But once a year, the heavyweights in the Jiangsu world of arts and crafts gather for a smorgasboard of backslapping and celebration of what is, after all, an oft-ignored corner of culture. Taking place in the weeks prior to Chinese new year, and with no expense saved, it is a sign of the dedication by the host organisation toward preserving the arts and crafts movement in 21st century Jiangsu, China.
It is with this backdrop that we now enter the truly unique world of Jinling Gold Foil. At first glance, with commemorative gold foil pieces being fashioned on site to one side, while guests at the event sampling snacks decorated with golf foil and sipping baijiu infused with gold foil, Jinling Golf Foil may appear to the casual observer to be overly ostentatious and traditional.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Best known for being the exclusive supplier of gold leaf to the Forbidden City in Beijing, Jinling Gold Foil has been unceasingly hard at work in mordernising the brand name for today’s world. In 2017 alone, the company developed 30 gold foil artisan products, including moon cakes and other Chinese festival themed specialties.
These efforts are representative of the challenges faced by Jinling Gold Foil in the 21st century. Chairman of the Board, Jiang Nan, spoke with the Jiangsu Cultural Industry Association on the subject.
“My concept for gold foil is very simple, that is, we hope we can make young people like the product, and be attracted to it with a concern for gold foil culture. There are many traditional handicrafts in China such as gold foil. Inheriting traditional culture is the responsibility of our generation. I take this as my own responsibility. I also believe in Chairman Mao's remark, ‘Nothing is difficult to the man who will try’. Do everything with a sincere heart, seize the moment, continue to learn, be broad and open minded, strive to constantly move onward; this is how we can improve ourselves. I also believe that as China's economy and culture develop, more and more international friends will embrace Chinese culture and will fall in love with China.”
Jiang’s comments regarding young people particularly resonate as we discover that, among his many honorary titles, Jiang Nan is also executive vice president of Jiangsu Youth Entrepreneurs Federation and president of Nanjing Young Entrepreneurs Association.
With such a work ethic, it is hardly surprising that Jinling Gold Foil is such a cornerstone in the preservation of the arts and crafts of Jiangsu.