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Ningxia intangible cultural heritages

chinadaily.com.cn| Updated : June 24, 2021

Production of Helan inkstone

Production of Helan inkstone has a history of more than 300 years, and involves a series of processes such as material selection, design, engraving, polishing and inscription. Helan stones are naturally brown purple and pea green in color so that the craftsmen make inkstones according to each piece's natural shape, veins and color in order to fully display its beauty with their skills. 


The paper-cutting of the Hui ethnic group is a folk art form with a long tradition. Hui women cut papers into shapes of flowers, birds, fish and other patterns to express their good wishes. For example, chicken imply auspiciousness and the combination of fish and lotus symbolizes fertility and good fortune. Hui paper-cuts rarely use figures or fierce animal images. Paper-cuts are usually pasted on windows, walls, lanterns and are often used in wedding ceremonies.

Lamb fur

Lamb fur is made from the fur of 35-day to 40-day old lambs through more than 50 processes. It is a treasure of Ningxia noted for its strong but pliable texture and outstanding quality. Lamb fur processing is a traditional handicraft of Hui people in Ningxia's Wuzhong city, Yongning county, Qingtongxia city and Yanchi county.

Ningxia folk songs

Ningxia folk songs are enjoyed by Han, Hui and Man ethnic groups in Ningxia. Traditionally, a man stands to sing and another man accompanies him with musical instruments. Ningxia folk songs usually originate from local people's daily life to express their feelings and aesthetic tastes.


Hua'er is a representative Hui ethnic folk song in Ningxia. It is influenced by many folk song styles, which makes it not only bold and wild like folk songs but also smooth and mellow like popular tunes. In 2009, Gansu province, Qinghai province and the Ningxia Hui autonomous region jointly placed Hua’er on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritages of Humanity. 

Brick carving

Guyuan brick carving originated in the Tang and Song dynasties and developed in the Ming and Qing dynasties. It is famous for its distinctive design patterns and the craftsmen's exquisite carving skills. There is Hui ethnic brick carving and Han ethnic brick carving. Hui people carve them to decorate mosques, while Han people make them as ornaments of temples and houses. In Guyuan, bricks are carved in a series of processes and decorated with traditional patterns, and are well-received by Hui and Han people.