Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pingyao Tea House Theater (1) : Shanxi Opera Scenes Murals

Pingayo Tea House Theater is a recent rebuilt building, it was constructed during Ming Dinasty (around 1700 AD) at the best moment of Pingyao City. It is called Tea house because remains on it that special character of the "Chinese cabaret place", a theater where is possible to see in one evening, drama, opera, acrobatics, singing, magic and clowns while a dinner, and tea of course, is served.

Its stage hosts one company of Shanxi Opera, a regional style of Chinese Traditional Theater, offering scenes from this kind of Opera to hungry groups of Chinese turists. (It will be the subject of other posts)

There are, inside the Tea House Theater complex, and surrounded by traditional gardens, one long wall with clay made murals, in high reliefs o "altorelieve", showing scenes from Shanxi opera plays. Even the artistic work is not fantastic it is an interesting experience.

The amount of artistic depictions of theater artists and scenes of plays in China is comparable to the amount of religious images in temples or political scenes in palaces, that is something I have never seen in other part of the world. The social importance of theater before the Communist era was really remarcable, and these murals are a prove of it.

Video: Murals of Pingyao Tea House Theater

Shanxi Opera Clay Murals at Pingyao Tea House Theatre from Gustavo Thomas on Vimeo.

Pingyao Tea House Theatre is one of some well preserved (and rebuilt) theatres inside Pingyao Ancient City in Shanxi province. It has many clay murals depicting scenes from Shanxi Opera

Photographs: Murals of Pingyao Tea House Theater

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