Research on the Cultural IP Construction and Communication Strategy of Intangible Cultural Heritage Hmong Ancient Songs


Hmong ancient songs, also known as the Hmong creation epics, are the intangible cultural heritage of the oral narration of the Miao nationality. In contemporary times, the Cultural Heritage Environment on which the intangible cultural heritage depends gradually collapses. The dissemination and inheritance of its cultural value have become an urgent task for the protection of intangible cultural sites. For the Hmong ancient songs, conforming to the requirements of the development of the times is the only way to its inheritance and development. In recent years, cultural IP construction and industrial development have become the main forms of Chinese cultural communication and economic development. Based on the IP communication design, this paper aims to build the Miao epic into a popular, high-profile and loyal symbol IP through the strategies of cross media transformation, super symbol IP ecological tree construction and superhero construction. And through the content, realization and extension, establish the industrialization system of Miao epic, and link the derivative mass cultural creative products with the whole industrial chain. It is an effective way to realize the value transformation of Miao epic and the spread of Miao culture.

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Wang, Q. , Zhang, C. and Chen, B. (2022) Research on the Cultural IP Construction and Communication Strategy of Intangible Cultural Heritage Hmong Ancient Songs. Art and Design Review, 10, 436-446. doi: 10.4236/adr.2022.104034.

1. Introduction

Ancient Songs of the Miao Minority have always been at the core of the historical memory of the Miao nationality. They are a concentrated reflection of the history and culture of the Miao nationality, and also an important carrier for shaping the culture of the Miao nationality and continuing the historical context (Wu, 2015; Li, 2014). IP, abbreviation of intellectual property, with the rise of new media, has been used by the Chinese people in an original and generalized way, especially referring to the connection and integration between cultural products. It can be a story, an image, a piece of art, and a popular culture, and has a cultural symbol with high recognition, self-contained traffic, strong liquidity penetration, and long liquidity cycle. We call this cultural symbol “cultural IP” (Zhang & Da, 2018). Due to its huge economic value, cultural value and emotional value, as well as the huge fan community, the industrialization development of cultural IP has become the main form of China’s cultural economy in recent years. At present, there is much research on literature and film and television culture IP at home and abroad (Shi & Gao, 2022; Li, 2021). As far as the research object is concerned, the cultural IP communication of museum is the focus of the research (Chaney et al., 2018; Tu et al., 2019; Zeng, 2019; Song & Li, 2018). But the research on the cultural intellectual property construction and communication of the intangible cultural heritage of ethnic minorities is less (Yao & Lee, 2021; Chen, 2022). The Hmong Epics are known as the longest, most complete and most representative model works in the mythological epic (Duan, 1990). Their strong storytelling ability provides favorable conditions for IP based content production. In recent years, the consumption boom of intangible cultural heritage has also laid a certain fan foundation for the IP of Hmong Epic Poems (Marino et al., 2022). Based on the current research foundation, this paper aims to meet the needs for the dissemination of Miao culture at home and abroad, as well as the creative transformation and innovative development of Miao ancient song culture through in-depth research on the creation and dissemination of Miao ancient song cultural symbol IP.

2. The Overview of Hmong Ancient Songs and Cultural IP

2.1. The Concept and Application of Cultural IP

In China, since Tencent put forward the concept of IP around 2014, it has been widely spread in various fields in recent years. “IP” is the new development of the cultural industry in the “Internet +” era; It is based on innovation, takes the deep integration of the Internet as an opportunity, and takes the broad participation of the audience as a condition. It reflects the “vitality” of the future development of the cultural industry, and is closely related to the intellectual property system in essence. In November 2020, in China, The opinions on promoting the high-quality development of the digital cultural industry issued by the Ministry of culture and tourism put forward that “cultivate and shape a batch of original IP with distinctive Chinese cultural characteristics, strengthen the development and transformation of IP” (Sun, 2021). Combined with the “intangible cultural heritage fever”, “cultural creativity fever” and “national trend” and other cultural consumption markets in China’s current market, the intellectual property fever has become an important engine for the rapid growth of cultural industries in various fields.

2.2. The Cultural Value of Hmong Ancient Songs

Ancient Songs of the Miao Nationality are a collection of 13 “ancient history songs” that are widely spread in the areas where the Miao people live, and occupy a high position in the life of the Miao people. On May 20, 2006, Miao ancient songs were listed in the first batch of national intangible cultural heritage list with the approval of the State Council. The content of the epic songs of the Miao nationality, from the pioneering work of the Miao people, the transportation of gold and silver, the casting of the sun and moon...To the long journey and the westward migration along the river, vividly shows the magnificent pictures of the Miao people’s understanding and conquering nature, which has important aesthetic value (Li, 2014). The ancient songs of the Miao nationality vividly show the existing cultural system of the Miao nationality and carry the cultural memory and cultural genes of the Miao nationality. Moreover, their all encompassing contents, vivid myths and vivid language images are important resources and cultural prototypes of cultural creation activities today.

2.3. The Motive Force to Create the IP of Hmong Ancient Songs

1) The motive force of the “fan economy”

In 2019, the market scale of the “fan economy” related industries exceeded 3.5 trillion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 24.3%, and it is expected that it will exceed 6 trillion yuan in 2023 (I Research & IMS, 2020). With the development of industrialization and urbanization, people’s consumption concept has risen from the material level to the self-confidence and satisfaction pursuit in the spiritual and cultural fields, which makes the consumption market of young audiences closer to the tradition. The spiritual connotation carried by cultural IP can strengthen the emotional identity of fans (Luo, 2019). At present, more and more low audience markets with stable fan groups have begun to enter the field of vision of more people, such as cultural relics, art works (including celebrity calligraphy and paintings), opera, intangible cultural heritage, etc., which brings opportunities for the industrial development of Hmong Epic Poems and realizes the extension from the story text to the story world.

2) The motive force of science and technology

With the rapid development and advancement of artificial intelligence, it can be used in many industries. Under the background of new technologies blooming everywhere, the combination of technology and cultural IP has given birth to a new business model, which helps to further enhance the value and influence of IP and increase the innovative channels for the content and presentation of Hmong ancient songs (Yao & Lee, 2021). Emerging technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and blockchain have accelerated the penetration, integration and immersive experience of the cultural industry, making language, words and cultural works gain new repercussions in the modern context (Liang, 2022). Through the combination of technology and cultural IP, protect and spread the Hmong epics, provide a carrier for the outside world to enter the cultural space of the Miao nationality, constantly enhance the stickiness of users, and then open up a sustainable development road of marketization and industrialization, so as to realize the “living” inheritance and protection.

3. Cultural IP Construction Strategy of Hmong Ancient Songs

Through the above analysis of the value and development power of the cultural IP of the Miao ancient songs, the specific strategies for the construction of the cultural IP of the Miao ethnic group are proposed. The purpose is to make the Miao ancient songs into a cultural symbol that can connect and integrate various cultural products of the Miao ethnic group through the in-depth excavation of the content of the Miao ancient songs, and the creation strategies of super symbol IP ecological tree, cross media narrative transformation and “hero IP”.

3.1. Deeply Explore the Cultural Resources of Hmong Ancient Songs

Cooperate with the local people and inheritors to deeply analyze the cultural connotation contained in the ancient songs of the Miao nationality, peel off the internal spirit conveyed in the ancient songs, and establish the spiritual and cultural values that are compatible with the socialist society in the new era. In addition, through in-depth excavation of the significance and cultural connotation of the Miao ancient songs, as well as their unique cultural connotation in the creation of myths, migration history, folk religion, etc., the ethnic characteristics contained therein are highlighted, and the unique folk symbols of the Miao ancient songs are condensed. On the premise of maintaining its cultural characteristics and artistic authenticity, the story and symbols of the ancient songs that are loved by the audience and widely accepted by the audience are sought. Finally, the Miao epic can be transformed from sound source narrative to more intuitive visual narrative through the excavated spiritual core, story context, ancient song background and character description.

3.2. Construction of Super Symbolic IP Ecological Tree

“Super symbols are all kinds of symbols and symbol texts that have been established in the historical process of human culture and have been acquiesced without reflection. The key is that they can be recognized and have strong interaction ability (Wang, 2020).” The IP ecological tree makes in-depth analysis on a class of resources with strong IP capabilities, extracts and concentrates its core cultural representation significance, and conducts story mining and product design around the core IP. All intellectual property products on the ecological tree use the same or similar symbols to express the meaning, so as to achieve the effect of recurring and strengthening cognition (Zeng, 2021). By creating an IP ecological tree, improve the identification ability of IP, play the role of “hyperlink”, and make it a universally recognized IP by users. Taking “butterfly mother” as an example, it is the most common theme in the ancient songs and traditional handicrafts of the Miao people, and is considered as the ancestor of creating and cultivating the Miao people. In the super symbol system of “butterfly mother”, there are associated symbols such as Jiyu bird, Jiang Yang, bull and maple tree, which can be extended from the symbolic meaning of ancestor worship, life vision and totem belief to the meaning of “dignity, beauty, prosperity and health”. By creating an IP ecological tree, improve the identification ability of IP, play the role of “hyperlink”, and make it a universally recognized IP by users. Expand the IP of the original small audience group into the medium and large-scale IP image, promote the new demand of the consumer groups represented by core users, early users and viscous users, stimulate the economic effect of IP, and promote the development of the industrial chain represented by the IP peripheral products of Miao ancient songs.

3.3. The Cross-Media Communication of Hmong Ancient Songs

With the rapid development of digital media technology, China’s cultural industry has undergone tremendous structural changes and entered a new era characterized by digital cultural industry. The public’s participation in intangible cultural heritage by means of new media is increasing in scope and heat. Cross media narration has become the core channel and main source of the media of intangible cultural heritage practice (Dionisio & Nisi, 2021; Chen, 2022). In the era of network media integration, the cross media narrative transformation of the oral epic of Miao ancient songs can be started from different media narrative methods, user acceptance and user experience. Through cross media narration, cultural resources are interpreted in the scene, and story scene experiences such as virtual simulation and immersion are conducted. The text, sound and other information are transformed into scene information that is easier for the audience to understand, so as to improve the audience’s acceptance of the works, in order to deepen the audience’s understanding of the literary language intangible cultural heritage (Olaz et al., 2022).

3.4. Create a “Hero IP” Recognized by Global Consumers

Fan Wen, member of the Chinese people’s Political Consultative Conference and chairman of the Yunnan Writers Association, pointed out: “among all kinds of cultural IP, hero IP can best cross the national, ethnic and cultural gap and get the recognition of global consumers” (Xue, 2021). The word “hero” comes from Greek, meaning “protection and service”. Our ancestors always fought against the harsh natural environment, created images with superhuman abilities, gave them courage and loyalty, and called them “hero”. They hope that these heroes can overcome nature and danger and ensure that people can live a stable life. Although contemporary human beings are no longer worried about food and clothing, our desire for heroes is still deeply embedded in the cultural gene. At any time, there will always be a huge market for heroic stories, which is the “hidden condition” for the success of superhero films. From “Superman”, American cartoonists created a large number of superheroes, which soon became an important part of American popular culture. Although our language and culture are different, our understanding of heroes is always similar. The theme behind exploring hero IP is a mythical story that has never been missing in all human cultures. Mythology refers to the ancient legends of any nation that tell stories. It can reflect human cognition of the world in the early stage of civilization and has great value. In recent years, the Chinese market has absorbed the essence of traditional culture, excavated a lot of Chinese hero images in Chinese mythology, and created heroic IP with Chinese stories as the core, such as Nezha, Sun Wukong, white snake, etc. (Xue, 2021). The ancient songs of the Miao nationality contain a wealth of the Creation myths, as well as vivid and full-bodied mythical characters, which reflect the historical life of the Miao nationality. They have the same love, hate, love and hatred as people, and give the works certain sympathetic value and mysterious color. For example, the” butterfly mother” of the Miao people, the clever Jiang Yang, the beautiful Yang Asha and other legendary figures. Mining these legendary figures can create Miao mythological hero IP that is accepted by global consumers, thus spreading Miao culture.

4. Cultural IP Communication Strategy of Hmong Ancient Songs

Miao ancient song IP is all creative texts and stories that can be converted into intellectual property rights. Its IP construction process is also the process of its industrial development. In the process of its industrialization, first of all, we should adhere to “content is king” and create a cultural IP content resource library. Secondly, according to the content, cross-border brand cooperation, digital display and story scene reconstruction are used to realize economic value. Finally, through multi-dimensional derivative development, the copyright value of Miao ancient songs is expanded.

4.1. Content: In Depth Content and Creative Development

High quality content is always the base point and core of cultural industry development. Only by focusing on the in-depth development of IP content can we produce cultural IP with sustainable development value (Zang, 2018). Creative content is the value source of cultural industry development. It attaches importance to values, images and stories to attract original core fans. The story resources in the ancient songs of the Miao nationality are very rich. Its copyright value of the characters and storylines has laid a solid content and fan foundation for the development of market cultural products. In terms of content innovation, based on the cross-media narration of the ancient songs of the Miao nationality, the creation of the story text is transformed into the construction of the story world, and a balance is found between inheriting the cultural gene and reflecting the spirit of the times (Zeng, 2021). Take Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes, which have achieved good cultural IP communication effects in the past two years, as an example (Yao & Lee, 2021). It is based on culture and centered on creation. The reason why Dunhuang Cultural intellectual property has such good market benefits is that it can clearly locate the intersection of “spreading culture”. For Dunhuang, a cultural IP with a long history, such a clear intention is not only conducive to the protection of cultural heritage, but also conducive to market income and dissemination, so that Dunhuang culture can enter the living space of consumers. From the perspective of the intangible cultural heritage Miao epic itself, its rich connotation is often precipitated over hundreds or even thousands of years. Content culture is the core to attract fans. Only by creating high-quality content products can we win the reputation of the audience and achieve long-term development.

4.2. Realization: Diversification of Communication and Operation Modes

In the media integration environment, the multi-channel communication mode evolves the content of Miao ancient songs, attracts more fans and traffic for the IP of Miao ancient songs, and realizes the expansion of the copyright value of Miao ancient songs. First of all, cross-border brand cooperation can be carried out with the help of IP to launch a series of CO branded products. It is undeniable that products related to traditional culture will be more popular with young consumers than ordinary products. The brand can also establish contacts with consumers to meet their recognition of cultural values, even trigger their emotional resonance and satisfy their emotional sustenance (Meng, 2020). In the continuous cooperation with the brand, the cultural elements of the Miao ancient songs are permeated into all aspects of people’s life, and at the same time, the brand culture is endowed. Secondly, with the continuous development of new media and science and technology, the digital performance of Miao ancient songs is carried out by using technical means, giving the new world of Miao ancient songs IP digitization and bringing new experience of Miao ancient songs culture to consumers (Olaz et al., 2022). Taking Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes as an example, Huawei and Dunhuang Research Institute jointly built the “world’s first AR cultural heritage platform”, which opened a new digital world integrating virtual and reality, and brought different visiting experiences of Mogao Grottoes to tourists around the world. Finally, the scene is integrated with the Miao ancient song culture IP, and the dialogue with modern civilization is carried out through the way of story scene reconstruction, so that the audience can enter the Miao cultural space more naturally (Chen, 2022). For example, the dance drama “only this green”, which is interpreted from the scene of the painting of a thousand miles of rivers and mountains, adopts the narrative structure of time and space crossing, and follows the chapters of “unfolding, asking for seal characters, singing silk, looking for stones, learning brush, quenching ink, and painting” to enter Wang Ximeng’s painting world.

4.3. Expansion: Diversification of Derivative Product Development

The secondary creation of IP, the active development of derivative categories and the combination with the scene are important steps to promote the derivation of IP value. At present, the mode that can realize the value of fans most quickly in the cultural IP industry is IP derivatives, including derivatives, theme parks, art/experience halls, etc. In the upsurge of cultural IP industrialization development, there are more and more types and forms of IP derivatives. The whole cultural media field attaches great importance to the linkage development of IP creation and industrial chain. Through the development of derivatives of multi-dimensional narrative stories, it can meet the diversified needs of the public and drive the growth of national regional economy (Ceschin & Gaziulusoy, 2016). In the derivative development of Miao ancient song IP, digital derivatives supported by new media technology can bring multi-dimensional emotional experience to consumers through audio-visual combination, dynamic performance and interactive experience. In addition, innovative design and communication design support the creation of beautiful, interesting and easy-to-use offline physical derivatives, covering all areas of users’ lives. For example, we are inspired by the myth that the maple heart is transformed into the “butterfly mother” in the Miao ancient song “Maple song”, and the scene that the maple tree is transformed into the “butterfly mother” is visually transformed with clothing as the carrier (Figure 1). In the clothing visual transformation of Miao ancient song stories, we mainly start with the design elements of clothing and choose the appropriate element media. As a perception level, different colors have different symbolic meanings, and their symbolic functions will have an impact on people’s psychological and visual perception. For example, the “left ear” clothing brand,

Figure 1. Clothing derivative products of Miao ancient songs.

based on the mythical story of “under the moon rabbit”, visually matches appropriate colors and styles for visual conversion, which is deeply loved by consumers. According to this successful case, in the clothing series (Figure 1), color is used to symbolize the story elements in ancient songs. Brick red symbolizes the fallen maple, and yellow symbolizes the “Butterfly” transformed from the maple. The elegant wing shape of the butterfly is applied to the skirt shape to convey the image of the butterfly mother.

5. Conclusion

As an oral narrative classic handed down from generation to generation, the most important thing for Miao ancient songs to enter the modernization process is to integrate into the modern cultural circulation system to adapt to the contemporary consumer market. This paper makes an in-depth analysis of the creation and dissemination mode of the intellectual property rights of the Miao ancient song culture, broadens the direction of the Miao ancient song culture in contemporary cultural dissemination and development, and proposes that the creative transformation and innovative development of the Miao ancient song culture should be truly realized with the rich cultural resources as the core, science and technology as the support, and innovative production products as the means. In the construction and dissemination of intellectual property rights of Miao ancient song culture, the direct goal of its development is to expand the fan group and realize cultural value. The expansion of the derivative power of related intellectual property rights, such as joint brand and development of derivatives, is an important guarantee for its sustainable development.


Supported by 2021 the Guizhou Province Graduate Research Fund “Research on IP building and industrial chain development of Hmong ancient songs” (Item Number: YJSKYJJ[2021]051).

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this paper.


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