Yongxin Dunpaiwu (shield dancing) 永新盾牌舞

Time: 2006
Category: Folk Dance
Region: Jiangxi Province
Ref. No.: Ⅲ-10
Nominating unit[s]: Yongxin County, Jiangxi Province
Dunpaiwu (shield dancing) is a folk dance popular in Yongxin, a county in the southwest of Jiangxi Province and the middle section of the Luoxiao Mountains. Dunpai (shield) “was used for martial arts and self-protection” during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), according to the annals of Yongxin County and the Wu clan genealogy. Dunpaiwu (shield dancing) developed based on the dunpai (shield), has a history of over 200 years.
Dunpaiwu (shield dancing) presents a scene in which two armies fight against each other in different battle formations. The dance is performed by men. Two men holding tiger forks and another group of over eight men holding shields execute such movements as rolling, fighting, stumping and hiding, in order to develop eight battle arrays, including square arrays, single-line battle array, V-shaped array, wasp array, dapai, dragon gate array, pouch array and dahuapai. The arrays are cleverly and rigorously arranged, presenting different shapes and characteristic charm. These arrays combine vigor and suppleness, and enable fast movements but still maintain a good order, creating a lively atmosphere for the battle. The music of dunpaiwu (shield dance) absorbs the suona tune luoqiang of dengcai, nanlusanban (with long tones and ornaments) of traditional Chinese opera, and allegretto gong and drum from national gymnastics. The music, with sounds produced by short swords and rattles and the “ho ho” sound produced by dancers, create an exciting atmosphere.
盾牌舞在永新一带家喻户晓,曾有“不练盾牌不是男子汉”之说,特别是元宵“出灯”时更属必不可少。 它深受当地民众喜爱,丰富了人们的文化生活。永新盾牌舞是赣西南山区民俗民风的一个缩影,它体现出一种最原始的民族凝聚力、团队精神和战斗精神。就艺术价值而言,它集武术、杂耍、舞蹈、造型于一体,成为地方文化的典型代表。
Dunpaiwu (shield dancing) is known to every family in Yongxin. It is an essential part of the chudeng (bringing the lanterns for the new babies of the year to the ancestral hall) ceremony in the Lantern Festival. There is even a saying that a man who does not practice shield dancing is not a real man. Dunpaiwu (shield dancing), deeply loved by the local people, enriches people’s cultural life. Yongxin dunpaiwu (shield dancing) is the epitome of folk custom in the mountainous areas of southwest Jiangxi Province, and reflects the most primitive cohesion of the nation, team spirit and fighting spirit. Dunpaiwu (shield dancing), a traditional form of the local culture, is of high artistic value as it integrates martial arts, variety shows, dancing and moulding.
Dunpaiwu (shield dancing) is in danger of being lost due to the fast pace of modern civilization and the death of old artists. Urgent efforts are required to rescue and preserve it.
Wu Sangui

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