Enchanting Customs and Diversified Culture (1)

  • offcial website of Beijing Expo 2019 2016-06-06 10:14:22

Folk Fine Arts

The folk fine arts in Yanqing has a long history, with various categories of handicraft manufacture and a wide range of products, mainly including painting, pottery, sculpture, sewing and embroidering, and weaving.

Pottery: Pottery in Penyao Village

More than 400 years ago, a pottery craftsman surnamed Guo and his wife came to Penyao Village shouldering loads of belongings. Finding out that the soil on the mountain in the east of the village was suitable for pottery-making, they built a simple shack for settlement, and began making pottery. Later on, more and more people settled to learn the craft and Penyao Village gradually came into being. At that time, almost all villagers lived on pottery-making, with a popular proverb “Pottery in Penyao, Sets in Sets” spreading in Yanqing.

Temple Painting and Fresco

As an important form of folk art, Temple paintings and frescos in Yanqing, of exquisite patterns and superb technique, with unique local characteristics, have become a rare and enchanting treasure in folk art. The existing works in Ming and Qing Dynasties show a high level of artistic value.

Sewing and Embroidering

In old times, People in Yanqing attached great importance to teaching girls to sew and embroider, so that they would be praised and respected for fine needlework. Before getting married, girls would be tested on needlework by their mothers-in-law. Regarded as fine handicrafts, some traditional needle works are not only practical, but also of high artistic value.

Folk Literature

Where there are humans, there are oral literatures. As early as Paleolithic period when there were human activities in Yanqing, oral literature started.

The earliest written record is related to the legend of Wang Cizhong in Commentary on the Waterways Classic written by Li Daoyuan in Northern Wei Dynasty, “Wang Cizhong, in Shanggu, transformed seal character to official script at the age of 20, and then changed into a roc flying away in spite of summons of Qin Shihuang, with two wings falling down to form Mount Dahe and Mount Erhe respectively, i.e. Mount Dahaituo and Mount Erhaituo today”.

The following two records are included in local chronicles, with one relating to Yan-Huang Battle of Banquan, and the other, recording that Yongning was capital of Jinyun Tribe in the period of the Yellow Emperor, in Annals of Yanqing in Qing Dynasty under the reign of Emperor Qianlong. Simple as the records above are, they are widely popularized in Yanqing, with more detailed contents than the original records.

Treasure of Folk Literature

There are far more folk tales and legends than historical records in chronicles and annals. It is well-known that “every trench, hole and village has its own legendary tales” in Yanqing, where abundant stories are passed down through the years. Folk stories, legends, songs, proverbs have been spreading orally generation by generation, ranging over wide areas.

Nourishment of Folk Literature

Folk literature always provides foundation for the creation of local literature and other literary genres, and inexhaustible materials for writers without exception. Therefore, the development of Yanqing literature is closely related to folk literature.

There are not so many ancient literary works, mostly recorded in local chronicles and annals in Yanqing, among which the poetry and prose collected in Annals of Yanqing in the Qing Dynasty are of high quality. After the founding of the New China, new literature came into being. The development of Yanqing literature has confirmed that folk literature provides profound foundation and important condition for new literature.

Folk Drama

Yanqing drama emerged as early as 400 years ago. According to Annuals of Longqing, “When praying in spring and offering thanks in fall, performers gather to present dramas for worshiping gods, so as to be blessed with good harvest”. Drama activities, with grand scenes, are commonly referred to as “Changdaxi (Performing Full-scale Drama)” by the public. The main types of drama are Festival Drama, Temple Fair Drama, Commerce Chamber Drama and Celebration Drama. Festival Dramas are usually presented around the Spring Festival, the Lantern Festival, and the Mid-Autumn Festival, among which drama activities in the Spring Festival last for the longest performing period. There are a large number of drama activities during temple fairs. In the old days, temple is built in every village, with theatrical stage for grander ones. Theatrical troupes were always invited to perform when it came to birthdays of gods and Buddha, as well as periods of praying in spring and offering thanks in fall, on the theatrical stages in the fire god’s temples, town god’s temples and Guandi temples inside county, Dragon King Temple in Beiguan, and Horse God Temple in Nanguan. Rural temple fairs such as Huanglong Pond, Old Dragon Temple, and Chaoyang Temple are very famous as well. The Commerce of Chamber intended to choose festivals to hold Hinny Assembly. After the founding of New China, Commodity Fair Assembly was held, with merchants gathering and theatrical troupes hired for entertainment. Celebration Dramas are generally presented in the banquets of a birthday for the elderly, a baby’s completion of its first month of life or for a good start of business. There are Peking Opera, Pingju Opera, Jin Opera and Hebei Clapper Opera popular in Yanqing, with Hebei Clapper Opera enjoying the greatest popularity. Influential operas, with a large quantity, vary in different historical periods. For example, Xue Pinggui Going to Court for Provisions Clearing, Third Wife Lectures Her Son, Three Suspected Plan and Wujia Slope etc. were popular before the Republic of China, while Legend of the White Snake, Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai, Zhuangyu Boiling Sea, Xiao Erhei’s Marriage, Liu Qiaoer, etc. grew popular after the founding of New China.

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