Acupuncture and moxibustion of traditional Chinese medicine:
Inscribed in 2010 (5.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Acupuncture and moxibustion are forms of traditional Chinese medicine widely practised in China and also found in regions of south-east Asia, Europe and the Americas.
The theories of acupuncture and moxibustion hold that the human body acts as a small universe connected by channels, and that by physically stimulating these channels the practitioner can promote the human body’s self-regulating functions and bring health to the patient.
This stimulation involves the burning of moxa (mugwort) or the insertion of needles into points on these channels, with the aim to restore the body’s balance and prevent and treat disease.
In acupuncture, needles are selected according to the individual condition and used to puncture and stimulate the chosen points.
Moxibustion is usually divided into direct and indirect moxibustion, in which either moxa cones are placed directly on points or moxa sticks are held and kept at some distance from the body surface to warm the chosen area.
Moxa cones and sticks are made of dried mugwort leaves. Acupuncture and moxibustion are taught through verbal instruction and demonstration, transmitted through master-disciple relations or through members of a clan.
Currently, acupuncture and moxibustion are also transmitted through formal academic education.
Inscribed in 2010 (5.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
Peking opera is a performance art incorporating singing, reciting, acting, martial arts.
Although widely practised throughout China, its performance centres on Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai. Peking opera is sung and recited using primarily Beijing dialect, and its librettos are composed according to a strict set of rules that prize form and rhyme.
They tell stories of history, politics, society and daily life and aspire to inform as they entertain.
The music of Peking opera plays a key role in setting the pace of the show, creating a particular atmosphere, shaping the characters, and guiding the progress of the stories. ‘Civilian plays’ emphasize string and wind instruments such as the thin, high-pitched ”jinghu ”and the flute ”dizi, ”while ‘military plays’ feature percussion instruments like the ”bangu ”or ”daluo.
”Performance is characterized by a formulaic and symbolic style with actors and actresses following established choreography for movements of hands, eyes, torsos, and feet.
Traditionally, stage settings and props are kept to a minimum. Costumes are flamboyant and the exaggerated facial make-up uses concise symbols, colours and patterns to portray characters’ personalities and social identities.
Peking opera is transmitted largely through master-student training with trainees learning basic skills through oral instruction, observation and imitation.
It is regarded as an expression of the aesthetic ideal of opera in traditional Chinese society and remains a widely recognized element of the country’s cultural heritage.
Chinese shadow puppetry
Chinese shadow puppetry is a form of theatre acted by colourful silhouette figures made from leather or paper, accompanied by music and singing.
Manipulated by puppeteers using rods, the figures create the illusion of moving images on a translucent cloth screen illuminated from behind. Many elder shadow puppetry artists can perform dozens of traditional plays, which are orally transmitted or found in written form.
They master special techniques such as improvisational singing, falsetto, simultaneous manipulation of several puppets, and the ability to play various musical instruments.
Many puppeteers also carve the puppets, which can have between twelve and twenty-four moveable joints. Shadow plays are performed by large troupes with seven to nine performers and smaller troupes of only two to five, primarily for entertainment or religious rituals, weddings and funerals and other special occasions. Some puppeteers are professional, while others are amateurs performing during slack farming seasons.
The relevant skills are handed down in families, in troupes, and from master to pupil. Chinese shadow puppetry also passes on information such as cultural history, social beliefs, oral traditions and local customs.
It spreads knowledge, promotes cultural values and entertains the community, especially the youth.
Inscribed in 2011 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
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