International reporters impressed by Jiangsu Province culture

By Uaueza Kanguatjivi (in Wuxi, China)

On March 21, a group of 33 foreign journalists hailing from 32 developing nations including Namibia, Cape Verde, Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea embarked on a captivating 6-day journey through Jiangsu Province.

The journalist immersed themselves in its rich cultural tapestry and discovered Yixing rich Heritage in the heart of Wuxi.

Yixing, a county-level city, is well-known for its excellent tea pots made of Yixing clay ware, as well as for its modern architecture set against the vibrant backdrop of Wuxi. Additional notable features include the Yangtze River Delta.

Their itinerary promised a diverse collection of experiences, from educational insights at the Yixing Dingshu Adult and Culture Technology School to thrilling adventures in the Yixing Longchi Mountain Bike Park and serene moments at the Yixing Internet Famous Tea Garden.

The journalists dug into the core of educational innovation at the Yixing Dingshu Adult and Culture Technology School. Here, they witnessed first-hand the fusion of traditional craftsmanship with modern pedagogy, gaining insights into Jiangsu’s commitment to lifelong learning and cultural preservation.

The group then, embarked on an exhilarating journey through nature at the Yixing Longchi Mountain Bike Park. With lush greenery as their backdrop, they traversed scenic trails, embraced the serenity of rural life, and indulged in the thrill of outdoor exploration, discovering the perfect blend of eco-tourism and recreational activities.

Moreover, the journalists entered a world of peace and tradition at the Yixing Internet Famous Tea Garden. Comparing the drive in humour to an African safari. Situated amongst rising and falling hills and lush tea farms, they experienced the spirit of Chinese tea culture through tastings, talks, sunsets and quiet times of reflection.

They explored historical locations, sampled delectable cuisine at the Purple Clay Hotel, Taodou Peninsula Hotel, and Yixing Grand Hotel, and took in the lively towns of Wuxi as they dug deeper into Jiangsu’s cultural treasures.

Every encounter provided a window into the vibrant culture and rich history of the province, permanently influencing their introspective thoughts offering a blend of tradition.

Discovering the Ancient Dragon Kiln

In the serene village of Qianshu, Dingshu Town, Yixing City, lies the Qianshu Ancient Dragon Kiln, an architectural marvel steeped in over 1000 years of history.

As one of the few remaining dragon kilns in existence, it offers visitors a glimpse into the ancient art of ceramic craftsmanship and the timeless beauty of Yixing’s cultural heritage.

Here the journalist got the task of stacking firewood inside the Ancient Dragon Kiln, an amazing structure that resembles a magnificent Chinese dragon. Built with earth and ceramic bricks, this one-of-a-kind kiln was an astonishing 30-70 meters long and 1.6-2 meters high.

The oven was divided into three sections: the head, the main body, and the bottom. The trunk-arched tunnel shape of the kiln represented centuries of skill and tradition. With firewood and pine branches for fuel, this historic kiln was sure to light journalists’ imaginations in addition to igniting flames.

The Qianshu Ancient Dragon Kiln, which dates to the Ming Dynasty, is a monument to the inventiveness and skill of earlier generations.

It is a live example of Yixing’s rich pottery heritage, stretching up to 70 meters in length and like a majestic dragon flowing over the natural hillside.

Among the products that emerge from the Qianshu Ancient Dragon Kiln are Yixing sand-fired teapots, which are renowned for their distinctive texture and timeless appeal.

Yixing’s ceramic tradition provided the journalist with a window into the spirit of Chinese handcraft through the flickering embers and the intricate designs of sand-fired teapots.

Ceramic Art Inspired by Poetry,Pottery Transformed

The journalist also, took a deep dive into the heart of China’s pottery capital dreamland pottery mansion the Yixing Dingshu Adult Culture and Technology School which nurtures ceramic artistry and community education.

Established in 1984 under the visionary leadership of the Dingshu Town Party Committee and the Municipal Education Bureau, this institution has flourished into a hub of learning, creativity, and cultural enrichment.

The school is spread across 60 acres with a construction area exceeding 11,000 square meters, the school embodies a commitment to excellence in ceramic craftsmanship.

With an investment surpassing ¥80 million, it boasts a formidable team of 18 full-time managers and teachers, 24 staff members, and 96 full-time professors. Drawing on the expertise of over 200 seasoned ceramic artisans, the school offers comprehensive training programs and immersive experiences, attracting enthusiasts and industry professionals alike.

Under the guiding principle of “edification,” the school’s curriculum is industry-driven and linked with market forces. The school endeavours to incorporate the essence of Ding Shu’s ceramic past into its educational endeavours, acknowledging its role in conserving antiquated pottery practices while helping rural populations.

A teacher at the Pottery Capital Dreamland Pottery Mansion tells the Journalist that some of the pieces seen here drive their meaning from the poetry Tao Du Dream, Tao Ren Yeufu and reinterprets the pieces into pottery pieces

The school has gained recognition throughout time as a leader in community involvement and ceramic education. It has led programs ranging from academic qualification development classes to technical skills enhancement training for industrial personnel, collaborating with prestigious institutions like Tsinghua University and the China Academy of Art.

Noteworthy accolades include being named a Jiangsu Province Ceramic Art Training Base and a National Lifelong Learning Brand Project, underscoring its role in shaping China’s cultural landscape.

In addition to its academic endeavours, the school serves as a centre for cross-cultural learning and lifetime learning. It gave foreign journalists the chance to hone their craft, preserve Chinese culture, and observe the transformative force of cultural heritage while allowing them to peek into the rich tapestry of Yixing’s cultural tradition through the opportunity to create their own purple clay beautifications.

Cape Verdean journalist João Crisante de Pina of Radio Televisão de Cabo Verde claims his visit to Yixing Dingshu Adult Culture and Technology School gave him a unique perspective on China’s adult education system.

“It’s importance in the socioeconomic context in the city of Yixing. I got to know Chinese art better and had the opportunity to experiment. This visit made me draw a parallel between cups and buckets in the traditional Chinese way with Cape Verdean pottery, which, unlike Chinese pottery, does not have the status of art,” de Pina said.


Yixing Longchi Mountain Bike Park

The Journalist also went to Yixing Longchi Mountain Bike, where cycling adventures and green living collide. Situated in Zhangzhu Town, Yixing City, the Yixing Longchi Mountain Bike Park epitomizes eco-friendly lifestyle and rural tourism.

The mountain bike park provides a tranquil haven for anyone looking to combine cycling, scenic views, and cultural immersion. It was designed with sustainability and natural integration in mind.

With a commitment to promoting a low-carbon lifestyle and embracing the charm of slow-paced living, the park leverages the abundant ecological treasures of Yixing.

A paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers, the park utilizes resources from the agriculture sector and premium ecological tourism to create a lush, verdant Jiangsu Longchi Mountain Nature Reserve, Yangxian Tea Industrial Park, and the enormous Yixing National Forest Park.

The park, a bicycle path spanning 17.6 kilometres lays travel routes captivated journalist with its scenic beauty and recreational offerings.

There are lots of places to explore and have fun along the route, which goes by plazas, mountain hiking paths, fitness trails, and camping locations. With an impressive annual visitor count of 400,000, the Yixing Longchi Mountain Bike Park stands as a testament to its popularity and appeal.

Following a visit to Yangxian Tea Industrial Park, Sierra Leone Broadcasting Cooperation (SLBC) Joseph Kargbo “It was a great experience for me as for African journalist it is good to explore and to know places. It was also my fir time experiencing green tea. Which gave me an opportunity to know about green tea how it works in or bodies as well as its properties how it is produced.

“Africa needs to tap into such opportunities and ensure that they have the green tea in their countries. First and foremost. It is not just about visiting the place but also to know the importance of the green tea.

It is an eye sore for African journalist more especially to be Sierra Leone to be specific. The place is beautiful and good how I wish Africa will be able to learn from China,” Kargbo said.

Their experiences improved the journalist’s understanding of China’s cultural context and produced lasting memories and relationships that would linger long after they left Wuxi.