By Xu Zhuowei
On July 2^nd, an intangible cultural heritage center preserving the local sea salt drying technique officially opened in Gaotangdao Township, Xiangshan. Xiangshan's sea salt drying practice has a long history of more than 1,300 years. At one point, the county's sea salt was delivered to the emperor as a valuable tribute.
As the only remaining salt field in Zhejiang that relies entirely on manual labor and is still in operation, Hua'ao Salt Field, located on Hua'ao Island, Gaotangdao Township, is surrounded by the sea. Every year in midsummer, the Salt Field becomes a teeming scene where the age-old salt-making practice is revived.
On Hua'ao Island, the sea salt drying technique has gradually morphed from a daily practice into an integral part of the local tradition and heritage. In 2008, the technique was included in the second national list of intangible cultural heritage. In 2017, the Hua'ao Salt Field was recognized as an "inheritance base" of national intangible cultural heritage.
The newly-opened sea salt drying heritage center seeks to make the tradition better known through exhibitions, interactive experiences, and learning activities. Visitors can personally partake in the millennia-old process of drying salt.
"To strengthen Gaotangdao Township's unique brand image and preserve the traditional sea salt drying practice, we have developed a cartoon mascot, plus a range of merchandise including canvas bags, T-shirts, pillows, thermos cups, and masks." Wang Xiao, deputy secretary of the CPC Gaotangdao Township Committee, said that the town is now fully leveraging Hua'ao Island's unique cultural identity and potential, revitalizing cultural tourism destinations, and striving to make the Island more beautiful.
Chief Adviser: Zhao Qingchuan
Proofreader: Dong Na