Traveling back 600 years to ancient China – an exciting trip to Anshun, Guizhou

China, 5th Jul 2023 –

Author: Dr. Anton Lustig

Dutchman, expert in the field of Chinese national languages.

As an ethnolinguist from the Netherlands, I have a keen interest in the Anshun local opera of Guizhou, China. Coming to Anshun on purpose, I hoped to study this traditional play, which has been passed down for thousands of years, in depth. With a mind to explore and understand the Eastern culture, I followed the guidance of a local drama master and devoted myself to the study of geodrama. In the process of learning, I was fascinated by the unique charm of Anshun local opera. I witnessed the exquisite acting skills of the actors and felt the passion and drama contained in local opera.

Anshun local opera is a rare living material for the study of dramatology, anthropology, religion, folklore, etc. It is called “the living fossil of Chinese drama”, which was brought in and developed by the army during the early Ming Dynasty and has a history of more than 600 years. Its distinctive feature is that the performers wear masks, hold ancient weapons and dance to the rhythm of music. It tells the stories of ancient Chinese heroes and warriors. Its performance style, mask style and script form are unique in China.

From the perspective of a cultural scholar, studying Anshun local opera has inspired me a lot, as it not only combines music, dance and theatrical elements, but also shows the profound heritage of Guizhou’s ethnic culture. At the same time, the powerful lyrics and tunes of Anshun opera and the wood carvings of the costume masks remind me of my own hometown’s art opera, both of which are ancient musical and dance arts, yet distinctly different. This cultural commonality and distinction convinced me that there are similarities between cultures, despite coming from different countries and regions. Different art forms and traditions are able to convey common human emotions and values through emotional and visual language. Whether it is European opera or Anshundi opera, they both combine culture and beautiful forms through the creativity and skill of artists, expressing the pursuit of beauty and cultural heritage.

In addition, as a lover of traditional Chinese culture, I would also like to make a few suggestions for the inheritance and protection of Anshun local opera from an international perspective:

1. Cultural exchange and promotion: introduce Anshun local opera to more foreign friends, and let more foreigners understand and appreciate Anshun local opera through cultural exchange activities, opera exhibitions, performances and shows, etc. It can show the uniqueness of Anshun local opera on the international cultural exchange platform and increase its popularity and influence.

2. Translation and dissemination: The repertoire, singing lyrics and related materials of Anshun local opera will be translated into foreign languages so that foreigners can better understand and learn. This can help spread the artistic value and cultural connotation of Anshun local opera and attract more foreigners to participate in the process of inheritance and preservation.

3. Cross-cultural cooperation: Establish cooperation with foreign art institutions, academic institutions and cultural organizations to jointly carry out research, training and promotion of Anshun local opera. Through cross-cultural cooperation, we can draw inspiration from foreign art forms, enrich the artistic expression of Anshun local opera, and promote the exchange and integration between different cultures.

4. Education and training: Establish teaching and training courses for Anshun local opera in foreign art colleges, drama schools or cultural centers to attract foreign students and artists to participate in study and research. Through education and training, cultivate more foreigners who are interested in Anshun local opera and become advocates and promoters of its inheritance and protection.

5. Digital heritage: Using modern technical means, record, archive and digitize the performance, music and related materials of Anshun local opera. This will ensure that the art form of Anshun Geisha can cross time and space restrictions and be accessed and learned by more people.

To sum up, the inheritance and preservation of Anshun local opera requires efforts to strengthen cultural exchange and promotion, translation and dissemination, cross-cultural cooperation, education and training, and digital transmission. Through these measures, we can promote the international dissemination and recognition of this unique Chinese “oriental opera”, and achieve its sustainable development and preservation. I also hope that everyone will pay more attention to intangible cultural heritage and Anshun opera.

Media Contact

Organization: Xitang cultural investment co., Ltd

Contact Person: Lu Zhou

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Country: China

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Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No The Finboard journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.

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