From October 14 to 16, the 15th China Jiangbei Watertown and Pearl of Two Rivers (Liaocheng) Gourd Culture Art Festival was held in Chinese Gourd Cultural Park in Dongchangfu District of Liaocheng. The event saw the participation of dozens of acclaimed artists and craftsmen, scholars from universities and enterprises, as well as over 5,000 gourd merchants from 17 provinces across China.
This year's art festival, themed "Inviting People Everywhere to Talk on the Bond with Gourd", featured a series of exciting activities and events. They included Chinese Gourd Craft Competition, Chinese Boutique Gourd Products Exhibition, an exhibition of entries in Chinese Gourd Craft Competition, an exhibition of entries in Gourd Cultural Creativity Competition, a hundred-meter-long scroll painting of gourd created by teenagers, a visit to the gourd growing base, Summit Forum on Gourd Industry, an auction of gourd boutique products, the inauguration ceremony of Chinese Gourd Culture Institute, the release of the Hai'er Cosmosplat online platform for gourd industry, the promotion of culture and tourism projects in Liaocheng and gourd trade negotiations, according to News Office of Dongchangfu District of Liaocheng.
This year's art festival also featured a Chinese Gourd Craft Competition and Gourd Cultural Creativity Competition. The festival received a total of 88 entries, showcasing a rich variety of styles and innovative ideas. Among them, five pieces of works by Ma Jianghong such as Flying Apsaras won a gold prize in the Chinese Gourd Craft Competition; Monk Sibu by Hong Fulu and Gourd Made Aromatherapy Device of Qiantang by Ming Jinzhong and Xie Yuchen won a gold prize in the Chinese Gourd Cultural Creativity Competition.
In 2008, Dongchang gourd carving was officially recognized as a national intangible cultural heritage. The Dongchangfu District was designated as the epicenter of gourd carving culture and art in China. Its gourd sales accounted for 75% of the national market share, generating an annual benefit of 1.6 billion yuan. The clustering effect of the gourd trade, known as "buying and selling gourds across the world", has become increasingly prominent. China (Liaocheng) Gourd Culture and Art Festival was initiated in 2007 and has been held for 14 consecutive years. From its beginnings with around 60 exhibitors, it has bloomed into a event featuring over 5,000 participants. Its geographical influence has expanded from four neighboring provinces and municipalities to nationwide. The festival's turnover has grown from 6 million yuan to 120 million yuan. It has become an iconic cultural and tourism industry brand in Liaocheng and a vital platform for gourd culture exchange in China.
Source: News Office of Dongchangfu District of Liaocheng