Traditional culture and customs along the Nanjiang Ancient Waterway

Along the Nanjiang Ancient Waterway in Yunan County, Yunfu City, the traditional culture of great abundance and uniqueness. Here are some of the swinging and profound culture and customs. 

Nanjiang wedding custom

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Nanjiang wedding custom dates back to the late Ming and early Qing dynasties. The main transportation for the wedding is sedan, and wedding lament runs through the whole celebration. Processes include preparing wedding banquet, picking up the bride, paying respects to parents, singing with friends and relatives. 

Liantan Piaose

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Liantan Piaose has a history of more than 300 years. It consists of three parts, the basement, the supporting steel branch, and the performers. Each Piaose includes two to three performers who are small kids presenting a story. It is colorful, stylish, delicate and implicit. During the performance, each Piaose is accompanied by a percussion instrument team. It is like a moving stage. 

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Liantan Piaose mainly shows life style, customs and faith of farming culture. It has high artistic value and ornamental value. 

Dough modeling

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Dough modeling, also called dough figurine, just as its name implies, refers to using dough to make figurines. The materials contain flour, glutinous rice flour and different kinds of pigments. Handicraftsman uses his fingers and simple tools such as knife, scissors, comb and bamboo needle to create figures by kneading, twisting, squeezing, pushing, rolling, picking, pressing and pushing. 

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The common themes of dough figurine are derived from traditional operas, four major classical novels, folklores, fairy tales, cartoon figures, twelve Chinese zodiac signs and other animals. 

Helou dance

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Helou dance of Yunfu's Yunan county is a representative project among the national intangible cultural heritages in Guangdong. It is an ancient dance of the Zhuang People to celebrate harvest and pray for good weather. It is a treasure of folk art handed down by minority with a history of over 2000 years. It is a living fossil of immemorial rice cultivating culture. 

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The dance’s move is primitive and straightforward. Dancers wear bamboo hats, masks, black clothes, scarves and linen shoes. A lead dancer wears lotus crown, red and yellow shawl, and holds one copper bell with ribbon in his right hand and ox-head tin cane in his left hand. Other dancers hold earheads. They sing Helou songs while dance around the four directions. 

Finger painting

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Finger painting was created by Zhu Jingzong in the late Qing Dynasty and the early Republic of China. Zhu was a townsman from Liannuo. He learned the skill from a master in Guangzhou and passed on it in his hometown. His grandsons Zhu Zhanying and Zhu Zhanpeng are two of his outstanding inheritors. 

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The subjects of finger painting are similar to traditional Chinese painting’s, such as landscape, character, flowers and birds. Its reflection techniques are various, which requires flexibility in painter’s hands. The layout of the painting is ingenious and precise. All in all, finger painting has high artistic appreciation value and research value. It cen be decoration, bookmark or art name card. 

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(by Monica)

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