The famous Guyi Exorcising Opera 固义傩戏

The famous Guyi Exorcising Opera固义傩戏(Gùyì nuóxì) in Wu’an County, Handan City, is developed from the ancient exorcising(its original intention is counteract evil force) ceremony, exorcising music, exorcising dance and the custom of exorcising. It is various in kinds and characters and is the quintessence of the Exorcising Culture in the remote antiquity, the medieval times and the recent antiquity. According to its social function, it is divided into three types: the first one is blessing and driving away plague; the second one is praying for favorable weather; and the third one is respecting the old, caring the young and obeying the law.

One character of the Exorcising Opera is the mask. There are almost 40 masks that will be used in the Exorcising Opera. The original masks were made of the carved bark, while they are made of paper today. The performer who wears the mask, ornamental crown, bear’s fur and handle the lance and the shield is called “Fang Xiang”. Or twelve person who wear red hair and painted clothes crack long whips to make noise and call the names which can eat the devils and beats. These persons are called “Twelve Dancing Deity”. Their dancing is accompanied with the music of the drum.

Guyi Exorcising Opera includes stage opera and street opera. The stage opera remains the primitive pattern of the development of the opera. That is, the talking, singing, and the performance are separately performed by different roles. The person who is talking and singing is called “Zhangzhu”. He stands on the front corner of the stage to introduce the roles and the plot. He introduces one part, then follows the performance of this part. At present, the stage operas are all accompanied by the sound of gongs. Its plays include Cengpeng and Mawu Compete for the Very Best, Hang a Black Tiger, Count the Spirit Soldiers and Beat the Drum Ten Times etc. Since the content is before the period of the Three Kingdoms and Han Dynasty, the plots are simple and plain.

The street opera are mainly Catch the Yellow Spirit and other flower fairs. Catch the Yellow Spirit is the important one. There are almost one thousand persons, among whom there are 30 persons with masks and four hundred persons were face-painted take part in it. So it almost for every family and every person to perform. Why Catch the Yellow Spirit is called exorcising opera not exorcising dance is just because it has the plot. By means of catching the spirit, trying the spirit, sentencing the spirit and executing the spirit, people are taught to obey the law and take care of the parents of themselves.

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