Village making a name for itself in couplets
Using Chinese couplets as a household decoration and writing and appreciating them has become a tradition in Huangqiao Village, Maogang Town of Songjiang District.
The art form, a treasured cultural heritage in China, uses a brief format, refined words, neat antithesis and balanced tone pattern to express thoughts. It was listed among the first batch of China’s intangible cultural heritage items in 2006.
Xu Feng, chief of the Shanghai Chinese Couplet Association, has been an active promoter for Huangqiao Village’s couplet culture. Villagers began to cultivate Huangqiao’s couplet culture in 2004, according to Xu.
Xu Jilin, a retired teacher and resident of Huangqiao, founded the first Chinese couplet salon in the village at that time. The salon expanded from the initial seven or eight people to the later more than 30 people. Themes of the couplets the members created for various exhibitions range from legal construction, traditional festivals, new rural construction to the World Expo, the Olympic Games and incorruptible governance.
The work of several village members was published in the journal of the China Couplet Association and selected as annual best couplets.
In 2011, Huangqiao Village was honored as Shanghai’s No. 1 Chinese Couplet Village by the association.
“Though Chinese couplet is a niche art form, practice of it can be easily carried out and the art form is highly educational,” said Xu Feng.
Lu Jun, chief of Songjiang Federation of Literary and Art Circles, suggested the village to further launch Chinese couplet festivals, cooperate with playwrights and photographers to promote the art form and compile history books and textbooks about couplets.