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Current Location: Homepage » Chinese Culture » Chinese Folktales 中国民间故事 » Main Body

Hexi Scroll 河西宝卷

Profile:Hexi Scroll 河西宝卷
Date: 2006
Category: Folklore Literature
Region: Gansu Province
Project No. I-13
Name of Applicant (region or institution): Suzhou District, Jiuquan, Gansu Province and Liangzhou District, Wuwei, Gansu Province
The Hexi Sroll is mainly circulating in the Hexi Corridor, Gansu Province, one of the few areas in China wher chanting-telling activities still exist.
The Hexi Scroll is a form of folk chant developed from the Dunhuang varied text and story-telling and the dictation scripture of Song Dynasty. In the varied text, story-telling and dictation scripture was mainly assimilated and inherited the structure of Dunhuang Buddhist scripture while Liangzhou Scroll was further adapted into an ethical, local and folk literature on the basis of heritance. Thus, it was turned into a form of folk chanting literature in China. The Hexi Scroll matured and became prevalent through the Ming, Qing and the Republic of China till it declined during the Cultural Revolution and was the wane hereafter.
The Hexi Scroll falls into four genres: Buddhist scripture, historical tale, myth, and allegory. Basically, it reflects the social life of populace with themes mainly focused on condemnation of malice and brutality and advocacy of filialness and good benignity.
The major form of Hexi Scroll is the combination of rhythmic and plain presentation of chant and telling, attracting the audience to join the activities in the form of “relaying Buddhist voice”. The monologue part is the form of presentation adopted by the performer to relate the plot, development, relationship between characters, and time and place, all presented either in a related or in a narrated manner. Meanwhile, the rhythmic section is figure of speech adopted to give complimentary or derogatory comments, advance the development of plots, express love or hatred, and setting up the atmosphere, all accomplished either in a chanting or singing manner. The rhythmic scroll contains all the tunes apart from part of the Liangzhou folk song elements, such as Wailing at Fifth Watch, Lotus Falling, and Ten Exhortations.
According to survey, the scripts of Liangzhou Scroll now existent total 30 volumes, mainly in the form of wooden graving and hand-writing. There did appear a few mimeograph copies early in the 1980’s. For the Jiuquan Scroll, the types of tune and style of chanting already gathered are more than 70 and total volumes are up to 140 (over 70 kinds, with a table of contents).
Actually, the Liangzhou Scroll took shape under the influence of Dunhuang folk literature and the study of it will be of a help in doing Dunhuang studies. The exhortation of benignity, the spirit of being ready to help, and the virtues concerning filialness, brotherly harmony, friendliness, hard work, and thrift all will have a great role to play in cultivating morality of people and promoting the development of decorum and culture of the country.
At present, due to the development of rural economy and changes of lifestyle, there are very few people actively engaging in the activities of reciting or chanting the scroll except the seniors who are well over 70 years old. With the deceasing of this old generation in the near future, the Hexi Scroll is to face the crisis of survival.
The folklore story-teller:
乔玉安 李作柄
Qiao Yu’an and Li Zuobing

Hot Tags: chinese culture learning chinese 对外汉语 中国神话故事

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