Your browser is not supported by this application. Please use recent versions of browsers such as Google Chrome, Firefox, Edge or Safari to access 'Dive' interfaces.

Inscribed in 2020 (15.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

© Department of Culture and Tourism of Henan Province, China, 2019

Taijiquan is a traditional physical practice characterized by relaxed, circular movements that works in concert with breath regulation and the cultivation of a righteous and neutral mind. Originating during the mid-seventeenth century in Wenxian County in the Henan Province of central China, the element is now practised throughout the country by people of all ages and by different ethnic groups. Taijiquan’s basic movements center upon wubu (five steps) and bafa (eight techniques) with a series of routines, exercises and tuishou (hand-pushing skills performed with a counterpart). Influenced by Daoist and Confucian thought and theories of traditional Chinese medicine, the element has developed into several schools (or styles) named after a clan or a master’s personal name. The element is passed down through clan-based transmission or the master-apprentice model. The latter relationship is established through the traditional ceremony of baishi. Taijiquan has also been incorporated into the formal education system. The element builds upon the yin and yang cycle and the cultural understanding of the unity of heaven and humanity. It has been disseminated through legends, proverbs and rituals, among other vehicles of expression. Safeguarding the element would increase its visibility and dialogue about the diverse ways Taijiquan is practised by different communities.

Taijiquan masters conduct a ritual for worshiping the founder of Taijiquan Chen Wangting at the Ancestral Hall of the Chen Clan, Chenjiagou Village, Wenxian County, Henan Province
In an early morning, Taijiquan amateurs practice at Renmin Park, Jiaozuo City, Henan Province
Chen Bing, one of the representative bearers of the Chen School Taijiquan, introduces the knowledge of the element to the pupils
Chen Peiju (right), a representative bearer of the Chen School Taijiquan, practices tuishou (hand-pushing skills) with her apprentice
Representative bearer He Youlu delivers a lecture on the He School Taijiquan at a local school
Representative bearer Yang Zhenhe (middle) teaches the Yang School Taijiquan at Taiji Square in Yongnian District, Handan City
Representative bearer Zhai Weichuan (silver-haired) gives instructions on the Wuu School Taijiquan
Zhang Quanliang, the representative bearer of the Wu School Taijiquan, trains family members at his home
Representative bearer Jia Shiwen (second from the left) instructs his apprentices in practicing the Li School Taijiquan
Representative bearers Li Jianfang (right) and Liu Yunting (left) demonstrate the Wang Qihe School Taijiquan to the practitioners