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Chinese Acrobatics
Acrobatics in China
China Information - China Folk Culture and Art
Chinese Acrobatics

Chinese Acrobatics

Chinese acrobatics was already an independent and highly skilled art some 2,000 years ago. As early as the Warring States Period (475-221 BC),
there appeared rudiments of acrobatics. By the time of the Han Dynasty (221 BC-220 AD), the acrobatic art or "Hundred Plays" further developed
both in contents and varieties. According to the poem entitled "To the Western Capital" written by Zheng Heng, a Han Dynasty scholar, and stone-
engravings unearthed at Yinan County of Shandong Province in 1954, there were superb performances with music accompaniment on the
acrobatic stage of two thousand years ago, such as "Pole Climbing", "Rope-Walking (the present day Tight-Wire Feats)", "Fish Turned into Dragon
(the present day Conjuring)", "Five Tables (like the present Balance on Chairs)". In the Tang Dynasty, the most thriving period in the history of
Chinese ancient culture, the number of acrobats greatly increased and their performing skills much improved.

In the long course of development, the Chinese acrobatic art has formed its own style. The ancient acrobatics stemmed from the people's life and
had a close link with their life and productive labour. Instruments of labour like tridents, wicker rings and articles of daily use such as tables,
chairs, jars, plates and bowls were used in their performances of "Flying Trident", "Balance on Chairs", "Jar Tricks", "Hoop Diving" and "Traditional
Style Conjuring", and others. Wushu, Diabolo Skill, and Lion Dance, originated from folk sports and games.

With skillful techniques and stunts and various items, today, Chinese acrobatics has own acclaim and praise from audience both at home and
abroad. At the sixth World Acrobatics Festival of Tomorrow held in Paris in January 1983, Chinese acrobatics won three gold medals. Many more
have been won in recent years. In the future, it will surely continue to shine like a bright pearl.


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