Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Friday, March 02, 2007

Lion Dancing

If you click on the title of this post, you'll be directed to a slide show about Lion Dancing. Be sure to have the volume on. Below are some excerpts from the page on "Lion Dance" :
Lion dance (Traditional Chinese: 舞獅; pinyin: wǔshī) is a form of traditional dance in Chinese culture, in which performers mimic the lion's movements in a lion costume.

The lion costume may be operated by a single dancer, but rarely is, or by a pair of dancers. The single dancer springs about while energetically moving and shaking the head and operating the jaws and eyes. The pair of dancers, forming the back and fore legs of the beast is seen perfected in the exhibitions of Chinese acrobats, with the two dancers forming as a team the motions of a single animal as they move between platforms of varying elevations. The dance is traditionally accompanied by gongs, drums and firecrackers, representing the descent of good luck.
The lion is traditionally regarded as a guardian creature in many Asian cultures. It is featured in Buddhist lore, being the mount of Manjusri. The lion dance is performed in many Asian cultures including mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and Vietnam amongst others, with each country possessing their own distinct styles and purposes.
The lion dance is especially popular with the Chinese cultures, having a history of close to a thousand years. There are a number of Chinese lion dance styles but the two most popular Chinese lion dance styles are the northern and southern lion dance. Northern dance has origins stemming from the northern parts of China where it was used as entertainment for the imperial court. The northern lion is usually red, orange, and yellow in colour (sometimes with green fur for the female lion), is shaggy in appearance, with a golden head. The northern dance is very acrobatic and is mainly performed as entertainment.

The southern lion dance is more symbolic in nature. It is usually performed as a ceremony to exorcise evil spirits and to summon luck and fortune. The southern lion exhibits a wide variety of colour and has a distinctive head with large eyes, a mirror on the forehead, and a single horn at center of the head.
The Lion Dance is often confused with the Chinese Dragon Dance, which features a team of around ten or more dancers. The Lion Dance, however, consists of two people at one time. Though, the "Head" and "Tail" of the Lion may be substituted by additional dancers during the performance.

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