China traditional arts and crafts can be described as a brilliant flower in the garden of Chinese excellent traditional culture. Among them, traditional handicraft is the most intuitive memory symbol of human civilization inheritance. On the one hand, it provides the material basis for human beings to live and develop, on the other hand, it is regarded as the link and presentation way of human spiritual connection and emotional communication. "Applying arts according to materials, making tools still in use, endowing things with affection and maintaining customs" has become the core connotation of traditional handicraft skills.
When the world enters the post-industrial era, the practical functions of the traditional handicraft production and living materials and tools are gradually stripped off, replaced by the constant amplification and prominence of their aesthetic value, cultural value, emotional value and social value, and there has been a shift from the technical field characterized by material to romanticism and naturalism characterized by spirit, and "handcrafting" is being reshaped into a cultural landscape of "returning to the world of daily life". However, in this idealized process of "remolding" and "rebuilding", we should also be alert to how traditional handicraft skills are not misused or abused in the market-oriented commercialization trend, so as to avoid the nihilistic commodity culture premium and the consumer’s resistance.
The mother-of-pearl lacquer box used by Xie Fuchun for duck egg powder adopts Yangzhou lacquer flat grinding mother-of-pearl technology.
The pursuit of personalized consumption turns the traditional craft into a new life.
UNESCO’s Convention for the Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage has been promulgated for 21 years, in which traditional crafts are one of the important components of the five major fields of human intangible cultural heritage. In China, there are 629 national-level intangible cultural heritage projects, covering sculpture, textile dyeing and embroidery, clothing production, catering and food, building construction, furniture study, plant cultivation, restoration techniques and many other aspects.
Mechanical production in the industrial age is increasingly showing a variety of negative directions, such as poor quality due to profit-seeking mass production, over-assimilation of world products dissolving regional characteristics, being dominated by machinery, lack of creativity, loss of craftsmen and traditional skills, and so on. In the social context of social transformation and consumption upgrading, the stereotyped packaging of industrial products is flooding the market. At the same time, under the tension of machine aesthetics and handicraft aesthetics, China people’s aesthetic consumption is also at the node of rapid transformation.
As Japanese folk artist Liu Zongyue said, "The difference between hand and machine is that hand is connected with heart, while machine is unintentional. Handicraft can induce miracles because it is not only a simple manual labor, but a creation of the mind, and it gives labor happiness. The reason why handicrafts can induce miracles is because of the intentional control behind it and the beautiful characteristics of objects through both hands. " In Division: Social Criticism on Taste Judgment, Bourdieu, a French sociologist, made a sociological investigation and analysis on the cultural consumption of social strata in the fields of taste, habitude, cultural capital and life style, and thought that consumers could establish their unique status and sense of identity through certain cultural symbols.
Today, personalized and customized consumption has become a new consumption trend, while traditional handicrafts, which are not familiar to the public, naturally have the consumption symbol of "cultural scarcity" and become the first choice for consumers to "personalize" in their self-concept to strengthen the construction of self-cultural identity. When this kind of "personalized public claim" resonates with the consumer’s self-concept, it will become the best expression of aesthetics, interest and hobbies, which will produce the charm of labeling and realize the individualized difference.
The productive protection of intangible cultural heritage is an effective way to return intangible cultural heritage to the daily life of contemporary people on the basis of satisfying people’s needs of practicality, aesthetics and standardization. Paying attention to the close combination of traditional crafts and contemporary life, enriching the themes and product varieties of traditional crafts, improving the level of craft design and production, improving the quality of craft products, cultivating China craftsmen and famous brands, and promoting the new and extensive application of traditional crafts in contemporary life are all regarded as important manifestations of in-depth implementation of China’s traditional craft revitalization plan.
In recent years, in the continuous updating and iteration of domestic brands and time-honored brands, traditional crafts have become the main fashion trend of their packaging design, and this high-frequency appearance of cross-border cooperation has become a new position for brands and intangible assets to join hands.
All kinds of time-honored brands have many creative designs that are integrated with traditional handicrafts such as mother-of-pearl, lacquerware, silk reeling, Song Jin, bamboo weaving, ceramics and gold and silver fine work. For example, the mother-of-pearl lacquer box selected by Xie Fuchun for duck egg powder adopts Yangzhou lacquer flat grinding mother-of-pearl technology, and the fancy pattern on the lacquer box cover is made of natural shells. The top cover of shanghai jahwa’s herborist Huanji series products adopts the traditional filigree inlay technique, and reproduces the pattern of hundred grass flowers and the traditional ruyi moire; Another example is the packaging of Biluochun tea and Guojiao series wines, which adopts the traditional reeling skills that enjoy the reputation of "one inch of reeling silk and one inch of gold" and so on. In addition to high-end complicated skills, the extensive use of natural materials such as bamboo, wood, grass, cotton, lacquer, metal and ceramics, coupled with a new interpretation of the cultural meaning of traditional decorative patterns in the context of the times, has added profound cultural added value to the brand image of domestic products in the new era.
The time-honored brand of domestic products, which has been passed down for hundreds of years, is the representative of "Seiko". Coupled with the unique scarcity characteristics of traditional manual work, natural materials and memories of the times, it has formed a specific style of cultural consumer goods, providing a consumption experience different from that of industrial packaging disposable quick-throwing materials. Cross-border design cooperation between domestic brands and handicrafts, both of which draw cultural essence from history, will lead mass consumption with a brand-new attitude, show unique aesthetic taste and wisdom, and at the same time reflect the soul of intangible elements design, achieving a high degree of unity of form and connotation, which is an effective way of cooperation to achieve a win-win situation.
From these cases, it is not difficult to get a glimpse of consumers’ tendency to be knowledgeable, personalized and culturally diversified in the context of the simultaneous development of material culture and spiritual culture. Compared with the exclusive trend of western modern design in the past, handicrafts are more widely used in the packaging design of modern products, which is precisely due to the constant examination and reflection on "the use of utensils" and "the way of utensils", the expression and prominence of national cultural self-confidence, and a positive and forward-looking recognition of the survival value and development ability of national excellent traditional culture.
Herborist’s top cover of rejuvenation series products adopts traditional filigree inlay technology.
Don’t let commercial value steal the limelight of social utility and cultural value.
Young and innovative old brands, creative cross-border marketing through the "fan economy" of young brands, and customized cross-border products with the appeal of young groups can establish emotional connection with young audiences, form a more overall and comprehensive brand impression, and promote a win-win situation. At the same time, however, we should also be alert to the fact that some new brands are eager to establish market influence, and make use of the current hot spots of public opinion to make gimmicks, instead of really paying attention to the values behind the intangible skills, the craftsman spirit, and the social utility and cultural functions of the traditional skills, which will inevitably lead to the emotional resistance of consumers, resulting in negative communication and public misunderstanding of this intangible skill. For example, recently, there have been numerous non-legacy cross-border cooperation in e-commerce platforms and live broadcasts, involving beauty, clothing, food, daily necessities, agricultural and sideline products and even tourism products. It is ridiculous to apply the non-legacy logo stiffly and steal the concept of non-legacy.
From industrial packaging to manual advanced customization of traditional crafts, the transformation of consumption concept needs some knowledge guidance and cultivation. More traditional crafts are applied to product packaging design, which enables us to deeply understand the time and effort spent in each process of traditional crafts, and understand the philosophical thinking of "the beauty of oriental handiwork" after several generations of craftsmen’s painstaking efforts and their history. On the basis of the development of life aesthetic education, traditional craft empowers the design of "national tide", which is not only a strategy of resource transformation or a path of market expansion, but also a response to the deep-seated needs of social development. In the process of constructing from material to heart, it realizes communication with tradition and introspection of cultural rejuvenation.
Intangible cultural heritage belongs to the collective creation of the people, and it is passed down from generation to generation among the people. Intangible cultural heritage itself comes from life and serves life at the same time. Only when it is effectively used in the life world can its vitality and live transmission be fully activated. However, we should also reflect on and pay attention to the following three points in the protection of traditional arts and crafts: first, the communication between traditional arts and crafts and the daily life of the public; The second is to discuss the relationship between the intangible innovation of traditional craft and its authenticity protection; The third is the relationship between the protection of traditional handicrafts and the social, national cultural and ecological environment. For example, the cross-border cooperation between the national intangible Sichuan Qingshen bamboo weaving skill and many famous brands at home and abroad has been used as food packaging, ceramic accessories, art installations and even new scientific and technological means, which not only highlights the surface of the concept of organic and environmentally friendly life under the plastic ban, but also arouses the public’s continuous concern about the natural ecology and cultural ecology of this intangible skill, and its contribution to creating employment, tourism opportunities, promoting education and even rural revitalization and art township construction.
China’s traditional craft has a historical basis and traditional connotation, and it is a living context that is constantly evolving in production and life. Its harmony with the "national tide" design not only reflects the new generation and practice of the significance of traditional craft in contemporary China, but also reflects the new transformation and promotion of contemporary China’s economy and culture. We encourage non-legacy of traditional crafts to be used in creative packaging design. After extracting non-legacy skills and elements, we redesign traditional cultural elements, cultural connotations and symbol systems, so that they can better meet the consumer psychology and emotional needs of young people, stimulate new social service effectiveness, construct non-legacy identity more effectively, and realize the sustainable development of non-legacy.
Author: Fang Yun
Text: Fang Yun (researcher of Shanghai Arts and Crafts Vocational College’s Intangible Heritage Theory and Application Innovation Base and distinguished researcher of East China Normal University’s Intangible Cultural Heritage Inheritance and Application Center) Editor: Fan Xin Editor: Shao Ling.
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