Monday, March 18, 2013

Nuo Xi (儺戲) from Gui Zhou (贵州)

Chinese New Year, a Time for... Exorcism?

Today people are celebrating the end of a year and the start of another.  With fireworks they scare away the monster called Nian (year).  They eat mooncakes and perform lion dances, and in one part of China, it's time for an exorcism.

This exorcism takes the form of an opera.

In the region called Gui Zhou (贵州), people put on masks; they dance and perform a ritual to banish devils, illness, and poor luck. 

The ritual is called Nuo Xi (儺戲).  It is performed in various regions at various times of year; now, at Gui Zhou, the performance takes place with the accompaniment of a single gong and a single drum.  It is performed upon a single tract of land.

Nuo masks are fascinating and famous.  Some are designed simply to scare away the devils, but others represent characters out of religious literature, like Sun Wukong (Monkey).  The perfomances can last ten or twelve days, and often incorporate stories from classical Chinese texts, like The Three Kingdoms and Journey to the West.

Some more photos of the Gui Zhou Nuo Xi:

And finally, a video:

1 comment:

M. H. Boroson said...

Hello. If you're going to cut-and-paste someone else's content into your blog, please indicate that you've done so, and please reference your source.

Second, by posting this on March 18th, when it begins with the word "today," you've misrepresented the indigenous peoples' behavior. The event takes place on a lunar/annual cycle; last year it corresponded to Feb. 10th, not March 18th. Since you also cut-and-pasted information about the national holiday that took place in early February, the result is very misleading.

I support your effort to record and preserve knowledge about indigenous peoples. Please give authors credit for their work, and please correct misinformation. Thanks very much, and I hope your blog prospers.