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Chinese Opera
Traditional Chinese opera has existed for more than a thousand years, reaching its mature form in the thirteenth century during the Song dynasty (960–1279). It evolved from folk songs, dances, talking, antimasque, and distinctive forms of music. Performers wear distinctive and traditional costumes and makeup, which cues the audience about their status and personality. For instance, a red face represents loyalty and bravery; a black face, valor; yellow and white faces, duplicity; and golden and silver faces, mystery. Today, there are more than 360 regional opera styles in China, which often share similar stories, but vary according to their music and manner of speaking. In this video from the 2014 Smithsonian Folklife Festival program “China: Tradition and the Art of Living,” members of the Zhejiang Wu Opera troupe from Jinhua in eastern China perform “Sedan Chair,” in which four men carry a nervous bride to her wedding in an imaginary sedan chair. Learn more about “China: Tradition and the Art of Living”: Editing: Jackson Harvey Camera: David Barnes, Ed Fry, Max Lenik, Abby Sternberg [Catalog No. CFV11256; © 2019 Smithsonian Institution]
Video Duration:
1 min 36 sec
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culture music performance tradition folk language festival smithsonian "washington dc"
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Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
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