," Feng Jicai, the chief editor of the encyclopedia, told reporters in Beijing at the launch. "The publishing of the encyclopedia is one of the several efforts being made to identify elements associated with the roots of our civilization."
According to China Federation of Literary and Art Circles Publishing House, editing work for a second encyclopedia has already begun, and the future edition will likely focus on folklore literature.