LANZHOU, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- Niu Qiang from Huining of northwest China's Gansu Province has been a sheepskin raft worker since he was 16. He has been doing the job for 27 years in the Lanzhou section of the Yellow River.
For 2,000 years, sheepskin rafts had been an important means of transportation on the Yellow River. However, as the economy develops, people have more choices in their way of travel and sheepskin rafts became less of a first choice for travelers. Nowadays, the sheepskin rafts on the Yellow river mainly serve as a tourist attraction.
Niu Qiang believes he has inherited the ancient craftsmanship from his ancestors, just like other raft workers. This practice reflects the history and culture of the people living along the banks of the Yellow River. However, due to high costs and intricate procedures, the creation of sheepskin rafts, a process that takes at least three months, has become a "solitary" craft that few are willing to learn. Designated as one of Gansu's intangible cultural heritages, this craft now has only a handful of successors, with 43-year-old Niu Qiang being the youngest, and the oldest practitioner being over 90 years old.
This year, Niu Qiang plans to document the entire process of this craft through video to introduce it to a wider audience.