The craft of lion head

The craft of lion head
The craft of lion head
The craft of lion head

City: Foshan

About: The craft of “lion head” in Foshan can date back to Ming dynasty (1368 A.D.-1644 A.D.) and thrived in Emperor Qianlong’s reign (1711 A.D.-1799 A.D.) in Qing Dynasty (1636—1912A.D.). Legend has it that there used to be a one-horned monster with a pair of big scary eyes and a giant mouth in the area of Foshan back in the Ming dynasty. It made a sound like “Lian Lian” when it howled and therefore got the name of “Lian Monster” from the locals. This monster destroyed the crops and harmed livestock at night so frequently and disturbingly that the local people decided to get rid of it. They selected some strong young men to wear a fake lion head made of bamboo strips and colorful paper with a fake lion body tailored by colorful cloth, and to ambush at the place the monster frequented. When the monster showed up, they would charge at the monster in the disguise of the fake lion while some others beat the drums. In this way, the monster was scared away and never seen again. So wearing fake lion heads to ward off evils has gradually evolved into a custom called lion dancing popular among the folk. By the end of Emperor Qianlong’s reign in Qing Dynasty, quite a few workshops manufacturing “lion heads” have been established in Foshan and handling orders from many communities and places. Nowadays, lion dancing has become a traditional entertainment among the folk and relevant contests have been held around Southern China, Hong Kong, Macau, Southeast Asia, and even Chinese communities in Europe and America.

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