An artful embrace of culture

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Young designers find creative ways to make China's ancient heritage both relevant and beautiful.

The prizewinning designs of last year's Yuanliu Campaign competition include tea-bag holders featuring ancient court attire; drawing chalks mimicking Chinese traditional window panels; furniture inspired by Buddhism; lamps made with batik fabrics; and sticky tapes with humorous expressions.[Photo provided to China Daily] 

It has been a rather busy time for graduates like Zhen Min, 28, who will soon receive her master's degree at Peking University's school of arts. While she prepares for her thesis defense and further studies abroad, she also makes time to finalize a design with her partner in Shanghai.

Zhen is majoring in art management and creative industry, and is especially interested in how to relate cultural heritage to modern life. She is a member of a designer duo, teaming up with Jia Min, a student of design at East China Normal University. The young women met on a train and found they were both from the Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

Now they are racking their brains to design a group of figurines to be used as tea-bag holders. The hat of each human figure, who wears a different Peking Opera costume and makeup, must be able to cling to the lip of a teacup. The figure's body will be a place to hang the attached string of a tea bag.

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