Chinese Theatre: An Illustrated History Through Nuoxi and Mulianxi
Volume One: From Exorcism to Entertainment
Chinese Theatre: An Illustrated History Through Nuoxi and Mulianxi is the first book in any language entirely devoted to a historical inquiry into Chinese theatre through Nuoxi and Mulianxi, the two most representative and predominant forms of Chinese temple theatre.
With a view to evaluating the role of temple theatre in the development of xiqu or traditional Chinese theatre and drama from myth to ritual to ritual drama to drama, Volume One provides a panoramic perspective that allows every aspect of Nuoxi to be considered, not in the margins of xiqu but in and of itself. Thus, this volume traces xiqu history from its shamanic roots in exorcism rituals of Nuo to various forms of ritual and theatrical performance presented at temple fairs, during community and calendrical festivals or for ceremonial functions over the course of imperial history, and into the twenty-first century, followed by an exploration of the scriptural origins and oral traditions of Mulianxi, with pivotal forms and functions of Nuoxi and Mulian storytelling, examined, explicated and illustrated in association with the development of corresponding genres of Chines performance literature and performing arts.
This is an interdisciplinary book project that is aimed to help researchers and students of theatre history understand the ritual origins of Chinese theatre and the dynamic relationships among myth, ritual, religion, and theatre.
Table of Contents
Introduction; Part 1. Ritual Origins of Chinese Theatre: From Nuo to Nuoxi; 1 Ritual and Ritual Performance in Early China; 2 The Hundred Shows; 3 The Nuo Theatre; Part 2. The Mulian Myth: From Scripture to Storytelling; 4 Scriptural Origins of the Mulian Myth; 5 The Mulian Myth in Transformation Texts; 6 The Mulian Myth in Precious Scrolls; Glossary; Bibliography; Figure Credits
Xiaohuan Zhao is Associate Professor of Chinese Literary and Theatre Studies at the University of Sydney.