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Current Location: Homepage » Chinese Culture » Culture Discovery » Main Body

Xianxiao (Liangzhou Xianxiao, Hezhou Xianxiao) 贤孝(凉州贤孝、河州贤孝)

Profile:Xianxiao (Liangzhou Xianxiao, Hezhou Xianxiao) 贤孝(凉州贤孝、河州贤孝)
Time: 2006
Category: Recitative, story-telling
Region: Gansu Province
Ref. No.: V-19
Xianxiao - Liangzhou Xianxiao
Nominating unit[s]: Wuwei City, Gansu Province
Liangzhou Xianxiao is also known as "Liangzhou Quanshanshu" (recitative for encouraging kindness prevalent in Liangzhou). It is an ancient and honored folk art performed in the form of recitative and is quite popular in urban and rural areas of Liangzhou and its neighboring areas like Gulang, Minqin, and part of Yongchang County, Jinchang, Gansu Province. According to relevant historical records, the creation of Liangzhou Xianxiao can date back at least to the late Yuan Dynasty and early Ming Dynasty.
In Chinese history, most performers of Liangzhou Xianxiao were blind people, wher the masters passed on this art to their followers by oral teaching and the followers had to figure it out by themselves. The contents are mainly based on the stories characterizing heroes and wise men, heroines and gentlewomen, filial sons and worthy progeny, kings and princes, gifted scholars and beautiful ladies etc, in which the principles of hiding one's wrongdoing and praising his/her good deeds, implicating the time and advising the world, preaching punitive justice, being virtuous and filial etc are implied. This is the reason why it is called Xianxiao in Chinese.
Liangzhou Xianxiao is generally performed by a single person who tells a story by singing while playing musical instrument(s) on his/her own (i.e. the spoken parts, reciting parts and accompanying parts usually have to be done by one person). The lyrics are chiefly based on Liangzhou dialect which is popular and easy to understand and usually contains witty and humorous words. When performing this art, the artists always have extemporaneous play while communicating with the audience, in which quips could often be heard.
The vocal music of Liangzhou Xianxiao is quite diversified and has reserved many old tune names, including "mixed tunes of Liangzhou" as well as tunes of local folk songs. By combining these tunes, it has therefore formed a unique style of Liangzhou Xianxiao.
As the society advances, the past recent years have witnessed a decreasing number of audiences, the lack of fixed places for performing Liangzhou Xianxiao and temporary shortage of artists, and all these have put this art to the test of survival. As the development of this ancient folk art form has encountered difficulties and challenges, immediate supporting and protecting measures are required as so to prevent this art from being lost.
Xianxiao - Hezhou Xianxiao
Nominating unit[s]: Linxia City, Gansu Province
Hezhou Xianxiao is also known as "Hezhou Changshu", "Xianxiao Playing and Singing", "Hezhou Three-string Shanshu", "Linxia Xianxiao", "Hezhou Tune" etc, and it is a traditional folk art form popular in the Linxia area of Gansu Province. It was formed in the late Ming Dynasty and early Qing Dynasty. It is called "Hezhou Xianxiao" for most of its contents advocating the following: advising people to be good and punish the vicious, be loyal officials and good generals, and be virtuous wives and filial sons etc.
The traditional performance form of Hezhou Xianxiao is as follows: the performer (used to be a blind person) has to hold a three-stringed lute and play and sing by him/herself alone. There is a large number of Hezhou Xianxiao shows, in which most of them were compiled by the artists based on books and have been passed down from generation to generation. In order to make it easy to distinguish between the shows, the shows manifesting national rise and fall or loyal officials and good generals were named as "Guo Shu" by the artists (Wu Zixu Crossing the River, Romance of Three Kingdoms, Expedition to the East, Generals of the Yang Family, Legal Case of Bao Gong etc belong to this case) while the shows reflecting such things as respecting parents in daily life or romance between men and women were named as "Jia Shu" by the artists. In addition, the shows that are based on the stories of "Twenty-four Filial Sons" include Wang Xiang Laying on the Ice, Guo Ju Burying His Son, Meng Zhong Crying for Bamboo Shoots etc and other shows include White Apes Stealing Peaches, Meeting at Flower Hall, Little Dingding, etc.
Hezhou Xianxiao has a long history and has maintained primitive and simple in form. However, as the social environment in which people live and develop has changed, most show platforms of Hezhou Xianxiao have gradually been disappearing and hence immediate protective measures are required so as to prevent this art from being lost.
Feng Lanfang

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