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Chinese Lion Dance - Research Paper Example

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The purpose of the paper "Chinese Lion Dance" is to provide the reader with a more informed understanding of the historical background and features of lion dance, the northern and southern dance, martial arts and lion dance, and customs associated with a lion dance…
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Chinese Lion Dance
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Download file to see previous pages This paper tells that as Buddhism was the predominant religion in China for a very long time, Lion Dance has come to be an integral part of Chinese culture. Some experts have explored in depth the Buddhist connection in Chinese culture and believe that this famous dance of China has its roots in India. There is also a mythical tale intertwined with Lion Dance. There was a mischievous young lion in heaven that used to go about its pranks causing enormous irritation to the inhabitants. One day matters reached a head when it tried to pull a fast one on Jade Emperor, the lord of the heaven. He got infuriated with the antics of the lion and killed it by decapitating and throwing both the head and the body down on earth to putrefy. But Kwan Yin, the Goddess of mercy, came to know of it and brought the lion back to life by tying its head and body with a red ribbon. The red ribbon is very much visible in the Lion dance costumes of today and is considered to be the lucky omen that most surely ushers in prosperity and good luck. The Goddess of mercy also decked up the lion with a mirror and a horn that were meant to drive away evil spirits. Thus it is a standard ritual among Chinese Lion Dancers to invoke the spirit of the lion in a new lion head before it is used in the dance. This is an elaborate ritual and is known as "Hoi Gong", or the "Eye Opening/Dotting" ceremony. The ceremony consists of painting eyes on the lion head on completion of which the lion is thought of as having entered into this world. Any performance done with a lion head that has not been blessed through the Hoi Gong ritual is considered as a bad omen that most surely brings bad luck and misfortune. There is always a thread of narrative running through the performance which usually begins in a closed space signifying a cave inside which a lion is found sleeping. A rotund Buddhist monk enters the cave and has a look around before he starts setting up the temple. He opens the doors of the closed space, lights up an ornamental lantern and dust and cleans the interiors to make the place worthy of Buddha and his worshippers. The time finally comes to wake the lion which the monk does by beating a drum, a gong and a cymbal. The lion awakes and starts playing with the monk and this continues for some time. ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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