Mamat Rixat starts work on bronze articles at 10:30 a.m. every day, just as the Kashgar Old City starts welcoming tourists from around the world. The area is renowned for its collection of intangible cultural heritage from Kashgar, an old town on the ancient Silk Road, in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
The 35-year-old man is the sixth generation inheritor of the craft of Uyghur bronze-work. He rented a room in the core area of the old city after the area was restored in 2009 and recognized as a top tourism destination in China in July 2015.
"I mainly focused on craftsmanship and sold hand-made products to retailers in the past," Rixat told Beijing Review. But now, tourists come to his shop and buy via his WeChat online shop. "More and more people buy my products, and most of them are tourists."
Many locals subsist on artisanal skills passed from generation to generation. This tradition has become part of the appeal of Kashgar, as well as handmade Uyghur ethnic musical instruments.
Over the past two years, as more and more visitors tour Kashgar, local residents have more opportunities to contact with the outside world and become more inclusive to diverse cultures, said Shi Shixiong, an administrator of the Kashgar restoration project.
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