Nuo Opera of Enshi
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Nuo Opera of Enshi

Nuo Opera of Enshi

Nuo Opera is a ceremony of welcome the god or expel evils. It is also named Ground Opera, Nuotang Opera, and Nuo Promise Opera. After the will of the host pursued has achieved, the wizard would give the God what the he has promised on behalf of the host.

Nuo Opera of Enshi – Performance

The ceremony of redeem a promise to the God is Nuo Opera. The group of people who give performance of Nuo Opera is called Tan. The leader of the group is called Master. Three to five actors would wear wooden masks while one actor would act as the lead singer and the others would chorus at the performance. They would sing and dance with the percussion accompaniment. Their movements are stereotypical and mechanical, but are funny and humorous. Their singing is monotonous; its lyrics are vulgar but do make sense.

The Master would hold 24 ceremonies and played 12 operas. Most of the operas are about promoting virtues, filial piety and diligence. There are also operas for banter and relieving boredom.

Nuo Opera of Enshi - Masks

The mask of Nuo Opera is also called “shell of face”. It is the principal symbol of Nuo Opera. The wizard was the incarnate of God when he wears the mask. He would redeem the promise to the God and deliver God’s message to people. The mask plays the role of the carrier of “the wizard becomes one with God”.

Nuo Opera of Enshi – Outstanding Folk Artist

Tan Xuechao (an old artist of Sancha County in Enshi) is the most outstanding one among the folk artists who can perform Nuo Opera and carve masks of Nuo Opera. The masks manufactured by him ran in the First Folk Arts Festival of China in 1987. Part of his mask works was exhibited in 16 countries of Western Europe. Feng Mu (former vice minister of Ministry of Culture, a famous litterateur and art critic) took up his brush and wrote “national culture treasure of China” after he made an inspection in Sancha County. Tan Xuechao was praised as “a walking file of Nuo Opera” by scholars in China and abroad.

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