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Culture in Chongqing

Culture in Chongqing

The Ba-Yu Culture

The Ba-Yu culture is one of the national cultures in China with the most striking characteristics in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. Stemming from the Ba culture, the Ba-Yu culture relates to the local cultures that have evolved over the history of the Ba people and Kingdom.

The Ba people have lived among the mountains. The lavish nourishment of nature and the harsh environment have shaped them with tenacious, courageous and valiant personalities. Males are passionate, bold and generous, while the females are tender and full of animated courage.

The Sichuan Opera

The Sichuan opera is one of the major demonstrations of Ba-Yu culture. The time-honored opera has kept many traditional theatrical pieces, various melodies and superb performing arts available.

Performing arts from other places such as the melodies for Kunqu opera, the high-pitched tune opera, the Tan opera and the Sichuan local lantern operas once prevailed in Sichuan. Given that these five performing arts were always displayed at the same time and on the same stage, they have gradually developed into one style, which was generally called “the Sichuan drama” at the end of the Qing Dynasty and later called “the Sichuan opera.”

The face changing, flame throwing (from the mouth) and sleeve shaking performing arts of the Sichuan opera stand out with their uniqueness. Combined with poetic movements, the Sichuan opera is popular with tourists and local people. The opera The Tale of Madam White Snake and Jinshan Pagoda prevails domestically and abroad.

The Chuanjiang Working Songs

The waterway from Chongqing to Wushan Mountain is narrow, hidden shoals and dangerous reefs also lie along the way. In the past, boats were mostly propelled by such man power as pushing or towing. Since crew men on the boats, being dozens or hundreds in number, were not easily to directed at the same time, the working song became a tool for coordinating movement on the boats. It was in this way that many ballads paying tribute to the life of the crew men developed. These ballads are called “Chuangjiang working songs.”

The Chuangjiang working songs are sonorous and firm in rhythm. They resound among the gorges and along the rivers. Thus, they serve as a tool for coordinating the crew men’s movements of sculling on board and adjusting the overall mood. Today, the Chuangjiang working songs have been placed on the list of Chinese intangible cultural heritages.