Brief Introduction
Sub Units
Culture Bureaus
Zhejiang Culture & Art
Culture Themes
Zhou Mi of Song Dynasty once referred to Deshou Palace Dance Notation (hereinafter the Notation) in his book The Miscellaneous in Year Kuixin. The Notation was produced when Gaozong Emperor abdicated in favor of his son and moved to Deshou Palace (Palace of Virtue and Longevity). It was recorded in verbs or configuration of animals as training materials for the performers in the palace. There were nine categories (totaling 63 kinds) of dancing poses or team formations in the chart. According to history books, there was a Madam Ju at the time. She used to be the head of the singing-and-dancing team in Xianshaoyuan of Gaozong Emperor. For not winning fond of the emperor, she went back to Lin'an. But later on, she was again summoned to the Palace of Virtue and Longevity and contributed her wisdom to the creation of the Notation. Though a bit lagging behind Dunhuang Dance Notation of the Five Dynasties Period, the Notation still came out much earlier than those in other countries of the world.
         Confucius, the founder of Confucianism, is the most famous thinker and educator of ancient China. The monarchs of the past dynasties all canonized him and Confucianism as orthodox to reinforce their imperial power and to protect their interest. In 1128, the 48th generation offspring of Confucius moved southward with Gaozong Emperor. They chose Quzhou of Zhejiang to be the site of Confucius Temple, hence the popularization of "worshipping Confucius" customs and its dances.
         According to existing notations of dance for the worship of Confucius in Quzhou and Ningbo during Xianfeng's Reign in Qing Dynasty, Yu Yue dance was a kind of scholar's dance which evolved from Shao dance of Shun's time. And the sacrificial dances started officially from the third year of Yong Ming of Qi State, Southern Dynasties. The traceable "worshipping Confucius" dance in Zhejiang history probably dated back to late Tang Dynasty, developed in Northern Song Dynasty and prevailed in Southern Song Dynasty. "The Confucius Temple of Ningbo was first established in 788In 1018, Cang Shui (green water) road was built to it." "the Confucius Temple of Yinxian was turned into the county school in 1048 by county magistrate Wang Anshi" "the 'worshipping Confucius' ceremony was held together with that of the prefecture on the same day." (Survey of Confucius Worshipping in Ningbo by Hong Keyao) When the clan temple of Confucius in the south was established in Quzhou, the sacrifice activities were more frequent than ever and went on continually until the end of Qing Dynasty.
    The "worshipping Confucius" dance was an indispensable part of sacrificial rituals. The existing dance notations included not only detailed pictures of poses and movements, names and illustrations, but also rather insightful theoretical analysis, as in On Ancient Dance Ranks. In the book, chapters like "Yong Wu Zhi Shi (the beginning)", "Wu Wu (soldiers' dance)", "Shu (numerals)", "Ren Shu (number of dancers)", "Tu Pu (picture chart)", "Chi Ji (pace of movements)" and "Wu Qi (the dancers' ware) traced back to the origin of the dance, followed the reforms, described movements and summarized the artistic features of the dance. For instance, "one pace should accord with one music beat"; "dancers in the back should follow those in the front to abide the formality of the dance, but this is not found in today's dances". The close relationship of dance and fussy etiquettes was illustrated vividly in the book.
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