Entertainment

#KajoPicks: 3 C-drama romances featuring traditional Chinese art to watch

Patricia Hului

Chinese art is arguably the oldest continuous tradition in the world dating back to 10,000 BC.

The earliest form of Chinese art discovered may have only been simple pottery and sculptures, but since then, the Chinese have developed and introduced to the world their iconic paintings, sculptures, ceramics and chinoiserie.

Even to this day, China continuously introduces to the wider audience their traditional Chinese art.

One of the most subtle but effective ways taken to promote traditional Chinese art has been through Chinese dramas.

It is reported that China produces more television dramas than any other country.

So how do these television dramas raise awareness on their culture? Easy, one or both of the main characters usually happens to be the prodigy or master of some kind of traditional Chinese art.

While watching these characters falling in or out of love through the story, viewers receive ‘unplanned’ lessons on Chinese art.

So imagine a Malay drama telling the story of how a sape player falls in love with a songket weaver. Isn’t that an infectious way to indirectly promote Malaysian culture?

If you are a fan of traditional Chinese art and romance dramas, here are three C-dramas you should watch:

1.Sunshine of My Life (2021)

Watch this drama on Kukan Drama Youtube Channel

Have you heard of Suzhou embroidery? With a history spanning over 2000 years, it is one of the oldest embroidery techniques in the world and was designated an Intangible Cultural Heritage by Unesco in 2006.

In the drama Sunshine of My Life (2021), Tang Fei (Xu Lu) is a lively woman with a passion for Suzhou embroidery.

During a fashion show, she comes across Tang Ming Xuan (Zhang Han), the general manager Ming Yuan Fashion Group.

Unlike Tang Fei, Ming Xuan sees traditional embroidery as just a business venture.

When their paths collide, Ming Xuan begins to see the importance of traditional art like Suzhou embroidery.

In one scene, Tang Fei explains hand embroidery is a way that gives ‘warmth’ to fabric and is something that can never be replicated by a machine.

The drama also shows that with the support of big corporations who can provide huge funding, it is easier for traditional craft to survive.

2.Because of You (2017)

Speaking of embroidery, here is a romance drama set in an embroidery shop.

Guo Guo (Sun Yi), the real granddaughter of a master embroiderer. She loses her memory after a car accident as a child but was saved by the driver who then raised her in a wonton shop.

As she grows up, Guo Guo’s talent in embroidery begins to reveal itself.

The production team really shows off how much research they put into the drama.

It showcases the various technique of traditional Chinese embroidery including the double-sided embroidery, feather embroidery and golden thread embroidery.

Most people do not know that this Chinese drama is actually based on Korean drama Jang Bong-ri is Here! (2014).

Instead of embroidery, the Korean drama focuses on hanbok or Korean traditional dress making. It highlights the traditional way of making hanbok; from hand-dyeing to hand-sewing every piece.

3.Mountains and Ocean (2019)

Watch this drama on Youtube

Restoring ancient painting requires a lot of effort and intricate work and this Chinese drama really shows that.

Xia Rui Ning (Zhuang Da Fei) is a student at the Cultural Institute of Xiling University who is passionate about ancient Chinese art.

It has been her dream to make a full-time career out of ancient painting.

During her art history class, Rui Ning encounters Ye Lin (Huang Sheng Chi) and Ye Miao (Fan Zhi Xin).

These two brothers have ancient scrolls, painting and artifacts that have been passed down for generations.

With Shen Zhen, the daughter of Rui Ning’s former nanny, the four of them are assigned to restore ancient painting that they accidentally found.

In between sessions restoring an ancient painting, romance and feelings begin to blossom and entangle the four of them.