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Xinjiang traditional culture being protected, passed on
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09:46, July 20, 2009

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The traditions of ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region are being protected, generation by generation.

Folk song and dance are at the heart of Xinjiang ethnic culture. So much so that a full Uygur performance, Twelve Mukam, performed with the unique music instruments of the region, has been approved by UNESCO as a "Non-material heritage".

Maimaitiming, director of Xinjiang Mukam Art Troupe, said, "Twelve Mukam is so popular among our people that we organize continuous road shows in Xinjiang and the rest of the country. We have also visited dozens of other countries."

The Uygur Mukam originated about two thousand years ago. It was passed through the generations by Uygur artists orally.

Because of chaos brought by wars at the end of the 19th century, Mukam almost disappeared.

After the People's Republic of China was found, the government launched three separate campaigns to gather the music and lyrics of the Mukam artists.

While the performing arts were saved, a programme focusing on saving ancient ethnic books was also launched in Xinjiang. So far nearly ten thousand ancient books written in thirteen languages including Uygur, Persian and Uzbek have been collected from around the region.

Airken, director of Xinjiang Library, said, "Nawayi collection of poems is a very precious book for the research of Uygur culture. It has been included on the list of National Precious Books."

The librarians told reporters that all of the books on the list will be copied and reprinted so that more people can understand the ethnic culture of Xinjiang.

Source: CCTV.com

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