China has inscribed 55 sites on the UNESCO World Heritage list, and the cultural reality show has endeavored to invite celebrity guests to join the "youth troupe" and explore the World Heritage sites, sharing sentiments and interesting stories of their journeys.
Led by Shan Jixiang, director of China Cultural Relics Academy who served as the director of the Palace Museum in Beijing between 2012 and 2019, the "youth troupe" of the second season is joined by Zhou Yun, Xiao Yang and Niu Junfeng. Taking Luoyang, a city with three World Heritage sites as the starting point, the first episode of the season walks the path of history to emphasize the heritage values of the Silk Road as well as the continuation of Chinese civilization and intermingling of global cultures.
"Once we recognize the great charm of the cultural heritages around us, everyone can feel a sincere happiness from the bottom of their hearts - some are awoken by nostalgia, and some are inspired by pride. As the saying goes, 'what's learned from books is superficial after all, it's crucial to practice it personally,' if you want to understand a person, you need to communicate more, and if you want to comprehend a World Heritage site, you also need to experience and feel it to have deeper emotions that are close to your heart and connected to your bloodline," said Shan.
One of the show's key messages is translating the diversity of world heritages and civilization from multiple perspectives. It features a wide selection of sites such as the Yin Xu archaeological site, the Imperial Kiln Sites of Jingdezhen, Mount Wuyi which is the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, Zhoukoudian cave system and more. Each World Heritage site has a special focus from the perspectives of humanity, history, culture or nature - like tracing the origin of humankind at Zhoukoudian or conducting a symphony of nature at Mount Wuyi.
"We sincerely hope that the 'The Shape of Culture' reality show will encourage more young people to start their own journeys of cultural exploration and discovery, treasure the bountiful Chinese culture and fall in love with world cultural heritage to become guardians and inheritors," said Shan.
"The Shape of Culture" is also shaping fresh understanding of world heritages through the diverse points of views from different people, the "youth troupe" is joined by locals who have been living in these world heritage sites for generations, and the history and civilization of grand World Heritage sites are versed in their everyday life, like the rowing father and daughter on the Jiuqu River, the craftsmen in Jingdezhen and the youth orchestra In Quanzhou that has inherited ancient tunes.
"The Shape of Culture" also invites top historians and experts to bring in-depth and accurate interpretations of the World Heritage sites. Season 2 will visit 12 World Heritage sites across nine Chinese provinces, including The Grand Canal (Yangzhou), Sanxingdui Site, Mount Lu National Park and Quanzhou, one of the world's largest ports along the historic Maritime Silk Road.