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  • Intangible Cultural Heritage

Tonghai Performance on High Platform


As stated in the Records of Tonghai County, Tonghai performance on high platform was introduced from Jiangnan in Ming Dynasty and rose in the middle of Qing Dynasty. By the Republic of China, there were four high-platform performances in Tonghai County: county town, Hexi, Qijie and Yangguang. Tonghai performance on high platform is a movable stage art, which is a concentrated body of drama or story. Generally, the high platform is chiefly composed of a wooden lifting frame with a square length of 1-2 meters and a special bent iron rod with a length of about 3 meters. Carrying the theme of drama and story, the iron core is skillfully decorated as dragons, snakes, birds, fish and other animals or clouds, trees, stones and other scenery as needed. Meanwhile, children who play the roles of various drama characters are set on the floor at different levels, and then cleverly concealed with costume props. The children played seem to stand on clouds, trees, dragons, snakes, animals, fish and birds, or sit and lie in palaces, yards and utensils. They are vivid and interesting, and of "high, dangerous and strange" characteristics. During the first month of each year, every high-platform performance will organize 12 high-platform exhibitions (13 in leap year) to add joyful atmosphere to the local people. Following the changes of the times, people hold that it is time-consuming and laborious to decorate and welcome the high platform. The county town high platform and Yangguang high platform stop their activities one after another, but only Hexi and Qijie stubbornly persist.