Brief Introduction
Sub Units
Culture Bureaus
Zhejiang Culture & Art
Culture Themes
  In the Spring and Autumn Period (722-481BC) and the Warring State Period (403-221BC), the contention between Wu State and Yue State centered upon Zhejiang, an area of great strategic significance. Zhejiang belonged to Yue after the downfall of Wu, and in turn handed over to Chu State when Yue courted destruction. Then Qin State consolidated China and divided the country into 36 counties. It was a time when witch dance was in the vogue. "The Baiyue Clan of Zhejiang°≠In pre-Qin times°≠The sacrificial ceremonies were numerous and jumbled, and witchcrafts were popular." (Survey on Zhejiang Customs, Yu Tong). The job of witches and wizards was to entertain gods with music and dance, so the witch dance, as part of the witchcrafts, was a very special folk dance. A cultural relic unearthed from Mt. Fan in Liangzhu of Yuhang County had a picture on it of people singing heartily and dancing with flicking long sleeves to the drumbeats. The Changzhuan Dyke in Haiyan County of Jiaxing once found 45 primitive porcelain instruments, a set of chime bells (altogether 13 bells), and various others like Niu Zhong, Gou Zhai and Dun Yu. These unearthed cultural relics were proofs of how the nobilities and the rich families of ancient Yue State enjoyed music and dance. The NO.306 Warring State tomb in Shaoxing excavated a copper model of a house. In the house were 6 musicians, with a drummer in the east of the first line, two singer-like men in first middle and first west, and three Sheng (a reed pipe wind instrument), and stringed instruments players in the back. Though there were no dancing witches or wizards inside, the clear lay-out of the sacrificial ceremony revealed that by the turn from slavery society to feudal society, dance had already had some instrumental accompaniment and ritual procedures. In the same period in history, there appeared many women dancers who were popular both among the folks and the nobilities. They usually dance while singing along among the folks, and due to some reasons, they reformed the folk dance into a new court dance according to the taste of those royalty and nobilities. The legendary Shi Yiguang (Xi Shi) from ZhuLuo West Village of Yue State (the present south of Zhuji in Zhejiang) was a case in point. Both The History of Wu and Yue State by Zhao Ye of Han Dynasty and Rinse The Yarn by Liang Chenyu of Ming Dynasty had accounts of Xi Shi practicing dances. In 491BC, Yue State lost the war with Wu. After being strictly trained in singing, dancing and manners in Shaoxing, Xi Shi was sent to Wu by the king of Yue to tempt the king of Wu. As expected, "the king was so intoxicated by her extraordinary beauty and delicate singing and dancing that he neglected his state affairs." (Qing Dynasty The History of Zhuji County). So it was one of the most important reasons that led to the downfall of Wu and thriving of Yue. During her stay in Guan Wa Palace, Xi Shi often put on her wooden sandals, tied tiny bells on her dress and danced on the wooden board with other maids-in-waiting. Zhang Dai of Ming Dynasty once described in his book Memories About the Dreams in Tao Hut dancers of his time imitating Xi Shi's dance. They rang around gracefully with slow-going long sleeves, as lithe and delicate as the peonies in the autumn.
     Bone whistles - representatives of Hemudu Cultural Relics
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