Chinese Storytelling

Chinese Storytelling

Professional Storytelling

  1. The performed narrative arts of China-quyi

  2. General features of the performed arts

  3. Various forms of storytelling and Yangzhou storytelling

  4. The performance situation of pingshu and pinghua

  5. The spoken language of storytelling

  6. Contents of storytelling

  7. Yangzhou storytelling and storysinging


Professional Storytelling (6)

Contents of storytelling

The repertoires contain a large common stock of themes from Chinese history, legends and mythology, shared also by the dramatic arts and by the written legacy of the great novels: THREE KINGDOMS SAN GUO, WATER MARGIN SHUIHU, JOURNEY TO THE WEST XIYOU JI, etc. But each of the pinghua/pingshu genres also has stories unique to the local tradition. One example would be the tale of QINGFENG LOCK QINGFENGZHA, a trickster tale from local small merchant milieu. This tale originates in Yangzhou and is told exclusively in Yangzhou pinghua. Since the 1950s there has been a movement to revolutionize the contents of the storytellers' repertoires. This aim has been pursued by publishing traditional themes in 'corrected' editions and by creating modern works xiandai zuopin with themes from the War of Resistance, the Civil War and socialist reconstruction of the People's Republic. The texts for these performances are written by storytellers and other people interested in storytelling. They have-in contrast to most of the old oral traditions-a definite author. Most pieces are short, designed to be performed in one session of storytelling. The contents are strongly coloured by the political propaganda of their time. In Yangzhou storytelling a number of texts of this kind have been produced. The works of xiandai zuopin differ from the traditional art in many important ways. They must be considered a specific category to be treated apart, and they are only sporadically mentioned in this website.

Next: Yangzhou storytelling and storysinging